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HERE ARE THE LATEST trends in the world of investing:

  • The S&P 500 climbed 24.2% in 2023, after tumbling 19.4% in 2022. Stocks are now up 33.4% since the October 2022 market low. These figures don’t include dividends.
  • The broad U.S. stock market, developed foreign markets and emerging markets all posted gains in 2023. But in a reversal from 2022, growth stocks—especially large-company growth stocks—fared far better than value stocks, and U.S. stocks easily outpaced foreign shares.
  • After 2022’s drubbing, bond investors had an easier time in 2023. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ended 2023 at 3.88%, unchanged from a year earlier.
  • One-year Treasury bills were yielding 4.78% as of Dec. 29, versus 4.73% at year-end 2022. Those favoring cash investments may see their handsome yields shrink in 2024, assuming the Federal Reserve opts to cut short-term interest rates.
  • Real assets had mixed performance in 2023. Oil prices fell to $71 a barrel from $80 at year-end 2022. Gold rose, climbing to $2,072 an ounce from $1,830 a year earlier. Real estate investment trusts posted gains in 2023, but only partly recouped 2022’s losses.
  • In December, the Federal Reserve projected that the U.S. economy would grow 2.6% in 2023 and 1.4% in 2024. What about unemployment? The Fed expects it to finish 2024 at 4.1%, while core inflation runs at 2.4%.
  • As of 2022, 58% of U.S. families were invested in the stock market, up from 48.9% nine years earlier, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. The survey is conducted every three years.

Want to get a handle on stock and bond market valuations? Check out the chapter on financial markets.

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