Join us in welcoming Christopher Holland to the newly created Director of Research & Investments position!

Chris brings an extensive wealth of experience to our team, showcasing a remarkable career spanning over 25 years. Most recently, he dedicated his expertise to private market investing as a Senior Investment Professional with the Public-School Employee Retirement System. Chris has held distinguished roles, including Managing Director at Galt’s Gate and Senior Equity Analyst/Portfolio Manager at Delaware Funds by Macquarie. His contributions also extend to his time as a Municipal Credit Analyst at BlackRock. His impressive background reflects a consistent track record of successfully steering research and investment initiatives to fruition.

“Chris’s role will be instrumental in shaping our research initiatives and driving investment strategies, contributing significantly to the success and growth of VNFA.  His strategic acumen and proven accomplishments make him a valuable and timely addition to our investment team as we continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the financial markets,” said William Henderson, Chief Investment Officer.

Anchored in the Lehigh Valley, Chris is a true Bethlehem native, born and raised. Beyond research and investments, he finds joy in skiing and working in his backyard vegetable garden. Chris is based out of our Bethlehem headquarters, and he can be reached at 610-868-9000 ext. 123 or


What a great evening of community connection and culinary delights! Thank you, LINC & Butterhead Kitchen, for allowing #TeamVNFA to collaborate on this exceptional community cooking class. LINC’s mission, centered around fostering a sense of welcome and building a supportive community for newcomers, aligns seamlessly with VNFA’s values. We take immense pride in contributing to this remarkable mission, which is dedicated to assisting individuals in settling into the community and flourishing.   

To learn more about LINC, visit Learning | Inclusion | Networking | Community.

Current Market Observations

Equity markets were down last week, with all three major indexes reporting negative results. The S&P 500 Index fell –0.26%, the NASDAQ -1.17%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average –0.93%. Fixed income markets saw lower yields last week as Fed Chair Powell gave an indication that rate cuts are “not far” off. Also impacting rates was the February jobs number, which showed lower wage pressure and revisions lower than the hot January jobs numbers. A big test for bond markets will come later this week when the CPI (Consumer Price Index) and PPI (Producer Price Index) numbers are reported for January. The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell 9.4 basis points last week to close at 4.09%.

U.S. Economy 

The February jobs report from Friday indicates job growth remains healthy, with nonfarm payrolls increasing 275,000 jobs, above consensus expectations for a rise of 198,000. This follows a downwardly revised 229,000 increase in January. Despite encouraging headline figures, prior estimates of job expansion in December and January were revised down to 167,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to a two-year high of 3.9%, and wage momentum cooled, indicating less inflationary pressure.

Policy and Politics 

During testimony last week, Fed Chair Powell indicated a softening of banking rules, specifically stating that proposed new rules to force lenders to strengthen their balance sheets (Basel III) would be scaled back or reworked. This comes in response to complaints from industry leaders about the overall cost and economic impact of enacting the original proposed changes. 

What to Watch This Week 

  • U.S. Consumer Price Index released 3/12/24, prior +0.3% 
  • U.S. Retail Sales released 3/14/24, prior –0.8% 
  • U.S. Producer Price Index released 3/14/24, prior +0.3% 
  • U.S. Consumer Sentiment (prelim) released 3/14/24, prior 76.9% 

In the current market landscape, the stock market and the broader economy demonstrate robust performance buoyed by several factors. Healthy corporate earnings bolstered by resilient consumer spending, economic productivity gains, and increased business technology spending are driving equities to continued new highs. Additionally, recent data pointing to a soft landing for the economy continues to provide a supportive backdrop, instilling confidence among investors. With a healthy labor market combined with the prospects for lower rates later this year, the overall economic and market outlook remains optimistic. It should provide help to the housing market. However, prudent risk management and close monitoring of potential inflationary pressures, geopolitical tensions, and trade disputes remain essential. Overall, the positive momentum in both the stock market and the economy reflects a favorable environment for investors.

In navigating volatile markets, it is important to maintain a long-term perspective grounded in the fundamentals of the economy and industry-leading companies. While short-term fluctuations and unforeseen challenges may arise, staying committed to well-thought-out investment strategies is key. As we move forward, let us remain optimistic about the future and recognize that overly emotional markets often pave the way for opportunities and growth.

“Your Financial Choices” Radio

Tune in Wednesday, 6 PM, “Your Financial Choices” on WDIY 88.1 FM. Laurie will be discussing Listeners’ Tax Questions.

Questions can be submitted to before the live show. Recordings of past shows are available to listen to or download at and

Did you miss the last show, 2024 Tax Planning Now? Listen Here

The Numbers & “Heat Map”


The health of the U.S. economy is a key driver of long-term returns in the stock market. Below, we grade key economic conditions that we believe are of particular importance to investors.

The “Heat Map” is a subjective analysis based upon metrics that VNFA’s investment committee believes are important to financial markets and the economy. The “Heat Map” is designed for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as a basis for investment decisions.