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HERE ARE THE LATEST trends in the world of investing:

  • The S&P 500 climbed 10.2% in 2024’s first quarter, adding to 2023’s 24.2% gain. Stocks are now up 46.9% 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 2024’s first three months. But mirroring much of the past 15 years, growth stocks—especially large-company growth stocks—fared better than value stocks, and U.S. stocks easily outpaced foreign shares.
  • During 2024’s first three months, bonds struggled, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rising to 4.21% from 3.88% at year-end 2023.
  • One-year Treasury bills were yielding 5.03% as of March 28, up from 4.78% at year-end 2023. Those favoring cash investments will likely see their handsome yields shrink in 2024, as the Federal Reserve looks to cut short-term interest rates.
  • Real assets had mixed performance in 2024’s first quarter. Oil prices rose to $83 a barrel from $71 at year-end 2023. Gold also rose, climbing to $2,255 an ounce from $2,072 three months earlier. But faced with rising interest rates, real estate investment trusts treaded water during the first quarter.
  • In March, the Federal Reserve projected that the U.S. economy would grow 2.1% in 2024. What about unemployment? The Fed expects it to finish 2024 at 4%, while core inflation runs at 2.6%.
  • 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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