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Feb 02, 2024

January 2024

US stocks posted modest gains to start the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3%, the S&P 500 advanced 1.7%, and the NASDAQ added 1.0%. Large-caps fared better than Small-caps in January–the Russell 1000 index increased 1.4%, while the Russell 2000 dropped 3.9%. Growth outperformed value within both indices.

Five of eleven sectors had a positive start to 2024. Communication Services was January’s sector leader with a 4.4% gain, followed by Financials at 3.1%. The laggards this month were Materials, Consumer Discretionary, and Real Estate, the last of which posted a 4.8% decline.

The U.S. Economy added 353,000 jobs in January, nearly doubling expectations of 185,000. Unemployment and labor force participation remained unchanged at 3.7% and 62.5%, respectively. New home sales rebounded strongly in December, while mortgage rates stayed the same month-over-month. The 15-year Mortgage Rate was just below 6% as of February 1st.

Treasury yields had an uneventful start to the year as longer-term treasuries posted slight increases. The 30-year rose 19 basis points to 4.22%, the most of any duration. The 1-month, 6-month, and 1-year T-Bills all fell by single-digit basis points. The largely muted activity in treasury yield movement translated into little movement by short-term bond ETFs, though the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) fell 2.3%.

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