After peaking on April 20th stocks dipped to end the month below the starting point. Only small company stocks closed April with a gain. Large company stock indices are positive year-to-date while small company indices are definitely negative. All stock indices are negative over the past year. Bonds were generally positive for the month and over the past year.
In the market, commodities like oil and silver are up as is real estate, especially apartments. Many of the aging population seek rental living accommodation when downsizing. Another impact of the aging population is the amount of government budget that funds Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. The percent of the annual budget that goes to these programs has more than doubled since 1970, mostly due to inflated medical costs. These programs are funded through payroll taxes and depend on a labor force. The Social Security Trust Fund reserves are projected to run out by the mid-2030s. Importantly, Social Security should continue to pay 75% of benefits after that with a stable jobs market. If millennials and immigrants increase the labor force the Trust Fund will last longer. Once again U.S. jobs are the key.
The sudden hard frost mid-month nipped April’s tender new growth. We are still trying to shake the chill. Trees are pushing out leaves with no hesitation while blossoms struggle. The return of the green canopy is welcome, in all its fine points of color. Soft spring visuals change constantly and the transience is part of the magic. Like a sunrise or sunset, if we’re not watching we miss the moment.