Macro Fundamentals have Improved, but we are Not Out of the Woods Yet

Major Indexes Gain in First Half of 2023.

Despite uncertainty around monetary policy and economic fundamentals raising recession risks, all three major equity indexes were up in the first half of 2023. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 32% on the back of an AI-technology inspired rally, posting its best first half of the year since 1983. US growth stocks (+21.1%) were among the best performers, followed by US large-caps (+16.8%) and US value (+12.0%). Bonds also produced positive returns as high yield credits rose 4.5%, investment grade corporates gained 4.3%, and the US Aggregate Bond Index was up 2.3%. Commodities were mixed given gold increased (+5.1%) while crude oil, broadbased commodities, and silver decreased (-9.4%, -8.6%, and -5.1%, respectively).