Perspectives Blog

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….

Slack and inflation

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | July 21, 2014

Today’s low unemployment rate indicates modest slack in labor market, which implies earlier Fed rate hikes and/or more inflation risk. The decline in labor force participation in recent years now looks mostly structural. Investors should remain cautious around U.S. interest rate risk despite a solid first half of 2014. Excerpted from Zach Pandl’s newest whitepaper Structural weakness in labor force participation means there is less slack in th…

Dovish feathers showing through

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | April 14, 2014

Dovish comments by Fed officials lead us to believe that normalization in interest rates could take a more circuitous route. While the steady economic recovery makes higher yields inevitable, the path we take to get there is dependent on the Yellen Fed’s policy approach. We remain underweight duration, but are now less sure 3-5yr yields will lead the way over the near-term. Textbooks would have us believe that monetary policy is a hard science…

Missing links and multipliers

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | June 9, 2014

Several forces are colliding now and causing a downshift in the trajectory of the U.S. housing recovery. Household formations remain at multi-year lows due in large part to mediocre income and job gains in combination with high student loan debt by 25 – 45 year old homebuyers. Fewer homeowners mean missing multipliers for growth. As a result, housing will prove less of an accelerator for economic growth in the period ahead. Having witnessed a…

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…

Asset allocation: Q4 equity strategy

Columbia Management Global Asset Allocation Team, | October 27, 2014

After the recent correction and with the breadth of our asset allocation research still favoring equities, we are rebuilding an equity overweight, primarily using U.S. large-cap stocks. While the Fed heads toward the exit, the European Central Bank is planning to provide further monetary easing and the Bank of Japan is continuing to expand its balance sheet. We are neutral on the eurozone, overweight Japan, neutral on overall EM equities favori…

Labor markets in the new digital age

Columbia Management, Investment Team | April 14, 2014

The downside to technological progress is short-term dislocations and job loss for those displaced by automation. Workers with high skills and advanced education command a wage premium while unskilled and lower-skilled workers are displaced which aggravates income inequality. The winners will be those who have skills complementary to the new emerging technologies and those who discern how best to adapt and gain competitive advantage. By Marie…