"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" is a song written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Motown record label. The song was a hit single for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967, and it became a hit again in 1970 when recorded by former Supremes frontwoman Diana Ross. This song has been covered by dozens of artists over the last five decades and has shown up in numerous movie soundtracks during this time. For those of you who would like a reminder, a YouTube link to the song is included below.
Listen baby, ain't no mountain high
Ain't no valley low, ain't no river wide enough, baby
If you need me call me, no matter where you are
No matter how far, don't worry, baby
Just call my name, I'll be there in a hurry
You don't have to worry
In looking at our first chart below, for most of the last two years, investors in the stock market had felt like they were in a valley looking up at the mountain that was the previous stock market's all-time high, which occurred on January 3, 2022, when the S&P closed at 4797. Shortly after this, Russia invaded Ukraine in February ‘22. Then, in March, the Federal Reserve Bank embarked on its fastest interest rate increase campaign in more than 40 years.
This led to the stock market dropping by more than 25% over the next ten months. As always, the combination of news and noise was difficult to live through. This was fed by headlines on the internet and our 24-hour cable news cycle that proclaimed the end of the financial world was coming…once again.
The market rebounded in late 2022, only to endure a regional banking crisis and a debt ceiling crisis in the first half of 2023. Fears of higher interest rates, which could lead to an economic slowdown and/or recession, caused an additional double-digit drop in the stock market from late July to late October 2023.
Nevertheless, on January 19, 2024, two years, and sixteen days after reaching its previous high, the market crossed the valley to achieve a new all-time high, as history shows it has always done. This reminds me of some great lessons that I would like to share with you and reinforce here.
First, the stock market is a leading economic indicator. This means that it generally moves ahead of the economy by 6 to 9 months. A 25% decline in the stock market is not only typical but very representative of past economic slowdowns or mild recessions.
Secondly, the market has typically bottomed around the time inflation peaked, which was in the summer of 2022. Historically, the market has then bounced back to reach new all-time highs within the next two years. This sounds very similar to what we have just witnessed.
Third, stock market averages represent growth expectations for corporate earnings, adjusted for the interest rate outlook, over long periods of time. We remind you regularly that companies continue to innovate and grow their earnings over time in a free market, capitalist economy.
You will likely read headlines from the screaming media over the next few weeks telling you that you should be afraid now that the market has reached a new all-time high. Looking back, history tells us that the S&P 500 index has achieved nearly 1200 new all-time highs since it was created in 1957. This suggests that investors should expect the market to continue to climb a wall of worry through its ups and downs, and that it will achieve many more new highs over the coming decades.
This is what I have witnessed since I started working as a financial advisor in 1987, right around the time of the historic stock market crash in October of that year. Our next chart documents a number of the economic and geopolitical events that have happened as the market has continued its upward ascent.
When I started in the business, I was given the analogy that the long-term growth of the stock market looks like a person walking up a hill, bouncing a yo-yo. The ups and downs of the yo-yo represent day-to-day market volatility and the inevitable geopolitical events that occur in our world. The key to success is to keep your eyes on the rise of the hill and not the day-to-day ups and downs of the yo-yo. And always remember, as we try to help you accumulate wealth, there Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
'Cause, baby, there ain't no mountain high enough
Ain't no valley low enough
Ain't no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you, babe
I thought this was an important message to share with you considering what you will likely be hearing or reading in the coming days. We like to bring you these positive reminders as you try to build and accumulate wealth to achieve your and your family's financial goals. These reminders are like financial vitamin C, which the body and the brain do not store. It must be taken on a regular basis. The CFPs of Impel Wealth Management are here for you, and we will continue to provide additional financial vitamin C as we continue “Moving Life Forward”.
© 2024 Jesse Hurst
The views stated are not necessarily the opinion of Cetera and should not be construed directly or indirectly as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Due to volatility within the markets mentioned, opinions are subject to change without notice. Information is based on sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
Investors cannot directly invest in indices.