Weekly Market Trends: Recession Fears Reflected in Data

Markets have been turbulent in 2022, amid a rising rate environment with unchecked inflation. Could an allocation to insurance be a part of positioning for higher rates?

Head of SPDR Americas Research

This post was written with contributions from Brianna Roberts. Bree is a Research Analyst on the SPDR Americas Research Team.

In Europe, eurozone inflation rose 8.6% year-on-year in June.All eyes will be on the ECB’s July meeting, when interest rates are expected to rise for the first time in 11 years.

In the US, recession fears continue to mount and can be seen in a multitude of data:

  • the US 10-year yield fell sharply below 3% as investors turn to safety2
  • the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) national factory activity fell to the lowest level since May 20203
  • consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since February 20214

Take a Holistic View of Coverage

Persistent market volatility continues to put pressure on risk assets, underscoring the importance of taking a holistic view of portfolio allocations. Making investment decisions requires attention to the whole portfolio, not just the asset classes being punished the most at one point in time.

Insurance: A Brighter Spot Within Financials

While financials have suffered from persistent inflation and slowing economic growth as a whole, the insurance industry has experienced lesser drawdowns than the broader sector and market (-5.27% year to date compared to -18.73% and -19.96%, respectively).5 This is due in part to their positive relationship to interest rates and their ability to pass inflationary pressures on to consumers through higher premiums.

Insurance firms also have stronger growth expectations as full-year 2022 earnings-per-share forecasts have modestly increased on the year (+0.37%), while the broader sector has witnessed a decline in forecasts by 2%.6

Adjust for Higher Rates with Insurance

While rising rates have historically been a tailwind for financials in general, the boost has not been equal across all financial industries. This is clear when looking at the differing return trends between regional and national banks, capital markets, and insurance companies this year. The insurance industry has experienced less macro sensitivity and in turn, less volatility.

Source: FactSet, data from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Index returns are unmanaged and do not reflect the deduction of any fees or expenses. Index returns reflect all items of income, gain and loss and the reinvestment of dividends and other income as applicable. Insurance = S&P Insurance Select Industry Index. Capital markets = S&P Capital Markets Select Industry Index. Banks = S&P Banks Select Industry Index. Regional banks = S&P Regional Banks Select Industry Index.

SPDR® S&P® Insurance ETF (KIE)

Markets have been turbulent in 2022, amid a rising rate environment with unchecked inflation. Taking a more defensive approach may benefit investors who seek to participate in potential upside while mitigating losses. To position for higher rates and continued market uncertainty, investors may want to adjust their industry coverage and consider an allocation to the SPDR® S&P® Insurance ETF (KIE).

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