Where to next for the investment markets?
There is a disconnect between that is happening in the economy and the performance of the stock market.
In February 2020, fear about the potential public health and economic consequences of COVID-19 began to rock the stock markets. What followed was a sharp and unprecedented drop in the markets that I have never seen before. Over the following 6 weeks, regular daily drops of 4-5% were recorded across global equities as investors fled equities and predicted a sharp recession and the knock-on effects on the listed companies on the stock markets.
Substantial Central Bank intervention turned the tides for investment markets as Central Banks across the World announced trillion dollar/euro fiscal stimulus packages, in addition, to already rock bottom interest rates and increased Government Spending.
How does all of this impact investment markets?
Economies are made up of business spending, consumer spending and government spending. Governments are increasing spending through a range of benefits such as Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Credit Guarantee Schemes to offset the drop in business and consumer spending.
Investors are forward-looking so they will be betting that, after lockdown during which the global economy contracted sharply (some countries contracted up to 25% during this time frame), that the global economy will begin to recover and will be helped massively by substantial Government and Central Bank intervention.
So while things are pretty bad on the high street, investors are betting the worst is over and they have been buying in at discounted levels on the basis of strong long-term returns from a low basis.
Investment markets typically move higher after monetary policy intervention (Central Bank stimulus) and periods of volatility. We have had significant amounts of both over the past 4 months so indicators are that investment markets will move higher albeit with some potholes. A COVID-19 second wave could put temporary pressure on returns.