What are the prospects and pitfalls in a post-pandemic world? Janney’s Mark Luschini and Guy LeBas share their perspective on what the markets and economy may experience during the upcoming year.
The prospects of a post-pandemic world have brightened. We expect macroeconomic conditions to evolve positively as organic growth ensues due to the reopening of global economies augmented by fiscal and monetary initiatives as well as a therapeutic response to COVID-19, which builds a supportive and positive impulse that persists through 2021 and beyond.
Certainly, we host concerns about the remaining level of underemployment, the pace of inoculations that speed the world closer to economic normality, tensions in the Middle East, and China’s drive toward hegemonic superiority. Yet, none turns aside our baseline expectation.
Economy & Equity Markets
Mark Luschini, Chief Investment Strategist
Mark shares his perspective on the economy and the equity market in this video commentary.
- A renewed economic expansion is underway. The nadir of the pandemic-induced contraction occurred in April, leading to a subsequent robust and sustainable rebound.
- Rapidly rising corporate profits and the lack of alternatives for investors seeking attractive real returns is a setup for equities to climb higher, perhaps substantially so.
- Foreign equities are attractive, but the catalyst to unlocking their value is virus mitigation and a proportional response to the significant fiscal and monetary policies enacted.
- Central banks are highly unlikely to rescind their monetary largesse anytime soon. Indeed, many stand ready to do more as needed to reflate their respective economies.
- A weaker dollar should boost commodities. The recovery in demand on the back of the improving growth outlook will favor oil and precious/industrial metals.
- Geopolitical policy uncertainty will recede as the incoming Administration takes a multilateral approach to trade and other matters, further helping to support global risk assets.
Fixed Income & Interest Rates
Guy LeBas, Chief Fixed Income Strategist
Guy LeBas his perspective on fixed income and interest rates in this video commentary.
- It has been an exceptional year in fixed income, with returns marred by a short-lived credit crisis, but ultimately saved by plunging interest rates and Federal Reserve action.
- We anticipate long-term interest rates will continue to rise (albeit unevenly) and credit conditions will improve as the economic growth cycle persists.
- Cash and equivalent yields will continue to be anchored by the zero-bound policy authored by monetary officials, pressing and holding real returns into negative territory.
- The release of unused credit reserves from the banking system could provide a surprising tailwind for credit-sensitive assets, pulling spreads tighter.
- In general, it remains a time to take credit risk and not interest rate risk, so we favor shorter-term, lower-rated bonds for better returns in the coming year.
- Our favorite sectors are short-term taxable municipal and BBB-rated corporates, or, for those with the appropriate risk budget, short-term BB- and even B-rated high yield bonds.