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Equity markets continue to wrestle with the impact and stubbornness of elevated inflation and the likely path of economic growth. While the macroeconomic backdrop worsened in the first half of the year, investors’ expectations for corporate profits remain resilient.

In the U.S., all business cycles begin and end with the housing market. With respect to the current cycle, housing is in clear retreat. We continue to expect the market to experience significant volatility while the Fed continues its war against inflation.

What we have seen in the market sell-off so far in 2022 is the sensitivity of future cash flows to changes in interest rates. For the market as a whole, we expect there will be more downgrades to come in the value area of the market and that this trend could put pressure on equity markets as cash-flow projections are gradually cut.

Asia’s economic growth is likely to slow in the months ahead due to tighter financial conditions. We expect higher inflation to trigger a quickening in monetary tightening across Asia, with governments offering increased financial assistance to households.

Emerging markets have been underperforming developed markets for more than a decade. However, a number of the largest emerging-market economies are in a stronger position to rebound than developed markets as many of their central banks were ahead of the curve in tightening monetary policy last year.

Executive summary

Extremely high inflation is jeopardizing four decades of central-bank credibility, and aggressive monetary tightening featuring jumbo-sized rate hikes has triggered broad-based declines in asset prices. Meanwhile, the global economy is slowing, and the path forward for the economy and markets hinges largely on whether/when price stability will be restored.

Stack of papers

Economy

For the developed world, we now forecast moderate economic growth of 2.3% in 2022, followed by just 0.3% in 2023.

Fixed income

Assuming that the inflation spike subsides as we forecast, our model suggests the U.S. 10- year yield should be positioned near 3.5% in five years.

Equity markets

U.S. equities remain slightly above our estimate of fair value, but stocks in other regions look more appealing.

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