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

Earnings momentum remains stable for now

It may be the perfect environment for passive strategies as the lack of catalysts during 2017 has led to a continuation of the low volatility yet highly-valued equity market regime. In particular, it has been a robust year for corporate profitability. 2017 earnings growth forecasts remain pinned around 10%. Even while the medium-term outlook for markets looks challenging on valuation grounds as extraordinary monetary stimulus is unwound, those looking for a significant correction in the short-term should beware as corporate earnings trends remain robust at present.

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27/07/2017
Equity strategy and market outlook - July 2017
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes that good times to invest are when there are a multitude of ways to win and limited downside. At present, however, the bull case for equities seems to be increasingly based on a single ‘Goldilocks’ scenario contingent on the persistence of high equity valuations, easy monetary policy and low volatility. The path for even adequate returns on equities therefore seems rather narrow at present. This absence of upside, rather than any specific downside trigger is, in his view, sufficient reason to run portfolios at below benchmark risk levels.
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29/06/2017
Equity strategy and market outlook June 2017
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes that, judging by the market reaction to ECB President Draghi’s most recent comments, a tipping point may have been reached. Peak monetary accommodation is now in the rear-view mirror and investors are becoming increasingly worried about tightening policy. We believe this adds weight to our cautious view on global equities but investors should also consider that overly pessimistic forecasts for an aggressive quantitative tightening could ultimately prove wide of the mark. There is a distinction between headwinds and hurricanes and we do not believe policy error should be the base case at this stage.
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25/05/2017
Equity strategy and market outlook May 2017
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes that global equity markets are being supported by declining inflation expectations pushing bond yields lower and consensus forecast for profits growth of 10%, which have remained intact throughout this year. While this Goldilocks period for equities may continue, there is a mutual inconsistency in expecting both robust profits growth and ultra-low bond yields to persist in the medium term. Therefore, even if our base case is for markets to gradually drift higher in the short term, we continue to believe equity risk should be selective, focusing on specific catalysts or event-driven situations as the current low-volatility environment is likely to incentivise further M&A activity.
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28/04/2017
Equity strategy and market outlook - April 2017
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George finds that equity valuations are above average across the UK and Europe, and exceptionally high in the US. The combination of high valuations and price momentum accelerating to the upside, but concentrated within a narrow range of digital stocks, is starting to feel like the ‘financial instability’ the US Fed has been keen to avoid. He remains cautious and believes developed market equity valuations appear to price in a sustained period of strong economic growth, which is at odds with expectations in the bond market. However, an overvalued market does not exclude the possibility of attractive stock-specific or event-driven situations – which, in turn, are relevant to the debate that currently favours passive over active management.
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30/03/2017
Equity strategy and market outlook - March 2017
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In this month’s strategy piece, Alastair George believes that it is time to move back to a cautious rather than outright bearish position on global equity markets as both the Fed rate increase this month and the evident difficulties of implementing Trump’s policy agenda were relatively easily absorbed by markets, suggesting a degree of support at current levels in the short term at least. Nevertheless, strong survey data and equity market prices remain at odds with much more modest improvements in hard economic data and earnings forecasts; he therefore remains cautious on equities for the medium term.