Wealth Management — June 15, 2022
- The S&P 500 rallied 1.5% Wednesday to close at 3,790. With the gains, the index is now down 20.5% year to date.
- Stocks rebounded in Wednesday's session as the Federal Reserve hiked the Fed Funds rate by 75 basis points for the first time since 1994. With last week's CPI print showing broad based inflation pressures continuing, fixed income markets quickly priced a tighter monetary policy path leading up to the Fed's action today. Fed Chair Jerome Powell mentioned that the July meeting may include a 50 or 75 basis point hike, but it depends on the progression of incoming data. Treasury bonds also experienced some reprieve on Wednesday after five straight sessions of higher yields; 10-year yields declined 17 basis points and 2-year yields fell by more than 20 basis points.
- Ten of the 11 S&P 500 sectors were higher, as Consumer Discretionary (+3.0%) and Communication Services (+2.4%) outperformed the broad market while Materials (+0.0%) and Energy (-2.2%) lagged.
- As of the 4pm equity market close, the 10-year Treasury yield fell to 3.30%. WTI oil declined nearly 2% to $116 per barrel while gold rallied to $1,840 per ounce. The US Dollar Index weakened in the session.
- Monetary Policy: The Federal Reserve met expectations by raising the Fed Funds rate by 75 basis points to a range of 1.50% - 1.75%, the first such move since 1994. Chairman Jerome Powell cited continued inflation pressures, including last week's CPI report, contributed to a hike of this magnitude. The Chair also noted that before the FOMC determines the speed at which the rate increases will progress going forward, including the potential for a 50 or 75 basis point hike in July, that the committee will focus on incoming data and look for compelling evidence of declining inflation readings. MS & Co. economists believe that Fed hikes will be front-loaded, expecting a peak rate of 4% by year-end 2022.
- Calendar: Housing Starts, Jobless Claims (6/16); US Industrial Production, US Capacity Utilization (6/17).
With the Fed poised to respond to 40-year highs in inflation through both rate hikes and balance sheet run-off in 2022, the GIC’s call for continued caution in the indices remains intact. Our June 2023 base case provides a target of 3,900 for the S&P 500. This scenario assumes earnings and revenue growth decelerates due to high cost pressures in a slowing growth environment. Our June 2023 bear case of 3,350 considers a slowdown in earnings growth rate, margin pressure, sticky inflation, and a recession. Our June 2023 bull case of 4,450 corresponds to a soft landing environment where earnings growth slows but remains positive, inflation decelerates, cost pressures ease, and confidence improves. This bull case forecast embeds an estimate of 17.9x forward June 2024 earnings. With earnings revisions moving lower off the prior peak, investors should focus on risk management through quality factor exposure, defensiveness with regard to interest rate sensitivity, and attention to stock-specific valuations. We are moving to a position of maximum diversification by sector and market cap, with interesting ideas in Energy, Industrials, Materials, Health Care, Consumer Services, Financials, Utilities and Staples. While the US recovery matures, we see opportunities outside the US as relatively more attractive, especially given less expensive valuations and exposure to economic cyclicality. In fixed income, the challenge is two-fold: generating sufficient income, while also preserving capital in a rising rate and higher inflation environment. This requires a diversified and active exposure, with our preference for core investment grade, preferreds, leveraged loans, and asset-backed securities, including select mortgage-backed, and dividend-paying stocks. Real assets such as gold, infrastructure, and real estate present an attractive opportunity as a portfolio ballast for income generation and as an inflation hedge.
Market data provided by Bloomberg.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA): A price-weighted average of 30 blue-chip stocks that are generally the leaders in their industry.
NASDAQ Composite Index: A broad-based capitalization-weighted index of stocks in all three NASDAQ tiers: Global Select, Global Market and Capital Market.
S&P 500 Index: The Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index tracks the performance of 500 widely held, large-capitalization US stocks.
US Trade-Weighted Dollar Index: A weighted average of the foreign exchange value of the 17US dollar against a subset of the broad index currencies that circulate widely outside the US.