Happy Anniversary!!!!

20 years ago, I opened my first office as an Advisor in Bethlehem, PA. I still recall my first client, a young couple opening a college 529 account for their newborn child. The firm I was associated with was commission driven however, following the advice of my then mentor, I focused on the client relationship and built a fee only firm. Though my immediate supervisors initially objected, they soon realized that my approach successfully re-built my practice having one of the fastest growing offices in that region. 20 years later, I still firmly believe relationships are more important than a product. Thank you to all for believing that you are more than stocks and bonds!!!! iPlan. Do you?

Now to the markets
Another month, another new all-time high for major US equity indices. In many ways, February was a month of shifting expectations. Expectations for the Federal Reserve saw a significant reset where the market had been pricing in six rate cuts for 2024, with the first coming in May. We are now in a position where the market is pricing closer to three cuts for the year, with the first possible cut in June.

Despite the rise in yields, equity markets continued to drift higher. Rather than Information Technology leading the way, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, and Materials were the strongest sectors during the month. It is also worth noting that the Russell 2000 and equal-weighted S&P 500 index—both of which are more reflective of economic activity—generated returns of 5.52% and 3.96%, respectively. Inflation however is showing that upside risks remain. We continue to believe that such an environment argues for a somewhat defensive, yet opportunistic approach to markets

Given the above, the market is likely going to have to reprice its outlook. Should the Fed begin cutting rates we believe it is more likely than not that it will be in response to an adverse economic outcome or exogenous shock. However, we do feel with the continued resiliency of the US economy odds of a more benign outcome is possible.

Til we meet again…. iPlan. Do you?

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