By David Bailin
Chief Investment Officer
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With vaccine distribution ramping up, we expect a sharp acceleration in “socially close” services and broadening global economic growth during 2021. Investors should position portfolios accordingly.
A few months ago, we wrote that the “trifecta” for the beginning of a New Economic Cycle would include a conclusive US election, the arrival of viable vaccines globally and additional fiscal stimulus in the US and abroad. We also noted that a healthcare solution to COVID had the greatest potential to restore economic activity to its full potential, making further macro stimulus less necessary. All of these events are “in the books”. As a result, we expect a sharp acceleration in “socially close” services (everything from travel to retail) and a broadening of global economic growth over the course of this year. This will mark the full start of the New Economic Cycle as we discussed in Outlook 2021.
The global economy will recover more quickly and robustly from the COVID recession than from a more typical, severe downturn. The virus was an exogenous shock whose impacts were spread unevenly. Parts of the global economy were largely spared Covid’s effects and some benefited mightily. Governments are providing the necessary fuel to support a broad recovery. In response, global employment and spending will rebound faster than in a “normal” downturn as a result. As markets have begun to reflect this outlook, investors should be especially mindful of these observations:
We would remind readers of our best 2020 observation regarding Covid Cyclicals and Covid Defensives. Covid changed the price of every security on its way in and the price of every security will be similarly altered by Covid’s departure. Though we have seen initial, strong out-performance of the “Leave Your Home” shares, the rebound of these shares relative to the “Stay at Home” basket remains only one-third complete.
Markets anticipate events and so must wise investors. Yet, the ability of investors to believe in the future scenario we have developed takes time. At the margin, investors have to see results; millions of people being vaccinated, the reopening of sports stadiums filled with fans and the smiling faces of grandchildren hugging their grand-parents sans masks. But, to profit optimally, investors should act well before the full impact of the trifecta’s impact is experienced.Read the CIO Strategy Bulletin