Market Outlook 2023: Navigating Economic Uncertainty

Market Outlook 2023: Navigating Uncertainty in Geopolitical and Macro-Economic Headwinds

As we enter 2023, the market outlook is facing a multitude of uncertainties as the geopolitical and macroeconomic headwinds that plagued us in 2022 still persist. The global economy did not see the strength that many had hoped for, as unprecedented inflation swept through economies not seen in almost two generations.

The Fed and other central banks tightened monetary policy, widening credit spreads, and causing sell-offs across equity markets. Political strife in several areas across the globe did not help the situation either, and to top it off, we saw the biggest war in Europe since World War II with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Where are the markets now, and what can we expect for the future? While we cannot predict the future, it is reasonable to anticipate that many of the challenges we faced last year will continue to affect the market outlook for the foreseeable future. The Ukraine War, in particular, will likely have a significant impact on investor confidence as it continues to unfold. The direction of domestic and global inflation is another area of uncertainty.

While U.S. inflation seems to be slowing down, history has shown that we could still be returning to an accelerating pace of rising prices. This makes it difficult to predict how inflation will affect economic growth in a monetary tightening environment. Therefore, we should expect continued turbulence across asset classes, strategies, and markets.

Despite the challenges, there were some managers and strategies that successfully navigated the 2022 environment and generated strong returns for investors. These include global macro, equity market neutral, multi-strategy on the hedge fund side, and private credit, LBO, and some venture on the private markets side. These managers and strategies may be well-positioned to capitalize on global uncertainty if these trends continue in 2023.

As we face more uncertainties from a political, social, and economic point of view, this may be the start of a golden age for alternative assets. Alternative assets may provide a way for investors to diversify their portfolios and potentially generate strong returns in the face of continued market volatility.

2022 Year in Review


To better understand the market outlook for 2023, we must first reflect on what happened in 2022. While there was a lot of volatility in prices, the year started and ended with almost identical rates of inflation (7.04% on Dec 31, 2021; and 7.11% on Nov 30, 2022). Despite this consistency, inflation had a significant impact on the markets, with low growth and rising rates causing credit spreads to widen and equities to sell off.

Alternative Assets Outperformed in 2022 Amidst Volatility and Uncertainty

In the world of finance, the year 2022 was marked by an unprecedented degree of volatility and uncertainty. As the Federal Reserve started to tighten monetary policy, raising the Federal Funds rate by 75 bps at its July meeting, the immediate impact on growth was apparent, with two quarters of contraction in the middle of the year and a significant slowdown in employment.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence and spending, as well as the housing market, remained robust, while business confidence, as measured by the ISM Purchasing Managers Index, only recently turned negative in Nov of 2022.

In public asset markets, nearly all USD-denominated risk assets experienced a year-over-year selloff, including the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, U.S. Treasuries, Barclays AGG, and cryptocurrencies, as well as some energy, agricultural, and industrial commodities prices. As a recent article in Vox put it, "the economy just doesn't make sense anymore."

However, despite this backdrop of turbulence, some alternative assets saw strong performance throughout 2022. Hedge funds, in particular, outperformed the S&P and AGG in 2022, with nearly every HFRI index delivering positive returns. Strategies that traditionally capitalize on high volatility and market uncertainty, such as Global Macro, saw particularly strong returns, with the HFRI Total Macro Index returning +9% over the last year, and the HFRI Equity Market Neutral Index seeing returns of nearly 2%.

On the private market side, while overall performance with private equity remained muted, private credit experienced enormous growth, driven by a handful of factors. As rates rose and risk appetite dropped, the primary market for syndicated and leveraged loans nearly evaporated, with a transition from banks being the primary source of funding to the direct lender ecosystem within private credit.

At the same time, investors' allocations to private credit have gone to a smaller pool of funds, as the private credit markets have started to mature, with investors finding themselves more selective when choosing a manager as the importance of diversification, track record, experience, and independent service providers rises to the forefront of investors' minds as recession fears loom.

Market Outlook for 2023: Insights for Investors

As the world enters 2023, uncertainty looms over the global economy. While it is challenging to predict the market outlook for this year, the events of 2022 offer insights into the factors that could affect the markets. In this article, we will look at some of the key issues that investors should consider before making investment decisions.


Geopolitical Front: Tensions in Key Regions

Geopolitical factors such as war, civil unrest, and political tensions are likely to continue to affect markets in 2023. The ongoing war in Ukraine and tensions in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea may have a significant impact on the public’s perception of the global economy. Additionally, the sociopolitical unrest that Iran experienced in the last several months may escalate, further affecting the markets.

The Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 remains a critical factor affecting the global economy, and it is likely to continue to do so in 2023. As China shifts from its zero-COVID approach to a more open economy, we can expect some degree of social strife as society adjusts.

The resurgence in purchasing power experienced by China after the initial lull from COVID-19 in late 2020 could lead to supply chain bottlenecks that could spill over to other parts of the world. At the same time, the recent rise in cases and deaths in China could result in a reactionary shutdown, affecting its economy and industrial capacity.

Macro-economic Front: Inflation and GDP

Forecasting how inflation and GDP will perform is challenging. However, investors and analysts anticipate a slowdown, possibly even a mild recession in the US, as the Fed Reserve continues to restrict monetary policy. If inflation were to plummet faster than expected, rate hikes might decelerate, pause, or even reverse in 2023, as the effects of 2022’s rate hikes permeate throughout the economy.

Where Can Investors Turn This Year?

Given the high level of uncertainty in the global economy and political sphere, investors may be well placed to consider alternative investments. Global macro, a strategy where hedge fund managers nimbly play across marketplaces, countries, and asset classes, to capitalize on market dislocations, may be worth considering.

In a slow growth environment, equity market neutral may be effective at avoiding overall equity market beta. Private credit may also see outperformance, given the continued issues with regulatory treatment of private debt for banks removing the available supply of credit, credit spreads remaining elevated, and rates continuing to rise, as most private debt are floating rate assets.

LBO/take-private strategies may benefit from the weakness in public equity markets. Weaker overall economic growth can present opportunities for successful managers to strive to turn underperforming public companies around and effectively identify synergies and rectify inefficiencies within target companies.


While many of the challenges experienced in 2022 will continue to affect the economy and markets in 2023, this year may bring a host of new concerns, issues, and conflicts. Rather than worrying about the dynamics of individual assets and markets, investors may find it more effective to consider alternative assets that can capitalize on global uncertainty.

As such, many of the same strategies that performed well in 2022 may continue outperforming the public markets. Investors should identify managers with a long track record through multiple market cycles, diversified portfolios, skin in the game, and independent service providers. While many managers will reap great gains in 2023, investors should exercise caution and diversify their portfolios to strive to mitigate risks.

Innovative ways to plan a REIT Investment

A REIT generally has large investment properties in their portfolio. A REIT usually leases properties to tenants and earns income in the form of rent, which is then divided among its shareholders. In order to qualify as a REIT, a company must comply with the following rules –

How a REIT generates revenue?

Most REITs lease properties to tenants and make money from the rents, which is then divided among the shareholders as dividends. The majority of REITs trade on the National Stock Exchange and can be easily bought or sold. On the other hand, some REITs lend money to investors and earn interests on the loan. As you can see, a REIT’s source of income varies depending upon the sector in which that particular REIT operates.

Varieties of REITs

Profit  = (Annual interest income – annual interest expense)
             =$(3.5-1) million
            = $2.5 million.

The majority of REITs are equity REITs. However, trusts like mortgage REITs or publicly traded REITs also have their own benefits. Therefore, it’s important that you speak to an experienced REIT advisor, who can guide you through each of these REITs more deeply. We do have a team of highly qualified advisors for you. In no time, you could speak to up to three advisors.

Invest in REITs for long-term benefits

There won’t be any human on this planet who doesn’t want a secure and stable source of income in their life, particularly after retirement. That’s why people invest in mutual funds. The return may not be high, but there is an assurance. Same goes with REITs in real estate investment. REITs provide fixed returns (subject to market fluctuations) which increases along with the age of the investment. Though not every REIT functions in this way. There are different kinds of REITs available in the market, some of which trade on the National Stock Exchange.

Variation in REITs –

A Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT is a legal trust that owns, and in most cases, operates real estate properties. This kind of investment requires long term commitment and may not suit investors who like short-term benefits. The majority of REITs lease spaces to tenants and receive rents on those properties. On the other hand, some REITs fund loans to real estate developers.

Benefits of REIT Investment –

REIT investment is generally accompanied with many benefits, some of which are –

A Step By Step Guide for your REIT Investment

Published On - July 26, 2019

It’s an investor’s responsibility to keep searching for different investment options from time to time. Real estate investment requires a lot of patience and a positive attitude even in adverse situations. Buying a property only requires capital. However, maintaining the same property for a long time requires capital as well as a significant amount of time. That’s why some investors prefer mutual fund investment or Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) over large individual real estate investments. An alternative to a mutual fund or ETF investment is Real Estate Investment Trust.

What is a REIT?

A Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT is a company or trust that owns, manages, and in most cases, operates income-producing real estate properties. REITs allow investors to own shares in real estate properties without the burden of purchasing and managing those properties. The majority of REITs lease spaces to tenants and earn rents on those properties. While some REITs also lend money to real estate developers and earn interest on the loan. This kind of investment requires a long-term commitment and it isn’t for investors seeking short-term benefits.

Who is it for?

Any investor can invest in REITs. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, a REIT investment offers similar benefits to everyone. However, it may not suit every investor. An investment structure like REIT is more beneficial for retirees or someone who is on the verge of retirement than someone who is young and looking for short-term investments.  As REITs provide a steady flow of income for a long time, it suits people who have already hung their boots or are planning to do so.

What are the different types of REITs?

How to invest in a REIT?

You can invest in a REIT the way you invest in other company’s stocks or bonds. A REIT’s stocks can be easily purchased and sold on the National Stock Exchange. When you buy shares in a REIT, you invest in the trust and not in real estate properties. That’s why a REIT investment doesn’t qualify for a 1031 exchange. Real Estate advisors or experts can help in exploring the challenges that come with a REIT investment.

Should you use FFO or AFFO as a metric to measure a REIT’s cash flow?

Published On - July 26, 2019

Over the years, REIT investment has become a popular choice among real estate investors, particularly among the retirees. With benefits akin to that offered by a mutual fund investment, REIT lets investors invest in real estate properties without the burden of purchasing and managing those properties. The majority of REITs own, and in most cases operates, income-producing real estate properties. They lease spaces to tenants and then collect rents on those properties. Whereas, some REITs lend money to real estate investors and invest in mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

Equity or Mortgage REIT – Which is better?

Equity REITs own and operate real estate properties. The primary source of income of an Equity  REIT is the rent they receive by leasing spaces to strong tenants. These kinds of  REITs provide high liquidity as their shares can be easily purchased and sold on the National Stock Exchange.

Mortgage REITs (mREITs) function in a different way. They lend money to real estate investors and invest in mortgage and mortgage-backed securities. The spread between the interest earned on the mortgages and the cost of financing the loan determines a Mortgage REIT’s income.

Since the Equity and Mortgage REITs have different working models, both are beneficial in different ways. Investors seeking instant income can go with Equity REITs. However, as they trade on the National Stock Exchange, they are subject to market risks. On the other hand, those who require funds for their real estate adventures may find Mortgage REITs a blessing in disguise.

How to evaluate a REIT’s cash flow?

Some real estate analysts use FFO (Funds From Operations) as a metric to measure the revenue generated by a REIT. There is a whole formula for calculating FFO. Analysts calculate FFO by adding depreciation and amortization in the net income minus any gain from the sale of real estate properties.

FFO = Net income + Depreciation + Amortization – Gain from the sale of real estate

FFO helps in calculating a more precise value as it adds depreciation in the net income and subtracts any gain the REIT has made from the sale of its real estate. Some analysts also use AFFO (Adjusted Fund From Operations),an advanced version of FFO, to get a more precise value. While there is no derived formula for calculating AFFO, it is taken out by subtracting recurring expenditures from FFO that are first capitalized by a REIT and then amortized. It could be some minor maintenance expenses such as money spent on changing floor carpet or repairing damaged ceiling, and so on.

AFFO =  FFO – Recurring Capital Expenditure

Both FFO and AFFO are used by analysts for calculating a REIT’s cash flow, and you too can use either of them. As REITs don’t need to make maintenance expenditures every day, you may ignore it. However, if you need a more precise value, consider subtracting it from a REIT’s FFO.

Everything You Should Know About Real Estate Investment Trust

Published On - August 12, 2019

Though real estate investments offer great benefits, they don’t guarantee fixed returns. Holding an investment for a long time may result in rising maintenance expenditure on the property, which increases an investor’s liabilities. To give investors a flexible and more secure investment structure, REIT investment was introduced in the United States.

What is a REIT?

A Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT is a company that owns, and in most cases, operates income-producing properties. Akin to mutual fund investment, REITs allow investors to invest in a more flexible and secure investment structure. The majority of REITs lease spaces to tenants and receive rents on those properties. That’s their main source of income.  On the other hand, some REITs lend money to real estate investors and invest in mortgage and mortgage-backed securities.

How a REIT is formed?

A company must fulfill the following requirements to form a REIT –

Benefits of REIT Investment –

Types of REIT –

What’s the right time to invest in REITs?

There is no so-called right time to invest in REITs. REIT investment can be planned anytime in a calendar as it provides the same benefits irrespective of the time when the investment is made. However, you may want to consult your financial advisor or a REIT expert before investing in REITs.

Private vs. Public REITs: Finding the Best Financial Fit

The reasons why an individual chooses to invest vary; however, most cite earning a high return on investment as one of their financial objectives. Whether it is immediate income or capital appreciation, wealth accumulation is a primary consideration for investors.

One investment that meets this financial objective, while providing additional benefits, is a real estate investment trust (REIT). A REIT is “a corporation that owns and/or manages income-producing commercial real estate. When individuals buy a real estate investment trust … share, they are purchasing a share of the company that owns and manages the rental property.”

Historically, REITs – both private and public – have outperformed the stock market, providing investors with higher returns than equity investments. This article reviews the types of REITs that exist, historical returns for private vs. public REITs, and ways to identify suitable investments for a portfolio.

Types of REITs: Public vs. Private

REITs can be classified as either private or public.

Public REITs

Public REITs are regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They must meet certain qualifications and register and file regular reports with the SEC.

Public REITs can be further divided into publicly traded and public non-traded. Anyone can invest in either type; however, the form of investment differs. Publicly traded REITs are traded on an exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or NASDAQ. Well-known publicly traded REITs include Camden Property Trust (CPT), Realty Income Corp (O), and The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC). Meanwhile, public non-traded REITs are purchased by working with an individual broker or financial advisor. Public non-traded REITs offer similar benefits and disadvantages as private REITs.

Private REITs

Private REITs are real estate funds or companies that are exempt from SEC registration and are available only to institutional or accredited investors. An accredited investor is defined as either 1) an individual whose net worth is more than $1 million, excluding their primary residence (individually or with a spouse or partner) or 2) an individual whose income is more than $200,000 (individually) or $300,000 (with a spouse or partner) in each of the prior two years and reasonably expects the same for the current year. Investments are available through private placement and, unlike public REITs, require a higher minimum investment, ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 (sometimes more).

REITs in Terms of the Numbers

Introduced in 1960, REITs have become a vital part of our economy. According to data released by Nareit:

While REITs are a major contributor to the economy, what returns are investors potentially going to achieve when adding REITs to their portfolio? To better answer this question, it’s important to look at the historical performance of public and private REITs and outline the risks associated with each. Accredited investors should consider both factors when determining which REIT to invest in.

REITs vs. Stocks

Before reviewing the difference in returns for private versus public REITs, let’s first look at how REITs perform compared to stocks. The Motley Fool explains that “REITs have outpaced the S&P 500's total return since NAREIT began tracking their performance in 1972. Thus, one could definitively state that REITs have outperformed stocks over the long term.” While “that has certainly been the case in more recent years as stocks outperformed REITs in 2019 and the prior 5- and 10-year periods … REITs have come out ahead over much longer timeframes as they've outpaced stocks during the last 20- and 25- year periods.”

Data reveals that “over a 25-year period, the index returned 9.05% compared to 7.97% for the S&P 500 and 7.41% for the Russell 2000.”

Private vs. Public REITs

Return on public REITs – more specifically, publicly traded REITs – can easily be determined. Since shares are publicly traded, these REITs are required to report their earnings and dividends. Looking at the past 10 years, “ as of June 2022, the index's 10-year average annual return was 8.34%. Over a 25 year period, the index returned 9.05% …”

Private REIT data, however, is not so simple to determine. Lack of transparency makes it more difficult for investors to understand what to expect. To help differentiate between the two, we turn to the expert opinion of Brad Thomas, an experienced real estate professional. Thomas recently shared an article outlining the difference between private and public REITs, pointing out that returns on private

REITs have the potential to be higher than those on public REITs. He recalls one of his experiences, which supports this possibility.

“When I harnessed institutional capital in 2003 and 2011 to co-found two net-lease REITs … the founding institutional investments flowed into STORE Capital (STOR) in 2011 and concluded prior to our 2014 IPO. By the time of their exit in the first quarter of 2016, our founding institutional shareholders had generated returns that exceeded their initial expectations and mine; they made an approximate 26% annual rate of return.”

He shares another example of what investors recently experienced in the private REIT sector. “In 2017, Blackstone (BX) introduced the Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust (BREIT), an open-ended privat REIT designed to deliver private real estate asset management to retail investors. … At the end of June 2022, BREIT's NAV per share had risen roughly 50%, versus just a 10% rise in VNQ's [Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund ETF, a publicly traded REIT] per share valuation. Much of the performance divergence rests in BREIT's investment mix.”

Historically, Thomas said, “had you been a buy-and-hold REIT investor between 1990 and 2022, you could have likely been happy socking away your 10.5% annual rates of return.”

Not all data reveals the same returns; however, most reports share the same concept: private REITs offer higher return potential than public REITs. To provide an alternative opinion, let’s look at an article released by The Motley Fool. According to certified financial planner Matthew Frankel, While Mr. Frankel discusses risks associated with private REITs and why they are not a great investment for everyone, he states that, “Generally speaking, private REITs pay higher dividends than comparable public REITs. Public REITs have historically paid dividend yields in the 5–6% range, on average, while private REIT dividend yields have historically been in the 7–8% ballpark, according to National Real Estate Investor.”

Where to Invest

As mentioned, all REITs – private, publicly traded, and public non-traded – all have unique pros and cons.

Public REITs “are a popular way of investing in commercial real estate, especially for those who have limited funds to invest. REITs have a low barrier to entry; someone can buy a single share for less than $100 … [and] these shares are generally highly liquid … [shares] can often be bought and sold with the click of a button just as you would trade other stocks or bonds. The liquidity of [public] REITs … makes them particularly attractive for those who want to diversify their portfolios by investing in commercial real estate, but who cannot or do not want to have their capital tied up for extended periods of time.”

By contrast, those looking for higher return potential should consider private REITs. However, investors must consider the associated risks. Private REITs are

The key to any portfolio is diversification. Incorporating a REIT option, including a private REIT, may protect investors against economic volatility. Those interested in learning more can speak with a qualified professional at Perch Wealth.

General Disclosure

Not an offer to buy, nor a solicitation to sell securities. Information herein is provided for information purposes only, and should not be relied upon to make an investment decision. All investing involves risk of loss of some or all principal invested. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Speak to your finance and/or tax professional prior to investing.

Securities offered through Emerson Equity LLC Member: FINRA/SIPC. Only available in states where Emerson Equity LLC is registered. Emerson Equity LLC is not affiliated with any other entities identified in this communication.

Real Estate Risk Disclosure:

Seeking to Build Wealth Through REIT Investing

Real estate investing has long been considered a reliable way to attempt to build wealth. However, real estate investing requires active management, driving away many of today’s accredited investors. In 1960, a solution to this problem was presented in the form of real estate investment trusts, or REITs – Congress established REITs to “allow individual investors to invest in large-scale, income-producing real estate. REITs provide a way for individual investors to earn a share of the income produced through commercial real estate ownership – without actually having to go out and buy commercial real estate.”

Since the introduction of REITs, the industry has been booming. National Real Estate Investor recently reported, “The U.S. alone boasts 222 publicly-traded REITs, and IRS records show that about 1,100 listed and non-listed REITs pay taxes. … REITs now operate in 39 countries overall. Today, the market cap of the FTSE Nareit All REITs Index, the broadest index for equity and mortgage REITs in the U.S., stands at $1.1 trillion.”

The question now is, how can one seek to build wealth through REITs? To understand the answer, let’s look at some primary concepts related to REITs, their historical returns, and the process for investing in REITs.

What is a REIT?

A REIT is a company that owns and operates income-producing real estate and real estate-related assets. REITs differ from other real estate funds in their structure and operation. Regarding operational intent, REITs acquire and develop real estate properties for their portfolios; their intent is not to buy and sell for a profit but rather to work to benefit from a long-hold period with the real estate.

Types of REITs

REITs can be broken into three categories:

  1. Equity REITs own and operate income-producing real estate.
  2. Mortgage REITs provide money to real estate owners and operators either directly in the form of mortgages or other real estate loans or indirectly through acquiring mortgage-backed securities.
  3. Hybrid REITs are companies that use the investment strategies of both equity REITs and mortgage REITs.

Generally, individual investors looking to build or preserve wealth invest in equity REITs over mortgage REITs because the latter often comes with greater risk. For example, mortgage REITs tend to be highly leveraged and, consequently, are vulnerable to changing interest rates. Therefore, those hoping to enjoy the benefits potentially provided by a REIT should consider an equity REIT option.

Seeking to Build Wealth Through REITs

REITs offer various potential avenues investors can leverage to attempt to build wealth. Here are a few.

Which REITs should one consider investing in?

REITs can be categorized in various ways, and most of today’s REITs specialize in investments in certain asset classes. For example, there are retail REITs, office REITs, residential REITs, healthcare REITs, and industrial REITs, to name a few. While each offers a different level of return potential, recent data from Motley Fool outlines how various REIT subgroups performed in recent decades compared to the S&P 500; it shows that all REIT subgroups have outperformed the S&P 500. The S&P 500 experienced a 9.3 percent average annual total return between 1994 and 2019. In contrast, office REITs averaged 12.9 percent; industrial REITs averaged 14.1 percent; retail REITs averaged 12 percent; residential REITs averaged 13.7 percent; diversified REITs averaged 9.8 percent; health care REITs averaged 13.4 percent; lodging/resort REITs averaged 10.2 percent; and self-storage REITs averaged 16.7 percent.

Thus, most REITs have the potential to help investors build wealth.

How does one invest in a REIT?

Investors – depending on their financial position – have three options for investing in REITs.

All investors can invest in publicly traded REITs and publicly non-traded REITs. Publicly traded REITs are regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); shares of these REITs are listed on a national securities exchange and publicly traded. Non-traded REITs are also registered with the SEC but are not publicly available. Rather, most investors must work with an individual broker or financial advisor.

While public non-traded REITs generally come with higher commissions and are less liquid, they tend to offer investors the potential for higher returns and greater stability since they are not subject to market fluctuations. However, this comes with increased risk, as well.

A third option – private REITs – are generally available only to institutions or accredited investors. This option typically represents the highest potential for both returns and risk.

Today, hundreds of REITs collectively own trillions in gross assets across the United States. Identifying which REIT is most suitable for a portfolio is best done by speaking with a qualified professional about today’s investment opportunities.

(1) The National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), which was formed in 1960, has been keeping track of historical return data for the REIT sector since 1972. It has developed several indexes to track returns, led by the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REIT Index. This index contains all 12 equity REIT subsectors (it excludes mortgage REITs, which aren’t classified in the real estate sector but are instead considered financial companies).