Sat, July 07, 2023

During the first half of the year, equity markets shrugged off persistent recession fears, the failure of several large regional banks, a debt ceiling battle, and the continuation of the most aggressive rate hike cycle in 40 years.  The global equity rally likely surprised many investors, although this itself is not surprising given how gloomy the mood was to start the year.  In fact, as shown below, 2023 marked the first time in history in which Wall Street strategists expected equities to decline on the year.  Surveys of fund managers and individual investors were also historically downbeat.  The combination of poor sentiment and more attractive valuations didn’t require enormously positive news to underpin markets, just incrementally better news.