Three labour trends keeping a constructive backdrop for markets

In the normal course of events, synchronised growth in activity at the rate we have been seeing across the globe would be accompanied by a clear increase in inflationary pressure that would, as a result, require an increase in interest rates significant enough to hold back risk-asset performance.

That clearly isn’t happening yet. Indeed, the latest inflation levels recorded in key developed economies and the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are either not at central bank target rates/ranges, or are not a significant threat to them.

Trends in labour markets around the globe have led to more female, older, self-employed and part-time workers being drawn into labour markets, which in turn has resulted in wage growth that has been far more muted than expected.

At this point in time, we see no reason why more women, for example, cannot be drawn into, say, the US labour market. We can also see no reason why part-time self-employment shouldn’t continue to grow as a percent of total employment.

The big question then, is whether or not these constructive conditions of good growth with limited inflationary pressure can persist…

Steve Waddington – fund manager. Insight Investment, a BNY Mellon company

In the normal course of events, synchronised growth in activity at the rate we have been seeing across the globe would be accompanied by a clear increase in inflationary pressure that would, as a result, require an increase in interest rates significant enough to hold back risk-asset performance. That clearly isn’t happening yet. Indeed, the latest inflation levels recorded in … read more

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High yield in 2018: Will we see more rising stars than fallen angels?

When global growth strengthens credit dynamics generally improve, especially for those most sensitive to the economic cycle. For high yield investors this creates an important investment theme as established companies get upgraded, causing the spreads of their debt relative to government bonds to tighten, presenting new opportunities.

In 2015 and 2016, companies in the oil and gas, and mining, sectors were affected particularly badly, but this turned around as commodity prices stabilised and then started to rise. Companies that controlled costs and paid down debt have since benefited. If the momentum in the global economy continues into 2018, then this powerful technical dynamic within the high yield market should continue.

Uli Gerhard – portfolio manager. Insight Investment, a BNY Mellon company

When global growth strengthens credit dynamics generally improve, especially for those most sensitive to the economic cycle. For high yield investors this creates an important investment theme as established companies get upgraded, causing the spreads of their debt relative to government bonds to tighten, presenting new opportunities. In 2015 and 2016, companies in the oil and gas, and mining, sectors … read more

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How are European fund selectors allocating to high yield?

Growth in the US and Europe should be sufficiently positive to support earnings momentum this year, keeping defaults in check. However, there remains a risk from increased protectionism, due to President Donald Trump’s policies. Credit fundamentals remain solid, helped by robust economic conditions and decent earnings growth. Despite the significant tightening in yields and credit spreads, the high-yield sector still looks relatively attractive compared to many other asset classes (even in a rising-rate environment). We think the technical picture remains supportive for the European high-yield market. We do not envisage European interest rates moving significantly higher, given continuing political issues, concerns surrounding Greece and ongoing European Central Bank purchases. The US high-yield market, however, could experience some short-term weakness from further interest rate hikes, exchange-traded fund outflows and a weaker oil price.

Uli Gerhard – Insight, a BNY Mellon company

Growth in the US and Europe should be sufficiently positive to support earnings momentum this year, keeping defaults in check. However, there remains a risk from increased protectionism, due to President Donald Trump’s policies. Credit fundamentals remain solid, helped by robust economic conditions and decent earnings growth. Despite the significant tightening in yields and credit spreads, the high-yield sector still … read more

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Why rate hikes in the US won’t kill high yield

While a rate hiking cycle in the US might affect other areas of the fixed income universe, the high yield market basically ignores rate hikes unless they are sharp and steep, which would cause a recession and therefore increased defaults. There is no historic correlation. Meanwhile, investment grade corporate bonds have a greater potential to be affected by duration and have historically been more correlated to interest rates. Another factor to take into consideration is leverage, which has been on a downward trajectory for high yield since the end of 2015. Investment grade firms, in general, have been increasing leverage in order to finance acquisitions or expand in a bid to appease shareholders.

April La Russe, Insight

While a rate hiking cycle in the US might affect other areas of the fixed income universe, the high yield market basically ignores rate hikes unless they are sharp and steep, which would cause a recession and therefore increased defaults. There is no historic correlation. Meanwhile, investment grade corporate bonds have a greater potential to be affected by duration and … read more

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The chart that tells the truth about US growth and its importance

The three largest economic areas in the world are growing: China, the US and Europe. They are growing at different rates but compared with last year when people were really concerned about Chinese growth disintegrating and the lack of growth in Europe the trends are improving.

While the US still contributes the largest amount to global GDP growth, the phrase “when the US sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold” is nowhere near as relevant as it was a few years ago.

The emergence of China and some other emerging economies is significantly more important in terms of global trade and global growth, particularly for investors interested in emerging markets (EM). Elsewhere in EM, India certainly doesn’t have the economic heft or weight of China but it is growing at a rapid rate and other countries are also showing an improved rate of growth compared with the past couple of years.

Colm McDonagh- Insight, a BNY Mellon Company

The three largest economic areas in the world are growing: China, the US and Europe. They are growing at different rates but compared with last year when people were really concerned about Chinese growth disintegrating and the lack of growth in Europe the trends are improving. While the US still contributes the largest amount to global GDP growth, the phrase … read more

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UK elections: then and now

There is a strong consensus in the market, despite recent variations in polling data, that the current Conservative government and policies are very likely to remain in place after the election on 8 June. We believe the market consensus is correct, and so we do not expect a significant market impact as a result of the election – this would probably only occur if there was a shock result.

Shortly after the election, negotiations over the UK’s departure from the European Union will begin, and these could have a significant impact over the longer term. While the market will refocus on these negotiations after the election, we expect there to be little impact for some time – while there will be jostling by politicians over different proposals and potential deals, no firm conclusions are expected early on in the process, and so we expect this to be a slow burn.

Paul Lambert – Insight, a BNY Mellon company

There is a strong consensus in the market, despite recent variations in polling data, that the current Conservative government and policies are very likely to remain in place after the election on 8 June. We believe the market consensus is correct, and so we do not expect a significant market impact as a result of the election – this would … read more

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