The Ibex limits its fall to 5.5% in a lousy year for investment

Interior of the Madrid Stock Exchange. / efe

The Spanish selective dismisses below 8,300 points a year marked by war and the fight against inflation by central banks

Clara Alba

CLEAR ALBA Madrid

It has not been a good year for investors. The red numbers have spread throughout the market and what at the beginning of January was presented as a great opportunity to revalue savings, twelve months later appears as the ugly duckling of portfolios.

There has been practically no refuge for anyone except, perhaps, energy raw materials or the same bank accounts, where deposits are beginning to glimpse some profitability in the heat of interest rate hikes by central banks, the big players The exercise.

But the balance of most stock market indices is negative at the end of 2022. And, in an almost unprecedented event, this situation has been accompanied by a general drop in the price of bonds, with a 16% drop in the Bloomberg Aggregate Index (an indicator that groups the price of sovereign bonds of the main economies of the world).

The summary of the year is clear: everyone loses. The risk takers and the conservatives. The latter are, in fact, the ones that have suffered the most with historical red numbers. It is not for less. No one could have predicted the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. Nor the abrupt end of expansionary monetary policies to fight runaway inflation that, due to its dizzying speed, soon unleashed panic due to economic recession.

Inflation closes the year at 5.8%, one point less than in November

In this environment in which 'uncertainty' has been the star word among asset managers, the Spanish stock market has managed to resist with a limited fall of 5.56% for the Ibex-35 accumulated in the year.

The selective thus dismisses this unusual 2022 at 8,229 points –after losing another 1% on Friday–, far from the 8,713 in which the year began, but with much less aggressive losses than those registered in other world-class stock markets. In Europe, average falls exceed 10%. But worse has been the final balance for Wall Street, which yesterday ended its worst year since 2008, at the height of the outbreak of the financial crisis. The falls exceed 10% in the Dow Jones, but they shoot up to 20% in the S&P 500 and exceed 36% in the Nasdaq, the indicator that groups the great technological values.

The red numbers would have been, without a doubt, much more bulky in the Spanish Stock Market, had it not been for the fact that the Ibex-35 has played with a clear advantage over the rest. In the same way that during the pandemic it was harmed by the enormous weight of the tourism sector, this 2022 has been supported by banks, one of the sectors with the highest representation of the selective and, without a doubt, one of the most benefited by the environment of interest rate hikes.

Where to invest in 2023 to beat the inflationary hangover

With the European Central Bank (ECB) raising its reference rate from 0% to 2.5% in a period of just five months – it began the increases in July – listed financial entities have led the increases in the accumulated annual rate. CaixaBank was the most bullish value of the year (+52%), followed by Banco Sabadell (+48.8%). Bankinter has also added close to 40%.

The distributor Logista, a newcomer to the Ibex-35, slips into the 'top 5' of the national selective, by increasing its price by 34.62%, going from 17.53 euros to 23.6 euros at the close of this Friday .

On the other hand, the biggest falls of the year were accumulated by Fluidra (-58.75%), Rovi (-51.13%), Cellnex (-39.58%), Grifols (-36.19) and Colonial (- 27.15%).

Strength in various energy-linked stocks have also helped offset those declines. The case of Repsol stands out above all, with a rise of 42% in a year in which the price of a barrel of Brent has gone from 79 dollars to 84 dollars. It is a rise of 6% that is added to the 60% that skyrocketed in 2021. But without a doubt they are much more moderate levels than the 130 dollars that were reached in March, just after the outbreak of the war.

The movement also occurs in a year marked by the 'currency effect', with a strong revaluation of the dollar that has led the euro to even lose parity with the greenback.

Caution, the star strategy

With a view to the next sessions and the
start of the new exercise, caution is once again the star recommendation among managers. The consensus anticipates that it will be a much calmer year for equities, which will gradually recover lost ground. They see more options in fixed income, considering that interest rates will hit a ceiling in the middle of the year, with which the bonds will have more travel after the abrupt adjustment of 2022.

From Bankinter's analysis department they add that the war in Ukraine has lost part of its "capacity to influence the market." And always with the utmost prudence, they indicate that "the return-risk binomial already allows a more favorable outlook for bonds and stock markets" for the coming months. A year that, once again, will be marked by the decisions of the central banks.