April was a hard month for the markets. For the month, U.S. markets were down between 5 percent for the Dow and 14 percent for the Nasdaq, and international markets fell between 5 percent and 7 percent. Fixed income was also down for the month—there was truly nowhere to hide.
April was one of the worst months for the markets since the start of the pandemic.U.S. markets were down between 5 percent for the Dow and 14 percent for the Nasdaq, while international markets fell between 5 percent and 7 percent. Rising interest rates drove the declines, with the Fed signaling it intended to keep tightening monetary policy. Still, the U.S. economic news was positive. Hiring remained strong, supporting consumer confidence, and business confidence and investment remained healthy.
Last week was a busy period for economic updates, with several important data releases that covered wide areas of the economy. The advanced estimate for first-quarter GDP growth showed that the economy surprisingly contracted to start the year, but the underlying data had some positive signs for growth ahead. This will be another busy week of updates, with highlights including business confidence, international trade, the results from the Fed’s May meeting, and the April employment report.
Chalk another point up on the board for the importance of context. Yesterday’s economic data release showed that the economy actually shrank in the last quarter, down by 1.4 percent at an annual rate. This result was down from 6.9 percent in the prior quarter and well below the expected 1 percent growth rate.
This will be the last post on the 100K project because I finished it a couple of days ago, 364 days after I started. For those coming in fresh, the 100K project was a decision I made, 364 days ago, to start tracking my daily calorie balance—consumed less burned—over time. The goal was to get a net loss of 100,000 calories down, over an indefinite time period. You could think of it as taking 100,000 calories out of the fat bank.
Following up on yesterday’s post about the recent market declines, I thought it would make sense to talk not just about the declines themselves (where they came from and where they are going), but also about what the declines mean from a larger portfolio perspective. To take the emotion out of it for a bit, and see what the larger picture can tell us.