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2023 = Volatility?

January 3, 2023

S&P 500: Catalysts for Q1 volatility are numerous and potentially extreme... partial list: 

  • FED stubbornness – the market may incorrectly be anticipating a late 2023 rate cut. FED could end that line of thinking with a single statement in early 2023.
  • Ukraine invasion 1yr anniversary – As we approach Feb 20, 2023, all parties in Russia/Ukraine war may feel increased pressure to resolve, either via escalation or exit. We believe the narrative will begin to build in late January.
  • European temperatures  – At least eight countries are seeing record high temps in January, causing ski resorts to shut down due to lack of snow.  This is good news for Europe at the moment, as it reduces the energy needs of European countries who find themselves in an energy crunch due to fantasy-based energy policies colliding with Russia/Ukraine realities.  A cold snap could put upward pressure on oil prices, and thus inflation.
  • Increased focus/scrutiny on corporate earnings and outlooks – what has economic turmoil, inflation, and layoffs done to consumer spending and corporate profits? We’ll begin to find out starting in just a couple of weeks when earnings season kicks off.

Tesla (TSLA) is under heavy selling pressure today, leading the S&P lower after the company reported better-than-expected Q4 production, but lower-than-anticipated Q4 deliveries.

To be fair, the stock is back down to levels that it was at in the middle of last week, prior to running up as the result of a likely short squeeze and small gamma squeeze.

Politics may play a role in Tesla’s Q1 fortunes. A delay in implementing rules around the $7500 tax credit for certain EV buyers is opening a window of buying opportunities that may not be available to consumers during the final three quarters of 2023.

Opening 2023 winners include PayPal (PYPL), Ralph Lauren (RL), Meta/Facebook (META), Disney (DIS) and Amazon (AMZN), which are each posting solid gains despite the market’s early reversal into the red.

Is this important long-term?   Maybe – it could be giving us an early indication as to which 2022 losers are being seen as oversold values by large institutional buyers.  

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