October 2, 2023


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B&F Views Second Quarter 2023

8 min read

Quarterly Funding Evaluation 

The economic system grew by 2% within the first quarter and is predicted to develop by about 2.3% within the second quarter, primarily based on extensively adopted indicator from the Federal Reserve Financial institution of Atlanta. Whilst most economists anticipate a slowdown in financial progress and an increase in unemployment, the extensively anticipated recession of 2023 stays elusive. 

The inventory market rally, which started within the fourth quarter of 2022 continued all through the primary half of 2023, buoyed by a resilient labor market and a pause in rate of interest hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 Index of enormous U.S. firms rose 8.7% within the second quarter and is up 16.9% year-to- date. The rally has been powered primarily by giant (largely know-how) firms, with smaller firms (represented by the Russell 2000 Index) rising solely 5.2% within the quarter and eight.1% to date this 12 months. The MSCI EAFE index of worldwide shares rose 3.0% within the quarter and is up 11.7% this 12 months. The bond market has been unstable, swinging between optimism that rate of interest hikes had been over and acceptance that extra are coming. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield ended the second quarter at 3.81%, roughly the place it started the 12 months however up for the quarter. In consequence, bonds misplaced 0.8% through the second quarter however have nonetheless gained 2.1% for the 12 months as larger yields helped to offset falling costs (bond costs fall when market rates of interest rise). Excessive Yield “Junk” bonds rose 1.8% through the quarter, representing optimism about company funds, not less than within the short-term. The Dow Jones U.S. Actual Property Index rose 2.4% through the quarter.

Economic system

As soon as once more, the economic system shouldn’t be presently in a recession, although the chance that one is coming has risen in latest weeks. Trying on the treasury yield curve, the place short-term rates of interest are considerably larger than longer-term charges (the yield curve is inverted), this implies a reasonably excessive chance of a recession within the near-term. An inversion of the yield curve doesn’t assure {that a} recession is coming, however it has preceded each recession since 1950.

Extra importantly, wanting beneath the hood at completely different segments of the economic system, a number of elements counsel that enterprise and shopper spending are more likely to gradual within the coming months. From layoffs in key financial sectors like know-how to weak spot in business actual property markets and low private financial savings charges, the economic system seems to be to be slowing from its present tempo of two% progress. That doesn’t imply a recession is imminent, however it does imply that there’s much less room to soak up shocks if (or extra possible when) they arrive.

Q2 2023


The Fed’s marketing campaign to focus on inflation by elevating rates of interest appears to have been profitable. Inflation has fallen from its excessive final summer time of 9.1% to only 3.0% (year-over-year) in June. Trying on the parts of inflation, most have cooled significantly. Even housing prices are beginning to ease a bit. We anticipate to see inflation moderating to round 3.5% by year-end and maybe 2-3% by the tip of 2024, which might permit the Federal Reserve to start reducing rates of interest. That is what the market appears to be anticipating on condition that long-term Treasury rates of interest are decrease than short-term charges.

The wild card stays the labor pressure, which has shrunk over the previous few years. Talent gaps (the distinction between what employers want and what they’ll discover within the market) stay stubbornly excessive, retaining upward strain on wages whereas additionally placing a lid on how excessive unemployment can rise. Employment is a lagging indicator of financial well being, so we’ve to watch out inserting an excessive amount of hope in low unemployment (which is all the time lowest proper earlier than a recession begins), however the power of the labor market does give some forecasters the boldness to counsel that any impending recession is likely to be comparatively gentle or short-lived (or each).

Progress is wanting a bit firmer around the globe than it did even earlier this 12 months. Whereas manufacturing has hit a little bit of a comfortable patch, most international locations proceed to indicate some stage of growth. Decrease vitality costs in Europe and a post-COVID restoration in China are causes for some optimism.


Many elements have contributed to a slowing economic system, and it’s not a foregone conclusion {that a} recession should happen. As we famous final quarter and above, it does appear extra possible, although the consensus appears to level to a recession starting in 2024 reasonably than later this 12 months. The inventory market resilience is essentially a mirrored image of a mix of better-than-expected earnings and a restoration from decrease valuations reached after final 12 months’s selloff. It stays to be seen whether or not that optimism might be rewarded with continued positive factors in inventory costs or renewed promoting on financial weak spot. What does appear possible is elevated volatility within the coming months as traders attempt to reassess the chances of progress and weak spot. Main shocks like a authorities shutdown or a big strike (UPS) can’t be dominated out, both.

Trying ahead, present valuations of shares and bonds stay considerably enticing even after the quarter’s robust efficiency. 5-year anticipated returns on investments have improved considerably for the reason that market peak in 2022. Although shares have risen just lately, bond markets have priced in a reasonably vital discount in rates of interest, signaling an expectation of a recession within the coming quarters. We might not be shocked by a drop in inventory costs on financial weak spot, adopted by a powerful restoration by the tip of 2024, although different eventualities are additionally attainable.

One factor that could be a bit disconcerting is simply how slender the inventory market has change into, that means that the positive factors we’re seeing within the indexes are actually powered by only a handful of huge (largely tech) firms. This conduct is usually noticed late in a bull market.

Extra to the purpose, it’s practically not possible to time inventory market actions like we’ve described above. Traditionally, intervals when shopper sentiment concerning the economic system had been at its worst had been a few of the greatest instances to purchase shares. Fairness costs are more likely to be unstable this 12 months as traders weigh the impression of a looming (or averted) recession and negotiations in Washington round funding the federal government for 2024.

Our Portfolios

Our inventory publicity is presently broad primarily based and weighted in the direction of giant U.S. firms. Our price bias, which helped final 12 months as high-flying progress firms struggled with rising rates of interest, has been a little bit of a detractor this 12 months as traders have shrugged off excessive rates of interest and paid up for the shares of firms which are exhibiting earnings progress. If a recession does happen, we’d anticipate this pattern to reverse once more and people larger P/E (costly) shares ought to fall more durable than the remainder of the market. Our worldwide publicity stays balanced between hedged and unhedged investments and advantages from extra enticing valuations than comparable U.S. equities.

Right now’s larger rates of interest imply that anticipated bond returns going ahead are extra enticing than they had been a 12 months in the past. Extra importantly, if our expectation of a recession is realized, rates of interest will possible settle again down, offering good returns to bonds ought to shares falter heading right into a recession. Bonds ought to be a greater diversifier this 12 months, particularly if markets are right in forecasting decrease rates of interest heading into 2024. Even when that expectation is unrealized, longer-term rates of interest have risen fairly a bit already and are unlikely to rise considerably. And as we’ve identified, the upper present yields assist to offset the results of additional will increase in long-term rates of interest.

In brief, we proceed to anticipate volatility as traders put together for a attainable recession and modify their estimates for inventory costs accordingly. We’ll use such intervals of volatility to rebalance portfolios and decide up shares (or bonds) at discounted costs, to raised revenue from the restoration that has adopted each single market decline for so long as there have been markets.

As all the time, we’re right here for you and are prepared to supply the steering and planning you anticipate from us. When you’ve got any questions on your investments or your monetary plan, we’d love the chance to debate them with you.

International Inventory Market Efficiency

The chart beneath reveals the change in world fairness markets all through the quarter. Juxtaposed over the market efficiency are a few of the key occasions that occurred through the interval. Typically as we get to the tip of a unstable interval, it’s tough to look again and keep in mind the whole lot that occurred alongside the way in which.

Q2 2023

Previous efficiency shouldn’t be a sign of future returns. Data and opinions offered herein replicate the views of the writer as of the publication date of this text. Such views and opinions are topic to alter at any level and with out discover. A number of the info offered herein was obtained from third-party sources believed to be dependable however such info shouldn’t be assured to be correct.

The content material is being offered for informational functions solely, and nothing inside is, or is meant to represent, funding, tax, or authorized recommendation or a advice to purchase or promote any sorts of securities or investments. The writer has not thought of the funding goals, monetary scenario, or explicit wants of any particular person investor. Any forward-looking statements or forecasts are primarily based on assumptions solely, and precise outcomes are anticipated to differ from any such statements or forecasts. No reliance ought to be positioned on any such statements or forecasts when making any funding determination. Any assumptions and projections displayed are estimates, hypothetical in nature, and meant to serve solely as a tenet. No funding determination ought to be made primarily based solely on any info offered herein.

There’s a danger of loss from an funding in securities, together with the danger of complete lack of principal, which an investor will should be ready to bear. Several types of investments contain various levels of danger, and there might be no assurance that any particular funding might be worthwhile or appropriate for a selected investor’s monetary scenario or danger tolerance.

Blankinship & Foster is an funding adviser registered with the Securities & Trade Fee (SEC). Nonetheless, such registration doesn’t suggest a sure stage of talent or coaching and no inference on the contrary ought to be made. Full details about our companies and charges is contained in our Kind ADV Half 2A (Disclosure Brochure), a duplicate of which might be obtained at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov or by calling us at (858) 755-5166, or by visiting our web site at www.bfadvisors.com.

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