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This analyst who forecast a double-digit drop in stocks for 2022 now says Jeff Bezos may return to helm Amazon

If Tuesday was any indication of how the market will behave this year, then buckle up, it looks like it will be a wild one. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.03% had a 537-point trading range, even though the blue chip index lost only 11 points by the close. It’s still early enough in


If Tuesday was any indication of how the market will behave this year, then buckle up, it looks like it will be a wild one. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.03% had a 537-point trading range, even though the blue chip index lost only 11 points by the close.

It’s still early enough in the year to look at 2023 predictions, so this time we’ll go with one from an analyst who called the market correctly at the end of 2021. “The S&P 500 will have its worst year since 2008,” said Michael Batnick, director of research at Ritholtz Wealth Management. “I predict this year it will fall more than 15%. The combination of high multiples, high inflation, supply chain issues, and the Fed raising interest rates will prove to be too much for investors to handle.” The S&P 500 SPX, -0.40% dropped 19% last year.

Of course, not all his predictions came true — for instance, he said the Fed would end up cutting rates by the end of the year — but still that’s a better track record than many. So what does he expect for 2023?

Jeff Bezos, in the style of Bob Iger at Walt Dsiney, will come back to lead AMZN, +2.17% after the stock’s 50% drop last year, he reckons. “Jeff Bezos spent 27 years at Amazon and has been gone for less than two. In 2023 he pulls a Bob Iger and returns to steady the ship,” says Batnick.

That’s not crazy talk, given Amazon’s share-price struggles, though of course Andy Jassy had the unfortunate timing to start as CEO just five months before the first vaccines arrived, releasing consumers from their homes. “Is Amazon in a lousy business or do they do a lousy job running it,” asked Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham, in a late December note forecasting just 2% operating margins for the fiscal year.

Relatedly, Microsoft MSFT, -0.10% was just downgraded by UBS, in part on worries that its Azure cloud business that competes with Amazon’s AWS is slowing due to maturation and not just macroeconomic headwinds.

Batnick more broadly expects the tech sector to continue its layoffs — which he wrote ahead of CRM, +1.65%  announcing a 10% reduction in jobs — and value to continue to outperform growth.

A few of his other forecasts: bonds will hold their own as a diversifying asset; bitcoin BTCUSD, +1.03% will double; gold GC00, +1.08% will make a new all-time high; and stocks will gain double digits. “With peak inflation hopefully behind us, a consumer that is still in good shape, and an investor class that is negative across the board, it wouldn’t take much in the way of an upside surprise for stocks to take off,” he says.

Caveat emptor, though. “These are my best guesses as to what happens in the next year, and I look forward to rereading them in twelve months in disbelief that I could be so wrong on so many things,” writes Batnick.

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The market

U.S. stock futures ES00, +0.38%   NQ00, +0.62% edged higher ahead of torrent of data. The dollar DXY, -0.43% slipped, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y, 3.684% was 3.70%.

For more market updates plus actionable trade ideas for stocks, options and crypto, subscribe to MarketDiem by Investor’s Business Daily.

The buzz

Tesla TSLA, -12.24% will be in the spotlight after its 12% dive on Tuesday to its lowest finish since Aug. 13, 2020. Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest bought $20 million worth of Tesla stock on Tuesday, according to the firm’s daily disclosures. Automakers more broadly are due to report vehicle sales for December throughout the session.

It’s a big day on the economics front. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index is due for release at 10 a.m. Eastern, the same time the latest job openings report comes out.

The minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting are due to be released at 2 p.m. — keep in mind Chair Jerome Powell was very hawkish after the meeting, so there’s the potential the summary might not match his tone.

In France, inflation in December fell to a three-month low, as energy prices wane in Europe due to a warmer-than-expected winter.

The spectacle of who will become House speaker may continue after Kevin McCarthy saw his bid rejected three times by dissident Republicans.

Best of the web

The website Unusual Whales has published its 2022 Congressional stock trading report, which finds both Democrats and Republicans enjoyed market-beating returns last year.

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The head of Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund has been subpoenaed in a lawsuit over an Elon Musk tweet.

Moody’s warns not of a recession but a ‘slowcession.’

Top tickers

Here were the most active stock-market tickers as of 6 a.m. Eastern.

Ticker Security name
TSLA, -12.24% Tesla
GME, -6.83% GameStop
AMC, -3.44% AMC Entertainment
MULN, +12.41% Mullen Automotive
AAPL, -3.74% Apple
NIO, -1.23% Nio
BBBY, -7.97% Bed Bath & Beyond
AMZN, +2.17%
BABA, +4.42% Alibaba
NVDA, -2.05% Nvidia
The chart

Ahead of the Fed minutes, this chart from Fidelity Investments strategist Jurrien Timmer lays out the difference between market and central bank expectations on where rates are headed. “The risk here is that the Fed is correct, and markets are wrong in projecting the path of policy in 2023, and that financial conditions will remain tighter for longer,” he says. He says the recent rally from the mid-October low may not just be justified if rates stay higher for longer than what investors anticipate.

Random reads

An unhappy jolt in the new year: Goldman Sachs GS, +0.83% is now charging its bankers for coffee. 

The man believed to be the world’s tallest is 9 foot 6 inches in height.

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Listen to the Best New Ideas in Money podcast with MarketWatch reporter Charles Passy and economist Stephanie Kelton.

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