“I don’t see any way we get positive returns for stocks,” Spika said, adding that it would be a victory if stocks “only” fall in the single digits this year.
Uncertainty continues to weigh on investor sentiment
Spika said it’s unreasonable to expect that the Russia-Ukraine crisis will end anytime soon. And even if it did, Spika argues that stock valuations are too high given that interest rates are about to rise.
“Double-digit percentage drops are possible. The past few years were strong and that was fueled by easy monetary policy,” he said. “That tailwind is about to turn into a massive headwind.”
Stephanie Lang, chief investment officer with Homrich Berg, agreed that “the age of easy money is over.”
While the Fed’s higher interest rates are high on investors minds, it’s only one part of the problem for the stock market.
“The list of strains on stocks is pretty long. We have the war, the reminder that the pandemic is endemic and significant, long-lasting disruptions to supply chains,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist at Dreyfus and Mellon. “Investors are understandably hunkering down.”
Reinhart added that the Fed will probably raise rates several times this year to try to put a damper on inflation. But there are concerns that the central bank waited too long to raise rates and now may face a stagflation problem, the combination of slow growth and high prices.