Macro Briefing: 21 December 2022

* Ukrainian President Zelensky visits Washington today
* US continues to refine restrictions on China’s potential chip stars
* Congress moving forward with funding bill to avoid government shutdown
* High prices for crops and livestock fueling boom in US farm belt
* Congress may pass new law to promote accumulating retirement savings
* US housing permits fall sharply, posting deepest 1-year decline in 13 years:

Back-to-back losses for US stock market are rare, but when a second annual loss occurs it’s usually hefty, according to analysis by Bloomberg. “In the benchmark’s almost 100-year history, such occasions are clear outliers. Yet when they have occurred, drops in the second year have always been deeper than in the first, with an average decline of 24%. That would exceed this year’s slide of about 20% to date.”

Diversification is working, unless your portfolio isn’t sufficiently diversified, says Amy Arnott, a portfolio strategist with Morningstar. “Unfortunately, most of these asset classes that people traditionally look to for diversification have not done well,” she explains. “So, we’ve seen losses on U.S. stocks, international stocks, real estate, high-yield bonds, global bonds, almost across the board…. “There have been a couple of bright spots. Gold, which is an asset class that people traditionally look toward for as a safe haven, has lost about 3.8% so far this year as of the end of November. So, it hasn’t done maybe as well as people had hoped, but the losses have been relatively mild. Cash is up about 1.1% so far this year, so still losing money after inflation but at least up in nominal terms. And then, commodities have been the real star, with gains of 17% or 18%, mainly driven by rising energy prices.”