In November, investors were more optimistic than consumers.
At the start of November, investors were decidedly bearish. During the week of November 1, the AAII Investor Sentiment Survey found that about 50 percent of respondents were pessimistic about the prospects for stocks over the next six months, and about 24 percent were bullish. The current historic averages are 31 percent bearish and 37.5 percent bullish. (The remainder are neutral.)
Many believe the survey is a contrarian indicator, meaning that stocks are likely to rise when investors are bearish and fall when investors are bullish. November offered some data to support the theory as United States stocks trended higher during the month.
As stock markets gained, participants in the AAII survey became more bullish. The Thanksgiving week survey found that more than 45 percent of respondents were feeling bullish, and as we already mentioned, just 24 percent were feeling bearish. Quite a reversal from four weeks earlier.
Consumers were considerably less optimistic. While sentiment improved from last year, it dropped almost 4 percent from October to November, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey. It was the fourth consecutive month of declining sentiment.
“November’s reading reflects a balance of factors, some of which improved while others worsened. More-favorable current assessments and expectations of personal finances were offset by a notable deterioration in expected business conditions…Younger and middle-aged consumers exhibited strong declines in economic attitudes this month, while sentiment of those age 55 and older improved from October,” wrote Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.
The survey found consumers expect inflation to average 4.5 percent over the next 12 months, and 3.2 percent over the longer term even though inflation has slowed significantly and was just 3.2 percent over the last 12 months. Despite recent declines, consumers are worried inflation could change course.
Stocks moved higher last week as many investors remained confident the Federal Reserve was done raising rates. Some anticipate rate cuts early next year, reported Barron’s. Bond markets weren’t so sure, though, and U.S. Treasury yields moved broadly higher during the week.
DRIP. DRIP. DRIP. As inflation recedes, fees and charges may continue to affect the cost of some goods and services. Last summer, NPR’s Stacey Vanek Smith reported on the phenomenon after having lunch delivered.
“I decided to splurge and order a burger and fries for delivery. Subtotal for my meal? $14.07. A little pricey, but it’s a good burger and $14 seemed like a totally acceptable price for dinner, especially when it's delivered to my door. Then came the fees: Delivery fee: $5.49; Service fee: $3; Tip: $4; Tax: $1.25. Grand total for my delivery burger: $27.81. My lazy Monday went from costing me $14 to almost $30. The price had doubled. What was going on?”
The answer is drip pricing. It happens when the price of a good or service is broken into multiple components that the buyer becomes aware of as the purchase proceeds, according to an article published by Alexander Rasch, Miriam Thöne and Tobias Wenzel in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
Many industries employ this pricing strategy. For example, travelers may purchase airline tickets by choosing the lowest base price and then find themselves paying additional fees to check bags, select desirable seats or sit in seats adjacent to younger family members.
One luxury automobile company added a new twist to car buying. It asked buyers in the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa to pay a subscription fee to activate its factory-installed seat warmers. The automaker eventually abandoned the subscription, but it plans to expand pay-on-demand services. In an interview with James Attwood of Autocar, a company board member explained:
“We actually are now focusing with those ‘functions on demand’ on software and service-related products, like driving assistance and parking assistance, which you can add later after purchasing the car, or for certain functions that require data transmission that customers are used to paying for in other areas.”
Inflation and rising prices are critical aspects of retirement planning. If you would like to talk about how inflation may affect your savings and investments over time, please get in touch.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“It isn't what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.”
—Will Rogers, comedian
* These views are those of Carson Coaching, not the presenting Representative, the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, or Registered Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Coaching. Carson Coaching is not affiliated with the named firm or broker/dealer.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the 3:00 p.m. (London time) gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association and is expressed in U.S. Dollars per fine troy ounce. The source for gold data is Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED), https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GOLDPMGBD228NLBM.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* The risk of loss in trading commodities and futures can be substantial. You should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. The high degree of leverage is often obtainable in commodity trading and can work against you as well as for you. The use of leverage can lead to large losses as well as gains.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
- https://www.aaii.com/sentimentsurvey (or go tohttps://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2023/11-27-23_AAII%20Investor%20Sentiment%20Survey_1.pdf)
- https://www.barrons.com/livecoverage/stock-market-today-112423?mod=article_inline (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2023/11-27-23_Barrons_Stock%20Market%20News_3.pdf)
- https://www.barrons.com/market-data?mod=BOL_footer (or go tohttps://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2023/11-27-23_Barrons_Data_6.pdf)