- There is a great new bull market set to form in stocks next year, just not where most investors expect.
- Small-cap stocks are poised to go on a big run in 2023, according to a Friday note from Bank of America.
- “Secular trends of stagflation, reshoring, localization, fiscal stimulus = small cap bull in 2023,” BofA said.
A great new bull market is set to form in stocks in 2023, just not where most investors expect, Bank of America said in a Friday note.
Instead of the large-cap behemoths that dominated the stock market over the past decade, small-cap stocks are poised to lead the higher market next year and beyond.
That’s because various dynamics are coming together that have historically favored the smaller, more localized companies found in the stock market.
“Secular trends of stagflation, reshoring, localization, fiscal stimulus = small cap bull in 2023,” Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett said.
He observed that the near two-decade long trend of the Nasdaq 100 outperforming small-cap value stocks is beginning to rollover in a big way, and it’s following a similar playbook seen during the high-inflationary period of the 1970s.
“Stagflation continued through the late-1970s but once inflation shock of 1973/1974 over… US small cap entered one of the great bull markets of all-time; small cap stocks to outperform in coming years of stagflation,” Hartnett said.
The profits of smaller companies are more insulated from government taxes, and the trend of localization over globalization favors the smaller cohort, as does fiscal stimulus measures. Small-cap stocks are also “price takers not price makers so penalized less by inflation,” he added.
Finally, small-cap outperformance often begins at the start of a recession, which Hartnett believes is imminent. Long-term returns for US small-cap stocks during recessions since 1936 averaged 11.7%, compared to just 8.4% for large caps.
While small caps present a big opportunity for investors heading into 2023, few are positioned for the move, especially considering that investors are hoarding cash at a rate note seen since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Bank of America saw $62 billion flow into cash over the past week, and so far this quarter $194 billion has surged into cash funds.
So as investors hoard cash and focus on finding the bottom in the large-cap darlings that worked so well over the past decade, the real bull market is likely to be found in small caps going forward, according to the note.