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1Q 2024 Recap & 2Q 2024 Outlook

Equity Market Recap

The S&P 500 returned +10.4% in Q1 and is now trading at a valuation multiple that we have not seen since the January 3rd, 2022, peak. Small cap stocks underperformed during the quarter, as the Russell 2000 Index returned +5.0%. Ten of the eleven S&P 500 sectors posted gains, with cyclical sectors outperforming their defensive counterparts. The energy, financial, and industrial sectors each outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index, while the real estate, utility, and consumer staple sectors underperformed as the stock market rallied.

International stocks underperformed U.S. stocks for a fourth consecutive quarter during Q1. Over the past twelve months, the MSCI EAFE Index of developed market stocks has returned +14.8%, or roughly half of the S&P 500’s +29.4% return. The MSCI Emerging Market Index has returned only +6.8%, or approximately one-fourth of the S&P 500. A few themes may explain why international stocks continue to underperform. First, international stock market indices lack exposure to leading artificial intelligence companies like Microsoft, Nvidia, and Super Micro Computer. Second, as discussed above, the U.S. economy continues to expand despite higher rates. In contrast, some countries and regions outside the U.S. are already feeling the impact of higher interest rates. Investors have been attracted to the U.S. for both its AI exposure and relative economic strength.

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1Q 2024 Recap & 2Q 2024 Outlook
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