Real rates matter to equities
We are carefully watching U.S. real rates (nominal rates less inflation, which we measure using 10-year breakeven rates) as they have begun to move higher. Real rates have critical implications for a variety of asset classes and equities are no exception: this relationship has strengthened over the past 5 years, and even more so in the past 12 months with certain sectors being highly sensitive to these rate moves. We view real rates approaching positive territory as problematic to equities and would note that sharp moves are more important than small incremental moves.
The inequality effects of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated income inequality in the United States, and we expect the Biden administration to prioritize redistributive policies in the coming months. The Democrats have an ambitious, progressive agenda that will likely include tax increases to ensure at least partial funding for the new spending programs, including the infrastructure bill that the Senate will look to pass during the summer. Incorporating tax increases should allow their policy changes to be permanent (as opposed to temporary COVID-19 relief) and would also serve to redistribute wealth. We expect markets to be sensitive to headline risks associated with tax hikes as the story evolves.
Less money, more problems (for emerging markets)
We view the topping out in global liquidity (using global money supply as a proxy) as a tactical headwind for Emerging Markets equities. Global liquidity has slowed markedly, with the deceleration in balance-sheet expansion from the Federal Reserve and the People’s Bank of China being major drivers of this dynamic. In particular, we see declining liquidity as an obstacle for the manufacturing sector, and given that Emerging Markets still depend heavily on that industry, we caution that the slowing growth of money supply may be a threat to both emerging market activity and earnings.
A widespread health crisis such as a global pandemic could cause substantial market volatility, exchange-trading suspensions and closures, and affect portfolio performance. For example, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has resulted in significant disruptions to global business activity. The impact of a health crisis and other epidemics and pandemics that may arise in the future, could affect the global economy in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. A health crisis may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks. Any such impact could adversely affect the portfolio’s performance, resulting in losses to your investment
Investing involves risks, including the potential loss of principal. Financial markets are volatile and can fluctuate significantly in response to company, industry, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. These risks are magnified for investments made in emerging markets. Currency risk is the risk that fluctuations in exchange rates may adversely affect the value of a portfolio’s investments.
The information provided does not take into account the suitability, investment objectives, financial situation, or particular needs of any specific person. You should consider the suitability of any type of investment for your circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice.
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