July 2022 Astute Investment Commentary
It has been another difficult month for markets after what had already been a tough start to the year. Government bonds have been hit hard this year, failing to provide the protection that investors tend to seek from them. Government bonds were hit as markets moved to price in further increases in interest rates on top of what has already been announced. The US raised rates by 0.75% to 1.75%, and the UK raised rates by 0.25% to 1.25%, with markets now expecting interest rates to rise to 3.4%, 3% and 1.6% in the US, UK and Europe, respectively, by next year. The increase in expectations for interest rates has also contributed to a decline in equity valuations, along with concerns about the growth outlook. Recession fears have risen, due to the squeeze on consumers wallets from higher prices and higher borrowing costs as the central banks seek to fight inflation. Despite recession fears building, consensus analyst forecasts still expect positive growth in company profits for both this year and next. So, the key risks from here are if company earnings disappoint relative to expectations, or if the still relatively expensive US growth stocks continue to see further declines in their valuations. We continue to closely monitor central bank activity and while risks remain, we continue to remain neutral on risk assets.