Displaying items by tag: S&P 500
ESG has been growing hand over fist, but it is still getting a lot of flak in the press. Two major reasons why. Firstly, many feel the sector’s performance is in question, largely because older investors believe there is an intrinsic misalignment between social & environmental goals, and returns. Secondly, many are starting to question whether ESG is really making an impact on society and the environment. Well, we cannot answer the second question, but number one has some new evidence. Morningstar recently ran an analysis of ESG funds, and found that: “25 out of 26 ESG equity index trackers beat funds that were conventionally weighted by market capitalisation, when it came to tracking the most common benchmarks last year”.
FINSUM: Proof of ESG outperformance depends highly on the timeframe being observed and the funds in question (which makes sense). For example, the last 18 months has been great for ESG because of some initial responses to the pandemic. Our view is that a lack of relationship to either out- or underperformance are both a good thing, since ESG is still accomplishing a social benefit and thus is a solid choice in the absence of any negatives to the investor.
Markets are fretting over a variety of concerns: spreading delta variant, Chinese regulator crackdown, and Fed taper. However, Goldman Sachs says these risks are overblown, as delta variant will likely be less worrisome economically and their Fed forecast is dovish. They see a sharp turnaround for cyclical assets such as higher equities and higher bond yields in the short run. Near-term optimism will fuel US and Euro equities and most likely boost Japanese stocks as well. Going so far as to recommend shorting long-term euro bonds, and buying economically sensitive currencies like the Norwegian krone and South Korean won, which will appreciate relative to the dollar. This near-term cyclical rally won’t last long as they expect 2022 to deal from a different deck that won’t be as friendly to investors.
FINSUM: Weaker jobs growth will also delay the Fed’s taper, aiding in the cyclical rally.
While most banks try to stay bullish on market, Bank of America just couldn’t help but get gloomy this week, very gloomy. The bank says that record high prices and placid volatility mean a big correction looms. They believe the market is underpricing the risk of a Fed policy change, and when that comes, it will hit like a hammer. They even gave a name to these bouts of volatility/correction: “fragility shocks”. According to the bank, “We believe the US equity market is underpricing the risks of a looming tapering cycle. After all, the equity market has feasted on record monetary support post-COVID, and the Fed's outlook remains impaired by the extreme uncertainty in the macro forecasts on which they base their decisions”.
FINSUM: This unfortunately makes quite good sense. However, the opposing force here is that the buy-the-dip mentality is strong right now, which could provide support in any short-term sell-off.
UBS just put out a very interesting warning to a large segment of the equity market. As part of their overall market outlook update, UBS explained their view on earnings and the direction of the S&P 500. There are two very notable points they made. Firstly, and most importantly, they reminded investors to stop fretting over valuations. In their words “While valuations are higher than average, we remind investors that valuations have no correlation with market returns over time horizons less than three years … And valuations typically don't contract meaningfully unless investors are concerned about a sharp growth slowdown or a policy error by central banks. And secondly, they think the S&P 500 will rise 11.5% by the end of 2022.
FINSUM: This is a brilliant reminder—equity valuations mean very little and are more a reflection of macro outlook than a concern in their own right.
Usually big Wall Street banks are pretty moderate in their outlooks, and they are mostly bullish in general. Well, Bank of America Merrill Lynch didn’t hold back this week when they said the S&P 500 was at risk of a 16.5% tumble in the near term. The bank said that it expects the S&P 500 to fall 20 to 30 bp for every basis point increase in the ten-year Treasury. The bank thinks yields will rise 55 bp by the end the year, implying an up to 16.5% tumble in stocks. The bank says valuations are overstretched by almost every metric.
FINSUM: The bank did point out three sectors it felt were safer, which are energy, communications services, and health care.