Spring is often thought of as an uplifting time, marked by growth and renewed hope as we emerge from the long months of winter and look ahead to the rest of year. Investors saw signs of such renewed hope in recent weeks, especially on the inflation front as several inflation measures showed signs of improvement. We also saw markets stabilize after the surprisingly fast collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. While it initially appeared that a stable spring might set the markets up for a calm, quiet summer, a flurry of recent activity is likely to test investor sentiment over the next few months.
Another bank collapse put investors on edge again last week. JPMorgan, with financial support from the FDIC, will acquire First Republic Bank – the 14th largest commercial US bank1 and second biggest bank to fail in U.S. history. Their story was like Silicon Valley Bank’s, with a concentrated and wealthy deposit base and mismanaged bond portfolio. These unique mis-management characteristics and a government backstop make larger bank failures unlikely in the near term, though sentiment around bank conditions is fragile.
In other significant news, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the date when the U.S. might not be able to pay its bills is quickly approaching if the debt ceiling is not raised or suspended soon. With the time for debate shrinking, the Treasury encouraged Congress not to wait until the last minute to resolve the debt ceiling issue (as they did in 2011). This urgent warning could provide a silver lining for investors if Congress does indeed push to resolve the issue soon and is able to avoid a summer-long Congressional debate.
Looking ahead, we see several signs of future health for the economy and markets, as delinquency rates on consumer loans remain below pre-COVID-19 levels, the prospective stabilization of the markets once the debt ceiling issue is resolved, and the potential positive effect that could take place when the Fed ends its current interest rate tightening campaign. And while business hiring intentions have slowed and consumers are pulling back on spending, we do not see the types of cracks we observed in the years leading up to the Great Financial Crisis.
We at CRF sincerely appreciate your continued business and request that you please reach out to us should you have any questions.
1 usatoday.com, May 1, 2023. “First Republic Bank seized, sold to JPMorgan Chase: Here's what to know”
Be Vigilant & Protect Yourself From Texting Scams
Unfortunately, instances of IRS-themed text scams are on the rise, and these scam attempts could put your sensitive tax data at risk. Most of these scam messages look like they’re coming from the IRS and have fake messages to lure you into providing information for things like COVID relief or tax credits. They may also ask for your information to help you set up an IRS account online.
Be aware of these scams to protect yourself and your data. Remember, the IRS does not send emails or texts asking for personal or financial information. If you receive a text like this, report it to the IRS by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov
Two fathers and two sons shopped for computers at their local big box retailer. Each bought a PC, yet they purchased only three PCs in total. How could this be?
Last Month's Riddle: Two couples played paintball. Each person had blue, green, yellow, or red paint, and wore a uniform in one of those same colors. Barbara used blue paint. The person wearing green used yellow paint. Steven did not wear the red uniform. Vicki used green paint and wore blue. Ian used the same color paint as his t-shirt. Can you match each person to the color of paint and uniform they used?
Barbara: blue paint/yellow uniform
Steven: yellow paint/green uniform
Vicki: green paint/blue uniform
Ian: red paint/red unifor
MAY 2023 Newsletter: Investor Sentiment Tested
May 05, 2023