BANK OF AMERICA: Here are 5 'out of consensus' and not-priced-in market calls

ReutersTraders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
  • US stocks are barely off their all-time highs reached earlier in 2020, but looming risk factors threaten economies around the globe.
  • Brexit continues to hold the UK’s economic prospects lower, while negative rates across the EU and quiet trade tensions between the US and China breed uncertainty among investors.
  • Here are five “out of consensus or not priced into markets” calls detailed by Bank of America economists on Friday.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

The US and China’s phase-one trade deal and waning recession fears are keeping markets near record highs, but investors are missing a slew of global factors that could wreak economic havoc later in the year, according to Bank of America.

Stocks fell in Friday trading amid reports of the coronavirus spreading further through China and the US. Markets were previously threatened by worse-than-expected economic data and rising tensions between the US and Iran, but reached new highs through mid-January as few variables threatened the historic bull run.

A Friday note from Bank of America detailed a handful of calls that haven’t been fleshed out among Wall Street analysts or that fall outside the consensus of anticipated developments. The scenarios look further into 2020 for looming risk factors and policy decisions, and warn clients of market threats that could crop up around the globe.

Here are the five “out of consensus or nor priced into the markets” calls detailed by Bank of America.

US-China pause

Kevin Lamarque/ReutersChinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands after signing ‘phase one’ of the U.S.-China trade agreement during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Ink on the phase-one deal is barely dry, but economists Ethan Harris and Aditya Bhave project a sizable chance of further trade war escalation following the 2020 US presidential election.

“We still expect a ‘noisy’ ceasefire through the 2020 elections,” the analysts wrote. “But we see significant risk that the conflict will re-escalate thereafter, as there is a great deal of unfinished business.”

Tensions between the two countries’ tech industries haven’t eased, and recent bills from the US legislature backing human rights protests in Hong Kong will only complicate trade negotiations, the analysts added.

Rate cuts in Mexico

Henry Romero/ReutersMexico’s Central Bank Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon Carrillo and General Director of Issuance of Banxico Alejandro Alegre applaud beside the new 200 peso bill, as Mexico’s central bank unveils its new bill at an event in Mexico City, Mexico September 2, 2019.

Though most central banks are looking for steady inflation before resuming rate adjustments, Mexico’s monetary policy authority is poised to slash its overnight rate in 2020, the bank said.

Markets are pricing in a cut to 6.25% from 7.75% by the end of 2020, though consensus estimates call for a softer adjustment to 6.5%.

Bank of America’s analysts expect a cut to 7%, noting that inflation above the country’s 3% target will stave off the larger cuts projected by other economists.

European Union’s negative rates

ReutersFILE PHOTO: ECB President Lagarde testifies before the EU Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in Brussels

Negative interest rates remain one of the most talked-about market phenomena in the new year, and the economists expect “the debate about the counterproductive effects” of such policy to amplify in 2020.

The European Central Bank is poised to continue its policy of quantitative easing and hint at lower rates lasting longer, the bank wrote. The lack of a shift away from the controversial rates will likely upset investors seeking greater market certainty.

“Communication will be acrobatic and could upset markets, which are not pricing much risk of higher front-end rates,” the economists said.

Slow inflation in the UK


Brexit continues to cut into the UK’s economic growth prospects, and while many traders see the new Conservative majority as bringing new certainty to the effort, the bank’s economists tout a different theory.

Bank of America expects gross domestic product growth to stand at roughly 1% in both 2020 and 2021 as Brexit woes last through further trade negotiations and regulatory hurdles.

“As a result, we think inflation could fall to 1.3% by mid-2020. Stirling appreciation could extend the weakness in inflation,” the team wrote.

Korea harmed by the trade war

Associated PressA currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. Asian shares are mostly higher as health authorities around the world move to monitor and contain a deadly virus outbreak in China and keep it from spreading globally. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Even though the country posted strong fourth-quarter GDP growth, economic expansion will slow to 1.8% in 2020, Bank of America projected. The estimate falls below the Bank of Korea’s 2.3% estimate and the consensus of 2.2%.

“Lack of resolution in the trade war and slower growth in the US and China should, in our view, significantly limit the recovery in exports and investment next year,” the economists wrote.

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