Haven’t Got Time For The Pain
There are few signs of the economic struggles predicted at Jackson Hole last year.
Attention will be focused on Wyoming this week, where the 46th Jackson Hole Economic Symposium is taking place.
Despite its bland moniker, the annual event is a big deal that brings together central bankers (including Fed Chair Powell), finance ministers, and other financial market participants from around the world. Investors look to Fed officials’ speeches and comments at Jackson Hole for signs of what the future may hold.
Sometimes, investors hear what they expect; other times, not so much. Last August, Chair Powell surprised many investors (who were expecting a dovish tone from the Fed) with a warning of economic pain ahead. Powell’s comments about the need to aggressively fight inflation and the likely impact of that effort—“using our tools forcefully,” “sustained period of below-trend growth,” “softer labor market,” and “pain to households and businesses”—helped drive stocks down to their October 2022 lows.
The thing is, very little of that predicted pain has emerged. Since Jackson Hole 2022:
- There are just over three million more people employed.
- The unemployment rate is lower, and labor force participation has increased.
- Economic growth has remained strong, with real GDP expanding by 2.6% during the last four quarters.
- Inflation* has fallen by 5.1 percentage points, from 8.3% to 3.2% (as measured by the Consumer Price index, see the chart).
Additionally, many major equity market indices are up over the past 12 months. The most significant pain point has probably been fixed income: Core bonds are down 3.5% in total return terms due to sharply higher bond yields (with the 2-year Treasury up 155 basis points and the 10-year Treasury yield higher by 120 basis points).
This year’s conference theme is “Structural Shifts in the Global Economy.” As always, investors will be parsing comments from Powell and others about the likely road ahead—mainly whether interest rates may remain at relatively high levels for an extended period of time, even if inflation continues to decline from current levels. We expect volatility and position adjustments around events like Jackson Hole, but we broadly view the recent action across equities and fixed income as more of a healthy correction than a new trend.
- Headline CPI data
For more news, information, and analysis, visit the ETF Strategist Channel.
This commentary is written by Horizon Investments’ asset management team.
Past performance is not indicative of future results.
Nothing contained herein should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. This report does not attempt to examine all the facts and circumstances that may be relevant to any company, industry, or security mentioned herein. We are not soliciting any action based on this document. It is for the general information of clients of Horizon Investments, LLC (“Horizon”). This document does not constitute a personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual clients. Before acting on any analysis, advice, or recommendation in this document, clients should consider whether the security in question is suitable for their particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Investors may realize losses on any investments.
Reference to an index does not imply that any account will achieve returns, volatility, or other results similar to that index. An index’s composition may not reflect how a portfolio is constructed in relation to expected or achieved returns, portfolio guidelines, restrictions, sectors, correlations, concentrations, volatility or tracking error targets, all of which are subject to change. Individuals cannot invest directly in any index. Indices are unmanaged and do not have fees or expense charges, which would lower returns.
The investments recommended by Horizon Investments are not guaranteed. There can be economic times when all investments are unfavorable and depreciate in value. Clients may lose money.
Asset allocation cannot eliminate the risk of fluctuating prices and uncertain returns. All investing involves risk of loss, and in periods of market growth, risk mitigation strategies can be expected to lag in performance behind equity strategies that do not focus on risk mitigation.
This commentary is based on public information that we consider reliable, but we do not represent that it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied on as such. Opinions expressed herein are our opinions as of the date of this document. These opinions may not be reflected in all of our strategies. We do not intend to and will not endeavor to update the information discussed in this document. No part of this document may be (i) copied, photocopied, or duplicated in any form by any means or (ii) redistributed without Horizon’s prior written consent. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed.
Other disclosure information is available at www.horizoninvestments.com.
Horizon Investments and the Horizon H are registered trademarks of Horizon Investments, LLC
©2023 Horizon Investments LLC