Perspectives Blog

Half-time report on the U.S. consumer

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 28, 2014

…at have just tipped more optimistic about both present situation and outlook. One metric that has yet to lift is consumption, which has frustrated expectations for an acceleration in consumer spending. Indeed, personal consumption expenditures have been rising at a steady but numbing (inflation adjusted) rate of about 2% annually during the entire recovery. Past recoveries have witnessed real spending gains of about 4%, excepting the recovery ear…

The role of income inequality

March 3, 2014

…largely fell under the radar in the last three decades, however, as spending inequality was less pronounced and consumption trends were less affected. This dichotomy is largely explained by the powerful expansion in the supply of and access to credit for households across the income spectrum that allowed them to smooth their consumption via increased borrowing, in combination with a steady decline in savings rates over those same years. As a res…

India’s new government fires investor enthusiasm

Natasha Ebtehadj, Fund Manager, Threadneedle International Limited | September 8, 2014

…mprove as economic activity accelerates and the new government puts incentives in place to encourage lending. 2. Consumption recovery: We are also targeting companies that should benefit from a recovery in consumer spending, particularly in urban areas where high inflation and a weak economy have dampened real wage growth. The penetration rate of vehicles is low in India, even relative to other Asian countries at 20 per 1,000 people. As consumpti…

What to make of the rebound in emerging market equities

Dara White, Senior Portfolio Manager | April 14, 2014

Despite continuing headlines of concern, EM markets have rebounded recently. In order to sustain that rally, we need to see progress on export volumes and political/economic reforms. While not universally cheap, EM equity valuations are not unreasonable and we continue to find bottom-up opportunities. A month ago, much of the news from the emerging markets (EM) was negative. We saw headlines highlighting the liquidity headwinds created by U.S….

The U.S. labor market — Show me the money

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | November 17, 2014

It is unclear if recent improvements in U.S. labor market data are due to less slack or government-related measures to support worker income and benefits. Occupations with some scarcity of qualified labor have seen some wage pressures, but the gains are likely due to one-time minimum wage hikes. A more spirited pickup in overall wage growth is the key to a more sustained pickup in consumption and economic growth. The U.S. labor market data has…

Lifting the U.S. oil export ban – Who wins?

Jonathan Mogil, Portfolio Manager and Senior Analyst | March 24, 2014

…producing 8.4 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil, and importing 4.1mbpd, representing one-third of its total consumption. Over the next three decades, oil imports more than doubled, and by 2008, during the throes of the Great Recession, the U.S. was importing 66% of its total oil consumption. Since 2008, U.S. oil volumes have grown faster than anywhere else in the world as a result of the U.S. shale revolution. Oil production averaged 7.5mbpd…

Emerging market equities — Still a world of opportunity

Georgina Hellyer, Fund Manager | December 1, 2014

Despite a disappointing last five years, the structural growth drivers that have long made emerging markets an attractive area in which to invest are as compelling as ever. While emerging markets may be a single asset class, they are anything but homogenous. This provides opportunity for active investors to seek out higher returns. There are an increasing number of world-class companies to choose from, with capable management, healthy balance s…