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  • Discover how FINQ portfolios surpassed the S&P 500's 24.23% gain in 2023, even as US interest rates hit a two-decade high.
  • The report covers major 2023 market events, including global financial shifts and stock movements.
  • Explore how negative catalysts like the US debt limit crisis and Silicon Valley Bank's failure contrasted with positives like GPT-4's launch.
  • Uncover how FINQFIRST outshone the S&P with a 57.66% return, thanks to AI-driven analysis of diverse data.
  • Learn how FINQLAST's unique strategy yielded a 4.54% return, outperforming the S&P 500 Short benchmark by over 119%.

Introduction

2023 was a thrilling year for the markets, the broader economy, and notably for FINQ. Despite the United States experiencing interest rates at their highest in over two decades, the S&P 500 still saw an impressive gain of 24.23%. Remarkably, FINQ portfolios significantly outperformed this benchmark, showcasing our ability to navigate and excel in such dynamic conditions.

This report will delve into the events that shaped the markets last year, the evolving landscape, and the stocks that made significant moves. We will explore the impact of holding onto the top-performing names and how FINQ's strategic approach has been instrumental in creating 'alpha on the market.' FINQ’s portfolios as a whole, outperformed the S&P 500 by at least 1.19X. Below we aim to demonstrate how we achieved these returns and outline how FINQ portfolios allowed us to exceed market expectations.

Changing landscape over 2023

Last year was full of global financial events that shook the market. Here are some of the most critical catalysts that drove price movements - either up or down - in the markets in 2023:

Negative market catalysts in 2023

  • The U.S. government hits its $31.4 trillion debt limit: Uncertainty about the U.S. government’s ability to meet its financial obligations and growing concerns over potential economic instability.
  • Silicon Valley Bank fails: The failure of a significant bank indicated underlying vulnerabilities in the financial system, leading to concerns about the health of other banks and financial institutions.
  • The initiation of the Israel-Hamas conflict: Conflict in a geopolitically sensitive area often heightens market uncertainties and risks, negatively impacting investor sentiment. Furthermore, as the conflict expanded, Houthi rebels operating out of Yemen began disrupting shipping activity in the Red Sea, further spooking markets.
  • Members produced a consensus agreement at COP28: This milestone was viewed by markets as a commitment to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. As a result, it was seen as a negative event for markets heavily invested in or reliant on fossil fuels since a faster transition could negatively impact the profitability of these sectors.

Positive market catalysts in 2023

  • OpenAI launches GPT-4: This launch signaled advancements in AI technology, boosting investor confidence in the tech sector and related industries.
  • UBS acquires Credit Suisse: The acquisition signaled stability in the banking sector.
  • LVMH becomes the first European company to hit $500 billion market value: This milestone reflected strong market confidence in LVMH, luxury goods, and the broader European market.
  • WHO ends COVID-19 global health emergency: The ending of the global health emergency signaled a return to normalcy, boosting market confidence and economic activity.
  • Nvidia’s monumental earnings release triggers renewed excitement over AI: Strong earnings from a leading tech company signaled health in the sector and drove positive market sentiment, especially in the field of artificial intelligence.
  • U.S. government suspends the debt ceiling: This alleviated immediate concerns about government default and economic instability, positively impacting market sentiment.
  • The May CPI report in the U.S. marks the halving of inflation from pandemic highs: Decreasing inflation signaled a more stable economic environment, typically positive for markets.
  • The Fed pauses rate hikes following an aggressive campaign during the preceding two years: A pause in rate hikes signaled the Fed could soon be close to cutting interest rates. Lower rates encourage businesses to borrow to fund expansion, which is typically bullish for the markets.

In 2023, FINQFIRST returned 57.66% compared to the S&P 500’s 24.23%, which is 2.38X higher.

Showcase how FINQFIRST outperformed the S&P over 2023

FINQFIRST performed impressively last year, easily beating the benchmark S&P 500.

In 2023, FINQFIRST returned 57.66% compared to the S&P 500’s 24.23%, which is 2.38X higher. 

To do this, FINQ leverages advanced AI to analyze a wide array of data, categorized into Crowd Wisdom, Professional Wisdom, and Company Fundamentals. This approach combines insights from media, financial institutions, and company reports in a comprehensive data warehouse. The result is a sophisticated tool for investment insights, akin to platforms like ChatGPT, streamlining strategic decisions for stock transactions.

Let’s review some examples to see how FINQFIRST achieved this alpha.

Meta Platforms Inc. - META

META in FINQFIRST portfolio during 2023

Early in 2023, on February 8, FINQFIRST purchased Meta. Roughly five months later, on July 11, the position was sold.

Over that period, the stock returned 62.62%, over eight times the rate of return of the S&P 500 at 7.8%.

The initial buy was triggered after the Professional Wisdom parameters in FINQFIRST’s algorithm increased. The position was only sold after the parameters decreased.

Palo Alto Networks, Inc. - PANW

PANW in FINQFIRST portfolio during 2023

On June 21, FINQFIRST bought Palo Alto Networks before selling it on October 11.

Over that time, the shares returned 8.49%, compared to just 0.25% for the S&P 500.

This time, the buy was triggered by a rise in Professional Wisdom. Once the parameter lowered sufficiently, a sell was initiated. 

In 2023, FINQLAST's 4.54% return exceeded the S&P 500 Short benchmark by over 119%.

Showcase how FINQLAST outperformed the S&P over 2023

In 2023, FINQLAST returned 4.54% compared to the S&P 500 Short benchmark of -24.23%. In other words, the FINQLAST portfolio returned 119% more than the index last year.

Employing a data approach similar to FINQFIRST, FINQLAST utilizes advanced AI to meticulously analyze a vast range of data, neatly classified into three key areas: Crowd Wisdom, Professional Wisdom, and Company Fundamentals.

Of course, compared to FINQFIRST, FINQLAST alpha was generated off underperforming names. 

Davita Inc. - DVA

DVA in FINQLAST portfolio during 2023

On August 25, 2023, DVA was added to the FINQLAST portfolio in response to a shift in sentiment among the Professional Wisdom group criteria.

The position was unwound roughly two months later on October 17, triggered by a change in the Fundamental group criteria.

Over that time, DVA’s stock price dropped just over 24%, while the market fell roughly 0.7%.

Had you followed FINQLAST’s insights and sold DVA short on August 25 before closing the position on October 17, you would have outperformed the market by over 23%.

Following FINQLAST's insights to short DVA from Aug 25 to Oct 17 would have beaten the market by over 23%.

Whirlpool Corp. - WHR

WHR in FINQLAST portfolio during 2023

On July 27, 2023, WHR was added to the FINQLAST portfolio due to a change in the Crowd Wisdom group criteria.

On November 22, the position was closed, again because of a shift in Crowd Wisdom group criteria. 

During that period, WHR fell 23.2%, compared to the market’s 0.4% return. 

Following FINQLAST’s insight to short WHR on July 27 and closing the position on November 22 would have resulted in market outperformance of 22.8%.

Shorting WHR from July 27 to Nov 22 as per FINQLAST would have led to a 22.8% market outperformance.

Holding vs selling stocks

Man versus machine

The dichotomy between science-driven investment strategies and human intuition in finance represents a fascinating tug-of-war between traditional decision-making and modern technology. 

In other words, man versus machine.

Science-driven investment strategies

  • Data-driven decision-making: This approach heavily relies on data analysis, algorithms, and statistical models to make investment decisions. It's grounded in the belief that historical data, market trends, and quantitative analysis can predict future market behaviors.
  • Machine learning and AI: Advanced technologies like AI and machine learning can process vast amounts of data far beyond human capability, identifying patterns and insights that might be imperceptible to humans.
  • Risk management: Scientific approaches often include sophisticated risk assessment tools that quantify and manage risks more accurately.
  • Emotionless and consistent: These strategies remove the emotional bias from investment decisions, aiming for consistency and rationality.

Human intuition

  • Experience and judgment: Human intuition is often rooted in personal experience and judgment. Investors might rely on their gut feeling or instinct, which is shaped by years of experience in the market.
  • Understanding of human behavior: Human investors can consider psychological, social, and cultural factors that might influence market movements, which are often challenging to quantify in data models.
  • Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence allows human investors to read the market sentiment, which can be crucial in decision-making, especially in volatile markets.

FINQEDGE portfolio returned $1,465 more than the S&P 500 on a $10,000 investment over 12 months.

FINQEDGE

With FINQEDGE, users can access the combined assessment of FINQFIRST and FINQLAST. That is, FINQEDGE delivers a simple list of the best-buying and best-selling stocks. 

So, how did FINQEDGE perform last year?

FINQEDGE returned 38.88% in 2023. Again, this represents significant outperformance compared to the S&P 500’s 24.23% return. 

Let’s break down the numbers. Fees aside, how much would you earn off an initial investment of $10,000 following the FINQEDGE portfolio compared to investing in the broad S&P 500? 

If you invested in the broad S&P 500 at the end of 2023, you’d be left with $12,423 ($10,000 x 24.23). This means you profited $2,423

Not bad!

But, If you invested $10,000 in FINQEDGE instead, you’d be left with a portfolio worth $13,888 at the end of the year. This represents an impressive $3,888 profit. 

Put another way, the FINQEDGE portfolio returned $1,465 more than the S&P 500 on a $10,000 investment over 12 months.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Conclusion

As we reflect on the remarkable journey of the financial markets in 2023, it becomes increasingly evident that a data-driven approach to investment is not just valuable, but essential in navigating the complex and dynamic landscape of modern finance. The FINQ end-of-year report for 2023 vividly illustrates this point.

The year 2023 was a testament to the resilience and potential of the markets, marked by impressive gains in major indexes like the S&P 500, despite the challenges posed by high interest rates, persistent inflation, and geopolitical tensions. The standout performance of sectors like information technology, fueled by advancements in artificial intelligence, underscores the rapid evolution and opportunities within the market. 

This is where FINQ's services shine. By leveraging data-driven strategies, including the innovative FINQFIRST and FINQLAST portfolios, FINQ has successfully navigated these turbulent waters, significantly outperforming the market. The remarkable returns achieved by FINQ's strategies are a powerful endorsement of the efficacy and value of a data-driven approach.

The insights from 2023's market performance unequivocally support adopting data-driven investment strategies. As we move forward, the wisdom gleaned from this year's experiences strongly encourages investors to embrace the services offered by FINQ. Utilizing FINQ's expertise and data-centric approach can empower investors to make more informed, strategic, and ultimately, successful investment decisions in the ever-evolving financial landscape.

Jesse Oberoi is a freelance writer with over 15 years of experience in the finance industry. He predominantly writes about macroeconomic topics for fund managers, banks, and newspapers. Before freelance writing, he worked as a Client Portfolio Trader for high-net-worth clients and later as a Portfolio Operations Manager, frequently overseeing tactical asset allocation calls exceeding $1 billion. Jesse was also a Product Manager responsible for a $4 billion suite of flagship multi-asset class funds. Jesse has held the CFA charter since 2017.