Weekly Market Recap – July 5, 2024

Weekly Recap:

The first week of the second half of 2024 was largely a continuation of what has been the dominant trend of the past 18 months, with technology stocks pulling large cap benchmarks higher while other parts of the market were mixed. The S&P 500 gained 2% on the week, despite the fact that 56% of the index constituents (281 out of 503 stocks) finished lower. Meanwhile, the tech-dominated Nasdaq (+3.5% on the week) continued to pull ahead in the 2024 performance race, while the more cyclical Dow (+0.7% on the week and just +5.5% YTD including dividends) lags far behind. Similarly, US small and midcap benchmarks (which are not nearly as tech-heavy as large caps) finished lower on the week, and have also meaningfully underperformed on a YTD basis.

Rates finished lower across the curve last week thanks to so softer-than-expected macro data, allowing bond prices to rise. Despite the holiday it was a busy week for macro, including below-consensus prints for both manufacturing and services activity in the month of June:

* ISM’s Manufacturing PMI slid deeper into contraction territory at 48.5

* ISM’s Services PMI fell into contraction at 48.8 (lowest print since May of 2020)

The week concluded with the monthly jobs report from the BLS, which showed steady growth in both jobs (+206k NFP) and hourly earnings (+3.9% y/y). Labor force participation ticked higher to 62.6%. Perhaps most importantly, the closely-watched U-3 unemployment rate rose 10bp sequentially to 4.1%. Despite rising sequentially for the 3rd straight month, U-3 remains slightly below the level that would trigger the Sahm Rule and potentially indicate the start of a US recession.

Chart of the Week: Nonfarm Payrolls (m/m net change)

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 21x is well above the long run average, so valuations are likely to 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 from current levels over the coming decade are likely to be in the single digits.

Interest Rates

Futures markets imply that the Fed will cut overnight interest rates once or twice in 2024, most likely at some point in the 2nd half of the year. Belly and long end rates are already at or near what are likely to be their post-pandemic equilibrium levels, unless the US economy enters a recession.


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. Volatile energy prices driven by geopolitical conflicts could present a risk to the inflation outlook.

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