An unsurprising pause

22 February 2021

In this week’s Pulse, Chief Investment Officer Bernard Swords discusses the pause in equity markets as bond yields grind higher. The larger than expected fiscal stimulus in the US has added to the pressure which is likely to continue in the short-term.

  • The larger stimulus in the US and thoughts of a recovery package after that is giving the fixed income market something to think about. It is an adjustment we knew we had to go through and so far, it is occurring in a manageable way.
  • The earnings recession is over in the US. The S&P 500 is now recording 6% annual earnings growth. Strip out the challenged industries and you get 12% earnings growth. This is a quicker turn around than even we expected at the start of the year. Each unit of economic growth is generating a higher level of profit growth than we are used to.
  • In the meantime the growth outlook is still improving. Management of the pandemic is improving, shortening the timeline for re-opening. The Retail Sales figure in the US was very strong indicating the economy is traveling through the lockdown disruption much better than was feared. It gives a strong base for the rest of the year. We believed we would see further upgrades to global growth and this leaves us more comfortable with that assumption.
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