AJA Weekly Recap

2023 | November 20


Here is your weekly market commentary. We hope you enjoy receiving our newsletters. If you have any questions about the following content, please let us know!

- The AJA Team

This Week….

  • The Markets
  • Thanksgiving Numbers
  • Long-Term Market Numbers

The Weekly Focus

Think About It

“Although it's easy to forget sometimes, a share is not a lottery ticket...it's part-ownership of a business.”


— Peter Lynch, asset manager

The Markets

Stocks Up Again

U.S. stock indexes climbed for the third week in a row as the S&P 500, the NASDAQ, and the Dow posted total returns of more than 2%. The biggest gains came from smaller stocks, as a small-cap benchmark, the Russell 2000 Index, surged more than 5%.

U.S. inflation continued to moderate in October, as a measure of prices excluding the volatile food and energy categories rose at the slowest annual pace since September 2021. The so-called core rate was 4.0%, which was slightly below most economists’ forecasts—as was the headline number of 3.2%, factoring in food and energy. 

Tuesday’s better-than-expected monthly inflation report sparked a stock market rally in an otherwise quiet week of trading. For the day, the NASDAQ added 2.4%, the S&P 500 gained 1.9%, and a small-cap index, the Russell 2000, jumped 5.4%.

Tuesday’s drop in the yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond was the steepest for a single day in about eight months. After closing around 4.63% on Monday, the yield closed at 4.44% on Tuesday, as that morning’s lower-than-expected inflation reading triggered a shift in the interest-rate outlook.

An increase in U.S. crude inventories was among the factors that sent oil prices to their fourth weekly decline in a row. The latest week was volatile, as the price of U.S. crude rose to nearly $80 per barrel on Tuesday, only to drop below $73 on Thursday and rebound to nearly $76 on Friday. The price was around $89 as recently as October 20.

U.S. consumers trimmed their spending ahead of the holiday shopping season as U.S. retail sales slipped 0.1% in October compared with the same month a year earlier. The result marked the first retail sales decline in seven months and followed a 0.9% increase in September. 

China reported monthly growth in two economic indicators, helping to offset negative sentiment surrounding the nation’s slower-than-expected recovery since the government’s December 2022 removal of pandemic-related restrictions. Industrial output grew 4.6% in October relative to the same month a year earlier, while retail sales rose 7.6%—the fastest pace in five months.

An index that tracks investors’ expectations of short-term U.S. stock market volatility fell for the fourth week in a row. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) on Friday was trading around 36% below a recent peak on October 20. The so-called VIX is down roughly the same amount year to date.

Source: John Hancock Investment Management

Thanksgiving By The Numbers!

As we approach the most wonderful time of the year, we couldn't resist bringing you some numbers that will add a touch of fiscal flair to your Thanksgiving celebrations! Here’s “Thanksgiving by the Numbers”:

  • 40 million - The staggering number of whole turkeys that Americans gobble up on Thanksgiving day.
  • $96 million - The cost Americans pay for stuffing nationwide at Thanksgiving. 
  • 40% - The percentage of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup annual sales during Thanksgiving.
  • $301 - The average American’s spending over the five-day Thanksgiving period. It's a perfect time for gratitude and, of course, a little shopping too!
  • 9 hours, 27 minutes - The time an average male would need to spend on the treadmill to burn off the 4,500 calories consumed during a Thanksgiving meal. 
  • 4 - the number of small towns in the U.S. named Turkey: Turkey Creek, Louisiana, Turkey Creek, Arizona, Turkey, North Carolina, and Turkey, Texas. 
  • $150,000 - the price tag of the world's most expensive Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. 

Numbers aside, we hope you have a happy, healthy, and joyous Thanksgiving as you celebrate with family and friends. Enjoy every calorie!

What is The Long-Term Average Annual Return for U.S. Stocks?

Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saying, “The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.” That’s often true when it comes to investing. Investors who have a longer-term perspective on financial markets tend to be less likely to make impulsive decisions that are driven by short-term market volatility and could negatively affect longer-term performance.

Here’s an interesting piece of investment trivia from the Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2023 (2023 Yearbook).

  • In 1899, the United Kingdom’s stock market was the largest in the world.* It comprised about 24% of world capitalization. The next largest markets were the United States (15%), Germany (13%), France (11%), Russia (6%), and Austria (5%).

  • By 2023, the United States boasted the world’s largest stock market with about 58% of world capitalization. The next largest markets were Japan (6%), the U.K. (4%), China (4%), France (3%), and Canada (3%).

Market data is valuable because it can help investors understand what has happened in the past and use the knowledge to set realistic expectations for the future. What is your estimate for the long-term average annual return of U.S. stocks?

The 2023 Yearbook provided us with the data. From 1900 through the end of 2022, the average annual return for U.S. stocks before inflation was 9.5%. After adjusting for inflation, U.S. stocks returned about 6.4% per year. The inflation-adjusted return for stocks outside the United States was 4.3% in U.S.-dollar terms.

Over the same period, from 1900 through 2022, U.S. bonds returned 4.7% per year before inflation, on average, and 1.7% per year after inflation, on average. Bills, which are very short-term investments, had an average annual return of 3.4% before inflation and 0.4% after inflation.

Over the long term, “[Stocks] were the best-performing asset class everywhere. Furthermore, bonds outperformed bills in every country except Portugal. This overall pattern, of [stocks] outperforming bonds and bonds beating bills, is what we would expect over the long haul since [stocks] are riskier than bonds, while bonds are riskier than cash,” reported Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton who authored the 2023 Yearbook.

*Size was determined using the free-float market capitalizations of the countries in the FTSE All-World index.

AJ Advisors

Phone: (615) 709-8709

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Charles Schwab


John Stauffer, CFP®

Andrew Quinn, CFP®

Emily Triano

Operations Associate


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