The bear market in stocks will spill over into 2023 and it won't be over until 3 things happen, Goldman Sachs says

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  • The global bear market that hit stocks in 2022 may spill over into next year, according to Goldman Sachs.

  • The bank said investors are about to enter the "hope" phase as attention turns to a slowdown in interest rate hikes.

  • These are the three factors Goldman Sachs wants to see to believe that the bear market is finally over.   

The bear market that hit global stocks in 2022 will likely spill over into next year with investors about to enter the "hope" phase of the decline, Goldman Sachs said in a Monday note.

Part of that hope is the idea that the Federal Reserve and central banks around the world will soon slowdown, pause, or even cut interest rates after a dizzying year of quick, aggressive rate hikes. According to Bank of America, global central banks are expected to have raised interest rates 267 times by the end of 2022.

But that hope could be fleeting, especially for recent gains made in the stock market.

"Renewed optimism about a slowdown in the pace of rate increases has triggered a rally that has pushed [global] equities up nearly 5% from their levels in June, despite real interest rates in the US having increased by close to 85 basis points since then and US 10-year yields rising by more than 50 basis points," Goldman Sachs' Peter Oppenheimer said.

Another part of the hope phase is the simple idea that stocks will finally stop going down and stage a sustainable reversal to recover some of the painful losses experienced this year.

But Goldman Sachs isn't convinced that type of rally is imminent, as three key factors that typically signal a bottom for equities has not yet materialized.

Those three factors include:

1. Lower valuations that are consistent with recessionary outcomes

2. A trough in the momentum of growth deterioration

3. A peak in interest rates

"Valuations in equities have fallen a long way since the beginning of this year but this doesn't mean to say they are cheap. The problem is that the de-rating has come from an unusually high peak supported by record low interest rates," Goldman said of current market valuations.

And if interest rates continue to rise, those valuations should get worse, especially when considering US valuation measures are still above their long-term averages. "The US market is back up to a P/E of 17x. Its 20-year average has been slightly under 16x," Oppenheimer explained.

In terms of a deterioration in economic growth, a continued slowdown is worse than things "getting less bad," according to the note. "Generally, history suggests that the worst time to buy equities is when growth is contracting and momentum is deteriorating, and the best time is when growth is weak but moving towards stabilization."

Finally, a peak in interest rates could still be far off with expectations that the Fed will once again hike rates at its upcoming December FOMC meeting.

"Historically, equity markets are likely to recover close to the peak in interest rates and inflation, but they often weaken into the final rate rises (as growth expectations deteriorate)," Oppenheimer said.


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