Stocks Log Worst Year Since 2008

Stocks Drop in Final Trading Day of Year

Investors suffered one of the worst years in recent history, with stocks and bonds falling in tandem

Thanks Biden! Let’s Go Brandon!

By Caitlin McCabe and Akane Otani Dec. 30, 2022 4:29 pm ET – The Wall Street Journal

U.S. stocks inched lower in the final trading session of 2022, closing out a punishing year with further losses.

2022 proved to be one of the worst years for markets in recent history. Stocks and bond prices both fell, exceptional volatility roiled currencies and commodities, and cryptocurrency prices cratered as a series of crises gripped the emerging industry.

The S&P 500 fell 9.78 points, or 0.3%, to 3839.50 on Friday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 73.55 points, or 0.2%, to 33147.25, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 11.61 points, or 0.1%, to 10466.48. All three benchmarks pared deeper losses from earlier in the day.

For the year, the S&P 500 posted a 19% decline, its biggest pullback since 2008. The Dow industrials dropped 8.8% and the Nasdaq slid 33%, stung by declines in technology shares

Money managers entered 2022 expecting that advances in the stock market would slow after three consecutive years of blockbuster gains. But few were prepared for how tough the year would be. 

Inflation remained stickier than many on Wall Street expected, forcing the Federal Reserve to kick off its most aggressive interest-rate increases in decades. Russia’s war in Ukraine and the subsequent scrambling of energy markets caught traders off guard. And the specter of a global recession loomed. 

With few places to hide, investors tossed out the strategies used since the financial crisis. Growth and momentum stocks—darlings of the Covid-19 pandemic—crumbled. Investors dashed for cash. The year’s selloff across asset classes was particularly bruising for 60/40 investors, or those who put 60% of their money into stocks, and 40% into bonds.

“I’ve called it an anti-Goldilocks environment,” said Hani Redha, global multi-asset portfolio manager at PineBridge Investments. “I think [2022] was probably up there in terms of being one of the most difficult years to get right for market participants.”

Trading volumes this week were light—a contrast to a hectic year in markets. Many traders had hoped the stock market would end the year on a high note, as part of what is colloquially known as the “Santa Claus rally.” 

U.S. stocks tend to rise during the Santa Claus rally period, averaging since 1950 a 1.3% gain during the last five trading sessions of the year and first two of the new year. So far, the S&P 500 has fallen 0.1% through the first five days of the period.

Few investors expect market volatility to subside when the 2023 trading year kicks off next week. But some say they are hopeful the stock market could bottom sometime next year, kicking off a new rally.

“You still have high inflation which is moderating, you have a declining housing market, you have slowing growth—all that suggest a potential continued deterioration in the economy in the first part of 2023,” said Peter Essele, head of portfolio management for Commonwealth Financial Network. But, he added, that slowdown may eventually prompt the Fed to begin signaling next year the possibility of interest-rate cuts.

“That could set up a very nice picture for the latter half of 2023,” Mr. Essele said. 

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said that the central bank isn’t likely to consider lowering interest rates until officials are certain that inflation is slowing toward the Fed’s goal of 2% sustained inflation.

In the government bond market, Treasury yields inched lower Friday. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note ended at 3.826%, from 3.833% Thursday.

Still, bond yields ended sharply higher compared with where they began the year. The yield on the 10-year note closed out 2022 with its largest one-year yield gain on record, according to Dow Jones Market Data, based on data starting in 1977.

Elsewhere in markets, moves were muted Friday. Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, rose 2.9% to $85.91 a barrel and posted a 10% gain for the year.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 declined 1.3%, ending the year with a roughly 13% decline, its largest since 2018. 

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and mainland China’s Shanghai Composite both ended the year down 15%, despite small increases on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 9.4% for the year after finishing the day roughly flat.

Write to Caitlin McCabe at caitlin.mccabe@wsj.com and Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s