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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Not an offer to buy, nor a solicitation to sell securities. 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. Any information provided is for informational purposes only.
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.
Perch Financial LLC and Arkadios Capital LLC do not provide legal or tax advice. Securities offered through Arkadios Capital LLC Member FINRA/SIPC and MSRB registered. Arkadios Capital LLC is unaffiliated with any entity herein.
1031 Risk Disclosure:
No offer to buy or sell securities is being made. Such offers may only be made to qualified accredited investors via private placement memorandum. Risks detailed in a private placement memorandum should be carefully reviewed, understood, and considered before making such an investment. Prospective strategies and products used in any tax advantaged investment planning should be reviewed independently with your tax and legal advisors. Changes to the tax code and other regulatory revisions could have a negative impact upon strategies developed and recommendations made. Past performance and/or forward-looking statements are never an assurance of future results.
Many of the investments offered will be only available to those investors meeting the definition of an Accredited Investor under SEC Rule 501(A) and offered as Regulation D private placement securities via a Private Placement Memorandum (“PPM”). Prospective investors must receive, read, and understand all the risks associated with buying private placement securities. Investments are not guaranteed or FDIC insured and risks may include but are not limited to illiquidity, no guarantee of income or guarantee that all tax advantages or objectives will be met and complete loss of principal investment could occur.
Risk Disclosure: Alternative investment products, including real estate investments, notes & debentures, hedge funds and private equity, involve a high degree of risk, often engage in leveraging and other speculative investment practices that may increase the risk of investment loss, can be highly illiquid, are not required to provide periodic pricing or valuation information to investors, may involve complex tax structures and delays in distributing important tax information, are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds, often charge high fees which may offset any trading profits, and in many cases the underlying investments are not transparent and are known only to the investment manager. Alternative investment performance can be volatile. An investor could lose all or a substantial amount of his or her investment. Often, alternative investment fund and account managers have total trading authority over their funds or accounts; the use of a single advisor applying generally similar trading programs could mean lack of diversification and, consequently, higher risk. There is often no secondary market for an investor's interest in alternative investments, and none is expected to develop. There may be restrictions on transferring interests in any alternative investment. Alternative investment products often execute a substantial portion of their trades on non-U.S. exchanges. Investing in foreign markets may entail risks that differ from those associated with investments in U.S. markets. Additionally, alternative investments often entail commodity trading, which involves substantial risk of loss.
NO OFFER OR SOLICITATION: The contents of this website: (i) do not constitute an offer of securities or a solicitation of an offer to buy of securities, and (ii) may not be relied upon in making an investment decision related to any investment offering by Perch Financial LLC, Emerson Equity LLC, or any affiliate, or partner thereof. Perch Financial LLC does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein.