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2023: The year of disinflation for the US economy

In the coming year, US Macro Strategist Juhi Dhawan expects to see inflation begin to decline, the economy adjust to higher interest rates, and labor markets feel the pain of restrictive Fed policy.

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Article
2023-12-31
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

Setting ROAs for 2023: A guide for US corporate and public plans

How are pension plans adjusting their ROA assumptions? How do those assumptions line up with our long-term capital market assumptions? Find out in this annual update.

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Whitepaper
2023-11-30
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

Markets take US election results in stride (for now, anyway)

Client Portfolio Manager Jitu Naidu weighs in on the markets' response to, and other potential implications of, the recently held US midterm elections.

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Quick Take
2023-01-31
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

November FOMC meeting: How slow can the Fed go?

Investment Specialist Caroline Casavant shares her takeaways from the November FOMC meeting, including thoughts on the likely pace of further Fed interest-rate hikes.

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Quick Take
2023-01-31
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

Can agency MBS bounce back from dismal performance?

Fixed Income Portfolio Manager Brian Conroy and two colleagues weigh in on the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market in the wake of a very challenging month.

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Quick Take
2023-01-31
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.

Wind at their backs: What the IRA means for clean energy industries

Members of our energy and utilities teams break down the range of impacts of the US Inflation Reduction Act on companies in their sectors.

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Article
2023-09-30
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
Return-seeking portfolio construction: Renovations for a new market regime
Amid major shifts in economic and market conditions, members of our LDI Team offer their latest views on return-seeking assets, including the role of defensive and diversifying strategies.
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Article
2023-09-30
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Archived pieces remain available on the site. Please consider the publish date while reading these older pieces.
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Bank loans: Can issuers overcome higher interest expenses?
The short answer, according to Fixed Income Portfolio Managers Jeff Heuer and David Marshak, is that many can. And, they believe bank loans can outperform many other fixed-income sectors over the next 12 months.
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2023-01-31
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The Fed wants to crush inflation, but at what cost?
Following a higher-than-expected inflation print and the Fed's latest rate hike, Global Investment Strategist Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson considers potential implications for fixed income and equities.
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2022-12-31
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Drug pricing reform: A bitter pill for biopharma?
Global Industry Analyst Wen Shi considers the implications of drug price reform for biotech companies — modest in the near term, but likely negative longer term.
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Quick Take
2023-01-31
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The Fed’s “lean, leave, then clean” strategy
US inflation could prove "stickier" than many observers think. How might that influence Fed policy into 2023? Fixed Income Portfolio Manager Jeremy Forster opines.
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2022-12-31
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Time to rethink your return-seeking allocation?
Multi-Asset Strategist Amy Trainor explains why corporate defined benefit plans may want to consider structural allocations to defensive equities and diversifiers.
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2023-09-30
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Cash-balance and traditional liabilities: An integrated investment approach
For corporate defined benefit plans juggling both cash-balance and traditional liabilities, Multi-Asset Strategist Amy Trainor makes a case for a more targeted investment approach.
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2023-09-30
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The Inflation Reduction Act: A big deal for the US economy
US Macro Strategist Juhi Dhawan considers the economic implications of the climate- and energy-related spending provisions in the IRA, including the potential for higher productivity.
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2023-09-30
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What does an equity market bottom look like?
Applying a historical analysis to today's market, Multi-Asset Portfolio Manager Nick Petrucelli believes US equities have not yet found a near-term bottom.
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2022-11-30
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No more Mr. Nice Guy? Fed Chair Powell talks tough on inflation

Fixed Income Portfolio Manager Brij Khurana offers his latest thoughts on Fed policy following the central bank's recent Jackson Hole meeting.

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2023-09-30
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US/China relations: What next after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?
Geopolitical Strategist Thomas Mucha assesses the escalating tension in US/China relations following US Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
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Quick Take
2022-11-30
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Why collective investment trusts are gaining traction within DC plans
Growing interest in CITs within the DC space is being driven by lower fees and other benefits — a trend our DC team expects to continue.
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Article
2023-08-31
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Investment takeaways from the latest inflation data
With 2022's structural inflation story still very much intact, now may be a particularly opportune time for investors to add real-asset and inflation-sensitive exposures to their portfolios.
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Quick Take
2022-11-30
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Cash-balance liabilities: A new investment framework
A cash-balance plan is very different from a traditional pension, and the differences can have a major impact on interest-rate sensitivity. With this in mind, we propose a focus on capital preservation, consistent income, and liquidity.
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Article
2023-08-31
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Reckoning with recession risk: Why this one may be “pricey”
Client Portfolio Manager Jitu Naidu shares his latest take on the looming risk of a global economic recession and related issues.
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2022-11-30
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Will the Fed send the US economy into a recession?
Multi-Asset Strategist Adam Berger and US Macro Strategist Juhi Dhawan consider the broad impact of Fed rate hikes and how asset allocators should respond.
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Article
2023-07-31
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Fed rate hikes: A tailwind for bonds?
Global Investment Strategist Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson believes higher-quality, longer-duration bonds may prove resilient even if the Fed keeps raising short-term rates into 2023.
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2022-10-31
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July Fed meeting: Rising inflation vs falling growth
After another rate hike, the Fed must balance moderating growth with mounting inflation. Caroline Casavant opines on how the central bank might navigate this dilemma.
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2022-10-31
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US housing: Are the headwinds stronger than the tailwinds?
In the second of a two-part series, Fixed Income Credit Analyst Daniel Kim looks at the downside risks facing the US housing market and concludes that positive structural trends around supply, affordability, and home prices should continue to support the sector.
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2022-10-31
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US inflation: Supply chains to the rescue?
Macro Strategist Juhi Dhawan shares her inflation outlook, including the prospects for supply-chain normalization, and her views on the market implications.
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2023-07-31
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Credit investing against a slower-growth, higher-inflation backdrop
The significant flattening of the US Treasury yield curve in recent months has some prognosticators calling for an impending US recession. Not so fast, says Fixed Income Portfolio Manager Rob Burn.
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2022-07-31
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US housing: There’s no place like home
While US housing activity is slowing, positive fundamentals and favorable supply/demand dynamics may continue to support the sector.
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2022-10-31
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Loans from Federal Home Loan Banks: An opportunity for US insurers to enhance investment yield and total return
Learn why our Financial Reserves Management Group believes FHLB loans provide compelling potential for insurers to add alpha or increase yield by borrowing at low rates and benefitting from possible favorable treatment by ratings agencies.
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Whitepaper
2023-07-01
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Intermediate credit: A compelling LDI opportunity?
While it has been a painful start to the year for credit investors, Portfolio Manager Connor Fitzgerald sees a structural case for intermediate credit and a potential near-term window of opportunity.
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Article
2023-06-30
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Is it too soon to call a “top” in US interest rates?
Are we nearing the top of the 10-year treasury rate?
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Quick Take
2023-05-31
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When will US federal deficits matter?
Now that the Federal Reserve has moved into tightening mode, it’s worth asking when the US deficits and overall debt could become a source of worry. As long as interest rates stay reasonably low without driving persistently high inflation, I believe deficits and the debt won’t matter too much to the economy or markets. The debt won’t be painful to finance and can continue to grow — within reason. In fact, if economic growth is higher than the interest rate on government borrowing, it’s possible for debt to GDP to shrink even amid sizeable deficits.
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2022-07-31
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Nearing the finish line: Ideas on end-state investing for corporate DB plans
As corporate plans approach their fully funded “end state,” new goals will need to be set. Members of our LDI team share their research on this transition and the required realignment of asset allocation strategies, including changes in return-seeking and liability-hedging portfolios and key liquidity considerations.
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Article
2023-04-30
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Global credit: Where do we go from here?
Fixed Income Portfolio Manager Mahmoud El-Shaer explores why 2022 may be a momentous year for global credit and sets out a framework to think through potential investment implications. 2022 promises to be another challenging year for central banks as they attempt to normalise policies in the face of surging inflation, while navigating the growing fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since 2009, there has essentially been one trade in capital markets: riding a huge wave of central bank liquidity in support of the financial system and the economy, with the G4 central banks alone pumping approximately US$20 trillion into the system via quantitative easing (QE).
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2022-07-31
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Can the Fed engineer a soft landing?
As widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) yesterday raised its target federal funds rate...
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A US insurer’s roadmap for navigating the new RBC regs
With the NAIC’s latest revisions to risk-based capital (RBC) charges now on the books, what should US insurers be focused on moving forward? And how have the relative value propositions across fixed income assets and other investments changed as a result? Multi-Asset Insurance Strategist Tim Antonelli and Investment Specialist Geoff Austein-Miller share their views and insights.
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2023-03-31
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Ten more “what if” scenarios for 2022
In his latest Top of Mind session, Multi-Asset Strategist Adam Berger addressed a wide range of what-if scenarios on the minds of our clients. See what he has to say on Russia, China, cryptocurrencies, the IPO market, and many other topics in this brief article.
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Article
2023-02-28
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DC plans: Three timely themes that probably aren’t going away anytime soon
Our DC plan specialists highlight three big-picture investment themes that are not only top of mind for many plan participants in today’s environment, but are also likely to have staying power in the months ahead.
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2023-03-31
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Preserving funded-ratio stability in volatile markets
Faced with extreme market volatility in the early months of 2022, what can corporate DB plan sponsors do to potentially provide stability in their portfolios while still pursuing longer-term funding aspirations? Multi-Asset Strategist Amy Trainor offers thoughts on rerisking, hedge ratios, and liability-hedging and return-seeking allocations.
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2023-03-31
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How might equity sectors fare when Fed tightening begins?
We look back at how US equities have performed in the months following the beginning of a tightening cycle, as well as how bond yields have tended to behave.
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2022-05-31
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For markets, it’s complicated
As markets grapple with the war in Ukraine, inflation worries, and a host of other issues, Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson and Daniel Cook offer their thoughts on the investment implications for equities, commodities, and fixed income.
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2022-10-31
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An inside look at today’s municipal market
After a year in which municipal bonds posted respectable returns (Figure 1), many clients have been seeking forward-looking guidance on the market as a whole and (increasingly) on particular sectors of it. Here are my latest thoughts as of this writing on the outlook for the rest of 2022.
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2022-05-31
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Regime change likely to challenge modern market structures
Recently, I wrote about the rotation from growth to value and why some of my colleagues and I expect volatility, more than a smooth transition of leadership, to define markets. The thesis is rooted in the fact that seismic macro questions loom over markets and are likely to trigger violent fluctuations in investor conviction. Earlier this month, Macro Strategist John Butler dissected one of these questions: Will the negative correlation between stocks and bonds turn positive?
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2022-05-31
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Credit and equity performance around Fed hiking cycles
One of the discussion topics du jour is how the credit and equity markets might react to the US Federal Reserve (Fed) interest-rate hikes that are widely anticipated in the coming months. As is often the case with me, I find it helpful here to refer to past hiking regimes and market performances as a sort of guidepost. The proof’s in the pudding To wit, I examined the historical returns of both US credit (for this purpose, proxied by corporate high-yield bonds) and US equities (represented by the S&P 500 Index) during the six months before the first rate increase of a Fed hiking cycle through the 12 months after said increase.
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2022-05-31
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The critically important national security implications of biotech
Deepening US policy risks in the biotechnology sector have garnered some well-deserved attention from many of my colleagues lately. Given biotechnology’s potential future importance to US policymakers in the context of the ongoing US-China “great-power” competition, I’d like to share my own thoughts on what’s driving the rising geopolitical risk and national security concerns.
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2022-04-30
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What if…? Contemplating five big questions for 2022
Could there be policy, inflation, or market surprises in 2022? Multi-Asset Strategist Adam Berger weighs the possibilities and the portfolio implications.
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2023-02-28
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LDI in 2022: Nine questions corporate plan sponsors are asking
Our LDI Team offers insights for the coming year, addressing some of the most commonly asked questions on funded ratios, securitized assets, intermediate credit, alternatives, and other return-seeking and liability-hedging topics.
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2022-12-31
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Fed watch 2022: Year of the hawk?
With inflation on the rise and all eyes seemingly on the Fed these days, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager Jeremy Forster shares his takeaways from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)'s December 2021 meeting.
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2022-07-29
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2022 Global Economic Outlook
Our 2022 economic outlook describes the forces we believe will shape macro & market events, including significant inflationary and geopolitical risks.
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2022-11-30
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Setting ROAs for 2022: A guide for US corporate and public plans
How are pension plans adjusting their ROA assumptions? How do those assumptions line up with our long-term capital market assumptions? Find out in this annual update.
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Article
2022-10-31
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Time to buy credit or Treasuries? Ideas on calibrating the trade-off
After hitting derisking triggers in 2021, many plans are looking ahead to the next trigger and thinking about how expensive the investment-grade credit market is currently. LDI Team members Connor Fitzgerald and Bill Cole offer metrics to aid the decision-making process and consider potential alternatives.
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2022-11-30
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Sizing up Biden’s plan to decarbonize America
US Macro Strategist Juhi Dhawan examines the Biden administration’s commitment to a lower-carbon economy, including proposed infrastructure spending, tax incentives, and regulations, as well as the implications for industries and the broad economy.
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2022-10-31
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The evolution of derisking: Assessing new and time-tested liability-hedging ideas
As defined benefit plans contemplate the best path to their eventual “end state,” members of our LDI team update their liability-hedging research with a blend of traditional benchmark ideas and new opportunities to capitalize on changing market conditions and a broader investment universe.
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2022-09-30
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A revival in US investment spending: Implications of the Biden infrastructure plan
US Macro Strategist Juhi Dhawan discusses six key themes in the US infrastructure proposals, from shovel-ready projects to modernization of the power grid, and considers the broad economic impact and potential for unintended consequences.
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2022-08-31
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Inflation’s big comeback: Should corporate pensions care?
It’s been a long time since anyone worried about inflation getting off the ground. That seems to be changing, and for corporate plans, we think the risk is greater for return-seeking portfolios than liability-hedging portfolios. But we also believe that falling inflation is more worrisome than rising inflation. In this paper, we consider the implications and the potential role of different return-seeking allocations in preparing for various inflation outcomes.
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2022-06-30
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LDI Alert — Adding intermediate credit to the derisking tool kit: What plan sponsors need to know
With a growing number of derisking plans seeking exposure to intermediate credit, members of our LDI team highlight some key investment considerations.
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Article
2022-03-31
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LDI Alert — Time to prepare for a “clear skies” environment?
Funded-ratio improvements and the associated derisking opportunity can be short-lived. LDI Team members Bill Cole and Connor Fitzgerald offer ideas to help plans ensure they’re ready.
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2022-01-31
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Fighting downgrade drag to reduce pension liability lag
Even robustly constructed liability benchmarks can struggle to keep pace with the liabilities they are meant to represent, and credit-rating downgrades of issuers in the benchmark are a primary culprit. In this paper, members of our LDI Team define the problem and offer ideas to help plan sponsors and LDI managers work together to fight back.
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2021-11-30
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