ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW JANUARY 2023

“Without your health, your money is worthless.” – Suze Orman Fourth Quarter Summary Global financial markets generally rose in the fourth quarter, but still ended 2022 with steep losses. Equities rose nicely in October and November, buoyed by better-than-feared...

read more

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW OCTOBER 2022

“The dollar is our currency, but it’s your problem.”  --  John Connally, U.S. Treasury Secretary, 1971-1972 Third Quarter Recap Financial markets fell broadly after a roller-coaster summer. Equities rose sharply for the first several weeks of the quarter, but swooned...

read more

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW JULY 2022

Economic and Market Review and Outlook, July 2022 “It’s absolutely essential to restore price stability. Economies don’t work without price stability.”  --  Jerome Powell Second Quarter Review Financial markets fell again in the spring. Posting its worst first half...

read more

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW APRIL 2022

“It is appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity.” – Albert Einstein First Quarter Recap Almost all financial market indices fell during the first quarter. Equities were generally lower: The S&P 500 dropped 4.6% while the Nasdaq 100 dipped 20%...

read more

MARKET UPDATE MARCH 2022: CURRENT EVENTS

The Rice Partnership's Chief Investment Officer, Orest Saikevych, discusses the war in Ukraine, the recent FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting and their effects on the economy and financial markets.

read more

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW JANUARY 2023

“Without your health, your money is worthless.” – Suze Orman

Fourth Quarter Summary

Global financial markets generally rose in the fourth quarter, but still ended 2022 with steep losses.

Equities rose nicely in October and November, buoyed by better-than-feared earnings reports and persistent hopes for a Federal Reserve pivot in 2023. December marked a return to a sobering reality, as Fed efforts to dramatically slow inflation weighed on the markets. The fourth quarter also saw the rise of fixed income with 10-year Treasury yields first falling then rallying as the holidays approached. The U.S. dollar staged a reversal, giving up half its gains for the entire year. This benefited commodities such as oil and copper. Gold joined the group but ended flat for the year.

A Gradual Shift of Investor Focus

As 2022 progressed, investors turned from inflation concerns to speculating about the Fed Funds terminal rate. Keeping in mind the rapid pace of tightening from 0.25% of last March to the present target of 4.50%, it is generally believed that rates will reach 5.00-5.50% by May of this year.

After that, there is a disconnect between Fed guidance and market expectations regarding how long higher rates will prevail. Fed officials indicate keeping rates at higher levels through the rest of 2023, while bond futures indicate a Fed pivot to lower rates as early as summer. This has resulted in a tug of war between equity and fixed income markets, with a trading range prevailing in both

The Fed’s Dilemma

Fed members, including Chairman Jerome Powell, believe the labor market is still too hot. They insist it must loosen considerably (that is, unemployment must go up) to contain wage inflation and avoid a wage-price spiral developing, similar to the 1970s. The inflation problem is compounded by a permanent reduction in the labor force due in large part to the pandemic, requiring the Fed to hold rates higher for longer. Currently, job openings stand at 1.7 times the number of available workers, down from twice that in early 2022. However, numbers are still substantially above full employment levels which prevailed before the pandemic.

The Economic Outlook

The economy has been growing at a good pace, though pockets of weakness have developed, especially in manufacturing and housing. Consumers are still spending, thanks to a residual cash balance of about $1.2 trillion from pandemic stimulus checks. However, spending continues to favor such services as restaurants and travel (including airlines and lodging), which benefited from the pandemic. Going forward, hefty cost of living increases for Social Security recipients, as well as pay increases for federal, state, and local employees will provide more funds for consumer spending. This should help support the economy until at least mid-year.

Sometime in the second half of 2023, the economy could slow considerably due to cumulative effects of rapid Fed tightening and consumers depleting pandemic stimulus checks. With demand slowing, unemployment will begin to pick up and a recession, or at least a “stall speed” economy with little to no growth, will become a real possibility. Events abroad, such as the war in Ukraine and China’s uncertain emergence from Covid, remain risks to the global outlook for economic growth.

Investment Strategy for 2023

Recall that throughout 2022 we reduced the equity weightings for portfolios and increased fixed income allocations. At first, we added to short-term instruments such as money market funds, which were one of the few investments that did not lose principal value in a down market. As yields on longer dated Treasuries such as the 10-year note rose over 3.50%, we began to slowly reallocate a portion of the short-term fixed income into longer maturity bond investments. As the economy weakens and longer yields peak, we will continue to reallocate towards longer-term fixed income from money market funds.

We also rotated many of the equity holdings into lower valuation and defensive stocks, which should do better in a slow growth or recessionary environment. Further large reductions in US equity weightings are not likely, since at current levels, the upside to downside potential return is much better than it has been since the pandemic. At some point, we may add to international holdings, as some countries are very attractively valued while possessing above average growth potential for the next several years.

2023 will feature numerous cross currents still due to the pandemic. This includes the uneven progress of supply chain issues, effects from a structurally smaller labor force and changing consumer spending patterns. Other factors such as Fed tightening and its effects on the economy will also play a leading role. We advise our clients to be patient and not overreact to individual events, as such actions could detract meaningfully from investment returns.

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW JANUARY 2023

“Without your health, your money is worthless.” – Suze Orman

Fourth Quarter Summary

Global financial markets generally rose in the fourth quarter, but still ended 2022 with steep losses.

Equities rose nicely in October and November, buoyed by better-than-feared earnings reports and persistent hopes for a Federal Reserve pivot in 2023. December marked a return to a sobering reality, as Fed efforts to dramatically slow inflation weighed on the markets. The fourth quarter also saw the rise of fixed income with 10-year Treasury yields first falling then rallying as the holidays approached. The U.S. dollar staged a reversal, giving up half its gains for the entire year. This benefited commodities such as oil and copper. Gold joined the group but ended flat for the year.

A Gradual Shift of Investor Focus

As 2022 progressed, investors turned from inflation concerns to speculating about the Fed Funds terminal rate. Keeping in mind the rapid pace of tightening from 0.25% of last March to the present target of 4.50%, it is generally believed that rates will reach 5.00-5.50% by May of this year.

After that, there is a disconnect between Fed guidance and market expectations regarding how long higher rates will prevail. Fed officials indicate keeping rates at higher levels through the rest of 2023, while bond futures indicate a Fed pivot to lower rates as early as summer. This has resulted in a tug of war between equity and fixed income markets, with a trading range prevailing in both

The Fed’s Dilemma

Fed members, including Chairman Jerome Powell, believe the labor market is still too hot. They insist it must loosen considerably (that is, unemployment must go up) to contain wage inflation and avoid a wage-price spiral developing, similar to the 1970s. The inflation problem is compounded by a permanent reduction in the labor force due in large part to the pandemic, requiring the Fed to hold rates higher for longer. Currently, job openings stand at 1.7 times the number of available workers, down from twice that in early 2022. However, numbers are still substantially above full employment levels which prevailed before the pandemic.

The Economic Outlook

The economy has been growing at a good pace, though pockets of weakness have developed, especially in manufacturing and housing. Consumers are still spending, thanks to a residual cash balance of about $1.2 trillion from pandemic stimulus checks. However, spending continues to favor such services as restaurants and travel (including airlines and lodging), which benefited from the pandemic. Going forward, hefty cost of living increases for Social Security recipients, as well as pay increases for federal, state, and local employees will provide more funds for consumer spending. This should help support the economy until at least mid-year.

Sometime in the second half of 2023, the economy could slow considerably due to cumulative effects of rapid Fed tightening and consumers depleting pandemic stimulus checks. With demand slowing, unemployment will begin to pick up and a recession, or at least a “stall speed” economy with little to no growth, will become a real possibility. Events abroad, such as the war in Ukraine and China’s uncertain emergence from Covid, remain risks to the global outlook for economic growth.

Investment Strategy for 2023

Recall that throughout 2022 we reduced the equity weightings for portfolios and increased fixed income allocations. At first, we added to short-term instruments such as money market funds, which were one of the few investments that did not lose principal value in a down market. As yields on longer dated Treasuries such as the 10-year note rose over 3.50%, we began to slowly reallocate a portion of the short-term fixed income into longer maturity bond investments. As the economy weakens and longer yields peak, we will continue to reallocate towards longer-term fixed income from money market funds.

We also rotated many of the equity holdings into lower valuation and defensive stocks, which should do better in a slow growth or recessionary environment. Further large reductions in US equity weightings are not likely, since at current levels, the upside to downside potential return is much better than it has been since the pandemic. At some point, we may add to international holdings, as some countries are very attractively valued while possessing above average growth potential for the next several years.

2023 will feature numerous cross currents still due to the pandemic. This includes the uneven progress of supply chain issues, effects from a structurally smaller labor force and changing consumer spending patterns. Other factors such as Fed tightening and its effects on the economy will also play a leading role. We advise our clients to be patient and not overreact to individual events, as such actions could detract meaningfully from investment returns.

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW JANUARY 2023

“Without your health, your money is worthless.” – Suze Orman Fourth Quarter Summary Global financial markets generally rose in the fourth quarter, but still ended 2022 with steep losses. Equities rose nicely in October and November, buoyed by better-than-feared...

read more

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW OCTOBER 2022

“The dollar is our currency, but it’s your problem.”  --  John Connally, U.S. Treasury Secretary, 1971-1972 Third Quarter Recap Financial markets fell broadly after a roller-coaster summer. Equities rose sharply for the first several weeks of the quarter, but swooned...

read more

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW JULY 2022

Economic and Market Review and Outlook, July 2022 “It’s absolutely essential to restore price stability. Economies don’t work without price stability.”  --  Jerome Powell Second Quarter Review Financial markets fell again in the spring. Posting its worst first half...

read more

ECONOMIC AND MARKET REVIEW APRIL 2022

“It is appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity.” – Albert Einstein First Quarter Recap Almost all financial market indices fell during the first quarter. Equities were generally lower: The S&P 500 dropped 4.6% while the Nasdaq 100 dipped 20%...

read more

MARKET UPDATE MARCH 2022: CURRENT EVENTS

The Rice Partnership's Chief Investment Officer, Orest Saikevych, discusses the war in Ukraine, the recent FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting and their effects on the economy and financial markets.

read more
The opinions expressed herein are those of The Rice Partnership and are subject to change without notice. Nothing in this material should be construed as an offer to purchase or sell any product or security. This material was created to provide accurate and reliable information on the subjects covered but should not be regarded as a complete analysis of these subjects. It is not intended to provide specific legal, tax or other professional advice. The services of an appropriate professional should be sought regarding your individual situation. The Rice Partnership reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

The Rice Partnership is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about The Rice Partnership, including our investment strategies, fees and objectives, can be found in our Form ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.

Get in touch

Copyright. The Rice Partnership. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer       |       Privacy statement       |      Form CRS       |       Current Openings

OAHU OFFICE 1099 Alakea Street, Suite 2510 • Honolulu, Hawaii 96813 T: 808.585.7788 | Map

MAUI OFFICE 444 Hana Highway, Suite 203 • Kahului, Hawaii 96732 T: 808.446.8299 | Map

CALIFORNIA OFFICE 1304 Santa Rosa Street • San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 T: 805.517.4122 | Map