The year ahead: 5 dynamics that matter
Volatile markets may present compelling opportunities as we anticipate a recession
Our Top Market Takeaways for December 9, 2022
Market update: Growth fears kicking in
So far this December, the grinch is bringing the growth angst. Heading into Friday, U.S. stocks were having the worst week in over a month (S&P 500 -2.7% and NASDAQ 100 -2.9%), with energy and growth sectors leading the declines. Treasury yields have fallen across the curve as investors fled to safety, and the U.S. dollar index reached its lowest point since August.
But it’s not all gloomy: disinflationary forces are growing in a welcome sign of holiday cheer. Barrels of oil are now the cheapest they’ve been all year (WTI reached $72), and gas prices reached their lowest levels since February. November’s producer prices (which measures prices paid for goods and services by businesses before they reach consumers) came in at 0.3% over the last month - slightly above expectations - but continued to decelerate on a year-over-year basis (with the headline now at 7.4% and the core now at 4.9%). All eyes are now on next week's CPI print and FOMC meeting.
Come next week, we think the Fed will slow its roll on rate hikes, with a 50 basis point hike, down from the 75 basis point pace of the last few meetings. The slowdown is underway, but the economy is still running too hot–take for instance this week’s report on jobless claims. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits remains near post-pandemic lows–a sign that workers are still finding jobs pretty quickly.
As we wrap up the final few weeks of 2022, we turn to what will drive markets in the year ahead. This week, we released our Outlook 2023: See the potential. As you explore our insights and think through your portfolio positioning, we’re keen to share the five key points underpinning our economic and investment views for the new year.
Spotlight: Top highlights from our 2023 Outlook
Despite the headwinds to growth, we see the potential for stronger markets in 2023 and beyond.
1. One of the best entry points in a decade. Markets spent the past year digesting the rapid rise in interest rates around the globe – a result of central banks’ campaigns to tackle inflation. While the era of easy money is long gone, a dramatic reset in valuations has created one of the most attractive entry points for both stocks and bonds in over a decade.
It's hard to call the bottom for any given asset class, but we believe bonds have likely seen their worst pain and equity markets are close to a trough. This has already been the worst year for bonds since at least the 1970s, a dramatic repricing that has brought yields to their highest in a decade. There could be more stock market pain ahead as earnings come down, but valuations have already contracted significantly year-to-date – falling ~20% from January to current levels.
Taking a multi-year perspective, our long-term capital market assumptions are pointing towards compelling future returns across asset classes.
Although our base case for 2023 calls for a recession, we think markets may be past their worst and that now is the time to position for market stabilization and eventual recovery.
2. There’s bad news and good news. We’ve already seen the impact of higher interest rates tear through the most sensitive segments of the economy (e.g., the housing sector). The bad news is that we expect pain to broaden out into even the resilient parts of the economy (e.g., the labor market) as recession comes to fruition – a result of the Fed’s most hawkish tightening cycle in decades.
The good news, though, is that central banks should stop hiking rates in 2023 and inflation will likely fall. While we’ve seen the worst performance across asset classes in years, such a volatile environment provides investors with diverse opportunities across the investments landscape.
3. Bonds are back. Core bond performance has been lackluster for the better part of the last decade. But while 2022 has been the worst year for core bonds since at least the 1970s, we believe the bulk of the repricing has already taken into account inflation and central banks’ tightening cycle. Bond yields are at their highest levels in a decade, and core fixed income now offers the potential for protection, yield and capital appreciation.
Importantly, we don’t think elevated yields will last much longer: History shows that once recession hits, rates tend to decline quickly as investors flock to safety. In fact, in the past nine recessions, Fed policy rates fell, on average, 300 basis points in the year after the recession started.
4. Reversal of fortunes. Mega cap equities have dominated markets over the past decade. Beyond being market leaders, their growth rates kept pace with (or exceeded) those of smaller companies while also offering comparatively greater stability to investors given their dominant market positions.
We believe this dynamic is changing. When thinking about the next market leaders, it is hard to see mega cap companies maintaining their pace of growth, especially as key markets become fully penetrated. All in all, as earnings growth normalizes and multiple expansion gets capped (given inflated starting points), we are shifting our focus away from the current megacap stalwarts and towards themes like security, energy stability and reorganized global supply chains. To that end, small and mid cap companies could be the leaders of this next cycle and grow faster than their mega cap peers.
5. Real assets, real money. The post-Global Financial Crisis decade saw a general downtrend in commodity prices, effectively putting them on investors’ backburner. Between the renewed focus on commodity supply stability and security resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, potential for reorganized global supply chains and years of underinvestment in production capacity expansion, we see support for commodity prices in the years ahead. The era of underinvestment in sectors like energy may be over.
Given many investors may be under-allocated to the asset class, we’re focused on adding exposure for the benefit of diversification versus traditional stocks and bonds and the potential for multi-year growth.
Your J.P. Morgan team is here to help you understand these insights – and our outlook for the year ahead – in the context of your financial plan.
All market and economic data as of December 9, 2022 and sourced from Bloomberg and FactSet unless otherwise stated.
The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks. The index is designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.
The Bloomberg Eco Surprise Index shows the degree to which economic analysts under- or over-estimate the trends in the business cycle. The surprise element is defined as the percentage difference between analyst forecasts and the published value of economic data releases.
The NASDAQ 100 Index is a basket of the 100 largest, most actively traded U.S companies listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The index includes companies from various industries except for the financial industry, like commercial and investment banks. These non-financial sectors include retail, biotechnology, industrial, technology, health care, and others.
The Russell 2000 is a stock market index that measures the performance of the 2,000 smaller companies included in the Russell 3000 Index. The Russell 2000 is managed by London's FTSE Russell Group and is widely regarded as a bellwether of the U.S. economy because of its focus on smaller companies that focus on the U.S. market.
The S&P 500 Energy sector comprises those companies included in the S&P 500 that are classified as members of the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) energy sector.
Investing in fixed income products is subject to certain risks, including interest rate, credit, inflation, call, prepayment and reinvestment risk. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to substantial gain or loss.
The price of equity securities may rise or fall due to the changes in the broad market or changes in a company's financial condition, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. Equity securities are subject to 'stock market risk' meaning that stock prices in general may decline over short or extended periods of time
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