Weekly Market Recap – April 19, 2024

Weekly Recap:

It was a tough week for stocks and bonds as market participants began to debate whether 2024 might see zero cuts to overnight interest rates, rather than multiple cuts as had been assumed in the early part of the year. As of Friday’s close, futures were still pricing in two 25bp rate cuts by year-end, with July being the first “live” meeting where a rate cut was roughly a 50/50 proposition. Sticky inflation and hawkish commentary from FOMC members have undermined what was previously a consensus view that a relatively aggressive rate cutting cycle would begin over the summer.

As a result of the less dovish outlook for monetary policy, Treasury yields have moved higher across the curve. Last week saw a parallel shift higher by 8-10 basis points, putting yet another dent in YTD fixed income performance. Mortgage rates have moved wider in sync with Treasury yields, with the national average for 30y fixed rate back above 7% according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey.

Stocks had a difficult time staying afloat amidst the backup in rates. Rate-sensitive sectors were the hardest hit, including real estate and technology. The recent selloff in large cap tech has pushed the Nasdaq back behind the S&P 500 on a YTD basis.

In macro news, last week’s most significant release was the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI), which resumed its downward trajectory in March after a brief uptick in February. The index is now 13.7% off its year-end 2021 cycle peak (see the Chart of the Week). In the past, declines of this magnitude and duration have always been followed by a recession.

Chart of the Week: Conference Board LEI – Percent Decline from Peak

Albion’s “Four Pillars”:

Economy & Earnings

The US economy has been resilient despite the higher interest rate environment. Analysts are forecasting low double digit EPS growth in 2024; growth of that magnitude will depend on the economy avoiding recession.


The S&P 500’s forward P/E of 20x is above the long run average, so valuation could be a headwind to future returns. More predictive metrics like CAPE, Tobin’s Q, and the Buffett Indicator (Eq Mkt Cap / GDP) suggest that compound annual returns over the next decade are likely to be in the mid single digits.

Interest Rates

Futures markets imply that the Fed will cut overnight interest rates twice in 2024, beginning at some point in the 2nd half of the year. Rate cut expectations have been tempered recently due to sticky inflation prints.


After falling rapidly in late 2022 and all of 2023, inflation has become sticky in the 3-4% range in early 2024. Services inflation remains somewhat elevated, in part due to heavily lagged shelter costs. Rising oil prices driven by armed conflicts in Ukraine and the middle east are also a risk to the inflation outlook.