Q2 2019 Quarterly Outlook

Whether the Federal Reserve bowed to political pressure or re-examined with fresh eyes the muddled (but weakening) fourth-quarter economic data, the renewed December policy language has been cheered by investors, driving an equity market rally back to all-time highs. With the fed seemingly on the sidelines for now, investor interest has refocused on corporate fundamentals and other relevant economic issues such as China trade. The best outlook for equities is a return of the goldilocks economy: good enough economic growth to drive corporate profits, but not enough to stir inflation and force the fed back into the market. The evidence suggests we may be headed down this path again, as recent economic data is “good enough” to extend the cycle, but is well off the levels from one year ago. The volatility of the past seven months is heightened and will continue to be as the market digests a number of significant risk factors, but this should not be misconstrued as a reason to exit risk assets. As we stated last quarter, it is still early to make the recession call and a re-emergence of the Goldilocks scenario bodes well. With markets at all-time highs we encourage investors to high-grade portfolios, which means leaning on investment-grade credits; rebalancing into quality, high-cash-flow equity assets; and reducing highly cyclical exposures. Most important, review long-term financial goals to ensure that current objectives and portfolio positioning are aligned.