Market Outlooks

Quarterly insights from leading investment firms

Q4 2017

Baird Advisors’ 2018 Bond Market Outlook

What should fixed income investors expect in 2018? In this white paper, Mary Ellen Stanek, CFA, shares Baird Advisors’ annual investment outlook, makes a case for “lower and longer” economic growth, and identifies headwinds that could present challenges for market participants in the new year.

Q4 Market Outlook: Six Trends to Watch

Last quarter saw stocks globally continue to rise. The relatively accommodative monetary policy environment and improved global growth were strong drivers. However, as we head into the fourth quarter, I think it’s important that we recognize the potential for greater disruption — in terms of both geopolitics and monetary policy — which can cause greater volatility in capital markets.

Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook, Third Quarter 2017

The worst economic recovery of the post-war period will continue to be restrained by a consumer sector burdened by paltry income growth, a low and falling saving rate, and an increasingly restrictive Federal Reserve policy. Additionally, with the extremely high level of U.S. government debt and deteriorating fiscal situation, the economy is unlikely to benefit from any debt-financed tax changes. Finally, from a longer-term perspective, the recent natural disasters are an additional constraint on economic growth.

Fourth Quarter Hedge-Fund Strategy Outlook: K2 Advisors

K2 Advisors seeks to add value through active portfolio management, tactical allocation and diversification across four main hedge strategies: long/short equity, relative value, global macro and event driven. In their fourth-quarter (Q4) 2017 outlook, K2 Advisors’ Research and Portfolio Construction teams share the key market events they have an eye on.

Fourth Quarter Fun…or Folly?

The fourth quarter is typically an active one and we don’t think this one will be any different. Solid economic growth and good corporate earnings should allow the bull market to continue but we may experience bouts of volatility and/or pullbacks. Stay diversified and disciplined around your long-term objectives.

2017 Global Market Outlook Q4 Update: Momentum vs. Asymmetry

The final installment of our 2017 global market outlook is here. See our strategists’ views on global investment markets and economies.

A Statistical Take On The Fourth Quarter

Technicians are fond of saying that the most bullish thing a market can do is to make a new high. This simple study takes a more nuanced view, finding that the sustainability of a new high is related to its underlying technical, monetary, and economic underpinnings. On that score, this market—as overvalued as it may be—is currently “thrice-blessed,” and we expect even higher highs in the fourth quarter.

Q3 2017

Market Overview Q217: Shaping up for a New Investment Environment

After a long period of “riding the wave” of central bank liquidity, investors are now confronted with much more difficult decisions. Andrew Lo’s new book, Adapative Markets, provides an excellent framework from which to analyze the current situation, evaluate market risks and prepare for changes.

2017 Global Market Outlook — Q3 update

We’re in a late-cycle, momentum-driven market, where valuation is at an extreme. Momentum can drive markets beyond fundamentals for an extended period. No investment process is going to pick the peak in the cycle, but we’d lean out as the risks increase.

Third Quarter Hedge-Fund Strategy Outlook: K2 Advisors

K2 Advisors seeks to add value through active portfolio management, tactical allocation and diversification across four main hedge strategies: long short equity, relative value, global macro and event driven.

The Mid-Year Geopolitical Outlook

We update our geopolitical outlook for the remainder of the year. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international landscape for the rest of the year.

Second-Half Market Outlook: Seeing Global Markets in 3D

Stocks turned in a strong performance in the front half of 2017 despite geopolitical and monetary policy risks. The question, of course, is whether this performance trend can continue in the second half. I believe these two risks will cast an even longer shadow over markets going forward — making concepts such as diversification and risk management even more important for investors’ portfolios.

Quarterly Commentary

This article explores the value of understanding and assessing the environment over your investment horizon. Market weather may be hard to predict, but market climate can be credibly determined.

2017 Mid-Year Market Outlook

Performance in the bond market in the first half of 2017 was characterized by a lack of inflation, optimism about economic growth reflected in both equity markets and credit spreads and a seemingly insatiable demand for yield.

Not a Bad Place to Be: Market and Economic Forecast for the Second Half of 2017

Despite a weak first quarter, the second quarter has looked good, and signs are pointing to a solid remainder of the year. Recent data has shown an expanding economy, while companies have grown both their top and bottom lines. Markets around the world have reacted to this by rising substantially, and we’ve continued to hit new highs here in the U.S.

Midyear Outlook 2017: Business Fundamentals Back at the Controls

As investors increasingly trust that the economy can stand on its own without the need of monetary policy support, business fundamentals should take over as the primary market driver.

2017 Mid-year US Equity Outlook: Rattle and Hum

We say goodbye to the first half of a tumultuous, but rewarding, year and look ahead to the second half to see what might be in store for the U.S. economy and stock market.

The Second Half Outlook: More of the Same?

Recent economic data reports have helped to fill in the picture of the economy in the first half of the year. However, investors should be more concerned with the prospects for the second half of the year.

Mid-Year Musings

The remainder of 2017 promises to be eventful. The following are key themes we will be watching in the months ahead.

Q2 2017

Quarterly Economic Outlook for the Second Quarter of 2017

The Trump “reflation trade” is being undermined by the new administration’s failure to enact planned legislation like the ACA repeal, tax cuts, and the border adjustment tax. Following the March 0.25% hike in the US federal funds rate, the Fed will likely raise interest rates twice more in 2017, taking the target range to 1.25% to 1.50% by the end of the year. In the Euro-area the near-term environment will continue to be dominated by politics with upcoming elections in France and Germany, all against the backdrop of extended negotiations over Brexit.

Equity Investment Outlook April 2017

During the first quarter of 2017, the stock market (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) enjoyed a 6.07% total return. The gains reflect (1) the steady, persistent, non-inflationary economic recovery that has characterized the post-2008 period and (2) investor enthusiasm for President Trump’s pro-business, pro-growth policies.

Global Economic Outlook - April 2017

The world’s major economies have performed quite well in recent months despite the influence of political and policy upheaval. Brexit and the outcome of the U.S. election have yet to produce the negative outcomes some had feared.

Today's GDP Report (and What to Expect in Q2)

As we close out the first quarter of 2017, all I can say is that it’s been a great one, economically and financially. Despite all of the worry and turmoil—in Washington, DC, and elsewhere in the world—markets have risen substantially and the economy has continued to grow.

2017 Global Market Outlook — Q2 Update

Our global team of investment strategists warn that investor expectations have run ahead of market fundamentals in the global equity markets. They maintain a call for caution as inflated expectations for global growth and U.S. fiscal policy drive markets higher, despite looming global economic headwinds.

Q1 2017

Monthly Market Risk Update: February 2017

Just as I do with the economy, I review the market each month for warning signs of trouble in the near future. Although valuations are now high—a noted risk factor in past bear markets—markets can stay expensive (or get much more expensive) for years and years, which doesn’t give us much to go on timing-wise.

Could the Rally in Global Equities Keep Rolling?

Although global equity markets have rallied recently, some investors may feel unsettled about the changes occurring in many parts of the world—and what those changes could mean for their portfolios.

2017 Global Market Outlook

The search for investment portfolio returns is not going to get any easier in 2017 against a backdrop of record U.S. equity prices, narrow credit spreads and low bond yields.

A Contrarian’s View on Inflation Fears

Longer-term bond yields are near their highs for this cycle, while the environment for riskier assets like high-yield bonds, bank loans and stocks remains positive.

Will Markets and Portfolios Emerge Winners or Losers Under the New Administration?

Based on the little substance that emanated from the presidential campaign, it is almost impossible to game the precise market and economic policy implications of a Trump presidency. What there is to guess at suggests possible gains for the financial sector, companies leveraged to infrastructure, and healthcare companies, should there be dramatic reform to the Affordable Care Act.

Outlook 2017—How Markets Work

Certain economic concepts have been a source of frustration to investors over the years. The movement of bond prices up or down to bring existing bonds in line with prevailing interest rates would be one example.

What May Be in Store for Alternatives in 2017?

As we enter 2017, there is a long list of issues that could affect alternative investments: policy changes in the US, elections in Europe, rising rate expectations and more. Given this changing landscape, I would like to highlight some alternative investments that I believe have the potential to benefit investors in the new year.

2017 Forecast: Skeptically Optimistic

As we’ll see, a great deal will happen in the first third of the year that could (and likely will) radically change the course of events in the last two-thirds. Furthermore, the possible outcomes are in the hands of inherently unpredictable individual humans otherwise known as politicians (and not just in the US, thank you very much!) instead of dispassionate market forces. Fancy quantitative models will be of little help.

2017 Outlook

The policy backdrop in the US will be particularly favorable for the economy, with looser fiscal policy, relatively easy monetary policy and a less stringent regulatory environment. Their eight-year US preeminence theme is intact and continues into its ninth year. While President-elect Trump’s initial policy measures with respect to tariffs and trade agreements risk jolting financial markets, he will likely adjust and change course as necessary to achieve his desired results.

Luminous Times: Looking Ahead With Optimism About 2017

In conjunction with the publishing of a summary of Schwab's 2017 outlook across asset classes; this report is a more detailed summary of my 2017 outlook, with a dash of rear-view mirror analysis of the year just ended. Each of the broad topics discussed below will be further unpacked over the next couple of months in individual reports.

Hiccup of the year?

As we always do in January, this month we focus on the investment minefield laid out in front of us and we argue that with upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany, and economic uncertainties globally, this year could turn into a rather tricky one for investors. There are reasons to be optimistic, however, and we hope that 2017 will be a prosperous year for you all.

2017 – Inflation Returns

2017 is all about inflation. As many investors hold onto the notion of “lower for longer”, we recognize that re-inflation will likely take hold in the New Year and those positioned for an improving global economy will benefit.