In the Thick of a Recession. Right? We Aren't?
Mar 08 2023

 If the 2022 prognostications by the talking heads on financial television were correct, the U.S. economy would be in the thick of a recession by now. They argued the Federal Reserve’s furious pace of interest rate hikes, paired with soaring inflation, were sure to slow the rapidly growing economy. Stocks priced in that eventuality as evidenced by the S&P 500 index’s 18% drop last year. Growth stocks fared even worse. The S&P Pure Growth index plunged 28% (almost as much as long-term treasury bonds), while the flight to Value was apparent in the S&P Pure Value’s comparatively modest 1% retreat.

Money was on the move, no doubt, as equity market uncertainty and attractive risk-free yields in Treasuries gave income-hungry investors a choice after more than a decade of very low cash returns. Yet, for all the shuffling, handwringing and stress, investors who flee equities typically do so after the damage is already done and have little to show for it. The aforementioned indexes actually posted modest gains in the first two months of this year. The S&P 500 index rose 4%, while the Pure Growth and Pure Value subindexes gained 0.4% and 5%, respectively. Importantly, the recession has yet to officially begin, and in fact it may not come at all in 2023.

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