Broker Check

Q1 Investment Update

April 25, 2024

Can you believe we're already a third of the way through 2024? It’s been a busy year for our team here at Guardian. First, for those of you who don’t know, we now have a new financial planning associate on staff. His name is Kieran Clucas, and he's set to help us grow as we take on more clients in the coming years. Kieran brings experience as a business owner and entrepreneur. His quick learning ability and passion for finding answers to complicated questions are truly remarkable. He's also incredibly empathetic and genuinely desires to assist clients with their financial goals and plans.

Let me kick off this investment update with a story that'll put things in perspective. In January, I was visiting my children who both live in Arkansas. They had an ice storm a few days before we got there, and let’s just say their road crews aren't experts in snow and ice, to say the least. At one point in the trip, I had to drive up a pretty steep hill. Just as I thought I had made it to the top, my vehicle started sliding backward! Panic started to set in as I felt the car sliding under me. As I looked back, I saw a patch of dry pavement, and I was able to maneuver the tires onto it and stopped. After taking a second to gather myself, I pressed the accelerator again and made it safely to the top. That experience reminded me a lot of the market—full of unexpected ups and downs, but with the right strategy, we can always find our footing again.

Now, let's talk about those market ups and downs. The S&P 500 took us on quite the journey in the first quarter, climbing steadily until April, reaching a peak of 5265. But, like that slippery hill, signs of a slowdown were looming. So, we took proactive steps to rebalance portfolios, reallocating 5% from stocks into cash to become more conservative from a risk perspective.

Right now, the short-term outlook suggests we might see the market dip a bit more. There's a level around 4820 on the S&P where we think it might settle in the next several weeks. When that happens, we'll be keeping a close eye on things. If the signs look good, we will be moving that cash back into the market.

On the bond front, the Fed has put rate hikes on pause and is deciding when and if to lower them. We have seen yields on our bond funds continue to increase, which is a welcome change. When bonds are paying 4, 5, or even 6%, then they are contributing to the return instead of just being an alternative to stocks. We will also be watching interest rates for the rest of the year.

In summary, while market fluctuations may present challenges, they can also act as that dry patch of pavement that allow things to settle down before the next move higher.  They can also give us opportunities to make strategic adjustments for the future. Rest assured, our commitment to your financial well-being remains steadfast as we navigate these “icy” market conditions together.