Invesco Canada blog

Insights, commentary and investing expertise

Where do stocks and bonds go from here?

In last week’s blog, members of Invesco’s Global Market Strategy (GMS) team in Hong Kong, Italy, London, Tokyo and New York shared their on-the-ground insights of the fight against coronavirus from a health care, monetary, and fiscal perspective. Today, we take a deeper dive into the potential implications of the pandemic on U.S. stocks and bonds, as well as the GMS team’s view of asset allocation considerations.

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A new dashboard to consider for signs of a new market cycle

Chuck Noland, Tom Hanks’ character in the movie Cast Away, may have perfectly captured the mood we need to bring to these challenging times, when he said, “I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

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The coronavirus “sudden stop” needs credit support

The U.S. economy is currently experiencing a “sudden stop” in growth, as efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus increase. Social distancing will likely have a direct impact on workers and small businesses across the economy. Invesco Fixed Income’s expectations currently are for the U.S. and European economies to contract sharply in the second quarter this year, and this estimate is subject to further revision down if the virus continues its aggressive spread. This very sharp contraction is pressuring all players in the U.S. economy and creating a funding need for corporations, small businesses, and households. It is vitally important that funding needs be met to ensure that the exogenous economic shock the U.S. economy is experiencing does not migrate into a financial crisis, which would likely further pressure economic growth.

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Coronavirus impact and response: A global view

Every morning, my day begins by discussing the latest developments in the coronavirus fight with my team of strategists on-the-ground in Hong Kong, Italy, London, Tokyo, New York and elsewhere. Today, my weekly blog features several members of Invesco’s Global Market Strategy Office, who answer the most pressing questions they’ve been hearing from investors who are concerned about COVID-19 and its impact on the global economy.

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Rocky Balboa offers insights on whether investors should consider buying during the coronavirus outbreak

Rocky Balboa said, “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

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Chaos can create opportunities

Heading into 2020, the global economy was showing signs of stabilizing and risk assets were benefiting from the cyclical rebound in activity.
 
In recent months, however, the coronavirus has delivered a significant external shock to Chinese and global economic activity at a vulnerable stage of the business cycle.
 
Meanwhile, markets are reacting to the contagion and associated loss of output with a dramatic repricing of risk across a wide array of assets.
 
The S&P 500 Index has fallen almost 30% from its all-time high in February,1 culminating in the highest percentage increase in equity volatility of the cycle and in the history of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX).

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Assessing the globe’s three-pronged policy response to coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is spreading in Europe, the U.K., Canada, and the U.S. – and economic activity is grinding to a halt in some sectors as discretionary spending and activity have been sharply reduced in favour of basic needs. Real-time indicators of demand such as restaurant patronage, traffic, and cellphone mobility data are all down dramatically on a year-over-year basis across several major regional and local economies.
 
The market response has been equally sharp. Stocks rose and fell dramatically last week, especially on Thursday when the Dow experienced its largest drop since 1987 and the STOXX® Europe 600 Index experienced its largest drop ever. The bond market experienced dramatic volatility as well, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield falling to as low as 0.4% last week.1 Markets appear to be experiencing a lack of confidence in the policy responses in Europe and the U.S., and that seems to be continuing into this week.
 
One of the questions we have been receiving lately is: What is the appropriate policy response? There’s a lot embedded in that question. In the past, we have written about the importance of a three-pronged policy response to coronavirus: 1) public health policy to contain the virus, 2) monetary measures to ensure financial liquidity and functionality, and 3) fiscal support to contain the real economic damage. Combating the crisis from these three angles remains critical today — here’s how we assess progress in these areas across the globe.

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What could short-term volatility mean for long-term investors?


March 14, 2020
Subject | ETFs | Macro views

Markets are continuing to be highly volatile – and the past two weeks have seen historic gains and losses. While I prefer to evaluate performance over longer periods, it’s understandable that investors are especially interested in the market’s daily fluctuations. Here’s what I’ll be watching in the coming week and months.

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What to make of stocks entering bear-market territory


March 12, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

Investors with a 50-year investment horizon will live through, if history is any guide, 14 bear markets over the course of their investing lives.1 That’s a bear market once every 3.57 years.2 History would also suggest that during those bear markets, investors should expect their equity portfolio to lose, on average, 32% (median 28.8%).3 It’s almost enough to make investors wonder why they put money in equities at all. Yet, stocks, as represented by the S&P 500 Index, returned, on average, 10.5% per year over the past 50 years.4 That’s a doubling of their investments, on average, every 6.9 years, notwithstanding all the bear markets.5

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Could the surge in market volatility signal the end of the current market cycle?


March 10, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

Last Friday, Russia surprised markets by refusing to the production cuts the rest of OPEC+ supported – cuts that were needed to stabilize oil prices in the face of the coronavirus-related hit to global demand. Saudi Arabia responded over the weekend by announcing an actual increase in oil production. This comes on the heels of an announcement by Italy effectively shutting down much of northern Italy.

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stock-ticker

Fed cuts rates in surprise move


March 3, 2020
Subject | Macro views

In a surprise inter-meeting move this morning, the Federal Reserve (Fed) announced a 50 basis point cut in U.S. interest rates to the range of 1% to 1.25%, attributing the cut to the evolving economic risks from the coronavirus.
 
The Fed decided to cut rates on its own, without a coordinated move by other major central banks, after the G-7 conference call earlier today.  The Fed had the most room to move, as U.S. rates were higher than those in the other G-7 countries.
 
The market had been expecting a rate cut at the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting, but the inter-meeting timing of this cut caught the market by surprise.  Immediately following the announcement, fed fund futures rallied, indicating that the market expects to see additional rate cuts, and short-term rates fell faster than long-term rates, steepening the yield curve.
 
The economic impacts of the coronavirus are mostly yet to come in the United States and are highly uncertain.  From that perspective, we view the Fed’s move as a type of “insurance cut.”  Going forward, we expect markets to be driven by growth expectations in the face of the spreading virus.  The Fed move on its own will likely have little impact on the path for economic fundamentals in the near term, and hence the ultimate impact of this move on risk markets is unclear at this stage.

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Coronavirus knocked our 2020 outlook off track. But maybe not for long.


March 3, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

It wasn’t long ago that the ink was drying on our 2020 outlook. In it, we touted the conclusion of the third major policy-driven growth scare (along with 2012’s European debt crisis and 2015’s Federal Reserve [Fed] rate hike) of the elongated business and credit cycle. Stable growth and supportive policy were to be the theme of 2020. The Fed had already overturned the 2018 rate hikes and had successfully eased financial conditions, while the Trump administration had inked a Phase 1 trade deal with China. China, for its part, was working to stimulate its economy. The January reading of the Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, as good of a leading indicator of economic activity as any other, would have traditionally been viewed by us as a resounding affirmation that the growth scare had passed. “Risk on!” we would have rejoiced.

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As markets struggle, where do global economies go from here?


March 2, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

We have seen a rapid and dramatic market correction as a result of the news flow around the COVID-19 outbreak. This appears to be an overreaction, in my view – but I would not be surprised to see the sell-off continue as uncertainty remains high on key issues: ease of transmission, length of time a person can be infected and contagious without showing symptoms, mortality rates, and length of time before the infection rate stabilizes globally.

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Recent data reveal the economic impact of coronavirus


February 24, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

Last week both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes hit all-time highs mid-week before falling significantly at the end of the week on fears about the novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) impacting economic growth. Concerns about the contagion were amplified by the release of U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) flash data for February.1 The Composite PMI dropped to 49.6 – its first time in contraction territory since the 2013 government shutdown. Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.8 from 51.5 in January, with the coronavirus outbreak being blamed. Services PMI was especially hard hit (falling to 49.4 from 53.4) and is now technically in contraction territory.
 
As of today, Feb. 24, we are seeing a global sell-off in equities and a rush to “risk off” asset classes such as gold and U.S. Treasuries. Bond yields have dropped like a lead balloon on coronavirus fears. As of this writing, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield is at its lowest level since 2016, and the 30-year is at its lowest level ever.2 The 10-year/3-month yield curve has inverted, and the 10-year/2-year yield curve is close to inverting. I have found that, historically, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has been a far better gauge of fear than the VIX – and the 10-year is telling us that there are serious concerns that this contagion will impact global growth.

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The market impact of coronavirus has begun to spread


February 18, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

The floodgates are opening. Companies are beginning to warn that the coronavirus outbreak will impact earnings, and stocks have begun to react negatively. Yesterday, Apple announced that the contagion will cause it to miss revenue forecasts for the quarter. The problems are on both the sales and production ends: Most Apple stores in China remain closed, and while Apple factories there have reopened, they are not operating at full capacity but instead are slowly ramping up production. In addition, Tesla and Alibaba have recently provided coronavirus-related earnings warnings. Alibaba has gone so far as to label the coronavirus outbreak a “black swan event.”

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Three key takeaways from the Fed’s Monetary Policy Report


February 10, 2020
Subject | Macro views

In last week’s blog, I noted that what I would be following most closely that week was the release of the Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Report, because it provides insight on what the Fed is thinking. On Friday, the Fed released this semi-annual report in advance of Fed Chair Jay Powell’s Humphrey-Hawkins testimony before Congress on Feb. 11 and 12. As is customary, several special topics were covered in the report. Below, we focus on three key takeaways: U.S. manufacturing, the role of monetary policy rules in times of uncertainty, and the coronavirus epidemic.

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Three issues that could keep global markets reeling


February 3, 2020
Subject | Macro views

Last week was a momentous one for markets, with coronavirus fears gripping markets and creating a risk-off environment. Stocks sold off while yields on government bonds also fell. Over the course of less than two weeks, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury fell from over 1.8% to 1.51%, and the yield on the 10-year German bund dropped from -0.22% to -0.44%.1
 
This week, I see potential for continued market volatility, both to the upside and the downside. Here are three key issues I’m watching:
 

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Assessing the market impact of the Wuhan coronavirus


January 27, 2020
Subject | Coronavirus impact | Macro views

The outbreak of novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, and in pockets around the world has garnered significant public concern, and the global financial market is on edge. We have received numerous questions about the potential impact to investors and how the economic effects of the coronavirus might compare to past outbreaks such as the spread of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003. Below, we seek to answer those questions, given the best information that we have at this time.

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The U.S.-China trade deal presents a paradox for markets


January 21, 2020
Subject | Macro views

Last week, the U.S. and China signed their Phase 1 trade agreement. This trade deal is a paradox – in my view, it is both inconsequential and yet extremely important.
 
It is inconsequential for two reasons: Tariffs will remain in place on a large amount of goods traded between the U.S. and China, and the deal doesn’t tackle many of the most important trade issues between the two countries. However, it is extremely important because of what it symbolizes: This trade deal suggests that friction between the two countries has peaked and is moving lower. The psychological effect is very significant, as it means that economic policy uncertainty has fallen. And, when companies believe economic policy is more certain, they typically spend more, especially on capex.

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