Q1 2020: Financial Markets Monitor
The U.S. economy has grown for over 10 years without a recession—a post-war record. However, cumulative economic growth over this period has been well below average. Inflation rates were also below historical averages over the decade. This combination of slow growth, low inflation and low levels of economic volatility—accompanied by very accommodative monetary policy—proved to be a catalyst for above-average stock and bond returns. We do not expect the economic backdrop to be as investor-friendly in the decade ahead.
Q4 2019: Financial Markets Monitor
The long U.S. economic expansion is slowing down, hit by weaker manufacturing activity and export markets. Recession risk over the next year has risen, but in our view remains considerably less than 50%. As the U.S. slows and other countries flirt with recession, global central banks have ramped up their efforts to stimulate growth. The end result is lower policy rates globally. We expect the Fed to lower rates at least two more times by early 2020.
Q3 2019: Financial Markets Monitor
Equity markets continued their year-to-date march higher. The anticipation of more accommodative global central bank policies bolstered sentiment.
Q2 2019: Financial Markets Monitor
After a slow start, we expect better economic growth from the U.S. and most emerging markets. U.S. recession risk appears low this year. Europe and Japan are likely to lag.
Q1 2019: Financial Markets Monitor
After a dismal 4th quarter, U.S. stocks joined the rest of the world in negative territory for the year as a whole. Longer period domestic returns remain stellar.
Q4 2018: Financial Markets Monitor
A decade after the financial crisis, the U.S. economy is in mid-cycle form. Growth is solid, and inflation is firming slightly but is close to the Fed's target. Other regions of the world are facing more economic headwinds than the U.S., complicated by trade frictions and China's growth and policy path.
Q3 2018: Financial Markets Monitor
Despite robust growth metrics, trade and monetary policy concerns have limited upside in U.S. equities and have produced negative returns abroad year-to-date. The Federal Reserve’s steady cadence toward higher interest rates, combined with normalized inflation readings, have weighed on bond returns in 2018.
Q2 2018: Financial Markets Monitor
Despite strong economic and earnings growth, global trade and inflation concerns weighed on equity markets in Q1. However, our base case remains a solid global economy and gradually rising inflation.
Q4 2019: Fixed Income Market Review
Concerns over the U.S.-China trade negotiations waned, and the Federal Reserve (Fed) took steps to stabilize short-term funding markets. This provided support for riskier assets in the final quarter of the year. The Fed’s current inflation-adjusted policy rate isn’t materially far from zero. Short-term rates are likely to stay low for the near-term as the Fed attempts to coax core inflation back to the 2% area. An accommodative Fed should support further increases in inflation expectations and the slope of the yield curve.
Q3 2019: Fixed Income Market Review
The Federal Reserve eased twice in the third quarter in an effort to protect the domestic expansion from weakness in global manufacturing. Regardless, manufacturing surveys dipped into contraction, and the market outlook discounts further monetary accommodation.
Q2 2019: Fixed Income Market Review
The Federal Reserve left rates unchanged at its June meeting, interest rate markets expect an aggressive easing program from the Fed, and municipal bonds lagged the move in Treasuries, but remain well supported by strong inflows to mutual funds and a stable credit environment.
Q3 2018: Fixed Income Market Review
Tight labor markets have generated moderate levels of wage inflation according to a number of surveys and anecdotal evidence. Broader inflation measures are in line with targets set by the Federal Reserve and the Fed should continue with its current plan of gradual rate normalization.
Q2 2018: Fixed Income Market Review
The U.S. economy remains strong with unemployment hitting a cycle low of 3.8% in May. The global growth story, however, no longer appears synchronized. Manufacturing surveys in Europe have decelerated and emerging economies are under pressure from higher US rates and deleveraging in China.
Q1 2018: Fixed Income Market Review
Economic growth and corporate earnings gained strength in the quarter with a boost from fiscal stimulus. Faster growth in a “full employment” economy raises the risk of wage inflation, but the empirical evidence has been slow to emerge.
Q4 2017: Fixed Income Market Review
The FOMC raised rates in December to a range of 1.25% - 1.50% as expected. The Fed continues to signal three additional increases by the end of 2018 and markets imply a nearly 90% chance of the next hike occurring at the March 21st meeting.
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