Living in an Uncertain World
It is an understatement to express that we live in an uncertain world – one not many of us would have imagined just six – seven months ago. There is no need to elaborate on the causes and circumstances that have caused this state of flux; we are all aware of the dramatic chain of events we have experienced this year. Given an ever-changing environment, we want to briefly share our views on investing and what we anticipate happening over the next six months of the year.
We are believers that we will see progress for both the treatment and a vaccine for the Covid 19 virus. We also anticipate we will become more adept and attuned to how we prevent the spread of the virus while better treatments and cures are developed. However, we are also realists in recognizing that the progress we believe will occur will not occur in a simple straight forward manner. We expect there to be disappointments and setbacks; but, in the end we think there will be progress to a return of what we used to call “normal”.
As we continue to improve the outlook for treatment and vaccination for the Covid 19 virus, we expect the economy to reflect that progress. Again, we would emphasize an uneven pattern to the economic improvement; but nonetheless a pattern with a positive slope to it. Significant changes will and have occurred to the economic life of countries, industries, companies and to the individual people who power the economy, Some of the changes will have a positive bent to them and some of the changes will occur on a devastating scale. Governments across the globe are pulling out all stops to mitigate the impact of a commerce shutdown – while that has been very helpful, it is a race to see which will come first; the cessation of government aid or lasting progress on Covid 19 relief. We believe this will be a close race.
We anticipate stocks continuing the run they are on – primarily because the fuel for the run is as rich and abundant as it has ever been. Central Banks around the world are in full stimulation mode. Money supply is plentiful and there is currently no desire to tap on the brakes. Money will seek a home and one of those places has been and will continue to be the stock market. We anticipate the stock market gains to broaden. That means we expect mid and smaller companies to be significant beneficiaries of the broadening stock market gains; particularly as progress on the Covid 19 front comes to fruition. In addition, we like the financial industry – stock market laggards that will benefit as doubts about an economic recovery begin to fade. Again, we want to emphasize that we do not expect stocks to move in a straight upward path with no interruptions; the pathway will most likely have some herky -jerky moves to it; but we expect the slope to be positive.
We expect the Central Banks to continue to push all their levers to the low interest rate setting. We do believe we will see some inflationary forces make an appearance on the economic stage – food and energy costs are moving higher – something we will want to keep an eye on. Should we continue to have trade disruptions, we could see some price increases for various products that are manufactured by those trading partners. Of all the things that go bump in the night, the idea of any kind of inflation is most deeply disregarded.
We started this piece by stating the obvious, that is, we live in an uncertain world. Yet, we have just delivered an optimistic outlook for the next six months. Normally, investing markets have a strong distaste for uncertainty. In this situation, the intervention by Central Banks and governments around the globe to dampen the effects of the pandemic and to juice the economic engines causes us to step in the optimistic direction.
With our caveat that inflation may not be quite as dead as it now seems, we expect interest rates to remain low throughout the rest of the year – and provide another catalyst for stocks to continue their run.
We hope you, your families and loved ones are safe and enjoy good health. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you!