What’s in Store for 2024? Experts Debate ETF Outlook

Dimensional’s Marlena Lee says in etf.com webinar she expects positive returns this year.

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Finance Reporter
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Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
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Edited by: Ron Day

Last year was a rollercoaster for stock and bond markets, as geopolitical conflict, the resurgence of A.I. driven tech stocks and rising interest clouding investors’ visibility. Will 2024 bring more volatility, or are skies clearing?

In etf.com’s outlook webinar hosted Jan. 17 by wealth management editor Jeff Benjamin, ETF and financial industry experts shared views on what they think markets have in store this year.

The possibility for a recession this year was on panelists’ minds. Marlena Lee, Global Head of Investment Solutions at Dimensional Fund Advisors, said she’s taking a longer-term view.

“If I were to invest a dollar at the beginning of a recession, 8 out of 10 times, I will end up with a positive return in a couple of years,” she said. “Regardless of what your expectations are, equity markets should have positive returns.”

Still, factors that may drive a recession, or a soft landing, haven’t fully played out, panelists said.

“I really think it’s going to be a data-driven thing. It’s an election year and we’re carrying a lot of debt. There’s a lot of info yet to come this year that will make a big swing this year,” said Dana D’Auria Co-CIO and Group President of Envestnet, a wealth management platform.

Spot Bitcoin

As for what stocks could continue to lead in 2024’s market, the experts recommended diversifying away from high-flying tech picks that dominated the past year, while still seeing their upside potential.

“I'm not saying you should move heavily away from the market, but broadening your investments never hurt. We saw areas of the market that had been ignored all year, like small cap, finally catch a bid in December,” said D’Auria.

A group of spot bitcoin ETFs hit the market last week in a watershed launch for the ETF world, including a product from Invesco, the Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO). Director of ETF Research at Invesco Jason Stoneberg noted that despite many investor’s perceptions, the funds aren’t all the same. “As we start to see performance and spreads there will likely be differentiation in the funds,” he said.

Yet Lee took a different perspective on the recent bitcoin hype, comparing buying a bitcoin ETF to purchasing a lottery ticket. “Just remember that you can’t expect the same economic motivation for bitcoin vs equity-based companies. I think it’s a very volatile asset, and it shouldn’t be part of anyone’s retirement savings plan,” she said.

Contact Lucy Brewster at [email protected].

Lucy Brewster is a finance reporter at etf.com covering asset managers, emerging technologies, and regulation. She hosts etf.com webinars and appears on Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s flagship podcast. She previously was a finance fellow at Fortune Magazine where she covered markets, investment strategy, and venture capital. She has also been a freelancer writer at the publication Mergers & Acquisitions and a research fellow at the Historic Hudson Valley. 

She graduated from Vassar College in 2022 with a degree in History and was an editor of The Miscellany News, the college's award winning student run newspaper. 

Lucy lives in Brooklyn, NY, and in her free time she loves to run and find new recipes to cook.