Insurance → Inflation + Issuance
Insurance is making national headlines in 2023 as major providers retreat from writing new policies in large parts of the country and renewal premium prices skyrocket.
Q3 Earnings Reveal Big Dispersion, Bigger Need for Stock Selection
Q3 earnings season had many familiar refrains relative to the year’s first two quarters. One difference was a return to positive earnings growth for the first time since Q3 2022. Still, the market wasn’t unanimously cheering the results.
NVIDIA CEO, Tech Visionary Shares AI Insights and Outlook
Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is firmly on the scene and set to change the way we live and work. NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang, an AI pioneer and visionary, is optimistic and energized.
Mega-Cap Tech a Safe Haven
Year-to-date, technology has outperformed the broader market largely given the prevalence of low leverage, high profitability and consistent earnings across many names in the mega-cap tech space.
Rotation to Duration: Seeking a More Resilient Portfolio
The potential for a Fed pause presents an opportunity for investors to consider adding duration back into their portfolios. In this market regime, we believe duration serves well as hedge and equity diversifier.
Charting a Course in Choppier Waters
Despite progress on bringing down inflation from mid-2022 highs, data from online job postings suggests that wage pressures may be reaccelerating. Beneath the surface, growing divergence in wage gains across occupation categories may be adding a layer of complexity to the outlook for labor markets.
Targeting Resilient Portfolio Construction With Alternatives
As investors face continued macroeconomic and market uncertainty, evolving the 60/40 portfolio of stocks and bonds to include alternative investments may help build portfolio resiliency.
Opportunity Knocks for Municipal Investors
Municipal bonds sold off considerably in September alongside vastly rising interest rates.
Intro To AI for Curious Investors
With all eyes on generative AI (genAI) and its transformative potential, individual investors’ interest has been piqued. The market-moving innovation certainly has generated a lot of hype ― and questions. Equity CIO Tony DeSpirito parses three reasons for excitement and three areas for awareness.
Drive for Show, Putt for Dough
Global central bank hiking cycles have dominated financial market headlines for the last 18 months, keeping many investors on the sidelines, hiding out in cash as inflation and the resulting rate hikes were serious headwinds to returns.
It’s Not How Much Duration You Hold, It’s Where You Hold Your Duration
Rising rates in the second half of the year have brought year-to-date returns for the US Aggregate (“Agg”) benchmark index negative.
Taking Stock: Q4 2023 Equity Market Outlook
U.S. stocks typically post their best returns in the final quarter of the year. Our review of S&P 500 performance since the index’s inception in 1957 found an average Q4 uptick of 4%. (Q1 was next best at an average of 2%.)
Stealth Stagnation: Why the U.S. Economy Is Not as Robust as You Think
The prevailing narrative about the U.S. economy is that it’s ‘resilient’: despite rapid rate hikes, economic growth has held up and may even be accelerating.
As the Economy Slows, Favor Consistency Over Volatility
In many ways, 2023 continues to be the mirror image of 2022, with the most volatile assets being some of the best performers for much of the year.
5 Factors Favoring Stock Selection
When markets are in a rising tide, all boats (aka stocks) can benefit. When the waters are choppier, active equity selection aims to identify the sounder vessels. Tony DeSpirito reviews five reasons why he believes the new environment is setting up to favor an active approach.
Lack of Access Is a Crucial Factor to Preventing Retirement Savings
BlackRock and Human Interest have found that American workers earning less than the national average are not saving due to lack of access to saving tools. Broadening access requires an intuitive and automated approach to retirement savings.
Munis Fall Short Of Seasonal Expectations In August
Municipals posted negative total returns amid rising interest rates. Issuance exceeded tempered expectations, while demand waned as performance struggled.
Factors & the Magnificent Seven
Seven mega-cap US-based companies – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Nvidia, Tesla, and Meta (Facebook) – have stayed top of mind for many investors this year.
Why Investors in Retirement May Want to Consider an Income Approach
As multi-asset income investors, we seek to help a wide range of clients meet their income needs. The benefits of an income-centric approach are especially relevant for investors as they enter retirement – and that’s especially true today. We bring that to life with two case studies.
Q2 Earnings Reveal Two Areas To Watch Among U.S. Stocks
U.S. companies broadly notched better-than-expected results in the second quarter, even as overall earnings growth for the S&P 500 saw a decline. Equity investor Carrie King sees more interesting developments beyond the numbers and posits one area that may be getting tired as another readies for a reawakening.
Monetary and fiscal policy are typically thought of as independent tools that central banks and governments use to manage the economy.
Three Takeaways From U.S. Earnings
U.S. corporate earnings have stagnated for a year, but Q2 beat a low bar. Expectations of improving margins look rosy. We stay selective in equities.
Select Segments of Growth Still Providing Steady Returns
Following the YTD strength in equity markets, Russ Koesterich discusses how a combination of cyclical, and a growth bias may serve investors well in today’s market.
Munis Maintain Summer Heat in July
We maintain a neutral-duration posture overall. We prefer an up-in-quality bias and have become increasingly selective in non-investment grades.
Investing in a Changing World: From Carburetors to Compilers
For the better part of the last century, the largest companies in the world were those that produced physical property – traditional transportation machines, the energy that powered them, or the capital that financed them.
Rotation to Duration: Seeking a More Resilient Portfolio
The potential for a Fed pause presents an opportunity for investors to consider adding duration back into their portfolios.
Opportunities in Globalization Rewiring
We see emerging markets better withstanding volatility and benefiting as supply chains rewire. We switch our EM debt preference to hard currency from local.
Equity Investing for a New Era: The Return of Alpha
The economy and markets that have emerged from the pandemic fundamentally changed. For equity investors, we believe this means a different opportunity set than the one that prevailed over the past decade and a half ― and one that favors alpha (excess return) over beta (market return).
Smaller Recession Risk Suggests Stronger Cyclicals
Russ Koesterich CFA, JD, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager discusses how improving economic expectations may suggest adding to cyclical areas of the market.
Healthcare Stocks Offer a Prescription for Resilience Plus Growth
Healthcare stocks rank high on our like list, boasting a history of resilience amid both inflation and recession as well as attractive growth prospects thanks to potent innovation. Dr. Erin Xie examines the opportunity.
Central Bank Inflation Fight To Carry On
Central banks are set to hike policy rates this week. Markets expect rate cuts to soon follow due to cooling inflation, whereas we see central banks holding tight.
Too Good To Be True?
So far in 2023, equity markets have shrugged off banking stress, recession risk, and monetary tightening in favor of a more optimistic view. While risks remain, alternative data suggests that inflation may fall faster than expected as the economy remains relatively healthy.
Applying Our Playbook to EM
We favor emerging market (EM) to developed market (DM) assets on a brighter macro backdrop. We get granular and harness mega forces, per our playbook.
Municipals Deliver on Seasonal Expectations
Municipal bonds posted positive absolute and relative performance in June. Modest primary and secondary supply was outpaced by improved demand. While July has historically been a top-performing month, we maintain some near-term caution.
A Sharper Lens – Factors & Sectors
Factor investing can help drill through broad sector labels to help investors better understand past performance and expected returns.
Earnings Outlook: Show Us the Growth
Higher expected corporate earnings mask broad pressure under the surface. We see more earnings pain ahead and look for opportunities at the sector level.
New Regime, New Opportunities
We see different and abundant opportunities in the new macro regime. We go granular within asset classes, regions, and sectors – and harness mega forces.
How To Optimize Retirement Income
Financial advice often focuses on boosting personal savings rates and maximizing return on investment during a worker’s accumulation years. Equally important, however, is the decumulation process, when people spend those savings in the form of income.
The Waiting is The Hardest Part
The US Federal Reserve (“Fed”) paused rate hikes in June, but signaled it expects to deliver 50 basis points of additional hikes this year.
Taking Stock: Q3 2023 Equity Market Outlook
An ounce of optimism, a pound of prudence. It’s still a good time to be measured about taking risks in equities, but we believe the longer-term horizon holds particular promise for active stock pickers.
Market Neutral Investing in a New Regime
Macroeconomic uncertainty has remained front and center in 2023 as the new investment regime continues to play out. Inflation remains above central bank targets and some signs of economic weakness have started to surface in the wake of rapid monetary tightening.
Economic Resilience Complicates Hedging With Bonds
Since the March trough the S&P 500 Index has gained around 14% and ten-year Treasury yields have risen roughly 0.50%. As market conditions have improved, inter-asset correlations have also shifted.
Investors Rediscover the Importance of Getting Paid Back
The exit from a decade of very low interest rates, via the most aggressive hiking cycle since 1980 has laid bare the distorted financing incentives that became entrenched in the years between the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and the end of pandemic-era monetary policies in 2022.
Central Banks Compelled To Hold Tight
Sticky inflation looks to compel developed markets (DM) central banks to crank policy rates higher – and keep policy tight for longer. The Federal Reserve paused last week but pointed to more hikes on the way.
The Missing Link: Adding Emergency Savings Solutions to Retirement Plans
With the passage of SECURE 2.0, new in-plan emergency savings solutions are on the horizon. What have the past five years of research taught us about the connection between short-term and long-term financial security? And how can 401(k) plans benefit from lessons learned?
Rotation to Duration: Seeking a More Resilient Portfolio
The potential for a Fed pause presents an opportunity for investors to consider adding duration back into their portfolios.
Rebuilding Resilience in 60/40 Portfolios
Macroeconomic uncertainty has sparked questions over the durability of the traditional 60/40 portfolio—highlighting why investors may want to add alternative investments to the mix.
Municipals Set Up for a Summer Rebound
Municipal bonds posted negative total returns in May amid continuing heightened volatility. Interest rates rose throughout most of the month as banking concerns abated, economic data exceeded expectations, comments from the Federal Reserve turned more hawkish, and the debt ceiling negotiations remained contentious to the very end.
An Active Investor’s Guide To Emerging Markets Stocks
Emerging markets (EMs) are a big, heterogeneous universe of economies and markets that can be subject to big volatility. They also are a large and fertile hunting ground for investment opportunities. Stock picker Emily Fletcher offers a grand tour of the “wild” EM equity landscape.
Will Selling in May Work This Year? Maybe Not
With stocks struggling to break out of their range, rates climbing, and valuations stretched investors are rightly asking whether it’s time to sell.
A New Playbook for Portfolio Diversification
Transitioning into the post-COVID investment environment shifts the foundations of portfolio construction that investors relied on in recent decades. On full display in 2022, inflation and recession risk punished both bonds and stocks together to historic declines.
Macro Outlook Retakes Spotlight
We see the market’s focus returning to higher-for-longer rates and sticky inflation after a U.S. debt ceiling deal. We prefer an up-in-quality portfolio.
What’s Impacting Retirement Readiness Today
New findings from EBRI’s recently released 2023 Retirement Confidence Survey reveal what’s top of mind for American workers and retirees. Below, we look at two key findings – alongside ways the industry is responding.
Markets Now Accept Rate Cuts Unlikely
Inflation has proven sticky, even as growth weakens. Markets are realizing that policy rates are set to stay higher for longer. We like quality in stocks and bonds.
Thank You, Consumer, and Other Sentiments From Q1 Earnings
First-quarter earnings largely surprised to the upside, but expectations also had been guided down. What does the latest earnings news mean for stock investors? Carrie King, Global Deputy CIO of BlackRock Fundamental Equities, offers three observations.
It’s Time to Start Playing Investment “Small Ball” in Portfolios
Rick Rieder and team argue that a series of small, but more probable, wins in fixed income can pave the way for portfolios to outperform benchmarks in 2023.
An End To Tightening Supports Gold
Stocks are having a great year, but gold is doing even better. Year-to-date global equities are up roughly 9% in dollar terms; gold has advanced more than 10%.
Public or Private? A Strategic Question
We prefer private to public credit long term on better return potential. It’s the mirror image in equity: We prefer public stocks as risks fade in the medium term.
A Systematic Approach to Long-Term Investing
Macroeconomic uncertainty presents new challenges for investors who are saving for long-term goals like retirement. Inflation can diminish the ability to save today and the value of those savings tomorrow.
Factor investing has seen increased popularity in the US. Investors may also want to consider increasing their opportunity set by considering factors abroad.
ESG X Big Data: Solving for the Double Bottom Line
The view by many is that sustainable investing is concessionary in that financial results are forgone in order to achieve sustainable outcomes. Our historical analysis shows that this assertion isn’t true and that unique ESG data can be predictors of company results.
U.S. Debt Stand-off To Add to Volatility
We think the U.S. debt limit showdown will spark renewed volatility in markets. That risk reinforces why we stay invested and cautious by going up in quality.
Cash Can Be a Drag When Rate Hikes End
Pay attention to the bond diversification, resiliency quality stocks may offer, and current allocation to cash within portfolios in the wake of Fed action.
Commercial Real Estate: Going Granular
Financial cracks from rate hikes have led to jitters over commercial real estate. Yet granularity is key. We see opportunities in some U.S. industrial properties.
The Cost of Capital Is Up – Your Guardrails Should Be Too
A direct repercussion of higher central bank policy rates is on the cost of capital for corporations and other issuers of debt. However, not all issuers feel the impact of higher rates at the same time, and we’re more cautious on asset classes that are experiencing higher interest costs sooner.
Banks Wobble and Bonds Are Back to Being a Hedge
Since early March bonds and growth stocks have rallied, and for the first time since 2021 bonds have resumed their role as an equity hedge.
Services Inflation is Stuck
There have been glimmers of hope in 2023 that the inflation fixation of 2022 was a transitory phenomenon. In particular, the market has begun to more closely monitor jobs market data releases to try to spot signs of a labor market and wage slowdown.
Fear of missing out, or “FOMO,” seems to be a common trend with investors. Whether it was GameStop, AMC, Bitcoin, or the FAANGs, the last few years has seen some investors exhibit FOMO as they chase the hottest trends in the market.
Municipal Closed-End Funds: Near Term Pain, Long-Term Gain?
Over the past year, the municipal bond market has seen increased volatility stemming from rising interest rates across the yield curve.
Navigating a Trilemma
The sudden collapse of two US regional banks and the forced acquisition of Credit Suisse in Europe introduced a third dimension to the existing policy dilemma of balancing inflation and growth objectives: financial stability.
5 Reasons to Call an Investment Time-Out
Rick Rieder and team argue that a major shift in market perception of growth, inflation and policy trajectories means investors should consider calling a "time-out" to reassess portfolios.
No 2008 Redux, But Recession Coming
The market gyrations are not rooted in a banking crisis, but in financial cracks from rapid rate hikes.
Europe: Sticky Inflation Favors Income
European stocks have outperformed this year as China’s economy restarts and the energy shock proved less severe than expected.
Where is the Recession?
Inflation appears to have peaked, led by improvements in core goods prices and rate-sensitive sectors like housing.
Zooming in on Fixed Income as We Head into 2023
The Aiguille du Midi, neighboring popular Mont Blanc in the French Alps, is famous for having the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, a vertigo-inducing ride that is equal parts scary and awe-inspiring.
Our Christmas Shopping List (and some 2023 Prognostications)
Rick Rieder and team outline how to think about portfolios as we enter 2023.
Strategies for Volatile Markets
For years leading up to the pandemic, low inflation and stable growth created a favorable environment for investors that supported sustained periods of robust stock and bond returns. With inflation virtually non-existent, economic downturns were met with monetary and fiscal stimulus that provided a backstop for financial markets.
Could Market Fears Abate Toward Year-End?
An astounding $200 million dollars per day, every day, is spent gambling in Las Vegas casinos.
Central Banks Tightening From All Sides
We see central banks on a path to overtighten policy.
Finding the Market Bottom: Why It’s a Process, Not a Moment
Russ Koesterich, CFA, JD, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, of the Global Allocation team discusses whether markets have bottomed or not.
A Stock Market Outlook for the Generations
Millennials were more comfortable with the stock market this year, a May survey found. We explore the outlook for equities through a generational lens.
Looking Beyond the Growth Stock Shock
Growth stocks enjoyed a supercharged post-COVID rally before higher rates and inflation dealt a heavy blow in 2022.
Still Standing: The Dollar As a Hedge
The list of assets that have risen year-to-date is both short and odd: energy, broad commodity indexes and the dollar.
Navigating to a Soft Landing Amid Turbulence
Over the last few months, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has changed its angle of attack quite dramatically, in an attempt to battle surprisingly and stubbornly high inflation.
Taking Stock: Q4 2022 Equity Market Outlook
Balancing acts. As the Fed walks the line between curbing inflation and averting recession, anxious investors are seeking to balance the two risks. Amid the uncertainty, we believe stock selection matters more.
Is Zillow Data a Better Inflation Indicator Than CPI?
After a lower-than-expected July inflation print led many investors to rejoice at the prospect of inflation having peaked, the recent August print showed that consumer prices continued to rise year over year – albeit more slowly than prior months.
A 1, 2, 3 on 401(k) Day: 3 Important Reminders Amidst Market Uncertainty
This year has been a tough one for retirement savings. Inflation is high, markets are volatile and it’s hard to know where we’ll be in a few weeks, months or even a year.
Where to Find Pricing Power
Russ Koesterich, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, of the Global Allocation team explains why investors should expand their definition of quality in today’s market environment.
An Unconstrained Approach Serves Well in Uncertain Times
We met with the portfolio managers of BlackRock Strategic Income Opportunities to have a wide-ranging discussion on their approach and why it’s so well suited to the current market environment.
Taking Stock: Q3 2022 Equity Market Outlook
What to do in equity portfolios at the midyear point? Fundamental Equities CIO Tony DeSpirto assesses the backdrop and identifies three favored sectors.
The State of Sustainable Investing
Over the last year, we’ve experienced heightened macroeconomic uncertainty with several events impacting society and financial markets.
Markets Primed To Be Hawkish On Rates
The ECB and the Fed both need to quickly normalize policy from the emergency settings adopted when the pandemic first hit.
A Stagflationary Shock
The geopolitical crisis in Ukraine creates a stagflationary shock for global economies. The plan to fight inflation just got far more complicated for global central banks.
The Transition To a Low Carbon Economy
Russia’s tragic invasion of Ukraine has layered on existing supply imbalances, causing geopolitical uncertainty and a global energy shock.
Why Recession Chatter Benefits Garp
Russ Koesterich, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager of the Global Allocation team, discusses the case for the cheaper segments of growth stocks.
The Differentiated Appeal Of EM Debt
Inflation and hawkish central bank talk have spooked investors and led to bond losses not seen since the 1980s in developed markets (DMs).
Taking Stock: Q2 2022 Equity Market Outlook
Seeking resilience. 2022 started with rising interest rates, high inflation and unthinkable violence and human tragedy in Europe.
A Stock Picker’s Take On Investing Internationally
War in Europe comes at a time when the global economy was just emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fed last week signaled a large and rapid increase in its policy rate over the next two years and struck a surprisingly hawkish tone, indicating it’s ready to go beyond normalizing to try to tame inflation.
Municipal Market Insight
Market Update from BlackRock's municipal bond team.
Navigating Market Icebergs, Potentially Toward Calmer Waters
When an iceberg comes into view, investors must be wary of the danger, but Rick Rieder and team argue that it's also important to recall that calmer seas may lie beyond.
In 2022, Approach Markets with Patience and Perspective
Nearly four years ago, we wrote a market commentary titled “A New Waze of Investing” in which we highlighted the incredible technological innovations that were changing our everyday lives and our perspectives on long-term investing.
Investing In Energy Transition: Gray Area Between Green And Brown Economies
Energy sector leaders quickly shifted from the “green” economy in 2020 to the “brown” economy in 2021.
The Case for Impact Investing in Public Equities
Impact investing is gaining interest as a growing share of investors seeks tangible progress on environmental and social goals alongside financial returns.
Making Money When They Stop Making Money
Rick Rieder and team identify 11 themes that could drive returns in 2022, as the greatest monetary experiment since the advent of flat currency enters its next phase.
Taking Stock: Q1 2022 Equity Market Outlook
What might equity investors expect in 2022? Active stock picker Tony DeSpirito reviews the potential positives and impediments in his Q1 market outlook.
Thriving in a New Market Regime
We are entering a new market regime unlike any in the past half century: We see another year of positive equity returns coupled with a down year for bonds. But we have dialed back our risk-taking given the wide range of potential outcomes in 2022.
4 Investing Tips Amid Supply Chain Stresses
Supply chain issues are making headlines, particularly as consumers are seeing prices rise and delivery times lengthen amid product and component shortages. International equity investors Gareth Williams and David Vos offer four Investment takeaways.
Finding Opportunities in the Closed-End Fund Market
Historically, fourth quarter tax loss selling of closed-end funds (“CEFs”) has been prevalent in the market. CEFs may be more susceptible to tax loss selling given they trade on a stock exchange and market prices (investor return) can deviate from underlying net asset values (“NAVs”) (fund return).
Shopping for Investment Opportunity in Consumer Stocks
The busy retail season is in full swing, but what can investors make of the longer-term outlook for consumer stocks? Sophie Steel of BlackRock Fundamental Equities looks beyond the seasonalities to three factors that are reshaping the opportunities across consumer sectors.
It’s Not the 1970s Again: A Comparison of Markets
Rick Rieder and team examine the parallels, or lack of them, between the economy, markets and policy of the 1970s and today.
The Dollar: Still the Better Hedge
BlackRock Portfolio Manager, Russ Koesterich, CFA, JD discusses his preference for the US dollar over a long Treasury hedge in the current markets.
Three Things That Have Surprised Me – And One Thing I Wouldn’t Change
Portfolio manager Michael Fredericks reflects on markets and investing to generate income while managing risk over the last decade.
The bonds that held market expectations and central bank policies closely together during the COVID-era are starting to break. BlackRock's quant bond experts discuss the latest developments in inflation dynamics, liquidity in the financial system, and changes in China's policy reaction.
The Sustainability Shift: The Impact on Energy Investment
Achieving “net zero” by 2050 will require a shift in the global energy mix, from both a supply and consumption perspective. This has implications for portfolio allocations and alpha generation but there are diverse perspectives on the emergent risks and opportunities related to this shift.
A Signal Worth Saluting: Who You Hire Matters
The results of hiring high quality, skilled workers can impact several business functions for companies. But is there added potential for talent acquisition strategies to lead to positive social outcomes and improved financial results?
Higher Interest: Debt Influences Demand for Secure Retirement Income
It’s well-studied that factors like debt and financial uncertainty impact the way people feel about retirement and prepare for it. In this series, BlackRock explores insights from our 2021 DC Pulse research and additional work with the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) to recognize inequities and help find ways to build a better retirement for all.
Halloween and Christmas for Markets
This Halloween season, Rick Rieder and team shed light on today's market ghosts, ghouls and goblins and how to build a resilient investment portfolio around them.
It’s Not All About Rates
September lived up to its reputation as a bad month for stocks. Global equity markets declined more than 4%, making September the worst month since the start of the pandemic. Beyond seasonal weakness, many attributed equity losses to higher interest rates.
Staying Calm, Even if Markets Aren’t
Matters of money can pull at both our intellect and our emotions. And when markets get shaky, that’s when the internal tug-of-war kicks into high gear. Two investment pros share strategies for keeping calm and investing on.
Ready or Not? Lifetime Income and Other Retirement Readiness Drivers
Saving for retirement is a decades-long endeavor with factors – both excepted and unexpected – that can affect confidence and preparedness. Even though much of the conversation has centered around amassing a nest egg, it’s also important to look at what else can be done to improve retirement readiness for all.
Putting the yield spike in perspective
We view the U.S. Treasury yield spike as resolving a disconnect between the powerful restart and lower yields in recent months, and stay tactically pro-risk.
Municipal Market Insight
Market update from BlackRock's municipal bond team.
Taking Stock: Q4 2021 Equity Market Outlook
It's been a good year for U.S. stocks, but is the run nearing an end?
Decoding the “Real” Disconnect Between Interest Rates and Inflation
Real interest rates on Treasuries have been strongly negative throughout 2021. But why do investors keep piling into these negative “real” yielding assets? BlackRock’s systematic investment experts decode the markets to reveal why rates are so disconnected from fundamental values and what it means for your bond portfolio.
Spotlight on Europe
We stay tactically overweight European equities with two key events on the horizon: a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting and the German election.
Being Vested in Your Investing
During a trying time for the world in 1939, Winston Churchill famously described the largest country in the world and soon-to-be second superpower, the Soviet Union, as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
How Impact Seeks To Enhance The Risk-Return Equation
Investing with the intent to do well while doing good is gaining traction.
Deep Questions Rarely Have Surface-Level Answers
The pristine surface of a lake on a perfectly calm and sunny day is easy on the eyes. Yet it usually offers no insight as to what lies beneath.
Equities to Hedge Equity Risk
Russ discusses why low vol and quality stocks are exhibiting surprisingly strong performance.
Non-U.S. Markets Brimming In Investment ‘Excitement’
The investment opportunities are constantly changing as economic reopenings roll on.
Municipal Market Insight
Municipals posted another month of positive performance amid rangebound interest rates.
High Yield: Rising Stars and Other Omens
Over the past year, a surge of investors drove high-yield bond prices back to pre-pandemic levels.
In Unprecedented Times, Don’t Rely on (Obvious) Precedent
In 1974, U.S. President Gerald Ford took office “amidst one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history,” which was characterized by double digit inflation.
Investors’ Wants Can be Very Different from Their Needs
“You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well, you might find
You get what you need”
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” The Rolling Stones (Let It Bleed, 1969)
The Role of Chinese Assets
Strategic rivalry between the U.S. and China is creating a bipolar world.
One Hot Economy, Two Burning Questions on Value and Income
The switch on the U.S. economy is readying to come fully “on,” more than a year after the global pandemic forced abrupt closures around the world and across industries.
Mind the (rate expectation) gap
Markets are pricing in a liftoff from near-zero policy rates as early as next year, even though the Fed through its new framework has committed to stay behind the curve on inflation. We caution against extrapolating too much from strong near-term activity data amid a powerful restart. We see a high bar for the Fed to change its policy stance and believe this may be underappreciated by markets.
Don’t Underestimate the U.S. Consumer
Markets have massively recovered from panic-driven lows last spring, and investors are now rightly contemplating if we have come too far too fast.
Why We Remain Pro-risk
A powerful economic restart is underway in the U.S. – with Europe and emerging markets (EMs) set to follow.
Strategic Income Opportunities Fund
A flexible bond strategy can deliver strong performance with low volatility by diversifying across global markets.
An Investor, An Economist and a Post-Pandemic Outlook
After an unprecedented year, investors can expect an equally unmatched economic and market recovery.
Opportunity Still Alive in Value Stocks
Some call the recent rotation from growth to value outperformance transitory. We believe it may have staying power, making value stocks a formidable complement to growth in a balanced equity portfolio.
Finding Some ‘Real Perspective’ in this Market Cycle
Is it possible to travel in two directions at the same time? Imagine walking to the restroom at the back of an airplane while in mid-flight.
Making More by Losing Less
Covered call strategies can help investors manage short-term volatility and may provide better long-term outcomes while seeking to provide attractive monthly income to investors.
Another Hedge Bites the Dust
Russ discusses why gold has not been an effective hedge recently.
Dividend Stock Disparity Creates Opportunity
Read the latest model portfolio market insights to see where BlackRock’s Multi-Asset Income team see potential risks and opportunities across the landscape.
To Spend or Not to Spend?
Retired participants may leave assets untouched well into retirement due to deep-seated fears that they may outlive their money.
The Queen’s Gambit Declined
The Queen’s Gambit miniseries helped propel Netflix to a winning earnings report last quarter, but in fact the chess strategy it is named after has helped propel chess players to winning games for decades.
As Volatility Fades, Can Cyclicals Shine?
BlackRock Global Allocation Fund portfolio manager Russ Koesterich explains why he expects volatility to drop -- and cyclicals outperform.
What Vaccine Progress Means for Stock Markets
New virus variants are stoking COVID-19 angst, but we see vaccination programs opening the door to economic and market recoveries.
Risk Within Reason
Recent volatility and high valuations underscore the need to be selective, but risk premiums still justify a moderately pro-risk stance, in our view.
Using a Barbell to Strengthen Your Equity Portfolio
Cyclically oriented value stocks could make a comeback in 2021, yet there’s still a place for durable growers in a balanced equity portfolio.
The Case for More Cash, Fewer Treasury Bonds
In this piece, BlackRock Global Allocation Fund portfolio manager Russ Koesterich discusses the implications of a rise in stock-bonds correlations.
Some Worries May Be Inflated
Inflation will likely heat up in the coming months, but not to worrying levels.
Diversified and Nimble
In times of higher volatility, a multi-asset strategy can offer more consistent income, diversification and upside potential relative to bonds.
Unmasked Potential for Munis in 2021
2021 market outlook from BlackRock's municipal bond team.
Investing in a Frictionless World
Rick Rieder and team describe how revolutionary changes taking place in corporate business models will impact investing for years.
2020 Holiday Reading List
Members of BlackRock Investment Institute recommend their favorite books of 2020.
Why – and Where - Consumers Keep Spending
Global Allocation Fund portfolio manager Russ Koesterich explains that consumers remain strong, though their focus keeps shifting.
Taking Stock: Q1 2021 Equity Market Outlook
Cash on the sidelines, pent-up demand and a vaccine in flight. Could it be the makings of a bullish 2021? Get our latest outlook for U.S. stocks.
The Driving Force Behind High Quality Cyclicals
The dynamics in this stage of the economy’s rebound look favorable for industries that are levered to the recovery but also offer stable business models and earnings consistency.
Strategize for the Year Ahead
With much of the easy money already made, there’s no better time to think outside the box.
Why we are turning bullish for 2021
We highlight the reasons behind our pro-risk stance in our 2021 outlook in the weekly commentary.
Why the Outlook for Healthcare Stocks Just Got Brighter
Amid optimism for a COVID-19 vaccine and greater clarity around the U.S. election, Dr. Erin Xie, portfolio manager of the BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunities Fund, discusses two timely reasons to consider healthcare stocks.
Sticking With High Quality Cyclicals
Navigating short-term risks is paramount, but we view the backdrop as favorable for income investors over the medium term.
How to Find Growth in the Market Today
The new political landscape offers opportunities for investors who adapt their strategy.
Munis Overcome a Glut of Issuance
Municipals posted modestly negative total returns in October, with the S&P Municipal Bond Index finishing the month down -0.14%. Interest rates moved higher as economic data remained firm...
A Stock Picker’s Guide to Growth
The post-pandemic world is charging into change. Trends that were in play prior to the onslaught of COVID-19 have been accelerated, and many of the companies that were already leading the charge are emerging supercharged.
New Technologies Changing Asset Management
Technology is transforming the way we work. Asset managers are no exception as they seek better investment outcomes for clients.
6 Key Questions About Impact Investing
What is impacting investing? How is it different from ESG? Equity investor Eric Rice answers these questions and more in this one-minute read.
Growth vs. Value: The Case for the Middle
Global Allocation Fund portfolio manager Russ Koesterich discusses the appeal of the middle area when choosing between growth versus value stocks.
3 Reasons to Believe in the Consumer
Despite the worst economic and health crisis in generations, U.S. consumers are defying the pessimists.
Plot a Course Around Near-Term Risks
Markets are facing choppier waters, but the backdrop for risk assets remains positive.
Volatility, the Vote and Taking the Long View
The U.S. presidential election is adding to market angst. How much do politics matter in the long run? Tony DeSpirito answers in this one-minute read.
Gold: Less a Hedge, More a Rates Play
As portfolio manager Russ Koesterich discusses, negative real interest rates help explain why gold is moving more in tandem with stocks these days.
Muni Investors Scale Back
Market update from BlackRock's municipal bond team.
9 Critical Market Facts Explained/Confounding Myths Dispelled
Rick Rieder and team highlight the critical facts that will drive the markets in the year ahead, as well as the myths that could mislead investors.
The Case for Impact Investing in Public Equities
Impact investing in public equities can provide exposure to disruptive innovation and structural growth opportunities that are often overlooked.
Consumer Rebound Combines Old and New
Russ Koesterich, portfolio manager of the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, explores what’s driving the continued strength of the U.S. consumer.
The Physics of Economic and Financial Distress
Even as markets were rocked by uncertainty as the coronavirus lockdowns began, the seeds of stability were sown in the massive fiscal and monetary policy response.
Taking Stock: Q4 Equity Market Outlook
A vote for stocks. After solid summer gains came September volatility. The question now is what’s priced into markets as investors zero in on COVID-19 developments and the November election.
The Three Tailwinds Supporting Tech
Russ Koesterich, portfolio manager of the Global Allocation Fund, explains how history is not repeating itself with the recent sharp rise in tech stocks.
The Future Is Running at Us
The coronavirus shock is accelerating structural trends in inequality, globalization, macro policy and sustainability. This is fundamentally reshaping the investment landscape and will be key to investor outcomes.
Be Selective for a Bumpier Ride
Markets may press even higher this year, but some areas may fall behind.
The Muni Market Cools Off
Market update from BlackRock's municipal bond team.
When Income Matters, Dividends Still Pay
Bond yields are low, but investors’ need for income is high. In this one-minute read, Tony DeSpirito offers three reasons to look to equities for income.
Cyclicals Yes, Junk No
With cyclical stocks rebounding, portfolio manager Russ Koesterich emphasizes that being discerning is key.
How Alternative Data Can Lend Clarity Amid Uncertainty
Unusual times require more than the usual sources of information to assess the investing backdrop. Jeff Shen discusses how alternative data is making a difference today.
Investing Without a Parachute
In a post-coronavirus investment world, Jeff argues that investors should be rethinking the role of fixed income in portfolio construction and ask themselves if they are at risk of investing without a parachute?
Why We Are Warming up to Europe
Elga lays out two main reasons to be optimistic on Europe – and European assets.
Don’t Miss the Rise of the “Value” Phoenix
Recent underperformance has led some to declare the death of value investing, but don’t be so quick to dismiss it.
Today’s Portfolios “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” From Yesterday’s Instruments
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that in the tug-of-war between the considerable economic damage stemming from the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns, and the fiscal and monetary policy responses put in place, the latter factor is being underestimated by markets. Further, the instruments used by investors in previous years won’t be what’s required for the time ahead.
How Green Is Your Bond
Get the ins and outs of green bonds in this two-part series. Let’s start with the basics.
The Race to Zero
Emily presents key takeaways on the exercise of green bond impact reporting.
Seeking Yield? Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One (Income) Basket
Looking to generate income from your nest egg? Make sure you don’t get it all from just one basket. Karen explains two funds designed to provide income that aren’t over reliant on any one source.
Revisiting the Monetary Policy Endgame
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Navin Saigal contend that if a negative monetary policy endgame is to be avoided, particularly in the face of recent economic declines, it will likely be technological advances of a profound kind that get us there.
The U.S. Consumer Is Bowed, Not Broken
Russ discusses why consumption has held up, and how the pandemic has accelerated long-term trends.
What’s Next in the Policy Revolution?
We have witnessed nothing short of a revolution in macroeconomic policy in recent months. Jean shares his take on what to focus on next.
Building Resilience: What It Means for Retirement Savings
As the economic fallout from COVID-19 threatens peoples’ livelihoods and erodes their short-term savings, it follows that their long-term financial security is also at-risk. What does it all mean for retirement savings and what steps can we take to build a more resilient system?
Trending now: Treasury ETFs
In 2020, many investors have shifted the focus of their fixed income portfolios from the return ON principal, to the return OF principal. Karen highlights how the desire for stability is driving investors to tap into U.S. Treasury markets with ETFs.
China’s Path out of Virus Lockdowns
How’s China’s economic restart looking? And what does it mean for investors?
Dual Threats: COVID and Climate Change
The pandemic has intensified existing stresses on U.S. state and municipal economies – with implications for investors.
There’s High-Quality Opportunity in Fixed Income Spread Assets Today
Rick Rieder and Jacob Caplain contend that with profound uncertainties still present in the economy and markets, and the dislocations witnessed in many market segments in the past couple months, investors don’t need to resort to lower-quality assets. In fact, to achieve potentially attractive returns, higher-quality spread assets can serve quite well.
The Coronavirus and Our Long-Term Asset Views
How has the coronavirus shock changed medium-term fundamentals? And how does that change our long-term asset views?
Why Technology Is Proving Surprisingly Defensive
Russ highlights the surprising resilience of technology stocks this year.
The Physics of Economic and Financial Distress
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that even as markets were rocked by uncertainty as the coronavirus lockdowns began, the seeds of stability were sown in the massive fiscal and monetary policy response. The key is to know how to manage through this period for the long haul.
Watch for Three Policy Shifts in China to Cushion Virus Impact
Ben Powell writes that China may change policy at the delayed National People’s Congress in three key areas: the GDP target, household registration reform, and – crucially for markets – fiscal stimulus.
Watch for Three Policy Shifts in China to Cushion Virus Impact
Ben Powell writes that China may change policy at the delayed National People’s Congress in three key areas: the GDP target, household registration reform, and – crucially for markets – fiscal stimulus.
Three Reasons to Like Chinese Stocks
Russ explains why Chinese equities should still be a core holding.
How the Pandemic Changes Our Long-Term Asset Views
Vivek explains why we see a need and opportunity to adjust strategic portfolios in the wake of the pandemic.
5 Ways the World Could Change: An Investor Watchlist
The global coronavirus outbreak has changed everyday life in profound ways ― and will likely reshape the future as well. Tony DeSpirito identifies five areas of change that could have implications for investors.
Gauging the Coronavirus Shock’s Economic Impact
How do we gauge the impact on global economy from the pandemic? Jean shares his thoughts.
Stock Market Winners May Keep Winning
Russ discusses the surprising strength in momentum stocks, and why it may continue.
Caution: Emerging Market Local Debt
Scott explains why we have downgraded emerging market local debt to neutral even as its valuation has cheapened.
Even at These Yields, Bonds Still Work
As Russ explains, bonds may not be providing significant income, but still offer a hedge against equity risk.
Discount Double Check in CEFs
Closed-end funds are currently trading at a discount as equity markets have dropped. Here’s where to spot opportunities.
Stay Calm and Remember Why You Own Bonds
It’s easy to get sidetracked by the ups and downs of the market, but before you act, now may be a good time to review why you own bonds in the first place.
Two Reasons for Favoring U.S. Stocks
We favor U.S. stocks to their other developed market peers over the next six to 12 months. Why? The U.S. policy response to the coronavirus shock has been decisive and comprehensive, and has exceeded the scale of policy action in other major developed economies. We expect more to come.
Wall Street’s Believe It or Not
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that even as markets are gripped with the trauma of wild swings, and continued uncertainties, the seeds of future investment opportunity are being sown.
3 Observations Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
These are unusual times, to say the least. Few in the financial industry have seen a global pandemic and widespread economic shutdown, and we must approach our outlooks with a dose of humility.
Why We Are Warming up on Credit
Scott explains how the extraordinary outbreak-fighting policy action – and recent market turbulence – has changed our view on credit.
Building Timeless Portfolios
Minimum volatility strategies are one way to seek more equity stability, which may help investors stay in the markets over the long run.
How a Global Pandemic Could Accelerate the ESG Imperative
The coronavirus crisis will change the world in many ways. Tony DeSpirito discusses its potential impact on ESG investing and how it may hasten an important trend for active investors.
Seeing Beyond Short-Term Turmoil: Ideas for Stock Investors
Financial markets, and the world, are in unprecedented times. Tony DeSpirito offers some perspective along with ideas for preparing for the eventual return to “normal".
Why We Favor Re-Balancing Portfolios
Mike explains why it may be prudent re-balancing your portfolio – outside the usual calendar – after the recent market turbulence.
Fed Chair Powell’s Mario Moment…
BlackRock’s CIO of Global Fixed Income and Head of the Global Allocation Team weighs in on recent Federal Reserve policy moves and what they might mean for markets.
In the Search for Income, Consider Municipal Closed-End Funds
Municipal closed-end funds (“CEFs”) currently offer high levels of tax advantaged income and can often be purchased at a discount to their current net asset value.
Why It’s Not 2008 Again
A déjà vu of 2008 in markets lately? Mike explains why we think the coronavirus shock should not spark a 2008-style crisis.
Three Trends Supporting Gold as a Hedge
Russ discusses the reasons why gold can be an effective hedge going forward.
What Do I Do With My Portfolio Now? Three Things to Consider
Corrections are normal but that doesn't mean they feel good. How to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Wanted: Policy Action
A decisive and coordinated policy action is key to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. Mike explains why.
The Real Deal With Emerging Markets
Emerging markets give many investors cold feet. On our latest podcast, EM equity pro Gordon Fraser discusses whether now may be time to warm up to the elusive asset class.
How the Coronavirus Outbreak Changes Our Views
Mike shares how we are updating views on global growth and asset allocation as the coronavirus spreads across the world.
Where We Stand on Factors
The coronavirus outbreak has altered market dynamics since late January – including in the space of equity style factors. One example, Quality has posted more muted gains after strong outperformance in late 2019. We stand by our tactical views on factors for now, including a modest overweight on quality.
3 Reasons to Stick with Tech Stocks
Technology shares are once again leaving everything else in the dust. Year-to-date, the MSCI Information Technology sector, led by U.S. tech, is beating the broader market by over 5% and is ahead of laggards, notably energy, by nearly 20%.
Coronavirus Testing Our Global Outlook
Mike explains how our global outlook has evolved with the developing coronavirus outbreak.
How Disruption Is Changing the Growth vs. Value Debate
Which is better: growth or value? It’s an age-old investor question. Tony DeSpirito discusses its modern-day implications in a world of widespread disruption.
Why Bonds Are Still a Good Hedge
As Russ explains, bond yields may be low, but are still critical as an insurance policy against equity risk.
Coronavirus Risks Weigh on Markets
The coronavirus outbreak that started in China has sent jitters across global financial markets amid fears of a hit to the global economy. We think it is too early to assess the eventual impact on the economy yet see potential downside risks posed by the outbreak – with its unknown magnitude and duration. This underpins our view that U.S. Treasuries provide a source of portfolio resilience.
Fed’s Printing Press Favors Emerging Markets
Russ discusses the catalysts favoring Emerging Markets, beginning with the Federal Reserve.
8 Key Investment Themes for 2020
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that eight major market influences are likely to dominate the investment environment in the year ahead and that the proper portfolio mix will be instrumental in delivering a successful outcome.
For 2020, Buy Early
After an astounding 2019, what’s in store for 2020? Russ discusses.
A Holiday Reading List From the Blackrock Investment Institute
‘Tis the season for holiday reading. Jean shares our top picks to take you through the new year.
In 2020, the Critical Number to Know Is 1.8
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that contrary to the many year-end outlooks foreseeing either a recession or a rebound in 2020, the most likely path for the economy and markets is more moderate, which can be encapsulated in their theme of “1.8.”
What Boris Johnson’s Election Victory Means for UK Assets
We expect to see flows back into UK equity and credit now that some of the Brexit uncertainty has been removed.
Why Should You Read Our 2020 Global Outlook?
Jean highlights some key takeaways that may help you with next year’s investment decisions.
Sifting Through the Froth
Positive returns across asset classes in 2019 may limit tax loss selling in closed-end funds, but we see potential long term value in select sectors where investors can still buy assets at a discount.
Taking Stock of Our 2019 Views
We identified the protectionist push as a key market driver this year but we did not foresee the massive move down in global yields. Scott talks through our 2019 calls.
U.S. Consumers: Calm Surface, Revolution Below
As Russ explains, the evolution of the consumer, still a pillar of the markets, has major implications for investors.
What Matters More – Making Money or Not Losing It?
Redefining your lens on risk may help you win more by losing less.
Investors would do well to prepare for greater dispersion
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that – in contrast to the past decade of monetary policy lifting all economic boats at once – the years ahead are likely to be characterized by great dispersion between economies, industries and markets. Understanding that dynamic will be the name of the game for investment success.
Sustainable investing gains traction in fixed income
The stock market has been an early player in sustainable investing – while the fixed income market has lagged in data, tools and insights. But that’s changing fast, as we detail in a new publication: Sustainability: the bond that endures. New ESG indexes have created building blocks that can be used to bring sustainability into portfolios, even in asset classes such as emerging market (EM) debt that until recently lacked sustainable solutions.
A positive twist on geopolitical risk?
Markets hate uncertainty, and the type deriving from geopolitical unrest has been heightened this year. Jeff Shen discusses why there may be a silver lining on the horizon for investors.
Liquidity Trumps Uncertainty
Russ explains why monetary easing matters more than geopolitical risks for the markets right now.
Can Stocks Still Grind Higher? And 2 More Questions for Q4
It’s been a largely solid run for U.S. stocks in 2019. With the year now in its final quarter, Tony DeSpirito addresses three questions on investors’ minds.
The Restoration of Monetary Policy Equilibrium
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that much of the recent criticism brought to bear against Fed policy makers is misguided, and in fact the central bank has done an admirable job of pivoting toward a pragmatic equilibrium in recent months.
Slowing Growth Demands the Right Style
Recent data show a slowing economy, but no recession. Russ discusses how to position a portfolio in this environment.
U.S. Consumers: Still an Engine of Growth
Once again, U.S. consumers are keeping the global economy out of the abyss. Russ discusses why.
Looking for Cover
Covered call strategies in a closed-end fund may help long-term investors manage short-term volatility.
Takeaways from Our Q4 Outlook
The fourth quarter of 2019 kicked off with a market selloff and more evidence that a protectionist push is hitting the U.S. industrial sector. How are our asset views faring this year to date–and what are the key themes we see shaping markets in the months ahead?
A Growth Recovery Looming Ahead
Elga explains why we see a growth pickup looming on the horizon. Hint: Watch the transmission of financial conditions.
Toward Effective Economic Policy for the 21st Century
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback highlight their view that effective monetary and fiscal policy in the 21st Century needs to draw not only traditional economic theory, but also from the lessons of finance and other disciplines.
3 Ideas to Help You Achieve the Income You Need
Patrick Nolan offers his top tips to help your money deliver.
Why Stocks Can Shrug off Higher Rates
Interest rates rose last week, but the surge did not keep stocks from climbing. Russ explains why.
Where Is U.S. Economy Headed?
Elga explains why we could see lower growth and higher inflation ahead in the U.S. Hint: trade tensions.
Why Growth Remains Valuable
Russ describes the reasons why growth stocks can still outperform value.
The Monetary Policy Endgame
Rick Rieder highlights the economic policy state-of-play today, and where it may lead to should economic growth falter, productivity not materialize, and populism continue to thrive.
Should You Care About Negative Bond Yields?
In some parts of the world, bonds are yielding less than zero. Karen explains how that can happen, what it means for your portfolio and moves to consider.
The Pros and Cons of Currency Hedging
With the dollar remaining strong, Chris discusses whether it makes sense to hedge currencies for international investing.
Time to Stock up on Quality?
“Quality” stocks are said to offer a measure of portfolio stability ― a trait that becomes more valuable when markets are volatile and/or the business cycle is growing older. Both are true today. Tony DeSpirito offers his take on investing for quality.
Can a Growth Scare Benefit Tech Stocks?
Given the recent volatility, investors may be wary of tech. Not so fast, Russ explains.
Why Bonds Are Now the Better Hedge
Russ discusses why bonds are his preferred hedge in this environment.
5 Key Investment Themes for the Remainder of 2019
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback highlight the investment themes that they think will drive markets and dominate debate within the investment community over the next several months and beyond.
Why the Central Banks Backstop Is Working
Russ discusses how central banks once again have investors’ backs.
Europe at a Crossroads: The Time for Bolder Policy Action Is at Hand
Rick Rieder argues that anemic growth in Europe is a longstanding problem that today requires a bold solution. Institutionally, the ECB can offer potentially effective, if unconventional, help.
Are Investors Paying Too Big a Premium for Safety?
Following months of strong performance, Russ discusses why defensive sectors may be overpriced in the current environment.
The Case for European Equities
Despite structural regional challenges, Russ provides insight on several factors that support European equities.
The Trade War in the Context of Broader Themes
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that while most investors are focusing primarily on trade-related supply chain disruptions today, they need to continue to situate this turmoil in the more fundamental changes at play in technology and demographic trends.
The Pivot Favoring Emerging Markets
Russ explains why the suddenly easier central bank policies could be key for emerging markets.
The Risk of Too Little Inflation
Low inflation may sound appealing, but as Russ explains, it has drawbacks for investors.
A Glimpse at Our Midyear Outlook Debates
The firm’s senior decision makers debated the midyear market outlook last week in London. Jean shares the gist of our debates.
Why the Growth Premium Is Likely to Stay
Russ discusses why growth is likely to continue to outperform value for a while.
Technology and the Fight for the Cash Flows of the Future
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that there’s little benefit to “trading the news” today, as prices adjust instantly to highly-transparent information. Rather, investors would do well to follow long-term cash flows, of which the lion’s share is to be found in tech.
What Could Move the Markets Next?
Markets are not too expensive, or too cheap. As Russ explains, that offers a clue into what could cause the next move.
Why Volatility Could Be Worse
Russ discusses why volatility has not been more severe, even though growth has softened.
The Roots of U.S. Stocks Out-Performance
Continuing the post-crisis trend, U.S. stocks have outperformed the rest of the world this year. Russ explains why.
Why Stability May Be Enough for Cyclicals
Cyclicals rule. After getting trounced in Q4, year-to-date more cyclically oriented stocks and sectors have trounced “defensive”, less-cyclically exposed names. The trend has been even more pronounced during the past month.
With Oil at $65, Energy Stocks Look Cheap
Despite being up 25% from December 2018 lows, Russ discusses the factors that remain supportive of the energy sector.
Market Turbulence and Policy Reversal Shouldn’t Cow Investors
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that despite the market turbulence witnessed in the past several months, as well as a dramatic policy reversal, we find ourselves at a moment of remarkable economic stability. That fact, along with greater policy accommodation and capacity, argues for healthy and sensible risk taking.
Why Stocks Need the Fed Even More
With growth soft, financial conditions are key for investors, Russ explains.
What Stocks May Need: A Bit of Inflation
Russ discusses the divergence between rising stock prices and falling bond yields. What gives and can it continue?
The “Calm Premium”
The recent U.S. equity rally has coincided with a drop in volatility. But can that continue? Russ discusses.
An Inflation and Policy Backdrop Unlike What Many Expected Affords Opportunity
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that as the conventional wisdom in policy and investment circles surrounding prospects for growth and inflation have shifted in 2019, so too have investment opportunities.
Gold Holds up Even as Equities Rip
Russ explains the mystery of why gold is performing surprisingly well while stocks are rallying.
Volatility Breeds Opportunity: Closed-End Fund Income Ideas at a Discount
Recent volatility has created opportunities to invest in high yielding leveraged credit closed-end funds trading at a discount to net asset value.
Why Energy Still Looks Cheap
Russ discusses why energy, despite rallying – and outperforming -- this year, still looks like a value.
Have Investors Shifted Market Sentiment Too Quickly?
Markets have bounced back from December’s selloff. Russ discusses whether investors have shifted sentiment too quickly.
Policy Evolution in 2019: The Ability to Invest Again
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that an evolving policy stance at the Fed is altering the risk/reward calculus for investors this year, although left-tail risks remain.
The Dollar: The Dog That Didn’t Bark
Russ discusses why the dollar has stabilized and what it means for markets.
Stocks are Cheap(ish)
After December’s rout, are stocks now reasonably valued? Russ’ answer may surprise you.
Understanding the Fed’s Inflation Mandate and Why It Should Evolve
Rick Rieder argues that the Fed’s price stability mandate has been fulfilled and that today’s drivers of inflation…
Are you getting the best your 401(k) has to offer?
Your employer works behind the scenes to review and improve your retirement plan. But are you getting the benefit of their latest and greatest? Paul talks about how to use your employer’s recommendations to evaluate your own plan.
Monetary Policy in 2019, the Pause That Refreshes
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that slowing growth, peaking inflation and tightening financial conditions combine to make a strong case for a Fed policy rate hiking pause in early 2019.
3 Factors Supporting Emerging Markets
It may seem like a poor environment for EM stocks, but they outperformed in the recent volatility. Russ explains why.
Portfolio Reflections and Resolutions
A collection of insights our Portfolio Solutions team gathered from working with thousands of advisors on close to ten thousand investment models in the past twelve months.
Softer Economic Growth = More Defensive Portfolios
There are few signs of a recession, but slowing growth is having an impact. Russ explains why and what steps to take.
Why the Energy Stock Selloff May Be Overdone
Unless oil prices collapse, energy stocks now appear to be cheap, as Russ explains.
Why Valuation Alone Won’t Save Equities
After the October selloff, stocks got cheaper. But that might not be enough for a continued rebound, Russ suggests.
Why Higher Wages Reduce Inflation in the New Economy
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Rieder argues that wage growth doesn’t lead to higher inflation, and in fact may even hold a dampening impact on inflation over time, which has important implications for how to judge monetary policy today.
4 Potential Reasons for the Gold Rally
Russ discusses why gold, not a popular asset class until recently, has become so as a hedge.
Play Cautiously with Vulnerable Markets
Rieder and Brownback argue that monetary policy restrictiveness, fading fiscal stimulus, and growing economic uncertainties leave markets more vulnerable today, and these risks are not to be toyed with.
Earnings Are Not Enough: Stocks Need Easy Credit
Credit markets are still relatively supportive of stocks, but at the margins, less so. Russ discusses the implications.
For Now, Bonds Are Still Hedging Stocks
Russ takes a look at whether stocks and bonds will move in sync again and what to do if they will.
Adapting to Markets That Change at the Speed of Moore’s Law
Rieder and Brownback argue that today investors are confronted by massive shifts in the nature of the economy, alongside cyclical and policy uncertainties; making sense of it all is critically important.
Emerging Markets’ Lost (Near) Decade
Investors may be ready to abandon emerging markets, but as Russ discusses, the potential is there for a sizeable rebound.
Quality as a Hedge Against Rising Volatility
While momentum stocks have prevailed since 2016, is quality about to have its day? Possibly, if volatility continues to rise, as Russ discusses.
The Dollar Continues to Dominate
As Russ discusses, we remain in a strong dollar environment, which continues to have consequences for the market.
Wisdom of crowds: What can we learn from 8,000 people in 1974?
In a future of lower expected price appreciation, investors should focus on the second leg of returns: income. ETFs make it incredibly easy to capture diversified sources of higher-yielding assets.
Rising rates blog series: The double appeal of short-maturity bonds
As yields increase, short-maturity bond funds can offer both higher income potential and a cushion against interest rate risk. Karen explains the mechanics, in part three of her Rising Rates series.
The flattening to focus on
The flattening Treasury yield curve is getting a lot of attention, but there’s another flattening that is arguably of greater importance: the narrowing return gap between low- and high-risk assets. Jeff explains.
Why Are Markets Acting like Recession Is Looming?
Data shows a solid economy, yet markets are acting like recession is around the corner. Russ explains why.
Asia on Sale
As Russ notes, in a world with few bargains, one stands out: Asia.
Why Emerging Market Stocks Are Looking Cheap
As Russ explains, dismal performance of emerging markets this year has make them look like a bargain again.
As Qe-Era Ends, Income Trumps Total Return
Rieder and Brownback argue that as we depart the era of QE, where rising tides lifted all boats, the income component of total return becomes ever more vital to investor prospects.
Why Gold May be Looking Cheap
Russ describes the signs that gold, notoriously difficult to assess, is starting to look cheap.
Why the Dollar Was Key to the 1st Half
As Russ explains the key to asset returns in the first half of 2018 was the dollar, not interest rates.
Why Energy Stocks Look Cheap
Russ discusses why the energy sector still looks attractive, despite having struggled recently.
2 Reasons Why Volatility Can Remain Low
Russ discusses why economic conditions (for now) support low volatility in the markets.
Technology “Bubble” Fears Don’t Hold up
Russ discusses why tech stocks are not only not in a bubble, but reasonably valued.
Markets Currently Display Myriad Moving Parts
Rieder and Brownback argue that today’s investment environment, like a well-fought chess match, holds great complexity; understanding it is vital for investors.
Gold: The Dollar’s Doppelganger
Russ explains why gold is not working as an effective equity hedge, despite higher volatility.
Money Is Still Cheap Enough to Support Stocks
Is the era of easy financial conditions over? Not yet, says Russ.
3 Reasons to Stick with Emerging Markets
Emerging market stocks and bonds are having a rough year, but Russ argues against abandoning the asset class.
It’s All About the Multiples
Earnings are strong, markets less so. As Russ explains, investors are paying attention to valuations and the economy.
The Return of Relative Value to Defensive Stocks
For most of the post-crisis period, defensive stocks have been expensive. Russ suggests that may have changed.
Focus on the right 3% yield
The 3% U.S. 10-year government bond yield isn’t the right yield to focus on. Richard explains why.
At Cycle Turn, Fed Can Follow Two Possible Paths
Rieder and Brownback discuss how cyclical turning points result in market friction, even with solid growth, presenting the Fed with two potential paths.
No, Washington Is Not to Blame for the Volatility
Many are pointing a finger at Washington for the recent spike in volatility. But, as Russ explains, the catalysts lie elsewhere.
For Stocks, What Consumers Say Outweighs What They Do
Russ discusses why stocks can still thrive when consumers are confident, but frugal.
Navigating the New Volatility Regime
Rick and Russ on the new volatility regime, why risk is being misapprehended, and how to navigate these new challenges.
The Problem for Stocks: Fewer Positive Surprises
Markets are a function of reality meeting expectations. Russ discusses why the expectations are outpacing the reality.
Why Volatility May Be a Bigger Threat Than Rates
Russ discusses why investors should worry less about higher interest rates and more about the volatility resulting from tighter financial conditions.
With Volatility Back, Time for More Quality
Markets have calmed somewhat, but make no mistake: Volatility is back. Russ discusses quality stocks can help in this environment.
Yes, Rates and Stocks Can Rise Together…. for Now
Think rising interest rates and higher stock prices are like oil and water? Think again, says Russ, at least for the time being.
After the Selloff, What’s Changed? Not Much
Russ reviews the landscape after the selloff and discusses how little has actually changed.
Mind your P’s and F’s: Don’t confuse leveraged ETPs with ETFs
As the recent market volatility made clear, there’s a big difference between plain vanilla ETFs and leveraged products making big bets with big risks.
For Emerging Markets, It’s Really the “Economy Stupid”
Russ discusses why the case for emerging market stocks right now simply rests on concept of solid global growth.
Greater Clarity on Markets Demands a Flexible Approach
Rick and Russ argue that the recently enacted U.S. tax cut and an evolving monetary policy backdrop provides both greater clarity on expected increases in volatility and underscores the need to remain flexible and opportunistic in allocation.
3 Vital Economic Themes for 2018
Amid the seemingly endless noise that poses as news, Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback focus in on three of the most critical themes that investors need to consider for 2018.
Low Spreads + Low Inflation = Low Volatility
Russ discusses why the real economy and financial market conditions offer more clues about volatility than political noise.
Why Continued Calm for Stocks Depends on Credit Markets
Can markets repeat the outstanding performance of 2017? Russ discusses why credit market conditions are likely to provide the key clues.
Another Year, the Same Old Rate Paralysis
Long-term interest rates remain stuck in a range that has defined the last six years. Russ discusses why 2018 may see more of the same.
The Five Ws of Style Factors
Wondering how style factors work and how to use them? The five Ws tell the story of the value, momentum, quality, size and minimum volatility factors.
2017, the Acid Test for Active Bond Investing
Rick and Jacob examine why 2017 provides a seemingly unlikely source of evidence for the effectiveness of an active approach to fixed income.
Will Tax Cuts (Finally) Reawaken Value?
Value stocks are cheap, relative to growth, but have lacked a catalyst to rally. Russ discusses why tax cuts could be that spark.
Time to Trim, but Not Abandon Gold
Gold has performed surprisingly well this year. Russ discusses why that might not be the case going forward, and it may be time to pare positions.
The Surprising Way the Bond Market Matters for Stocks
Stocks are expensive by most measures. Russ discusses why the bond market can impact whether that can be sustained.
Interest Rates: Not Going Back to “Normal” Anytime Soon
Interest rates are set to move higher, but as Russ explains, we are still a long ways away from the long-term average of 6% 10-year Treasury yields.
High Yield’s Diminishing Appeal
High yield bonds have been investor favorite the last year and a half. Russ discusses why that may not last.
Semester-End Policy Liquidity Can’t Be Crammed For
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that while cramming for finals may have worked in college, it won’t with the winding down of the global central bank policy liquidity “semester.”
In Times of Eerie Calm, Don't Neglect Quality
Quality stocks may be out of favor in this environment, but Russ explains the important role they can play in a portfolio.
Energy and Financials: The Value Within Value
Value stocks have started to show signs of life. Russ discusses why energy and financial stocks are currently the best ways to play the theme.
A Song of Ice and Fire: Portfolio Hedging Edition
A downturn for stocks may not be top of mind these days, but one will happen eventually. To prepare for that, Russ discusses why the source of the selloff matters as much as the magnitude.
Reversals of Fortune: Emerging Markets and Japan
Russ discusses the reasons why Japan’s equity market may outperform emerging markets.
4 Reasons Why the Consumer (and the Economy) Are Still in Limbo
Consumer spending helps fuel the economy, but, as Russ explains, still sluggish spending continues to limit growth.
Market Lessons from the Gridiron
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback, from the BlackRock Fundamental Fixed Income Team, look to the investment lessons that can be derived from Super Bowl 51 odds making, and particularly that when judged appropriately, prices can contain more valuable information than does “the news.”
The German Election and Markets
What might the German election mean for markets?
Generation Dove: The Fed's Norm for Nearly 20 Years
With the top two positions at the Federal Reserve soon to be open, Russ discusses how the easy money era goes back a long way.
One Critical Way Technology Is Transforming the Economic Landscape
Rick Rieder explains the economic implications of “the Amazon effect.”
2017 Winners Make Peculiar Bedfellows
Russ explores why both risky assets and traditional safe havens have performed well this year, and whether that can continue.
Value: Dead or just slumbering?
Value stocks have largely sat out the broader market rallies this year. Russ explains why, and what could spark a return to investor favor.
Biotech: Ignore the Noise
We believe biotech's long-term historical drivers, demographics and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity to secure patent protected drugs, may outlast near-term political headwinds and should lead investors to consider bio-pharma from a longer-term perspective. Biotech valuations also currently appear attractive relative to the broader market and look less crowded than other growth sectors. Over the short term we see potential opportunities in select individual biotech and pharma names.
Gold Shines as Washington Stumbles
Russ discusses the trend behind the surprising gold rally this year, and why the political drama in D.C. means it may continue.
Update on Japan
We see three factors that potentially support Japanese equities going forward: 1. Improving earnings outlook amid a strengthening domestic economy and synchronized global expansion. 2. Currently attractive equity valuations compared to developed market peers. 3. Continued monetary stimulus from the Bank of Japan and a potentially stable yen.
Why Rates Are Not Moving
Whatever happened to the increase in interest rates that was supposed to occur? Russ explains.
The Truth Buried in Weak Inflation Data
Rick explains what many interpreters of inflation data are missing.
Why Investors Are Ignoring Political Dysfunction—for Now
Russ discusses an enigma: Stocks continue to climb higher and volatility is at all-time lows while disarray reigns in Washington.
Dispelling 3 Myths About the Markets and Economy
Several myths have taken hold among market watchers lately. Rick seeks to dispel them.
Is High Yield Today More Resilient to Oil Volatility? Not at Any Price
High yield is not responding to the fall in oil prices like it’s 2016. Russ talks why the pain point is lower today than 18 months ago.
The Geekiest (and Most Important) Number Nobody Is Discussing
Russ explains why investors should pay more attention to the stock-bond correlation coefficient and understand its impact on investment portfolios.
Don't Fear the Commodity Slump—Yet
Should soft commodity prices portend slowing growth and concern investors?
Momentum May Be Running out of Momentum
Russ discusses why momentum, which has thrashed value this year, could struggle in the second half.
Into Thin Air
Stocks are getting expensive by traditional measures. Russ takes a look at what history tells us about what could happen next.
Factor Investing - a Time to Tilt
In my many conversations with investors and industry peers about factor investing, one topic seems to always come up: factor investing timing. I’ve had recent discussions on this topic with a central bank whose managers need to think about preserving capital and with a more nimble RIA team which explicitly wants to use timing to pursue incremental returns.
The Economic Side Effects of the Student Loan Crisis (in 3 Charts)
Rick Rieder explains the under-appreciated negative economic side effects of today’s student loan levels, with the help of three charts.
The Truth About the Fed and Inflation
Rick provides his take on the Fed’s most recent rate hike and makes the case against an overly rigid view of price change.
What's Behind the Tech Selloff
Russ discusses why many technology stocks have tumbled recently, without any obvious reason.
Don’t read too much into the dollar’s decline
Russ explains the different circumstances that have pushed the U.S. dollar downward and what the recent retreat means for your investments.
Keep Your Eyes on the Credit Markets, Not Washington
With political uncertainty on the rise in D.C., will market volatility spike? Russ discusses why the economy and credit markets matter more.
The Yield "Melt-Up" That Wasn't
Russ talks about why bond yields remain low this year, despite expectations of a rise.
A Mother’s Day gift for baby boomer moms
Mother’s Day is a good day to celebrate the moms in your life—and prepare for retirement. Anne explains.
Opportunities in today’s evolving fixed income market
Fixed income investing today is very different from several years ago, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for generating returns. Rick explains.
What I learned at the Milken Conference
Russ discusses the important trends that emerged from a compelling conference of finance, business and political leaders.
Preventive Medicine: Playing Defense with Health Care
With risks abounding in the markets, Russ discusses the case for health care as a defensive sector.
Where the Fed Goes from Here
What does weaker-than-expected March jobs growth mean for the path of rate normalization? Rick Rieder weighs in.
Small Caps Looking for a Catalyst
Small cap stocks are faltering this year. Russ describes why and whether that will continue.
The Seesaw Relationship of Volatility and Momentum Stocks
Volatility is creeping back into the markets. Russ discusses why that holds some peril for momentum stocks.
Assumptions Not to Make After the March Fed Hike
With two more Fed hikes potentially on the horizon in 2017, Rick clears up a few wrong assumptions some market watchers are making about rate normalization.
To Hedge or Not to Hedge?
Although the value of a currency can impact your international holdings, Russ talks about when it makes sense to hedge that effect.
Why Opportunities Abound for Active Bond Investors
Rick shares two reasons why we see abundant fixed income opportunities.
Are U.S. Banks Still Cheap?
Financial stocks have been rallying on the expectations of higher interest rates and less regulation. Russ discusses whether the good news has already been priced in.
Blending the Ingredients of a Portfolio
While most investors focus on potential returns in their portfolios, Russ discusses why risk and correlation are just as important.
Why Value Is Still a Value
The rally in value stocks may have stalled, but Russ discusses why the trend still has further to go.
Why a March Hike is on the Table
Rick Rieder shares three reasons why a March Fed rate increase is a possibility.
Volatility is low, but political uncertainty is high. Russ discusses what is causing this and whether it can continue.
Inflation Comes Skulking Back
Russ discusses the signs that inflation is rising faster than many expect, and what that means for your portfolio.
3 Telltale Signs the Japan Rally May Not Be Over
With U.S. stocks rallying, investors may be tempted to stick with a home country bias. Russ discusses why Japan is still worth a look.
2 Reasons the U.S. Economy Should Fare Better in 2017
Rick explains why there's a good chance U.S. growth will pick up from 2016.
Why Stock Market Tranquility is Unlikely to Last
Stock markets have been very quiet lately, but as we get ready to enter 2017, things may change. Here's why.
Inflation Is Not Dead Yet
Russ discusses four reasons why the rebound in inflation is likely to continue.
The Fed makes its move… now what?
With the Federal Reserve back in the spotlight, Rick Rieder discusses what investors should be focused on in 2017.
The Latest Risk for Stocks
Stocks have been helped by low rates and inflation. Russ suggests that may be changing.
The ECB Missed an Opportunity to Re-Rate European Growth
Rick Rieder makes the case for a policy that is bolder than what the ECB had announced last week.
Why the Small Cap Rally May Fizzle
Russ describes what has driven the small cap rally, and explains why its days may be numbered.
Yes, the Bond Selloff Can Continue
Russ explains why the post-election selloff in bonds may be a longer-term, not temporary, phenomenon.
What a Trump Presidency Could Mean for Bond Markets Long Term
Bonds sold off after Donald Trump's surprise election win. What could the election results mean for bond markets over the long term? Rick Rieder weighs in.
Welcome to the New World of Reflation
In the post-election markets, investors are preparing for the potential for higher growth—and inflation. Russ discusses the implications for investors.
One Sign the Labor Market Has Recovered
Rick Rieder talks about the improving wage growth and a tight jobs market having a possible impact on the Federal Reserve's rate hike decision in December.
What the Election Outcome Could Mean for Markets and Policy
The BlackRock Investment Institute shares the implications of Donald Trump's unexpected election win.
How to Seek Income Now
As 2016 draws to a close and a Fed hike looms, where should investors hunt for yield now? Terry highlights the case for three income-yielding asset classes.
Why the Gold Rally Can Continue
Gold has rallied recently with the return of political uncertainty. But Russ points to another factor that suggests the gains can continue: inflation.
Are International Markets Back?
International stocks have started to outperform U.S. stocks. Russ explains what's behind the comeback and why it may continue.
Why Defensive Stocks Are Still Not Cheap
Despite underperforming recently, high yielding defensive stocks are still expensive. Russ sees better value elsewhere, namely technology.
The Two-Track U.S. Economy
Rick Rieder explains the multiple ways the U.S. economy is moving on two tracks, and what this means for monetary policy.
Why Bonds May No Longer Be Able to Save Stocks
Historically low bond yields have helped boost stocks in recent years. Russ discusses why this may no longer be enough.