Global Equity Portfolio Outlook, Positioning, and Attribution as of 3/31/2019

Outlook

  • Our outlook for moderate U.S. economic growth remains intact, while some late-cycle signs of slowing growth affirm our view that a sustained economic reacceleration is unlikely.
  • While European GDP growth should remain positive in 2019, overall growth in Europe remains low, and structural issues ranging from Brexit to restrictive labor laws present continued headwinds.
  • In Asia, signs of slow but improving economic trends in Japan contrast with economic deceleration in China, but Asian markets stand to benefit as trade tensions ease.
  • Volatility is likely to continue as sentiment shifts in a moderate economic growth environment can play an outsized role in short-term market movements.

Portfolio Positioning

  • We favor U.S. equity sectors with both cyclical and secular tailwinds, like Information Technology and Communication Services, and sectors with limited economic sensitivity, like Consumer Staples and Utilities, while avoiding the most economically-cyclical sectors.
  • An underweight to Europe reflects our expectation that economic growth trends are unlikely to improve in the near-term.
  • We see better international opportunities in Asia, where modest growth expectations and low relative equity valuations have improved the region’s risk/reward profile.

Q1 Attribution

Positive Contributors:

Overweight
• U.S. Information Technology

Underweight
• U.S. Financials
• Western Europe

Negative Contributors:

Overweight
• U.S. Health Care
• U.S. Consumer Staples

Underweight
• U.S. Industrials

Attribution Analysis is relative to the MSCI ACWI (Net) Index benchmark and was current as of the date specified in this presentation. A complete attribution report is available upon request. The most recent complete presentation can be viewed here.
Any portfolio characteristics, including position sizes and sector allocations among others, are generally averages and are for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect the investments of an actual portfolio unless otherwise noted. The investment guidelines of an actual portfolio may permit or restrict investments that are materially different in size, nature and risk from those shown. The investment processes, research processes or risk processes shown herein are for informational purposes to demonstrate an overview of the process. Such processes may differ by product, client mandate or market conditions. Portfolios that are concentrated in a specific sector or industry may be subject to a higher degree of market risk than a portfolio whose investments are more diversified.
Holdings, Sector Weightings, and Portfolio Characteristics were current as of the date specified in this presentation. The listing of particular securities should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell these securities. While these securities were among WestEnd Advisors’ Global Equity holdings at the time this material was assembled, holdings will change over time. There can be no assurance that the securities remain in the portfolio or that other securities have not been purchased. It should not be assumed that recommendations made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance of the securities presently in the portfolio. Individual clients’ portfolios may vary. Upon request, WestEnd Advisors will provide a list of all recommendations for the prior year.