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First things first: Wall Street expects the longest bull market in American history to extend into next year. For all the concerns about slowing US economic growth, there’s consensus that stocks can continue to rise.
But for the best returns, strategists and portfolio managers have indicated they’ll look elsewhere.
Neil Dwane, portfolio manager and global strategist at Allianz Global Investors, thinks that the heated run-up to the 2020 election is likely to weigh on prices.
“While the United States has offered investors strong returns for many years now, the country will likely spend much of next year grappling with growing political uncertainty,” he wrote in an op-ed for CNN Business. “The real investment opportunities in 2020 may very well be found abroad.”
Dwane’s case: “The US equity market appears overvalued, trading at around 19 times earnings, and we don’t expect much more upside in 2020 as a possible recession looms. Meanwhile, non-US equities are around 20% to 45% cheaper, offer higher dividend yields and better earnings growth prospects, and may benefit from a softer US dollar.”
It’s a view that’s cropped up in a good chunk of Wall Street’s predictions for the year ahead.
Here’s Bank of America: “In a reversal of trend, US stock returns are expected to lag gains forecast for Europe and emerging market stocks next year.” The bank recommends that clients rotate some of their holdings out of US stocks and into equities from the rest of the world.
JPMorgan made a similar call in September. It advised moving into international stocks, particularly from Europe and Japan.
Not everyone is on the same page. LPL Financial said in its 2020 outlook that despite attractive valuations in developed international markets like Europe, it would need to see a move toward stimulus spending to become more bullish. Expect the debate to continue in the coming months.
The pink slips keep coming at top banks
Add another heavyweight to the list global banks that have announced layoffs this year.
Morgan Stanley (MS) is cutting approximately 1,500 jobs because of economic uncertainty around the world, a person familiar with the matter told my CNN Business colleague Matt Egan. The cuts represent more than 2% of the bank’s workforce and will skew towards technology and operations roles, the source said.
The scene: Around the world, banks face pressure to rein in spending to offset a challenging mix of low interest rates, which crimp lending revenue, as well as weak economic growth and vanishing volatility in financial markets. This environment has set in just as traditional bank jobs face disruption from artificial intelligence and other new technologies.
Not just Morgan Stanley: Unicredit (UNCFF), Italy’s biggest bank, said earlier this month that it will cut roughly 8,000 jobs. HSBC (HBCYF) is shedding thousands of jobs as part of a major restructuring program.
Deutsche Bank unveiled 18,000 job cuts over the summer as part of its turnaround plan, which involves dramatically shrinking its investment bank.
Germany’s top lender said Tuesday that its painful transformation is showing signs of progress. “In the past few months we have made significant progress on every dimension of our strategic transformation,” CEO Christian Sewing told investors. “We are in line with our plan and even ahead in several areas.”
Apple is the best Dow stock this year. Can it keep it up?
Apple (AAPL) kicked off 2019 with a warning from CEO Tim Cook that iPhone sales were slowing in China. That sent shares plunging 10% the next day.
But it’s been good news for the company ever since, my CNN Business colleague Paul R. La Monica reports. Shares in Apple hit their lowest point of the year — $142 — on January 3. The stock now trades near $267.
Apple is the best performing Dow component by a fairly wide margin. Apple rival Microsoft (MSFT), with a 50% gain, is in second place.
Can Apple produce an encore in 2020? It’s possible. Despite slowing iPhone sales, analysts are excited by reports in recent weeks that a 5G iPhone is planned for 2020.
And Wall Street is pleased that Apple has been able to get existing customers to pay for additional subscription services like Apple Music and Apple TV+. Services revenue grew 18% in Apple’s most recent quarter. That’s promising.
Also today: The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for November arrives at 6 a.m. ET.
Coming tomorrow: The Fed’s latest interest rate decision hits at a time when the outlook on trade talks remains uncertain.