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#MacroMinute

China and Global Economic Growth Concerns

As of 4/25/2022

Explore our take on the market in less than 60 seconds.

A cautionary tale: Earnings Season

A cautious tone has been set by some of the few banks that have reported. Some banks are building credit reserves, while others are releasing their reserves. The common theme thus far has been that most companies, that have reported, are seeing signs of cooling demand for big ticket items. Yet demand is still high in the service sector as many parts of the world reengages.

Let’s go negative first, M&A activity is declining, a cooling of demand for big ticket items including homes and autos have been hit by higher rates. Not surprisingly some commodities including the price of lumber declined meaningfully in March. Trucking rates have also declined signaling a shift from goods to services.

For the positive, the service sector is benefiting from the road not traveled during the pandemic. Small-caps may be a beneficiary as that segment is heavy services.

The next few weeks may provide much color and information on how companies are navigating tricky and sometimes expensive supply chains, inflation, and how Fed policy will likely impact demand.

The Year of the Fed: Key Expectations for 2022

  1. Updated guidance and sentiments from the Fed about inflation expectations, and the speed and trajectories for tapering and interest rate increases, are likely to dominate sentiment in the equities and fixed income markets.
  2. Inflation is likely to remain elevated until mid-2022 while supply chains normalize. Currently, we are not concerned about stagflation.
  3. The Omicron variant of COVID-19 adds a new wrinkle in the fight to control the virus, and it may dominate market sentiment in the near term. The risk associated with Omicron may help dampen the demand-driven portion of inflation while exacerbating supply chain challenges.
  4. High energy prices challenge the European recovery. We expect more reshoring of strategic components and raw materials critical to the clean and digital transition.
  5. Income investors should be prepared for higher rates and inflation to persist, a scenario that makes lower duration assets and real assets more attractive.
  6. Equity markets will likely be more selective in 2022 with a focus on valuations, fundamentals, and quality.
  7. We expect margins to remain a focus as investors dissect which segments have pricing power. Given the backdrop of rising yields, we currently favor cyclical sectors with above-average purchasing power.

Please refer to our 2022 Outlook for more details on these expectations.

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