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Profit from the Pros By Kevin Matras Executive Vice President
After A Tough First Half, Stocks Begin The Second Half In The Green
Stocks ended higher on Friday, but still down or the week.
After wrapping up the worst first half since 1970, it was nice to start the second half with green arrows.
2022's first half performance (down nearly -21%), was strikingly similar to that of 1970 (also down -21%). And in both periods, high inflation was an issue.
What's interesting is that the second half of 1970 saw the S&P up 27%.
Of course, that does not mean that's how it will go for the back half of 2022. But it doesn't mean it won't either.
Quite frankly, since 1957, negative first half performances had just as much of a chance for a negative back half performance as it did a positive one.
True the economy has slowed. But the labor market remains strong (unemployment is near a 50-year low). And consumer demand is strong. It's slowed, but it still remains strong.
And while it's looking very likely that the numbers will show we were indeed in a recession in the first half of the year (all you need is two negative quarters in a row for an official recession), the Fed is forecasting growth for the second half with full-year GDP coming in at 1.7% this year, and 1.7% again next year.
And St. Louis Fed President, James Bullard, in a recent interview, said that he sees a "pretty good second half," driven by "strong consumption this year."
So we shall see.
But there's plenty of positives in the economy right now that have been virtually ignored during this sell-off. And eventually, the market will have to take notice.
Especially with valuations having fallen to more than 2-year lows. Many are racing in to grab those bargains while they can.
We've got a busy week of economic reports this week, made even busier due to the shortened trading week this week.
But the main event will be Friday's always important Employment Situation Report.
In the meantime, the lows from three weeks ago have held. And the longer they do, the better it is.
Let's see if the market can build on Friday's gains.
See you tomorrow,
Executive Vice President, Zacks Investment Research
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