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2023 Outlook

Posted on

By: Jeff Bullock

As we turn the page to 2023 and away from one of the worst years in both equity and credit markets in decades, we examine what happened, the policymaker response, and what that means for 2023 and beyond.

What Happened & The Response

After nearly a decade of money printing and central bank balance sheet expansion, inflation finally reared its ugly head. The decision to shut down the economy in 2020 due to Covid-19 led to the passing of unprecedented rescue packages by lawmakers, as well as direct central bank intervention in markets which had never happened before at this level. With a zero-interest rate policy (i.e., free money), a buyer of last resort (i.e., the Fed), and forgivable loans available to many businesses (i.e., PPP loans, etc), global markets and the economy seemingly went into extreme expansion mode. This all lasted for about 18 months before the inflation boogeyman came to life.

The Fed made many missteps along the way. First, they were very late to the game – one example is that they were still fueling inflation by directly buying bonds in the market as late as March 2022, when inflation was already at 8.5%. They then pivoted from a multi-decade policy of “easy money”, to extreme hawkishness, in a matter of days.

Jay Powell, the Fed Chair, went from saying, “We’re not even thinking about thinking about raising rates,” to one of the most aggressive rate-raising endeavors in decades. A pivot like this is nothing short of a massive misstep in their policy. As reported inflation hit 9.1% in June, the restrictive nature of their policy increased. The latter part of the year consisted of 0.75% rate rises every month to try and slow the economy down. The current Fed Rate went from 0.25% to 4.75% by year-end. Truly unprecedented.

Make no mistake, the Fed is trying to cause a recession. That’s the only true way to slow down inflation. All the discussion about a “soft landing” is simply a different way of saying they are trying to slow the economy down without causing a recession, or perhaps only causing a mild recession. If they overshoot and cause a “hard landing”, then we can expect more than a mild recession.

Why did the stock market have so much volatility in 2022? Very simply, it’s trying to figure out if the economy will have a hard or soft landing. The big daily, weekly, and monthly moves were all driven by news that either made investors react in extreme ways.

2023 Outlook

Despite the bad year in the stock market, most companies actually grew in 2022. Yes, you heard me correctly. Bottom-line earnings for the stock market increased in 2022 compared to 2021. Then why did the market fall nearly 20%?

Valuations/Multiples. The price of any company, or the stock market as a whole, is a function of two inputs: (1) Earnings and (2) the Multiple that investors are willing to pay for those earnings.

In 2022, despite companies delivering strong earnings, valuations dropped due to all of the uncertainties surrounding the economy. In other words, investors were not willing to pay as high of a multiple for their equity exposure in 2022 that they were willing to do in years past.

If 2022 was the year of the multiple revaluation, then 2023 will be the year of earnings.

It’s important to remember that nearly three-quarters of GDP is Consumer Consumption; i.e., you and me spending money. This drives company growth. If consumers (you and me) keep spending at the rate we have, despite the added price inflation, then company earnings will continue to stay strong. However, if consumers decide to cut back, delay a vacation, or substitute higher quality goods with lower ones, then we probably see a slowdown in the economy.

The market is currently in a “wait and see” mode. It’s not pricing in a deep or even mild recession, but at the same time, it’s not pricing in a strong economic outlook. Will inflation continue to come down? Will 4th Quarter earnings beat expectations? Will the Fed be able to hit the breaks on raising interest rates?

These are all the questions that will drive the earnings narrative for 2023.

Portfolio Positioning

With all of that said, how do we position portfolios in an environment like this for those who have exposure?

  • On the equity side, we continue to tilt toward the value style of equities with an emphasis on strong dividend-paying companies. We have been positioned this way since early 2022, which has been good, and continue to like this area to start the year.
  • On the fixed income side, we continue to focus on short-to-mid duration and high quality credit. We have been positioned on the short-end of the duration spectrum for over a year now, which has been a good place to be. We continue to favor short-duration over long.
  • On the alternative side, we continue to like 1st lien private credit where it makes sense in a portfolio.


We expect the first part of 2023 to continue to be choppy in equity markets with elevated volatility still playing a role in portfolios. As inflation, unemployment, and earnings data role in, markets will adjust and re-price expectations.

  • Bull Case: The bull case is a “soft landing” from the Fed and lower inflation. This will allow interest rates to stabilize, modest growth, and even the small potential for multiple expansion.
  • Bear Case: The bear case is a “hard landing” from the Fed and sticky inflation. This will cause interest rates to stay elevated which will mute growth and potentially cause multiples to fall even more.
  • Base Case: Somewhere in-between the “soft” and “hard” landing. Unemployment will then take center stage as the economy will look toward a recovery in 2024.

Without using too many superlatives, 2022 was truly an unprecedented year in markets. We are confident in our approach and watch market each day looking for opportunities.

As always, feel free to give us a call to discuss.

This blog is general communication being provided for informational purposes only.  This information is in no way a solicitation or offer to sell securities or investment advisory services.  It is educational in nature and not to be taken as advice or a recommendation for any specific investment product or investment strategy.  This does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.  Any investment or investment strategy mentioned may not be suitable for all investors or in their best interest.   Statistical information, quotes, charts, references to articles or any other quoted statement or statements regarding market or other financial information is obtained from sources which we believe reliable, but we do not warrant or guarantee the timeliness or accuracy of this information. All rights are reserved.  No part of this blog including text, graphics, et al, may be reproduced or copied in any format, electronic, print, et al, without written consent from Fidelis Wealth Advisors, LLC. Fidelis Wealth Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice.  Please be advised to consult with your investment advisor, attorney or tax professional before making any investment decisions.

Nancy Tagovailoa


Nancy has worked in the financial services industry for the past 25 years.  She is passionate about providing an unforgettable customer experience throughout onboarding, account opening and throughout the relationship.  Nancy works hard to make the client experience as easy and efficient as possible.



Nancy was born in Norfolk, Nebraska, but has been in Colorado since she was 6 months old so considers herself a native.   In her free time, she enjoys gardening, painting, and spending time with her family and grandchildren.  Nancy lives in Centennial, Colorado with her husband, Lima.

Karley Winder

Karley Winder recently joined Fidelis Wealth Advisors as an intern. She is an undergraduate at Arapahoe Community College and is soon transferring to University of Colorado Denver business school to earn her Bachelor’s in Financial Management. Karley also has several years of entrepreneurial experience from starting her own local businesses. She has sincere interest in the field of finance and is eager to gain experience.


Karley is a Colorado native and has lived in Castle Rock since she was a young girl. She enjoys horseback riding, Pilates, and mountain biking in her free time.

Rilee Erickson

Rilee comes to Fidelis Wealth Advisors with a background in Financial Services, having previous experience in property and casualty insurance, as well as life insurance. Rilee graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness and Horticulture Sciences. Rilee’s passion is helping people protect their family and their future.


Rilee is a Wyoming native and resides in Big Piney, Wyoming with her husband and two boys. Rilee enjoys spending a lot of time outdoors and exploring the beautiful and rugged Wyoming Range.

Skye Fineran

Skye comes to Fidelis Wealth Advisors as an Administrative Assistant in 2021 and is a recent graduate from West Texas A&M University. There she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. Skye also completed Amarillo College’s paralegal certification program. Skye enjoys the rewarding feeling of helping clients to achieve their financial goals and looks forward to making a difference at Fidelis Wealth Advisors.


Skye grew up in Tecumseh, Michigan and currently resides in Castle Rock, Colorado with her family. Skye loves art history, playing golf, and spending time with her family and friends.

RIA Innovations

Fidelis Wealth Advisors has a strategic partnership with RIA Innovations, a Division of NWAM, LLC. RIA Innovations provides administrative support services for registered investment advisors nationwide. This service is under the direction of Nelly Mubashi, the Chief Operating Officer.


NWAM, LLC, dba Northwest Asset Management & RIA Innovations is an SEC registered investment adviser. NWAM, LLC dba Northwest Asset Management & RIA Innovations and Fidelis Wealth Advisors, LLC are not affiliated companies.

Gabriel Jones

Gabe started with Fidelis Wealth Advisors as an Investment Research Assistant in 2018, and has an intense passion for investment research.

Gabe is currently in college to obtain his Bachelors in Finance, and enjoys spending time outside of work hiking and reading.

Dawn Folmer

Dawn Folmer comes to Fidelis Wealth Advisors with a background in the finance industry, having previous experience with a registered investment advisory firm in Denver. Dawn is a recent graduate of Colorado State University Global, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership. As a skilled financial planning assistant, she enjoys the rewarding feeling of helping people reach their financial dreams and retirement goals.


Dawn is a Colorado native and resides in Castle Rock with her family, where they enjoy being adventurous and active in the outdoors. Additionally, she is passionate about travel, food, and playing golf.

Jeff Bullock

Jeff joined Fidelis Wealth Advisors after spending nearly 10 years working at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management in their Private Bank. As Chief Investment Officer, he is responsible for the overall investment strategy, portfolio construction, and market insights for clients.


Jeff held various roles during his decade at J.P. Morgan, including working as an investment specialist on their trading desk, where he was responsible for managing and trading investment portfolios for High Net-Worth families and non-profit foundations throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Jeff helped co-manage over $4.0 billion of investment assets and gained broad experience in portfolio construction and investment strategy, as well as in-depth knowledge in a variety of asset classes and markets. In recent years, Jeff was part of the leadership team that trained new advisors and established an expansion office in Utah.


Jeff loves helping people with their money-related questions and management. Very simply, his goal is to help others continuously improve their financial situation, regardless of the current condition. His framework centers around sound advice and proper decision-making by engaging in honest discussion and taking a long-term approach.


Jeff holds a B.S. in Accounting from Brigham Young University. He is a native to Colorado and loves playing golf and being outdoors. He lives in Highlands Ranch with his wife Nicole, and their two children.

Lorie C. Jones, MBA, CFP®

Lorie began working in financial services in 2013 with a Registered Investment Advisory firm in South Denver. She started as a paraplanner and provided technology and operations support before transitioning to a Client Services Manager role with Empower Retirement. There she managed a book of 300+ Core Market plans before joining Fidelis Wealth Advisors.

Lorie enjoys the challenges presented by financial planning and is rewarded by helping clients thoroughly understand the complexities of finance so they can be better informed and in control of their planning.

In addition to securities licenses, she holds health, life, accident, property, and casualty insurance licenses in the state of Colorado and completed her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation from the CFP® Board of Standards. She is also a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA).

Lorie graduated from Colorado State University with an MBA. She enjoys running and has participated in several marathons and half-marathons around the country. She also enjoys hiking with her family, traveling with her husband David and their five children, and working with the cub scout and boy scout programs, including volunteering with the district.