Today, a quick overview of what's going on in the financial and economic world.
(Plus a discussion of the hunt for beauty in the mundane.)
Stocks seem to be caught in a volatile pattern as Q1 earnings season heats up.
Something surprising could trigger a big move, but it's hard to predict anything with certainty.
A potentially bigger concern: A number of economists think that a recession may be on the horizon.1
The latest forecast by the International Monetary Fund predicts that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is going to take a chunk out of global growth this year and next.2
Fannie Mae is forecasting slowing growth in 2022 and a recession in 2023.3
When multiple forecasts start pointing in the same general direction, we pay attention.
“The function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” John Kenneth Galbraith Economist and Author
So, what do we do with that information right now?
Do we panic and freak out? Bail on our investment strategies to head off losses?
We wait and see. We sharpen our tools. We look for opportunities.
It's natural to get uneasy when markets get dicey, but knee-jerk reactions can be costly.
An old proverb of disputed origin says: “Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.”
Forecasts are usually wrong in at least one way, and relying too much on what "might" happen is a recipe for mistakes.
So we keep our eyes open, our wits about us, and live our lives as we usually would.
A recession (or bear market) is not inevitable, so we shouldn’t act as though it is.
Bottom line: I'm watching and digesting the analysis as it comes in, and I'll be in touch with recommendations as needed.
Have questions or concerns? Reach out. That's why I'm here.
Now, I have a big-picture question for you. Where do you find beauty in the world around you?
This is not an idle question, by the way.
Humans are driven to want more, whatever we have already accomplished.
That's not a bad thing, but having the ability to take a step back and appreciate what's in front of us right now is powerful. Especially in an uncertain world.
It puts us in the driver's seat of our wants and trains our brain not to go into worry mode.
That search for beauty is why we go to the beach.
It's why we go to the mountains.
It's why we listen to music and look at art.
We're looking for something to take us out of the everyday and show us something deep.
But beauty doesn't need to be big and spectacular. It's hidden in plain sight around us, waiting to be encountered.
It's in the joy of a child. A dog zooming around the yard. A small act of kindness at the grocery store.
Knowing how to find beauty in the mundane is a powerful tonic to uncertainty and worry.
Where have you found it lately? Can you let me know?
In search of beauty,
Daniel Ruben, MD, MPH, MBA
P.S. Interesting fact: did you know there's a theory of the stock market called the "Keynes beauty contest"? In the 1930s, famed British economist John Maynard Keynes was searching for a way to explain short-term stock market movements and theorized that it was similar to a newspaper contest choosing the most beautiful face.
To win the contest, readers had to choose the face that was the most popular choice among all contestants, meaning they had to guess what others would find attractive. Keynes compared this to how stock prices seemed to change not based on their fundamental value, but by anticipating what everyone else thought their value was (and what others anticipated the average investor opinion would be, and so on). Here's an overview by Nobel Prize-winning
The market indexes discussed are unmanaged and generally considered representative of their respective markets. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost.