Evaluating Recession Risks During a Bear Market & Inflation
The overall investment strategy and economic outlook presented by the managers at City National Rochdale, City National Bank's investment advisory organization, at their October 2022 market update wasn't significantly different than their September update, with the chances of a recession in the coming quarters remaining high.
The “Higher for Longer" thesis of Rochdale's investment advisors, which refers to higher levels of volatility, higher inflation and higher interest rates, remains intact, said Tom Galvin, chief investment officer for City National Rochdale.
The Risk of Recession
Rochdale's forecast keeps recession risk at a 60% probability, but Galvin said their consensus is that the recession will most likely be mild. The economy slowed during the first two quarters of 2022, but most fundamentals are still in positive territory, said Galvin. For example, consumers have excess savings, corporate balance sheets are in good shape and the labor market is still strong. In addition, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that GDP rose 2.6% during the third quarter of 2022.
When reviewing historic market performance going back to 1927, there's room for investor optimism about a market rebound over the next one to two years.
“We've de-risked appropriately to reflect the risks as we see them," said Galvin. “Should risks of a deeper structural bear market increase, we have a game plan. But it might be another six to nine months for returns to normalize."
Overall, Rochdale continues to stay cautious and anticipates above average volatility and below average returns in the near term. The investment team is watching persistent inflation issues and expects the Fed to continue to take action to slow inflation. The risk is that the Fed may tighten too much, but there's some optimism that the economy is heading towards a soft landing with at most a mild recession.
In an average recession, GDP declines by 2%, but Rochdale's consensus, suggests a GDP decline of 0 to -1%.
Volatility Appears to Be Declining
Analysis of data from the Bureau of Economic Research shows that the pandemic driven volatility experienced in investment, consumption, government spending and other key indicators is most likely behind us. The fourth quarter numbers are anticipated to be much less volatile than during the past two years.
U.S. Economy Remains Healthy Despite Recession Risk
An important source of optimism is that the foundation of the U.S. economy is healthy, with GDP up 15.2% since the end of the recession.
“This is a strong economy, so we have a great foundation to withstand a recession if we go into one," said Paul Single, managing director, senior economist and senior portfolio manager for City National Rochdale.
Household and corporate balance sheets are healthy, and banks continue to lend, which are all signs of strength.
Wages & Unemployment Affect Inflation
Rising wages are a key element of inflation, so the Fed and Rochdale anticipate some pain ahead before inflation can be reduced. The Fed needs to slow demand on the labor side, which means either job openings decline or unemployment increases.
How Severe Will a Possible Recession Be?
The Fed expects the unemployment rate to rise from the current 3.5% to 4.4%, which means about 1.5 million jobs could be lost, according to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED).
However, Single said unemployment will not be nearly as severe as it was during the early pandemic recession because of the ongoing labor shortage. He anticipates that unemployment will be at similar rates to the mild dot com recession in the late 1990s.
The labor imbalance is causing strong wage growth which is leading to higher service costs. Typically, when the demand for goods declines, prices can drop quickly. But prices for services tend to be “sticky" and are less likely to decline.
Over the past year, consumer demand has dropped for goods and increased for services, which is one reason the Fed continues to be concerned about inflationary pressures remaining elevated. Still, wages and inflation are expected to moderate in 2023.
The Fed is anticipated to continue raising the federal funds rate into 2023 and has lowered its economic outlook in recent months.
Where Could the Economy Be Heading?
Rochdale's Speedometers, which are forward-looking indicators for the next six to nine months, show that inflation, monetary policy, the housing market and the international economic outlook are all expected to have a negative impact on the U.S. economy. The labor market and consumer spending are anticipated to continue to have a positive impact on the economic outlook.
Interest Rates, Geopolitical Turmoil Continue to Pressure Economy
Interest rates and geopolitical risks are also expected to put negative pressure on the economy, while the business outlook for spending, corporate profit growth, equity market valuations and the political environment are all expected to stay in neutral territory for the next six to nine months.
Geopolitical risks continue to deliver headwinds to the economy and markets, including the ongoing and worsening Russian / Ukraine conflict, rising tensions between the US-China and increased global financial stress.
An Improved Outlook Possible After Midterms
In the U.S., a split government is a likely outcome of the midterm elections.
“A split government isn't a bad thing because it means major policy shifts likely won't occur," said Galvin. “Stocks historically rebound after midterm elections and, if the economy stays okay, the outlook for stocks should be healthy over the next several years."
Rochdale Keeps Focus on U.S. Stocks
Rochdale's investment decision to focus on U.S. stocks has been rewarding for clients. According to data from FactSet, U.S. equities have significantly outperformed other regions over the past five years of annualized returns, with the S&P500 has increasing by 10.3% annualized rate compared to just a 0.2% on MSCI EAFE.
Since 2018, Rochdale's investment strategy has been to focus on quality U.S. stocks and to avoid speculative stocks. The team emphasizes equity income stocks as the best performing asset class, Galvin said.
How Long Might the Bear Market Last?
A review of bear markets since World War II based on research from FactSet provides insight into potential market scenarios. Rochdale believes there is an 80% probability that the current bear market is cyclical, with only a 20% chance that this is a structural bear market.
Structural bear markets have steeper declines and face a longer recovery time. Historically, the average length of a cyclical bear market is 16 months, which means the U.S. is about two-thirds of the way through this current bear market.
Traditional 60/40 portfolios have seen their worst decline in 50 years. In addition, it's unusual to have both stocks and bonds “clobbered," Galvin said. Since 1927, 60/40 portfolios have declined by 10% or more six times.
But the cumulative returns after those declines average 9.8% within one year and 25% within three years, which provides hope for today's investors. In the long run, the economy and markets will recover, but investors will still experience significant volatility in the near term.
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City National Bank provides investment management services through its wholly owned subsidiary City National Rochdale, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Content from the October 27, 2022 presentation, "October 2022 Market Update" is reprinted by permission from City National Rochdale.
The information presented does not involve the rendering of personalized investment, financial, legal or tax advice. This presentation is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell, any of the securities mentioned herein.
The material contains forward-looking statements regarding intent, beliefs or current expectations, which are used for informational purposes only and do not reflect actual results. These statements are based primarily upon a hypothetical set of assumptions applied to certain historical financial information that has been provided by third-party sources and, although believed to be reliable, the information has not been independently verified and its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. The opinions, projections, forecasts and forward-looking statements expressed are also valid as of the date of this document and are subject to change based on market and other conditions.
There are inherent risks with fixed income investing. These risks may include interest rate, call, credit, market, inflation, government policy, liquidity or junk bond risks. When interest rates rise, bond prices fall. This risk is heightened with investments in longer-duration fixed income securities and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative.
There are inherent risks with equity investing. These risks include, but are not limited to, stock market, manager or investment style. Stock markets tend to move in cycles, with periods of rising prices and periods of falling prices.
Investing in international markets carries risks such as currency fluctuation, regulatory risks, and economic and political instability. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors, as well as increased volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity. Emerging markets can have greater custodial and operational risks and less developed legal and accounting systems than developed markets.
Concentrating assets in the real estate sector or REITs may disproportionately subject a portfolio to the risks of that industry, including the loss of value because of adverse developments affecting the real estate industry and real property values. Investments in REITs may be subject to increased price volatility and liquidity risk; concentration risk is high.
Investments in below-investment-grade debt securities, which are usually called “high yield” or “junk bonds,” are typically in weaker financial health. Such securities can be harder to value and sell, and their prices can be more volatile than more highly rated securities. While these securities generally have higher rates of interest, they also involve greater risk of default than do securities of a higher-quality rating.
The yields and market values of municipal securities may be more affected by changes in tax rates and policies than similar income-bearing taxable securities. Certain investors' incomes may be subject to the Federal Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and taxable gains are also possible.
Investments in the municipal securities of a particular state or territory may be subject to the risk that changes in the economic conditions of that state or territory will negatively impact performance. These events may include severe financial difficulties and continued budget deficits, economic or political policy changes, tax base erosion, state constitutional limits on tax increases and changes in the credit ratings.
Indices are unmanaged, and one cannot invest directly in an index. Index returns do not reflect a deduction for fees or expenses.
The 4P analysis is a proprietary framework for global equity allocation. Country rankings are derived from a subjective metrics system that combines the economic data for such countries with other factors including fiscal policies, demographics, innovative growth and corporate growth. These rankings are subjective and may be derived from data that contain inherent limitations. MSCI Emerging Markets Asia Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the Asian emerging markets.
The MSCI EAFE Index (Europe, Australasia, Far East) is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. & Canada. As of June 2007, the MSCI EAFE Index consisted of the following 21 developed market country indices: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The MSCI Europe Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure developed market equity performance in Europe. As of September 2002, the MSCI Europe Index consisted of the following 16 developed market country indices: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The MSCI World is a market cap weighted stock market index of 1,655 stocks from companies throughout the world. The components can be found here. It is maintained by MSCI, formerly Morgan Stanley Capital International, and is used as a common benchmark for “world” or “global” stock funds intended to represent a broad cross-section of global markets.
The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI) is a monthly survey of U.S. consumer confidence levels conducted by the University of Michigan. It is based on telephone surveys that gather information on consumer expectations regarding the overall economy.
Muni Bond: A municipal bond is a debt security issued by a state, municipality or county to finance its capital expenditures, including the construction of highways, bridges or schools. These bonds can be thought of as loans that investors make to local governments.
The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index is composed of U.S. government, mortgage-backed, asset-backed and corporate fixed income securities with maturities of one year or more.
The Barclays High Yield Municipal Index covers the high yield portion of the U.S.-dollar-denominated long-term tax-exempt bond market. The index has four main sectors: state and local general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, insured bonds and pre-refunded bonds.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Treasury Index is an unmanaged index of prices of U.S. Treasury bonds with maturities of one to 30 years.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Bond Index is an unmanaged market-value-weighted index of investment-grade corporate fixed-rate debt issues
with maturities of one year or more.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index is an unmanaged, U.S.-dollar-denominated, nonconvertible, non-investment-grade debt index. The index consists of domestic and corporate bonds rated Ba and below with a minimum outstanding amount of $150 million.
The Bloomberg Barclays Emerging Markets USD Aggregate Index tracks total returns for external-currency-denominated debt instruments of the emerging markets. Countries covered are Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia and Venezuela.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Agency Bond Index is a rules-based, market-value-weighted index engineered to measure investment-grade agency securities publicly issued by U.S. government agencies. Mortgage-backed securities are excluded.
S&P Leveraged Loan Indexes (S&P LL indexes) are capitalization-weighted syndicated loan indexes based upon market weightings, spreads and interest payments. The S&P/LSTA Leveraged Loan 100 Index (LL100) dates back to 2002 and is a daily tradable index for the U.S. market that seeks to mirror the market-weighted performance of the largest institutional leveraged loans, as determined by criteria. Its ticker on Bloomberg is SPBDLLB.
The Dow Jones Select Dividend Index seeks to represent the top 100 U.S. stocks by dividend yield. The index is derived from the Dow Jones U.S. Index and generally consists of 100 dividend-paying stocks that have five-year non-negative Dividend Growth, five-year Dividend Payout Ratio of 60% or less, and three-month average daily trading volume of at least 200,000 shares.
The Bloomberg Commodity Total Return Index, formerly known as Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total Return (DJUBSTR), is composed of futures contracts and reflects the returns on a fully collateralized investment in the BCOM. This combines the returns of the BCOM with the returns on cash collateral invested in 13-week (three-month) U.S. Treasury Bills.
The Corporate Emerging Market Bond Index (CEMBI) is J.P. Morgan's index of U.S.-dollar-denominated debt issued by emerging market corporations.
The Standard & Poor’s Small Cap 600 Index (S&P 600) measures the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity market. The index is designed to track companies that meet specific inclusion criteria to ensure that they are liquid and financially viable.
Nasdaq 100 Index is an index composed of the 100 largest, most actively traded U.S. companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
The U.S. Treasury 10-year Note is a debt obligation issued by the United States government that matures in 10 years. A 10-year Treasury Note pays interest at a fixed rate once every six months and pays the face value to the holder at maturity.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) composite is a market composite made up of all the A shares and B shares that trade on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Brent Crude is a major trading classification of sweet light crude oil that serves as a major benchmark price for purchases of oil worldwide. This grade is described as light because of its relatively low density, and sweet because of its sulfur content.
Employment Index: U.S. jobs with the exception of farmwork, unincorporated self-employment, and employment by private households, the military, and intelligence agencies.
A consumer price index (CPI) measures changes in the price level of a market basket of consumer goods and services purchased by households. The CPI is a statistical estimate constructed using the prices of a sample of representative items whose prices are collected periodically.
The “core” Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index is defined as prices excluding food and energy prices. The core PCE price index measures the prices paid by consumers for goods and services without the volatility caused by movements in food and energy prices to reveal underlying inflation.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes are a group of indexes that track changes in home prices throughout the United States. The indexes are based on a constant level of data on properties that have undergone at least two arm's length transactions.
The ISM Manufacturing Index is based on surveys of more than 300 manufacturing firms by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM Manufacturing Index monitors employment, production, inventories, new orders and supplier deliveries. A composite diffusion index monitors conditions in national manufacturing and is based on the data from these surveys.
The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index is an index based on surveys of more than 400 non-manufacturing firms' purchasing and supply executives, within 60 sectors across the nation, by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index tracks economic data, like the ISM Non- Manufacturing Business Activity Index. A composite diffusion index is created based on the data from these surveys, that monitors economic conditions of the nation.
The Palmer Square CLO Senior Debt Index (ticker: CLOSE) and Palmer Square CLO Debt Index (ticker: CLODI) seek to reflect the investable universe for
U.S. dollar denominated collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”).
The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is an American company that owns and operates financial and commodity marketplaces and exchanges. Indices are unmanaged, and one cannot invest directly in an index. Index returns do not reflect a deduction for fees or expenses.
Yield to Worst: The lower of the yield to maturity or the yield to call. It is essentially the lowest potential rate of return for a bond, excluding delinquency or default.
Investments in emerging markets bonds may be substantially more volatile, and substantially less liquid, than the bonds of governments, government agencies, and government-owned corporations located in more developed foreign markets. Emerging markets bonds can have greater custodial and operational risks, and less developed legal and accounting systems than developed markets.
Equity investing strategies & products: There are inherent risks with equity investing. These risks include, but are not limited to stock market, manager, or
investment style. Stock markets tend to move in cycles, with periods of rising prices and periods of falling prices.
Fixed-Income investing strategies & products: There are inherent risks with fixed income investing. These risks may include interest rate, call, credit, market, inflation, government policy, liquidity, or junk bond. When interest rates rise, bond prices fall. This risk is heightened with investments in longer duration fixed-income securities and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative.
CNR Proprietary Quality Ranking: City National Rochdale Proprietary Quality Ranking is the weighted average sum of securities held in the strategy versus the S&P 500 at the sector level using the below footnoted formula.
City National Rochdale Proprietary Quality Ranking formula: 40% Dupont Quality (return on equity adjusted by debt levels), 15% Earnings Stability (volatility of earnings), 15% Revenue Stability (volatility of revenue), 15% Cash Earnings Quality (cash
flow vs. net income of company) 15% Balance Sheet Quality (fundamental strength of balance sheet). *Source: City National
Rochdale proprietary ranking system utilizing MSCI and FactSet data. **Rank is a percentile ranking approach whereby 100 is the highest possible score and 1 is the lowest. The City National Rochdale Core compares the weighted average holdings of the strategy to the companies in the S&P 500 on a sector basis.
Earnings Stability: Earnings stability is a measure of how consistently those earnings have been generated over time. Stable earnings growth typically occurs in industries where growth has a more predictable pattern.
Revenue Stability: Recurring revenue is the portion of a company’s revenue that is expected to continue in the future. Unlike one-off sales, these revenues
are predictable, stable and can be counted on to occur at regular intervals going forward with a relatively high degree of certainty.
Investments in commodities can be very volatile, and direct investment in these markets can be very risky, especially for inexperienced investors. Returns include the reinvestment of interest and dividends.
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. As with any investment strategy, there is no guarantee that investment objectives will be met, and investors may lose money. Diversification may not protect against market risk or loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.
Please see the Offering Memorandum for more complete information regarding the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, fees and other expenses.
Alternative investments are speculative, entail substantial risks, offer limited or no liquidity and are not suitable for all investors. These investments have limited transparency to the funds’ investments and may involve leverage, which magnifies both losses and gains, including the risk of loss of the entire investment. Alternative investments have varying and lengthy lockup provisions.
This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in a particular asset class, strategy or product.
The information presented is for illustrative purposes only and based on various assumptions which may not be realized. No representation or warranty is made as to the reasonableness of the assumptions made or that all assumptions used have been stated or fully considered.
Estimated returns are based on multiple sources of historical market index data input into proprietary quantitative models specific to each asset class (e.g., equity, fixed income, etc.), then adjusted for fundamental inputs such as yield, earnings growth, risk premiums, valuation, historical reversion, and market implied expectations. Finally, we further adjust the estimated returns with our economic forecasts on market conditions and long-term expectations (which include economic growth, inflation and interest rates, among other important inputs).
Performance does not represent the results of actual trading, but was achieved by means of retroactive application of a model designed with the benefit of hindsight. Results may not reflect the impact that material economic and market factors might have on the adviser’s decision-making if adviser were actually managing client assets.
This document may contain forward-looking statements relating to the objectives, opportunities, and the future performance of the U.S. market generally. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of such words as; “expect,” “estimated,” “potential” and other similar terms. Examples of forward- looking statements include, but are not limited to, estimates with respect to financial condition, results of operations, and success or lack of success of any particular investment strategy. All are subject to various factors, including, but not limited to, general and local economic conditions, changing levels of competition within certain industries and markets, changes in interest rates, changes in legislation or regulation, and other economic, competitive, governmental, regulatory and technological factors affecting a portfolio’s operations that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Such statements are forward-looking in nature and involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and accordingly, actual results may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such forward-looking statements. Prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or examples. None of City National Rochdale nor any of its affiliates or principals nor any other individual or entity assumes any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, subsequent events or any other circumstances. All statements made herein speak only as of the date that they were made.
Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future results.
All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss; changes in investment strategies, contributions or withdrawals may materially alter the performance and results of a portfolio. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be suitable or profitable for a client's investment portfolio.
References to indexes and benchmarks in hypothetical illustrations of aggregate returns do not reflect the performance of any actual investment. Investors cannot invest in an index, and such returns do not reflect the deduction of the advisor's fees or other trading expenses. There can be no assurance that current investments will be profitable. Actual realized returns will depend on, among other factors, the value of assets and market conditions at the time of disposition, any related transaction costs, and the timing of the purchase. Indexes and benchmarks may not directly correlate or only partially relate to portfolios, as they have different underlying investments and may use different strategies or have different objectives than our strategies or funds.
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