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    Why You Shouldn’t Panic About Higher Rates and a Falling Market

    As we encounter another downswing in the ongoing bear market, it’s only natural to be concerned and ask questions. Here’s where we are at the moment: using the S&P 500 as a measure, the markets are down 22 percent from the peak at the end of last year, and just under 14 percent from the end of the most recent rally in August. This year, there have been four drops and three rallies. We’re down quite a bit, and that doesn’t feel good. The question to ask is: what should we do about it? To figure that out, we need to look at two things.

    The Current Market Decline, Explained

    When you see the current headlines, you may be asking yourself: why is the market going down? The short answer is interest rates. Interest rates are going up, and when rates go up, stocks tend to go down. This leads us to ask additional questions—why are interest rates up? And will they continue to rise? In the short term, it seems they will indeed continue to increase. Here’s why.

    President Biden Announces Student Debt Relief Plans

    On August 24, 2022, President Biden announced plans to offer student loan forgiveness to selected individuals. Below is a summary of the executive action that the Biden Administration plans to effectuate. It’s important to note that strong legal challenges to these provisions are likely because the changes are sought to be implemented without Congressional approval.

    2022 Midyear Update: Slowing, But Growing

    As we enter the second half of the year, the outlook might appear grim at first glance. Covid-19 continues to spread, both here and worldwide. Inflation remains close to 40-year highs, and the Federal Reserve (Fed) is tightening monetary policy to fight rising prices. The war in Ukraine is ongoing, and it threatens to become a long-term conflict. Midterm elections loom in the U.S. Looking at the headlines, you might expect the economy to be in very bad shape.

    How Did We End Up in A Bear Market, And What Comes Next?

    As inflation has risen and stock prices have fallen, we’ve heard a lot of buzz about a bear market recently. And now we’re officially here. Traditionally defined as a period during which stock prices fall 20 percent or more from recent highs, a bear market indicates significant market and economic stress. While the Nasdaq has been in a bear market for quite some time, that index is made up primarily of technology stocks, which are notoriously volatile. Now the S&P 500 has also hit this milestone. Since this index includes the largest and best-known companies across all industries, the price drops here are a better indicator of overall market stress.

    What’s Driving Gas Prices Higher?

    Whether you’ve seen the prices at the pump, clicked on the headlines, or overheard discussions in the grocery store, you know the rising cost of gas has everyone talking. At the start of the summer driving season, the average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. reached an all-time high, surpassing $4.50 per gallon. Inflationary pressures, including strong demand, supply chain disruptions, and low inventories, have caused price spikes for many consumer goods. As the cost of filling your tank rises, you’re likely wondering which market factors caused the spike in gasoline prices.

    What Do We Do Now? A Strategic Response to the Stock Market Tumble

    Many of the discussions around the market decline so far this year have revolved around two issues: why is it happening and how far will it go? Most people look at the market as an independent entity, trying to second-guess how it will act in the future. Most people will, inevitably, be wrong.

    A Closer Look: Why Is the Stock Market Going Down?

    Job growth is still at high levels, consumer spending is still healthy, and businesses are continuing to invest. So, you may be confused when you see news of the stock market going down in an economy that seems to be doing well. The market has fallen significantly from its peak at the start of the year and, more recently, has taken a sharper drop. Shouldn’t the stock market go up in a healthy economy? The short answer: not necessarily. Let’s take a look at the reason for the market downturn, and what we can expect in the future.

    What Happened to Bond Prices—And What Lies Ahead?

    If you’re a fixed income investor, there’s bad news—and good news. The bad news: so far this year, rising interest rates have caused bond prices to fall and led to declines for most fixed income investors. You may be wondering what caused this decline and what may be expected for the future (spoiler alert: there’s good news on the horizon). 

    The Ukraine War and Your Investments

    Now that we’re almost two weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some of the dust is starting to clear around the financial markets. Since the invasion on February 24, markets first rallied, then dropped, and (as of this writing on the afternoon of March 9) now are roughly at the same level as they were before the invasion. In other words, for all the headlines and the tragic damage in Ukraine itself, markets have so far largely shrugged off the impact. Not at all what you would expect.