Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
More than half of U.S. investors believe the stock market will gain ground in 2023, while only 34% believe stocks will be flat or down 12 months from now.
These results come from a new survey by OnePoll for Forbes Advisor that asked American investors how they view the market today and over the next 12 months. The survey also attempted to gauge how they were planning to deploy their investment resources over the coming year.
The optimism in the survey results stood in stark contrast to the bearish outlook of market insiders—most professional market outlooks for 2023 are decidedly bearish. However, according to our survey, 31% of respondents feel pretty good about stock markets right now.
- The majority of America’s youngest investors (60%) between the ages of 18-25 believe the markets will be higher one year from now.
- Older investors are more pessimistic—only 23% of those over the age of 77 believe the markets will be higher next year.
- Two-thirds of investors believe the markets will be better off or in the same position as now in one month.
- Approximately 13% of investors believe the markets are doing very well right now, and 18% believe markets are doing somewhat well right now.
American Investors Are Optimistic About the Stock Market in 2024
A full 54% of American investors believe the stock market will be higher in 12 months. Only 18% of investors believe the market will be lower, and a mere 16% of investors believe the market will be flat this time next year.
Both younger and middle-age respondents share a sense of optimism about the stock market in 2023, although investors who are in late retirement have a less sanguine point of view on stocks.
Optimism about stock markets one year from now is consistent across age groups. Similar proportions of respondents from age 18 to age 76 share a view that the stock market will be higher by the beginning of 2024.
Stock market insiders do not share this sense of optimism.Jeffrey Buchbinder, chief equity strategist at LPL Financial, believes the U.S. is heading toward a recession—with dire implications for U.S. stock markets.
“A recession in 2023 has become a consensus call based on a variety of economic indicators,” says Buchbinder, citing the inverted U.S. Treasury yield curve as evidence of the imminent recession.
One Third of Investors Believe Markets Will Be Higher in February
Investors are less optimistic about stock markets in the near term. Only about one-third (32%) of American investors surveyed believe the markets will be higher in one month.
A similar number of investors (35%) believe the markets will be about the same in one month as they are right now, which shows many are hedging their bets over the short term. Only 21% of respondents surveyed are concerned the markets will be lower in one month.
“The markets are poised for brief rallies throughout the first quarter of 2023,” says Richard Saperstein, chief investment officer at Treasury Partners. This professional outlook aligns with the investor expectations seen in our survey.
However, Saperstein doesn’t expect these rallies to continue throughout the year. “As the economy slows due to the lag effects of Fed tightening, we expect lower earnings estimates, which is likely to put pressure on stock prices for the balance of 2023,” Saperstein says.
Investors Are Worried about Markets Today
After one of the worst years in recent stock market history, it’s no surprise investors are a little less optimistic about where the market stands right now. The S&P 500 fell approximately 20% in 2022, while the Dow declined more than 10%.
Only 13% of investors feel the stock market is doing very well right now, while 18% believe the market is doing somewhat well. Around 11% believe the market is doing very poorly and 32% believe the market is doing somewhat poorly.
Considering the market to be somewhat weak at the moment is more in line with market professionals.
“I think that right now it’s probable we’ll see a sizeable and immediate downturn in the markets,” says Phillip Toews, chief executive officer and lead portfolio manager at Toews Asset Management.
The Bottom Line
Despite many negative economic factors, American investors remain upbeat. This is in contrast to market insiders, many of whom believe the nation could be on the brink of a recession.
“People only think about what happened last week or last year. Most investors haven’t experienced a long-duration bear market,” says Toews. “This recency bias could be what’s leading to the primarily positive investor sentiment reflected here today.”
This online survey of 1,000 Americans (18+) who invest at least some portion of their money was commissioned by Forbes and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected from Dec. 5 to Dec. 16, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 points with 95% confidence. This survey was overseen by the OnePoll research team, which is a member of the MRS and has corporate membership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). For a complete survey methodology, including geographic and demographic sample sizes, contact firstname.lastname@example.org