Markets Continue To Hold Strong

Technology sector benefiting from artificial intelligence enthusiasm.

Equity investors didn't mind the extra day this February as both domestic large-cap stocks and small-to-mid-cap stocks saw steady gains through the month, bringing both groups into positive territory year-to-date, though the latter continues to lag.

The growth in large company stocks has been driven primarily by enthusiasm for artificial intelligence (AI).

“In the technology sector, the move has been an earnings-driven story, with the sector benefiting from the AI revolution. While some consolidation is likely after the recent run-up in stock prices, we remain favorable on the sector,” said Raymond James Chief Investment Officer Larry Adam.

Fixed income investors saw less reason to celebrate the 29-day February, however, as bonds cooled after January’s inflation report – it ticked upward – and persistently strong economic data. There now seems to be a broader realization that the Federal Reserve (Fed) is likely to hold interest rates steady for longer than many had expected.

A strong economy continues to support the Fed’s position. The unemployment rate has remained at or below four percent for 26 consecutive months – a record last seen in the late 1960s. And consumers at the high and low end of the income spectrum are still spending.

We’ll dive into the details below, but first, let’s review the year-to-date results:

12-29-2023 Close