We believe the global economy should be quite firm for the next year, but not so strong as to cause inflation concerns.
We have a non-consensus, but completely sound call for a more aggressive Fed, whereas we expect the ECB and BOJ to maintain their current aggressive easing program.
We calculate that equity valuations are at fair levels and that stocks can grow along with earnings.
The MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan returned -2.6% in May, lagging the MSCI AC World by 2.9%, in USD terms.Asian equities underperformed other Emerging Markets (EMs), particularly Brazil and Russia, which rallied sharply.
We expect that profit margins will expand further in coming quarters, driven by a large corporate tax cut and continued industry rationalizations that further prove that Japan's structural profitability trend continues upward.
The MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan returned 7.2% in April after shrugging off initial weakness and outperformed the MSCI AC World by 2.3% in April in USD terms.
We expect that Japanese pension funds will continue to shift their investments into risky assets in 2015.
The importance of President Xi Jinping's strong leadership cannot be stressed enough. Under him China is undergoing dramatic changes. While the most thorough cleansing of state corruption is ongoing, elements of China's grand strategy are becoming more evident both domestically and on the global stage.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan returned -0.3% in March after shrugging off initial weakness and outperformed the MSCI AC World by 1.3% in March in USD terms.
Due to the developments described in this article, there is ample room for growth at Japanese firms and much opportunity for investment success.
In sum, there certainly are some worrisome issues, as always, but we find none of them convincing enough to prevent moderate increases in equity prices.
Coupled with our expectation for global bond yields to rise moderately, we maintain our overweight view on global equities vs. bonds.
The recovery in profits by Japanese export firms should continue to attract the attention of the markets in the first half of 2015.
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan gained 3.71% but underperformed the MSCI World which gained 6.43% in SGD terms. The MSCI World’s strong performance was attributable to the supportive external backdrop with improving economic indicators out of Europe.
Through 2014, one of the largest asset classes in the world was virtually unnoticed as an indicator that Europe is not pushing the global economy into widespread deflation.
Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets outperformed its global peers, registering a return of 3.8% in SGD terms as compared to the MSCI World index which gained only 0.4% in SGD terms, primarily due to the stronger Greater China region and Indian markets which were the best performing markets in January.
Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets did better than other emerging markets, posting a negative return of 2.1% in USD terms as compared to the latter which returned -4.6% in USD terms as it was dragged down by Russia.
Clearly, oil prices have fallen further than nearly everyone anticipated. When our Global Investment Committee met in December, Brent was trading at $66.
Supply-side shocks and market distortions have created a degree of uncertainty over the short to medium-term outlook for the New Zealand dairy industry.
The investment world is changing quickly and 2015 should prove to be a very interesting year, but we see no reason to change our long-held positive view on global equities.