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Global equity markets are likely to continue their up move: Chris Wood

Wood suggests investors maintain a barbell strategy of owning both growth and value stocks in the current market scenario
Global equity markets are likely to continue their march upwards going ahead, as they focus on economies opening up for business from the stringent lockdown imposed due to the rampant spread of Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year, said Christopher Wood, global head (equity strategy) at Jefferies in his weekly note to investors, GREED & fear.

“It is clear that markets are more focused on the reopening narrative than second wave concerns. GREED & fear’s base case remains that the biggest risk to stocks, particularly growth stocks, will come next quarter when investors will be talking V-shaped recovery and there will be a sudden realisation that monetary policy is too easy. But such concerns are premature for now, which is why the equity rally can continue,” Wood said.

Most analysts agree that the road ahead for the markets will depend on how the government and other policymakers – in India and other countries – adopt measures to combat this crisis. Those at Credit Suisse Wealth Management, for instance, expect the developed markets (DM) to fare better in comparison to their emerging market (EM) peers. Global economic growth, they believe, is likely to turn positive sequentially in the third quarter of 2020.

“Job losses in the US may have already peaked and that furlough schemes in Europe have prevented unemployment levels from rising sharply. Additionally, higher unemployment benefits and cash transfers have helped households build substantial cash balances and, therefore, an imminent rebound in consumer spending is very likely in the developed markets,” wrote Jitendra Gohil, head India equity research at Credit Suisse Wealth Management in a June 19 co-authored report with Premal Kamdar, their equity research analyst.

India’s recovery, they believe, will lag DM due to low per-capita income, poor health care facilities and large population. Moreover, the delay in a significant fiscal stimulus has prompted further downward revisions to consensus macroeconomic forecasts.

Investment strategy

Wood suggests investors maintain a barbell strategy of owning both growth and value stocks in the current market scenario. From a geographical standpoint, Wood says the renewed move in cyclicals should also lead to renewed outperformance by Europe and Japan, given the greater cyclical gearing of their benchmark indices.

“Growth stocks have resumed the relative outperformance of late because of the renewed second wave concerns. But when the V-shaped recovery talk hits the market, and the pressure comes on Pivot, it will be the cyclical stocks that outperform again, such as financials, autos, energy and basic materials,” Wood said.

That said, in case of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Wood rules out a stringent lockdown in most parts of the world, and especially in the United States (US) and Europe.

“There is no way America under Donald Trump is going to close the economy again. In the case of the US, this calculation is clearly in large part driven by the proximity of the presidential election. But even in Europe, the base case is that renewed outbreaks will be dealt with at the local district level not by across-the-board closures,” he wrote.


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