In a continued trend from earlier this year, volatile market, fiscal, and monetary policies we’ve been experiencing have stuck around as we enter the fall season. Here’s a breakdown of the returns year to date:
S&P 500: -24%
MSCI ACWI Ex-US (International Stocks): -27%
Barclays (Aggregate Bonds): -14.5%
For the next 12-18 months, it appears the Federal Reserve will continue to focus on taking the fight to inflation – including staying true to their interest rate hike monetary policy. After Chairman Powell’s most recent comments last month – and by raising interest rates by another 75 basis points –the Federal Reserve has indicated it will take a “bend don’t break” monetary policy stance for the near term.
With the Federal Reserve’s indications, we anticipate inflation will continue to be a pain point for the public at large – having unfortunate consequences for consumer spending, increases in consumer debt, high gas prices, real estate, and mortgage rate increases – to name a few. The balancing act the Federal Reserve is trying to walk is twofold:
First, the Federal Reserve doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes of the past. When they hiked interest rates in the 1970’s to combat rising inflation, it appeared they took their foot off the gas too early – resulting in a return to spiking inflation.
Second, there’s a risk to combating inflation with an aggressive interest rate hike strategy – including the possibility of inducing a recession – that could have a detrimental impact to the U.S. economy and global markets.
Other aspects of increased market volatility include geopolitical factors and historical context when it comes to midterm elections at home. With the Ukraine/Russia conflict, the downstream impact of energy costs continues to jolt across all economic sectors – and with China – the issue of global supply chain remains a sticking point as they recommit to their Zero COVID policy.
On the home front, the market volatility and uncertainty we’ve witnessed so far this fall isn’t out of the ordinary – especially during midterm election years. Although markets have historically underperformed leading up to the election, we usually see stocks bounce back the following months to a fairer market value. These results may also provide us guidance for potential fiscal policy to come out of Washington D.C. in the coming years.
As we enter the final stretch of this year, there are some positive points we can look to as well.
With the Federal Reserve maintaining its inflation approach, they’re providing diligent and consistent efforts in doing so. Interest rate increases have provided reasonable yield on safe investments – including Treasury bills and certificates of deposit.
In the short term, higher rates also offer an opportunity for savers, who can finally get a decent, low-risk return. For those who are still putting money aside, a bear market offers a chance to buy stocks on sale, potentially leading to better future returns when the market recovers.
Signs continue to point to resiliency in the job market with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.7%, and over 10 million job openings are available – exceeding the unemployed population by more than 4 million.
In times of uncertainty and market volatility, please contact us if you would like to speak about your specific financial situation.
Ted Smith, Founder & Chairman, RHU, CLU®, ChFC®
Daniel Schoenecker, Chief Financial Officer, CFA®, CAIA, MBA
Danica Goshert, Senior Vice President, CFP®, CDFA®, AIF®, MBA
Dan LaNasa, Associate Vice President, CFP®
Charles Stewart, Associate Vice President, CFP®
Disclosure: Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.