In the U.S., Labor Day is an important demarcation for Wall Street. Returning from their final summer vacations, Wall Streeters arrive, ready to tackle the financial markets anew. For those focused on the stock market, 2023 assumes a leading position.
Why is the new year so important in September? Because the current year’s hopes, concerns and strategies are long in the tooth. Moreover, nothing says growth louder than new outlooks, with visions of problems being solved and developments being accomplished.
But what about…
- Rising prices? The latest monthly reports show they are moderating or falling for many products and assets. (The frequently reported 12-month price gains include earlier, high rising months that will disappear in 2023.)
- Recession? Reasoning is shifting to continuing nominal (current dollar) growth, with the slumping “real” (inflation-adjusted) growth now being seen as a temporary slowdown. See this article for more…
- Rising interest rates? The lopsided, negative viewpoint is beginning to be offset by a recognition of rising-rate benefits. Beyond tempering inflation pressures, there are financial and economic gains from having capital market-determined interest rates.
- Retailer worries? The concerns are the latest negative media story: excess inventories, consumer cutbacks, cost increases. The good news is that 4th-quarter spending is always high and those three concerns are always present. Moreover, “retailers” is not a conglomerate with similar results. To prosper, each individual retailer attempts to have a wise strategy, and some (many?) will
- Risks unknown? When negativity is at hand, the hunt for risks is at its peak. “What next?” is a common worry, and the media is happy to provide supposed (yet unsupported) answers.
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Most negatives have a positive side
Start with the stock market’s 20% drop from winter 2021 to spring 2022. The media’s naive reaction was “20% down means we’re now in a bear market” description. No, the 20% decline was the bear market, and it had a benefit. It corrected 2021’s speculative excesses, and it incorporated the building inflation risk. In other words, winter 2021 was the time of bear market risk and spring 2022 was a time of bear market opportunity. See these articles for explanations at those two times:
November 24, 2021…
May 7, 2022…
Even as the market has risen from its lows, the bear market worry has prevailed. The latest burst of negativity followed Fed Chair Powell’s “pain” speech. It was an “at first blush” reaction that should morph into an “after careful consideration” reassessment. See this article for more…
Here are two more negative-to-positive examples from The Wall Street Journal’s front pages this week: (Underlining is mine)
- “Energy Crunch Revives Nuclear Plants in West” (Monday, August 29)
- “Yields Increase as Rate Jitters Mount” (Tuesday, August 30)
The bottom line: Join Wall Street in welcoming 2023
Forecasts of 2023 growth, currently waiting in the wings, should soon take the stage. The stock market’s foundation-building since springtime is a good indicator.
In addition to a growth outlook, this market also can rise as the concerns listed above lessen. Therefore, stocks remain an attractive investment.