Outlook 2022 - Staying in the Zone
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
We expect solid economic and earnings growth to help stocks deliver gains in 2022.
The mid-cycle push
Looking more closely, in a mid-cycle economy, recession fears do not typically cause stocks to fall in a given year, nor do stocks typically surge as investors celebrate emerging from the prior recession. Over the past 60 years, the S&P 500 Index was up an average of 11.5% during the 30 mid-cycle years we identified, with gains in 80% of those years. Stocks rose during most of these mid-cycle years, with 1966 and 1977 the only two years with double-digit losses.
The Fed, which we expect to start raising interest rates in early 2023, can also help us gauge the cycle because the central bank typically begins to raise rates when the economy is exhibiting mid-cycle characteristics. That also characterizes 2022 as a likely mid-cycle year. Historically, stocks have done very well during the 12 months leading up to the Fed’s initial rate hike, with gains in each of the past nine instances and an average gain of 15%. We expect stocks to follow this mid-cycle pattern and potentially deliver double-digit gains next year as the economy continues to expand at a solid pace.
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