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2022 is unlike any year investors have seen before. How to play it from here


Investors have had little place to hide in 2022, with stocks and bonds taking a beating in a combination that is unprecedented in modern history. According to Evercore ISI’s Julian Emanuel, 2022 is the only year on record in which the S & P 500 and the U.S. bond market have each lost 10% or more. When charted against other years, it shows 2022 as a major outlier so far. In previous down years for stocks, bonds typically rose as investors shifted toward safe assets. However, this year’s downturn has coincided with a series of rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, which drive down the price of bonds. The volatility of the market has also been unique. The recent pullback in stocks that erased much of a summer rally also looks like an outlier relative to history, Emanuel said. “Not only did the 50% retracement rally occur in August, but a 50% decline from the August peak to halfway (3,981) to the June low then happened within days. Such a 50/50 whipsaw has happened only 4 other times since 1950 and confirms that the prevailing Bear Market has not ended,” Emanuel wrote. With that in mind, Emanuel said that investors should look for more defensive equities in the form of companies with strong free cash flow for dividends or stock buybacks. “We see Value in ‘Return of Capital’ stories and reiterate our preference for stocks with strong FCF, high Shareholder Total Return, with above average [earnings multiple] compression,” the note said. Source: Evercore ISI Research The names on the list include many companies with big profit margins, even if their near-term growth prospects are murky. The stocks above also have outperform ratings from Evercore analysts. Facebook-parent Meta Platforms , for example, is spending billions on virtual reality development but still reported more than $6 billion in net income in the second quarter alone , while buying back more than $5 billion in stock. There are also several financial stocks on the list that provide decent dividend yields for investors. Bank of America and Capital One Financial have both underperformed the S & P 500 this year but have dividend yields of 2.7% and 2.4%, respectively. One stock on this list that has been a big winner this year is energy firm APA Corp . The stock has jumped about 40% year to date, and APA reported more than $800 million of free cash flow in the second quarter. Additionally, Evercore recommended investors guard against downside risk through options on the S & P 500. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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