Stocks Suffer Worst Start To A Year Since 1999

Global stocks and bonds on liquid exchange markets like the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ had the worst start to a year this week since 1999 as markets pared gains from an unusually profitable year in 2023.

The drop in global stock and bond prices in the first three days of 2024 wiped out $1.55 trillion in market capitalization — or total market value — from stock and bond markets, according to popular conservative finance blog ZeroHedge, citing data from Bloomberg. Tuesday saw the biggest single-day tumble in global capitalization since Dec. 2022.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX), the broad benchmark for U.S. stocks, which consists of 500 major public companies in the United States, closed Thursday trading at the 4,688 level, down 98 points or 2% for the five trading days beginning Thursday, Dec. 28.

Meanwhile, the NASDAQ Composite (IXIC) — the tech-focused U.S. stock benchmark — closed 632 points or 4.17% lower at the 14,510 level for the five trading day period ending Thursday, Jan. 4. It was also the NASDAQ’s longest losing streak since Oct. 2022.

The rough start to 2024 contrasted with last year’s strong finish, but that may be because markets cooled to their trend average after overheating some at the end of December.

Steven Wieting, the chief investment strategist of Citi Global Wealth, told CNBC, “Whether any of this lasts, I wouldn’t really look to the last few days as mattering very much. It’s really a statistical coin toss.” Wieting’s forecast for 2024 targets the 5,000 level for the S&P 500 Index by year’s end. That would represent over a 6% gain in the benchmark’s value from here.

Stocks may have reacted on Wednesday to a report from the Federal Reserve indicating the U.S. central bank’s position on potentially cutting interest rates in 2024 has not shifted as far as some more optimistic market participants and analysts have hoped in recent weeks. The federal funds rate set by the Fed has a marked global impact on the price of stocks and bonds.

A report out Tuesday by market data tracker Unusual Whales, found that the stock portfolio of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was once again one of the top performers among delegates to Congress in 2023. The 83-year-old former House speaker, who represents San Francisco, more than doubled the S&P 500’s performance with a 65% return on her stocks last year.

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