This Weekly Financial Markets Update reviews the top market headlines: Inflation Decelerates but Remains Elevated, Fed Slows the Pace of Rate Hikes, Small Business Optimism Remains Restrained

Top Three Market Headlines

Inflation Decelerates but Remains Elevated: The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that the Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% in November over the prior month, down from its prior monthly increase of 0.4% in October. On an annual (year-over-year) basis, the index rose 7.1%, a deceleration from last month's 7.7% pace and the lowest reading since December of 2021. Rising prices for shelter and food continued to pressure the Index in November, while declining prices for energy and used cars dampened the overall rate. The core CPI, which excludes energy and food prices, rose 6.0% in November from last year, down from a recent cycle high of 6.6% in September.

Fed Slows the Pace of Rate Hikes: The Federal Reserve last week raised the target for its interest rate benchmark, the federal-funds rate, by another one-half percentage point to a range of 4.25%-4.50%. The central bank has now boosted the target rate seven times this year, though the latest move marked a downshift in the pace of the Fed's rate-hiking campaign following four consecutive 0.75 percentage point increases over the last six months. However, the central bank reaffirmed that ongoing increases in the policy rate would be appropriate as it seeks to dampen inflation.

Small Business Optimism Remains Restrained: The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported that its Small Business Optimism Index rose marginally in November from 91.3 to 91.9. Nonetheless, this was the eleventh straight monthly reading below the index's 49-year average of 98.0. A principal concern for small business owners remains inflation, which was cited as the top business problem by 32% of survey respondents. In addition, difficulty finding workers persists, with 44% of business owners reporting they were unable to fill open positions.

Please note: There will be no Weekly Financial Market Update published next Monday, December 26. We would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season!
As of December 19, 2022 Week Quarter-To-Date Year-To-Date One-Year
MSCI All Country World -2.11% 9.84% -18.31% -16.73%
S&P 500 -2.05% 7.86% -17.88% -16.13%
Russell 2000 -1.81% 6.27% -20.40% -16.92%
MSCI EAFE -2.13% 16.84% -14.81% -13.45%
MSCI Emerging Markets -2.10% 9.64% -20.14% -19.49%
FTSE NAREIT Equity -2.35% 5.83% -23.94% -20.57%
Bloomberg Commodity 0.96% 1.96% 15.80% 18.35%
Barclays U.S. Aggregate 0.80% 4.08% -11.13% -11.19%

Sources: WSJ 12/13/2022, BLS 12/13/2022, NFIB 12/13/2022, FT 12/14/2022, Federal Reserve Board 12/14/2022. Data from Morningstar Direct. Returns for periods greater than one year are annualized. Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC ("GFA") is an SEC Registered Investment Adviser that provides retirement, investment advisory, discretionary/named and independent fiduciary services. GFA is a limited liability company with Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. as its single member. GFA may pay referral fees or other remuneration to employees of AJG or its affiliates or to independent contractors; such payments do not change our fee. Securities may be offered through Triad Advisors, LLC ("Triad"), member FINRA/SIPC. Triad is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of Triad. Neither Triad, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., GFA, their affiliates nor representatives provide accounting, legal or tax advice.