Stock markets started the year off with strong gains in January and the S&P 500 notched new all-time highs. Large Tech stocks again led the charge. Economic data arrived showing that the US economy continued expanding rapidly in the last three months of 2023, driven by increased spending by consumers. Fed officials continued sending mixed messages about the prospect for rate cuts in March, and bonds largely traded sideways or down after a vigorous rally at the end of last year. Surveys showed the mood amongst investors and consumers improving this month as buoyant financial markets and a still strong economy offset some of the gloom that resulted from the eyewatering inflation of the last two years.