January 2024 Investing Update

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For the first month of 2024, the DOW gained 461 points. That was about a 2% gain for the month. Interest and dividend income was $1816 for the month. Withdrawals for living expenses came to $1069. My account ended the month with a modest $296 gain. In the past month I purchased 100 shares of Conagra (CAG) at $28.56 per share and 100 shares of OGE Energy (OGE) at $35.08. I decided to sell all of my Walgreens (WBA) shares at $22.89, which was a loss of 46%. After they cut their dividend and the stock failed to advance with the overall market, I felt it was time to sell and put the money to use elsewhere. You can use $3000 in capital losses to offset capital gains during a tax year. So, this $1925 loss will be used to offset gains in 2024. For the 2023 tax year, I had a loss was $2712 to offset gains of $12,543. It is rare to have no loss, unless you never sell.

The anticipation of interest rate cuts helped move stock prices higher up to the first FOMC meeting of the year. They decided to hold rates where they were and wait for more signs that inflation was under control. As a consumer, it feels like prices have stabilized and you can actually find some items like food and fuel have dropped in price. This sometimes happens in an election year, to help the current president get re-elected. I continue to read about large corporate layoffs. The latest was from UPS who plans to cut 12,000 jobs. They blame this on lower package volumes and wage increases. For anyone who buys and sells things online, shipping prices have been forcing people to look for alternative shipping options. The US Postal Service introduced Ground Advantage in 2023 as an alternative to Priority Mail and Ground Select. I have found that the shipping time and cost of the new service has been acceptable for shipping items that weigh less than 4 pounds. Sellers on Ebay also get some of the best discounts on USPS shipping compared to USP and FedEx.

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