Wall Street Firms Slash S&P 500 Price Targets As ‘Concerned’ Analysts Warn Of Earnings Slowdown

A handful of Wall Street’s biggest firms are slashing their S&P 500 forecasts for the year, predicting lower stock market returns thanks to a difficult quarterly earnings season ahead as companies wrestle with surging inflation and rising interest rates.

With the stock market down roughly 20% so far this year amid fears of a looming recession, there are “lots of reasons to be concerned” about upcoming corporate earnings—with an incoming “flurry of downward revisions,” Bank of America warned in a recent note.

Though quarterly earnings season has just started, Wall Street analysts are slashing forecasts—with seven out of 11 S&P 500 sectors facing reduced earnings estimates, according to FactSet data. UBS on Monday slashed its earnings forecasts due to slowing economic growth and rising costs, with the firm also reducing its year-end price target for the S&P 500 to 4,150—down from a previous estimate of 4,850.

Evercore ISI also cut its year-end S&P 500 target the same day, to 4,200 from 4,300, as analysts sounded the alarm on corporate margins and earnings being “under pressure as prospective recession scenarios develop.”One of Wall Street’s biggest bears (who has also warned of further downward earnings revisions) is Morgan Stanley chief strategist Mike Wilson who is maintaining a year-end S&P 500 target of just 3,900, while also predicting the index could fall as low as 3,000 if a recession hits.

Even some of Wall Street’s most optimistic strategists are slashing their S&P forecasts somewhat, including Oppenheimer chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus, who reduced his estimate to 4,800 from 5,330 amid “palpable risks of recession.”

Despite the gloomier forecasts recently, most Wall Street firms still predict a market rebound by the end of 2022, with the majority of price targets implying modest upside from the S&P 500’s current level of around 3,850. UBS and Evercore ISI’s most recent forecasts for the benchmark index both imply roughly 8% upside from current prices, while Oppenheimer’s price target suggests the market will rally nearly 25%. Even Morgan Stanley’s bearish outlook of 3,900 would mean stocks post a slight gain by the end of the year..

Even as recession fears remain front and center, not all Wall Street firms are forecasting an economic downturn. Analysts at Credit Suisse, for instance, also slashed their S&P 500 price target (to 4,300 from 4,900) but argued that the economy’s current slowdown is not recessionary. “Recessions are most accurately characterized by a meltdown in employment accompanied by an inability of consumers and businesses to meet their financial obligations,” Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Golub said in a note on Tuesday.

“While we are currently experiencing a meaningful slowdown in economic growth (from extremely high levels), neither of the above conditions are present today.” UBS strategist Keith Parker similarly sees slowing growth “but no recession,” with modest gains for the stock market ahead as he predicts high inflation will eventually subside.

Investors remain “nervous” about the upcoming inflation report on Wednesday, with experts predicting that consumer prices for June will surge higher than the 8.6% recorded in May.

I am a senior reporter at Forbes covering markets and business news. Previously, I worked on the wealth team at Forbes covering billionaires and their wealth.

Source: Wall Street Firms Slash S&P 500 Price Targets As ‘Concerned’ Analysts Warn Of Earnings Slowdown

Critics:

The S&P 500 Index (US500) has reacted to the US Federal Reserve (Fed)’s ultra-hawkish stance by shedding over 20% in the first six months of 2022. 

As Fed chair Jerome Powell puts his foot on the pedal and accelerates quantitative tightening, investors now fear that decreasing money supply will push the US economy into a recession. Analysts remain divided on the likelihood of a recession as they await economic data, which remains key in anticipating the severity of rate hikes in the second half of the year.

S&P Global summed up the current market sentiment in its third quarter US economic outlook report: “We expect that the Fed raising interest rates and reducing its balance sheet will be enough to eventually begin to tame inflation and help restore real wage strength and purchasing power. The question is whether it will push the US into recession as well.”

After hitting its lowest level since December 2020, the S&P 500 rebounded by over 6% in the fourth week of June, breaking a three-week losing streak in the process as short squeezes caught bears off guard. Jefferies called the current market sentiment “extreme” in a note dated 27 June, having seen net S&P 500 futures turn to net short, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) S&P 500 speculative net positions data for week ended 24 June.

“Thoroughly depressed sentiment, an extreme in short positions and rising cash levels are creating a vicious short squeeze,” said Sean Darby, global equity strategist at Jefferies. Despite seeing a recent rally in prices, the S&P 500 posted losses of close to 9% in June. As of 6 July 2022, the US benchmark index has lost close to 20% year-to-date (YTD).
In comparison, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index has slumped nearly 30% in the same period, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average index has shed about 15%. Based on the 5 July close of 3,831.4, the S&P 500 remains below its 200-day exponential moving average (EMA) of 3866.9.  After dropping to near oversold zones on 16 June, the index’s 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) has risen to a near-neutral zone of 56 points, as of 6 July.

The Jefferies report said that “investors are now holding high levels of cash after one of the worst drawdowns in modern history”. The report showed that the S&P 500’s 12-month forward price-to-earnings was “just above” its long-term average.  “The multiple correction has been driven by long rates and not necessarily earnings revisions,” added Jefferies. As of 6 July 2022, the S&P 500 index was about 20% away from its all-time high of 4,818, which it reached on 3 January 2022.

By Mensholong Lepcha

Related contents:

S&P 500 Loses Over 1% As Investors Brace For Shaky Earnings Season, Looming Inflation Report

Stocks Fall After U.S. Economy Adds Back 372,000 Jobs In June

Federal Reserve Prepares More Big Rate Hikes Amid Risk That High Inflation Could ‘Become Entrenched’

Stocks Close Out Worst First Half Of A Year Since 1970

Wall Street Chooses an Odd Time to Be Upbeat About Growth Stocks 

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Why Inflation Looks Likely To Stay Above The Pre-Pandemic Norm

The bad news on inflation just keeps coming. At more than 9% year on year across the rich world, it has not been this high since the 1980s—and there have never been so many “inflation surprises”, where the data have come in higher than economists’ forecasts (see chart). This, in turn, is taking a heavy toll on the economy and financial markets.

Central banks are raising interest rates and ending bond-buying schemes, crushing equities. Consumer confidence in many places is now even lower than it was in the early days of the covid-19 pandemic. “Real-time” economic indicators of everything from housing activity to manufacturing output suggest that economic growth is slowing sharply.

What consumer prices do next is therefore one of the most important questions for the global economy. Many forecasters expect that annual inflation will soon ebb, in part because of last year’s sharp increases in commodity prices falling out of the year-on-year comparison. In its latest economic projections the Federal Reserve, for instance, expects annual inflation in America (as measured by the personal-consumption-expenditure index) to fall from 5.2% at the end of this year to 2.6% by the end of 2023.

You might be forgiven for not taking these prognostications too seriously. After all, most economists failed to see the inflationary surge coming, and then wrongly predicted it would quickly fade. In a paper published in May, Jeremy Rudd of the Fed made a provocative point: “Our understanding of how the economy works—as well as our ability to predict the effects of shocks and policy actions—is in my view no better today than it was in the 1960s.” The future path of inflation is, to a great extent, shrouded in uncertainty.

Some indicators point to more price pressure to come in the near term. Alternative Macro Signals, a consultancy, runs millions of news articles through a model to construct a “news inflation pressure index”. The results, which are more timely than the official inflation figures, measure not just how frequently price pressures are mentioned, but also whether the news flow suggests that pressures are building up. In both America and the euro area the index is still miles above 50, indicating that pressures are continuing to build.

Inflation worry-warts can point to three other indicators suggesting that the rich world is unlikely to return to the pre-pandemic norm of low, stable price growth any time soon: rising wage growth, and increases in the inflation expectations of both consumers and companies. If sustained, these could together contribute to what the Bank for International Settlements, the central bank for central banks, describes in a report published on June 26th as a “tipping point”. Beyond it, warns the bis, “an inflationary psychology” could spread and become “entrenched”.

Evidence is mounting that workers are starting to bargain for higher wages. This could create another round of price increases as firms pass on these extra costs. A survey by the Bank of Spain suggests that half of collective-bargaining deals signed for 2023 contain “indexation clauses”, meaning that salaries are automatically tied to inflation, up from a fifth before the pandemic.

In Germany ig Metall, a trade union, has asked for a 7-8% pay rise for nearly 4m workers in the metals and engineering sector (it will probably get about half that). In Britain rail workers went on strike as they sought a 7% pay rise, though it is unclear whether they will succeed. All this will make wage growth hotter still. Already, a tracker for the g10 group of countries compiled by Goldman Sachs, a bank, is rising almost vertically (see chart). A measure of pay pressure from Alternative Macro Signals is similarly animated. And wage floors are rising, too.

The Netherlands is bringing forward a rise in the minimum wage; earlier this month Germany passed a bill increasing its minimum by one-fifth. On June 15th Australia’s industrial-relations agency raised the wage floor by 5.2%, more than double last year’s increase. Faster wage growth in part reflects public’s higher expectations for future inflation—the second reason to worry that inflation might prove sticky. In America expectations for average price increases in the near term are rising fast.

The average Canadian says they are braced for inflation of 7% over the next year, the highest of any rich country. Even in Japan, the land where prices only rarely change, beliefs are shifting. A year ago a survey by the central bank found that just 8% of people believed that prices would go up “significantly” over the next year (consumer prices, indeed, rose by only 2.5% in the year to April). Now, however, 20% of Japanese people reckon that will happen.

The third factor relates to companies’ expectations. Retailers’ inflation expectations are at an all-time high in a third of eu countries. A survey by the Bank of England suggests that clothing prices for Britain’s autumn and winter collections will be 7-10% higher than a year ago. The Dallas Fed does find tentative evidence that customers are less willing to tolerate price increases than before; a respondent in the rental and leasing business complained that “it is getting tougher to pass on the 20-30% price increases we have received from manufacturers.” But that merely points to a lower level of high inflation.

The big hope for lower inflation relates to the price of goods. Fast increases in the prices of cars, fridges and the like, linked in part to supply-chain snarls, drove the initial inflationary surge last year. Now there is some evidence of a reversal. The cost of shipping something from Shanghai to Los Angeles has fallen by a quarter since early March. In recent months many retailers spent big on inventories in order to ensure their shelves stayed full. Many are now cutting prices to shift stock.

In America car production is finally picking up, which could unwind some of the outrageous price increases for used vehicles seen last year. Falling goods prices could, in theory, help douse the inflationary flames in the rich world, easing the cost-of-living crisis, giving central banks breathing room and buoying financial markets. But, with enough indicators of future prices pointing the other way, the odds of that happening have lengthened. Don’t be surprised if inflation roars for a while yet.

Source: Why inflation looks likely to stay above the pre-pandemic norm | The Economist

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Source: https://vigourtimes.com

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Massive 2022 ‘All-Time High’ Bitcoin Price Prediction Comes With A Serious Ethereum, BNB, XRP, Solana, Cardano, Luna And Avalanche Warning

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices have struggled this year, with the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise rates and potentially trim its balance sheet spooking investors.

The bitcoin price has lost around 40% of its value since hitting an all-time high of nearly $70,000 per bitcoin in November. Smaller cryptocurrencies, including ethereum, BNB BNB -0.9%, XRP XRP -2.7%, solana, cardano, luna and avalanche, have also fallen back—though some are on track to break records in 2022.

Now, a panel of cryptocurrency experts has predicted the bitcoin price will peak at almost $82,000 in 2022 before dropping to just above $65,000 by the end of the year—but warned a more advanced blockchain such as ethereum, BNB, XRP, solana, cardano, luna or avalanche could eventually eclipse bitcoin.

“There’s still plenty of uncertainty about the short-term bitcoin outlook,” Asher Tan, the chief executive of Australia-based crypto exchange CoinJar and panel member said in a statement. Tan has a more conservative outlook on the bitcoin price than the panel average.

“Given the macroeconomic headwinds, it would not surprise me to see bitcoin spend the whole year bouncing around between $30,000 to $60,000—the sort of conditions that are terrible for traders, but rewarding for accumulators with a multi-year timeframe.”

The panel, made up of 35 people from the world of crypto and put together by financial comparison website Finder, has returned a lower average bitcoin price prediction for the end of 2022 than it did in January—at the time predicting the bitcoin price would end December at just over $76,000.

The longer-term panel average has also dipped with bitcoin now forecast to be worth just over $420,000 by the end of 2030, down around 25% from an October forecast of $567,000.

However, some panel members have become more bullish since then. Martin Fröhler, the chief executive of ethereum-based trading platform Morpher gave one of the most bullish end-of-2022 predictions, pointing to “political uncertainty, inflation, and an ever increasing desire to own non-government controlled assets” as likely to push the bitcoin price to a new all-time high.

The continued success of ethereum and recent rallies for other top ten cryptocurrencies such as BNB, XRP, solana, cardano, luna and avalanche may have weighed on the panel’s outlook, with 50% predicting bitcoin will eventually be displaced as the most valuable cryptocurrency.

“Bitcoin is a one trick pony,” said Thomson Reuters technologist and futurist Joseph Raczynski who thinks ethereum has “far grander” potential than bitcoin as “a massive platform of the internet of value.”

“For now, bitcoin really only serves as another currency, akin to a dollar, euro, or pound. Other blockchains that serve a multitude of purposes will likely have a chance to take the throne.”

Others are even more downbeat about bitcoin’s prospects. John Hawkins, a senior lecturer at the University of Canberra, returned one of the bleakest bitcoin price predictions, forecasting bitcoin will be worth just $5,000 by the end of 2025 and dropping to a mere $100 per bitcoin by 2030 as it loses out to ethereum and state-backed alternatives.

“As well as private crypto being replaced by central bank digital currencies, and a general collapse of the speculative bubble, I think bitcoin will lose out to ethereum which has a stronger use case, especially if ethereum ever converts to proof-of-stake and so becomes more environmentally responsible.”

Ethereum’s long-awaited transition to the less energy-demanding proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, abandoning the proof-of-work system pioneered by bitcoin, was expected to happen over the next couple of months but has recently been delayed until the end of this year.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk

Source: Massive 2022 ‘All-Time High’ Bitcoin Price Prediction Comes With A Serious Ethereum, BNB, XRP, Solana, Cardano, Luna And Avalanche Warning

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How Business Intelligence Can Fuel Your Efforts

Big data holds big potential. According to IDC, businesses spent $215 billion on big data and business intelligence solutions in 2021 alone. That represents a 10% increase compared to 2020. Job growth in data analytics and business intelligence (BI) also remains strong. It’s clear that the future is doubling down on data. But all its power and glory mean very little until you can answer one question: What can data-driven intelligence do for you?

Having a theoretical understanding of how to foster an intelligent business is one thing. Putting your BI tools to work and generating results is quite another. Too many organizations fail to bridge the gap and successfully use business data to transform their operations. The effectiveness of BI data can suffer from:

  • Failure to involve the right people in the decision-making process
  • Limitations within the BI software itself
  • Poor adoption processes

So, let’s fix that. Here’s a closer look at BI, along with some steps you can take to ensure it’s broadly adopted and benefits all users.

BI Definition: What Is Business Intelligence?

Let’s start with some clarity. First, what is a good business intelligence definition? Business intelligence, or BI, refers to software that turns data into usable insights. To make sense of information, it uses:

  • Data collection tools
  • Business analytics
  • Data visualization
  • An organized data warehouse

When you wrap your data up in a neat and tidy package, you can make better business decisions based on real-world insights.

What Is Business Analytics?

So what is business analytics, then? There’s a little overlap here. Business analytics uses historical data to identify potential trends and patterns that help companies make predictions for the future.

An easy way to think about it is that business analytics is a small slice of BI. Both are important, especially for informed decision-making. Both can work together to drive better business outcomes.

Why Are BI Reporting and Business Data Important for Companies?

Imagine you are shopping for a new car. You go to the lot and see they have several of the same model in stock. On the surface, they all look the same except for the color. But after you buy one, you learn that it was actually a year older than the others on the lot and had thousands more miles than them. It had also been in a previous accident, but it still costs the same as the newer cars.

With a little more insight into what you were buying, you may have chosen differently. Since all the cars cost the same in this example, you could have gotten more value by getting a newer, less-driven model that was in better condition. BI and analytics work in a similar manner. They provide users with data they might have overlooked or might not realize is available. With those insights, users can improve business operations and data-driven decision-making.

To be clear, BI data doesn’t tell companies what to do or what will happen if they make certain decisions. Its value lies in presenting business leaders with simplified data insights related to a specific area of business. It helps to remove some of the guesswork of an endless list of what-if questions. It streamlines the process of searching for and combining various data sets to speed up the decision-making timeline.

How Do Companies Use BI Software?Typing on a laptop.

Business intelligence software sounds helpful in theory. In reality, the possible applications are nearly endless. For instance, a retail store or logistics company might use BI for predictive purposes. AI is useful for identifying supply chain risks and may help companies plan for unexpected surges in demand or delays in transport.

Sales teams will often use a BI platform to visualize their pipelines and see where all of their deals are in real-time. Take Meltwater client AxiaOrigin, for example. This consultancy specializes in best-in-class data discovery and analysis, with a particular focus on unused data that its clients struggle to unlock value from.

Much of its work is bespoke to each client, so having a flexible solution that can address a wide range of requests is critical. AxiaOrigin can explore large sets of raw data without manually mining and extracting insights. And it’s all because of our AI-powered business intelligence and analytics tools.

Another common use case is to predict future trends, which is how Fund for Peace uses Meltwater. This non-profit works to prevent conflict. It relies on easy-to-use BI to track trends and get early warnings of potential conflict. This forward-thinking approach allows the organization to respond quickly to escalating situations. Using an easy-to-understand, end-to-end solution reduces the time it takes to research and track events, which has enriched the organization’s data even more.

Specifically, BI reporting can be useful in several ways:

  • Spot trends
  • Benchmark competitors
  • Increase sales and profit
  • Optimize operations
  • Uncover problems or issues
  • Track performance
  • Predict future trends and successes
  • Understand your customers

When used to its potential, BI reporting can help to improve just about any aspect of your business.

What Kinds of Business Intelligence Tools Should You Use?

The right BI tools let you go from theoretical benefits to tangible value. To make this leap, you must first explore your options for choosing and implementing BI solutions.

Types of Intelligent Business ToolsA hand points to charts and graphs displayed on a transparent screen.

A range of tools and solutions are part of the BI market. Examples include:

  • Dashboards
  • Data visualization tools
  • Reporting features
  • Data mining
  • ETL (extract transfer load)
  • OLAP (online analytical processing)

Among the most common are dashboarding and visualization tools. Dashboards can be customized to display certain types of data at a glance. These are most often used when business leaders need to access the same information on an ongoing basis. Visualization tools turn data into visual images or models for easier information processing.

All of the above can fall into one of two buckets. There’s the “classic” BI that focuses only on in-house transactional data. And then there’s “modern” BI that takes internal and external data from a variety of sources into account. Modern BI offers additional advantages to completing and enriching data sets, which allows for faster and easier analysis.

Today’s BI solutions are largely cloud-based software-as-a-service (though some are still on-premise). They span a range of features and functionality. They’re enterprise-grade in terms of power. But even non-technical users can benefit from the approach that many BI applications take. Having your own data analysts or team of data scientists is great, but it is no longer required for deploying BI.

Going Beyond a Business Intelligence System

A person with long hair smiles while sitting at a table having a meeting with colleagues.It’s not just a matter of choosing software and tools to make BI solutions work. This is where a lot of companies go wrong. You cannot simply “solution-ize” your business. You must factor in other considerations that can make or break your BI implementation.

First, companies need to instill the right culture. Technology itself isn’t enough if the people using it can’t make heads or tails of it. Staff empowered to make decisions who know the right questions to ask are ideally suited for BI. They’re usually skilled in finding patterns in sales data or social media mentions, for example. They also view a BI solution as more than just a data tool. They see it as a valuable way to investigate how past actions triggered results and to better predict the results of future actions.

Also, companies need buy-in from the top down. BI software isn’t just a one-off activity. On the contrary, its value grows over time as it collects more data for deeper and more reliable insights. With this in mind, don’t expect BI solutions to perform miracles overnight, and don’t try to implement them quickly.

Doing so most often means that some aspects of the organization were not taken into account. Using an implementation consultant can shore up these little bumps in the road that could ultimately derail your BI program. They ask hard questions to achieve short-term goals and long-term value.

The data you feed your BI software will also contribute to your success. You need to consider structured and unstructured data sources to gauge customer sentiment and relate it to other data points. This is becoming critical as customers engage with businesses through a variety of channels. Also, data should come from verified, reliable sources to maintain its integrity and reap all the benefits of BI.

Lastly, organizations need to establish specific goals for their BI system. Goal creation ensures that companies are collecting and analyzing the right data. You’ll likely have a mix of metrics related to customer satisfaction, sales, and internal user adoption. Your BI system must be flexible and customizable to accommodate future goals and priority shifts.

By: TJ Kiely

Source: How Business Intelligence Can Fuel Your Efforts

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