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Commentary from Frost Investment Advisors | June 26 , 2023

The Market Bulls Charge Ahead, High Prices Fuel Wage Growth, and Washington Continues to Spend

The Equity Markets Trading Up on Economic Optimism

Equity market returns have been strong for the first half of the year, as investors ignore all the chatter about a looming recession. Leadership shifted recently with consumer discretionary stocks taking the lead as the best performing sector and defensive consumer staples the weakest, month-to-date. The market has broadened, with all equity sectors showing gains and the rise in cyclicals like materials, energy, industrials and financials outpacing even the AI-boosted technology sector. Recent evidence of a cyclical upturn has the equal-weighted S&P 500 Index and the Russell 2000 small-cap index both outperforming the market-cap-weighted S&P 500. The economically sensitive Bloomberg Commodity Index gained 5% this month, while gold, a good measure of investor fear, has sold off. The Bloomberg Economic US Surprise Index has also surged to its highest level in two years, cheering on the equity markets’ rise. Long- term bond yields remain stable, reflecting a more skeptical market view in the face of still-high inflation.

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