Vantage Point: 2020 Vision
The second half of 2019 saw fears about the 2020 outlook peak but then start to stabilize again towards the end of the year. Where does this leave investors?
Weekly Market Roundup
February 17, 2020
Start your week off right with our market snapshot from the Global Economics and Investment Analysis Group.
- Global stocks gained during the latest week (up +1.2%), EMs (+1.4%, +4.2% MTD) outperformed DMs (+1.2%, +3.9% MTD). In the US, the S&P 500 was up (+1.6%, +4.9% MTD) but underperformed the Russell 2000’s +1.9% (+4.6% MTD).
- WTI oil was up +3.4% (+1.0% MTD).
- In fixed income, credit spreads tightened and sovereign bonds in the US lost (U.S. 2-year yield at 1.43%; U.S. 10-year at 1.58%).
- The U.S. majors dollar index gained slightly (+0.4%, +1.8% MTD).
- Global investors poured a record $23.6 billion into fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs in the week-ended 12 February (from 5 February). Inflows into US bond funds accounted for $15.4 billion of the total, with $10.3 billion going into investment grade bonds. While big inflows partly chalked up to concerns about the drag on global growth from the coronavirus outbreak, high-yield bonds funds attracted $2.4 billion, the most since September, and emerging market bond funds saw $2 billion of inflows, a three-week high. In addition, global equity funds still managed to attract $12.5 billion. While still no signs of an expected great rotation out of bonds and into stocks, the latter camp continues to benefit from the low-rate backdrop.
- US January retail sales of +0.3% (+4.4% y/y) met expectations and was higher than the revised +0.2% reading from the prior month. Retail sales excluding autos and gasoline of +0.4% also met expectations, down from prior month’s +0.5% and up 3.3% y/y.
- Eurozone Q4 GDP estimate came at +0.9% y/y vs preliminary reading of +1.0%. On a q/q basis, reading came at +0.1%. Quarterly growth rate slowed because of contraction in France and in Italy. Growth in Germany also stagnated. On plus side, employment growth picked up more than expected.
- German preliminary Q4 GDP data was flat q/q versus consensus +0.1% and prior +0.2%. The recent weakness in production data and exports had flagged potential for downside risk. Private and public consumption slowed, investment was mixed and exports were weak. Looking ahead, most expect a challenging Q1 2020 amid the impact from coronavirus.
- UK Unemployment Rate, Weekly Earnings (Tuesday)
- Germany Economic Sentiment Index (Tuesday)
- UK CPI, PPI, Retail Prices (Wednesday)
- FOMC Minutes (Wednesday)
- Eurozone Consumer Confidence (Thursday)
- US Leading Indicators (Thursday)
- Eurozone Markit Composite PMI (Friday)
- US Markit Composite PMI (Friday)
Monthly Market Roundup
Risk off to Start 2020
- Markets started the year on a risk-off mode as unprecedented efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus weighed on extended markets.
- As investors began to shave expectations for China and 2020 global growth, global stocks lost -1.1% in January led by a -4.7% decline in emerging markets.
- Credit spreads widened and safe haven assets gained on the heightened risk aversion as 10-year US Treasuries fell 41 bp, gold advanced 3.8% and the USD increased 1.0%.
- Even as we expect a one to two quarter hit to China, and, to a lesser extent global growth, progress on trade talks, easier financial conditions, and a healthy US consumer have led to an uptick in economic activity and we do not anticipate a sustained impact on growth.
- Our key outlook of stabilizing and modestly improving global growth remains intact.
- Nevertheless we remain flexible given the uncertainty and unpredictability in forecasting how the unprecedented efforts to contain the spread of the virus will play out and believe that risks are to the downside.
Monthly Market Roundup Podcast
Presented by Lale Akoner,
Points of View
Government Bonds: Why we expect yields to edge higher…
Our forecasts for yields still imply a market that is too pessimistic and lowered its estimates too far. Hence, we see a higher probability of an upward drift in yields as growth stabilizes in 2020.
U.S. Treasuries: Why we think recession fears are unjustified
Given dramatic moves in risk markets, we provide a brief update of what we think markets are currently pricing in along with implications for investing.