The Armstrong Report: Spring 2024 Firm Update

Reginald A.T. Armstrong • The Armstrong Report

It’s always wonderful to enter Spring. It brings a sense of renewal and hope.


The economy continues to grow at around 2%. A year ago, most economists thought we would have a recession by year-end, and we did not. Currently, very few see a recession happening this year. We will see if they are correct this time. What has confounded many analysts, myself included, is that several classic indicators of recession were and are pointing to recession. While manufacturing has been in contraction for 16 months, the remainder of the economy is on decent footing. The bottom line is that continued growth is likely, but there are risks. The biggest risk continues to be in the commercial office real estate sector as vacancy rates are now at 20%, topping the 19% during the Great Financial Crisis. The remote work movement has created major challenges in big cities, and potentially for the regional banks that have loaned money to the owners of those buildings.


Global equity markets have had a good start to the year, especially for US and Japanese stocks. While funda-mentally expensive, US stocks show no sign of slowing down. We do have the most concentrated market in history, with 33% of the S&P 500 market capitalization in the top 10 stocks. However, historically, it is more likely that the remaining 490 stocks start to catch up rather than a major crash occurring. Just remember, my friends, that there is still a market cycle, and eventually, what is working now will no longer do so. Bonds have been relatively flat to slightly negative for the year. With the Federal Reserve set to drop the Fed Funds rate two to three times this year (probably from 5.5% to 4.75%), it is likely that bonds will return at least mid-single digits this year.


By the time you read this, Emily will have returned. Leslie has done a fantastic job while Emily was on maternity leave but is quite happy to have things get back to normal. Amanda Collins, who has helped reduce the workload for Leslie the past three months, has returned to other duties at LPL Financial. We thank her for her diligent work. She really helped us a lot.

This photo is from the recent House of Hope event with Jeff Foxworthy. We continue to support worthy causes (no pun intended). See this newsletter for two of our major causes.

Blessings and thank you for your trust.

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