In a year when almost every S&P 500 sector was in the red, the energy sector surged 64.56%, according to S&P data. While the portfolios of energy investors looked great, energy bills for the home were another story. High energy prices took a bite out of the household budgets for many. However, a reversal seems to be in play this month. The energy sector is now under pressure as natural-gas prices have fallen more than 60% from their 52-week high due to a warmer-than-expected winter. While energy prices falling is good for household budgets, it’s bad news for energy stock investors. Matt Portillo, head of research at Tudor, Pickering, Holt, told Barron’s that “The warmer-than-expected winter pulled forward the expected decline in natural gas price. Stocks could fall an additional 20% to 30% until they find a bottom.” Wall Street analysts expect more volatility in natural-gas prices in the months ahead, but patient investors can look forward to better valuations for energy stocks in the second half of the year. Paul Diamond, an analyst at Citigroup, wrote in a note Tuesday that “We expect the coming volatility to present a better entry point than is currently available and expect recent volatility to persist through the winter, at which point eyes will turn to the build for next winter.”
Finsum:With natural gas prices falling due to a warmer-than-expected winter, energy stock prices have taken a hit, which could lead to more attractive valuations in the second half of the year.
Last month, we wrote about a survey that revealed advisors are seeing the importance of active ETFs since owning passive index-only ETFs left them too exposed to market conditions. Another survey was performed this month showing similar results. VettaFi held a webcast called Active Strategies for Rising Rate Headwinds that featured Franco Ditri and Chris Murphy of T. Rowe Price and Todd Rosenbluth of VettaFi talking about the Fed’s monetary policy outlook and how financial advisors can incorporate active strategies into a bond portfolio. After the webcast, a poll was taken revealing that more advisors are seeing the need to add active management to their portfolios, given the likelihood that the Fed will continue to raise rates. The majority of respondents expect to increase their exposure to active ETF strategies, with 50% being “very likely” and 39% saying they are “somewhat likely.” Of those, 39% of respondents said they would most likely consider high-yield/bank loan funds for exposure, with 27% saying they would consider active short-term bond funds. In addition, 20% are contemplating core-plus and 14% are looking toward core bond funds. If the Fed continues its tightening policy, actively managed fixed-income strategies could help reduce risk.
Finsum:A post-webcast poll revealed that more advisors are seeing the importance of active fixed income with the Fed continuing to pursue a tight monetary policy.
Warnings are piling up for high-yield bonds. The asset class could take a big hit if the Fed’s rate hikes push the U.S. economy into a recession, sparking rating downgrades and defaults. But that hasn’t stopped investors from piling into junk bond ETFs. In fact, of the nearly $11 billion that flooded into fixed-income ETFs over the past week, $1.6 billion flowed into the iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG), the most of any fund, according to Bloomberg data. It’s difficult for investors to resist yields near the highest levels of the past decade according to CreditSights. Zachary Griffiths, a senior fixed-income strategist with CreditSights, said the following on Bloomberg Television, “Yields look too good to be short. The potential for returns in the 12% area makes high-yield an attractive place to be and we’re also more optimistic on the economic front, which is very important for our call.” With money flowing into high yield and other corporate credit, demand is falling for cash-like short-term bond ETFs. For example, more than $860 million flowed out of the iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) in the past week, after $6.6 billion flowed into the fund last year.
Finsum:With yields on high-yield bonds near a ten-year high, it’s difficult for investors to resist junk bond ETFs, even with warnings piling up.
The real estate market took a big hit last year as interest rates rose substantially. As debt became more expensive, real estate investors lost purchasing power. For instance, the average 30-year fixed mortgage is more than double where it was in January 2021. This led to sales of luxury homes in the U.S. falling 38.1% from the previous year during the three months ending on November 30th. According to Redfin, it was the largest decline on record. Ari Rastegar, the founder, and CEO of Rastegar Property Company believes that if investors have the liquidity and the ability to execute on investment opportunities, this is a generational buying opportunity. He noted, "This is not 2008 where the banks are jeopardized. The banks have good bills of health, we don't have these subprime loans that are going to blow up. Additionally, we are beginning to see inflation soften. The Consumer Price Index, which peaked in June at 9.1%, has been gradually declining.” He also noted investors don't have to invest in property to take advantage of this opportunity. He told Business Insider that REITs are also on clearance. Rastegar expects the multi-family and industrial property to recover the fastest and recommends looking at the Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust (BREIT) and the Starwood Real Estate Income Trust (SREIT).
Finsum:Due to a record decline in luxury home sales in the U.S., real estate investor Ari Rastegar believes this is a general buying opportunity for investors.
After a brutal year in the markets, you wouldn’t blame investors for being cautious in 2023. However, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee believes that history favors a 20% stock-market return in 2023. According to Fundstrat, “Historical data shows there is a high chance that the U.S. stock market may record a return of 20% or more this year after the three major indexes closed 2022 with their worst annual losses since 2008.” Lee basis this on the fact that in the 19 instances of negative S&P 500 returns since 1950, over half of those years were followed by the index gaining more than 20%. He and his team believe that three possible catalysts would enable stocks to produce 20% gains this year. The first catalyst is lower inflation. They expect lower inflation to set the stage for the Fed to stop raising rates and eventually start to lower them. Fundstrat also believes that wage gains will slow and volatility will fall. According to Fundstrat, equity and bond market volatility is likely to fall sharply in 2023 in response to a drop in inflation and a less hawkish Fed. Lee and his team wrote in a note that “Our analysis shows this drop in VIX is a huge influential factor in equity gains, which would further support over 20% gains in stocks.”
Finsum:Due to historical data, lower inflation, slowing wage gains, and falling volatility, Fundstrat’s Tom Less believes that the market will gain 20% or more this year.