The first half of 2022 was the worst for the S&P 500 since 1970, but that’s not necessarily an indication of what the second half has in store. According to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices that is cited in an article from Bloomberg, there hasn’t been much correlation between the S&P 500’s performance in the first half versus the second half of the year in the past.
In 1970, the S&P 500 lost 21% during the first 6 months of that year, when inflation was on par with the current levels. Then during the second half of the year, the index gained 27%. And 2 years ago, in 2020, the index fell 4% in the first half and shot back up 21% in the last 6 months of the year. Of course, that’s not to say the economy will rebound in the same way this time around. In the years since 1957 when the S&P 500 was in the negative during the first 6 months, that negative stuck around for the second 6 months about half the time. So historical data won’t necessarily predict which way the index will go.
However, because the market has already factored in the likelihood of a slight recession, there’s a good chance that the second half of 2022 will be more positive for the S&P 500 than the first half. In the 1970s, demand fell but inflation didn’t drop along with it, and while some fear that history is repeating itself, others are more skeptical. “That would mean the Fed would have to keep…pushing rates higher [to] cause a deeper recession,” Brent Schutte of Northwestern Mutual Wealth told Bloomberg. “That is not what I see happening.”
Instead, inflation could cool alongside demand, opening up the environment for the market to get back into the positive. Indeed, the May personal consumption expenditures price index didn’t rise as much as forecasted—a sign that inflation may already be cooling.