Are We Truly In a Secular Bear Market or Are We Experiencing a Relief Rally?

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Are We Truly In a Secular Bear Market or Are We Experiencing a Relief Rally?

By Ekzaga Staff

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The stock market has been on a roller coaster ride over the past few months and pretty much the whole of 2022, and investors are wondering whether we are in a secular bear market or just experiencing a relief rally. While there are arguments to be made for both scenarios, it is important to look at the underlying fundamentals to make an informed decision. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the current state of the stock market and what it could mean for investors going forward.

Dead Cat Bounce? Key Highlights

1. The bear-market rally has caused immense pain for shorts 

2. A basket of the most-hated stocks has jumped 4% recently, extending the new-year rally 

3. The S&P 500’s up-day median gain in 2022 was the largest since 1938 

4. Many investors are still sceptical about the market’s current state 

5. Some experts believe that this rally is simply a “dead cat bounce” 

6. Only time will tell if this bear market is truly over

2022 vs 2023

Financial markets had a dismal year in 2022 after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates to combat inflation; 425 basis points of rate hikes were instituted. Although the December jobs report saw unexpectedly robust payrolls, Fed officials are not convinced that the slowing of economic growth is taking place and continue to keep rates restrictive.

Experts caution that if unemployment should reach 4.7% by 2023 as it's currently predicted, this could catalyze a recession. Wall Street analysts forecast bear markets in 2023, with corporate earnings expecting up to 25% losses in the S&P 500 in the first half of next year due to overly optimistic estimates.

1st Key Indicator hich will tell the outcome- Inflation

Last year, increased inflation prompted the Federal Reserve to raise rates, resulting in a decline in the stock market, especially among growth stocks that had been priced for potential returns. For the Fed to scale back on rate hikes and revert them closer to pre-2019 levels, inflation must be reduced towards the target of 2%, as noted by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. To determine how close or far away from that goal inflation is at any given time, it's important to pay attention to what indicator the Fed follows - personal consumption expenditure (PCE).

According to the December projections by the Federal Reserve, they expect the PCE index to drop down to 3.1% by 2023. If data shows that PCE is trending below this level throughout 2021, this should have a positive impact on stocks and crypto assets.

2nd Key Indicator which will tell the outcome- Interest Rates

Interest rates have been a major topic of discussion in forex trading and currency markets over the last year. The federal funds rate has been raised from 4.25% to 4.50%, but this is just one of many interest rates that impact stocks, with an inverse relationship between bond yields rising and stocks falling, and bond yields falling and stocks rising. Despite the forecast for an additional 75 basis points in rate hikes for this year, however, the interest rate on the benchmark 10-year

Treasury Note has fallen from its October peak of 4.33%, all the way down to 3.45%. This suggests that investors believe the risk of prolonged elevated rates may be waning, and further indicates more favourable conditions for stock investments. Furthermore, a decrease in inflation has likely contributed to this shift in interest rates as well.

3rd Key Indicator which will tell the outcome- DXY

The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) witnessed remarkable growth in 2022, with a 7.5 per cent uptick recorded over the calendar year across Forex trading platforms. This beat assets like gold, which is traditionally considered an inflation hedge and better performing than stocks in the global financial market.

As such, Forex analyst, Abbas Gayed suggested that investors re-evaluate their mindset when looking to commit funds towards US investments and consider alternatives such as emerging markets ETFs. He noted that these may not have tech-based components but could still cater to value sectors or commodities.

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