September 26, 2023


Learn Business From Experience

Q1 2023 | Quarter in Overview

7 min read

Quarter in Overview

The large story within the first quarter of 2023 was the failure of Silicon Valley Financial institution, Credit score Suisse and two different regional banks, representing the most important banks to fail since 2008. This brought on a short interval of instability within the capital markets and in banking particularly, nevertheless it additionally doubtless had a longer-term impression on the provision of credit score to companies and customers alike. Extra on that in a bit. Whereas the financial system grew at about 2.6% within the fourth quarter of 2022, it doubtless slowed a bit within the first quarter of 2023, with the Federal Reserve Financial institution of Atlanta’s GDP Now estimate at about 1.5% on April 5.

Considerably counterintuitively, Buyers largely cheered the slowing financial system as a result of a slowing financial system makes it much less doubtless that the Federal Reserve will increase rates of interest additional. Regardless of the volatility surrounding the financial institution failures, capital market returns have been largely optimistic through the quarter. The S&P 500 Index of enormous U.S. firms rose 7.5% within the first quarter. Smaller firms, represented by the Russell 2000 Index, gained simply 2.7% whereas worldwide shares represented by the MSCI EAFE Index rose 8.5%. The bond market benefitted from the sense that important additional rate of interest hikes have been unlikely. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell barely to three.48%, leading to a achieve for many bond classes. The Bloomberg U.S. Combination index gained 3.0% within the quarter whereas Excessive Yield “junk” bonds rose 3.7%. The Dow Jones US Actual Property Index rose 1.6% whereas final yr’s star asset class, commodities, dropped 4.9%.

Economic system

As soon as once more, the financial system will not be at the moment in a recession. Wanting on the indicators that the Nationwide Bureau of Financial Analysis (which determines when recessions start and finish), it’s clear that the financial system remains to be rising, although at a slower tempo than within the fourth quarter. Many indicators are softening, reminiscent of private incomes, industrial manufacturing and shopper spending, however to not the purpose of going into reverse.

Inflation continued to reasonable through the quarter, falling from 7.8% year-over-year development in October to six.0% in February. Most forecasters anticipate a continued downward pattern in inflation over the course of the yr, presumably ending the yr round 4%.

Q1 2023 Economy

The labor market stays robust however is dropping some momentum, although unemployment stays strong at round 3.5%. Wage development has eased and layoff bulletins are ticking up, signaling some future weak point in employment within the months forward. A cooling labor market ought to proceed to place downward strain on inflation, that means the Federal Reserve (Fed) could not must proceed to boost rates of interest as quick as they’ve over the previous yr.

One other issue that can affect the Fed’s pondering was the failure of some regional banks through the quarter as a result of these failures have been brought on partly by the Fed’s rate of interest hikes. To be clear, as one financial institution govt advised us, the basic difficulty was that these banks “failed banking 101” by failing to handle their rate of interest danger and failing to diversify their depositor base. Nevertheless it did expose some weaknesses within the banking system, forcing the Fed to ease up on the brakes a bit. From the Fed’s perspective, financial institution executives will doubtless be extra stringent in who they lend cash to going ahead, so a number of the work of slowing the financial system could also be finished by bankers tightening lending requirements relatively than by the Fed elevating rates of interest. The end result is prone to be the identical: considerably slower development within the months forward.

Larger rates of interest proceed to place strain on the housing market, whereas modifications in Federal spending additionally impression the financial system. Whereas it’s typically factor that the Federal funds deficit is lowering as a proportion of the financial system, it does imply that the federal government is spending much less cash and thus offering much less help for the financial system going ahead. It’s essential to do not forget that enormous federal authorities outlays through the pandemic did contribute to inflation. However like a sugar excessive that’s worn off, decreased federal spending right now is a drag on present financial exercise.

Globally, central banks exterior the U.S. have raised rates of interest whereas manufacturing exercise is softening within the U.S., Asia and Europe, at the same time as Companies stay robust. Curiously, charges are anticipated to fall sooner within the U.S. than overseas, presumably placing downward strain on the greenback and making worldwide investments extra enticing.


Many components have contributed to a slowing financial system, and it’s not a foregone conclusion {that a} recession should happen. Nevertheless it does appear extra doubtless, and the consensus appears to level to a recession starting someday this yr, however once more this isn’t sure. As soon as once more, our dashboard exhibits numerous warning lights, however no vibrant pink indicators. Yr-over-year company income have fallen dramatically over the previous yr, and company spending on big-ticket investments are prone to observe quickly.

Wanting ahead, present valuations on shares and bonds are extra enticing than they’ve been in years. The five-year anticipated returns on investments have improved considerably, although we will’t rule out falling costs (and thus improved future returns) within the coming months if a recession does happen. Despite the fact that shares have risen just lately, bond markets have priced in a reasonably important discount in rates of interest, signally an expectation of a recession within the coming quarters. We’d not be stunned by a drop in inventory costs adopted by a powerful restoration by year-end, although different eventualities are additionally potential.

Extra to the purpose, it’s practically inconceivable to time inventory market actions like that. For instance, historic durations when shopper sentiment concerning the financial system was at its worst have been a number of the finest occasions to purchase shares. Fairness costs are prone to be risky this yr as traders weigh the impression of a looming (or prevented) recession and negotiations in Washington round elevating the debt ceiling, amongst different geopolitical issues.

Our Portfolios

Our inventory publicity is at the moment broad primarily based and weighted in direction of giant U.S. firms. Our price bias has helped enhance efficiency regardless of the broad weak point of U.S. inventory markets to this point this yr, and customarily talking, worth firms are likely to outperform when rates of interest and inflation are increased. Our worldwide publicity stays balanced between hedged and unhedged investments and advantages from extra enticing valuations than comparable U.S. equities.

At present’s increased rates of interest imply that anticipated bond returns going ahead are extra enticing than they have been a yr in the past. Extra importantly, if our expectation of a recession is realized, rates of interest will doubtless settle again down, offering good returns to bonds ought to shares falter heading right into a recession. Bonds must be a greater diversifier this yr, particularly if markets are appropriate in forecasting decrease rates of interest heading into 2024. 

Q1 2023 Stock Market


Briefly, we proceed to anticipate volatility as traders put together for a potential recession and regulate their estimates for inventory costs accordingly. We’ll use such durations of volatility to rebalance portfolios and decide up shares (or bonds) at discounted costs, to raised revenue from the restoration that has adopted each single market decline for so long as there have been markets.

As all the time, we’re right here for you and are prepared to supply the steering and planning you anticipate from us. When you have any questions on your investments or your monetary plan, we’d love the chance to debate them with you.


Previous efficiency will not be a sign of future returns. Data and opinions offered herein mirror the views of the creator as of the publication date of this text. Such views and opinions are topic to alter at any level and with out discover. A few of the info offered herein was obtained from third-party sources believed to be dependable however such info will not be assured to be correct.

The content material is being offered for informational functions solely, and nothing inside is, or is meant to represent, funding, tax, or authorized recommendation or a advice to purchase or promote any varieties of securities or investments. The creator has not thought of the funding targets, monetary scenario, or explicit wants of any particular person investor. Any forward-looking statements or forecasts are primarily based on assumptions solely, and precise outcomes are anticipated to range from any such statements or forecasts. No reliance must be positioned on any such statements or forecasts when making any funding resolution. Any assumptions and projections displayed are estimates, hypothetical in nature, and meant to serve solely as a suggestion. No funding resolution must be made primarily based solely on any info offered herein.

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