The Markets

Even better than expected!

The United States economy is not performing the way anyone thought it would. Instead of tipping into a recession last year, it crushed expectations. Gross domestic product, which is the value of all goods and services produced in the country, expanded 2.5 percent, after inflation, for the year.

U.S. economic growth

1Q 2023: 2.2 percent
2Q 2023: 2.1 percent
3Q 2023: 4.9 percent
4Q 2023: 3.3 percent

It’s interesting to note that the U.S. economy has been outperforming other developed countries’ economies. For example, GDP for the Group of Seven (G7), which includes seven countries plus the European Union, has grown 4.7 percent, in total, since the fourth quarter of 2019 (prior to the pandemic). G7 GDP includes – and got a boost from – U.S. economic growth.

G7 economic growth

(October 2019 through September 2023)

3.4 percent
U.S.: 7.4 percent
G7: 4.7 percent
Canada: 3.5 percent
Italy: 3.3 percent
Japan: 2.4 percent
UK: 1.8 percent
France: 1.8 percent
Germany: 0.3 percent

Here’s the really good news: Inflation continued to move lower while the economy grew last quarter. Last week, the personal consumption expenditures index reported that core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, dropped from 3.2 percent to 2.9 percent. Headline inflation was 2.6 percent.

Last week, major U.S. stock indices finished higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury finished the week in the same place it started.

Data as of 1/26/24 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 1.1% 2.5% 20.5% 8.3% 13.1% 10.6%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 1.7% -1.6% 2.3% -2.8% 3.1% 1.8%
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 4.2% N/A 3.5% 1.0% 2.7% 2.8%
Gold (per ounce) -0.5% -2.9% 4.5% 2.8% 9.2% 4.8%
Bloomberg Commodity Index 2.1% 0.1% -12.1% 7.1% 4.3% -2.5%

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance; MarketWatch;; U.S. Treasury; London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.


Many people are looking for ways to save more for retirement. An option that is often overlooked is the health savings account, or HSA. While some eligible people are using these accounts for short-term savings, most are not taking advantage of the potential long-term benefits, according to Bank of America’s 2023 Workplace Benefits Report.

Anyone who is enrolled in a qualifying high-deductible health plan (HDHP) can contribute to an HSA. It’s an attractive option because these accounts offer a triple tax advantage.

  1. Contributions are made with after-tax dollars.
  2. Any investment earnings grow tax deferred.
  3. Withdrawals taken for qualified medical expenses are tax-free.

This year, individuals can contribute up to $4,150 to an HSA, while families can contribute up to $8,300. Depending on the HSA, it may be possible to invest any money that is not used for current medical expenses.

For instance, imagine a 35-year-old saves about $2,000 in an HSA each year until retirement at age 65. They withdrew $500 a year to pay for healthcare, and invest the rest, earning 7 percent a year, on average. At retirement, the individual would have more than $150,000 in the account.

Best of all, after age 65, the money in an HSA can be withdrawn without penalty for any purpose at all. The caveat is that taxes may be owed on distributions taken for purposes unrelated to healthcare. In addition, the savings could be used to reimburse some Medicare premiums, as well as healthcare costs that are not covered by Medicare.

If you would like to learn more about HSAs, please get in touch.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

—Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama

Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (APFS), Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through American Portfolios Advisors, Inc. (APA) and/or Novem Group, SEC-Registered Investment Advisers. Novem Group is independent of APFS and APA. Please refer to your representative’s FINRA BrokerCheck for firm affiliations. Any opinions expressed in this forum are not the opinion or view of Novem Group, APFS, or APA and have not been reviewed for completeness or accuracy. Any comments or postings are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell securities or other financial instruments. Readers should conduct their own review and exercise judgment prior to investing. Investments are not guaranteed, involve risk, may result in a loss of principal, and are not suitable for all types of investors. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources: Or go to: Or go to: