Global Portfolio Update: Equity Markets Appear Near Fair Value
- Markets & Economy
- Multi-Asset Insights
- Fixed Income Insights
- Equity Insights
We expect a in the U.S. and uneven growth in developed economies, and we believe valuations of most equity markets reflect this thinking. Therefore, in our global portfolios, we hold a largely neutral position relative to our strategic benchmark allocations. Let’s take a closer look.
U.S. economic growth continues to surprise on the upside, so much so that we have questioned whether our “goldilocks” scenario of faster growth with low inflation could replace our soft landing scenario of slowing growth. However, a deeper dive into growth and inflation dynamics convinced us to maintain our outlook for deceleration in U.S. growth with inflation falling towards Fed’s target of 2%. Forward looking drivers of labor demand and supply suggest this slowdown is likely to come. Outside the U.S., growth in markets is much more uneven. We see higher growth in absolute terms in China and improvement in nominal growth in Japan. But weakness in the U.K and eurozone is likely to continue.
The earnings outlooks for U.S. and emerging markets appear strong, with modest expectations for other developed markets. However, market reflect this, where U.S. valuations are on the upper end of their long term history. Most other regions show valuations close to long-term medians. Given our outlook, we maintain close-to-benchmark allocations for most regions except developed international equities where we hold a slight underweight position. We expect the Fed to cut rates this year but perhaps not as much as the Treasury market is pricing in. In fixed income, we maintain close to neutral allocations for most sectors except high yield bonds, which we favor over . We are worried about a potential risk scenario where continued conflict in the Middle East raises oil prices and makes it harder for the Fed to act this year. later in the year are another potential source of market volatility.
Overall, we hold a slightly underweight position to risk with a modest underweight to global equities and inflation protection bonds. We prefer high yield bonds where attractive yields help cushion potential losses if riskier segments of the market underperform.
Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) are Treasury securities indexed to inflation to protect against inflation-related purchasing power deterioration.
The process of determining the value of an asset based on the analysis of variables related to investment returns or comparisons with similar assets.
Tactical asset allocation shifts portfolio allocations based on near-term market developments, in order to enhance portfolio performance.
A soft landing is a slowdown in economic growth that avoids recession. Often, central banks seek to increase interest rates just enough temper high inflation without causing an economic downturn.
A surprisingly strong U.S. economy and a positive outlook for earnings have supported high U.S. equity valuations this year. The outlooks in emerging markets, eurozone, U.K. and Japan are more uneven, but most equities in most regions outside the U.S. have near-average valuations. Globally, we think equity valuations are near fair value.
Anwiti Bahuguna, Ph.D.
Anwiti Bahuguna, Ph.D., is chief investment officer of global asset allocation for Northern Trust Asset Management. She is responsible for managing investment performance, process and philosophy for multi-asset strategies globally. Anwiti leads NTAM’s strategic asset allocation, tactical asset allocation and capital market assumptions, and oversees the portfolio construction group and multi-manager business.Read Bio
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