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Weekly Market Update, Week Ending March 29, 2024

Weekly Market Update, Week Ending March 29, 2024

April 01, 2024

Market-Moving News[i]

Fresh record highs

The S&P 500 and the Dow both finished at record-high closing levels in a holiday-shortened trading week that concluded on Thursday, prior to a Friday report on inflation. The S&P 500 and the Dow both posted fractional weekly gains while the NASDAQ slipped.

5-month rally

March marked the fifth positive month in a row for the major U.S. stock indexes, and the S&P 500 posted its strongest first-quarter result since 2019. That index climbed 10.2% for the quarter, the NASDAQ added 9.1%, and the Dow rose 5.6%. Over five months, the S&P 500 has surged 25.3%. 

Inflation moderation

Friday’s reading from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge for tracking inflation showed that consumer prices rose at a much slower pace than they had been a few months earlier. The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index rose at a 2.8% annual rate in February, excluding food and energy prices. That result was unchanged from the previous month’s figure, which was the slowest increase since March 2021. 

Upward GDP adjustment

A boost from consumer spending prompted the government to adjust its final estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth.  GDP rose at a 3.4% annual rate, up from an earlier estimate of 3.2%. The result marked the sixth quarter in a row that the annual growth rate has exceeded 2.0%.  

Yen weakens

Japan’s currency sank on Wednesday to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since 1990. The recent decline in the yen’s value comes as Japan’s government and central bank weigh options to prop up the currency amid recent domestic inflationary pressures.   

Commodity rally

Gold and oil posted solid weekly gains, extending a run of recently strong results for both commodities. Gold spot prices on Friday were around $2,230 per ounce, a record high. U.S. crude oil was trading around $83 per barrel, up from around $81 at the end of the previous week and around $71 at the start of 2024. 

Q1 earnings expectations

Expectations are modestly positive heading into earnings season, which opens in mid-April as major banks begin reporting first-quarter results. As of Thursday, analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting companies in the S&P 500 to post an average earnings increase of 3.6% compared with the same period a year earlier—potentially the third consecutive quarter of year-over-year earnings growth. 

Jobs ahead

A monthly labor market report due out on Friday will show whether the recent trend of better-than-expected jobs numbers extended into March. In February, the economy generated 275,000 new jobs—above the roughly 200,000 that most economists had been expecting. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% and wage growth slowed.

The Week Ahead:  March 25-29

  • Monday

Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index

Construction spending, U.S. Census Bureau

  • Tuesday

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Factory orders, U.S. Census Bureau

  • Wednesday

ADP National Employment Report, ADp

Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index

  • Thursday

Weekly unemployment claims, U.S. Department of LaboR

Trade balance, U.S. Census Bureau

  • Friday

Jobs and unemployment, U.S. Bureau of Labor

Consumer credit, U.S. Federal Reserve

 Philosophy Quote of the Week 

The Color of Your Thoughts

“Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.16


Tax Tips[ii]

Tax Extensions and Penalties

Tax filing season is almost over!  Extending the due date of filing your returns will let you file up to October 15th this year.  Extending does not give you extra time to pay any taxes owed.  If you have filed an extension and owe taxes, the penalty for late payment of your taxes is only one-half of one percent (0.5%).  If you are not prepared to file the return by the April deadline, what happens if you can’t get your taxes done by the due date?  If you need more time, you can get an automatic six-month extension from the IRS.  You don’t have to explain why you’re asking for more time.


What to Know About Filing for an Extension

  • File on-time even if you can’t pay
    • If you complete your return but can’t pay the taxes owed, file your return on-time and pay as much as you can. That way you can avoid the late filing penalty, which is higher than the penalty for not paying all the taxes you owe on time.  You also get payment options!  You can apply for a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement tool on  You can also file Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with your tax return.  If you are unable to make payments because of a financial hardship, the IRS will work with you.  Filing an extension on-time reduces your penalties by a LOT!!!  Late filing penalties go from 5% of the tax owed down to 0.5% owed, with an extension!
  • Extra time to file is not extra time to pay
    • An extension to file will give you six more months to file your taxes, until October 15. It does not give you extra time to pay your taxes.  You still must estimate and pay what you owe by the April Deadline (usually April 15th).  You will be charged interest on any amount not paid by the deadline.  You may also owe a penalty for not paying on time.  Filing an extension reduces your penalty!
  • Use IRS Free File to request an extension
    • You can use IRS Free File to e-file your extension request. Free File is only available through the website, and there are income limitations.  You must e-file the request by midnight of the April deadline.  If you e-file your extension request, the IRS will acknowledge receipt, via email.
  • Use Form 4868
    • You can also request an extension by mailing a Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, You must submit this form to the IRS by the April due date.  Form 4868 is available on  You don’t need to submit a paper Form 4868 if you make a payment using an IRS electronic payment option.  The IRS will automatically process your extension when you pay electronically.  You can pay online or by phone.
  • Electronic funds withdrawal
    • If you e-file an extension request, you can also pay any balance due by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal from your checking or savings account. To do this you will need your bank routing and account numbers.
  • Consider Form 1127
    • You can request filing IRS Form 1127 if ther eis a financial hardship that does not allow you to send money in with the extension or the tax return. This form does NOT give a free pass not to pay taxes.  The form provides for not having to pay penalties and the interest on penalties if you can prove financial hardship.  Death, disability, high medical bills, bankruptcy and disasters are examples of financial hardship.
    • Points to Consider
      • Extension Form 4868: automatic extension of time to file for up to 6 months:  the IRS will approve an extension if you file it by the April deadline.
      • Pay taxes by credit card, check, money order or electronic payments: can be paid over the phone or via internet for a fee.  Remember that paying by credit card can cost fees from both the IRS and the credit card company.  You might consider a cash advance, deposit into a checking account, and write a check to the IRS for taxes owed.
      • Late payment with extension is 0.5% of any tax that is not paid by due date: having an extension allows you to pay the least amount of any underpayment penalty if you have one.
      • Late payment without an extension is 5% of tax owed: it’s cheaper to file an extension!!  Remember that in addition to a penalty for late payment, there is also an interest charged by the IRS that is compounded daily.  Therefore, file the extension!
      • You owe less than $50,000 and can’t pay the tax, file Form 9465: the IRS will accept the agreement you propose.  Ther eis a fee and the interest is compounded daily.  The IRS gives you up to 6 years to pay taxes owed but you cannot be late in filing for the next 5 years’ returns.
      • Form 1127 allows you to file and pay taxes late if you have financial hardship: without an extension (hardship must be proven).

 Health Tip of the Week[iii]

3 Tips for living well with chronic conditions

It can be a shock to be diagnosed with a long-term illness. You likely will deal with many different feelings following your initial diagnosis, and it’s important to learn how to effectively cope with the daily stresses of living with your illness. Here are three tips on how to live well with a chronic condition:

  1. Understand your condition.   Living with a long-term illness can be difficult, but knowing more about your disease can help you manage it and work toward acceptance. Here are some things you can do to be informed:
  • Speak to your health care provider. Ask him or her for trustworthy websites, as not all online information is reliable. He or she also may be able to provide you with information for living with your condition.
  • Reach out to others with similar conditions. Join a support group, national organization or find a social network.
  • The more you learn, the more ordinary and in control you will begin to feel. This will help you to not let your disease control you.
  1. Deal with new emotions.  As you begin to learn more about your disease, your feelings may change. The initial stress you may have felt may develop into sadness, confusion, anger or depression. Fortunately, all of these feelings can be managed in a variety of ways:
  • Assess your feelings daily.
  • Try meditation.
  • Write day-to-day events in a personal diary.
  • Play an instrument or listen to music.
  • Read a book or watch a movie.
  • Get outside and exercise.
  • Spend time with loved ones.
  • Speak with a therapist about your feelings.
  1. Use your illness as a catalyst for personal growth.  One of the biggest mistakes some people make after a chronic illness diagnosis is dealing with it in an ineffective way. While some people choose to feel resentful about their disease, there are better alternatives. Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, look for opportunities to better yourself:
  • Accept the new limitations of your illness.
  • Practice gratitude and positive thinking.
  • Give back to others, perhaps by donating your time or talents.
  • Learn to play an instrument you have always wanted to try.
  • Join a softball league or take an art class.

Although living with a chronic condition often is difficult, it can be managed. Your health care team can help you answer questions and ensure you receive the care you need. 

[i], accessed 04.01.2024.

[ii] Hockensmith, Robert F.  52 Ways to Outsmart the IRS, Weekly Tax Tips to Save You Money.  Kindle edition, pages 60-63, accessed 04.01.2024.

[iii], accessed 04.01.2024