Connect with us

Uncategorized

ChoiceOne Financial Reports Fourth Quarter and Year End 2022 Results

ChoiceOne Financial Reports Fourth Quarter and Year End 2022 Results
PR Newswire
SPARTA, Mich., Jan. 25, 2023

SPARTA, Mich., Jan. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — ChoiceOne Financial Services, Inc. (“ChoiceOne”, NASDAQ:COFS), the parent company for ChoiceO…

Published

on

ChoiceOne Financial Reports Fourth Quarter and Year End 2022 Results

PR Newswire

SPARTA, Mich., Jan. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- ChoiceOne Financial Services, Inc. ("ChoiceOne", NASDAQ:COFS), the parent company for ChoiceOne Bank, reported financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2022.

Financial Highlights

  • ChoiceOne reported net income of $6,684,000 and $23,640,000 for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2022, compared to $5,012,000 and $22,042,000 for the same periods in 2021.
  • Diluted earnings per share were $0.89 and $3.15 in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2022, compared to $0.66 and $2.86 per share in the same periods in the prior year.
  • Core loans, which exclude Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") loans, held for sale loans, and loans to other financial institutions, grew organically by $57.4 million or 20.3% on an annualized basis during the fourth quarter of 2022 and $206.1 million or 21.0% during the full year 2022.
  • Deposits increased by $65.7 million or 3.2% for the full year 2022 with related deposit interest expense increasing $2.5 million. Deposits declined $38.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to some seasonality in municipal deposits and increased competition.
  • ChoiceOne opened a loan production office in Oakland County, Michigan during the fourth quarter 2022. It is intended that this location will host both commercial and mortgage lenders and is ChoiceOne's fourth loan production office opened in recent years.
  • ChoiceOne plans to launch an enhanced treasury services online platform for business clients in 2023. This new platform targets mid-sized businesses and municipalities who require enhanced reporting, security, and payment capabilities.

"Our investment in growing an experienced commercial lending team continues to drive strong organic core loan growth, with core loans growing organically over 20% during 2022," said Kelly Potes, Chief Executive Officer. "Our focus on customer relationships is reflected in our deposit balances which increased $65.7 million compared to the end of 2021 despite increased pressure from competition.  With higher interest rates, our local low-cost core deposit franchise provides significant value, and we expect to continue to fund our growth with local deposits and other on-balance sheet liquidity."

ChoiceOne reported net income of $6,684,000 and $23,640,000 for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2022, compared to $5,012,000 and $22,042,000 for the same periods in 2021. Diluted earnings per share were $0.89 and $3.15 in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2022, compared to $0.66 and $2.86 per share in the same periods in the prior year.

Total assets as of December 31, 2022, increased $19.2 million as compared to December 31, 2021.  ChoiceOne saw deposits decline $38.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to some seasonality in municipal deposits and increased competition. The cost of these deposits also increased by $940,000 in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the third quarter of 2022 and $1.8 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. Deposits have increased by $65.7 million in the twelve months ended December 31, 2022; however, during that time deposit expense has increased $2.5 million. Cost of interest-bearing deposits increased to 0.66% in the fourth quarter of 2022 primarily due to the increases in rates offered to retain clients and an increased interest in certificates of deposit. ChoiceOne is actively managing these costs while still retaining funds, and anticipates that deposit expense will continue to lag the expected additional increases in the federal funds rate. Borrowing interest expense for the twelve months ended December 31, 2022, increased $1.2 million as compared to the same period in 2021 primarily due to the issuance of $32.5 million in subordinated debt that was completed in the third quarter of 2021 and the increase in rates on borrowings. 

Core loans grew organically by $57.4 million or 20.3% on an annualized basis during the fourth quarter of 2022 and $206.1 million or 21.0% during the full year 2022. Loans to other financial institutions, consisting of a warehouse line of credit, were suspended at the end of the third quarter 2022 to preserve liquidity for loan growth. ChoiceOne continues to have ample on balance sheet liquidity to fund future loan growth, including an estimated $168 million of cash flow from securities over the next two years.  Interest income increased $10.4 million in the twelve months ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same period in the prior year. The increase was driven by a $6.3 million increase in securities interest income despite the average balance of securities decreasing $7.0 million during the year.  In 2022, ChoiceOne liquidated a total of $46.8 million in securities resulting in an $809,000 realized loss, in order to redeploy funds into higher yielding loans and securities, and to reduce the risk of extension on certain fixed income securities which include a call option.  $4.2 million of the increase in interest income is from loan interest income and was primarily a result of higher loan balances and $2.0 million of accretion income from acquired loans partially offset by a decrease in PPP fee income of $3.9 million

ChoiceOne had $250,000 of provision for loan losses expense for the year ended December 31, 2022. Management has seen declining deferrals and very few past due loans; however, the additional provision was deemed necessary due to consistent loan growth. On December 31, 2022, the allowance for loan losses represented 0.64% of total loans.  ChoiceOne will adopt ASU 2016-13 current expected credit loss ("CECL") on January 1, 2023. Due to the current economic environment, the nature of the new calculation, and purchase accounting with our recent mergers, we anticipate an increase in our current reserve of between $6.5 million and $7.0 million which results in a reserve to total loan coverage ratio between 1.15% and 1.20% on January 1, 2023. Approximately 20% to 25% of this increase is related to the migration of purchased loans into the portfolio assessed by the CECL calculation.  Purchased loans carry approximately $4 million of accretable yield which will be recognized into income over the remaining life of the loans. ChoiceOne will also book a liability for expected credit losses on unfunded loans and other commitments of between $2.5 million to $3.0 million related to the adoption of CECL guidance. These unfunded loans are open credit lines with current customers and loans approved by ChoiceOne but not funded. The increase in the reserve and the cost of the liability will be funded through equity, net of tax, in accordance with FASB guidance. 

Shareholders' equity totaled $168.9 million as of December 31, 2022, down from $221.7 million as of December 31, 2021, primarily due to an increase in the after-tax net unrealized loss on securities available for sale resulting from higher market interest rates. ChoiceOne's derivative strategy implemented during the second quarter of 2022 and repositioned during the fourth quarter of 2022, is expected to better prepare the bank should rates continue to rise.  The net impact on equity of the derivative strategy as of December 31, 2022, was $957,000 net of tax. ChoiceOne Bank remains "well-capitalized" with a total risk-based capital ratio of 13.0% as of December 31, 2022, compared to 12.9% on December 31, 2021. No shares of common stock were repurchased during the fourth quarter of 2022; however, ChoiceOne may strategically repurchase shares of common stock in the future depending on market and other conditions. 

Total noninterest income declined $5.1 million during the year ended 2022 compared to the year ended 2021. $4.1 million of this decline is due to the change in the mortgage sales environment from the prior year.  With the rapid rise in interest rates, refinancing activity has slowed, and demand has shifted towards adjustable-rate products. Customer service charges increased $722,000 during 2022 compared to 2021 as prior year service charges were depressed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The change in market value of equity securities declined $1.4 million during 2022 compared to 2021 consistent with general market conditions. Equity investments include local community bank stocks and Community Reinvestment Act bond mutual funds. 

Total noninterest expense increased $557,000, or 1.1%, in 2022 compared to 2021. Overall expense management was a focus in 2022 and will continue to be in 2023 given inflationary pressures. The increase in total noninterest expense was related to an increase in salaries and wages due to annual wage increases and the addition of new commercial loan production and wealth management staff. This increase was offset by decreases in other categories including professional fees. ChoiceOne continues to monitor expenses and looks to improve our efficiency through automation and use of digital tools. ChoiceOne plans to launch an enhanced treasury services online platform for business clients in 2023. This new platform targets mid-sized businesses and municipalities who require enhanced reporting, security, and payment capabilities. Management believes that continuing to invest in our technology and people is the right way to maintain sustainable growth.

Potes further commented, "Our growth and well managed expenses in 2022 are a result of the hard work of our employees and the client relationships that they foster. ChoiceOne's mission is to provide superior service, quality advice, and treat all we meet with utmost respect.  Our value is not measured in the interest rate we pay, but the interest we take in our client's success. I am very pleased with our 2022 results and believe we have the right pieces in place to have a successful 2023."

About ChoiceOne
ChoiceOne Financial Services, Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Sparta, Michigan and the parent corporation of ChoiceOne Bank. Member FDIC. ChoiceOne Bank operates 36 offices in parts of Kent, Lapeer, Macomb, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa, and St. Clair counties. ChoiceOne Bank offers insurance and investment products through its subsidiary, ChoiceOne Insurance Agencies, Inc. For more information, please visit Investor Relations at ChoiceOne's website at choiceone.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements. Words such as "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "expects," "forecasts," "intends," "is likely," "plans," "predicts," "projects," "may," "could," "look forward," "continue", "future", "will" and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward looking statements. These statements reflect current beliefs as to the expected outcomes of future events and are not guarantees of future performance. These statements involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions ("risk factors") that are difficult to predict with regard to timing, extent, likelihood and degree of occurrence. Therefore, actual results and outcomes may materially differ from what may be expressed, implied or forecasted in such forward-looking statements. Furthermore, ChoiceOne undertakes no obligation to update, amend, or clarify forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Risk factors include, but are not limited to, the risk factors described in Item 1A in ChoiceOne Financial Services, Inc.'s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021.

 

Condensed Balance Sheets
(Unaudited)


(In thousands)


12/31/2022



12/31/2021


Cash and cash equivalents


$

43,943



$

31,887


Securities Held to Maturity



425,906




-


Securities Available for Sale



546,897




1,116,265


Loans held for sale



4,834




9,351


Loans to other financial institutions



-




42,632


Loans, net of allowance for loan losses



1,182,163




1,009,160


Premises and equipment



28,232




29,880


Cash surrender value of life insurance policies



43,978




43,356


Goodwill



59,946




59,946


Core deposit intangible



2,809




3,962


Other assets



47,206




20,243











Total Assets


$

2,385,914



$

2,366,682











Noninterest-bearing deposits


$

599,579



$

560,931


Interest-bearing deposits



1,518,424




1,491,363


Borrowings



50,000




50,000


Subordinated debentures



35,262




35,017


Other liabilities



13,775




7,702











Total Liabilities



2,217,040




2,145,013











Common stock and paid-in capital, no par value; shares authorized: 12,000,000; shares outstanding: 7,516,098 at December 31, 2022 and 7,510,379 at December 31, 2021



172,277




171,913


Retained earnings



68,394




52,332


Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss), net



(71,797)




(2,576)


Shareholders' Equity



168,874




221,669











Total Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity


$

2,385,914



$

2,366,682


 

Condensed Statements of Income
(Unaudited)



Three Months Ended



Twelve Months Ended


(In thousands, except per share data)


12/31/2022



12/31/2021



12/31/2022



12/31/2021


Interest income

















Loans, including fees


$

14,391



$

12,002



$

52,823



$

48,657


Securities and other



6,244




4,816




22,237




15,961


Total Interest Income



20,635




16,818




75,060




64,618



















Interest expense

















Deposits



2,503




749




5,845




3,305


Borrowings



766




324




1,901




672


Total Interest Expense



3,269




1,073




7,746




3,977



















Net interest income



17,366




15,745




67,314




60,641


Provision for loan losses



150




-




250




416



















Net Interest Income After Provision for Loan Losses



17,216




15,745




67,064




60,225



















Noninterest income

















Customer service charges



2,350




2,319




9,350




8,628


Insurance and investment commissions



183




141




779




765


Gains on sales of loans



220




1,061




2,343




6,402


Gains (loss) on sales of securities



(4)




(43)




(809)




(40)


Gains (loss) on sales of other assets



(73)




3




99




6


Trust income



206




178




734




790


Earnings on life insurance policies



519




239




1,312




809


Change in market value of equity securities



51




18




(955)




479


Other income



297




228




1,219




1,355


Total Noninterest Income



3,749




4,144




14,072




19,194



















Noninterest expense

















Salaries and benefits



7,580




7,581




30,391




29,300


Occupancy and equipment



1,501




1,577




6,189




6,168


Data processing



1,673




1,616




6,729




6,189


Professional fees



547




583




2,175




3,009


Core deposit intangible amortization



252




302




1,153




1,307


Other expenses



1,662




2,099




6,841




6,948


Total Noninterest Expense



13,215




13,758




53,478




52,921



















Income Before Income Tax



7,750




6,131




27,658




26,498


Income Tax Expense



1,066




1,119




4,018




4,456



















Net Income


$

6,684



$

5,012



$

23,640



$

22,042



















Basic Earnings Per Share


$

0.89



$

0.67



$

3.15



$

2.87


Diluted Earnings Per Share


$

0.89



$

0.66



$

3.15



$

2.86


 

Other Selected Financial Highlights
(Unaudited)



Quarterly


Earnings


2022 4th Qtr.



2022 3rd Qtr.



2022 2nd Qtr.



2022 1st Qtr.



2021 4th Qtr.


(in thousands except per share data)





















Net interest income


$

17,366



$

17,338



$

16,289



$

16,321



$

15,745


Provision for loan losses



150




100




-




-




-


Noninterest income



3,749




3,047




3,430




3,845




4,144


Noninterest expense



13,215




13,416




13,157




13,690




13,758


Net income before federal income tax expense



7,750




6,869




6,562




6,476




6,131


Income tax expense



1,066




1,056




947




948




1,119


Net income



6,684




5,813




5,615




5,528




5,012


Basic earnings per share



0.89




0.77




0.75




0.74




0.67


Diluted earnings per share



0.89




0.77




0.75




0.74




0.66


 

End of period balances


2022 4th Qtr.



2022 3rd Qtr.



2022 2nd Qtr.



2022 1st Qtr.



2021 4th Qtr.


(in thousands)





















Gross loans


$

1,194,616



$

1,141,319



$

1,129,439



$

1,040,856



$

1,068,832


Loans held for sale (1)



4,834




8,848




10,628




13,450




9,351


Loans to other financial institutions (2)



-




70




37,422




-




42,632


PPP loans (3)



-




-




1,758




8,476




33,129


Core loans (gross loans excluding 1, 2, and 3 above)



1,189,782




1,132,401




1,079,631




1,018,930




983,720


Allowance for loan losses



7,619




7,457




7,416




7,601




7,688


Securities available for sale



546,897




546,627




582,987




657,887




1,116,264


Securities held to maturity



425,906




428,205




429,675




429,918




-


Other interest-earning assets



15,447




21,744




9,532




62,945




9,751


Total earning assets (before allowance)



2,182,866




2,137,895




2,151,633




2,191,606




2,194,847


Total assets



2,385,914




2,363,529




2,360,205




2,376,778




2,366,682


Noninterest-bearing deposits



599,579




599,360




578,927




565,657




560,931


Interest-bearing deposits



1,518,424




1,557,294




1,559,577




1,579,944




1,491,363


Total deposits



2,118,003




2,156,654




2,138,504




2,145,601




2,052,294


Total subordinated debt



35,262




35,201




35,140




35,078




35,017


Total borrowed funds



50,000




-




7,000




-




50,000


Total interest-bearing liabilities



1,603,686




1,592,495




1,601,717




1,615,022




1,576,380


Shareholders' equity



168,874




156,657




166,460




191,118




221,669


 

Average Balances


2022 4th Qtr.



2022 3rd Qtr.



2022 2nd Qtr.



2022 1st Qtr.



2021 4th Qtr.


(in thousands)





















Loans


$

1,169,605



$

1,128,679



$

1,076,934



$

1,037,646



$

1,019,966


Securities



1,072,594




1,079,584




1,098,419




1,130,681




1,079,616


Other interest-earning assets



14,809




45,210




40,728




36,460




29,999


Total earning assets (before allowance)



2,257,008




2,253,473




2,216,081




2,204,787




2,129,581


Total assets



2,373,851




2,389,550




2,361,479




2,375,864




2,298,579


Noninterest-bearing deposits



605,318




593,793




578,943




553,267




556,214


Interest-bearing deposits



1,522,510




1,576,240




1,555,721




1,548,685




1,472,022


Total deposits



2,127,828




2,170,033




2,134,664




2,101,952




2,028,236


Total subordinated debt



35,230




35,168




35,095




35,342




35,674


Total borrowed funds



36,773




2,414




5,765




10,239




8,010


Total interest-bearing liabilities



1,594,513




1,613,822




1,596,581




1,594,266




1,515,706


Shareholders' equity



160,284




164,758




177,085




206,280




221,076


 

Performance Ratios


2022 4th Qtr.



2022 3rd Qtr.



2022 2nd Qtr.



2022 1st Qtr.



2021 4th Qtr.























Return on average assets



1.13

%



0.97

%



0.95

%



0.93

%



0.87

%

Return on average equity



16.68

%



14.11

%



12.68

%



10.72

%



9.07

%

Return on average tangible common equity



26.63

%



21.96

%



18.87

%



14.85

%



12.16

%

Net interest margin (fully tax-equivalent)



3.15

%



3.15

%



3.02

%



3.04

%



3.04

%

Efficiency ratio



60.15

%



61.06

%



61.43

%



64.37

%



66.15

%

Cost of funds



0.59

%



0.35

%



0.25

%



0.21

%



0.21

%

Cost of deposits



0.47

%



0.29

%



0.19

%



0.15

%



0.15

%

Shareholders' equity to total assets



7.08

%



6.63

%



7.05

%



8.04

%



9.37

%

Tangible common equity to tangible assets



4.57

%



4.07

%



4.49

%



5.51

%



6.85

%

Full-time equivalent employees



376




383




380




376




374


 

Capital Ratios ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc.


2022 4th Qtr.



2022 3rd Qtr.



2022 2nd Qtr.



2022 1st Qtr.



2021 4th Qtr.























Total capital (to risk weighted assets)



13.8

%



13.7

%



13.8

%



14.6

%



14.4

%

Common equity Tier 1 capital (to risk weighted assets)



11.1

%



10.9

%



11.0

%



11.5

%



11.3

%

Tier 1 capital (to risk weighted assets)



11.4

%



11.2

%



11.3

%



11.9

%



11.6

%

Tier 1 capital (to average assets)



7.9

%



7.6

%



7.5

%



7.3

%



7.4

%






















Capital Ratios ChoiceOne Bank


2022 4th Qtr.



2022 3rd Qtr.



2022 2nd Qtr.



2022 1st Qtr.



2021 4th Qtr.























Total capital (to risk weighted assets)



13.0

%



12.8

%



12.7

%



13.3

%



12.9

%

Common equity Tier 1 capital (to risk weighted assets)



12.5

%



12.3

%



12.2

%



12.8

%



12.3

%

Tier 1 capital (to risk weighted assets)



12.5

%



12.3

%



12.2

%



12.8

%



12.3

%

Tier 1 capital (to average assets)



8.7

%



8.3

%



8.1

%



7.9

%



7.8

%

 

Asset Quality

2022 4th Qtr.


2022 3rd Qtr.


2022 2nd Qtr.


2022 1st Qtr.


2021 4th Qtr.


(in thousands)
















Net loan charge-offs (recoveries)

$

(12)


$

59


$

185


$

87


$

67


Annualized net loan charge-offs (recoveries) to average loans


0.00

%


0.02

%


0.07

%


0.03

%


0.03

%

Allowance for loan losses

$

7,619


$

7,457


$

7,416


$

7,601


$

7,688


Allowance to loans (excludes held for sale)


0.64

%


0.66

%


0.66

%


0.74

%


0.73

%

Non-Accruing loans

$

1,263


$

1,197


$

1,242


$

1,167


$

1,727


Non performing loans (includes OREO)


2,666



2,628



2,714



4,852



5,737


Nonperforming loans to total loans (excludes held for sale)


0.22

%


0.23

%


0.24

%


0.47

%


0.54

%

Nonperforming assets to total assets


0.11

%


0.11

%


0.11

%


0.20

%


0.24

%

 

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/choiceone-financial-reports-fourth-quarter-and-year-end-2022-results-301730790.html

SOURCE ChoiceOne Financial Services, Inc.

Read More

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Schedule for Week of January 29, 2023

The key reports scheduled for this week are the January employment report and November Case-Shiller house prices.Other key indicators include January ISM manufacturing and services surveys, and January vehicle sales.The FOMC meets this week, and the FO…

Published

on

The key reports scheduled for this week are the January employment report and November Case-Shiller house prices.

Other key indicators include January ISM manufacturing and services surveys, and January vehicle sales.

The FOMC meets this week, and the FOMC is expected to announce a 25 bp hike in the Fed Funds rate.

----- Monday, January 30th -----

10:30 AM: Dallas Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for January. This is the last of the regional Fed manufacturing surveys for January.

----- Tuesday, January 31st -----

9:00 AM: FHFA House Price Index for November. This was originally a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index.

9:00 AM ET: S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for November.

This graph shows the Year over year change in the nominal seasonally adjusted National Index, Composite 10 and Composite 20 indexes through the most recent report (the Composite 20 was started in January 2000).

The consensus is for a 6.9% year-over-year increase in the Comp 20 index.

9:45 AM: Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for January. The consensus is for a reading of 44.9, down from 45.1 in December.

10:00 AM: The Q4 Housing Vacancies and Homeownership report from the Census Bureau.

----- Wednesday, February 1st -----

7:00 AM ET: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

8:15 AM: The ADP Employment Report for January. This report is for private payrolls only (no government). The consensus is for 170,000 payroll jobs added in January, down from 235,000 added in December.

10:00 AM: Construction Spending for December. The consensus is for a 0.1% decrease in construction spending.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey10:00 AM ET: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for December from the BLS.

This graph shows job openings (black line), hires (purple), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

Job openings decreased in November to 10.458 million from 10.512 million in October

10:00 AM: ISM Manufacturing Index for January. The consensus is for the ISM to be at 48.0, down from 48.4 in December.

2:00 PM: FOMC Meeting Announcement. The FOMC is expected to announce a 25 bp hike in the Fed Funds rate.

2:30 PM: Fed Chair Jerome Powell holds a press briefing following the FOMC announcement.

Vehicle SalesAll day: Light vehicle sales for January. The consensus is for light vehicle sales to be 14.3 million SAAR in January, up from 13.3 million in December (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).

This graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967. The dashed line is the December sales rate.

----- Thursday, February 2nd -----

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 200 thousand initial claims, up from 186 thousand last week.
----- Friday, February 3rd -----

Employment Recessions, Scariest Job Chart8:30 AM: Employment Report for December.   The consensus is for 185,000 jobs added, and for the unemployment rate to increase to 3.6%.

There were 223,000 jobs added in December, and the unemployment rate was at 3.5%.

This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms.

The pandemic employment recession was by far the worst recession since WWII in percentage terms. However, as of August 2022, the total number of jobs had returned and are now 1.24 million above pre-pandemic levels.

10:00 AM: ISM Manufacturing Index for January. The consensus is for the ISM to be at 50.3, up from 49.6 in December.

Read More

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

US gov’t $1.5T debt interest will be equal 3X Bitcoin market cap in 2023

The U.S. will pay over $1 trillion in debt interest next year, the equivalent of three or more Bitcoin market caps at current prices.

Published

on

The U.S. will pay over $1 trillion in debt interest next year, the equivalent of three or more Bitcoin market caps at current prices.

Commentators believe that Bitcoin (BTC) bulls do not need to wait long for the United States to start printing money again.

The latest analysis of U.S. macroeconomic data has led one market strategist to predict quantitative tightening (QT) ending to avoid a “catastrophic debt crisis.”

Analyst: Fed will have “no choice” with rate cuts

The U.S. Federal Reserve continues to remove liquidity from the financial system to fight inflation, reversing years of COVID-19-era money printing.

While interest rate hikes look set to continue declining in scope, some now believe that the Fed will soon have only one option — to halt the process altogether.

“Why the Fed will have no choice but to cut or risk a catastrophic debt crisis,” Sven Henrich, founder of NorthmanTrader, summarized on Jan. 27.

“Higher for longer is a fantasy not rooted in math reality.”

Henrich uploaded a chart showing interest payments on current U.S. government expenditure, now hurtling toward $1 trillion a year.

A dizzying number, the interest comes from U.S. government debt being over $31 trillion, with the Fed printing trillions of dollars since March 2020. Since then, interest payments have increased by 42%, Henrich noted.

The phenomenon has not gone unnoticed elsewhere in crypto circles. Popular Twitter account Wall Street Silver compared the interest payments as a portion of U.S. tax revenue.

“US paid $853 Billion in Interest for $31 Trillion Debt in 2022; More than Defense Budget in 2023. If the Fed keeps rates at these levels (or higher) we will be at $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in interest paid on the debt,” it wrote.

“The US govt collects about $4.9 trillion in taxes.”
Interest rates on U.S. government debt chart (screenshot). Source: Wall Street Silver/ Twitter

Such a scenario might be music to the ears of those with significant Bitcoin exposure. Periods of “easy” liquidity have corresponded with increased appetite for risk assets across the mainstream investment world.

The Fed’s unwinding of that policy accompanied Bitcoin’s 2022 bear market, and a “pivot” in interest rate hikes is thus seen by many as the first sign of the “good” times returning.

Crypto pain before pleasure?

Not everyone, however, agrees that the impact on risk assets, including crypto, will be all-out positive prior to that.

Related: Bitcoin ‘so bullish’ at $23K as analyst reveals new BTC price metrics

As Cointelegraph reported, ex-BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes believes that chaos will come first, tanking Bitcoin and altcoins to new lows before any sort of long-term renaissance kicks in.

If the Fed faces a complete lack of options to avoid a meltdown, Hayes believes that the damage will have already been done before QT gives way to quantitative easing.

“This scenario is less ideal because it would mean that everyone who is buying risky assets now would be in store for massive drawdowns in performance. 2023 could be just as bad as 2022 until the Fed pivots,” he wrote in a blog post this month.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Read More

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Stay Ahead of GDP: 3 Charts to Become a Smarter Trader

When concerns of a recession are front and center, investors tend to pay more attention to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report. The Q4 2022 GDP report…

Published

on

When concerns of a recession are front and center, investors tend to pay more attention to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report. The Q4 2022 GDP report showed the U.S. economy grew by 2.9% in the quarter, and Wall Street wasn't disappointed. The day the report was released, the market closed higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJIA) up 0.61%, the S&P 500 index ($SPX) up 1.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite ($COMPQ) up 1.76%. Consumer Discretionary, Technology, and Energy were the top-performing S&P sectors.

Add to the GDP report strong earnings from Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) and a mega announcement from Chevron Corp. (CVX)—raising dividends and a $75 billion buyback round—and you get a strong day in the stock markets.

Why is the GDP Report Important?

If a country's GDP is growing faster than expected, it could be a positive indication of economic strength. It means that consumer spending, business investment, and exports, among other factors, are going strong. But the GDP is just one indicator, and one indicator doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. It's a good idea to look at other indicators, such as the unemployment rate, inflation, and consumer sentiment, before making a conclusion.

Inflation appears to be cooling, but the labor market continues to be strong. The Fed has stated in many of its previous meetings that it'll be closely watching the labor market. So that'll be a sticky point as we get close to the next Fed meeting. Consumer spending is also strong, according to the GDP report. But that could have been because of increased auto sales and spending on services such as health care, personal care, and utilities. Retail sales released earlier in January indicated that holiday sales were lower.

There's a chance we could see retail sales slowing in Q1 2023 as some households run out of savings that were accumulated during the pandemic. This is something to keep an eye on going forward, as a slowdown in retail sales could mean increases in inventories. And this is something that could decrease economic activity.

Overall, the recent GDP report indicates the U.S. economy is strong, although some economists feel we'll probably see some downside in 2023, though not a recession. But the one drawback of the GDP report is that it's lagging. It comes out after the fact. Wouldn't it be great if you had known this ahead of time so you could position your trades to take advantage of the rally? While there's no way to know with 100% accuracy, there are ways to identify probable events.

3 Ways To Stay Ahead of the Curve

Instead of waiting for three months to get next quarter's GDP report, you can gauge the potential strength or weakness of the overall U.S. economy. Steven Sears, in his book The Indomitable Investor, suggested looking at these charts:

  • Copper prices
  • High-yield corporate bonds
  • Small-cap stocks

Copper: An Economic Indicator

You may not hear much about copper, but it's used in the manufacture of several goods and in construction. Given that manufacturing and construction make up a big chunk of economic activity, the red metal is more important than you may have thought. If you look at the chart of copper futures ($COPPER) you'll see that, in October 2022, the price of copper was trading sideways, but, in November, its price rose and trended quite a bit higher. This would have been an indication of a strengthening economy.

CHART 1: COPPER CONTINUOUS FUTURES CONTRACTS. Copper prices have been rising since November 2022. Chart source: StockCharts.com. For illustrative purposes only.

High-Yield Bonds: Risk On Indicator

The higher the risk, the higher the yield. That's the premise behind high-yield bonds. In short, companies that are leveraged, smaller, or just starting to grow may not have the solid balance sheets that more established companies are likely to have. If the economy slows down, investors are likely to sell the high-yield bonds and pick up the safer U.S. Treasury bonds.

Why the flight to safety? It's because when the economy is sluggish, the companies that issue the high-yield bonds tend to find it difficult to service their debts. When the economy is expanding, the opposite happens—they tend to perform better.

The chart below of the Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index ($DJCB) shows that, since the end of October 2022, the index trended higher. Similar to copper prices, high-yield corporate bond activity was also indicating economic expansion. You'll see similar action in charts of high-yield bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs) such as iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) and SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK).

CHART 2: HIGH-YIELD BONDS TRENDING HIGHER. The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index ($DJCB) has been trending higher since end of October 2022.Chart source: StockCharts.com. For illustrative purposes only.

Small-Cap Stocks: They're Sensitive

Pull up a chart of the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) and you'll see similar price action (see chart 3). Since mid-October, small-cap stocks (the Russell 2000 index is made up of 2000 small companies) have been moving higher.

CHART 3: SMALL-CAP STOCKS TRENDING HIGHER. When the economy is expanding, small-cap stocks trend higher.Chart source: StockCharts.com. For illustrative purposes only.

Three's Company

If all three of these indicators are showing strength, you can expect the GDP number to be strong. There are times when the GDP number may not impact the markets, but, when inflation is a problem and the Fed is trying to curb it by raising interest rates, the GDP number tends to impact the markets.

This scenario is likely to play out in 2023, so it would be worth your while to set up a GDP Tracker ChartList. Want a live link to the charts used in this article? They're all right here.


Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan

Director, Site Content

StockCharts.com

 

Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. The ideas and strategies should never be used without first assessing your own personal and financial situation, or without consulting a financial professional.

Read More

Continue Reading

Trending