By Nicole Goodkind, CNN

America’s largest financial institutions are pivoting into a new industry: Meteorology.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has already been very vocal in his ominous forecasts of storm clouds and hurricanes. Now, Goldman Sachs is joining him in the weather prediction business. The bank’s investment strategy group is sending a message to clients looking for market guidance in 2023 – Caution: Heavy fog.

What’s happening is that no one really knows what’s happening.

The economic data is hazy – the December jobs report showed that wage growth slowed last month but that unemployment also shrank.

Thursday’s Consumer Price Index report found that the rate of inflation fell 0.1% between November and December but that core CPI, which strips out the volatile energy and food categories, was up 0.3% from the month before.

Investors and economists attempting to predict when the Federal Reserve will pivot away from its painful inflation-fighting rate hikes or whether a soft, recession-less landing is possible are essentially reading tea leaves at this point.

UNC economist: Today’s jobs report signals a recession is coming in 2023

Shifting winds?

In their 2023 outlook, Goldman analysts noted that disagreement about the economic forecast abounds within their own circles. Bill Dudley, a former Goldman Sachs partner and president of the New York Fed, puts the chance of recession this year at about 70%. Jan Hatzius, Goldman’s chief economist and head of global investment research, says it’s only 35%.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has echoed the sentiment himself. “I don’t think anyone knows whether we’re going to have a recession or not,” he said at a press conference after the central bank’s December policy meeting. “It’s just not knowable.”

So what do investors do? Clients “facing the fog of uncertainty in financial markets, economic growth and geopolitics,” should “avoid unnecessary lane changes,” and “allow extra time to reach your destination,” wrote Goldman analysts. Instead of attempting to find a way out of the chaos, said analysts, investors should stay the course and wait for markets to eventually recover.

Equity markets are forward looking and tend to bottom about three months before recessions end, they said, and returns after bear markets have been relatively quick. That means that even if a recession ends in December of 2023, the market would recover a large percentage – about 91% – of its peak value before the year is over, they wrote.

Goldman analysts say that even with a sour economy, they predict the 2023 investment return on the S&P 500 will most likely be between 9-12%. That’s a huge jump from last year’s nearly 20% loss.

Consumer prices dip slightly in December indicating inflation is easing

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