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Nixon Mak, Managing Director, Head of HK Pensions and Solutions Strategist, Asia Pacific at Invesco, shares his views on Hong Kong and global markets.

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Market Outlook - Monthly

October 2019 (covering September 2019)

US

  • The US equity market ended September in positive territory amid easing fears over a trade war escalation and a cut in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve (Fed). Energy stocks buoyed by the price of oil after a drone attack on oil processing systems in Saudi Arabia. The consumer stocks and real estate lagged the broader market.
  • Increased volatility due to uncertain policy outlook.  Economic momentum remains solid but yet to factor in decelerating global growth and impact of US-China trade tension.

Europe (including UK)

  • European markets rallied strongly in September as investors adopted a more ‘risk on’ stance following some easing of US-China trade war rhetoric. UK equities rose moderately throughout the month but failed to recover all ground lost in August. 
  • Political development surrounding Brexit continued to drive investor risk appetite. Widening disparity of valuation within different sectors as investors rotate towards defensives despite premium valuation.

Asia Pacific (ex Hong Kong ex China ex Japan)

  • Asian equities recovered lost ground in September. Investors turned optimistic given renewed hopes of trade talks between China and the US. A clear sign of policy easing from major economies also helped cheer the market. Information technology was the best performing sector, energy followed. Healthcare and consumer discretionary retreated after strong performance in previous months.
  • We are seeing more governments in the region rolling out both fiscal and monetary measures to stabilize growth outlook. We continue to see ample structural opportunities and believes that investors should remain committed to investing in Asia.

Hong Kong and Mainland China (H-shares)

  • Chinese equities ended flat in September. Despite the ease in trade tension between China and the US, concerns mounted over the growth trajectory as activities data remained surprised to the downside. Hong Kong market was marginally down over the month. Social tension continued in the territory despite the government’s decision to formally withdraw the extradition bill. 
  • The rising trade tension with the US has been a major headwind this year, but we expect supportive government policies on both monetary and fiscal fronts to offset this external uncertainty.  Recent social tension in Hong Kong has added risks to economic growth, driven by external and internal pressures. 

Japan

  • In Japan, equity markets ended the month higher as easing trade tensions between the US and China saw an improvement in investor sentiment. While the Bank of Japan (BoJ) decided to leave monetary policy unchanged, the US Federal Reserve’s September interest rate cut did raise market confidence. 
  • We believe that the Japanese equity market is on the right track, supported by the ongoing progress being made on corporate governance reform coupled with companies’ deliberate efforts to increase profitability.

Fixed Income

  • September was a more challenging month for fixed income markets with many sectors recording their first negative monthly return of the year so far. In large part, this reflected movement in government bond yields, which increased from the record lows reached in August. 
  • Our expectation is that inflation should remain in the 1.5-2.5% range excluding tariffs impact.  We expect the Fed to implement further rate cuts unless the consumer shuts down significantly. In Europe, core inflation has been remarkably sticky at low levels despite low unemployment and potential wage pressures.

Emerging Markets

  • Emerging equity markets advanced higher in September with all the regions registering gains. Latin America was the best performer, followed by Asia. From a country perspective, Turkey, Pakistan and Argentina came top with the best sector returns coming from technology, energy and industrials.
  • We believe that valuations in emerging equity markets are relatively attractive, trading at a discount to their peers in the developed world, with selective long-term stock picking opportunities remaining, particularly in Asia. 

2019 Investment Outlook : 15 asset classes

Each New Year brings the promise of a fresh start-but for investors, it’s important to understand the global dynamics that have brought us to this point. How do yesterday’s elections, monetary policy decisions and geopolitical developments affect tomorrow’s opportunities? Working with our investment teams from across the globe, we've developed this 2019 outlook to provide insights that can help you position your portfolio for the future.
 

2019 Outlook - Global Economy “Global economy expected to grow with low inflation in 2019”

Key takeaways

  • 2018 has been a year of turmoil, but, 2019 promises to be much calmer, in my view.
  • I believe the Federal Reserve should be successful in positioning the US economy for several more years of expansion.
  • Monetary policy invariably dominates fiscal policy in the determination of inflation.

2019 Outlook - Global Markets “Three themes to watch in 2019”

Key takeaways

  • We believe economic growth divergence is likely to continue to some extent.
  • Geopolitical disruption is leading to structural fragmentation.
  • The debt problem is widespread and is becoming more burden some as rates rise.

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