Results 701–714 of 714 found.
Sovereign Debt Crisis Drives Volatility Higher
Investors have grown increasingly concerned about the potential for contagion from Europe, fearing credit issues could affect other markets. While European Union rescue plans do not address the underlying fundamental issues facing Greece and other countries, however, immediate liquidity risks should be contained in the short term. On a relative basis, U.S. markets have benefited from the uncertainty, as investors have continued to view the United States as a higher-quality haven for their assets. This makes U.S. stocks more attractive than those of other developed markets.
Positives Should Outweigh Negatives
Given the sharpness of recent trading swings, many investors will continue to approach the markets with caution. Markets remain under pressure as a result of the sovereign debt issues in Europe, policy tightening in China and elsewhere, and uncertainty surrounding pending regulations for the financial services sector. The positive forces of improving economic growth, however, including an absence of inflation, low interest rates and stronger corporate earnings, should continue to move markets higher.
Stocks Sink on Fear of Credit Contagion
Before last week, the rapid ascent in equity prices had been a cause for concern, and as last week's downturn shows, markets remain vulnerable to corrective forces. To date, the problems of the sovereign debt crisis, global policy tightening and regulatory restrictions have been outweighed by the broader improvements in the global economy and rising corporate profits. Given the low returns offered by cash and the still-reasonable valuations for stocks, this trend should continue.
Stocks Jump on Earnings News
Following the stock market lows of March 2009, the bull market that commenced was, at first, driven by government action and increased liquidity. Since that time, stocks have been advancing based on the reality of fundamental improvements in global economic growth and corporate earnings. The key risk to stocks remains the possibility that the economic recovery will become derailed. While deleveraging threats remain and the banking system is still operating in a credit-impaired environment, BlackRock does not expect to see a double-dip recession.
Months-Long Equity Rally Pauses
Stocks have rallied in an almost uninterrupted fashion over the past couple of months, but the tenor of Friday's news adds an element of uncertainty. This backdrop, combined with various signs of excess in the markets, suggests that a period of profit-taking may be coming, perhaps sooner rather than later. In any case, however, the recovering economy, low inflation, strong corporate earnings and reasonable valuation levels should be enough to cause any sort of correction to be short-lived.
Stocks Reach 18-Month Highs
Continued evidence of improvements in the economy and expectations for strong first-quarter earnings helped push stocks up nearly 8 percent for the year, to their highest levels in 18 months. BlackRock expects stocks to continue to grind higher over the course of the year, and for corporate earnings to become the main driver of equity prices. Over the longer term, the most significant investment issue will likely be the cyclical tailwinds of accommodative fiscal and monetary policy and the secular headwinds of massive budget deficits, high levels of debt and continued deleveraging.
Labor Market Turnaround
The March payrolls report likely signaled the start of a long-awaited rebound in the employment picture, which should benefit the broader economy. As fiscal and monetary stimulus begins to fade over the coming months, the economy is going to require some self-sustaining mechanisms to kick in, and growing employment levels would certainly be beneficial. Over the course of the next year, we expect the economy to successfully shift from a recovery to an expansion. Investors should continue overweighting equities and credit-related fixed income assets and underweighting cash and Treasury bonds.
Stocks May Have Gotten Ahead of Themselves
The current environment is one of a broadening global economic recovery marked by improving corporate earnings, low interest rates, increasing business and consumer confidence, and a labor market that should soon turn positive. Markets have turned increasingly bullish on the chances for economic growth. Stocks may have gotten ahead of themselves in the short term, however, as some technical indicators now look stretched. Nevertheless, an ample amount of cash remains on the sidelines and the macro backdrop suggests that the long-term path of least resistance for stocks continues to be up.
The Economy, Interest Rates and Fixed Income Markets: What to Expect in 2010
This commentary features an interview with BlackRock chief investment officer of fixed income Curtis Arledge and Eric Pellicaro, head of global rates investments for BlackRock fundamental fixed income. Arledge and Pellicaro predict that the Federal Reserve will keep the federal funds rate in the 0 to 0.25 percent range until at least the first half of 2011, particularly if economic activity slows down as the year progresses. When the central bank does start raising rates, it will do so gradually, and it will clearly telegraph its intentions in advance of formal rate announcements.
Employment Gains Likely
The jobs-shedding phase appears to have ended, but new jobs are still not being created. Unemployment claims have declined in March, however, and so this scenario may soon reverse. Temporary employment has increased, and many firms have discussed plans for permanent hiring. Factoring in census hiring, payrolls may increase by more than 200,000 this month. Once jobs growth commences in earnest, corporate earnings should also increase and investor uncertainty should diminish, and this should drive the next cyclical bull market in equities.
Market Rebound Continues
Equity markets notched positive returns again last week, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6% to 10,625, the S&P 500 Index advanced 1.0% to 1,150 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.8% to 2,368. Economic growth should continue to improve, which should provide a boost to investor confidence. Additionally, merger and acquisition activity has picked up strongly in recent weeks, as have corporate share buybacks, trends that help promote an equity-friendly environment. On balance, equity markets should endure ongoing periods of volatility, but the cyclical bull market has further to run.
Headlines Fail to Derail Munis
Municipal bonds of all maturities enjoyed positive returns in February, outpacing their U.S. Treasury counterparts. Money market rates remain low, however, encouraging investors to move further out on the municipal curve to capture yield. While state and local governments continue to face fiscal challenges and worries over bond defaults, Moody's released an updated default rate study that continues to point to the relative safety of municipals.
Equities Notch Weekly Gains
Last week was strong for risk assets, and equities in particular, as the broad U.S. averages entered positive territory for the first time since early January. All sectors were positive, with materials up the most at 6 percent. A profits-led recovery seems to be unfolding, which will lead to increases in capital expenditures, and eventually, employment. After six negative weeks, flows in equities have been positive for three weeks running. Accommodative liquidity conditions and a healing economy support a pro-growth investment stance.
Recovery Continues, But Jobs Data Critical
The economic recovery remains intact, but data remains mixed and outlooks are still uncertain. Employment trends remain the most critical economic data, because the labor market is the mechanism that sustains and reinforces growth. At present, corporate earnings and balance sheets are supportive of companies increasing their payrolls. Trading remains uneven, but higher-risk assets still hold long-term upside potential.
Results 701–714 of 714 found.