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The Ongoing Story: Inflation and the Federal Reserve

As 2023 wraps up, we discuss what has happened this year and what we expect in 2024 in this WJNotes. We also describe trades to be placed over the next month.

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Expect the Unexpected

In our last WJBlog, we discussed the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (“SVB”) and its investor implications. Fortunately, as of now, the bank failure has not spread to other banks. However, SVB’s failure will likely lead to FDIC limit adjustments and could tighten credit conditions, increasing the chance of a recession.

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2023 Commentary and Outlook

Happy New Year!  We hope your year is off to a good start. January was a banner month for stocks and bonds, up 8.0% and 3.3%, respectively. Usually, a good January means a good year. We will see.

To understand our outlook and portfolio positioning, please review the following items recently posted to our website:

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We Survived

Successful investing is about survival. Survival means avoiding losses that can’t be recovered when the market turns. Unfortunately, some investors will not survive 2022. Investors in cryptocurrencies, Cathie Wood’s ARK fund, many wildly overpriced technology stocks, and long-term, risky bonds have lost the game permanently.

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The first half of 2022 is over, thankfully. It was, for some investments, the worst start to a year on record. Not only did stock and bond markets suffer, but the economy also did. Inflation accelerated to its highest level in 40 years. Oil prices skyrocketed. And many other commodities hit multi-year highs. The Federal Reserve also embarked on a very aggressive tightening cycle. On the positive side, unemployment remains low, and some investments, especially alternatives, made money. In this WJNotes, we give more detail on first-half performance, discuss the benefits of diversification, highlight some recent trades, and comment on what we expect over the remainder of the year.

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When Will It End?

“The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained.”

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