The Markets

Overall, May was a good month for investors.

The adage, “Sell in May and go away,” would have been poor advice last month. Major stock indices in the United States finished the month higher. Connor Smith of Barron’s reported:

  • The Nasdaq Composite was up 6.9 percent for May,
  • The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 4.8 percent, and
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 2.3 percent higher.

Despite the positive returns, May was also a volatile month for stocks as investors worried about inflation and whether the Federal Reserve will begin to lower rates in 2024, reported Paul La Monica of Barron’s.

For much of last week, stocks trended lower. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index surprised by exceeding economists’ expectations for May, but it had little effect on investors as the report wasn’t rosy.

Confidence improved “…amid optimism about the labor market, but worries about inflation persisted and many households expected higher interest rates over the next year… The mixed survey… also showed more consumers believed that the economy could slip into recession in the next 12 months,” reported Lucia Mutikani of Reuters.

Late in the week, markets regained lost ground after the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (one of the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauges) data arrived. The Index showed that core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, ticked lower from March to April. Headline inflation remained steady month to month.

Year to year, headline inflation was 2.7 percent in April and core inflation was 2.8 percent.

Major U.S. stock indices finished the week lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury finished the week close to where it started the week.

Data as of 5/31/24 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 Index -0.5% 10.6% 26.3% 7.9% 13.9% 10.6%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index -0.8 4.3 13.9 -2.5 4.3 1.7
10-year Treasury Note (yield only) 4.5 N/A 3.6 1.6 2.1 2.5
Gold (per ounce) 0.2 13.0 19.5 7.3 12.6 6.5
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.9 4.4 5.1 3.0 5.8 -2.6

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch,, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Younger Generations Are Frustrated With Baby Boomers

The saving and spending habits of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, have been discussed in the news and on social media lately. Much of the discussion has focused on the wealth accumulated by the world’s baby boom generation. Boomers have, broadly speaking, acquired significant wealth over their lifetimes. The Economist reported that baby boomers in the United States comprise “20% of the country’s population, own 52% of its net wealth, worth $76 [trillion].”

Instead of congratulating a group that is likely to live longer in retirement than previous generations have, some conversations accuse boomers of hoarding wealth, while others suggest that policy mistakes by leaders in the cohort have held back younger generations economically.

Whether these discussions reflect the beliefs of younger generations is unclear. Regardless, boomers have solid reasons for spending slowly. These include:

Leaving an inheritance for younger generations. “Many boomers recognize how lucky they are to have accumulated such enormous wealth. They want to pass it on to their children, many of whom are struggling to buy a house or pay school fees… The flow of bequests from the dead to the living, as a share of GDP, is rising fast across the rich world. Americans inherit about 50% more each year than they did each year in the 1980s and 1990s, for instance.”

Living longer in retirement. Longevity risk is a significant concern for baby boomers, many of whom may spend 30 years or more in retirement. According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute’s Retirement Confidence survey, 32 percent of workers and 26 percent of retirees are not confident they will have enough money to live comfortably through retirement.

Keeping a reserve – just in case. British research found that older people who do not believe they will need long-term care are likely to spend their savings more quickly, while those who believe there is a possibility of becoming less mobile or developing dementia are likely to spend more slowly.

Planning for retirement is not a simple task, especially with the possibility of reduced Social Security benefits ahead. A new report from Goldman Sachs found that a majority of millennials and Gen Z are ahead on planning and saving for retirement, while almost half of the Gen X and baby boomer generations are behind.

If you have any questions about retirement or estate planning, please get in touch.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

—Epictetus, philosopher

Wishing you and your families well,
Sean M. Dowling, CFP, EA
President, The Dowling Group Wealth Management

Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

  • Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
  • Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
  • The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
  • All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
  • The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
  • The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
  • Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
  • The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
  • International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
  • Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
  • Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
  • Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
  • Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
  • You cannot invest directly in an index.
  • Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
  • The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.
  • The Price-to-Earning (P/E) ratio is a measure of the price paid for a share relative to the annual net income or profit earned by the firm per share. It is a financial ratio used for valuation: a higher P/E ratio means investors are paying more for each unit of net income, thus, the stock is more expensive compared to one with a lower P/E ratio.
  • These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
  • This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
  • The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
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