We see the US economy as maintaining its current path of respectable but not overly robust growth. Underlying fundamentals and economic momentum remain constructive, while we do not foresee an acceleration in growth to a level that would swiftly create inflationary pressures.
The opening months of 2018 have seen volatility return to global financial markets, but we think it is important to stress US economic fundamentals have remained broadly the same. After an unusually long period of calm in many markets, the reappearance of volatility at some point seemed likely, even if the speed of market gyrations has been unsettling for investors.
Worried about rising defaults? There are good reasons not to be. Not only do high defaults not translate into poor high-yield returns, but we don’t expect a slew of defaults in 2018.
The constructive conditions for the US economy remain in place, in our view, in keeping with an increasingly solid expansion across the rest of the world. US consumers have been benefiting from an economy that appears close to full employment and a stock market at record levels, while a vibrant corporate sector has been buoyed further by recent tax changes.
We believe the US economy’s current combination of moderately strong growth and low inflation is likely to see a further slow-but-steady tightening of monetary policy, following the confirmation by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) at its December meeting of a widely expected interest-rate rise.
The economic backdrop has remained supportive, both in the United States and globally, and should allow the US Federal Reserve (Fed) to continue raising interest rates at a measured pace, in our view. Jerome Powell’s nomination as Fed chair points to continuity in monetary policy in the near term...
What’s an investor to do, when faced with a Fed that’s gearing up to raise rates? Many investors over the past year have poured money into bank loans, in hopes of finding a panacea. Unfortunately, the bank loan market is not what it seems.
Recent data have supported our view that the drivers of the US economy’s solid expansion remain in place, and should allow the US Federal Reserve (Fed) to move further toward its goal of normalizing interest rates. Some data releases have clearly been skewed by the recent major hurricanes, but we feel any negative impact on the economy is likely to be transient and outweighed by demand arising from reconstruction.
It’s not normal. When a fixed-income sector beats the S&P 500 over an extended period and by a meaningful amount, investors do a double take.
The issues that have dominated news cycles in recent weeks should not obscure the robust underlying fundamentals of the US economy, in our view. Though some short-term weather-related disruption is possible, the economy seems to be maintaining its path of moderately strong growth, aided by healthy contributions from consumer spending and business investment.