Now that yields have reset higher, bonds are positioned to protect portfolios while delivering higher income.
Floating-rate income and the secured nature of senior loans may provide a valuable defense against both rising rates and higher default risk for investors able to stomach short-term volatility.
The prospect of rising real interest rates favors value versus growth stocks, while moderating economic growth and persistent inflation favor inexpensive stability value names over well-priced cyclicals.
Should the Russia-Ukraine conflict persist, it would lead to further tightening of financial conditions but is unlikely to deter the Federal Reserve from a 25 basis point interest rate hike in March. Tighter conditions will slow economic growth at the margins and constrain financial markets over the short term, but not over the longer term.
While it might seem better to focus on current so-called ESG leaders, we believe there is untapped value in the underappreciated ESG improvers.
- Economic recovery likely undeterred: Rising energy prices add risk to Europe’s recovery but are unlikely to derail the global economic recovery.
- Expect further equity volatility: We see the strongest impacts in commodities, energy and financials, but focus should shift quickly to interest rates and supply-chain resolution.
- Seeing value amid spread widening: We believe the impact of Russia’s actions on fixed income markets has largely played out, and any further widening in credit spreads could present opportunities.
We see scope for continued global equity gains as the impacts from Covid, policy stimulus and inflation diminish. The current balance of market factors keeps us overweight U.S. large cap stocks.
Matthew Toms, CFA, Chief Investment Officer of Fixed Income, shares our outlook for the markets for the first half of 2022.
The market’s curve flattening expectations may be excessive, as the timing of the hikes and aggressiveness of the U.S. Federal Reserve are still open to debate.
Sean Banai, CFA, Head of Portfolio Management, shares our outlook on Global Growth for the first half of 2022.