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Financially Speaking

From Shabri

We recently attended Commonwealth Financial Network’s National Conference. Commonwealth is an important partner for Moore Wealth – they help us ensure that we are able to provide the breadth and depth of services that we seek to provide everyone we work with. The theme for the conference was “Find the Good.” The speakers for these conferences are always outstanding, and this year’s were not only exceptional presenters, but exceptional human beings.

  •  Father Gregory Boyle, creator of Homeboy Industries and author of Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.
  • Will Guidara, best-selling author of Unreasonable Hospitality: The Power of Giving People More Than They Expect and owner of Eleven Madison Avenue (Three Michelin Star restaurant and consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in the world).
  • Bill Browder, financier and political activist who was the Founder & CEO of Hermitage Capital Management (at one time one of the biggest foreign investors in Russia) and best-selling author of Red Notice.
  • Jane Ferguson, an Irish-British journalist and special correspondent for PBS NewsHour and contributor to the New Yorker.
    Each shared stories that were riveting and thought provoking. And yes, I plan to read each of their books! While each speaker was excellent, I thought I’d share some of Father Boyle’s quotes. His stories about Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang-intervention and rehabilitation program (which he founded) were riveting. I cannot express how profoundly he touched my heart. His messages resonate across every facet of life.

“There is no ‘them’ and ‘us.’ There is only us.”
“Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgement at how they carry it.”
“The measure of our compassion lies not in the service of those on the margins… but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them.”

In this quarter’s newsletter you will find our Fourth Quarter Economic Update, Capitol Group’s The World in 2030: 10 predictions for long-term investors and a checklist of Moore Wealth services we manage for our Wealth Management clients. As a reminder, Joe’s phone number will change to our main office number beginning November 1, 2023. That number is 301.631.1207.

Market Update

Quarter Ending September 30, 2023

September Sell-off Caps Challenging Quarter

Equity markets fell for the second consecutive month in September, causing all three major U.S. indices to end the month and quarter in the red. The S&P 500 lost 4.77 percent for the month and 3.27 percent for the quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was down 3.42 percent in September and 2.10 percent for the quarter. The Nasdaq Composite saw the largest declines, with the technology-heavy index dropping 5.77 percent for the month and 3.94 percent for the quarter. Rising rates and concerns surrounding a potential government shutdown at month-end weighed on equities.

Despite market declines in September, earnings reports showed signs of better-than-expected fundamental performance throughout the quarter. Per Bloomberg Intelligence, as of September 14, 2023, the blended earnings decline for the S&P 500 was 5.8 percent in the second quarter. This result was notably better than the 9 percent decline expected at the start of earnings season. Fundamentals drive long-term performance, so the smaller-than-anticipated decline was a positive development for markets.

Technical factors were mixed in September, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite finishing the month above their respective 200-day moving averages while the DJIA finished the month below trend (marking the first time any of the three major U.S. indices has ended a month below trend this year). The 200-day moving average is a widely followed technical signal, as prolonged breaks above or below this level can signal shifting investor sentiment for an index. While a single month below trend is not an immediate concern for investors, technical factors will bear monitoring in the months ahead.

International markets also experienced declines during the month and quarter. The MSCI EAFE Index dropped 3.42 percent in September and 4.11 percent throughout the quarter. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was likewise down 2.58 percent for the month and 2.79 percent for the quarter. Both international indices ended the month below their respective 200-day moving averages. This is the first time both indices have finished a month below trend this year.

Fixed Income Falters as Rates Rise

Fixed income markets also experienced declines in September, as rising interest rates weighed on bond prices. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose from 4.03 percent at the end of August to 4.59 percent at the end of September. The Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index lost 2.54 percent for the month and 3.23 percent for the quarter.

The Federal Reserve (Fed) kept the federal funds rate unchanged at its September meeting, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated in his post-meeting press conference that the Fed may hike rates further this year and keep them higher for longer, if deemed necessary, to combat inflation. While this echoes previous messages from the central bank, rising investor expectations for tighter monetary policy helped drive yields up in September.

High-yield fixed income also experienced declines in September. The Bloomberg U.S. Corporate High Yield Index lost 1.18 percent in September. Despite the decline last month, the index managed to eke out a 0.46 percent gain for the quarter. High-yield bond spreads rose from 3.85 percent at the end of August to 4.09 percent at the end of September, signaling rising investor caution.

Economic Growth Continues

September’s economic updates showed signs of continued economic growth. The August job report showed solid job growth, with the labor force participation rate rising to a three-year high in August while the unemployment rate remained low. The healthy labor market supported personal income and spending growth in August, as well as better-than-expected retail sales growth. While consumer confidence fell in September, spending has stayed resilient throughout the course of the year despite shifting sentiment.

Business spending also showed signs of improvement in September. Headline and core durable goods orders both increased more than expected in August, marking four consecutive months with rising business investment. Business confidence also improved, with both manufacturer and service sector confidence increasing more than expected.

We also saw improving inflation data. While headline consumer inflation accelerated in August due to rising food and energy costs, core inflation continued to fall. As shown in Figure 1, core consumer inflation fell to 4.3 percent on a year-over-year basis in August, marking the smallest year-over-year increase since September 2021. 

While there is still real work to be done to get inflation back to the Fed’s 2 percent target, the improvements that we’ve seen so far this year indicate that we’re making progress in the fight against inflation.

Figure 1. CPI-U: All Items Less Food and Energy, YOY % Change, September 2012–Present 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics/Haver Analytics

All-in-all, the economic data was largely positive in September. If we continue to see economic growth with slowing underlying inflation as expected, it should support markets in the months ahead.

The Takeaway

• September data releases show signs of continued economic growth.
• Underlying inflation data continued to improve in September.

Shutdown Uncertainty Highlights Continued Market Risks

We’ve seen a number of political and economic risks impact markets throughout the course of the year, and September’s government shutdown saga was another reminder that real risks remain for investors.

After a month of political uncertainty, Congress was able to avert a government shutdown by passing a stopgap funding bill by the end of the month. The temporary measure is set to keep the federal government open through mid-November to allow for further budget negotiations. This may continue to be a source of uncertainty and potential risk for investors; however, other risks should be monitored as well.

Domestically inflation is a risk as a spike in prices could lead to additional rate hikes. While economists and investors do not currently anticipate a surge in inflation, the Fed will remain data-dependent at upcoming meetings and rate hikes are possible if we see signs that inflation is starting to accelerate. As we saw in September, rising rates can pressure stock and bond valuations and should be watched.

International risks remain as well, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and continued economic uncertainty from China representing two of the largest current risk factors. Finally, there are also the unknown risks that can’t be predicted at this time, which always have the potential to negatively impact markets.

The Takeaway

• A government shutdown has been avoided for now, but risks remain.
• Rising inflation and rates continue to be a risk for investors.
• International and unknown risks should be monitored as well.

Solid Foundation for the Fourth Quarter

Despite the pullback for markets during the month and quarter, economic fundamentals remain solid. The continued strength of the labor market should help support continued consumer income and spending growth through the end of the year. Additionally, with business spending set to remain strong and further progress expected on inflation, the fundamentals are in place for a positive end of the year, especially if we don’t see any further rate hikes by year-end.

Looking ahead, the most likely path forward is for a return to market appreciation and continued economic growth. With that said, there are risks that remain to that outlook that could lead to short-term volatility. As always, a well-diversified portfolio that matches investor timelines and goals remains the best path forward for most. If you have concerns, you should reach out to your financial advisor to discuss your current plan.

The Takeaway

• Solid economic fundamentals should support markets through the end of the year. • Over the long run, the outlook remains positive, with potential for short-term setbacks.

The World in 2030: 10 Predictions for Long-Term Investors (Courtesy of The Capitol Group)

Health Care innovation will Reach Warp Speed

Star Trek depicted a far-off future where space explorers traveled the galaxies equipped with cutting edge technology such as the tricorder, a hand-held medical device that scanned a person’s vital signs, issued a diagnosis and prescribed treatment in minutes. While it is unlikely that we will have such devices by 2030, we already have devices that analyze blood, provide cardiology monitoring and remotely check breathing.

A Cure for Cancer May Be Around the Corner

New, reliable tests should enable very early detection of cancer formation and location. We are in a renaissance for R&D, and companies are investing aggressively to find unique ways to battle cancer and other illnesses.

Cash Will Be But a Distant Memory

A decade from now, digital payments will be the norm. The pandemic accelerated the use of digital payments around the world. This is one area where emerging markets are ahead of the U.S.

Semiconductors Will Be Everywhere—And in Everything

Many of the products that we already have—phones, tablets, wearables, automobiles, entertainment systems and appliances already use semiconductors. Expect these to only become more sophisticated and we’ll be able to use them in ways we never imagined.


The Babel Fish from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was a small bright yellow fish. If you put it in your ear you could understand the language of anyone who spoke to you, even if you were unfamiliar with that language. Perhaps wireless earbuds and smart glasses will do that for us. Improvements in machine learning, smart wearable devices and augmented reality could enable other helpful features such as providing the name of someone you met before and where you last saw them.

Digital Entertainment Will Take Center Stage

The shift to streaming content accelerated in the wake of COVID, but it may still be in its earliest stages. Similarly, the video game industry will likely continue it explosive growth with virtual and augmented reality becoming more mainstream.

Autonomous Vehicles Will Hit the Fast Lane

Broadly deployed fleets of autonomous electric vehicles will be operating in cities throughout the world. This could make ownership of a car no longer necessary as a primary form of transportation in major cities.

Green Machines Will Rule the Road

Electric vehicle sales will rise dramatically with the declining costs of batteries and innovative developments.

Renewable Energy Will Power the World

We are in the early stages of the transition to an electrification of the grid and green energy. Automation and artificial intelligence are setting the stage for a golden age in renewables.

Innovative Companies Will Make the World Better

We are living in an incredible time of change, and change drives opportunity.

Client Services


  • Cash flow analysis
  • Retirement Income Analysis & Projections
  • Family budgeting
  • Optimizing IRA/Retirement Plan annual contributions
  • Optimizing Company Benefits
  • Mortgage Analysis & Assistance
  • Real Estate Acquisition Analysis & Assistance
  • Social Security Maximization Strategies
  • Comprehensive Asset Allocation Development
  • Product Agnostic Investment Selection and Ongoing Management of Assets 
  • Development of Tax Efficient Strategies
  • Performance Reporting & Review
  • Concentrated Stock Position Management & Option Strategies
  • Non-Managed Accounts Review & Oversight


  • Asset Protection Strategies & Implementation
  • Insurance Analysis & Review


  • Comprehensive Review of Tax Returns
  • Development of Tax Mitigation Strategies
  • Equity Compensation Planning
  • Tax Issues Related to Self-Employment
  • Consultation and Meetings with CPA annually or as needed.
  • Coordination with Attorneys to Develop Generational Wealth Transfer Strategies, Wills, POAs, Trusts


  • Executive Compensation: Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation, Stock Options 
  • Succession Planning: Buy Sell Agreements, Tax Planning for Sale of Business
  • Risk Management: Legal Structure, Financial Controls and Employee Retention • Retirement Planning: 401(k), SEPs, Defined Benefit Plans


  • Integrated Account Aggregation
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  • Consolidated Performance Review & Reports
  • Mobile App/Web Portal
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  • Education Planning
  • Analysis of Current Estate Plan and Consultation with Your Attorney 
  • Account Titling and Beneficiary Review
  • Coordination of Family Meetings
    • Develop Family Mission and Values Statements
    • Understand Family Dynamics
    • Stewardship of Family Wealth
    • Philanthropic Planning to include Donor Advised Funds, Gifting Letters etc.


  • Weekly Top 5 Financial Articles email
  • Quarterly Economic Update Newsletter
  • Moore After Hours: Educational, Enlightening and Entertaining Events

Moore Wealth

Disclosure: Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures the performance of all issues listed in the Nasdaq Stock Market, except for rights, warrants, units, and convertible debentures. The MSCI EAFE Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure developed market equity performance, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a market capitalization-weighted index composed of companies representative of the market structure of 26 emerging market countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Basin. It excludes closed markets and those shares in otherwise free markets that are not purchasable by foreigners. The Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted index representing securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar-denominated. It covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, with index components for a combination of the Bloomberg government and corporate securities, mortgage-backed pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities. The Bloomberg U.S. Corporate High Yield Index covers the USD-denominated, non- investment-grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high-yield if the middle rating of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below. 

Authored by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, managing principal, chief investment officer, and Sam Millette, director, fixed income, at Commonwealth Financial Network®.

Moore Wealth is located at 50 Carrol Creek Way, Suite 335, Frederick MD 21701 and can be contacted at 301-631-1207. Advisory services are offered through Moore Wealth®, a Registered Investment Adviser.

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