Market Snapshot: Why risk of lower 2023 earnings spells bad news for stock market as inflation crushes Fed-pivot hopes

by | Oct 15, 2022 | Stock Market

Unrelenting inflation has dashed hopes for a quick pivot away from aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, which in turn is undermining the U.S. corporate earnings outlook for 2023 and fueling debate about whether the next major financial crisis might be on the way.September’s hotter-than-expected consumer-price index report, which included the seventh consecutive 8%-plus annual headline inflation rate, left little doubt that persistent price pressures are here to stay through at least year-end. Economists and traders are now putting a 5% fed-funds rate target on the map for next year, a level seen as having negative ramifications for corporate earnings and the stock market. It might also raise concerns over a possible meltdown in markets and the economy on the scale of the 2007-2009 Great Financial Crisis and recession. As the third-quarter bank earnings season kicked off on Friday — with announcements by JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM, Citigroup Inc. C, Wells Fargo & Co. WFC and Morgan Stanley MS — there was still a modicum of hope that other corporate results might hold up for now. Stocks also managed to pull off a shocking rally on Thursday despite September’s hot inflation reading, which analysts attributed to short-covering by investors following a six-session selloff that left the S&P 500
SPX,
-2.37%
at its lowest close since November 2020 on Wednesday. Read: Why stocks scored a historic bounce after another hot inflation report and Thursday was ‘one of the craziest days of my career’ in markets, says BlackRock’s Rick RiederStill, “everyone understands that earnings estimates for next year — with 8% being the consensus estimate for 2023 earnings growth compared to 2022 — are kind of fantasy at this point,” said Dan Eye, chief investment officer at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Harrisburg, Pa., which oversees $5 billion in assets. “I don’t think any strategist or analyst who follows the market closely really anticipates that earnings are going to hold up into 2023. We are in a situation where it’s a matter of how far they need to be marked down.”Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index continues to trade in “a falling channel” that’s been in place since mid-August, according to Fiona Cincotta, a senior financial markets analyst at City Index in London. Friday’s drop below 3,600 in the S&P 500 keeps sellers “hopeful of further downside,” while a …

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