The stock market is poised for a strong 2nd half of 2022 as the US economy avoids a recession and inflation gets cut in half, JPMorgan says




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  • JPMorgan says the stock market is primed for strong returns in the second half of 2022.

  • The bank expects the annualized inflation rate to get cut in half over the next few months.

  • It said falling inflation would let central banks pivot "and avoid producing an economic downturn."

Investors should brace for strong returns in the stock market during the second half of 2022 as the US economy avoids a recession, JPMorgan said in a note on Thursday.

The bank's confidence stems from its view that the annualized inflation rate will get cut in half in the second half of the year, to 4.2% from 9.4%, which would "allow central banks to pivot and avoid producing an economic downturn," JPMorgan's Marko Kolanovic said.

Such a sharp decline could be driven only by a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine, which JPMorgan expects in the second half of the year as the economic costs of the war become fully realized for many countries, including Russia.

Falling inflation would be welcome for both investors and consumers after pent-up demand and supply-chain disruptions from the war and China's COVID-19 lockdowns helped drive 40-year highs in inflation.

Not only does JPMorgan not expect an economic recession to materialize anytime soon, but it expects a reacceleration in global economic growth, the note said.

"While the probability of recession increased meaningfully, we do not see it as a base case over the next 12 months. In fact, we see global growth accelerating from 1.3% in the first half of this year to 3.1% in the second half," JPMorgan said.

It said much of that growth would be driven by China, whose economy could grow by as much as 7.5% in the second half of the year, as long as lockdowns don't resume. That strong growth would trickle down to other emerging-market economies, the bank said.

JPMorgan's view that no recession will materialize is a far cry from what most Wall Street banks are saying; in recent weeks Deutsche Bank, Citi, and Wells Fargo have put the odds of a recession at about 50%.

The case for strong stock-market returns for the rest of the year hinges on avoiding a recession and is compounded by the fact that many asset classes are trading 60% to 80% below their highs, essentially pricing in a deep and prolonged economic downturn, the note says. On top of that, investor sentiment and positioning are at multidecade lows.

"So it is not that we think that the world and economies are in great shape, but just that an average investor expects an economic disaster, and if that does not materialize risky asset classes could recover most of their losses from the first half," Kolanovic concluded.

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