Global Conservative portfolio outlook, positioning, and attribution as of 9/30/2022
September 30, 2022
- With the rapid evolution of this economic cycle, deterioration in some economic data along with the Fed’s aggressive monetary policy stance point to later-cycle economic conditions here in the U.S. and abroad, in our view.
- Some areas of the global economy remain sound, such as the U.S. labor market and services consumption, but we see little chance of a resumption of rapid and dynamic economic growth given the progress of the cycle to date and ongoing tightening of financial conditions.
- In this evolving environment, we see increased risk to corporate earnings and, more broadly, to the performance of particularly economically sensitive parts of the markets.
- Internationally, as global economic growth slows, we see risks mounting for Europe tied to the war in Ukraine, and we expect headwinds for economically cyclical emerging markets, while developed Asia is a relative bright spot.
- While risks to equities have increased, risks to fixed income have diminished, in our view, following the sharp rise in interest rates this year, as slowing economic growth and a likely easing of inflation should reduce upward pressure on intermediate and longer-term interest rates, and a Fed-induced slowdown could ultimately push down longer-term interest rates.
- We are avoiding early-phase cyclical U.S. sectors and, instead, are emphasizing sectors that we expect will see less deceleration in earnings and less margin degradation as economic growth slows.
- We have increased exposure to late-phase, defensive U.S. sectors by establishing overweight allocations to Consumer Staples and Utilities, while also maintaining an overweight of the Health Care sector.
- We remain underweight to international equities, as a whole, including underweights of Europe and emerging markets, but we maintain an overweight of developed Asia, where we see the greatest potential for economic resilience abroad.
- Seeing reduced risk to fixed income returns, and late economic cycle risks to equities, we have shifted to a modest overweight of fixed income within balanced portfolios and, within fixed income, we have also reduced our overweight of corporate credit and added floating rate Treasury exposure.
- Fixed Income
- Western European Equities
- U.S. Consumer Staples Equities
- Long-Term Bonds
- U.S. Communication Services Equities
- Short-Term Fixed Income Securities
- U.S. Energy Equities
Attribution Analysis is relative to the Global Conservative benchmark and was current as of the date specified in this presentation.
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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 Conservative 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.