Stock Doctor — What’s in store in 2024? Interest Rates, Q1 2024 Earnings Week and Future Outlook

As someone whose personal portfolio focuses on US-listed companies, I had been waiting with some anticipation to find out what the latest meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) would throw up.

In line with expectations, for the fourth meeting in a row, the Federal Reserve kept the policy rate in the range of 5.25% to 5.5%.

The next meeting of the FOMC will be on 20th March but its not expected to reduce the range until it has confidence that inflation is moving sustainably towards the 2% mark. All eyes will be on the Fed once again at that time!

This is always an interesting time to be investing, as you want to be increasing your personal stakes at the right time having considered all scenarios.

The S&P 500 is the stock market index that tracks the stock performance of 500 of the largest companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States and a lot of big companies reported their earnings last week.

The top 10, which includes the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon, all reported strong performances which points to the health of the economy.

Of course, there was big news from China recently with the construction giant Evergrande Group defaulting and it remains to be seen what the knock-on effect that will have on US and European-based investors’ stocks.

That being said, for the first half of 2024 I expect the relatively positive trends to continue in the markets, although would be slightly more cautious for the second half of the year in case high interest rates stay high for too long, which can damage the economy.

Before making any decisions, as always, the FOMC will carefully assess data, how the outlook is evolving and the balance of risks and with that in mind I don’t envisage a cut in rates until April or May time, and even at that, perhaps just 0.25%.