The Markets - March 27, 2023
What’s your jam?
When you think of fun, are you running an Arctic marathon? Biking to your favorite burger place? Gaming with friends online? Each has inherent risk: Polar bears and hypothermia, traffic and flat tires, and viruses and identity theft. Those who enjoy these activities, understand the possible risks and manage them.
Investing is similar. Investors are willing to take on risk to achieve their long-term financial goals, but not everyone manages it in the same way. Some people are willing to embrace risk, and others prefer a less adventurous option. While it’s not possible to completely eliminate the risks associated with investing, it is possible to manage investment risk with asset allocation, diversification, and other strategies.1
Last week, investors responded to the uncertainty created by bank closures in a variety of ways. Some sold assets they felt had too much risk for the current market environment, opting for sectors and industries that have historically shown resilience during economic slowdowns. Others snapped up investments at discounted prices, reported Ryan Ermey of CNBC.2 Some investors did nothing.
“The smartest thing to do when you have a lot of uncertainty is to sit back and gather information and do your analysis and not jump trying to make big changes,” stated a source cited by Lu Wang and Isabelle Lee of Bloomberg.3
Uncertainty is likely to persist as economists and analysts assess how the American economy may be affected. “Banking panics aren’t something to be trifled with. As Fed Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged on Wednesday, the latest one is sure to slow the economy…The problem, however, isn’t the possibility of more bank failures. It’s that banks are likely to curtail lending—lending they had already started to limit,” reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s.4
As bank lending tightens, economic growth in the United States will probably slow. When it becomes more difficult for households and businesses to get credit, consumer spending tends to fall. Since consumer spending is the primary driver of economic growth in the U.S., the economy is likely to be affected and we may enter a recession, reported Rich Miller of Bloomberg.5
Major U.S. indices finished the week higher,6 while U.S. Treasury yields rose before retreating again.7
If you are feeling unsettled by market volatility, get in touch. We can review your goals and allocations to make sure they’re aligned.
IS THERE A NO-VENTING ZONE? When the dangers of secondhand smoke were confirmed, an early solution in many restaurants was the no-smoking section. Now, researchers report that emotions may be contagious. When an expressive friend, family member or stranger shows emotion, it can influence the mood of those around them.8
In other words, exposure to positive emotions can invoke happiness and goodwill in others, while negative emotions may spread stress and anxiety.
“Over the past decade, we have learned how our brains are hardwired for emotional contagion. Emotions spread via a wireless network of mirror neurons, which are tiny parts of the brain that allow us to empathize with others and understand what they’re feeling…if someone in your visual field is anxious and highly expressive — either verbally or non-verbally — there’s a high likelihood you’ll experience those emotions as well, negatively impacting your brain’s performance,” wrote Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan in the Harvard Business Review.9
Here's an interesting sidenote: stress can spread by scent, too.10
No matter how stress is triggered, there are actions you can take to keep from being overwhelmed by secondhand stress and anxiety. These include:
- Identifying three things you are grateful for
- Writing a brief email praising someone else
- Discussing or writing about a positive experience
- Exercising for half an hour
- Meditating for a few minutes.8
The research has important implications for the workplace and the home.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”11
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philosopher