Market Recap: Retail Sales Surge, College Graduation Declines, Mortgage Rates Hit Highs

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Market Recap: Retail Sales Surge, College Graduation Declines, Mortgage Rates Hit Highs

SPY
S&P 500

Last Week: -1.84%
YTD: 4.50%
1 Year: 21.88%

DIA

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Last Week: 0.71%
YTD: 1.29%
1 Year: 14.51%

ONEQ
NASDAQ

Last Week: -3.84%
YTD: 1.77%
1 Year: 28.05% 

Russell 2000

Last Week: -1.35%
YTD: -3.53%
1 Year: 10.27% 

Large Growth

YTD: 4.54%
1 Year: 30.67% 

Large Value

YTD: 3.77%
1 Year: 13.25%

Retail Sales Grow

Consumers remain resilient despite inflation pressure. Retail sales increased 0.7% in March, much more than the 0.3% analysts had forecasted. A rise in gas prices helped push the retail sales data higher, with sales up 2.1% at the pump. However, the largest increase came from online shopping sales up 2.7%. It is not all optimistic, though, as strong retail sales could be a deciding factor when the Fed meets and could hold off on decreasing interest rates this year.

College Graduation Declining

For the second straight year, the number of students earning college degrees has declined. Fewer high school graduates are seeking a bachelor’s degree from four-year universities. Many are instead opting to earn a certificate towards a career path or entering the workforce right from high school. Undergraduate degree earners dropped by 3% in 2023, the largest decline recorded. With student loan payments and massive tuition increases, it is not hard to see why new high school graduates are not seeking a bachelor’s degree. Historically, going to community college or earning a 2-year degree was the economical alternative to a bachelor’s degree, but we are now seeing a declining rate of community college student enrollment. 

Mortgage Rates Spike

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage note hit 7.5%. This is the highest rate since mid-November 2023. Despite the high rates, mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 5% last week compared to the previous week. Demand was still 10% lower compared to a year ago. New home builders were buying down rates from new home buyers and fared better than existing home sellers for most of last year. The level of supply on the market has increased, but it is still at a historically low level. Homes have been moving faster because of the lower supply. With a looming interest rate cut, it may be a while for anyone waiting for rates to drop before buying a home.

  • Alex Wolfe

    Alex is a Certified Financial Planner™. He brings nearly a decade of experience working with individuals, families, and business owners. Prior to working for Base Wealth Management, Alex worked for Fidelity Investments and an independent wealth management firm in Venice, FL. Through many years of practice, he specializes in helping clients navigate their financial goals through comprehensive financial planning. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Texas A&M University.

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2022 Tax Document Information

As a Base Wealth Management client, you should receive your paper tax documents via mail in the coming weeks. Or, if you previously had an online account with Pershing’s NetX360, you should be able to access your 2022 tax documents through that portal. 

If not, or if you experience any issues, please reach out to Tim O’Brien (tim.obrien@intervestintl.com).

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