Summer is almost here, and for investors June marks the final month of the second quarter: we are almost halfway done with 2015.
Right now the big questions surrounding markets are how the US economy is really doing and will this prevent the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates. And if so, what does this mean for stocks?
But these aren’t the only things investors need to keep in mind heading into the second half of the year.
There is still the situation in Greece as well as political risks looming in the US.
And so via David Bianco and Ju Wang of Deutsche Bank’s equity strategy team, here are the 10 most important themes investors need to keep in mind as we head into the summer.
- Is Fed a “go” or “no-go” for Sept liftoff? We expect a Sept hike on falling unemployment even if US GDP growth stays slow. We think the Fed will issue more guidance that the FF rate is unlikely to exceed 2% over the next 2 years.
- What does this mean for the dollar? We expect further dollar appreciation, DXY ~100 and Euro down to near $US1.00 by yearend, but not much stronger than that if Fed hikes appear likely to stay slow and plateau at 2% in 2017.
- How do long-term Treasury yields react to the start of Fed hikes? Long-term yields could spike up to about 2.8% this summer upon strong job reports, but should stabilise there if the dollar climbs and unit labour costs don’t accelerate.
- Will US GDP bounce back with ~3% growth for the rest of 2015 after 1Q’s contraction? What is a realistic est of trend US growth for the next few years? We see a moderate bounce and 2.0-2.25% trend assuming better productivity.
- Has the low in oil prices been set or need to be retested or new lows? We think WTI is capped at $US70 through 2016 provided no geopolitical flare-ups. Oil prices are likely to drift down near-term as US and int’l producers vie for share.
- Greece? Is Europe prepared to pull the plug if no agreements by June end?
- US Supreme Court ruling on plan subsidies on federally set up exchanges? The law says subsidies can only be paid through state established exchanges. A decision is expected in June and if disallowed the Administration will need to turn to Congress to pass a law allowing such subsidies and this will open the door to other ACA modifications and maybe a foreign earnings repatriation holiday comes along with this legislation. There are risks to managed care stocks in this process and it is the only industry we are not OW within HC.
- Does the US put boots on the ground in Iraq again to deal with ISIS? This is becoming a problem for President Obama, but we doubt any ground action.
- China and other EM economies? US, Europe and Japan might be in a long lasting period of synchronised slow growth, but EM deceleration seems likely to continue and thus moderate global growth with vulnerability to shocks.
- US Presidential election. By late 2015 a republican favourite should emerge. This could be a very heated campaign even if Hillary leads. It will raise uncertainties on many US policies including corporate taxes, healthcare, banks and energy, and it might politicize issues related to the Fed and the dollar.