Who knew that the big risk this year was a US economy that would be too hot? Coming into 2023, strategists were bearish following the market’s drubbing the previous year. The consensus expectation was that it would be a tough first half followed by second-half resilience as the Fed got its way in the form of declining inflation.
That narrative didn’t play out exactly. An unforeseen regional banking crisis in March brought out new fears of an imminent recession and tumbling interest rates. Fear was short-lived and confined, however. The Nasdaq went on to post its best first half in 40 years as mega-cap tech stock powered higher amid optimism surrounding AI, while small caps and value equities lagged.
Navigating by the Stars Under Cloudy Skies
Entering the second half, macro conditions were generally tame. Interest rates had settled into what felt like a comfortable range while financial conditions loosened by way of rising stock markets and a calm . prices were also low – under $70 as the summer driving season kicked into full gear.
Another round of solid earnings reports in late July and early August briefly masked a brewing storm as the notched its year-to-date high on July 31. Fed Chair Powell’s message at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium featured few surprises, but the September Fed ‘pause’ was met with significant selling pressure since the FOMC erased a pair of possible rate cuts from its 2024 outlook.
Higher Yields = Higher Risk
Over the last three months, indebted companies have had to scramble to outline risk management plans with their financing structure given the steep increase in intermediate and long-term interest rates. That will undoubtedly be a key theme across industry conferences this quarter.
Making the macro picture cloudier is the state of household finances. While real wage growth is absolutely present given a still-strong jobs market and ebbing inflation trends, the resumption of student loan repayments, much steeper borrowing rates, and sky-high housing costs for first-time home buyers could result in softer holiday sales this go around.
There’s plenty of fodder for both hope and concern, greed and fear, as we wrap up 2023.
Questions to Ponder:
- Amid slowing buybacks, how will higher borrowing costs impact the state of corporate capital allocation decisions?
- Can the consumer continue showing up strong during the most important quarter for discretionary spending?
- Will weight-loss drugs continue to alter the consumption trends, particularly for Consumer Staples companies?
- Are executives prepared to navigate a trickier macro picture given recent jumps in the dollar and oil prices that, despite their October pullback, remain up from earlier in 2023?
- A recession appears to have been sidestepped this year, but the next several quarters are expected to feature a slowdown from Q3’s torrid pace – are firms prepared for such weaker activity?
- Was the IPO revival short-lived? Arm Holdings ADR (NASDAQ:) and Instacart (NASDAQ:) garnered much fanfare in their debuts, but recent share-price performances from that pair have been uninspiring.
- Is there any near-term hope for growth out of ex-US markets and embattled domestic small caps?
All this and more in the weeks ahead. Conferences, summits, seminars, and other gatherings of leaders across the corporate world are critical for investors to follow. Here are some of the major conferences sourced by Wall Street Horizon that investors and traders should keep on their Q4 calendars.
Information Technology & Communication Services
October 12: UBS Disruptive Technology CEO Summit
November 13: Global TMT Conference
November 14: Needham 17th Annual Networking, Communications & Security Conference (virtual)
November 27: UBS Global Technology Conference
November 28: Wells Fargo 7th Annual TMT Summit
December 4: UBS Global Media, Telecoms Communications, Technology (TMT) Conference
December 6: Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference
October 11: Jefferies Inaugural Biotech CNS/Neuro Summit
October 12: ROTH MKM 2nd Annual Healthcare Opportunities Conference
October 17: 3rd Annual Needham Private Biotech Company Virtual 1 on 1 Forum
October 25: Jefferies Cannabis Summit
November 8: UBS Biopharma Conference
November 13: Credit Suisse 32nd Annual Healthcare Conference
November 13: UBS Healthcare Conference
November 14: Jefferies 14th Annual London Global Healthcare Conference
Consumer Discretionary & Consumer Staples
October 24: American Automotive Summit
November 14: Jefferies Miami Consumer Conference
November 15: Bank of America Consumer and Retail Conference
November 21: Deutsche Bank: Business Services, Leisure, Transport and Retail Conference
December 5: Morgan Stanley Global Consumer and Retail Conference
December 11: Advanced Automotive Battery 23rd Annual Conference (AABC)
Financials & Real Estate
October 10: UBS 26th Annual SA Financials Conference
October 12: Bernstein 20th Annual Quantitative Finance Conference
October 24: Annual J.P. Morgan / Robin Hood Investors Conference
October 26: Piper Sandler Insurance & Asset Wealth Management Summit
November 15: Barclays Leveraged Credit Forum
November 28: Bank of America Securities Leveraged Finance Conference
November 28: UBS Global Real Estate CEO/CFO Conference
October 12: Raymond James Defense & Government Conference
November 7: Baird 53rd Annual Global Industrial Conference
November 15: Baird Government & Defense Conference
November 29: UBS Industrials Summit
December 5: Morgan Stanley 6th Annual Space Summit
Energy & Utilities
October 10: Stifel Virtual Renewable Conference
October 11: Morningstar Sustainable Investing Summit
November 7: Societe Generale ESG SRI Conference
November 8: Credit Suisse 5th Annual Utilities Conference
December 5: Wells Fargo Midstream, Utility & Renewables Symposium
December 5: Credit Suisse Climate Tech Conference (virtual)
October 10: Citi Global Resources Conference
November 13: RBC Capital Markets Senior Precious Metals Conference
November 14: Morgan Stanley Global Chemicals, Agriculture and Packaging (NYSE:) Conference
November 14: Roth MKM 3rd Annual AgTech Answers Conference
November 15: Goldman Sachs Metals & Mining Conference
November 28: Citi Basic Materials Conference
November 2: Bank of America China Conference
November 2: Barclays Asia Forum
November 15: Morgan Stanley European Technology Media and Communications Conference
November 15: Morgan Stanley 22nd Annual Asia Pacific Summit
November 29: JP Morgan Brazil Opportunities Conference
November 29: Goldman Sachs CEEMEA Conference
November 29: Bank of America BOFA European Materials Conference
Investor Specific & Multi-Sector
November 16: JP Morgan Ultimate Services Investor Conference
November 22: JP Morgan UK Leaders Conference
December 6: Deutsche Bank 8th Annual Lithium I Battery Supply Chain Conference
December 6: Sidoti Winter Micro Cap Conference