The Lowry Letter®

The Lowry Letter® - 11/18/2022

Last week, we attended Commonwealth’s annual national conference, held in-person for the first time since 2019. Our relationship with Commonwealth continues to be very important to our firm and the way we serve you, our valued clients.

Commonwealth provides the infrastructure that we use for investment research and management. They also ensure that we obey securities rules and regulations. They work only with independent advisory firms, like ours, and we are free to run our business as we see fit.

The Lowry Letter® - 11/9/2022

The late-season emergence of Tropical Storm Nicole is a great example of the kind of unexpected challenges that we often face in life. We hope that you and your families will avoid harm from this storm. We don’t anticipate interruptions to service, but in the event the storm requires office closure, we will be working remotely and will be able to review phone messages and email and respond to your needs.

If we lose power or internet access locally, urgent requests can be directed to Commonwealth by calling their Service Center at 800-251-0080 and selecting option 2. Even if working remotely, we will have access to all necessary information and documents so that we can continue to provide a high level of service.

The Lowry Letter® - 11/4/2022

We thought it would be good to make sure you are aware of updates to retirement plan contribution limits. We shared them last week and will include the same graphic at the bottom of this week’s letter.. 

The Lowry Letter® - 10/27/2022

Tax adjustments are live for 2023. Tax brackets have moved up by 7%, meaning that you can earn more money before your income pushes into a higher bracket. The percentages applied to each bracket remain the same.

Contribution limits have also increased for retirement plans (see Ask the Joes®).

The Lowry Letter® - 10/19/2022

Inflation remains high when prices are measured compared to the same month last year. The rate is not increasing markedly month-to-month, which is a positive development. Because monetary policy (what the Federal Reserve does) takes 6-9 months to impact the real economy, it is too early to know what higher rates are doing to prices.

Many eyes are on housing, with important numbers expected this week.

The Lowry Letter® - 10/13/2022

Last week, Joe Jr. took his kids to help with church group hurricane clean-up activities in Port Charlotte. While the damage is significant, we were impressed by the mobilization of emergency personnel, utility workers, and other key people. They have even restored access to Sanibel by vehicle. Limited to emergency and utility workers, they expect that residents will be able to drive to the island by October 21.

The Lowry Letter® - 10/6/2022

While we were spared serious effects from Hurricane Ian, many in our state were not. There are a number of good agencies providing support, including the American Red Cross.

In other news, most investors are thinking about continued pressure on stock and bond markets. We have reviewed the reasons for this before, including the lingering effects of Covid-related slowdowns, related government support, and resulting inflation.

Federal reserve policy has been aggressive. It is important to remember that interest rate increases, like most economic policy, can take many months to impact the economy. The markets have moved ahead of the real economic impact, especially in mortgages. Housing has been affected by these measures and as that expense comprises a large part of the inflation calculation, some relief may be coming.

The Lowry Letter® - 9/27/2022

Hurricane Ian is heading to Florida, so the Lowry Letter® is earlier than usual so we can brief you on our Emergency Procedures. The storm is likely to make landfall Wednesday night/Thursday morning, though that may change. Floridians have entered the mode where we divide our day into the 3-hour increments between NOAA updates.

In the event the storm requires office closure, we will be working remotely and will be able to review phone messages and email and respond to your needs.

The Lowry Letter® - 9/22/2022

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates, as expected. Brad McMillan previewed the move in this post. Looking ahead, he wrote:

Current betting is on another 75 bp hike at the next meeting, then a slowdown to 50 bps each, with the target rate topping out at around 4 percent to 4.5 percent. If that is what the comments suggest, again no real market reaction. The real action will be in the details, especially around what the market expects versus what the Fed says.

So, there will be continued movement and activity as Fed comments are released and reviewed.

The Lowry Letter® - 9/15/2022

Tuesday saw the worst day for the stock market since 2020. Inflation remains high and the implications of that on interest rate policy weighed on the market.

Despite this, measures of economic risk remain mixed, with labor remaining a key positive and something that keeps the official recession question in the mix. More on this below.