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Economy

How Is The Economy Doing Right Now In 2022? – Forbes

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Key Takeaways

  • The stock market performed incredibly well in 2020 and 2021, despite a challenging economic backdrop
  • There’s no real consensus on whether a recession is likely over the next 12 months, with economists and CEOs holding various differing opinions
  • Regardless of the state of the economy over the next 12 months, there are some investments that will outperform, and some that will underperform
  • As an investor, there are actions you can take to manage this risk

A common investing misconception is that the state of the stock market always reflects the state of the economy. Over the long term, this tends to be true, but over shorter periods, the two can become pretty disconnected.

The last couple of years have provided a perfect example of this. There’s no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on various sectors of the economy. Companies went under, people lost their jobs and entire industries were shut down for months.

Despite this, the stock market went on a tear. The S&P 500 handed investors an 18.40% return in 2020 and followed this up with 28.71% in 2021. While it’s no surprise that the lockdowns were good news for companies like Amazon, Google and Disney, it’s pretty hard to argue that the economy was steaming along throughout those two years.

The stats also back this up. In 2020, GDP (economic growth) in the U.S. was -3.40%, including the worst quarter of economic growth experienced since 1948 at a staggering -9.10% annualized. The year 2021 saw a turnaround on these figures, but this was coming off the low base of the year before.

So we’ve established that the economy and stock market don’t always march in step in the short term. Given that the stock market is choppy now, does that mean the economy is, too?

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How are Americans feeling about the economy?

According to a recent poll from the Wall Street Journal, not good. With inflation being the overriding factor, over 80% of surveyed consumers described the economy as “poor” or “not so good.” In a more personal take, over 35% stated that they felt unsatisfied with their own financial situation.

This is a trend that is going in the wrong direction. A CBS News Poll has been tracking Americans’ views on the economy over the past 12 months. There, 69% of respondents stated that the current state of the economy is bad, compared to 46% in April 2021.

It’s not difficult to see why. The cost of living is going up significantly, supply chain issues are still causing massive problems and, despite low levels of unemployment, wages aren’t keeping up.

Does all the pessimism reflect reality?

Yes and no. The economy is a real mix right now. The labor market is very tight in certain industries, with some workers able to command significant pay rises and favorable benefits and conditions.

In others, conditions are worse than ever, with greater workloads being handed to employees by companies struggling to recruit. This issue tends to be in industries with lower-paid workers, where labor shortages are becoming increasingly common.

We’re seeing a similar situation at a company level. It’s no secret that the U.S. tech industry is suffering, with some huge falls seen in the stock price of companies like Netflix, Meta and Google in 2022. Other sectors of the economy are reaping the benefits of the misfiring system, with energy producers like Chevron and ExxonMobil, in particular, soaring off the back of record-high oil prices.

So there is good news and bad news depending on who you are and what you do, but what do the numbers say? Again, it’s a mixed bag. They’re not great, but they’re not terrible yet either.

The first quarter of 2022 saw GDP fall for the first time since 2020, contracting by 1.51% on an annualized basis. A big chunk of this was due to how imports and exports are factored into GDP, and consumer spending actually grew by 2.7% on a real basis (adjusting for the impact of inflation).

For those in a healthy financial position, increased spending is likely to be eating into other financial commitments such as savings and paying down debt. While the effects of this might not be immediate, they’ll be felt eventually.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse Survey has also found a 32% increase in people relying on loans and credit cards to meet their regular expenses and a 34% increase in those who have had to borrow money from family and friends.

However, with unemployment so low, companies have fewer workers available to fill their vacant positions. The available workers can afford to be more choosy. Usually, this type of supply-and-demand dynamic would mean wages would rise, taking the pressure off households.

A recession isn’t guaranteed

A recession has traditionally been defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. However, there is a more complicated definition used these days. It’s now up to the National Bureau of Economic Research to call when a recession has started. However, broadly speaking, two consecutive quarters of negative growth still indicate that things aren’t great.

Despite all the pessimism and negativity around, we’re not necessarily going to fall into a recession. Some sectors of the economy are performing well, and the low unemployment rate means that most people still have money in their pockets to spend.

The situation is further complicated by the Fed needing to walk a tightrope with interest rates, given soaring inflation. They may need to continue to raise rates to keep inflation in check, but this makes debt for individuals and businesses more expensive. Mortgage rates, for instance, are tied to overall debt yields.

There have also been strong words on the subject from the executives of some of the world’s biggest companies. Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, stated in a recent interview that a “hurricane” is coming our way and that “you better brace yourself.”

Another CEO who always has something to say, Elon Musk, has stated that he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy, announcing that Tesla would be laying off 10% of its workforce.

Others aren’t so sure, with a recent Bloomberg survey of 37 economists putting the probability of a recession over the next 12 months at 30%. That figure is growing slightly, but it’s a sign that an upcoming recession is far from certain.

All in all, it’s a tough time for investors because we’re getting some real mixed signals out there.

Investments that could win in a recession

At Q.ai, we’re not necessarily convinced by all the doom and gloom, but nevertheless, as investors, it’s essential to be prepared for any potential outcome.

There are always companies that are impacted more heavily when times are tough. The main factor to consider is whether a company’s revenue will be affected by falling consumer spending. When household budgets are tight, luxuries get put on hold, and we tend to make do with the items we already have.

Automakers and electronics manufacturers, for example, might see reduced demand for their products. With less cash for vacations, the travel and leisure sector, such as airlines, might be under pressure.

On the other end of the spectrum, companies that provide goods and services that we can’t go without can actually perform pretty well during a recession. Energy providers, discount retail, healthcare providers and supermarket chains are examples of businesses that fall into this category.

Suppose you’re feeling more optimistic about the outlook for the stock market but want to hedge your bets. In that case, there are actions you can take if you don’t want to try to pick individual stocks.

Investors would be wise to check out Q.ai’s recently released Large Cap Kit.This Kit takes a long-short approach to help investors benefit from the expected divergence between large-cap stocks and small-cap stocks. With this Kit, what’s important is not what happens to the economy but, rather, how large- and small-cap companies move in relation to each other. This way, investors can benefit from the difference in relative value, so long as small-cap companies continue to underperform, as they tend to do in these environments.

On the other hand, because the biggest companies tend to hold up pretty well during a recession, sticking to large-cap investments like the ones we hold in our Smarter Beta Investment Kit can be a good option, too.

There are also opportunities to consider outside of the stock market. Precious metals such as gold have long been considered ‘safe haven’ assets, which can be attractive to investors during times of high inflation or market volatility. At Q.ai, we’ve even created Precious Metals Investment Kit to take advantage of this with exposure to metals like gold, silver and platinum.

Lastly, if you just want to put in place some additional safeguards to protect your long-term strategy, we offer Portfolio Protection for our Foundation Investment Kits. For this, we apply hedging strategies to help mitigate losses in your investments from various risk factors.

Download Q.ai for iOS for more investing content and access to over a dozen AI-powered investment strategies. Start with just $100 and never pay fees or commissions.

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Ontario premier Ford vows to rebuild economy, unveils new Cabinet – Reuters.com

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OTTAWA, June 24 (Reuters) – Doug Ford took the oath of office for a second term as the premier of Canada’s most populous province on Friday with a promise to build highways and homes, and rebuild Ontario’s economy.

Ford’s right-leaning Progressive Conservatives returned to power with a sweeping victory in a provincial election on June 2, winning 83 seats in the 124-seat legislature.

He unveiled a larger 30-member Cabinet, moving former solicitor general Sylvia Jones to role of minister of health and deputy premier, while keeping Peter Bethlenfalvy in post as the debt-laden province’s finance minister.

Ford said he had an “ambitious plan” for his second stint, as his government faced challenges posed by inflation rates hitting a nearly 40-year high in Canada.

“That plan starts with rebuilding Ontario’s economy,” Ford said at his swearing-in ceremony.

He reiterated pledges made in the lead-up to the election, including new spending on highways, transit and the auto sector.

“We’re investing to connect every part of our auto supply chain … the cars of the future will be built right here, Ontario, from start to finish,” Ford said.

Ontario, home to just under 40% of Canada’s 38.2 million people, is Canada’s manufacturing heartland. It is also one of the world’s largest sub-sovereign borrowers, with publicly held debt in excess of C$400 billion ($309.6 billion).

Ford also pledged to address soaring home prices in the province by building more affordable housing.

Canada’s national housing agency projects Ontario to be one of the worst affected by a housing shortage over the next decade. Provincial capital Toronto is already one of the most expensive cities to live in globally.

“Too many families are frozen out of the housing market … we need to build more attainable homes,” Ford said.

($1 = 1.2921 Canadian dollars)

(This story was refiled to fix typo in headline)

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Economy

Northern Shootout's return provides a big boost to Orillia's economy – CTV News Barrie

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The return of an annual slo-pitch softball event marks the unofficial start of summer in Orillia.

The Northern Shootout is back for its 13 edition after a pandemic-driven hiatus.

The tournament consists of 78 men’s, women’s and co-ed teams from Ontario and Quebec and promises a big boost to the economy in the city.

“Especially after two years of pandemic restrictions,” said Mike Ladouceur, City of Orillia. “This helps our tourism recover, puts heads in beds, hotels are filled, restaurants filled, this is really the big event that begins our summer of events.”

Organizer Mike Borrelli said the tournament has grown to become one of the biggest in Canada.

“We’re pretty much at capacity for participants. We can’t accommodate anymore,” he added. “We’re using the other diamonds, we got all the diamonds in Orillia, and we’re using the Rama diamond, so if we had more diamonds, we could accommodate more teams.”

The owners of Adovo Pizza in Orillia say the increase in tourism has done wonders for their business this year.

This being the first big event of the season, they’re excited to welcome so many people into the city.

“Everyone has just been waiting to get out,” said Adam Zimmerman, co-owner. “Especially for sporting events and vendors, have a cold beer. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

The tournament culminates with an annual home run derby, which organizers said typically draws 1,200 fans to watch.

Sixteen participants will compete to walk away with a championship belt.

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Toronto Mayor John Tory lays out vision for city's economy in speech – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Toronto Mayor John Tory says he’s optimistic about the future of the city’s economy, but is acknowledging that continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will take place in a “challenging” economic period.

In a speech to the Toronto Region Board of Trade Thursday, Tory said he sees the city’s economic recovery and future growth resting on five pillars; rebuilding and instilling confidence, attracting new business and expanding existing ones, supporting businesses with an emphasis on small business, supporting growth, and being ready for the future and possible “transformational change.”

Tory said there is “always a tomorrow” following a crisis, but making it brighter requires planning.

“That’s why I have been talking a lot about the city’s recovery from the pandemic, a recovery that will take place during challenging economic times,” the mayor said. “I am completely committed to making sure Toronto comes back stronger than ever and that will be my main focus in the weeks and months ahead.”

To that end, Tory said he will be assembling a volunteer panel of accomplished leaders to help provide “real-time advice” as the city continues to reopen following more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

“I believe the rapid pace of change and need to adapt will continue and I will rely on this group to help provide real-time advice and insight so we can remain nimble,” Tory said.

While the mayor did not go into detail about the city’s economic challenges, Toronto is facing a number of hurdles. The city is still facing a major budgetary shortfall as a result of shrunken revenues. While the TTC used to be jam-packed on a daily basis, ridership numbers have still not returned to normal and ridership patterns have become more unpredictable as many businesses have allowed their employees to work from home for at least part of the week. It is also not yet clear how rising interest rates and inflation will affect the local economy in the coming months.

“Successfully addressing the issues we face as a city will take everything we’ve got,” Tory said in his speech, acknowledging that the pandemic hurt people and businesses.

“I am committed to making sure those who have lost so much over the last two years get the support they need and can be confident in playing a full and satisfying role in a strong recovery,” he added.

He said the future of work remains a key question tied to the city’s recovery and said the panel will be examining that as one of its key issues.

“This is a very profound question with potentially very profound consequences depending on the answer so we must get the very best answer we can from our advisors and from you,” Tory told the board in his speech.

He said that for example, just having people work from home on Mondays and Fridays can hugely impact the TTC and its revenues.

“What that means is a huge revenue shortfall for the transit system, because the cost of running the system for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and for the people who do go to work Monday and Friday stays about the same, (even if) you can make some changes around the edges,” Tory said. “And that creates a huge problem for us. So that’s just one small example of the kinds of questions that we have to answer.”

Tory also touted the city’s success and highlighted recent investments by the film and pharmaceutical industries from companies such as Netflix and Sanofi Pasteur. He said he would like to see those successes replicated in other industries as well.

“The world has taken notice of the growth and success story that is Toronto,” Tory said. “It was a constant conversation in the halls of the Collision conference. But at the same time, Toronto and all cities are facing challenging times ahead.”

More details about what work the advisory panel will do and who will sit on it are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

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