Our 500th episode! From all of us at Morgan Stanley, thanks to our listeners for all your support!
An overview of our expectations for the year ahead across inflation, policy, asset classes and more. As with 2021, we expect many twists and turns along the way.
—– Transcript —–
Welcome to the 500th episode of Thoughts on the Market. I’m Andrew Sheets, and from all of us here at Morgan Stanley, thank you for your support. Today, as always, I’ll be talking about trends across the global investment landscape and how we put those ideas together. It’s Tuesday, November 23rd at 2:00 p.m. in London.
At Morgan Stanley Research. We’ve just completed our outlook for 2022. This is a large, collaborative effort where all of the economists and strategists in Morgan Stanley Research get together and debate, discuss and forecast what we think holds for the year ahead. This is an inherently uncertain practice, and we expect a lot of twists and turns along the way, but what follows is a bit of what we think the next year might hold.
So let’s start with the global economy. My colleague Seth Carpenter and our Global Economics team are pretty optimistic. We think growth is strong in the U.S., the Euro area and China next year, with all three of those regions exceeding consensus expectations. A strong consumer, a restocking of low inventories and a strong capital expenditure cycle are all part of this strong, sustainable growth. And because we think consumers saved a lot of the stimulus from 2021, we’re not forecasting a big drop off in growth as that stimulus fails to appear again in 2022.
While growth remains strong, we think inflation will actually moderate. We forecast developed market inflation to peak in the coming months and then actually decline throughout next year as supply chains normalize and commodity price gains slow.
Even though inflation is moderating, monetary policy is going to start to shift. Ultimately, we think moderating inflation and some improvement in labor force participation means that the Fed thinks it can wait a little bit longer to raise interest rates and doesn’t ultimately raise rates until the start of 2023.
For markets, shifting central bank policy means that the training wheels are coming off, so to speak. After 20 months of unprecedented support from both governments and central banks, this extraordinary aid is now winding down. Asset classes will need to rise and fall or, for lack of a better word, pedal under their own power.
In some places, this should be fine. From a strategy perspective, we continue to believe that this is a surprisingly normal cycle, albeit one that’s moving hotter and faster given the scale of the drawdown during the recession and then the scale of a subsequent response. As part of our cross-asset strategy framework, we run a cycle indicator that tries to quantify where we are in that economic cycle. We think markets are facing many normal mid-cycle conditions, not unlike 2004/2005. Better growth colliding with higher inflation, shifting central bank policy and more expensive valuations.
Overall, we think that those valuations and this stage of the economic cycle supports stocks over corporate bonds or government bonds. We think the case for stocks is stronger in Europe and Japan than in emerging markets or the US, as these former markets enjoy more reasonable valuations, more limited central bank tightening and less risk from legislation or higher taxes. Those same issues drive a below consensus forecast here at Morgan Stanley for the S&P 500. We think that benchmark index will be at 4400 by the end of next year, lower than current levels. How do we get there? Well, we think earnings are actually pretty good, but that the market assigns a lower valuation multiple of those earnings – closer to 18x or around the average of the last 5 years as monetary policy normalizes.
For interest rates and foreign exchange, my colleagues really see a year of two parts. As I mentioned before, we think that the Fed will ultimately wait until 2023 to make its first rate hike, but it might not be in any rush to signal that action right away, especially because inflation remains relatively high. As such, we remain positive on the U.S. dollar and think that U.S. interest rates will rise into the start of the year – two factors that mean we think investors should be patient before buying emerging market assets, which tend to do worse when both the U.S. dollar and yields are rising. We forecast the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield to be at 2.1% by the end of 2022 and think the Canadian dollar will appreciate against most currencies as the Bank of Canada moves to raise interest rates.
That’s a summary of just a few of the things that we think lie ahead in 2022. As with 2021, we’re sure they’re going to be many twists and turns along the way, and we hope you keep listening to Thoughts on the Market for updates on how we see these changes and how they impact our market views.
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