Wall Street strategists are warning that U.S. stocks are on the brink of a major collapse after the market has entered the “death zone.”

“Death zone” is a term used in mountain climbing to describe an altitude that is so high that climbers are unable to get enough oxygen.

This week, the Chief U.S. Equity Strategist at Morgan Stanley, Michael Wilson, sent a note to investors relating the state of the market to the “death zone” and warning that the S&P 500, which is up 6 percent since the start of 2023, could fall as many as 3,000 points in the upcoming months once investors realize there won’t be a Federal Reserve pivot later this year.

Michael Wilson, Chief U.S. Equity Strategist for Morgan Stanley

He said, “Either by choice or out of necessity, investors have followed stock prices to dizzying heights once again as liquidity (bottled oxygen) allows them to climb into a region where they know they shouldn’t go and cannot live very long.”

Wilson added, “Many fatalities in high-altitude mountaineering have been caused by the death zone, either directly through loss of vital functions or indirectly by wrong decisions made under stress or physical weakening that lead accidents.”

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“This is a perfect analogy for where equity investors find themselves today, and quite frankly, where they’ve been many times over the past decade,” said Wilson. “It’s time to head back to base camp before the next guide down in earnings.”

Wilson also blamed the “pursuit of the ultimate topping out of greed” for the U.S. stocks rising to unsustainably high levels.

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Michael Hartnett, a chief economist for the Bank of America, echoed Wilson’s concerns, saying that a “no landing” scenario for the market is a possibility, meaning that stocks could end up plummeting after a rise in growth and inflation.

Although stocks have been trending upward so far this year, policymakers at the Federal Reserve have signaled that they will hike interest rates eight consecutive times until a rate of between 4.5 percent and 4.75 percent is achieved. This has caused the momentum of some stocks to stall.

Central Bank Chairman Jerome Powell maintained an optimistic outlook on the economy’s future, suggesting that there is a possibility that inflation can return to a comfortable number without the economy suffering a recession.

“I continue to think that there’s a path to getting inflation back down to 2% without a really significant economic decline or significant increase in unemployment,” said Powell.

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