Success requires ability, precision, and of course, teamwork.
A relay race combines stretches of extraordinary individual effort with brief moments of coordinated teamwork, in which fractions of a second can be equivalent to the physical difference between a champion and an also-ran.
Federal, state, and local governments—usually better suited for the role of timekeepers or race officials—have run a strong leg for the economy over the last two years. In 2020 and 2021, government policies arguably had a more profound effect on the economy than any time since World War II, not always for the better but in the right direction overall. The level of government borrowing was certainly similar to a war effort. Central banks created new initiatives to support the economy and keep the financial system running smoothly. But it didn’t stop there. We needed state-level decisions about appropriate restrictions that still allowed the economy to function; local decisions about how to keep schools open and allocate resources; as well as constant coordination among scientists, public health experts, federal agencies, and our elected officials. No one would find this level of government involvement ideal under anything close to normal circumstances, but it was necessary to some degree in the face of the pandemic.
The private economy was by no means on the sidelines while this was happening. The upside of our economy contracting 3.4% in 2020 is that more than 96% of the prior year’s level of output stayed in place. That 3.4% contraction is huge when it comes to the impact on many people’s lives, but it certainly goes against the narrative that the economy came grinding to a halt. And in 2021, the economy topped its pre-recession output peak. While some service-based industries were devastated by the pandemic, businesses on the whole innovated, adapted, and evolved. They have positioned themselves well to take the handoff and run the next leg, and our market views reflect that. We are watchful of the risks associated with government passing the baton in 2022, but we believe that ultimately the economy will be healthier while still managing to create opportunities for investors.
As investors, we are part of running that leg too. We help provide the capital that entrepreneurs need to turn ideas into action. That’s what investing fundamentally is. Of course, we all want to invest wisely. So, we build our teams around us, establishing personal and professional relationships that we turn to for sound advice. Mid-cycle years aren’t as exciting as the early-cycle boom, but they tend to strike a nice balance between risk and opportunity. We expect 2022 to be a year that can help you make progress toward reaching your financial goals, and a little good coaching can help. Check in with your financial professional about setting your long-term goals and determining the pace that will get you there for 2022 and beyond.
The opinions, statements and forecasts presented herein are general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It does not take into account the specific investment objectives, tax and financial condition, or particular needs of any specific person. There is no assurance that the strategies or techniques discussed are suitable for all investors or will be successful. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, please consult your financial professional prior to investing.
Any forward-looking statements including the economic forecasts herein may not develop as predicted and are subject to change based on future market and other conditions. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and does not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
Alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors and should be considered as an investment for the risk capital portion of the investor’s portfolio. The strategies employed in the management of alternative investments may accelerate the velocity of potential losses.
Event driven strategies, such as merger arbitrage, consist of buying shares of the target company in a proposed merger and fully or partially hedging the exposure to the acquirer by shorting the stock of the acquiring company or other means. This strategy involves significant risk as events may not occur as planned and disruptions to a planned merger may result in significant loss to a hedged position.
Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.
All index data from FactSet.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
GENERAL RISK DISCLOSURES
Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt or securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis. It includes all of private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports that occur within a defined territory.
The PE ratio (price-to-earnings ratio) is a measure of the price paid for a share relative to the annual net income or profit earned by the firm per share. It is a financial ratio used for valuation: a higher PE ratio means that investors are paying more for each unit of net income, so the stock is more expensive compared to one with lower PE ratio.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.
The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is an index of the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, including both government and corporate bonds.
Investing in stock includes numerous specific risks including the fluctuation of dividend, loss of principal, and potential illiquidity of the investment in a falling market. Because of their narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Value investments can perform differently from the market as a whole. They can remain undervalued by the market for long periods of time. The prices of small and mid-cap stocks are generally more volatile than large cap stocks.
Cyclical stocks typically relate to equity securities of companies whose price is affected by ups and downs in the overall economy and that sell discretionary items that consumers may buy more of during an economic expansion but cut back on during a recession. Counter-cyclical stocks tend to move in the opposite direction from the overall economy and with consumer staples which people continue to demand even during a downturn.
Growth stocks are shares in a company that is anticipated to grow at a rate significantly above the average for the market due to capital appreciation. A value stock is anticipated to grow above the average for the market due to trading at a lower price relative to its fundamentals, such as dividends, earnings, or sales.
Value stocks are anticipated to grow above the average for the market due to trading at a lower price relative to its fundamentals, such as dividends, earnings, or sales.
Large cap stocks are issued by corporations with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more, and small cap stocks are issued by corporations with a market capitalization between $250 million and $2 billion.
FIXED INCOME RISKS
Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Bond yields are subject to change. Certain call or special redemption features may exist which could impact yield. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate, and credit risk, as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features. Mortgage-backed securities are subject to credit, default, prepayment, extension, market and interest rate risk.
FIXED INCOME DEFINITIONS
Credit quality is one of the principal criteria for judging the investment quality of a bond or bond mutual fund. As the term implies, credit quality informs investors of a bond or bond portfolio’s credit worthiness, or risk of default. Credit ratings are published rankings based on detailed financial analyses by a credit bureau specifically as it relates to the bond issue’s ability to meet debt obligations. The highest rating is AAA, and the lowest is D. Securities with credit ratings of BBB and above are considered investment grade. The credit spread is the yield the corporate bonds less the yield on comparable maturity Treasury debt. This is a market-based estimate of the amount of fear in the bond market. Base-rated bonds are the lowest quality bonds that are considered investment-grade, rather than high-yield. They best reflect the stresses across the quality spectrum.
The Bloomberg Aggregate U.S. Bond Index represents securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar denominated. The index covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed rate bond market, with index components for government and corporate securities, mortgage pass-through securities, and asset- backed securities.
International debt securities involve special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
High-yield/junk bonds (grade BB or below) are not investment grade securities, and are subject to higher interest rate, credit, and liquidity risks than those graded BBB and above. They generally should be part of a diversified portfolio for sophisticated investors.
Municipal bonds are subject to availability and change in price. They are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Municipal bonds are federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. If sold prior to maturity, capital gains tax could apply.
This research material was prepared by LPL Financial LLC. Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor that is not an LPL affiliate, please note LPL makes no representation with respect to such entity.
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