An occasional sampling of what’s catching the attention of professionals at Landaas & Company.

The weakest stock sector in a year of broadly strong performances was utilities, Axios reports. Traditionally, utilities benefit from investors seeking conservative companies that offer steady dividends. In 2023, though, those dividends had a hard time competing against less volatile investments like money market mutual funds, which were paying out the highest interest rates in decades.

Suggested by Adam Baley

The U.S. economy defied predictions of recession in 2023. Instead, as Yahoo Finance reports, resilient consumers kept the economy growing even as the Federal Reserve increased interest rates to slow inflation. “A very high proportion of forecasters predicted very weak growth or a recession,” the article quoted Fed Chair Jerome Powell. “Not only did that not happen, we actually had a very strong year.”

Suggested by Kyle Tetting

After a couple of years of unkind markets for most investment mixes, a lot of commentators had been declaring the death of the 60/40 portfolio. But with both stocks and bonds recovering in 2023, more experts are acknowledging that the 60/40 remains alive and well. As a columnist in The New York Times points out, the fundamental principle isn’t so much the specific split of 60% stocks and 40% bonds. It’s about diversifying assets.

Suggested by Dave Sandstrom

Another way of saying diversify your assets is to advise against putting all your eggs in the same basket. Protecting eggs became even more urgent as their prices took flight with inflation broadly in the last couple of years. Although egg prices have been settling down lately, the incredible edibles still rank as the most queried cost item in every state, according to reporting by Axios.

Suggested by Joel Dresang

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(initially posted Jan. 5, 2024)

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