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Monday 02 May 2022
Global Investment Views, Equity, Fixed income
May 2022 | We are witnessing significant divergences in the economic outlooks and in market performances. From an investment standpoint, while investors should maintain a neutral risk stance, there is room to play these divergences across the different asset classes. While short-term inflation may start to decelerate, the long-term view is increasingly showing that sticky inflation remains high in light of geopolitical risks and the supply chain stress amid Shanghai’s lockdown. The US economy remains solid while the Eurozone is the most exposed to stagflationary risk. We will most likely see at least a short-lived recession in the second half of 2022, triggered by Germany and Italy, while France and Spain might show some resilience.
01 | Amundi Institute Insights: There is an ongoing global repricing of risk under way, signalling a potential inflection point for risky assets. The repricing point in equities should see a tilt toward value and quality, pointing to an outperformance in these sectors.
02 | Fixed Income: Financial conditions have not tightened significantly so far, but they might if central banks are aggressive enough to curb inflation. A watchful, bottom-up stance on credit is should prepare investors for future discrimination.
03 | Equity: Pricing power, business model resilience and balance sheet strength is key. Pricing power can arise from brands, intellectual property and other forms of product differentiation. The risk remains around valuations and, in this respect, a relative value approach is key.
Unless otherwise stated, all information contained in this document is from Amundi Asset Management US (Amundi US) and is as of May 02, 2022. Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss. The views expressed regarding market and economic trends are those of the author and not necessarily Amundi US and are subject to change at any time based on market and other conditions, and there can be no assurance that countries, markets or sectors will perform as expected. These views should not be relied upon as investment advice, a security recommendation, or as an indication of trading for any Amundi product. This material does not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security, fund units or services. Investment involves risks, including market, political, liquidity and currency risks. Past performance is not a guarantee or indicative of future results. Amundi Asset Management US is the US business of the Amundi Asset Management group of companies.
The dichotomy between loose financial conditions and tight lending standards for the real economy is striking. Markets remain priced for perfection, despite high uncertainty and divergences on the economic front. Regarding the US, we see deteriorating quarterly dynamics for the second part of the year. For the eurozone, we upgraded our gross domestic product projections for 2023 but our growth expectations remain flat. Inflation is declining slowly, but markets see it falling rapidly. With regard to central banks, we see that the US Federal Reserve is close to the end of tightening, but the European Central Bank is still hawkish. Finally, appetite for emerging markets is returning, but regarding developed markets, caution prevails. Against this fragmented backdrop, we think investors should remain cautious and recognize that uncertainty is high.
Markets are shifting focus away from inflation towards growth, with a slightly less disruptive economic picture for Europe and a more optimistic view on China. Intra-market rotations also materialized, with cyclical stocks favored over defensive names in Europe and tech stocks in the US supported by expectations of a less aggressive US Federal Reserve. Going forward, four themes should be crucial: (1) inflation/growth balance; (2) central bank actions; (3) dollar weakening; and (4) the corporate earnings trajectory. Any negative growth and earnings surprise could drive markets lower while there are no short-term triggers for upside at current valuation levels.
For markets, this economic backdrop calls for a confirmation of a correction regime at the end of 2022 and in H1 2023, with inflation slowing, but still above normal levels. The correction phase will likely be driven by the profit recession, which we expect to materialize in H1. We believe a more cautious stance in equities would be prudent. For government bonds, slowing economic growth and hints about the change in the size of rate hikes may call for an active duration stance.
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