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The Contrarian Investor Podcast Posts

Cyclical Stocks to Outperform as Inflation Drops to 3.5%: Barry Knapp’s 2023 Outlook (Szn 5, Ep. 1)

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Barry Knapp of Ironsides Macroeconomics rejoins the podcast to discuss his surprisingly sanguine view of the economy in 2023: Why cyclical stocks should outperform the technology and defensive sectors, and why he’s expecting inflation to drop to 3.5% by the second half of the year.

Content Highlights

  • Inflationary recessions are different from deflationary ones. The last four were the latter. If there is a recession this year, it will be the former (02:18);
  • Earnings downside is limited in this scenario, by 5% based on what happened in similar situations in the past, and earnings should actually go up (5:56);
  • Tech margins should continue to be under pressure but economically-sensitive cyclical stocks should see margin expansion (10:50);
  • The US labor market has actually started to weaken considerably — and not due to Fed policy (12:18);
  • There have been some big adjustments in the labor market post-pandemic (16:47);
  • The ‘wealth destruction effect’ from tech stocks selling off is negligible (27:35);
  • One point of concern: the deficit. This is where the implosion in wealth could affect things (32:59);
  • The coming budget battle in Congress is worth paying attention to (34:41);
  • The ‘higher for longer’ Fed interest rate hike thesis has gained traction. What this means for stocks (43:27);
  • Inflation: Expect 3.5% CPI by mid-year (47:37).

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Not intended as investment advice!

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Recession Fears Ascendant as Trading Gets Underway in 2023

The following is an amended version of the Jan. 3 Daily Contrarian. This briefing and accompanying podcast are released to premium subscribers each market day morning by 0700. To subscribe, visit our Substack or Supercast.

Last year was ugly. Stocks got beat up, bonds were bludgeoned, and the way markets limped through the last few weeks of 2022 was particularly disconcerting.

So far 2023 is looking no better. Economic concerns are paramount. Two-thirds of sell-side economists are now predicting a recession in 2023. While one can be forgiven for wanting to treat this as a contrarian indicator, the issues they cite are real: Americans are spending down their pandemic savings, the housing market is slowly falling apart, and banks are tightening lending standards.

These would normally be the necessary ingredients for a recession, but the labor market remained strong through 2022 — and may be the one thing that has kept the economy from rolling over. How much longer? Our last podcast guest says this can continue for a while. He may be right seeing as he has primary data to support the argument — hiring practices of his firm’s clients.

This is little consolation as stocks continue to drop. The selling has been especially pronounced in tech, with the Nasdaq now down 1% on the day at the time of this writing.

Buying opportunity? Fortune favors the brave, but it’s extremely hard to make this case right now. Buyer beware, more like. Besides, stocks aren’t even particularly cheap yet.

Maybe the next couple of days will provide some clarity. We’ll get crucial readings on the labor market tomorrow (JOLTS) and Friday (non-farm payrolls). Not much in earnings this week.

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Recession in 2023 Should Be Benign With Ample Job Growth: Alex Chausovsky (Szn 4, Ep. 35)

Alex Chausovsky, vice president of analytics and consulting at Miller Resource Group, rejoins the podcast to discuss his surprisingly upbeat economic outlook for 2023, driven by a healthy labor market in the US.

Content Highlights

  • There may be a recession in 2023 but the US labor market should hold up just fine (3:03);
  • The guest’s assessment is due to first-hand knowledge as his employer is a recruiting firm. None of their clients are slowing hiring (5:37);
  • The trend is due in part to re-shoring of high-end manufacturing to the US, but also to non-US companies seeking to establish manufacturing centers stateside (7:46);
  • The Federal Reserve has been hiking rates aggressively and plans to continue this policy (albeit less aggressively) in 2023, but most of the damage may be done already (9:12)
  • With inflation abating there will be less impetus for the Fed to “truly break things” in 2023 (13:05);
  • Supply chain issues have mostly been resolved, with auto production and semiconductors especially benefiting. Further easing can be expected on the labor side (14:44);
  • One sector of the economy that is clearly poised to benefit: automation (16:56);
  • Background on the guest (22:56);
  • Housing has already contracted but this should turn around by the end of 2023 or early 2024 (31:32);
  • The outcome he’s expecting in his native Ukraine (37:35).

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