As 2024 approaches, advisors face many critical challenges. With the Shiller CAPE ratio near 30 and the forward P/E ratio near 19, U.S. equities are richly valued by historical standards. Is it time to hedge downside exposure? Will interest rates continue to rise, weakening the prospects for long-duration bonds? Has inflation been tamed, or will the Fed need to ease monetary policy to avert a recession? During our Market Outlook Symposium, our panelists will offer their analysis and answers to those questions and the others that will determine whether your clients will reach their financial goals.
Bob Huebscher will be interviewing Jeremy Siegel for the 17th consecutive year. We will review the accuracy of Siegel’s forecasts from last year, and get his predictions for the stock market, interest rates and the economy for the coming year.
Fund flows by advisors to and from ETFs reveal the preferences for asset classes and strategies. Our panelists will examine the trends during 2023 to see whether advisors were chasing performance or positioning clients toward underperforming assets. You’ll learn whether advisors became more defensive in their equity exposure and whether they shortened bond duration.
In 2023, large-cap and growth stocks dominated U.S. equity performance. Much of those gains were attributable to the “magnificent seven” high-tech wonders. But will that persist into 2024? Our panelists will look at the valuations across sub-sectors of the U.S. equity universe, including dividend and defensive stocks, to forecast where the best opportunities and biggest risks will be in the coming year.
Japanese and European equities have posted gains in 2023, unlike emerging markets and Chinese stocks, which have suffered losses. On a broader scale, U.S. stocks dominated foreign equities from 2009-2021. That trend reversed in 2022, but this year has again favored U.S. equities. Our panelists will examine whether this is finally the time to allocate to non-U.S. markets, and will look at the valuations, risks and opportunities in various markets.
Capital goods have been the top-performing sector in the U.S. in 2023, as companies ramped up their capital expenditures. At the other extreme, healthcare and utility stocks have been the worst performers, suffering from regulatory issues and rising interest rates. But one year’s laggards are often the next year’s winners. Our panelists will look at the opportunities and risks across sectors in the U.S. equity markets and forecast the likely outcomes for 2024.
Bonds were dealt a devasting blow in 2022. But performance has been better in 2023, with investment-grade debt breaking even and high-yield bonds returning about 4%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has risen about 80 basis points, reflecting rate increases across the yield curve. Some bonds, such as TIPS, are now priced at historically attractive rates. Our panel will look at the economic and market trends driving interest rate movements, including the outlook for inflation.
With short-term Treasury rates between 5% and 6%, the temptation to eliminate credit and duration risk is overwhelming. But the “T-Bill and chill” strategy overlooks compelling opportunities. Private credit, for example, offers spreads of 200 to 500 basis points above comparable Treasury securities. Municipal bonds are attractive for HNW investors. Our panel will look at the risks and opportunities available to investors who are willing to take on some credit or duration risk.
Costs for active management have been decreasing for the last 20 years, and that is especially true among actively managed ETF. As a result, despite holding about 6% of total ETF assets, actively managed ETFs added almost one-third of total flows in September 2023. Nearly 75% of the launches so far this year have been active ETFs. This panel of active managers will reveal where they are seeing the biggest opportunities and the biggest risks, and how they expect to generate alpha in the coming year.
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