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Article | Global Markets Overview

Global Markets Overview: April 2021

Investments
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By David Hoile | April 29, 2021

Tracking recent asset price moves and our outlook

Our Global Outlook

Key Points for April

  • Successful vaccination rates and/or public health policies have led to improvements in mobility in China (in 2020) and, more recently, the US. Physical consumer-facing sectors like hotels, restaurants, leisure, retailing, and travel are expected to benefit the most from this rebound;
  • Willis Towers Watson Investments has announced that it is targeting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest, with at least a 50% reduction by 2030, in its fully discretionary delegated investment portfolios;
  • Being strategically ahead of a net zero transition can, in our opinion, significantly improve risk-adjusted returns for our clients. We believe that this will come from two sources – ‘better beta’ due to more effective stewardship and ‘alpha’ as the mispricing of climate issues is resolved.

Key Market-Related Themes

What are the key market-related themes we think investors should focus on to position themselves for success during 2021 and beyond? From a macroeconomic perspective, we think three themes stand out:

  1. Policy shifts: The post-COVID policy regime has shifted in important ways. Whilst much of this shift was evident before 2020, the policy response to the pandemic has accelerated it. This has important implications for return pathways and downside risk management in particular;
  2. The rise of China: China’s financial system continues to open, which has material and near certain implications for the sources of diversity open to investors and how downside risk can be managed;
  3. Sustainability: This encompasses three important topics: climate; inclusive growth; and stewardship. In order to manage these imperatives, the need for better practices by governments, regulators, corporates, asset managers and asset owners is clear and growing.
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Senior Director, Investments

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