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The Halfway Point: What is Driving the Markets in 2023?
The stock market continued to march higher in the second quarter, as stronger than anticipated economic growth and enthusiasm for artificial intelligence (A.I.) boosted technology shares. The period was marked by the rise of a concentrated group of stocks, dubbed by some market participants as the ‘Magnificent Seven’ (see below). These mega-cap companies accounted for nearly three-quarters of this year’s gains, as companies levered to the A.I. trend saw their shares bid up to lofty levels. As detailed below, these advances have altered the valuation landscape, as growth expectations have risen sharply alongside their shares. The second quarter didn’t come and go without some investor caution. The beginning of the quarter was dominated by concerns around the US debt ceiling and the potential for a US default. However, Congress approved legislation that suspended the debt ceiling in early June and set the stage for the strong returns we saw in the last month of the quarter.
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