Our updated view remains positive on the global economy and equity markets even as global bond yields rise a bit further. Our SPX target remains near 3000 by year end, with impressive gains elsewhere too.
A broad-based synchronized recovery continues to gain traction. Following the strongest year of global growth since 2010 (estimated at 3%) the consensus forecast for the current year looks to be even rosier.
The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index declined 5.0% in USD terms, as better US economic data prompted worries about inflation and expectations of faster interest rate rises from the Federal Reserve.
In February, US Treasuries (USTs) succumbed to a further sell-off, with yields rising across the curve prompted by better US economic data.
The Japanese equity market fell in February, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) dropping 3.70% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) tumbling 4.41%.
In my view, Japan is the only major country that is going through a structural improvement in corporate governance, and, thus, deserves special attention by global investors.
In our 2018 outlook, we made the case for rising volatility as central banks across the developed world slowly remove the stimulus punch bowl, but few would have imagined volatility spiking with such a vengeance as it did in recent weeks.
Poor economic and fiscal policies are, and will likely be, a recurring theme in Italian politics. However, from a trade perspective, we see Italy to remain a good carry/spread trade for at least the next twelve months against a backdrop of improving GDP growth in 2018 and 2019.