Wealthy investors expect this year’s stock market nightmare to get even worse in 2023 — with most predicting a US recession, according to the results of a survey released Monday.
Bearish sentiment has hit its highest level since the Great Recession, with 56% of millionaire investors predicting the broad-based S&P 500 will post a double-digit loss next year. Nearly of a third of respondents expect losses to exceed 15%.
The gloomy outlook reflects mounting fears on Wall Street that a year of sharp interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve will topple the US economy into a recession — with 28% of millionaires indicating a plunging stock market was the greatest threat to their wealth.
“This is the most pessimistic we’ve seen this group since the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009,” said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group, which conducts the CNBC Millionaires Survey.
Recession fears are top of mind for millionaires, with 60% indicating they expect the US economy to be “weaker” or “much weaker” by the end of next year, according to CNBC. Investors are taking a more passive approach, with 46% stating they have more cash in their portfolio than they did last year.
Older millionaires were more likely to be pessimistic about the state of the market than their younger counterparts, the survey found.
Eighty-one percent of millennials expect their holdings to rise in value by the end of next year. Conversely, 61% of baby boomers see their assets going lower or much lower in the year ahead.
“The millennial millionaires have never lived through a true inflationary environment,” Walper told CNBC. “For their entire business life, they’ve seen interest rates that were managed by the Fed. They’ve never seen rate hikes this aggressive.”
The stock market has already plunged into bear market territory this year as decades-high inflation and tightened fiscal policy hammered US firms. The S&P 500 was down about 20% since January through late trading on Monday afternoon.
Losses are more extreme for the Nasdaq, where large-cap giants such as Meta and Amazon have conducted layoffs in an effort to trim costs. The tech-heavy index is down a whopping 33% so far this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has sunk more than 10% over the same period.
Some of the country’s most prominent business leaders have sounded the alarm about a looming recession in recent months — often pointing to the Fed’s rate hikes as the catalyst.
Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon warned that ongoing rate hikes “might derail the economy and cause this mild to hard recession people are talking about.”
The online CNBC survey polled a total of 761 respondents in November. The participants had to show at least $1 million in investible assets to qualify, according the outlet.