Edison Strategy

Edison’s corporate strategy research is designed to keep senior management aware of recent economic developments and capital market activity through regular written updates, webcasts and face-to-face meetings.

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Alastair George

Alastair George
Strategist


Strategic Insight blogMore

2018 Earnings forecasts: Another Trump bump for energy

While our concerns on valuation remain in place, in the short-term market performance is more closely linked to the trend in forecasts profits. Those looking for a reason to sell equities on this basis are likely to be disappointed. As we approach the half-year point, median earnings growth forecasts for the US remain robust at 18% while eurozone and UK equities are at 8%. For now, our base case remains that the benign derating – equities moving sideways while interest rates and profits increase - will continue.

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26/04/2018
Equity strategy and market outlook - April 2018
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes that with output gaps closed future monetary and wage growth developments offer only headwinds, both for markets and levels of corporate profitability over coming quarters. Uncertainty in respect of US trade policy risks a chilling of corporate optimism, leading to a shortfall in business investment and short-term economic momentum even if the probability of an all-out trade war remains remote. After the modest falls from the market highs recorded in January, global equities remain expensive compared to historical valuation levels, according to our estimates. Record profit margins also face risks from developments in trade policy and tightening labour markets. With Fed policy clearly remaining on a tightening track, we stick with our cautious view on global equity markets.
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*Multiple Sectors

29/03/2018
Equity strategy and market outlook
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes that it is very easy to point the finger at US trade sanctions against China as a reason for the recent declines in equity markets. The prospect of a confrontation in the near term, in respect of access to markets and IP protection, is clearly unhelpful for global equity sentiment. However, the second dynamic at work during Q118 is a rapid rise in US LIBOR. At the same time, the US technology sector has suffered as the furore over the political use of personal data collected via social media risks fines, regulations and a change in consumer preferences, even if the crisis need not be existential for the industry if skilfully handled. We are now seeing a trend of weaker economic data in Europe and unweighted 2018 earnings estimates have continued to fall during Q1, if modestly. The benefits of US tax reform and the tailwind of economic momentum of 2017 are now in the rear view mirror. US and European equity investors will have to contend with a slowing of economic momentum in Europe, high valuations and tightening US monetary policy, in addition to significant headline risk in respect of a “trade war” over the next quarter.
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*Multiple Sectors

22/02/2018
Equity strategy and market outlook
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George highlights that the standout market event during February was the discontinuity in equity market volatility. In his view, renormalisation of monetary policy will over time have a much broader impact on asset prices. In particular, this volatility episode adds to the weight of evidence that market risk premia will also revert back to more normal levels as interest rates rise. There has, however, been no evidence in recent weeks that economic fundamentals are weakening. While recognising the growth dynamic is strong for the moment, he continues to believe equity portfolios should now be tilted towards sectors that have offered a degree of resilience. Bond yields may have risen substantially since he highlighted anomalously low yields in December, but on balance the risks still appear to the upside.
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25/01/2018
Equity strategy and market outlook
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes that the first few weeks of trading in January have highlighted the themes for the remainder of 2018. Strong economic sentiment and earnings upgrades resulting from US tax reform initially pushed equity markets higher. However, the same factors are now pushing the entire yield curve upwards, creating competing demands for investors’ capital. We continue to believe that in the short term, the still-strong growth dynamic will have the upper hand and risk assets will continue to perform. Over the longer term, however, the re-normalisation of monetary policy may bring stretched equity valuations into sharper relief. For government bonds, yields still seem to be too low given current growth prospects, despite the recent increases, and we remain underweight.
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10/01/2018
Equity strategy and market outlook January 2018
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes that 2018 is likely to be a year of two halves for global equity markets. Initially, strong economic momentum and investor sentiment is likely to prevail over the negatives of high valuations and continued monetary tightening. However, the delayed impact of tighter policy in 2017 and further tightening in 2018 appears to be a strong headwind to further equity performance from mid-year. He notes that output gaps in developed markets have now closed, in aggregate, for the first time since 2009. This is a structural change from the slack environment which persisted following the financial crisis of 2008-09 and investors should therefore consider sector allocations carefully. In his view, equity portfolios should now be tilted towards sectors which have offered a degree of resilience and a better risk/reward in the past. Specific growth or event-driven situations should also be favoured over broad market exposure, as developed market price/book valuations as a whole remain unappealing.