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Weekly Market Update, Week Ending March 25, 2024

Weekly Market Update, Week Ending March 25, 2024

March 25, 2024

Market-Moving News[i]

Rising together

For the first time in 2024, the S&P 500, the NASDAQ, and the Dow each posted a weekly total return of 2% or more. That uniform progress pushed each index to a record high and marked a shift from the modest declines recorded in the previous two weeks.

Rate outlook intact

Despite recently mixed progress in curbing inflation, a majority of U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers stuck with their earlier expectations to approve three interest-rate cuts by year end. Chair Jerome Powell said the first potential cut isn’t likely to occur until the Fed gains greater confidence that inflation is sustainably declining toward its 2% target.

Fed-fueled gains

The stock market’s modest upward momentum early in the week shifted higher after the Fed policy announcement on Wednesday, when the major indexes posted their biggest gains of the week. The S&P 500, the NASDAQ, and the Dow had another positive day on Thursday, setting record closing highs.  

Japan finally tightens

Japan’s central bank raised interest rates for the first time since 2007. Tuesday’s move lifted rates slightly above zero, marking a reversal of an unorthodox economic stimulus policy that had kept rates just below zero since 2016. Despite the shift, Japan’s rates remain far below those of the world’s other major developed economies.  

Home sales rebound

Amid a slight pullback in historically high mortgage rates, U.S. sales of existing homes in February posted the biggest monthly gain in a year. Sales jumped 9.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.38 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Anxiety subsides

An index that tracks investors’ expectations of short-term U.S. stock market volatility fell to its lowest level in more than six weeks. The Cboe Volatility Index fell about 9% for the week; relative to a recent intraday high on March 11, the VIX was down 18%.

Buybacks expand

U.S. companies bought back shares at a much faster pace in 2023’s fourth quarter than they did in the third quarter. Share repurchases by companies in the S&P 500 totaled about $219 billion, up 18% from the prior quarter’s $186 billion, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. However, for full-year 2023, buybacks were down nearly 14% from 2022’s total. 

Price check ahead

A report scheduled to be released on Friday could clear up some of the recent uncertainty over inflation’s trajectory. The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index is the U.S. Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge for tracking inflation. Although that measure increased in January at the slowest pace since March 2021, two more recent inflation-related reports produced figures that were slightly higher than expected. 

The Week Ahead:  March 25-29

  • Monday

New home sales, U.S. Census Bureau

  • Tuesday

S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index

Consumer Confidence Index, The Conference Board

Durable goods, U.S. Census Bureau

  • Wednesday

No Major Reports

  • Thursday

Fourth-quarter GDP, third-estimate, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment

Pending home sales, National Association of Realtors

Weekly unemployment claims, U.S. Department of Labor

  • Friday

Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Philosophy Quote of the Week: 

Wealth and Freedom Are Free

“…freedom isn’t secured by filling up on you heart’s desire but by removing your desire.”

Epictetus, Discourses, 4.1.175

Tax Tips[ii]

15 Common Tax Filing Mistakes

  1. Miscalculating the basis of investments
    • Using the wrong basis can cause more taxes to be paid than should be.
    • Basis is what you paid for assets or investments, plus any dividends or capital gains that have been reinvested.
  2. Failing to deduct health insurance (includes Medicare)
    • Business owners, partners and shareholders in S-Corporations can deduct health insurance and Medicare premiums without itemizing deductions. So, if you take the standard deduction, you can still deduct health insurance on your tax return.
  3. Overlooking dependency tax deductions or credit breaks
    • Taxpayers don’t realize that taking care of a relative may offer a tax deduction.
    • More than 50% of care and support for family member or an individual who lives with you, goes to college or lives in a nursing home.
  4. Failing to apply carryover items from previous years
    • Losses not able to be used in one year can be carried over for many years.
    • Capital losses, net operating losses, and charitable contributions are some examples.
  5. File an amended return when you realize you made a mistake
    • If you do not file amended returns, you could lose tax benefits and/or possible refunds.
    • Will not invite an audit and you have three years from the date you filed the original returns to file an amended return.
  6. Choosing the wrong filing status
    • Married, single or head of household status on December 31st is correct status to claim. No matter what your filing status is during the year or part of the year, whatever your status is as of December 31 each year IS the filing status for the whole year.
    • Check with your tax professional for exceptions.
  7. Claiming ineligible dependents
    • Cannot claim dependent if already claimed on another person’s return.
  8. Failing to file a tax return when a refund is due
    • Some people think they can delay filing tax returns because they believe they are entitled to a refund.
    • Refunds are forfeited three years after the original due date of a tax return.
  9. Correctly add your taxes owed
    • A computer will guarantee this, but if doing your taxes by hand, mistakes can be and are often made.
  10. Sign and date the tax returns
    • If you don’t sign and date your returns and send them in, you can be fined or penalized for a frivolous tax return penalty.
  11. Send your return to the correct address
    • If you have a refund, your return goes to a different address than if you owe taxes.
    • Don’t confuse the address to where you send your returns, or it could delay your refund or the filing of your tax returns.
  12. Be sure the social security numbers and names agree
    • Be sure to write your Social Security Number (SSN) on the returns.
    • Often times taxpayers leave out a number or use a wrong SSN, and sometimes mis-spell names on tax returns.
    • This year you may find that tax deductions have been disallowed if the SSNs and names do not agree.
    • If you have been married or divorced, be sure that your name has been changed with the Social Security Administration to ensure accurate tax return filing.
  13. Wrong bank account numbers
    • You should choose to get your refund by direct deposit.
    • The fastest and safest way to get a tax refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit.
    • But it’s important that you use the right bank and account numbers on your return.
  14. Electronic filing PIN errors
    • When you e-file, you sign your return electronically with a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
    • If you know last year’s e-file PIN, you can use that. If not, you’ll need to request your prior year’s PIN from the IRS.
    • Do this on and be sure to enter your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your prior year’s return, in order to have the IRS give you last year’s PIN
  15. Consider filing an extension of time to file your tax return, with a Form 4868
    • If you owe taxes and you don’t file an extension, the taxes owed could have a 5% penalty added onto the tax return.
    • Taxes owed with an extension only have ½ of 1% (0.50%) penalty attached to the taxes.



Health Tip of the Week[iii]

Exercise and chronic disease: Get the facts

Anyone who has a long-lasting condition might have questions about exercising. How often to exercise? Which exercises are safe? Understand the basics about exercise and long-lasting disease.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

People with long-lasting disease, also known as chronic disease, need to exercise. Exercise can help people with long-lasting conditions cope with symptoms and improve their overall health. Long-lasting condition can include heart disease, diabetes, depression, or back or joint pain.

It's important to talk to a health care provider before starting to exercise. Find out from your care provider what exercises to do and how to do them safely.

How can exercise improve a chronic condition?

Besides helping prevent many long-lasting conditions, regular physical activity can help make life better for people who have them. A complete program includes exercise that raises the heart rate, builds muscle and helps keep joints moving well.

Exercise that raises the heart rate is known as aerobic exercise. It can help improve heart health, stamina and weight control.

Strength training, such as lifting weights, can improve muscle strength. Strength training can make it easier to do daily activities. It can slow disease-related losses of muscle strength. And it can help keep joints stable.

Flexibility exercises, such as stretching, can help joints keep moving, so they can work well. Balance exercises might help lower the risk of falls.

Another important part of exercise, especially for older adults and people who have trouble moving, is balance. Balance exercise might prevent falls and lessen injuries from falls. Tai chi, walking backward and practicing standing on one leg are examples of exercises that can improve balance.

Here are ways exercise can help some illnesses.

  • Exercise can ease pain, build muscle strength around joints and lessen joint stiffness. It also can help people with arthritis move better and improve quality of life.
  • Often, exercise can help control how often asthma attacks happen and how bad they are.
  • Back pain.Low-impact aerobic exercise is regular exercise that raises heart rate without putting stress on the body. It can build back strength and make muscles work better.

Stomach and back muscle exercises, also known as core-strengthening exercises, can help ease symptoms by making the muscles around the spine stronger.

  • Exercise can improve the quality of life for people who've had cancer. It also can improve fitness. And it can lower the risk of dying of breast, colorectal and prostate cancers.
  • Exercise can improve thinking skills in people with dementia. People who move regularly are at less risk of dementia and problems with learning and thinking.
  • Depression and anxiety.Regular exercise helps improve the symptoms of both these conditions.
  • Regular exercise can help lower blood sugar levels. Exercise also can help control weight and boost energy. For people with type 2 diabetes, exercise can lower the risk of dying of heart disease.
  • Heart disease.Regular exercise helps the heart. Exercise can lower the risk of dying of heart disease. And it can lower the risk of heart disease getting worse.
  • This condition causes bones to thin and weaken. Some exercises, such as fast walking and lifting weights, help build strong bones and slow bone loss.

What exercises are safe?

A health care provider might suggest some exercises to ease pain or build strength. Depending on your condition, you might not be able to do some exercises at all or during flare-ups. Some people might need to talk to a physical or occupational therapist before starting to exercise.

People with low back pain, for example, might choose exercises that can raise heart rate without putting stress on the back. Walking and swimming are good choices.

Keeping an inhaler handy during exercise is important for people who have asthma that's brought on by exercise.

For people with arthritis, exercises depend on the type of arthritis and which joints are involved. A health care provider, such as a physical therapist, can help make an exercise plan that will help joints without hurting them.

How often, how much and at what intensity can I safely exercise?

Before starting to exercise, talk to a health care provider about how long and hard to exercise.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Or combine moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest spreading this exercise over a week.

Even small amounts of physical activity can help. Being active for short periods during the day can add up to health benefits. For example, try walking briskly for about 30 minutes most days of the week. You can even break up physical activity into short chunks of time spread throughout the day. Any activity is better than none.

One way to work in exercise is to do high-intensity interval training. It's generally safe, works for most people and doesn't take much time.

High-intensity interval training involves switching between exercising hard and exercising less hard for short periods. Fast walking can be an example of exercising hard.

Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise using enough weight or resistance to tire muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

If you can't do this much activity, do what you can. Even an hour a week of physical activity can improve health. Start with moving more and sitting less and work your way up to moving more each day.

Do I need to do anything special before getting started?

Depending on your condition, a health care provider might suggest some safety actions before exercising.

People with diabetes, for example, need to know that exercise lowers blood sugar. Checking the blood sugar level before activity is important. People who take insulin or diabetes medicines that lower blood sugar might need a snack before exercise to help prevent low blood sugar.

People with arthritis might take a warm shower before exercise. Heat can relax joints and muscles and relieve pain. Also, shoes that absorb shock and keep joints stable during exercise are important.

How can I expect to feel?

Talk to a health care provider about how much soreness or tiredness to expect during or after exercise. Ask for ways to lessen both. Find out what's OK and what might be a sign of something more serious. Then listen to your body.

For people with heart disease, for example, dizziness, unusual shortness of breath, chest pain or an irregular heartbeat might mean it's time to stop exercising.

What else do I need to know?

Starting a regular exercise routine can be hard.

To help stick with the routine, exercise with a friend. Also, you might ask your care provider to suggest an exercise program for people who have the same condition as you. Some hospitals, clinics and health clubs offer them.

To keep wanting to exercise, choose activities that are fun. Set goals you can meet. And celebrate your progress.

Share concerns about exercising with your health care provider.

[i], accessed 03.25.2024.

[ii] Hockensmith, Robert F.  52 Ways to Outsmart the IRS, Weekly Tax Tips to Save You Money.  Kindle edition, pages 56-57.

[iii], accessed 03.25.2024