Inflation is a fickle measure influenced by several economic variables. Over the last 100 years, the rate of price inflation in the United States has swung wildly, from upwards of 20% in the early 1920, to -17% a few years following, to a steadier rate in the low single-digits over the last 35 years.
Over the last decade, many investment professionals have been tested by two simultaneously occurring phenomena: the rise of passive investing and the stronger performance of growth stocks relative to value.
For those rare workers who actually took advantage of the national holiday at the beginning of the week, worries of a global economic slowdown loomed in the periphery. On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report stating that China’s official growth rate for 2018 was 6.6%, or the slowest it has been since 1990.
This week started on another low note, as US equities tumbled on weakness in energy and tech. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 temporarily slid 10% below its record September close, while the Nasdaq fell to nearly 14% below its August high. In an equity market that has skated by whimsically on the back of relaxed monetary policy and historically low interest rates for nearly 10 years, trouble has not oft been on the mind of the fully-invested, US-concentrated, passively-exposed, large-cap investor. It seems as if we might have reached a breaking point.
This week, we nearly attempted the delicate dance of running two chartbooks concurrently – one from our partners at Gavekal, and the other from the desk of Evergreen’s Chief Investment Officer, David Hay. However, after stepping back and examining the importance and timeliness of both presentation, and the challenges of weaving together different mediums and messages. we thought it prudent to separate the two and deliver them in back-to-back weeks rather than side-by-side in the same week.