What You Need to Know
- The specter of a recession has driven traders to pare back their expectations on Fed hikes, leading to a drop in Treasury yields.
- The pessimists have history on their side.
- Strategas Securities looked at data from nine decades and found virtually no reason to believe the current market rout is over.
Week after week of on-the-fly calculations about the intensity of inflation and the likelihood of a recession are preventing markets from finding equilibrium. The churn is spurring increasingly worse forecasts for when and where the volatility will cease.
Turbulence remained the rule Tuesday. After sinking more than 2% earlier in the session, the S&P 500 erased its decline to eke out a small gain. It’s the fourth time in 2022 that the index reversed an intraday drop of that magnitude, more than in any year since 2009.
Speculative technology shares led the rebound, with the ARK Innovation ETF (ticker ARKK) rallying over 9%, as traders sought bargains in the beaten-down sector and lower yields eased pressure on companies that have yet to make profits.
The reversal occurred even as the drumbeat of bearish calls grew louder. In a survey by Deutsche Bank AG conducted last week, 72% of respondents expected the S&P 500 to fall to 3,300 first, rather than rallying to 4,500.
The gauge closed at 3,831.39 on Tuesday. Jonathan Golub at Credit Suisse Group AG just became the latest Wall Street strategist to downgrade his market outlook.
The pessimists have history on their side. Strategas Securities compared market and economic indicators now versus past bear cycles over nine decades and found virtually no reason to believe the rout is over.
“After examining the data, it would be difficult to claim with confidence that we have yet reached a bear-market bottom,” the firm’s strategists including Jason Trennert wrote in a note.
U.S. stocks have lost as much as $15 trillion in value from their recent peak, with the Federal Reserve embarking on its most-aggressive tightening campaign in decades to rein in red-hot inflation.
Rising borrowing costs have prompted investors to reassess equities, leading to one of the fastest valuation contractions in history.
The devaluation process for the S&P 500 is a development that Golub at Credit Suisse acknowledged when trimming his year-end target to 4,300 from 4,900. Still, he predicts the market to recover in the second half as the economy avoids a recession.
Others are less sanguine. In the poll by Deutsche Bank, 90% of respondents anticipated a recession by the end of 2023 and 20% saw one happening this year. That’s up from 37% and 2%, respectively, in January.
The specter of a recession has driven traders to pare back their expectations on Fed hikes, leading to a drop in Treasury yields.