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  • Writer's pictureAlpesh Patel

The 2024 Equity Playbook: Navigating Market Shifts with Lazard Insight

As we edge closer to 2024, the global investment landscape is showing signs of significant shifts, presenting both challenges and opportunities for equity investors.

Drawing on the comprehensive analysis provided by the Lazard Global Outlook 2024, we delve into the top ten points that are poised to shape equity investment strategies in the coming year. These insights offer a roadmap for navigating the complexities of the global markets, highlighting key trends and potential pivot points in the economic and geopolitical arenas.

1. Disinflation in Process

The journey towards disinflation is expected to continue throughout 2024, with major economies likely to see a decline in core inflation rates. This trend towards a more stable inflationary environment could provide a solid foundation for equity markets, offering a more predictable backdrop for investment decisions.

2. End of Tightening Cycles

After a period of aggressive rate hikes, central banks in developed markets, including the Federal Reserve (Fed), European Central Bank (ECB), and Bank of England (BoE), are anticipated to have reached the end of their tightening cycles. This pivotal shift could alleviate some of the pressures on equity markets, potentially ushering in an era of improved investment conditions.

3. Fed's Potential Rate Cuts

In a significant move, the Fed may begin to ease policy conditions as early as the second quarter of 2024, especially if inflation continues its downward trajectory towards the 2% target. Such policy adjustments could inject a dose of optimism into the markets, bolstering confidence and propelling equities.

4. US Resilience

The US economy has demonstrated remarkable resilience in 2023, buoyed by strong job creation and a robust labor market. This resilience sets a positive stage for 2024, with the potential for sustained economic growth providing a supportive backdrop for equity investments.

5. China's Recovery and Stimulative Measures

Despite facing recent economic challenges, China's government has rolled out a series of stimulative measures aimed at revitalising the economy. The recovery of the housing sector and improvements in consumer confidence could render Chinese equities an attractive proposition for investors.

6. European Economic Uncertainty

While the path to disinflation in Europe is clear, the Eurozone remains shadowed by the spectre of recession, exacerbated by previous rate hikes and ongoing geopolitical tensions. Investors may need to tread cautiously with European equities, staying alert to the region's economic indicators.

7. Japan's Monetary Policy Shift

Japan is on the cusp of a monetary policy transformation, potentially moving away from its negative interest rate policy (NIRP) and yield curve control (YCC). This shift signals a positive outlook for economic growth and investment opportunities in Japanese equities.

8. Geopolitical Risks and Opportunities

The global stage is fraught with conflicts and tensions, from the ongoing situation in Ukraine to the volatile dynamics in the Middle East and the China-Taiwan relations. These geopolitical factors are crucial for investors to monitor, as they could significantly impact global markets and present both risks and opportunities.

9. Supply Chain Fragmentation and Friendshoring

Geopolitical tensions are hastening the diversification of supply chains, a trend that carries profound implications for multinational corporations and sectors at the forefront of the transition, such as technology and renewable energy. This evolving landscape suggests key sectors for equity investors to focus on.

10. Long-term Structural Changes

The report underscores the necessity for investors to adapt to a new investment climate marked by persistently higher interest rates and inflation levels. This environment calls for a renewed emphasis on fundamental analysis in equity investment decisions, steering investors towards a more discerning approach to selecting stocks.

As we navigate through these transformative times, the Lazard Global Outlook 2024 offers invaluable insights for equity investors looking to chart a course through the evolving economic and geopolitical landscape. By staying informed and adaptable, investors can position themselves to capitalise on the opportunities and navigate the challenges that 2024 may bring.

Alpesh Patel OBE


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