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Wells Fargo Investment Institute Believes 2024 is a Pivotal Year for the Economy and Markets

Expected snap back from slowing economy likely in back half of next year

With Wells Fargo Investment Institute’s (WFII’s) release of its “2024 Outlook: A pivotal year for the economy and markets,” the team offers its highest conviction ideas for investors to consider in the new year. WFII believes the 2024 economic story could be a tale of two halves for fixed income and equities. The first half will likely be more challenging as WFII expects instability during a moderate global economic slowdown (including in the U.S.), pivoting into a second half that develops into an improving, more opportunistic environment for investors.

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Wells Fargo Investment Institute 2024 Outlook (Graphic: Wells Fargo)

Wells Fargo Investment Institute 2024 Outlook (Graphic: Wells Fargo)

“More long-term opportunities to put money back to work across some markets and regions should come as 2024 develops,” said Darrell Cronk, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Wealth & Investment Management. “WFII’s outlook for most of the past two years has been cautious and focused on selectivity and quality, with an eye toward a better year next year. That theme continues in our 2024 Outlook Report.”

“The resilient U.S. economy has been supported by consumer spending, a strong labor market, and business capital spending. The journey, however, was more difficult for investors, with the Federal Reserve (Fed) raising interest rates and tightened monetary conditions,” added Cronk. “Investors following WFII advice during 2023’s slow-motion slowdown should be able to use accumulated fixed-income assets to invest later next year.”

Once investors begin to look past the economic slowdown to a recovery, WFII expects opportunities in a broad early-cycle global recovery later in 2024. As is often the case, that time will likely come while the economy is still weak, the Fed is cutting interest rates, and markets are beginning to anticipate sustainable economic and earnings growth. Those equity sectors that tie most closely to the economy’s cyclical turn higher should benefit the most at that time.

Highlights of WFII’s forecast include:

  • Economic crosswinds will net to a moderate U.S. economic slowdown by the early part of 2024, in our view, lowering the full-year U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) target to 0.7% in 2024.
  • The target for inflation in 2024 is 2.5%. Lagging effects to cool inflation in the U.S. will continue to make an impact, but the Fed’s 2% target will likely remain out of reach given the competing factors of underlying strength.
  • Once investors begin to anticipate an economic and earnings recovery, WFII expects the S&P 500 Index to gain into year-end. The target range for 2024 is 4,600 – 4,800.
  • WFII’s base scenario implies two quarter-point Fed rate cuts in 2024, causing the federal funds rate forecast in 2024 to decline toward 4.75% – 5.00%.

The full report provides insights about the economy, equities, fixed income, real assets, and alternative investments. Also included are economic and market forecasts, where WFII sees opportunity, and five portfolio ideas. Please see the full report for detailed information.

Investment and Insurance Products are:

Not Insured by the FDIC or Any Federal Government Agency

Not a Deposit or Other Obligation of, or Guaranteed by, the Bank or Any Bank Affiliate

Subject to Investment Risks, Including Possible Loss of the Principal Amount Invested

Risk Disclosure

Forecasts and targets are based on certain assumptions and on our current views of market and economic conditions, which are subject to change.

All investing involves risks, including the possible loss of principal. There can be no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful and meet its investment objectives. Investments fluctuate with changes in market and economic conditions and in different environments due to numerous factors, some of which may be unpredictable. Asset allocation and diversification do not guarantee investment returns or eliminate risk of loss.

The information contained herein constitutes general information and is not directed to, designed for, or individually tailored to, any particular investor or potential investor. This report is not intended to be a client-specific suitability analysis or recommendation, an offer to participate in any investment, or a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell securities. Do not use this report as the primary basis for investment decisions. Consider all relevant information, including your existing portfolio, investment objectives, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and investment time horizon.

About Wells Fargo Investment Institute

Wells Fargo Investment Institute, Inc. is a registered investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., a bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 47 on Fortune’s 2023 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

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News Release Category: WF-ERS


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