Opinion & Commentary

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1 Bumpy Dirt Roads to paved road makes an excellent journey

“There’s a bumpy dirt road before you get to the paved road.” Rough dirt roads were part of my everyday life while growing up in the country. To get about anywhere, you first had to navigate a bumpy road before getting to the good one. I expect the market in 2023 to be a lot like that, bumpy in the ...
Richard Baker

“There’s a bumpy dirt road before you get to the paved road.” Rough dirt roads were part of my everyday life while growing up in the country. To get about anywhere, you first had to navigate a bumpy road before getting to the good one. I expect the market in 2023 to be a lot like that, bumpy in the beginning leading to a good ride.

Like Bumpy dirt road, U.S. stocks ended 2022 down, making it the worst year for stocks since 2008 as the market wrestled with high inflation and a potential recession.

December 2022 Fed meeting minutes released on January 4th

Bumpy Dirt Roads
Bumpy Dirt Roads

Investors have started 2023 nervous about whether the Federal Reserve can tame inflation without damaging the economy too much. Economic growth and inflation seem to be slowing, encouraging investors that the Fed could be close to slowing or ending its rate hike policy. However, in the December 2022 Fed meeting minutes released on January 4th, the Fed officials said that rates might need to remain high for a while. Their statements seemed to be an attempt to squash investor optimism.

I think the markets in 2023 will be a “two-sided coin.” The first side would be when the Fed raises rates at least one more time, making the first part of the year more challenging. The second side would come after the Fed announces a policy change, giving us the chance of a strong rally for the rest of the year. So this year is about when the Fed stops raising rates, not if.

Through several downturns and recessions, the stock market has always rebounded.

The stock market has always recovered through many downturns, recessions, and political crises. Investors who are patient and can take advantage of market declines are usually rewarded. 

According to LPL Research, the S&P 500 Index has averaged 15% since 1950 and has been positive 15 out of 18 years after a year of decline.

Since 1950, the S&P 500 Index has averaged 15% and been positive 15 out of 18 years following down a year, according to LPL Research. LPL thinks the S&P could end 2023 at 4,400–4,500, which would be a 15–17% increase from now. So if we can endure the bumpy road in the short term, there is a chance we could get rewarded by year-end. 

I enjoyed driving on dirt roads

I enjoyed driving on bumpy dirt roads when I was first driving, especially sliding the rear end of my car around the corners like I was on The Dukes of Hazzard. There aren’t as many bumpy dirt roads today because the counties keep paving them. But if you find yourself on a beat-up, bumpy dirt road, just endure it because a smooth, paved road is just ahead. I think it’s the same with the market this year; we will need to endure the beginning to get to the smoother ride up ahead.

Have a blessed week!

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Richard Baker

Dr. Richard Baker, AIF® is the founder of and an executive wealth advisor at Fervent Wealth Management.
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