What Do Investors Really Care About Right Now?


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Starting from Hero, Got Nothing to Lose 

Tracy Chapman’s return to the stage to perform her 1988 song “Fast Car” made major Grammy headlines this week. Given the splash of the entire awards show, some other big 2024 Grammy moments are sprinkled throughout the paragraphs that follow because, well, music is life.

I replaced “zero” with “hero” in Tracy’s lyrics for the title of this blog, with the hero being Jerome Powell… at least as of right now, according to markets. For all of the attention we give to the Federal Reserve, I thought it would be interesting to see if we can glean any insight from what the market is really taking its cues from; more specifically, to see if what the market cares about has changed over the last couple years.

What made me curious about this was the commentary from Powell last week — in the FOMC press conference and the 60 minutes interview that followed over the weekend — which took a March rate cut off the table, yet got an uncharacteristically muted response from the market, IMO.

Do we not care as much about cuts as we thought?

Jobs Can Love Me Better Than Inflation Can

There’s a first time for everything, and this economic cycle has seen many firsts. Miley Cyrus also saw her first ever Grammy for “Flowers”; her excitement for herself, and for receiving the award from the Goddess of Pop Mariah Carey, was contagious. As someone who grew up during the Mariah Carey era, that got me feeling emotions.

The lyrics to Flowers can probably be repurposed for an endless amount of columns, but in this section I’ll use them for what we found changed over the last couple of years. As it turns out, the reaction that the S&P 500 has had on the days of certain data releases has shifted since the beginning of 2022, with labor data now taking center stage and inflation data shrinking into the background.

The chart below shows the intraday max and min returns for each data point, and compares the reactions during 2022 with those in 2023, as well as the beginning of 2024. Evidently, CPI reports are no longer as volatility-inducing, with the widest intraday return spread falling from 10.2% in 2022 to 3.4% in 2023-2024. Meanwhile, jobs reports have maintained their ability to induce volatility, with the widest intraday return spread only moving from 5.4% in 2022 to 4.4% in 2023-2024.

intraday max and min returns for data points

I suppose this makes sense given the market’s reduced concern over inflation as it has come down, but keep a watchful eye on labor markets as many continue to warn about looming weakness.

This dynamic does beg the question though, are markets too complacent about inflation, or is it fair to move on from it as a decision making factor? If inflation re-accelerates, will investors be caught flat-footed?

Turn the Lights Back On

Speaking of re-acceleration, Billy Joel released his first single in 30 years titled “Turn the Lights Back On” and re-emerged from behind the piano to perform it on Sunday night. Between him, Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, and Celine Dion, emerging from the shadows was definitely a theme from the Grammys this year.

Despite inflation data perhaps retreating into the shadows, we did find that FOMC statements continue to take center stage for markets… although not quite as important in 2023 as they were in 2022.

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S&P 500 intraday return spreads

Perhaps markets have hit a point of news exhaustion. We’ve heard so much for so long, we’re just used to it now and less reactionary.

I think that’s probably the case, until something surprises us. Given the Fed’s continued influence over volatility in the S&P and the Treasury market, I’d point to a surprise in inflation data that causes a surprise move by the FOMC as a high risk event. More specifically, an unexpected resurgence in inflation that would cause the Fed to… wait for it… turn the tightening lights back on.


For now, the hiking cycle clock has struck midnight, and Taylor Swift once again struck gold by becoming the first artist ever to win Album of the Year four times with “Midnights”. If only we could get Taylor to write an album about monetary policy… guessing that one wouldn’t win many awards. Or would it?

Maybe the market’s next cue won’t be macro data at all, but something more company or industry-specific. It’s impossible to know, but what I do know is that for the time being, no matter what the news is, there are still buyers out there.

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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7 Signs You’re Not Managing Your Checking Account Correctly

7 Signs You’re Not Managing Your Checking Account Correctly

Managing a checking account can be a simple process, thanks to all the tools at your disposal today. You can set alerts to let you know if your balance is dipping too low and use your financial institution’s app to see where your funds are flowing, among other conveniences. Doing so can set you up to avoid fees and charges while maximizing rewards and interest you may earn.


Knowing how to manage a checking account effectively will help you with many aspects of your financial life such as meeting your savings goals and protecting your money. If you don’t know where your money goes, how effective will you be when it comes to creating a budget or assessing whether you can take that last-minute weekend getaway with a friend?

Plus, having good account-management skills will protect you against fraud. For instance, let’s say someone stole your debit card and used it to make purchases. You’d want to detect that ASAP before a bad situation got any worse. If you report any losses within two business days, you’re only on the hook for a maximum of $50 according to Federal laws.

Otherwise, you could lose up to $500 if you report it after two business days but within 60. If you don’t notice the fraudulent charges until after the 60 business-day limit, you’re on the hook for all fraudulent transactions unfortunately.

To recap, good checking account management will help you:

  •  Keep tabs on your bank account balance and activity
  •  Allow you to better fund savings goals
  •  Avoid fraudulent activity and potential money loss.

Now, here are the seven steps that answer the question, “How do you manage a checking account?”


Keeping track of your account balance gives you a clearer picture of where you stand financially. Doing so can help you with tasks such as planning for occasional and unexpected expenses, paying off your student loans on time, as well as simply sticking to your budget.

Plus, monitoring your account can help you avoid overdraft fees by preventing your balance from dipping into negative territory. It’s easy to make an online payment or swipe that debit card and forget about it, so figuring out how often to check your balance is a wise idea. (A couple times a week works well for many people.)

You can log into your account online or through the bank’s mobile app, but other ways to check your balance include:

  • Receiving automated text alerts
  • Speaking to a teller at a branch
  • Calling your bank’s customer service hotline
  • Requesting your checking account balance at an ATM.


Here’s another idea for how to manage your checking account: If your bank offers a mobile app, it can be a smart idea to download it. Yes, mobile banking is very secure most of the time. By adopting mobile banking, you can easily keep an eye on your checking account. What’s more, you can conduct an array of transactions with just a few clicks, such as paying bills, depositing checks, setting up automated alerts, and transferring money between accounts.

Depending on the mobile app’s features, you may be able to link your debit and credit cards to your account, which makes it easier to purchase and pay for things. There may be other features such as a budgeting section, money management tools, insights into your credit score, and even access to discounts at your favorite retailer.

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Many checking accounts charge monthly maintenance fees, but you may be able to have them waived if you can meet certain requirements. Most commonly, you can skip the monthly fees if you set up direct deposits or maintain a certain account balance.

Perhaps you want to drill down on one kind of fee in particular: those overdraft fees. Those charges can really add up, and if they are left unpaid, they can harm your credit score. Take a bit of time to understand how your bank handles overdraft fees — will it waive it if your account is in good standing, will it charge you a fee and process the payment, or will it reject the transaction totally and assess you a fee?

Plenty of banks also offer options such as overdraft protection. Typically, this means if you’re at risk of having a negative bank balance, they will transfer the overdrawn amount from a linked savings account to your checking account automatically, without any charges. Still, you’ll probably want to set an alert so you’re notified when your checking account reaches a certain balance or hits zero. That way, you can quickly remedy the situation.


Automation can make your life so much easier. Letting technology assist you with your banking can help you keep on top of tasks such as depositing your paycheck, paying bills, or meeting savings goals.

  •  In terms of how to manage a bank account, direct deposit is a great way for your employer to deposit paychecks automatically. In some cases, banks will even give you early paycheck access.
  • Your bank may have automatic bill payment or transfer tools as well. Consider using these for recurring payments to be made automatically, such as ones for subscription services, auto loans, or your mortgage payments. Doing so can prevent missed payments and may be able to help build your credit score.
  • Also, automatically transferring a certain amount each month into a separate account can help you reach your short- and long-term savings goals.


Sure, having a nice big cushion of cash in your checking account can make you feel flush. However, keeping excess cash in your checking account could mean you’re losing out on the opportunity to get more out of your funds. Specifically, that money could be earning you more money. As you balance your bank account, you may find there are better ways to make your money work for you.

For instance, there are plenty of ways to earn interest even if you want your cash to remain more liquid. For instance, high-yield savings accounts linked to your checking account can earn you a bit of extra cash while still being very accessible.


To remain competitive, many banks are starting to offer additional perks with their checking account such as:

  • Identity theft protection and assistance.
  • Discounts at shopping and dining retailers.
  • Extended warranties on purchases.
  • Buyer’s protection.
  • Health savings cards.
  • Cash back on qualifying debit card purchases.

When shopping around for a checking account, consider your financial habits. If you shop frequently at certain retailers, it may be worth taking advantage of an account that offers discounts. Or if you use the ATM frequently, looking for a checking account that reimburses you for third-party ATM fees may be a smart choice.


Do you have multiple checking accounts? It’s not uncommon for people to have, say, their main checking account, one that they opened to get some reward or perk, and the one that their parents opened with them in high school. If you can relate, you might benefit from simplifying your finances and consolidating all of them into one main checking account.

That way, all you have to do is log into a single checking account and monitor your finances. Why overwhelm yourself with many accounts to check on and keep track of?

Kunakorn Rassadornyindee/istockphoto

Managing your checking account is an important path to staying on top of your finances. It will help you keep on your budget, avoid unnecessary fees, and reach your financial goals. Plus, with all the tech tools and alerts available today and the rewards being offered, it can be faster and more profitable than ever.

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility.

 The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY.

Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at sofi.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Featured Image Credit: AndreyPopov/istockphoto.