What recession? Why stocks are surging despite warnings of doom and gloom

Despite hardships in the economy, including the collapse of three regional banks and aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, the stock market soared in the first half of the year.

Analyzing the surge: The U.S. economy proved more resilient than anticipated, boosted by strength in the labor market, consumer spending, and sectors like construction.
* Technology sector gains, driven by artificial intelligence, contributed to market growth.
* The three major indexes ended the first six months of the year in a bull market, each surging more than 20% from their most recent lows.

Under the surface: Despite impressive market performance, the gains haven’t been broad-based, causing concern for Wall Street.
* A lot of the market rally can be attributed to enthusiasm around artificial intelligence, largely tied to the debut of ChatGPT.
* Shares of companies like Nvidia, AMD, and Qualcomm, which have business ties to AI, have seen significant price jumps.

In the spotlight: Bank turmoil from events like the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank may re-emerge, causing investor unease.
* Banks lost deposits to higher-yielding investments, such as money market funds.
* Tighter credit conditions have forced banks to be more conservative with loans, which could impact economic growth.

Looking forward: While the possibility of a recession in 2023 has lessened, the threat remains for 2024 due to ongoing economic challenges.
* Persistent high inflation and the Federal Reserve’s commitment to raising interest rates could still trigger a downturn.
* The full impact of the monetary tightening cycle will be clear in the next 12 to 18 months, potentially reversing stock gains.

View original article on NPR

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