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Brexit, Trade Wars and Geopolitical Tensions Set to Cause Muted H2, Say Market Strategists From Natixis Investment Managers and Affiliated Managers
[August 13, 2019]

Brexit, Trade Wars and Geopolitical Tensions Set to Cause Muted H2, Say Market Strategists From Natixis Investment Managers and Affiliated Managers

Global investors should be poised to grapple with lackluster performance over the next six to twelve months, despite a generally positive first half of 2019, according to the Natixis Midyear Strategist Survey, published by the Natixis Investment Institute.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Downside Risk (Graphic: Business Wire)

Downside Risk (Graphic: Business Wire)

The report explores the findings from 17 CEOs, market strategists and economists, from across the Natixis organization and its affiliated managers about what investors might expect in the second half of the year. The survey marks the first time this group has been polled together.

Downside risks weigh heavily on market expectations

The survey was completed in July, just before the latest flare-up in the trade negotiations between the US and China. However, despite two years of counter-punching between the two global superpowers, often impacting global markets as it did at the beginning of last week, spill-over effects from the trade war ranked only second to a messy Brexit as the biggest downside risks to the global economy. However, respondents were much less concerned with the possibility of recession, citing "a US and/or global recession" as the least likely downside scenario.

Few strategists expect positive outcome to Brexit

The survey respondents have a general lack of enthusiasm for upside potential. Notably, few anticipate any positive Brexit scenarios and, while some hold hope that new central bank accommodations could drive a rebound in growth, just as many believe it is unlikely to work. More significantly, those surveyed did not foresee accelerating global growth or equity earnings in the next six to twelve months.

"The survey results clearly show that, in aggregate, our respondents don't see a lot of positive market catalysts on the horizon - nor do they see a recessionary worst-case scenario as very likely in the near term. It's a kind of a 'muddle through' outlook," commented Esty Dwek, Head of Global Market Strategy, Dynamic Solutions, Natixis Investment Managers

"After a dismal end to 2018, equities and bonds rallied in the first half of 2019. Performance to date has been driven largely by the hopes of new rounds of central bank easing but, as what the market hoped for comes closer to reality, market strategists across the Natixis family find little to get excited about," added Dwek. "Perhaps the best news is that despite projections for lackluster performance, they are not calling for a dramatic retreat from the impressive gains. After the stinging losses in Q4 2018, maybe 'meh' is something to be excited about after all."

Asset class outlook

With a strong expectation of Fed rate cuts on the horizon, Natixis strategists are most bullish on US Sovereign bonds, followed by emerging market equities, global REITs and emerging market bonds of all types (hard currency, local currency, and corporate). The common thread running through these bullish forecasts is accommodative central bank policy and ample global liquidity. In turn, respondents are most bearish on cryptocurrencies, UK stocks, US high yield and bank loans.

Across asset classes, the survey found that:

  • Equities: Natixis strategists predict little in the way of equity returns in the US and Eurozone over the next six to twelve months. But that's not to say the consensus calls for dramatic losses either. Overall, the outlook on equities is balanced and no strategists forecast a bear market (-20%) or even a market correction (-10%) in this time frame.
  • Fixed Income: Central banks continue to be the focus as Natixis strategists anticipate more dovish policy from both the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB). On average, the strategists predict the Fed will ease rates back by 50 basis points by year-end. In Europe, respondents see further easing from the ECB and anticipate a 5-10 bps reduction in the overnight deposit rate. Consensus is not as strong on ECB cuts, as almost half (8 out of 17) forecast no change to the overnight deposit rate. This may indicate that rather than reducing rates the ECB may first try other levers such as offering additional forward guidance, restarting large-scale asset purchases (QE), or tiering the deposit rate.
  • Currencies: The trend toward more dovish interest rate policy from the Fed and ECBis pronounced in strategist sentiment on currency. Overall expectations for volatility run strongest here, with 10 of 17 forecasting increased currency volatility and no one anticipating any declines.
  • Commodities: On average, strategists see gold falling slightly by 1-3%, but the respondents were very evenly split. Meanwhile, respondents see Brent crude falling by around 5% in the same period.
  • Volatility: Natixis strategist projections for volatility go hand-in-hand with their equity outlook, anticipating a slight increase in volatility with the VIX rising 2.1 points from its mid-year level of 15.1. This average projection to 17.2 represents a modest but meaningful increase in volatility overall. Across broad assets, and in contrast to recent market readings, the respondents saw currency volatility picking up the most, followed by equity volatility, with bond/interest rate volatility likely to move the least.

To download a copy of the full report, titled "Welcome to the Meh Market," visit

Survey Respondents:

  • Michael J. Acton, CFA®, Director of Research, AEW
  • Axel Botte, Global Strategist, Ostrum Asset Management
  • François-Xavier Chauchat, Chief Economist and member of the Investment Committee, Dorval Asset Management
  • Esty Dwek, Head of Global Market Strategy, Dynamic Solutions, Natixis Investment Managers
  • James Grabovac, CFA®, Investment Strategist, Municipal Fixed Income team, Loomis Sayles
  • Jack Janasiewicz, CFA®, Senior Vice President and Portfolio Strategist, Natixis Investment Managers
  • Brian P. Kennedy, Portfolio Manager, Full Discretion team, Loomis Sayles
  • Mathieu Klein, Chief Investment Officer and co-founder, Darius Capital Partners
  • Ibrahima Kobar, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Global CIO, Ostrum Asset Management
  • David Lafferty, CFA®, Senior Vice President and Chief Market Strategist, Natixis Investment Managers
  • Joseph Lavorgna, Chief Economist, CIB Americas, Natixis
  • Maura Murphy, CFA®, Portfolio Manager, Alpha Strategies team, Loomis Sayles
  • Jens Peers, CFA®, CEO and CIO, Mirova*
  • Dirk Schumacher, European Head of Macro Research, CIB, Natixis
  • Hans Vrensen, CFA®, MRE, Managing Director and Head of Research & Strategy, AEW Europe
  • Philippe Waechter, Chief Economist, Ostrum Asset Management
  • Chris D. Wallis, CFA®, CPA®, CEO, CIO, Senior Portfolio Manager, Vaughan Nelson Investment Management

About the Natixis Investment Institute

The Natixis Investment Institute applies Active Thinking® to critical issues shaping the investment landscape. A global effort, the Institute combines expertise in the areas of investor sentiment, macroeconomics, and portfolio construction within Natixis Investment Managers, along with the unique perspectives of our affiliated investment managers and experts outside the greater Natixis organization. Our goal is to fuel a more substantive discussion of issues with a 360° view of markets and insightful analysis of investment trends.

About Natixis Investment Managers

Natixis Investment Managers serves financial professionals with more insightful ways to construct portfolios. Powered by the expertise of more than 20 specialized investment managers globally, we apply Active Thinking® to deliver proactive solutions that help clients pursue better outcomes in all markets. Natixis Investment Managers ranks among the world's largest asset management firms4 with $1,022.9 billion / €898.2 billion AUM.5

Headquartered in Paris and Boston, Natixis Investment Managers is a subsidiary of Natixis. Listed on the Paris Stock Exchange, Natixis is a subsidiary of BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France. Natixis Investment Managers' affiliated investment management firms include AEW; Alliance Entreprendre; AlphaSimplex Group; Darius Capital Partners; DNCA Investments;6 Dorval Asset Management; Flexstone Partners; Gateway (News - Alert) Investment Advisers; H2O Asset Management; Harris Associates; Investors Mutual Limited; Loomis, Sayles & Company; McDonnell Investment Management;7 Mirova; MV Credit; Naxicap Partners; Ossiam; Ostrum Asset Management; Seeyond; Seventure Partners; Thematics Asset Management; Vaughan Nelson Investment Management; Vega Investment Managers;8 and WCM Investment Management. Investment solutions are also offered through Natixis Advisors and Dynamic Solutions. Not all offerings available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit Natixis Investment Managers' website at | LinkedIn (News - Alert):

Natixis Investment Managers' distribution and service groups include Natixis Distribution, L.P., a limited purpose broker-dealer and the distributor of various registered investment companies for which advisory services are provided by affiliated firms of Natixis Investment Managers, and Natixis Investment Managers S.A. (Luxembourg) and its affiliated distribution entities in Europe and Asia.

All data as of June 30, 2019 unless noted otherwise. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by the CFA Institute. All investing involves risk, including the risk of loss. You cannot invest directly in an index. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice. The views and opinions expressed are as of July 19, 2019 and may change based on market and other conditions. There can be no assurance that developments will transpire as forecasted, and actual results may vary. This document may contain references to third party copyrights, indexes, and trademarks, each of which is the property of its respective owner. Such owner is not affiliated with Natixis Investment Managers or any of its related or affiliated companies (collectively "Natixis") and does not sponsor, endorse or participate in the provision of any Natixis services, funds or other financial products. The index information contained herein is derived from third parties and is provided on an "as is" basis. The user of this information assumes the entire risk of use of this information. Each of the third party entities involved in compiling, computing or creating index information disclaims all warranties (including, without limitation, any warranties of originality, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, non-infringement, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose) with respect to such information.

1 Calculated average of the likelihood on a 1-5 scale with 1 being least likely and 5 being most likely. Natixis Investment Managers Midyear survey conducted by CoreData Research, June 25-July 8, 2019.
2 Calculated average of the likelihood on a 1-5 scale with 1 being least likely and 5 being most likely. Natixis Investment Managers Midyear survey conducted by CoreData Research, June 25-July 8, 2019.
3 Weighted sum of bullish responses (>5) minus bearish responses (<5) for each asset class based on a 1-10 scale (1 = most bearish, 10 = most bullish) with 5 being neutral. Natixis Investment Managers Midyear survey conducted by CoreData Research, June 25-July 8, 2019.
4 Cerulli Quantitative Update: Global Markets 2019 ranked Natixis Investment Managers as the 17th largest asset manager in the world based on assets under management as of December 31, 2018.
5 Net asset value as of June 30, 2019. Assets under management ("AUM"), as reported, may include notional assets, assets serviced, gross assets, assets of minority-owned affiliated entities and other types of non-regulatory AUM managed or serviced by firms affiliated with Natixis Investment Managers.
6 A brand of DNCA Finance.
7 Natixis Investment Managers, L.P. transferred ownership of McDonnell Investment Management, LLC to Loomis, Sayles & Company, Inc. on January 1, 2019.
8 A wholly-owned subsidiary of Natixis Wealth Management.


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