Stocks Are Poised to Hit New Lows This Year, Survey of Investors Shows

Investors have little confidence in US stocks even after this month’s surge, fearing weak corporate earnings could drag them back down.

Any weakness in outlook or quarterly results from Apple Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. could outweigh relief over a downshift by the Federal Reserve or anything Chair Jerome Powell says Wednesday, according to respondents in the latest MLIV Pulse survey. The central bank is widely expected to deliver a quarter-point hike on Feb. 1, the smallest increase in almost a year.

Roughly 70% of the 383 respondents in the survey say the stock market has yet to hit the bottom. The biggest weighting — 35% — says the lows won’t be in until the second half of 2023.

Those responses show how shaken investors remain after last year’s pummeling in equities, with worries building over the outlook for company profits as the economy slows.

“There’s a lot of negativity and uncertainty among investors right now — and for good reason,” said Michael Sheldon, chief investment officer at RDM Financial Group. “It’s a difficult time because financial conditions have loosened in recent months with stock prices rising, which isn’t what the Fed wants since it’s trying to slow the economy to tame inflation.”