2021: the year that will be?

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February 25, 2021

In BNY Mellon Investment Management’s second annual sentiment survey we asked our fund managers and analysts for their views on the year ahead. Read on to learn their views on what 2021 may bring.

If 2020 was the year that wasn’t, 2021 looks like the year that will be. Already, successful vaccines have been tested and roll-out has begun. Lockdowns continue but many major economies are expected to recover. For now, at least, there seems to be light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. What this means for markets in the coming 12 months remains an open question, however.

One school of thought says we can look forward to the mother of all resurgences fueled by sky-high savings rates and pent-up demand. Supercharged index returns at the end of the year point to the same conclusion. The ‘everything rally’, for example, saw the MSCI All-Country World index climb another 12.2% in November alone — its best month on record — to touch new all-time highs.2

Those of a less Panglossian mind-set, however, point to lasting damage wrought by Covid-19, with unemployment and the economic dislocation caused by multiple lockdowns taking the fire out of any recovery as the year wears on. Others point to a more nuanced reading, noting the potential for some parts of the world to bounce back relatively quickly even as other regions struggle to make headway. Given such an uncertain backdrop, the results of BNY Mellon Investment Management's second annual sentiment survey makes for interesting reading. As in previous years, our aim was to sample views across five of our investment firms with BNY Mellon Investment Management.3 In total, we received responses from 106 fund managers and analysts, with opinions on everything from the pace of any economic resurgence, to the scope for rising volatility, to the best place to find income in a low-yield world.

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Some of this year’s stand-out responses are illustrated on the interactive infographic above (click here for a larger view)4. Who would have thought that this year Asia would overtake the US as the region considered most likely to present investment opportunities? Or that there would be so little consensus on the most pressing risk in the year ahead?

As ever, we can only know what we can know – but we hope our Markets 2021 coverage will provide at least some guidance on the likely direction of travel in the year ahead.

1 Charts are provided for illustrative purposes and are not indicative of the past or future performance of any BNY Mellon product. Projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events, targets or expectations, are only current as of the date indicated. There is no assurance that such events or expectations will be achieved, and actual results may be significantly different from that shown here.

2 Financial Times: ‘The ‘everything rally’: vaccines prompt wave of market exuberance’, December 3, 2020.

3 Alcentra, Insight, Mellon, Newton and Walter Scott.

4 This link directs you to a third-party website. BNY Mellon accepts no responsibility for content on these third-party sites or for the services provided. Also, please be aware that when you access this site, you may be subject to that site's terms of service and privacy policy rules (i.e., sharing of personal information), which you should review carefully before proceeding.



The MSCI World Index is a free float-adjusted, market capitalization-weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the Far East.

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Short-dated bonds: Short-dated bonds have a maturity date generally between 1-5 years, meaning you should see the return on your investment within that timeframe. They are typically seen as a less risky investment than longer-dated bonds as they are less exposed to market volatility.

Investment grade: Investment grade bonds are those with a higher credit rating and a lower risk of default.

Inflation-linked bonds: Inflation-linked bonds are bonds where both the value of the loan and the interest payments are adjusted in line with inflation over the life of the security.

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Views expressed are those of the author stated and do not reflect views of other managers or the firm overall. Views are current as of the date of this publication and subject to change. This information contains projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events, targets or expectations, and is only current as of the date indicated. There is no assurance that such events or expectations will be achieved, and actual results may be significantly different from that shown here. The information is based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons This material is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Please consult a legal, tax or financial professional in order to determine whether an investment product or service is appropriate for a particular situation.

BNY Mellon Investment Management is one of the world’s leading investment management organizations and one of the top U.S. wealth managers, encompassing BNY Mellon’s affiliated investment management firms, wealth management organization and global distribution companies. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation and may also be used as a generic term to reference the Corporation as a whole or its various subsidiaries generally. BNY Mellon ETF Investment Adviser, LLC is the investment adviser and BNY Mellon Securities Corporation is the distributor of the ETF funds. They and Alcentra, Insight, Mellon, Newton and Walter Scott are subsidiaries of BNY Mellon.

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