MIDYEAR OUTLOOK 2020
The Trail To Recovery
At the midpoint of 2020, we’re mindful that it’s been an extremely challenging year so far in the United States and around the globe. We’re in the midst of a pandemic that continues to impact all of us, our communities, and our economies.
Together we’re looking ahead for new ways to face these challenges and how we can prepare now for better times. We’ve been impressed by what we’ve seen so far: The resiliency and accelerated innovation among large and small US businesses; efforts by our national, state, and local governments to support our communities; and most of all, the dedication and unprecedented cooperation among our front-line health professionals, medical researchers, and everyday people to guide us through this health crisis.
At LPL Research, we know the stock market is forward-looking: It focuses on what’s happening today and what it sees on the road ahead. Much of the real-time economic data we follow — such as transportation activity, home sales, and jobless claims — is showing tangible evidence that economic activity — while still depressed — has begun to make a comeback. Stocks already are pricing in a steady economic recovery beyond 2020 that may be supported if we receive breakthrough treatments to end the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the optimism reflected in stocks also may limit their upside potential over the rest of the year.
It’s still going to be a challenging environment with significant uncertainty that may lead to more volatility for the next few months. Still, we continue to encourage investors to focus on the fundamental drivers of investment returns and their long-term financial goals. LPL Research’s Midyear Outlook 2020 provides our updated views of the pillars for investing—the economy, bonds, and stocks.
As the headlines change daily, look to these pillars, or trail markers, and the Midyear Outlook 2020 to help provide perspective on facing these challenges now and preparing to move forward together. Also, read our special “Election 2020” section to find out how the economy has predicted the winning president every year going back to 1924.
The opinions, statements and forecasts presented herein are general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It does not take into account the specific investment objectives, tax and financial condition, or particular needs of any specific person. There is no assurance that the strategies or techniques discussed are suitable for all investors or will be successful. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, please consult your financial professional prior to investing.
Any forward-looking statements including the economic forecasts herein may not develop as predicted and are subject to change based on future market and other conditions. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly.
Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and does not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.
All index data from FactSet.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
GENERAL RISK DISCLOSURES:
Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt or securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical risk, and risk associated with varying
accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis. It includes all of private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports that occur within a defined territory.
The PE ratio (price-to-earnings ratio) is a measure of the price paid for a share relative to the annual net income or profit earned by the firm per share. It is a financial ratio used for valuation: a higher PE ratio means that investors are paying more for each unit of net income, so the stock is more expensive compared to one with lower PE ratio.
Earnings per share (EPS) is the portion of a company’s profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock. EPS serves as an indicator of a company’s profitability.
Earnings per share is generally considered to be the single most important variable in determining a share’s price. It is also a major component used to calculate the price-to-earnings
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.
Investing in stock includes numerous specific risks including the fluctuation of dividend, loss of principal and potential illiquidity of the investment in a falling market. Because of their narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Value investments can perform differently from the market as a whole. They can remain undervalued by the market for long periods of time. The prices of small and mid-cap stocks are generally more volatile than large cap stocks.
Cyclical stocks typically relate to equity securities of companies whose price is affected by ups and downs in the overall economy and that sell discretionary items that consumers may buy more of during an economic expansion but cut back on during a recession. Counter-cyclical stocks tend to move in the opposite direction from the overall economy and with consumer staples which people continue to demand even during a downturn.
A growth stock is a share in a company that is anticipated to grow at a rate significantly above the average for the market due to capital appreciation. A value stock is anticipated to grow above the average for the market due to trading at a lower price relative to its fundamentals, such as dividends, earnings, or sales.
Large cap stocks are issued by corporations with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more, and small cap stocks are issued by corporations with a market capitalization between $250 million and $2 billion.
FIXED INCOME RISKS:
Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Bond yields are subject to change. Certain call or special redemption features may exist which could impact yield. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the US government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate, and credit risk, as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer, coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features. Mortgage-backed securities are subject to credit, default, prepayment, extension, market and interest rate risk.
FIXED INCOME DEFINITIONS:
Credit quality is one of the principal criteria for judging the investment quality of a bond or bond mutual fund. As the term implies, credit quality informs investors of a bond or bond portfolio’s credit worthiness, or risk of default. Credit ratings are published rankings based on detailed financial analyses by a credit bureau specifically as it relates to the bond issue’s ability to meet debt obligations. The highest rating is AAA, and the lowest is D. Securities with credit ratings of BBB and above are considered investment grade. The credit spread is the yield on corporate bonds less the yield on comparable maturity Treasury debt. This is a market-based estimate of the amount of fear in the bond market. BBB-rated bonds are the lowest quality bonds that are considered investment-grade, rather than high-yield. They best reflect the stresses across the quality spectrum.
The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate US Bond Index represents securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar denominated. The index covers the US investment-grade fixed rate bond market, with index components for government and corporate securities, mortgage pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities.
International debt securities involve special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
High yield/junk bonds (grade BB or below) are not investment grade securities, and are subject to higher interest rate, credit, and liquidity risks than those graded BBB and above. They generally should be part of a diversified portfolio for sophisticated investors.
Municipal bonds are subject to availability and change in price. They are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Municipal bonds are federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. If sold
prior to maturity, capital gains tax could apply.