The U.S. economic outlook continues to strengthen, with accelerating vaccinations, broadening activity and government support. The global economy should accelerate, but with less certainty due to uneven vaccination progress across countries.
Our outlook continues to be that economic recovery is in the offing and will broaden into synchronous, global expansion. Segments of the economy that were protected from the pandemic should stay in a healthy holding pattern.
With two COVID-19 vaccines approved in the U.S. and more fiscal stimulus about to be deployed, there is a clear bridge (vaccine) to post-COVID normalcy and abutments (stimulus) that should keep the recovery on course.
Market sentiment is looking ahead to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, probably in the first half of 2021, when an effective vaccine is widely distributed. An end date on the horizon is certainly a good thing for stocks.
As U.S. COVID-19 cases increase, so does the risk that economic recovery decelerates. We think policy makers will do what it takes to sustain the recovery, and therefore continue to prefer U.S. equities over bonds.