After one of the best starts to a bull market in history, the rally has started to show signs of fatigue. A strong economic recovery lies ahead as the roepening continues, bolstering a very strong earnings outlook that is helping stocks grow into elevated valuations. However, in the second half of the year, as inflationary pressures build, interest rates potentially rise further, and this bull market gets a little older, the pace of stock market gains will likely slow and come with more volatility.
Inflation is all the rage after last week’s much hotter than expected inflation numbers. Our base case remains that this period of higher inflation will be transitory, as many of the forces that have kept a lid on inflation over the past decade plus are still in place. Things like technology innovation, globalization, the Amazon effect, increased productivity and efficiency, automation, and high debt (which puts downward pressure on inflation) are all still firmly in play and should help keep inflation in check later this year and beyond.
Every four years, Washington D.C. and Wall Street converge as Americans elect a president and Wall Street tries to figure out what the outcome means for the stock and bond markets. And since so many hypotheses on this topic abound, it’s hard to keep track of them all.