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Global equity markets finished strongly in 2016 after recovering quickly from surprising political developments including the Brexit result, US presidential elections, and the Italian referendum. Bond markets were also positive (particularly the US high-yield space) despite the Fed’s recent hawkish rhetoric and a swathe of negative performances during the second half of the year. That said, most asset classes experienced increased volatility, particularly during the last quarter, as investors realigned their portfolios with the new reality and adjusted their expectations.
Pundits are now warning investors of the potential for severe disappointment since most asset classes have already discounted the majority of positive developments. Any minor setback in expectations should deliver the much-awaited correction.
Pro-growth policies should give developed markets enough fuel to continue their run.
So, are the pundits right, is the global economy a Potemkin village? The key variables that will help us answer that question are global inflation, the US fiscal plan and China’s economic performance:
will determine monetary policies, affect the slope of yield curves, bond prices, currencies, commodities, and earnings potential for equities.
The US fiscal plan
– together with Trump’s tweets and the status of trade agreements – will drive equities in particular. Bond yields have reached a secular low and from here the only way is up in the context of a growing global economy. The US dollar will be the key metric to focus on when it comes to the emerging market and commodities space. Although the dollar has upside potential, the pace of the ascent is equally important. A stronger dollar will put pressure on emerging equity and debt markets, but there are always opportunities that offer an interesting mix of favourable politics and growth dynamics (such as Brazil, India, and Russia).
remains a puzzle, since the stabilisation of the economy must withstand the recent capital outflows and any potential conflict with the US on a political and trade level.
Timing will be the most important element in 2017.
How to uncover opportunities in this environment? Since there are too many consensus views amongst investment professionals, timing will be the most important element for successful investing in 2017.
Trump’s win was a game changer and although markets have repositioned versus pre- election expectations, I think there is a lot more room for big moves in the various asset classes. So far, analysts have anchored their expectations to the 2007 ‘peak’; the consensus trades may lack foresight. We need to look beyond that. The new reality of ‘Trumpolitics’ will see billionaire decision makers shaping political thinking and governance. We are entering an era where voters will shy away from weighing up left vs right, liberal vs conservative, and focus instead on those that ‘can’ deliver rather than those that ‘can’t’. We expect this dynamic to play an increasingly important role in framing investment decisions in 2017.
This kind of transparency challenges the conventions of our industry.
Our quarterly outlooks have one goal: to provide you with valuable investment ideas that are thoroughly researched, judiciously reasoned, and whose subsequent performance we track and report on. The transparency provided by our scorecards challenges the conventions of our industry – as does our use of technology, which we use to combine advanced quantitative techniques with our own macro analysis framework. These are just some of the ways we’re trying to reimagine finance.
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