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Insights + News + Advice


market update

Q4 2022 Market Outlook

Summary, Third Quarter of 2022:

Equity markets attempted a rebound in the third quarter (Q3) but eventually declined when inflation caused the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) to aggressively tighten interest rates. The war in Ukraine has lasted longer than expected, adding to inflationary pressures, and natural gas pipeline sabotage has put Europe in a vulnerable position heading into winter. The European Central Bank (ECB) has been busy fighting inflation as well but appears to be reversing course given Europe’s recent economic weakness. China is dealing with a recession as their “Zero Covid” policy has created fits and starts for economic growth while supply chains have shown some signs of progress. Meanwhile the Fed’s rate hikes have been felt in the U.S. housing market where affordability has deteriorated significantly while other parts of the economy continue to see inflationary pressures. 

Our Commentary:

Inflation is a problem if it gets out of hand, but so is overly restrictive monetary policy. The Fed has a dual mandate of 2% inflation and 4% unemployment. According to the PCE, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, inflation is currently 6.25%, while the unemployment rate is 3.70%. The obvious implication is that the Fed has room to increase rates because inflation is too high while the jobs market is very healthy—in fact, many employers can’t hire enough workers. In order to achieve the elusive “soft landing,” the Fed must raise rates enough to cool the economy but not so much that it drives it into a recession. Given the healthy unemployment numbers, the Fed has room to maneuver.

The work the Fed has already done has impacted parts of the economy. Housing affordability has deteriorated significantly. The 30-year mortgage rate has crossed over 7%, a level not seen in almost twenty years. Some larger companies are announcing layoffs or hiring freezes, but there are also pockets of the economy—espeically in the “marginal” worker areas—where employers are having a hard time finding workers. Wages have been increasing, and as that continues, sought-after marginal workers should be lured back to work. Unemployment will increase as the Fed relies on the consumer, the largest segment of our economy, to get us through this rate hiking period. This is the “pain” that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has referred to in recent speeches. While it can be difficult to stomach, this is a normal aspect of employment reshuffling, which took an unusual form during Covid.

Investors showed their true desire in Q3 when markets attempted to rally in expectation of a slowing inflation rate. That rally was thwarted in August when Fed officials announced a 0.75% rate hike accompanied by hawkish rhetoric on inflation. For a sustained rally to occur, inflation needs to decrease enough to appease the Fed and thus end their current rate-hiking regime. The futures market expects another 0.75% rate hike in November, a 0.50% rate hike in December, and a 0.25% rate hike next February. Until then, we expect more pressure on stocks and volatility. The silver lining for equities is that the recent selloff has created strong buying opportunities for competitively advantaged companies. For the long-term invetor, opportunites like this are rare.

Interest rate hikes are beginning to help one asset class that has been a laggard for a long time now—the bond market. Bonds are finally beginning to offer attractive returns, albeit with inherent risk. As with equity investing, we focus our bond investing on high-quality issuers and shorter durations if possible. Commodities appear to be peaking, which tends to occur during the late stages of the business cycle. That is partly due to demand and partly due to supply chain shortages. As supply chains heal, inflationary pressures will naturally abate, which the Fed hopes will happen sooner than later. This would go a long way in the Fed’s hopes to achieve a “soft landing” for the economy.

Until next quarter,

-Investment Committee


Bond Disclosure:

Fixed income securities carry interest rate risk.  Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk and credit and default risks.  Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to a substantial gain or loss.

High yield bonds are not investment grade securities, and are subject to higher interest rate, credit, and liquidity risks than those graded BBB and above. They generally should be part of a diversified portfolio for sophisticated investors.

Forward-Looking Statements:

Certain statements contained within are forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, statements that are predictions of or indicate future events, trends, plans or objectives.  Undue reliance should not be placed on such statements because, by their nature, they are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties.

Opinions voiced are not intended to provide specific advice and should not be construed as recommendations for any individual.  To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial professional.

Indices are unmanaged measures of market conditions. It is not possible to invest directly into an index. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

International investing entails special risk considerations, including currency fluctuations, lower liquidity, economic and political risks, and differences in accounting methods. Past performance cannot guarantee future results.

The fast price swings in commodities will result in significant volatility in an investor’s holdings. Commodities include increased risks, such as political, economic, and currency instability, and may not be suitable for all investors.​

Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Financial Planning offered through Leelyn Smith, LLC a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial. Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC.  Additional advisory services offered through Leelyn Smith LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor Leelyn Smith LLC, and LPL are separate and unrelated companies.

This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

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