Market Outlooks

Quarterly insights from leading investment firms

2021 Q1

Open the Door to Optimism for 2021

Even after the remarkable market performance of 2020, we still see potential for continued growth in 2021.

Forecast 2021: The Stock Market

The 2020s are going to be about rifle shots, not the shotgun approach of index funds.

GMO 7-Year Asset Class Forecast: 4Q 2020

GMO 7-Year Asset Class Forecasts: Value vs. growth is coming off its worst year ever.

The Speculative “V”

The speculative “V” is one of the most interesting and challenging features of the market cycle. For passive investors, it can be a period of exhilaration followed by panic.

Schwab Market Perspective: A Narrow Path Up

U.S. stocks have continued to climb amid optimism about a vaccine-led economic recovery, but it’s a narrow path—buoyant investor sentiment could easily be deflated by bad news. Although global economic growth has struggled, an acceleration in vaccinations in major countries could support stronger growth in the second quarter.

Something of Value

The dichotomy of “value” and “growth” investing has become a sharp stylistic divide. But is it helpful? Howard Marks writes in his latest memo how he views the art and science of value investing, especially in the increasingly efficient and complex world we face today.

A Fragile Recovery in 2021

Although 2020 ended with a flurry of announcements reporting promising results in COVID-19 vaccine trials, there is little reason to expect a robust economic recovery anytime soon. Defeating the virus remains a monumental task, and the wounds inflicted by the pandemic will not heal easily.

The Big Bounce-Back?

Following the 2008 financial crisis, many policymakers failed to focus sufficiently on securing robust, inclusive, and sustainable long-term growth. To avoid repeating this mistake in 2021 as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, governments must act early and decisively in three areas.

Waiting for the Last Dance

Featuring extreme overvaluation, explosive price increases, frenzied issuance, and hysterically speculative investor behavior, I believe this [bull market] event will be recorded as one of the great bubbles of financial history, right along with the South Sea bubble, 1929, and 2000.

2021 Market Outlook: The restart

Our 2021 market outlook theme is “restart”, and with a restart comes optimism and the chance to begin anew. There will be volatility and bumps along the way, but for those that are disciplined and able to look past them, we see more opportunities ahead for upside than downside.


2021 Outlook: Seven Themes for a Post-Vaccine World

Science is winning the battle against the covid-19 coronavirus. The advance in therapies has already contributed to a significant reduction in hospitalisation and fatality rates vis-à-vis the number of cases, while the multiple of approved and soon to be approved vaccines puts the livelihoods of billions of people on track to normalise in 2021.

Gold Nuggets: The Post-Election World and Gold’s 2021 Outlook

Volatility, low rates, and rising risks supported gold’s price and investment demand in 2020, driving it to reach a new all-time high during the year. Despite some moderation on the volatility front post-election, the new year is looking poised to serve up more uncertainty for investors. See how George Milling-Stanley sees the gold market reacting, and what it may mean for gold’s price in 2021.

Outlook 2021: Things Can Only Get Better

As we consider what may happen in 2021, it’s useful to reflect on how we ended 2020—both the good and the bad. For the good, the election is behind us. Vaccines look to be more effective than anyone expected. Jobs and confidence are holding up surprisingly well as the economy adapts. In many ways, things are much better than we thought.

2021 Global Market Outlook: The Old Normal

We anticipate that COVID-19 vaccines and the easing of lockdowns will allow for a return to more normal economic activity by mid-2021.

2020 Q4

K2 Advisors Fourth Quarter Hedge-Fund Strategy Outlook

Given elements of uncertainty tied to COVID-19, geopolitics and policy decisions to come in the United States and across the globe, our K2 Advisors team believes the current environment may favor nimble, shorter-term strategies.

International and Global Markets Commentary & Investment Outlook

We continue to experience an unprecedented market environment. We were able to again outperform in the third quarter, aided by the significant repositioning we had done in portfolios amidst the sell-off in March. However, we are wary of the risks to the market rally, including elevated valuation multiples...

Chief Economist Shares Post-Election, Post-Pandemic Outlook

Many factors feed into the relative strength or weakness of the U.S. economy, but the president traditionally receives the credit or blame. Fiscal policy – taxes and gov­ernment spending – have an important role in economic activity, and confidence can drive consumer spending and business investment decisions.

Tudor’s 10-Rules To Navigate Q4-2020

Whether it is Paul Tudor Jones or any other great investor throughout history, they all had one core philosophy in common; the management of the inherent risk of investing.

2020 Global Market Outlook – Q4 Update: The Old New Cycle

It's a new cycle for the economy, but some asset classes look decidedly late cycle in terms of valuation. What might this mean for markets through the remainder of the year?

2019 Q1

US/China Trade Conflict Creates Factor Opportunities

Low Volatility and Quality offer potential benefits in stressed markets.

Outlook 2019: Back to Slow Growth

As we approach year-end, we find ourselves in an unfamiliar place. Despite mounting worries over the past couple of years about politics and other issues, the market and economy continued to grow. Through the first half of 2018, the markets were moving higher, despite a few breakdowns, and economic growth was accelerating.

Will the Real Market Please Stand Up

The markets have not been kind to investors lately. There were precious few bright spots in the recent quarter, and it seems there was nowhere to hide, except cash. Our instincts, however, tell us that cash is not a long-term solution.

2019 Outlook - Party On or Party Over?

Free from a house view on economies, markets or stocks, J O Hambro CapitalManagement’s (JOHCM) fund managers invariably see the world in different ways. We asked a number of our managers for their thoughts on the outlook for their asset class next year, what they would like to see and the possible surprises that 2019 could bring.

Brandes Quarterly Letter: What a Difference a Year Can Make

Brandes believes increased market volatility and valuation readjustments in the final quarter of 2018 mean a better outlook for a global value investing approach in 2019 and beyond.

Investment Outlook: Turbulence Ahead but Opportunities Remain

Global markets are jittery as we start the new year with the same volatility drivers in place as last year. In our view, it's time for your clients to expect and prepare for periodic bouts of volatility.

Market Outlook 2019: Shifting Signals

Despite any positive economic signals, investors are anxiously eyeing a host of issues that could slow global growth -- and tilt the markets in a new direction. Which issues are most critical to consider going into the new year? And what could be the consequences for the markets, both here and abroad? Read our annual outlook.

2019 Global Market Outlook: The Late-Late Cycle Show

Can markets grind higher in 2019 before the clock runs out on the current cycle? See what our strategists’ views are for the year ahead.

2018 Q2

Global Economic Outlook - April 2018

Northern Trust’s Economic Research team shares its quarterly perspective on the growth prospects and challenges ahead for the U.S., U.K., Eurozone, China, and Japan.

Second Quarter Investment Outlook

While the markets in the first quarter may have been roiled by a former antagonist—volatility—the outlook for the rest of the year looks solid. Global growth is projected to continue, fortified by strong corporate earnings estimates—particularly for US companies, where tax cuts should boost bottom lines.

A Look Back at Q1 2018 and Ahead to Q2

The first quarter of 2018 saw the end of the bull market. Not in stocks necessarily, as the upward trend remains intact, but certainly of the bull market in confidence. January was a strong month, but then the world changed. Markets dropped in early February, only to bounce and then drop again in March. Let’s review why things changed in Q1, plus what we might expect in Q2.

Q2 Market Outlook: Five Things to Watch in April

The first quarter of the year has ended with major developed market indices down slightly and major emerging market indices up slightly. But those numbers belie a very turbulent period in which stocks were whipsawed.

The Beginning of the End? Key Takeaways From PIMCO’s Cyclical Outlook

Stormy weather was abundant in March: spring snowstorms in the Northeast of the U.S., a trade tussle with China that could escalate into a trade war, hawkish personnel changes in the White House, a Powell-led Federal Reserve that expects to overshoot the neutral policy rate, and the worst week for U.S. equities since January 2016.

2018 Global Market Outlook – Q2 Update: Shifting Winds?

Is change in the wind for global investment markets and economies? See what our strategists’ views are for the second quarter of 2018 and beyond.

2018 Q1

What to Watch for in 2018: Housing and Auto Sales

Yesterday, I noted briefly that I would be “keeping an eye” on how long the good times last in the new year. It was one of those offhand comments that, once you think about it, really requires quite a bit more thought and analysis than at first glance.

Bill Gross Investment Outlook: Bonds, Men, It’s About Time

Women have gotten the short stick or metaphorically the short rib ever since Eve, and I’m with Oprah for president and much, much more but hey, guys have got a few positive qualities that need to be mentioned.

Global Fixed Income Markets Look Well-Supported by Macro Factors

Invesco Fixed Income’s macro factor framework provides an understanding of how developments in growth, inflation and financial conditions globally are likely to impact markets.

The Ten Surprises of 2018

Blackstone is pleased to offer the following Market Commentary by Byron Wien which shares his thinking on global economic developments, market insights and other factors that may influence investment opportunities and strategies.

Confusing Brains with a Bull Market

It is hard to think about 1981, my first full year in the investment business. Three-month Treasury bills were paying 18%, longer-term Treasury bonds yielded 15% to maturity and cheap stocks got 20% cheaper. In the summer of 1981, we saw a stock market decline from an already depressed market trading at eight-times after-tax profits down closer to six times.

Q1 Stock Market Outlook: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Slide

I continue to track the similarities between President Kennedy’s stock market and President Trump’s market. To help determine whether those similarities will continue, I describe a market indicator called VCURVE, and then I discuss what the indicator might be telling us about the market’s performance in Q1 2018.

What May Shape 2018? Four Key Market Movers

Despite the near-boundless markets of 2017, there are four key drivers likely to power the year ahead. The Fed, tax reform, geopolitics and a return to volatility – and opportunity – are in line to support our cautious optimism, says Mona Mahajan, US investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors.

2018 Global Economic and Market Outlook

U.S. stock market indices continue to reach new highs and major global economies are growing in sync for the first time in a decade. Corporate earnings have reached record levels, business confidence indicators are climbing while inflation remains in check.

Merk 2018 Outlook

With the stock market and Bitcoin reaching all-time highs, what can possibly go wrong? In offering my thoughts on 2018, I see my role in reminding investors to stress test their portfolios. Is your portfolio built of straw, sticks or brick?

2018 Global Market Outlook: Running with the Bulls

Will the global growth momentum of 2017 carry over into next year? Is there a risk of a pullback in the short term? See what our strategists' views on global investment markets and economies are for the year ahead.

2017 Q4

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.

2017 Q3

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.

2017 Q2

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.

2017 Q1

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.