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In a world where sovereign bond yields are in the hand of central banks, the recent upward revisions of growth expectations for the US economy raised questions about the outlook for the Fed’s monetary policy. Growth is expected to rebound in H2 and very accommodative monetary policy is not a free lunch. The difficulty for the Fed is estimating how sustainable this expected improvement in growth and inflation will be in H2 2021. We expect the Fed to keep a cautious approach and we believe tapering is more likely in 2022 when the core PCE index will have made significant progress towards the objective of a sustainable increase to an average of 2% or higher.
Valentine AINOUZ, Delphine GEORGES
Political situation: On 13 January, Italia Viva – a minor coalition partner led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi – pulled out of the ruling coalition, leaving the government short of a majority in the Senate. However, we believe that snap elections are unlikely for now. In our view, the most likely scenarios are: Prime Minister Giuseppe Contecould seek to win a confidence vote,with support from parties both inside and outside the ruling majority and also unaffiliated lawmakers (Gruppo Misto);Conte could step down, triggering a new round of talksthat could eventually lead to a new administration, headed by Conte himself or another Prime Minister, with support from the same alliance; or a caretaker administration could be appointed to manage the government until the next election.
Matteo GERMANO, Sergio BERTONCINI, Isabelle VIC-PHILIPPE
As the Q420 is now closed, we confirm the “financial recovery regime” as our central scenario for 2021 with a higher conviction than in Q320. We expect better corporate fundamentals at a global level going forward. The rebound of EPS growth will eventually validate current asset price levels in the context of low interest rates. This explains our cautious optimism for the coming quarters. We have also analysed the sustainability of the ongoing risk rotation from Credit HY to value/cyclical equities. We confirm our constructive medium-term view with a continuation and maturing of the financial recovery regime.
Global Head of Research
Private markets: The Covid-19 crisis has caused significant disruption in private markets, but investor appetite for real assets stays unabated. Fundraising will be supported by abundant liquidity. Selectivity and diversification will be key and only the best quality assets should be considered. Real assets are a portfolio diversifier and volatility dampener. Given their long-term nature, investors should not rush tactically into these assets and be selective in order to capture the different premiums embedded in real asset investing.
Dominique CARREL-BILLIARD, Guy LODEWYCKX, Stanislas CUNY, Thierry VALLIERE, Marc BERTRAND, Matthieu POISSON
Interest rates are at an all-time low, and even if inflation eventually picks up, it could take some time. Central banks, the first pillar of the investment cycle, are adjusting and are resolutely accompanying governments in this final battle against deflationary threats, at the risk of losing some of their independence. The resulting low level of real interest rates boosts risk premiums, supports equities over bonds, and leads to growth stocks being overvalued vs. value stocks. Reducing this excess will be achieved by a rebound in value stocks, which will notably benefit from the steepening of the yield curve in the recovery phase. However, as interest rates will remain low and disruption is now part of our daily reality, it is likely that growth stocks will eventually surprise upwards again in this cycle. Several risks could disrupt this optimistic reading of the impact of central banks on equities: central bankers’ willingness will be tested at the first signs of inflation. Their communication will have to be particularly pointed. A premature about-face on fiscal accommodation by some governments would also raise doubts in the markets. Finally, a failure of stimulus and reflationary policies remains possible; the low interest rate environment is part of the solution, but is also a symptom.
Head of DM Strategy Research
Kenneth J. TAUBES
CIO of US Investment Management