The markets have been moving sideways in recent weeks as conflicting data on inflation come in. As it has been the last year or so, the question is whether the Fed continues to hike interest rates and move their target higher or they decide to take a more wait and see approach. Most recently, the latest reading on job openings showed a drop from 11.2 million to 10.8 million. That is a move in the right direction but short of the 10.6 million that was hoped for. The core inflation rate as measured by PCE came in higher than hoped and way above the Fed’s stated target of 2% annually. While those signs of stubborn inflation persist, we are seeing softness in the economy and less willingness on the part of consumers to spend. Credit card defaults and auto loan delinquencies are on the rise and recently we saw an all time high in the number of hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts. Those factors show the cracks are forming for the consumer and should help tamper inflation. In two weeks we will hear from the Fed and see what their latest outlook for the future and moves are. Ideally they are dovish, but whether that is the case or not, inflation is moving in the right direction and they will get there sooner or later.
Please keep in mind that tax day is coming and there is still time to contribute for 2022 to many types of retirement accounts before you file. You also don’t need to wait until the last minute to do so. 😊