Invesco Canada blog

Insights, commentary and investing expertise

The pressure is growing for the U.S. economy


August 4, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

Last Friday, my oldest child graduated from high school. Late July is not normally associated with graduations, but we are living in a time of COVID, and so what was supposed to occur two months earlier in the New York area was postponed and rescheduled. We were incredibly grateful to our son’s high school for putting on five separate graduation ceremonies in the course of a day to comply with New York State regulations that allow a maximum of 150 people to attend gatherings. Given the need to fit in five ceremonies in one day, the event felt like one part important milestone and one part fast food drive thru — which made it the first high school graduation I ever attended that was efficiently run and ended before you actually started wishing it could end. I was struck by the commencement speaker and his very honest words to the graduates. He told them that he couldn’t imagine having to miss out on the many important senior-year milestones that the class of 2020 missed because of the pandemic. He told them that this year has created a wound that will take years to heal.

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EU passes stimulus package while U.S. lawmakers continue to negotiate


July 27, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

When I was in high school, we read Henry James’ “The Europeans” in our English Literature class. A major theme in the novel is the contrast between Europeans and Americans, with Americans in the “New World” somewhat ironically portrayed as conservative, traditional and more focused on money, while Europeans are portrayed as less traditional, more progressive and more emotional. I have thought about that book a lot in the past week.

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Expectations diverge for economic recovery in the US and China

Last week, we saw increases in both the Chinese and U.S. stock markets. But that’s where the similarities end — there is currently a meaningful difference in market confidence for the prospects for longer-term economic recovery.

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How long can economic data improve while infections continue to spread?

The U.S. jobs report and Purchasing Managers’ Index data both improved in June, but rising infections remain a critical concern. I would not be surprised to see those numbers slip back in the coming months if policymakers become complacent. In my view, more fiscal stimulus is clearly needed as some companies continue to announce layoffs and file for bankruptcies while others are voluntarily re-closing stores.

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Mid-year outlook: A slow, uneven economic recovery in the second half

The first half of 2020 has been unexpected, to say the very least. Our outlook for the year quickly became obsolete with the rapid spread of COVID-19 and accompanying lockdowns across the globe, which have stymied economic activity and caused an unprecedented destruction of demand.

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Economic data shows improvement, but infection rates prove difficult to control

Two weeks ago, I wrote about some burgeoning “green shoots” that offered early, encouraging signs of economic recovery around the world. I’m pleased to see that more green shoots are sprouting – we continue to receive positive economic news as developed world economies progress in their re-openings. However, I’m also keeping an eye on some negative signs that could cause disruption.

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Near-term pullback, long-term uptrend

On March 13, 2020, we began talking1 and writing2 about a series of tactical market bottom indicators3 that showed signs of extreme risk-off positioning, which were positive from a contrarian perspective. One of those indicators was the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) equity put/call ratio. Little did we know it at the time, but ten days later, the S&P 500 Index would put in what now appears to be a major low for the cycle.

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Burgeoning ‘green shoots’ bring hope for an economic recovery

The last time I used the term “green shoots” was the late spring and summer of 2009. Like everybody else, I was looking for signs of economic life after the global financial crisis and searching for indications that the U.S. and other developed countries were rising out of the economic ashes like a phoenix. And now, 11 years later, I find myself again looking for – and finding – encouraging signs of recovery in the U.S. and other major developed countries. In this week’s blog, I focus on some of the green shoots that I’ve seen in the last several weeks.

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Answering your questions on jobs, debt

I recently participated in a webinar for advisors and investors, Financial markets: Historical perspective and roadmap to recovery, followed by a brief Q&A session (you can watch a replay here). I’d like to take this opportunity to answer some of the questions we received but didn’t have time to address.

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Nations pledge trillions in fiscal stimulus to boost their economies

Last week I wrote about the need for more fiscal stimulus in order to counteract the negative economic impact of the pandemic. Since the start of this crisis, I have worried that countries would follow the same playbook that was used in the face of the Global Financial Crisis – in general, a large level of monetary stimulus with a far smaller level of fiscal stimulus. I’m happy to report that the European Union (EU), Japan, and China all announced more fiscal stimulus in the past several weeks.

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A case study in lowering unemployment: The Work Projects Administration

Unemployment rates for many countries are sky high and likely to remain high for some time. In response to the pandemic, many developed countries’ central banks have showered accommodative monetary policy on their respective economies. However, if history is a guide, that is unlikely to have a major impact on lowering unemployment. Instead, fiscal policy can be more impactful on unemployment because it is more direct. As governments around the world debate the next steps of their policy response, this is perhaps a valuable time to examine a case study in reducing unemployment through fiscal spending.

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Fed to purchase corporate bonds through ETFs

On March 23, the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) announced its intent to acquire investment grade corporate bonds. The purpose of the communication was to support a market in which sharp price declines were threatening to disrupt the normal functioning of primary (new issue) and secondary market activities. On April 9, the Fed announced an expanded definition of bonds eligible for purchase to include those with investment grade ratings as of March 23, even if they had since been downgraded to high yield, as long as they remain in the BB category.

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5 things to know about Chinese and emerging market stocks

As the world remains in the grip of the coronavirus, we’ve received many questions about the outlook for Chinese and emerging market (EM) stocks – as China was ground zero for the pandemic. First and foremost, we’re asked what the challenges and opportunities are for that country and region?

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Need some good news? Markets, economy do offer some

John Krasinksi of The Office and Jack Ryan fame recently initiated a web series entitled “Some Good News.” It’s a news program devoted entirely to good news. I wish I had thought of that. Since I didn’t, I’m left to borrow the concept. This blog, and subsequent ones in this series, will be devoted entirely to producing lists of good (or less bad) news. After all, as Dwight Schrute says in the episode of “The Office” in which Jim Halpert mockingly takes on Dwight’s persona, “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. So, I thank you.”

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Portfolio managers examine the impact of COVID-19

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, so do unemployment rates. And so the world continues to look for balance between implementing public health measures, offering fiscal and monetary stimulus, and opening up economies.

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Tactical Asset Allocation Views – May 2020

Our macro regime framework continues to signal that the global economy and all its major regions and countries are in a contraction regime. As widely expected, the economic data are beginning to reflect the disruption caused by quarantines and lockdowns, resulting in a significant deterioration in our leading economic indicators, which we expect to continue for some time. While global market sentiment has stabilized over the past month, it remains in a downward trend, suggesting markets are still expecting downward revisions to global growth expectations. As previously discussed, we believe this macro environment warrants a defensive portfolio posture. We have not made major changes to our asset allocation and continue to favour an overweight exposure in investment grade credit and defensive equity factors.

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Seeking value in emerging markets: China

Our team joined a webinar with over 800 participants, a significant turnout that was not unexpected given the current market environment.
 
As a follow-up to the call, we’ve received numerous questions from participants, with the vast majority pertaining to China. There was also some interest in India, Mexico and Brazil, which we will address in an upcoming blog post.
 
Growing investor interest in emerging markets has been driven by China successfully flattening the COVID-19 transmission curve and being one of the first countries to see signs of a recovery.
 
Conversely, many other countries are still struggling to control the virus, with their economies continuing to deteriorate. These developments make emerging markets potentially more intriguing to investors.

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