For the past year, supply-related problems contributed more to inflation than demand-related imbalances, but that may be changing soon. There are at least three factors that could change the course of inflation. First, the improvement in shipping and general supply bottlenecks could ease inflation. Second, strength in the U.S. dollar could offset some of the current inflationary pressures. And third, import prices have moderated since the beginning of 2022 and as import prices slow, we expect consumer prices to eventually reflect the slowdown in import prices.
Stocks have been unable to make up much ground since the June 16 lows, with a bear market rally amounting to only around a 4.3% gain in the S&P 500 Index since then (as of July 1). After the more than 6% rally the week of June 24 and the increasing optimism that came with that bounce, stocks pulled back again last week—the 11th down week for the index in the past 13 weeks. While we acknowledge that a V-shaped recovery is probably not in the cards and prior valuation targets no longer appear achievable, we remain constructive on equities for the second half, but not complacent.
Markets rarely give us clear skies, and there are always threats to watch for on the horizon, but the right preparation, context, and support can help us navigate anything that may lie ahead. So far, this year hasn’t seen a full-blown crisis like 2008–2009 or 2020, but the ride has been very bumpy. We may not be flying into a storm, but there’s been plenty of volatility the first part of 2022. How businesses, households, and central banks steer through the rough air will set the tone for markets over the second half of 2022.
2022 has been rough all-around for the American consumer. Not only are we battling decades-high inflation, but investors’ portfolios are off to one of the worst starts to a year in history as we near the halfway point. Our technical work is first and foremost rooted in trend following, and the trend in both stock and bond prices so far this year have of course been down. However, one trend that has been strongly higher is energy prices. It may be early, but we see some potential signs that energy trends could be changing, which would not only have positive implications for consumers’ wallets, but also potentially investors’ investment portfolios.
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