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Harbour Outlook: Earnings deliver, trade fears fade

Key pointsEquity markets rallied on the back of positive trade developments, better than expected earnings and improved activity indicators.
The New Zealand market performed strongly on the back of a strong AGM and reporting season. Notably, the more defensive stocks which have outperformed in 2019 delivered weaker returns due to an increase in interest rate expectations.
Lead economic indicators have improved, but it is too e...

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Harbour team | Posted on Dec 9, 2019
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Harbour Macro Research Day: Mixed Signals

Harbour’s internal Macro Research Day is a chance to hear from external research providers, challenge assumptions and anchor our medium-term view.
The local outlook is mixed. Monetary conditions have eased and should support a recovery, but structural impediments mean business confidence may not pick up.
The global picture has improved which makes additional central bank support less likely.
Harbour held its bi-annual interna...

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Hamish Pepper | Posted on Nov 28, 2019
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Harbour Outlook: Risks reduced but not removed

Key points

  • Global equities outperformed bonds in October as trade risks abated, US earnings impressed and central bank easing supported sentiment.
  • The economic outlook for Australasia improved and the associated higher interest rates reduced the value of fixed income assets. Equities underperformed their global counterparts due to sectoral weakness in electricity, banking and materials stocks.
  • We retain a degree of scepticism in the macro outlook. The global backdrop has improved but remains fragile. Domestically, large amounts of monetary stimulus have been delivered but confidence is poor and activity soft.
  • This environment should favour growth stocks where Harbour equity portfolio exposure is concentrated alongside maintaining exposure to several defensive investments. Within fixed interest portfolios, we reduced duration in October but remain long relative to benchmark given soft economic activity and residual risk.
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Harbour team | Posted on Nov 8, 2019
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Harbour Outlook: Deteriorating Data

Key points

  • Trade developments continued to whipsaw markets during September. The optimism instigated from a planned resumption in trade talks was soon dampened after a planned visit to US farms by Chinese officials was cancelled. Sentiment recovered later in September in anticipation of October’s round of negotiations.
  • Global economic data generally came in weaker than expected during September, though some Chinese data did buck the trend of weak data prints.
  • Domestically business confidence surveys have continued to weaken. NZIER’s Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) showed a decline in firms’ own trading activity with a net 11% of businesses reporting demand fell over the quarter, the weakest level since September 2010.
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Harbour team | Posted on Oct 8, 2019
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Harbour Outlook: Downside risks

Lead economic indicators continued to weaken and uncertainty around trade negotiations dragged on during September. It was against this uncertain backdrop that global equity markets fell 2.0% (in local currency). New Zealand equities held up comparatively well, down -0.9%, with higher yielding companies faring best after the RBNZ’s surprised 50bp cut to interest rates. Australia suffered the brunt of falling commodity prices, down 2.4% (in AUD)...

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Harbour team | Posted on Sep 6, 2019
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Harbour Outlook: Lower and lower domestic interest rates

Key pointsThe trade tensions roller coaster continued during July. Hopes were initially raised with the announcement of further trade talks in China, though that hope turned quickly to despair as Trump announced further tariffs on Chinese imports.
The US Federal Reserve delivered its much-anticipated rate cut in July, just eight months after its last hike. The Fed’s view that this is a “midcycle adjustment to policy” disappoin...

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Harbour team | Posted on Aug 8, 2019
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Harbour Outlook: Finely balanced, markets walking a tightrope

Key points Trade tensions again dominated the headlines during June, while the “truce” reached at G20 summit mitigated some left-tail event fears, there is plenty yet to play out and the outcomes are likely to be non-binary. 
Trade tensions and a string of softer than expected economic data led global yields lower in June. 
In line with the global trend, domestic data erred on the side of disappointing with low PMI and busines...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Jul 5, 2019
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Harbour Outlook: Trade tensions impact global growth

Global equity markets retraced from their highs in May with the MSCI World index (in local currency) returning -6.0%. Risk aversion picked up almost entirely due to the breakdown in trade talks between the US and China. This resulted in the US increasing tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods; China promptly retaliated. 

New Zealand and Australian equities weathered the volatility in global markets well...

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Harbour team | Posted on Jun 11, 2019
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Harbour Outlook: More bright spots emerge

Global equity markets continued to strengthen in April with the MSCI World index (in local currency) returning 3.8%. Markets were buoyed by the trifecta of a strong US earnings season, signs that Chinese stimulus have had a positive economic impact and, perhaps not unrelated, eurozone growth rates coming in above expectations...

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Harbour Team | Posted on May 8, 2019
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Harbour Macro Research Day

In recent years, Harbour’s internal six-monthly Macro Research Day has been an important part of our research calendar. It provides an opportunity to undertake a thorough review of the medium-term outlook for the macroeconomy and its implications for fixed interest, equity and multi-asset portfolios.

Our Macro Research Day last week commenced with presentations by economists from two of New Zealand’s largest banks discussing key drivers of the New Zealand economy. This included business confidence and the potential impact of the Reserve Bank capital requirements which has recently been one focus of our research agenda.

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Harbour team | Posted on Apr 16, 2019