MORGAN STANLEY: S&P 500 May Drop Another 22% in 2023?

By Staff Reporters

Many investors were happy to wave goodbye to 2022, Wall Street’s worst year since 2008. The S&P finished down 19.4%, while the tech centered NASDAQ shed 33.1%. The blue-chip focused Dow Jones did better, losing just 8.8% across the year. Unfortunately, a number of senior investment bankers predict 2023 could bring more stock market woes. Most recently, in fact, Morgan Stanley Chief U.S. Equity Strategist & Chief Investment Officer, Michael Wilson, said he thought the S&P 500 could drop by another 22% in 2023.

Wilson wrote in a note this week that next year’s losses could be more significant than many are expecting. According to Bloomberg, Wilson thinks a peak in inflation would be “very negative for profitability.” He added, “The consensus could be right directionally, but wrong in terms of magnitude.”

Some analysts think that when inflation peaks, the Federal Reserve will ease up on its aggressive rate hikes and the stock market will recover. But Wilson argues this is only part of the picture. He thinks falling prices would have a knock-on effect on company profits, and the subsequent drop in margins would outweigh any benefit from a change in the Fed’s stance.

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Wilson also alerted clients to the risk that companies would be caught “off guard” by a combination of falling demand and a catch up in supply. Supply chain issues, caused by a mix of COVID-19 lock downs, labor shortages, and other factors, have contributed to price increases and had a negative impact on production. If the supply chain starts to recover at the same time as recession-induced drops in consumption levels, he thinks the stock market could fall further.

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