Read the highlights of this week’s commentary from Helios:

  • On Friday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the US economy had achieved a ‘soft landing’, characterized as a reduction in high inflation without causing a recession. This is a historically rare occurrence, as the Federal Reserve has managed to achieve only one soft landing in the past 60 years, in 1994-1995.
  • In December, the US added 216,000 jobs, 41,000 more than estimated, and wages rose more than expected. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% due to a drop in the labor force participation rate. In total, 2.7 million jobs were added in 2023.
  • Treasury yields initially spiked following the jobs data, then retreated as investors purchased Treasuries after a deeper analysis of the report. The US service sector showed signs of stagnation at the end of 2023, marking its largest contraction in over three years.
  • Apple was downgraded by two research firms last week, falling almost 6% and weighing down large-cap tech stocks. The losses are the biggest market value destruction at the start of any year on record.

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