Forefront’s Market Notes: January 2nd, 2024


Stocks posted a slight gain last week amid a shortage of news and light holiday trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.76%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.49%. The Nasdaq Composite index advanced 0.32% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, increased 1.13%. 1,2,3

Source:, December 30, 2023. Weekly performance is measured from the close of trading on Friday, December 22, to Friday, December 29, close. Treasury note yield is expressed in basis points.


Stocks Gain to End Year
The stock market gains in the final trading days of 2023 capped an exceptional year of performance. The last-week rally also mirrored the historical tendency of stocks to rise at this time of year, a propensity known as the “Santa Claus rally.” The Santa Claus rally covers the final five trading days of the calendar year and the first two days of trading in January.

The average return of the S&P 500 during this Santa Claus rally is 1.3% during the past 73 years. Remember that past performance does not guarantee future results, and individuals cannot invest directly in an index. 4

The 2023 week’s gains, led by smaller-capitalization stocks and a handful of industry sectors, were partially erased on Friday as light volume and some profit-taking pressured stocks.


Jobless Claims Rise
Initial jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 218,000, which exceeded economists’ forecasts. The four-week moving average, which better illustrates jobless claim trends, was little changed, coming in at 212,000; this was the lowest number since late October. 5

Continuing jobless claims, which measures the number of individuals collecting unemployment benefits, was flat from the previous week at 1.88 million.6


Need Last Year’s Tax Returns?
Help is available for taxpayers who need tax information for prior years but still need to keep copies of their returns. There are ways to get the information you need.

Keep in mind the IRS recommends that taxpayers keep copies of their returns and any documentation for at least three years after filing:

  • Ask your software provider or tax preparer. This is often the easiest way to get a copy of your tax returns.
  • Order a tax transcript. Taxpayers who cannot get a copy of a prior-year return may order a tax transcript from the IRS. This document partially masks personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. All financial entries, including the filer’s adjusted gross income, are apparent. These are free and available for the most current tax year after the IRS has processed the return. People can also get these records for the past three years.
  • Pay for a copy from the IRS. As a last resort, you can purchase a copy of your tax return from the IRS. Check the IRS website for the most recent information on the process to follow when ordering a copy and the cost of the return.

*This information is not intended to substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov7

Footnotes and Sources

1. The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2023
2. The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2023
3. The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2023
4., December 19, 2023.
5. Bloomberg, December 28, 2023.
6. Bloomberg, December 28, 2023.
7., November 14, 2023.

Stock market calendar this week:

New Year’s holiday, markets closed
9:45 AM S&P final U.S. manufacturing PMI
10:00 AM Construction spending
8:30 AM Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin speaks
10:00 AM U.S. job openings
10:00 AM ISM manufacturing
2:00 PM Minutes of Fed’s December meeting
TBA Auto sales
8:15 AM ADP employment
8:30 AM Initial jobless claims
9:45 AM S&P final U.S. services PMI
8:30 AM U.S. employment report
8:30 AM U.S. unemployment rate
8:30 AM U.S. hourly wages
8:30 AM Hourly wages (year over year)
10:00 AM ISM services
10:00 AM Factory orders
1:30 PM Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin speaks
11:15 AM Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan speaks

Most anticipated earnings for this week:


Did you miss our blast blog?

Market Notes: December 26th


About Amit: I am a first generation American, the son of a working-class Indian family, and I lived through my parents’ struggle to find their place in this country, to put down roots that would sustain them as well as their children in a new land. As they encouraged me to excel in school and fostered my hobbies and interests, I was keenly aware of the dynamic between them. I understood that there was a difference between where they came from individually and where we were now. They worked hard in their individual capacities, but they weren’t always on the same page about financial issues – and that can make or break a family’s future. I didn’t know it at the time, but this laid the groundwork for my passion towards financial services and helping families succeed.