Peter Jackson / April 5th, 2024

First Quarter 2024 North American Equity Strategy

In our view, the current market advance is a result of the combination of a strengthening economy, growing earnings and the expectation of rate cuts later in 2024. The market’s focus has pivoted away from concerns about rising interest rates, which facilitated the rally during the fourth quarter of 2023, focusing on the forecasted earnings growth in both 2024 and 2025 (after flat earnings in 2023) which took the markets to new heights in 2024 year to date. Price/earnings (P/E) multiple expansion (i.e.: an increase in what investors are willing to pay for every dollar of earnings) is not unusual at this point in the cycle as earnings estimates catch up. This leads to stock valuations that are higher than historical averages, however with that said, we still don’t believe they are unreasonable for this point in the cycle.

Finally, last week’s update by the Federal Open Market Committee of the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed), seems to support our expectation of a lower Fed Funds Rate (and therefore lower interest rates) in the second half of 2024.