The bull kept running in the stock market in early 2024. Equity markets had a robust run in the first quarter with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Nasdaq gaining 10.2%, 5.6%, and 9.1%, respectively.

Stubborn inflation pressures have persisted over the past three months, derailing the case for the Federal Reserve to begin reducing interest rates in June and raising questions over whether it will deliver cuts this year without signs of an economic slowdown.  Whereas last year was dominated by talk of an impending recession, markets seem to have begun to conclude at this point that it is not coming, at least not in the near term.

As we start the second quarter, more stocks and sectors are participating in the rally. This is illustrated by the equal weight S&P 500 index outperforming the main index over the past month, reversing the trend from earlier months, when just a few tech stocks accounted for most of the market gain, most notably Nvidia, which accounts for a third of the S&P return to date. Nevertheless, the concentration in the market continues to be a hot topic of debate.  From the “FAANG” group of a few years ago to the now “Magnificent 7”, a relatively small group of stocks at the top of indices continue to drive the market.

While we continue to be cautiously optimistic, there are several important risks that warrant attention. First, such a large move is typically associated with a subsequent increase in volatility.  The momentum of a handful of stocks driving the market means that any reversals to the downside are likely to be amplified as well. Secondly, the geopolitical factors still percolating in the background such as the slowdown in China, escalating trade war in Semiconductors, the war in Israel, and the war in Ukraine. Being a presidential election year might also amplify this, as markets start speculating on the post-election environment. Together, these factors underscore even more than normal the importance of having a steady and long-term perspective.


A new study finds that Americans’ “magic number” for retirement has surged to an all-time high, jumping 15% in just a year and a whopping 53% since the onset of the pandemic. As a result, Americans now believe they will need to save $1.46 million to retire comfortably, up from $1.27 million reported last year, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2024 Planning & Progress Study, which explores attitudes, behaviors and perspective on issues impacting long-term financial security.

By generation, both Gen Z and Millennials say they expect to need more than $1.6 million to retire comfortably, while high-net-worth individuals say they will need $4 million. Meanwhile, the average amount that U.S. adults have saved for retirement dropped modestly from $89,300 in 2023 to $88,400 today, but that level is still more than $10,000 off its five-year peak of $98,000 in 2021, the study shows.

While it has been talked about for years, the so-called “Silver Tsunami” is here, as the country is now facing the largest surge of Americans hitting the traditional retirement age in history.  In 2024, more than four million Americans will turn sixty-five, an average of 11,000 Americans per day.


The Social Security Administration (SSA) on March 29 announced that it is slashing the default overpayment withholding rate for Social Security beneficiaries from 100% to 10% or $10, whichever is greater.

Now, the SSA will collect 10% (or $10, whichever is greater) of a total monthly Social Security benefit to recover an overpayment from a beneficiary, instead of collecting 100% as had been the policy. There will be limited exceptions to this change, however – such as when an overpayment resulted from fraud. When an overpayment has taken place, the SSA is required to seek repayment. But the SSA says that it recognizes that repaying overpaid Social Security benefits can create hardship for beneficiaries.