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Global Investment Outlook and Strategy

September 10, 2019

Global equity markets were volatile in August as investors navigated slowing global growth, declining bond yields, an inverted yield curve, and the ongoing U.S.-China trade conflict. Trade policy uncertainty continues to weigh on both investor and business sentiment globally. In contrast, U.S. consumer spending has so far remained largely unscathed by the U.S.-China trade conflict, buoyed by a tight labor market, improving wage growth, and rising household net worth. U.S. leading indicators continue to advance and do not suggest recession is imminent within the next 12 to 18 months. Moreover, financial markets, and the economy, continue to be sustained by the notion that the “Fed put” is alive and well. In fact, fed fund futures currently imply about four 25 basis point rate cuts over the next twelve months. The decline in mortgage rates has resulted in a surge in consumer refinance activity and lower borrowing costs will support corporate profitability. In addition, the decline in bond yields has contributed to improving financial conditions, a typical precursor to rising economic growth. However, capital spending is slowing on trade policy uncertainty and U.S. fiscal stimulus will fade heading into 2020. A U.S.-China trade deal remains a key binary risk (downside and upside) as does a potential no-deal Brexit. Given mounting global macro uncertainties and the strong year-to-date performance of U.S. equities, which has been driven mainly by price-to-earnings multiple expansion, we continue to shift portfolio composition toward high-quality growth stocks with visible earnings progression and secular drivers, but also continue to add opportunistically to select pro-cyclical growth stocks with compelling risk-reward profiles.

For more details, including a longer discussion of dividend growth stocks, please see the complete Sit Investment Associates’ July 2019 Global Investment Outlook and Strategy paper. Click here: Global Outlook and Strategy (Adobe Acrobat).

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