The beginning of a calendar year is often the time when the previous year’s reflections transition to a new year’s hopes. Given the market’s continued instability during 2022 and a resulting tough period for stock and bond prices, everyone is hoping for a fresh start. And history gives us cause for optimism following a difficult year. While each new year brings its own unique circumstances–and having a well-balanced plan helps–more often than not, bad market years are followed by good ones. This is especially the case following a mid-term election year.
Since 1950, there have been 18 mid-term election years, and in each instance, the S&P 500 Index has been higher in the subsequent year. Not only have stocks been positive in those cases, but the Index has been higher by 14.7% on average. Stocks also typically perform well when two parties share power in Washington, D.C., and November’s election ushered in a Republican majority in the House, balancing the power once again.
If we look at all calendar years following negative S&P 500 Index outcomes, the S&P 500 Index had back-to-back negative years in only four instances since 1930. Those occasions occurred during the Great Depression, World War II, the 1970s, and the dot.com bubble years (early 2000s)—periods perhaps more economically dismal than what we face today. So while we can’t rely on history repeating itself, it does give us a reason for optimism.
We remain mindful that the coming year will not be without fundamental challenges. While falling, inflation remains high, and a mild U.S. recession is expected in 2023. Corporate profit growth is expected to be flat, and consumer spending growth should also slow. Meanwhile, deteriorating U.S. relations with China and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict add risks for the economy and markets. But these challenges are offset by still-strong consumer and corporate balance sheets and the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will stop hiking interest rates in the first half of 2023, which may help give stock prices a boost.
The volatile market in 2022 has lowered stock valuations relative to their earnings, suggesting many of the above concerns may have already been priced in. This leads us to believe that 2023 is unlikely to be a repeat of the year just passed. While it is always a good idea to have a plan for stormy weather, history tells us that the winds may be a bit more in our favor this year.
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.
References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
All data is provided as of January 4, 2023.
Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.
All index data from FactSet.
This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Global Retirement Partners, LLC (GRP), a registered investment advisor. Insurance services offered through HUB International. GRP, Washington Financial Group and HUB International are separate and unaffiliated with LPL Financial. Washington Financial Group is the approved name under which LPL Financial business is conducted.