From the Desk of Dale Crossley and Evan Shear
We hope you and your loved ones are doing well.
There’s no shortage of nerve-wracking headlines, particularly as Russia continues to wage war against Ukraine. Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine as they fight to keep their country sovereign. Pair worrisome geopolitical tensions with rising inflation and soaring oil prices, and the markets are struggling to gain ground. Adding to the volatility, during the mid-March Federal Open Market Committee meeting, interest rates were increased a bit earlier than anticipated to help curb rising inflation. The market downturn is the unfortunate part of investing. Although it's very hard to keep emotions in check with the current headlines, we carefully plan for periods of economic downturns and market instability.
Although expected, March was the first interest rate increase since 2018. The decision was based on 2022 inflation projections previously at 2.7% and adjusted up to 4.3%, as well as GDP growth projections originally at 4%, but adjusted down to 2.8%. By raising or lowering interest rates, the Fed stimulates or slows down economic growth, as needed. Fed officials anticipate at least another 150 basis points in rate hikes by the end of the year to keep rising inflation in check. The markets will be closely watching the timing and frequency of interest rate increases as it's a delicate balancing act raising rates enough to curb inflation, but not too much as to completely stunt economic growth.
Lastly, you may also be aware that during the first quarter of this year, we experienced a yield curve inversion of the 2-year Treasury yield and the ten-year Treasury yield. This is often, but not always, an indicator of an upcoming recession. It’s important to note that the spread between the 3-month Treasury yield and the 10-year Treasury yield has not inverted, which is positive. While this yield curve inversion is being carefully watched, since 1976, there have been 10 inversions of this yield curve, but only 6 recessions.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to be a destabilizing factor in global markets, but the Fed has repeatedly asserted that the U.S. economy and labor market are strong. We’ll be keeping a close eye on all of these factors affecting the markets and keeping you informed. As always, if you have questions or concerns about your portfolio, please do not hesitate to reach out.
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