On Air with Altair: 1Q 2020 Market Review Video
Want to hear Altair’s analysis of the markets, but do not have the time to read all of Altair Insight? Watch our video summary of the report and you will be caught up on our market review in 3 minutes.
SEVERE ECONOMIC FALLOUT
The pandemic is a public health tragedy first and foremost. The economic fallout also will be severe – we likely have entered the steepest recession since the 1930s. We don’t believe this event will be as long-lasting or catastrophic as the global financial crisis or the Depression, however. What caused this recession was an intentional freeze – not a broken economy. Some segments of the economy could take years to come back. But we expect the overall recovery to begin in late 2020 and accelerate in 2021 – once the biggest medical threat has passed and economies are widely restarted. Markets are forward-looking and should recover before the economy. We expect a powerful and sustainable rally once a recovery is under way.
STIMULUS: A BRIDGE TO RECOVERY
The speedy and powerful response of government policymakers to this emergency has been a positive development for investors. The trillions of dollars in stimulus funds from the Federal Reserve and Congress will take time to spark a recovery. But the rescue money serves as an important bridge to the time later this year when economic activity can resume at a high level. It should help the economy stay afloat until the number of new cases dwindles and treatments and vaccines are available. The all-in approach by the Fed, in particular, prompted us to upgrade certain positions in client portfolios and increase our recommended allocations to stocks.
STOCKS’ IMPROVED LONG-TERM OUTLOOK
Stocks’ performance for now is tied most closely to medical event outcomes. That leaves the short-term outlook highly uncertain and subject to extreme swings in both directions. Longer-term, we believe more strongly in stocks’ prospects following the spring turmoil. We gauge that attractiveness in years, not necessarily in the months just ahead. All the government stimulus money, coupled with ultra-low interest rates, should be a catalyst. Also, bear markets generally see powerful comebacks after they hit bottom – whenever that may be. Finally, stocks appear to have an extra-large advantage over bonds following the sell-off. The dividend yield of the S&P 500 is now greater than the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield by the biggest margin since the 1950s.
The length and severity of this recession depend on efforts to both contain and prevent a serious recurrence of COVID-19 – as well as on the development of therapeutics and vaccines. We remain optimistic that, while painful, it will prove to be relatively brief by historical standards.
Please read our full market views in this quarter’s commentary.
Past performance is not indicative of future performance, and all investments are subject to the risk of loss. This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer to sell or buy any security. Material contained in this communication should not be construed as accounting, legal, or tax advice. We encourage you to contact us with questions regarding the material shown.