Deux minutes

Deux minutes pour s’informer sur les marchés financiers

Que faut-il retenir ?

Selon le Fonds monétaire international (FMI), la récession qui frappe l'économie mondiale cette année sera moins marquée que prévu. Le FMI prévoit désormais que l'économie mondiale se contractera de 4,4 % en 2020, soit un peu moins que ses prévisions de juin (-4,9 %). Il estime en revanche que ce recul sera de courte durée et table sur une croissance de 5,2 % en 2021, un chiffre légèrement inférieur à sa prévision antérieure de 5,4 %. La directrice générale du FMI, Kristalina Georgieva, a appelé les États à « prendre des mesures pour éviter l'accumulation de risques financiers à moyen terme », notamment en engageant des réformes visant à stimuler le commerce, la compétitivité et la productivité.

 

Dans le monde

La Chine, deuxième économie mondiale, a fait état d'une forte croissance de ses échanges commerciaux, avec une hausse annuelle de 9,9 % des exportations (en dollars) et de 13,2 % des importations en septembre. Selon certains rapports, la hausse de la demande résulterait des ventes de produits électroniques grand public, d'appareils médicaux et de textiles, y compris d'équipements de protection individuelle. L'amélioration des données économiques a contribué à hisser la valeur du marché boursier chinois à un niveau record la semaine dernière, la capitalisation boursière cumulée des entreprises cotées à Shanghai et à Shenzhen atteignant plus de 10 000 milliards USD.

 

Le chiffre de la semaine

7%

Selon l'Agence internationale de l'énergie, les émissions de dioxyde de carbone liées à l'énergie devraient chuter de 7 % en 2020 en raison de la pandémie de coronavirus, ce qui constitue un record. Dans l'édition annuelle de ses Perspectives énergétiques mondiales, l'organisation a déclaré qu'elle anticipait un repli des émissions de CO2 à 33,4 gigatonnes cette année, leur plus bas niveau depuis 2011. Elle a néanmoins souligné qu'il restait encore beaucoup à faire, expliquant que « pour atteindre l'objectif de zéro émission nette, les États, les entreprises du secteur de l'énergie, les investisseurs et les citoyens devront tous se mobiliser, et tous auront une contribution sans précédent à apporter. » 

 

Éclairage

Taux de change d'équilibre comportemental 

Le taux de change d'équilibre comportemental, ou modèle BEER (Behavioral Equilibrium Exchange Rate), peut contribuer à expliquer les fluctuations de change et à déterminer la « juste » valeur d'une monnaie par rapport à sa valeur actuelle sur les marchés. Il examine la relation entre les taux de change et diverses variables économiques telles que le taux du PIB et la balance commerciale, et analyse la façon dont ces facteurs peuvent influer sur le taux à court, moyen et long terme.

 

Prochaines échéances

Lundi seront publiées les données concernant la croissance du PIB chinois au troisième trimestre, suivies mercredi des chiffres de l'inflation au Royaume-Uni et du Livre Beige de la Réserve fédérale américaine, synthèse de la situation économique actuelle. La dernière enquête concernant la confiance des consommateurs dans la zone euro est attendue jeudi, aux côtés des statistiques relatives aux demandes d’allocations chômage aux États-Unis. Les chiffres de l'inflation au Japon seront communiqués vendredi, de même que les indices des directeurs d'achat du mois d'octobre concernant le Japon, la zone euro, le Royaume-Uni et les États-Unis.

 

Ce document est exclusivement conçu à des fins d’information. Il ne constitue ni un élément contractuel, ni un conseil en investissement. Il a été établi sur la base d'informations, projections, estimations, anticipations et hypothèses qui comportent une part de jugement subjectif. Ses analyses et ses conclusions sont l’expression d’une opinion indépendante, formée à partir des informations disponibles à une date donnée.
 
Ainsi, compte tenu du caractère subjectif et indicatif de ces analyses, nous attirons votre attention sur le fait que l'évolution effective des variables économiques et des valorisations des marchés financiers pourrait s'écarter significativement des indications (projections, estimations, anticipations et hypothèses) qui vous sont communiquées dans ce document. En outre, du fait de leur simplification, les informations contenues dans ce document peuvent n’être que partielles. Elles sont susceptibles d'être modifiées sans préavis et AXA Investment Managers n’est pas tenu de les mettre à jour systématiquement.
 
Toutes ces données ont été établies sur la base d’informations rendues publiques par les fournisseurs officiels de statistiques économiques, et de marché. L’ensemble des graphiques du présent document, sauf mention contraire, ont été établi à la date de publication de ce document.
 
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Vues d’Iggo

Second lock

The increased number of positive COVID-19 cases across Europe has led to some restrictions on social mobility being re-imposed. The second wave is hitting when economies have hardly had time to steady themselves after the first wave. The picture in the US is more mixed but market focus is on the election and the prospects for fiscal stimulus and a vaccine in early 2021. The outperformance of the US is being helped by what looks like a decent Q3 earnings season. But watch the bond market. Long yields have fallen again. The message may be that the global economy needs even more help. Low yields should allow governments to spend even more next year. If that comes “quicker and bigger” in the US, the continued outperformance of dollar assets and the dollar itself could be the story of the new year.      

Two different narratives 

There appear to be two different narratives driving US and European markets. In the US it is the election. The chances of a Democratic sweep have improved in recent weeks and investors seem, at the moment, comfortable with the large lead that Joe Biden has in the opinion polls. A clear win for Biden reduces the risk of a contested election and the protracted legal arguments that would bring. This would pave the way for a significant fiscal stimulus in the early part of 2021. This week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested that governments should not worry too much about large fiscal deficits and investors don’t seem to be worried either. Concerns about a Biden Administration raising corporate taxes and tightening regulation have been relegated for the time being. After all, few think it would be wise to raise taxes soon after being elected with unemployment at 8% and many businesses across the United States still struggling to fully re-open. I’m sure that Democratic strategists think the same even if the overall policy agenda will mark a significant leftward shift relative to the last four years. Voters might think that a Biden Administration will make taking control of the pandemic a greater priority too as it is evident that infection rates are rising in many of the states that have not been overly strict in enforcing social distancing and the wearing of face-coverings. This is having an economic impact as states like Wisconsin have seen a surge in infections and last week also saw a large increase in initial claims for unemployment benefit. The “clear election win / cyclical reflationary outlook” has driven markets recently and is likely to remain the dominant thesis ahead of, and possibly beyond, November 3. 

Europe looking gloomier again 

In Europe, on the other hand, the focus is again on restricting social mobility in the wake of a second wave of infections which, in terms of case numbers, is worse than the initial wave in March. It isn’t the same, but there are concerns about rising hospitalisations and death rates across the region even if the case numbers themselves are boosted by the fact that much more testing is being done. Furthermore, the restrictions being imposed on the hospitality sector and social mobility are much milder than those imposed in the spring. As such, the direct impact on economic activity will be less. GDP will not fall as much in response to bars closing as it did to a third of the economy closing down in March. However, there are real economic concerns. New restrictions are being imposed when economies are operating at lower levels than they were at the end of 2019. The sectors in focus for new restrictions are the ones already decimated by previous policies and changes in consumer behaviour. It is likely that we will see even more businesses close, unemployment rises further, and household income and spending take another hit. Credit deterioration is likely in the corporate and household sector and that is a headache for a banking system already having to deal with an unhelpful interest rate environment. 

US optimism

To some extent the two narratives have been reflected in recent market moves. After suffering negative returns in September, US equity markets have bounced back this month, outpacing European equity returns by some margin. The strong performance at the beginning of this month in the US has been driven by the emerging consensus of a Democratic sweep, fiscal stimulus in 2021, the deployment of a vaccine early next year and the belief that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged even if there is higher inflation. Add to that early indications of a better than expected Q3 earnings season and the prospect of very low returns over the medium term for high quality fixed income assets and it is difficult to argue with equities remaining the asset class of choice. At the time of writing, according to Bloomberg, earnings releases so far this season reflect a 23% improvement relative to forecasts. This has been driven by financials so far which recorded strong capital markets trading revenues and lower credit provisions relative to Q2. On the technology side, the unveiling of Apple’s new generation of iPhones in advance of a broader roll-out of 5G networks underscores the likely dominance of the technology sector in the evolution of the global economy in the years ahead. Over the last decade, taking the main US S&P equity sectors, information technology has had the best risk-adjusted returns. I doubt that changes as more and more economic life becomes changed by the deployment of digitalisation, robotics and things like distributed ledger technology (DLT). 

More fiscal needed 

If that sounds bullish it is because I am thinking more about the medium term. In the short-term I would watch what the bond markets are doing. Long maturity government bond yields have fallen in the last month or so. This reflects the risk-off moves we saw in September, where again, holding long duration bond assets would have provided some hedge against negative equity returns (certainty in Europe where long duration German bunds and UK gilts had returns that more than offset the losses incurred by benchmark equity indices). However, it may also reflect a sanity check on where we are in terms of the economic recovery. Lower bond yields don’t suggest that the expectations of a long period of unchanged policy interest rates should be changed. It may also tell us that markets are comfortable with the notion that more fiscal stimulus needed. The IMF suggestion that governments need not be too concerned about higher deficits and rising debt levels seems to be one shared by the bond market. The yield on 30-year German bunds is minus 20 basis points. In the UK, the yield on 30-year gilts is just a tad above 70 basis points. With global growth continuing to be restrained by the pandemic – and who knows if there might be 3rd and 4th waves to come – the need for additional stimulus is going to increase. Central banks will do their bit by providing the fiscal room by keeping rates down, keeping real rates down and intervening in the market to alleviate any funding stresses that may arise. Is it Modern Monetary Theory or helicopter money? Maybe not quite as the purveyors of economic unorthodoxy would have it, but essentially, we are printing money to support government funded aggregate demand. Anyone want to try the alternative? The other thing to think about is whether the additional stimulus comes bigger and quicker in the US than in Europe. History tells us that it probably will and the divergence in market performance and narrative between the US and Europe could persist for some months. The contrarian view is to look for Euro/Dollar to move much lower again. 

Searching for defence 

While long bonds in Europe did hedge the equity declines in September, it was not so clear in the US. Treasuries remain stuck in a narrow range and have been there for months now. There is some value at the long end of the Treasury curve but if the cyclical reflation view is correct, there is not much scope for yields to come down unless there is a cyclical set-back. I was following a debate about the relevance of a balanced portfolio approach these days and one of the points made was that when this strategy was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, bond yields were much higher. Today the challenge is to find assets that provide some diversification without creating a significant drag on returns. As an investor, I want to be exposed to long-term secular growth assets where returns are going to be driven by even more technology and structural shifts related to the carbon transition. In public markets it is harder to reduce the volatility and smooth out performance in the inevitable ups and downs of long-duration equity assets. Private markets may offer the alternative with many fixed income, like cash-flows, but with limited liquidity and mark-to-market valuation points. Maybe we need to think about combining high return equity assets with a combination of defensive buckets that are made up of more than just government bonds. Having a defensive bucket of long duration bonds, short-duration credit and some defensive equities like utilities and consumer staples, could combine well with a growth bucket to provide something with a better risk-adjusted return profile than either a traditional 60:40 balanced fund or a pure market cap-weighted equity exposure. More thinking and work needs to be done on this especially as many investors have given up on bonds. 

Brexit blow? 

As I try and conclude what I must admit is a fairly uninspired note this week, my screens are lighting up with negative Brexit headlines. It seems that the British government is sending a signal that, as far as it is concerned, negotiations on a free trade deal with the European Union are going nowhere and the UK should prepare itself for a different outcome. This may be a negotiating tactic and we should consider the potential for a deal getting done at the last minute, but the tea-leaves are looking a bit more like they are pointing to something negative. That’s not great news for the UK economy. After a drop in global GDP and a relatively bigger one than for most of our trading partners, it doesn’t seem very sensible to then make exporting to those partners more difficult. I was admittedly a “Remainer” but it’s hard to argue against the view that UK firms might get hit on both the cost and revenue side by the way things are going. Perhaps sterling will bail them out. Successfully dealing with a pandemic and negotiating the biggest trade agreement in modern history would be a tall order for any government and is proving to be extremely difficult for the current UK administration. While UK equities are cheap in relative terms there is nothing about the UK situation at the moment that would encourage international money managers to increase their weighting to the UK. I would not rule out sterling in the low $1.20s again should the US election outlook pan out as suggested above. 

This communication is intended for professional adviser use only and should not be relied upon by retail clients. Circulation must be restricted accordingly.
Issued in the U.K. by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. Registered in England and Wales, No: 01431068. Registered Office: 7 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7NX (until 3rd September 2020); 155 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3YD (until 31st December 2020); 22 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ (from 1st January 2021).
In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.
Information relating to investments may have been based on research and analysis undertaken or procured by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited for its own purposes and may have been made available to other members of the AXA Investment Managers Group who in turn may have acted upon it. This material should not be regarded as an offer, solicitation, invitation or recommendation to subscribe for any AXA investment service or product and is provided to you for information purposes only. The views expressed do not constitute investment advice and do not necessarily represent the views of any company within the AXA Investment Managers Group and may be subject to change without notice. No representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein.
Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them can fluctuate and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. Changes in exchange rates will affect the value of investments made overseas. Investments in newer markets and smaller companies offer the possibility of higher returns but may also involve a higher degree of risk © AXA Investment Managers Paris - 8E010277

Vues d’Iggo

Covid-19 : Donald Trump est testé positif. Et après ?

The symbolism of President Trump testing positive for coronavirus will not be lost on market participants and economists. With little confidence that infection rates are falling, one reaction might be that economic behaviour becomes more restrictive again. We might need to again refocus on high frequency mobility data to get a clue on where economies go in the run-in to year-end. As important is the uncertainty that it brings to the US election and everything else that flows from that. 

Election uncertainty ramps up

The news that President Trump and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19 has added to sense of short-term uncertainty around the US political situation. Coming after last weeks’ reports about the President’s tax affairs, some will take the view that re-election is even more unlikely now. However, it will be important to see what the opinion polls say. The campaign will clearly be impacted as the President won’t be able to appear in person at debates or rallies. However, health providing, he will perhaps use Twitter even more. At this stage the world does not know whether the President is suffering any of the symptoms of COVID-19 but it has opened up lots of potential scenarios, just a month away from the election. Needless to say, market volatility is likely to notch up as the odds of different outcomes fluctuate. Many things – from US-China relations, post-election tax policy, the US’s relationship with global institutions, trade, climate change progress, social cohesion in the US –depend on how a 74-year old man reacts to getting a virus that has claimed over a million lives globally this year. Even with a full recovery, the news has changed the election dynamics, might change the way some intend to vote and how they reflect on the nature of the current Administration and its legacy.

US and China better in both the downturn and the recovery

The initial market response, and I am writing just a couple of hours after the news, was negative with S&P futures down and the VIX index up around 2% on the open. The MSCI World equity index peaked on 2 September and now stands more than 5% lower in price terms. September was a risk-off month with core government bonds outperforming credit and high yield in fixed income and equity markets. In local currency total returns, Japanese and UK equities were the relatively better performers in August, but the US and Chinese markets are still way ahead on a year-to-date basis. The impact of the virus has been significant in both human and economic costs across developed and developing countries, and policy responses have been similar at the macro level – monetary easing and fiscal stimulus. The difference in market responses has been that those equity markets that went down the most in Q1 have been the laggards in the recovery. A scatter chart of performance between Dec. 31st and March 31st on the x-axis and March 31st – September 30th on the y-axis shows a clear bottom left to top right distribution. With hindsight the markets you wanted to own where the US, China and Japan. Not sure that following the details of the virus and the minutiae of high frequency data prints has been that useful in making the right investment decisions. 

Mega stock role

The difference in the performance of the US and other markets might just be down to the existence of the mega-cap tech and social media stocks. Their businesses have benefitted from lockdowns and investors have put more value on long-term earnings driven by structural changes to our economies more than they have valued a potential cyclical recovery for shorter duration, more cyclically challenged businesses. After all, there have been plenty of reasons to be bearish on the US – policy uncertainties, the election, lack of coherent pandemic and social distancing policies, a huge loss of employment. But as I have been saying for months, the power of low (real) interest rates, credit backstop policies, fiscal stimulus, the belief that things will recover, that a vaccine will come and that the US is the only real home to those companies that will allow greater mobility in all walks of life in the future, have all combined to funnel money into the most dynamic parts of the American stock market.

Investment strategy

My basic investment principles rest on the notions of simplicity and diversification. While the more quantitative among us will argue that correlation is a blunt statistical technique and financial modelling has to be sophisticated to deliver the best strategies, my experience is that what matters is the fundamental DNA of the asset class and the fundamental DNA of the investors. Historically, this has been captured in the relationship between returns and risk and the investors’ willingness to position themselves somewhere on the axis between the two (however formulated). Now there is starting to be a third access, that of sustainability executed by integrating ESG or using dedicated ESG or impact strategies into portfolios. It may be that for an increasing number of investors non-financial considerations are the first level of decision making when choosing where to invest. I still contend that we are not there yet and hopefully never will be. Expected and desired returns and a level of capital stability drive most investment decisions but what is now clear is that once the right balance has been reached, the choices can be nuanced by a responsible investing approach. In addition, the investment community is getting better at embedding ESG factors into the return/risk calculation. 

Looking backwards, with higher rates

Whenever I play around with back-testing asset allocations, I can always come up with an allocation that delivers good historical risk-adjusted returns by essentially mixing risky and risk-free assets. Long duration government bonds with high yield and growth equities is generally where I end up. Risk-free government bonds provide capital stability, long duration versions of them provide the risk-factor that behaves in a negatively correlated way to economic growth/corporate cash-flow risk. They tend to have positive returns when equities have negative ones or credit returns weaken.

Looking forwards, with low rates

The question now is whether what worked in the past will work going forward, especially in a world of financial repression when bond yields are very low. A very simple back-tested portfolio of 40% over 10-year US Treasuries, 10% US corporate bonds, 15% US high yield bonds and 35% S&P500 equities would have delivered around 10% total return in 2020. That is actually just above the average return over the 2007-2020 period. If we look at the same allocation in euro with similar risk asset classes, the return this year would have been -1.6%, well below the longer-term average. A UK sterling version would have been even worse. When the risk-free rate gets very low and the earnings growth for the corporate sector is constrained, it’s hard to get decent returns. With one of my colleagues recently saying, “they’ve unplugged the rates markets”, even dyed in the wool bond guys are starting to question whether fixed income can deliver the hedge to risky assets that has made it so useful in the past. 

Bond returns

Empirically there doesn’t seem much evidence to support the notion that fixed income is a dead-hedge. Looking at total returns from ‘10-year and over’ government bond indices for the US, Germany and the UK, recent performance is not much difference from the historical pattern. The rolling 12-month volatility of daily returns was boosted by the rally in rates in March and remains elevated above long term averages. Returns over the last six months have fallen but, again, there is no evidence of a structural break in the return history. You would expect returns to fall when the economy is growing (yes it has been growing since April) and equity and credit excess returns are positive. However, it is clear that the closer bond yields are to their realistic lows the power of duration is diminished. It is noticeable that despite equity markets falling sharply in response to the news about the President, bond yields haven’t really moved.

Lower (rates) needs longer (duration)

The yield on the 10-year+ German bond index is -0.30% compared to the ECB’s deposit rate of -0.5%. There is more scope in the US and the UK for lower long-term yields, but it would need a renewed and shock-driven equity market decline to bring those yields lower. In the absence of risk-off you don’t need the insurance, but it might be worth having it anyway given the uncertainties in the outlook. If we are in a happy world with equity returns of 10% per year then presumably the macro outlook will allow bond yields to rise. At the moment if investors want to rely on bonds being a hedge, they have to accept that the bond allocation has to be much longer in duration (rate sensitivity) than was the case in the past. If central banks don’t encourage the idea that rates could still move lower, then the power of the hedge is clearly reduced.

The future recovery to higher rates

One thing is for sure is that low interest rates do create downward pressure on returns across markets largely because they reflect a weak macro-economic environment where earnings growth has to be driven by real fundamental changes in the economy rather than price advantages and operational gearing. Despite all the fears around the ongoing impact of the virus, economic growth is happening and spending in many areas has recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels. Housing markets are booming, and consumer spending has benefitted massively from income support programmes. Some policy makers are talking up the economy – perhaps the Fed might not have to wait six years this time before raising rates again. It’s too soon to say but the core US personal consumption expenditure deflator in August was 1.4% y/y after falling to just 0.5% y/y in April. A similar rise in the Fed’s preferred inflation measure over the next six months would certainly re-plug the interest rate markets. 

This communication is intended for professional adviser use only and should not be relied upon by retail clients. Circulation must be restricted accordingly.
Issued in the U.K. by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. Registered in England and Wales, No: 01431068. Registered Office: 7 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7NX (until 3rd September 2020); 155 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3YD (until 31st December 2020); 22 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ (from 1st January 2021).
In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.
Information relating to investments may have been based on research and analysis undertaken or procured by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited for its own purposes and may have been made available to other members of the AXA Investment Managers Group who in turn may have acted upon it. This material should not be regarded as an offer, solicitation, invitation or recommendation to subscribe for any AXA investment service or product and is provided to you for information purposes only. The views expressed do not constitute investment advice and do not necessarily represent the views of any company within the AXA Investment Managers Group and may be subject to change without notice. No representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein.
Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them can fluctuate and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. Changes in exchange rates will affect the value of investments made overseas. Investments in newer markets and smaller companies offer the possibility of higher returns but may also involve a higher degree of risk © AXA Investment Managers Paris - 8E010277

Vues d’Iggo

Une reprise fragile

Social distancing seems to be affecting the ability of Premier League defenders to defend. Governments are closing bars and restaurants. Infection rates remain high. The US election circus is becoming even more unpredictable. These remain very, very unusual times. I remain of the view that we are not ready for higher bond yields and a strong cyclical recovery. The equally weighted S&P500 index is down 2% in price terms year-to-date, compared to the market cap weighted index being up 5.8%. The difference is a handful of long-duration growth stocks that have outperformed everything. What that also tells us is that we are not yet seeing a true cyclical earnings driven market. An uncertain short-term outlook suggests it will be well into 2021 before we do.     

Fragile recovery 

There has been a clear recovery in global economic activity over the last six months and if you choose the right set of data it can be made to look like a V-shape. The recovery, helped in no short measure by monetary and fiscal policy stimulus, is a major reason for the strong performance of equity and credit markets over the period. However, it is equally clear that it is going to take a long-time to get back to where we were before the crisis in terms of levels of GDP and employment. It will take even longer to get back to where we should have been if growth had not been so aggressively curtailed at the end of Q1. This will mean higher unemployment than would otherwise have been the case and, when government income support schemes eventually run out, a lower level of household income and spending. 

More restrictions amid still high infection rates 

In the short term the risks are clear, and it is easy to take a more bearish outlook on growth in the next couple of quarters given the escalation of new lock-down measures across many countries. According to the data from the Johns Hopkins University, confirmed new daily cases of coronavirus are currently running at over 320,000 globally and there has been a steady rise in the moving average since the early summer. The run rate in the US is lower than at its peak in July but it not materially falling below around 50,000 per day. Russia is seeing a re-acceleration and other emerging economies are having to deal with rising infection rates (see the data for Argentina, for example). This obviously reflects more widespread testing and may even be suggesting that herd immunity might soon be reached in some sectors of society (looks like amongst the student population in the UK, for example). In turn, this may be good news as the infection growth rate should slow at a time there could be good news on a vaccine. However, governments are cautious, mindful of protecting health systems when hospitalisation rates are climbing again (albeit from low levels). Economic activity is being restricted again as a result. The net effect is a more clouded outlook in the short-term which in turn will lead investors to ask whether more stimulus can come from central banks and governments. 

Long term losses 

Growth may resume at a healthier pace in 2021 on the assumption that we will be closer to the end of the pandemic and that there will be more economic stimulus (post-election in the US, the deployment of fiscal help in Europe). However, sadly, there will be businesses and jobs that don’t survive, especially in the travel, leisure and hospitality sectors. There is also a read across to ongoing problems for commercial real estate and bank balance sheets. The legacy of the pandemic will be higher output gaps and higher levels of debt. It is hard to see interest rates rising for many years as a result. I was struck by the news that a major cinema operator was closing all its theatres this week. Who knows, that may turn out to be a permanent decision. But people will want to go to see films again, won’t they? We will want to eat out in restaurants and go on holiday. If lots of providers of those services are gone, how do we once again redress the supply-demand imbalance? There will be investment opportunities but the cost of capital for resurrecting those businesses might be prohibitive. Hence the ongoing need for an increased level of intervention in the private sector from the state. Maybe some phoenix funds emerge to take advantage of the potential resurgence in those activities once the all-clear on the virus is sounded.

Inflation gaps 

My basic Looking through the near term, the important thing for markets remains the rate outlook and the earnings outlook. If other central banks follow the US Federal Reserve (Fed) in terms of nuancing their inflation targeting model towards an “average inflation” target, then the logic is that rates have to remain on hold for a very long-time. Despite my love of a good chart I rarely include them in this weekly note. However, this week is an exception. Chart 1 plots consumer price index levels for the US, UK and Euro area over the last five years (re-based to 100) against what they should look like if we did have a 2% inflation rate. The clear observation is that consumer price levels have been below target over the entire period (and going back longer by the way). The only slight exception is that the UK’s price level tracked a 2% target for a while but recently inflation has been lower and the “inflation gap” has widened again. A confrontational interpretation of Jerome Powell’s new inflation averaging policy would be that for all the time inflation has been below 2%, it needs to be above it for the average to be sufficient to force higher interest rates. Rates on hold for at least five years then? 

No rise in expectations 

Of course, inflation may rise. That is not being priced in though. The implied 10-year/10-year forward inflation break-even rate from the structure of US Treasury and TIPS markets is just 1.82%. The 5-year/5-year forward inflation swap rate is 2.15%, in the bottom half of its historical range. It’s a similar picture for the Euro Area and the UK. Now I still like inflation linked bonds in a diversified portfolio, given their low level of correlation to other assets and the optionality that is provided by break-evens still being quite low. However, I’m not convinced that we see inflation high enough to force interest rate hikes for a very long-time. 

Real yields 

Some equity investors are concerned that real yields, which are very low, will rise and this will undermine multiples in the equity market. It’s true that since the Global Financial Crisis, real yields have fallen consistently while equity valuations have risen. However, I tend to think that it has been QE and financial repression that has driven valuations higher as real yields had been falling for many years before the financial crash and the S&P500 PE ratio actually fell on balance during the noughties. I do concede that a rise in real yields from their current -1% (on 10-year maturity) would probably be negative for equities, especially if it came about through even lower inflation prints. Such a scenario might accelerate the need for the Fed to be even more aggressive, pushing nominal yields lower still to ensure real yields remain supportive. The current gap between the S&P500 earnings yield (the inverse of the PE) and the real 10-year bond yield is around 5.7%, in line with the average for the last 10-years or so. On that basis and in this current policy environment, it suggests that the market is not particularly stretched in relative valuation terms. Having said that, the market average is totally distorted by the performance and ratings of a handful of large-cap growth stocks. The equally weighted S&P index is still down on the year.

More evidence needed for cyclical tilt 

So, inflation stays low or only rises slowly, rates stay low until that has happened enough to raise inflation average, and as a result real rates remain low. Yield curves may steepen if the recovery strengthens but policy on hold and a strong global bid for duration might restrict how far that can go for now. Typically, the curve should steepen with policy on hold and the last time the Fed held rates at 0.25%, the gap between 10-year and 2-year bonds rose to as high as 280bps (it’s just 61bps at the moment). However, I just don’t see things being lined up sufficiently to allow that to happen just yet. Looking at the equity market, the most recent consensus forecasts for earnings per share in 2021 are not suggesting a huge amount of confidence in the cyclical recovery. The consensus EPS forecast for the S&P500 for 2021 is currently $160. The first published 2021 forecast was $192 per share. Forecasts were slashed and have yet to recover from the lows, even with some steepening of the yield curve over the period. For the most cyclical sectors, estimates are still well down on initial expectations (basic materials down 13%, consumer services down 23%, industrials down 17%). The downgrades are much lower for healthcare, IT and utilities. At the moment the “steeper yield curve, rising inflation, cyclical recovery, value over-growth” story just does not hang together strongly.

Hurdles 

There is a value trap risk in that investment strategy in the short-term. However, with patience it is a more compelling medium-term story. Over time longer-term yields should rise and we will get upward revisions to cyclical earnings forecasts. The hurdles at the moment come from the uncertainty around the US election and the uncertainty about the timing and effectiveness of a vaccine. There is a bullish scenario for next year if and when both those hurdles are mounted. At the moment, opinion polls are starting to suggest more confidence in a Biden win and a potential Democratic sweep of Congress. If that transpires and Trump’s threats to contest the election result don’t materialise, I suspect there will be a surge of confidence in the outlook even if it means having to price in a shift towards higher corporate taxes and more regulation. The first priority for a new Administration would be combating the health and economic impact of the pandemic, meaning more fiscal help. Getting there, however, is going to be bumpy and should there be a contested result I wouldn’t be surprised to see a significant correction in risk assets and a rally in rates. Perhaps the best approach for now is to just “standby”.    

It's so quiet 

Anyone that went “long goals” in their Premier League betting will be feeling quite smug at the moment. The crazy (and for some of us very depressing) results from last weekend made for very good TV highlights and have added to the unpredictability of this strange season. Being played under COVID-19 restrictions and in empty stadiums is clearly having an impact on the ability of defenders to defend. There have only been 4 games and already Manchester City have conceded 5 in a game, United 6 and Liverpool 7. Perhaps the lack of a crowd is making defenders too relaxed or unaware of the dangers of leaving attackers unmarked – taking social distancing too literally. Hopefully, as a support of Manchester United, things can’t get worse than last Sunday. Hopefully.

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Analyses et stratégies d’investissement

Comment les gouvernements vont-ils palier à la dette engendrée par la COVID 19 ?

A theoretic overview of debt and the possible measures to reduce it

Key points

  • Government debt levels have surged to levels not seen for more than 50 years in the wake of the pandemic
  • Government debt does not face the same constraints as households and businesses, reducing incentives for debt reduction. With interest rates subdued, debt should fall as a proportion of GDP over the coming years
  • However, with debt now at elevated levels, governments may face rising growth headwinds, questions over fiscal space, and in the extreme, sustainability issues
  • We present measures to assess government debt levels. We conclude that governments have scope to provide ongoing fiscal support to the current macroeconomic shock. But most governments will need to undertake protracted measures to reduce debt once the recovery is underway.
  • We also analyse the tools governments can use to reduce indebtedness. We conclude that the more imaginative ways of eroding debt are unlikely to be as effective as they were in the last century. Accordingly, we expect the process of debt reduction to ultimately be conducted by fiscal consolidation, over a period of decades

This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments as per MIF Directive (2014/65/EU), nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities.

It has been established on the basis of data, projections, forecasts, anticipations and hypothesis which are subjective. Its analysis and conclusions are the expression of an opinion, based on available data at a specific date. All information in this document is established on data made public by official providers of economic and market statistics. AXA Investment Managers disclaims any and all liability relating to a decision based on or for reliance on this document. All exhibits included in this document, unless stated otherwise, are as of the publication date of this document. Furthermore, due to the subjective nature of these opinions and analysis, these data, projections, forecasts, anticipations, hypothesis, etc. are not necessary used or followed by AXA IM’s portfolio management teams or its affiliates, who may act based on their own opinions. Any reproduction of this information, in whole or in part is, unless otherwise authorised by AXA IM, prohibited.

Neither MSCI nor any other party involved in or related to compiling, computing or creating the MSCI data makes any express or implied warranties or representations with respect to such data (or the results to be obtained by the use thereof), and all such parties hereby expressly disclaim all warranties of originality, accuracy, completeness, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to any of such data. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall MSCI, any of its affiliates or any third party involved in or related to compiling, computing or creating the data have any liability for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of the possibility of such damages. No further distribution or dissemination of the MSCI data is permitted without MSCI’s express written consent.

This document has been edited by AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS SA, a company incorporated under the laws of France, having its registered office located at Tour Majunga, 6 place de la Pyramide, 92800 Puteaux, registered with the Nanterre Trade and Companies Register under number 393 051 826. In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.

In the UK, this document is intended exclusively for professional investors, as defined in Annex II to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2014/65/EU (“MiFID”). Circulation must be restricted accordingly. 

© AXA Investment Managers 2020. All rights reserved

Multi Asset

Pourquoi investir dans les actions cycliques dans cette phase du cycle économique ?

Points clés

  • Les actions cycliques appartiennent souvent à des secteurs bien spécifiques et sont sensibles à l’évolution du cycle économique
  • Une position tactique à fort potentiel ; les actions cycliques ont tendance à surperformer les actions des autres secteurs dans les phases de reprise et d’expansion du cycle économique, et inversement
  • L’importance de la sélection des valeurs : une approche fine et discrétionnaire

Identifier les actions cycliques

Les actions cycliques sont généralement caractérisées par la forte sensibilité de leur modèle économique aux variations de l’environnement macroéconomique. En effet, leur chiffre d’affaires, les prix des biens et services qu’elles vendent, leur croissance ainsi que leur profitabilité sont généralement assez dépendantes de la phase du cycle économique dans laquelle elles évoluent.

Nous avons identifié cinq secteurs parmi les onze établis par le Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) que nous jugeons sensibles aux cycles économiques1 :

  • L’énergie, qui correspond à l’exploitation du pétrole, du gaz, du charbon et autres combustibles, est sensible aux prix de ces matières premières. Ces derniers sont eux-mêmes très dépendants de la dynamique de la demande et donc de la position dans le cycle.
  • Les matériaux, qui englobent les produits chimiques, agricoles, les matériaux de construction mais aussi l’acier et l’or notamment, issus des matières premières, sont également assez sensibles à leurs variations de prix.
  • La consommation discrétionnaire, qui correspond notamment au secteur automobile et aux biens de consommation durables, est dépendante du pouvoir d’achat des ménages.
  • L’industrie, qui regroupe notamment les biens d’équipement comme par exemple les machines-outils, ainsi que les transports, est dépendante des anticipations de la croissance mondiale.
  • La finance, qui correspond à l’activité des banques et des institutions financières spécialisées. Les profits des banques de détail dépendent généralement du volume de crédit et de la pente de la courbe de taux. Cette dernière détermine la marge nette d’intérêt des services bancaires dans la mesure où les banques empruntent à court terme pour prêter à long terme.

Le secteur des technologies de l’information, qui englobe les services connexes ainsi que le software et le hardware, occupe une place à part. Alors qu’il était considéré comme un secteur cyclique par le passé, un certain nombre des valeurs « tech » interviennent maintenant souvent sur des marchés de niche et disposent d’une forte capacité à préserver leurs marges, à fixer les prix et sont ainsi peu sensibles aux pressions concurrentielles liées aux fluctuations cycliques.

Les secteurs de la santé, les télécoms, les services aux collectivités, la consommation de base et l’immobilier sont considérés comme plus défensifs et moins sensibles ou dépendants de l’évolution de l’environnement économique global.

Une position tactique intéressante dans cette phase du cycle économique

De manière schématique, un cycle économique se compose de quatre phases principales :

  1. Expansion. Phase de maturité du cycle et de prospérité durant laquelle la croissance économique est supérieure ou égale à son potentiel de long terme.
  2. Décélération. Phase de retournement qui intervient généralement avec une période de surchauffe. La croissance demeure positive mais ralentit pour passer en deçà de son potentiel. Le risque de récession augmente.
  3. Dépression. Phase de crise durant laquelle l’activité économique est sous son potentiel de long terme et continue de décélérer. Elle peut aller jusqu’à une phase de récession caractérisée par un recul du PIB durant deux trimestres consécutifs.
  4. Reprise. Phase durant laquelle la croissance touche un point bas, commence à se stabiliser puis à rebondir depuis des niveaux très faibles, voire négatifs, généralement aidé par la mise en place de stimuli fiscaux et monétaires.

Source : AXA IM

L’analyse historique montre que les titres et secteurs cycliques ont tendance à surperformer leurs pairs dans les phases de reprise (4) et dans une moindre mesure d’expansion (1), tandis qu’ils ont tendance à souffrir dans les phases de décélération (2) et de dépression (3) qui sont favorables aux titres défensifs.

Toute la question est ainsi de savoir dans quelle phase du cycle économique se trouvent les pays qui constituent notre univers d’investissement de manière à sélectionner les titres et les secteurs dans nos portefeuilles en conséquence.

L’implémentation de mesures de confinement dans une grande partie du monde afin de ralentir l’évolution de l’épidémie de COVID 19 et de soulager les systèmes de santé a eu comme corolaire un effet économique dévastateur, mettant fin à la plus longue phase d’expansion économique depuis la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale. Cela a provoqué une récession profonde dans les économies développées, avec une violente contraction au 1er et au 2ème trimestre 2020 ; cependant, la croissance devrait nettement rebondir au 3ème et au 4ème trimestre, aidée par le soutien sans précédent des autorités monétaires et des programmes de relance budgétaire colossaux, faisant de cette récession la récession la plus marquée mais aussi l’une des plus courtes de l’après-guerre.

Les données économiques récentes montrent en effet les premiers effets de la politique de déconfinement mise en œuvre dans les économies développées. Aux Etats-Unis, les derniers chiffres sur le marché du travail montrent ainsi que le taux de chômage a très probablement déjà entamé sa décrue, même s’il reste très élevé, tandis que les ventes au détail ont très fortement rebondi, témoignant de la volonté des ménages américains de dépenser l’énorme montant d’épargne accumulé grâce au soutien massif du gouvernement. Nous nous trouvons par conséquent dans la phase de reprise qui voit les titres cycliques surperformer leurs pairs plus défensifs.

L’importance de la sélection des valeurs en Europe et aux Etats-Unis ; une approche fine et discrétionnaire

Depuis le début de l’année, l’effondrement de la croissance a permis aux secteurs défensifs de très largement surperformer les secteurs cycliques. Ces derniers présentent ainsi une décote importante par rapport au reste du marché. D’une manière générale, nous apprécions structurellement les entreprises qui offrent un dividende élevé, qui sont capables de générer d’importants flux de trésorerie et qui affichent des fondamentaux solides. Toutefois, le scénario de reprise économique que nous envisageons nous amène à conserver de manière tactique un panier de titres cycliques européens des secteurs de la consommation discrétionnaire, de l’industrie, de la finance et des matériaux de bases dans nos portefeuilles, tels que Michelin, Bouygues ou ING. Nous ferons cependant preuve d’agilité en ajustant nos allocations de façon réactive et préventive en fonction de l’environnement macroéconomique afin de réaliser les mouvements tactiques que vous jugerons opportuns.

Investir sur les marchés présente des risques de perte en capital

Les entreprises citées sont données à titre d’exemple et ne présentent pas un conseil en investissement ou une recommandation de la part d’AXA IM.

[1] La classification établie par le Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) recense les 11 secteurs suivants : énergie, matériaux, industrie, consommation discrétionnaire, biens de consommation de base, santé, finance, technologie de l’information, service de télécommunication, services aux collectivités et immobilier.

Avertissement

Ce document est exclusivement conçu à des fins d’information et ne constitue ni une recherche en investissement ni une analyse financière concernant les transactions sur instruments financiers conformément à la Directive MIF 2 (2014/65/CE) ni ne constitue, de la part d’AXA Investment Managers ou de ses affiliés, une offre d’acheter ou vendre des investissements, produits ou services et ne doit pas être considéré comme une sollicitation, un conseil en investissement ou un conseil juridique ou fiscal, une recommandation de stratégie d’investissement ou une recommandation personnalisée d’acheter ou de vendre des titres financiers. Ce document a été établi sur la base d'informations, projections, estimations, anticipations et hypothèses qui comportent une part de jugement subjectif. Ses analyses et ses conclusions sont l’expression d’une opinion indépendante, formée à partir des informations disponibles à une date donnée. Toutes les données de ce document ont été établies sur la base d’informations rendues publiques par les fournisseurs officiels de statistiques économiques et de marché. AXA Investment Managers décline toute responsabilité quant à la prise d’une décision sur la base ou sur la foi de ce document. L’ensemble des graphiques du présent document, sauf mention contraire, a été établi à la date de publication de ce document. Du fait de sa simplification, ce document peut être partiel et les informations qu’il présente peuvent être subjectives. Par ailleurs, de par la nature subjective des opinions et analyses présentées, ces données, projections, scénarii, perspectives, hypothèses et/ou opinions ne seront pas nécessairement utilisés ou suivis par les équipes de gestion de portefeuille d’AXA Investment Managers ou de ses affiliés qui pourront agir selon leurs propres opinions. Toute reproduction et diffusion, même partielles, de ce document sont strictement interdites, sauf autorisation préalable expresse d’AXA Investment Managers. L’information concernant le personnel d’AXA Investment Managers est uniquement informative. Nous n’apportons aucune garantie sur le fait que ce personnel restera employé par AXA Investment Managers et exercera ou continuera à exercer des fonctions au sein d’AXA Investment Managers.

AXA Investment Managers Paris – Tour Majunga – La Défense 9 – 6, place de la Pyramide – 92800 Puteaux. Société de gestion de portefeuille titulaire de l’agrément AMF N° GP 92-008 en date du 7 avril 1992 S.A au capital de 1 384 380 euros immatriculée au registre du commerce et des sociétés de Nanterre sous le numéro 353 534 506.

AXA IM étend sa politique de vote en faveur de la diversité femmes/hommes dans les marchés développés et émergents

  • AXA IM introduit un objectif de diversité de 33% pour les marchés développés1 à partir de l'année prochaine
  • AXA IM va également renforcer sa politique pour les entreprises des marchés émergents, ainsi qu’au Japon

AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) étend sa politique de vote en faveur de la diversité femmes/hommes afin de renforcer son influence pour que les entreprises améliorent leur gouvernance.

À partir de 2021, AXA IM ciblera les entreprises cotées des marchés développés dont au moins un tiers des membres du Conseil d'Administration n’est pas issu de la diversité des genres2. Ce nouvel objectif permettra à AXA IM d’avoir en portefeuille des entreprises respectant les mêmes standards élevés de diversité, et de la faire progresser dans ces pays.

Par ailleurs, AXA IM cible également depuis cette année les entreprises cotées des marchés émergents, ainsi que le Japon, lorsque qu’il n’y a pas au moins une femme siégeant au Conseil d'Administration (ou lorsqu’il n’y a pas au minimum 10 % de femmes pour les Conseils plus importants).

AXA IM continuera à encourager toutes les entreprises, tant dans les marchés développés qu’émergents, à publier et rendre compte de leur politique et de leurs objectifs en matière de diversité femmes/hommes au sein de leur Comité Exécutif.

AXA IM tiendra les entreprises responsables de leurs objectifs, et, si ils ne sont pas respectés, exercera une pression au travers de ses initiatives d'engagement afin que ces entreprises fournissent des explications et un plan d’actions pour les atteindre.

AXA IM peut également exercer ses droits de vote lors des Assemblées Générales des entreprises afin d’exprimer ses préoccupations lorsque ces dernières ne publient pas les informations requises et n’ont pas de plan d’action s’agissant de la diversité de leur Comité Exécutif.

Yo Takatsuki, Head of ESG Research and Active Ownership chez AXA Investment Managers, a déclaré : « Des études3 démontrent que les entreprises disposant d’un Conseil d'Administration équilibré et diversifié en termes de genre ont une meilleure rentabilité et créent plus de valeur. Ces Conseils gèrent mieux les réflexions en groupe, initient débats et innovations, et promeuvent une plus grande diversité au sein de l’ensemble de l'organisation. Ces changements sont conformes à notre conviction de tenir les Conseils d'Administration responsables des meilleures normes de gouvernance, en leur qualité de gardiens de la performance durable des entreprises.

Notre objectif de 33 % pour les entreprises cotées dans les pays développés et notre nouvelle politique pour les entreprises cotées des marchés émergents, ainsi que le Japon, est une nouvelle étape importante du développement de nos politiques de vote sur les sujets de diversité femmes/hommes. Cela nous permet d’utiliser au mieux nos droits pour engager les entreprises dans un dialogue constructif produisant un effet tangible. »

En 2019, les initiatives d’engagement actionnarial d'AXA IM en faveur de la diversité femmes/hommes ont eu pour objectif d’inciter les entreprises à avoir une égalité des genres à tous les niveaux hiérarchiques. La manière dont les considérations liées à la diversité des genres sont prises en compte dans la politique de vote lors des Assemblées Générales a également été améliorée, en votant contre :

  • l'approbation du rapport et des comptes de la société, ou un administrateur, lorsque le Conseil d’Administration était composé uniquement d'hommes dans les entreprises des marchés développés,
  • le Président du Comité de nomination dans les entreprises de l'indice britannique FTSE All Share Index, lorsque moins d'un quart du Conseil d'Administration était composé de femmes,
  • le Président du Comité de nomination ou un administrateur dans les entreprises américaines dont le Conseil d'Administration comptait moins de 20 % de femmes.

Entre 2018 et 2019, le nombre de votes « contre » d’AXA IM lié à la diversité femmes/hommes est passé de 45 à 2454. De janvier à mai 2020, AXA IM a voté contre 230 résolutions lors de 186 Assemblées Générales en lien avec ces mêmes sujets5.

Yo Takatsuki a ajouté : « En tant qu’investisseur de long terme pour nos clients, nous sommes convaincus que les intérêts des actionnaires sont mieux pris en compte lorsque le Conseil d'Administration est structuré de manière à garantir une diversité appropriée de compétences, de connaissances et d'expérience parmi les administrateurs, en adéquation avec les exigences de l'activité de l’entreprise. »

 

Votes d’AXA IM sur les questions de diversité des genres :



 

 

 

1Selon la définition d'AXA IM, ici :

- Marchés développés : Amérique du Nord, pays développés en Asie, Océanie (Australie, HK, Nouvelle Zelande, Singapour), Europe Développée.

- Marchés émergents : pays émergents, ainsi que le Japon dans le cadre de cette politique, en raison de la structure traditionnellement à prédominance masculine des Conseils d’Administration.

2AXA IM s'opposera spécifiquement à l'élection ou à la réélection du Président du Comité de nomination lorsque ces exigences minimales ne sont pas remplies. Si l'élection/réélection n'est pas à l'ordre du jour, AXA IM votera contre l'approbation des comptes.

3Voir les études suivantes :

4Source : AXA IM, 2019 Active Ownership and Stewardship Report, February 2020.

5Source : AXA IM, du 1er janvier au 31 Mai 2020.

6Source : AXA IM, du 1er janvier au 31 Mai 2020.

Contacts

Hélène Caillet

+33 1 44 45 88 06

helene.Caillet@axa-im.com

Servane Taslé

+33 6 66 58 84 28

servane@steeleandholt.com

À propos d’AXA Investment Managers

AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) est un investisseur global et multi actifs, qui s’appuie sur une approche active et de long terme pour offrir à ses clients les solutions dont ils ont besoin pour sécuriser l’avenir de leurs investissements tout en ayant un impact positif sur la société. Avec environ 804 milliards d’euros d’actifs sous gestion à fin mars 2020, AXA IM emploie plus de 2 360 collaborateurs dans le monde répartis dans 28 bureaux et 20 pays. AXA IM fait partie du Groupe AXA qui compte parmi les leaders mondiaux de la protection financière et de la gestion de patrimoine.

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Publié par AXA Investment Managers Paris – Tour Majunga – 6, place de la Pyramide – 92908 Paris La Défense cedex. Société de gestion de portefeuille titulaire de l’agrément AMF N° GP 92-08 en date du 7 avril 1992. S.A. au capital de 1 384 380 euros immatriculée au registre du commerce et des sociétés de Nanterre sous le numéro 353 534 506. Ce communiqué de Presse est émis à la date indiquée. Il ne constitue pas une publicité financière telle que définie par le droit français. Il est émis dans un but d’information. Les performances passées ne sauraient préjuger des résultats futurs. Les opinions exprimées ne constituent pas un conseil en investissement, ne représentent pas nécessairement les opinions de l’une des sociétés du Groupe AXA Investment Managers et sont susceptibles de changer sans préavis.  Nous ne faisons aucune déclaration ni n’offrons aucune garantie explicite ou implicite (y compris à l’égard de tiers) quant à l’exactitude, la fiabilité ou l’exhaustivité des informations contenues dans ce document. Aucune décision financière ne devrait être prise sur la seule base des informations fournies. Toute mention de stratégie n'est pas destinée à être promotionnelle et n'indique pas la disponibilité d'un véhicule d'investissement.

Tomorrow Augmented

COVID-19: Accelerating the energy transition and driving climate-friendly investment opportunities

The decade of transition got off to a start nobody could have predicted – or wanted. Less than year into the 2020s, the world is reeling from the shock of COVID-19, a pandemic which has taken both lives and livelihoods and severely hit the global economy.

The impact of the coronavirus and subsequent global lockdown saw the US and the Eurozone economies endure their worst quarters on record between April through to the end of June - and the virus has far from run its course. However, as industry was put on pause and planes were grounded, the environment has enjoyed some renewed breathing space.

The United in Science report, a study from the United Nations (UN) and other global institutions, concluded that as large parts of the world became locked down during April, daily emission rates plummeted by a steep 17% compared with the same period in 2019. However, since the partial lifting of lockdowns, levels have increased once again and in June were just 5% below last year. For the whole of 2020, it is expected emissions will drop by between 4% and 7%.[i]

But the analysis warned that 2016 to 2020 is expected to be the warmest five-year period on record as climate change continues to tighten its grip.

For the environment, the recent emissions retreat is certainly a positive. But as António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations highlighted: “Never before has it been so clear that we need long-term, inclusive, clean transitions to tackle the climate crisis and achieve sustainable development. We must turn the recovery from the pandemic into a real opportunity to build a better future.”

To deliver on the 2015 Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C, we need to dramatically cut emissions and move the global energy sector away from fossil-based fuels, towards greener, renewable alternatives.

Read more: We must not sacrifice an environmental crisis just to resolve an economic one

As a business AXA IM is a committed partner in this transition – we have already pledged to exit all coal investments in OECD countries by the end of this decade, and throughout the rest of the world by 2040. But we know more must be done.

Despite all the challenges the world is facing, we believe a ‘green recovery’ is possible. Policymaker action is helping this cause with numerous governments announcing climate-friendly rehabilitation initiatives - even China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060. 

Looking at the current state of play, AXA IM’s CIO for Core Investments, Chris Iggo, believes the pandemic has very much sharpened the focus on climate change and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Looking ahead, he expects investors are most likely to reward those companies that are meeting the challenge of making their businesses more sustainable.

"Green bonds, ESG integration, impact and dedicated carbon reduction investment strategies will all be vital elements in investors’ contributions" - Chris Iggo, CIO for Core Investments

He says: “It is quite astounding how rapidly the carbon transition is impacting business strategy through the need to disclose more data on carbon emissions, to sign up to targets that align with the Paris Agreement, and to use carbon pricing as a tool to properly reflect the economics of their business. Being able to demonstrate how COVID-19 has accelerated the carbon transition will be critical in the discussions between company managers and investors.  

“Taxes may need to rise because of the COVID-19 recession – part of this could be a more active role for carbon taxes which would help shift demand away from carbon intensive activities to alternatives. However, achieving the Paris Agreement will require substantially more investment in alternatives, carbon capture and efficiency. Green bonds, ESG integration, impact and dedicated carbon reduction investment strategies will all be vital elements in investors’ contributions.”

Gilles Moec, AXA Group Chief Economist adds: “Public authorities – at least in Europe – have come to regard supporting the green transition as a way to spur economic growth, in contrast with a popular approach purporting an inconsistency between the two objectives. In many core countries of the European Union where public opinion is traditionally hostile to fiscal activism, environmental concerns are high on the agenda. 

“We think that reconciling economic growth and the green transition is better achieved when the policy instrument shifts to investment projects combined with carbon tax, rather than the usual combination of tax and production subsidy.”

Below four AXA IM ESG experts assess whether the crisis will help accelerate the energy transition, and outline what they think the investment implications could be.

 

Lise Moret, Head of Climate Strategy – Impact and Responsible Investment

I believe that the pandemic can ultimately influence the speed of energy transition for the better. Take the example of the car manufacturing industry - electric vehicle sales have been resilient in 2019 compared to other auto business lines. This trend should continue despite the COVID-19 outbreak.[ii]

This is an interesting point - the question of mobility. This angle of accelerating energy transition, by accelerating the need for new sources of energy, in my view has been a direct result of the coronavirus crisis. Overall, one third of the energy transition will come via investments in renewable energy such as windfarms and solar technology. The pandemic will not be the only catalyst – we still need a greater effort. But there is very much an economic rationale here in terms of delivering cleaner, cheaper energy.

The question though, is also how the supply of energy may evolve. We need to continue to incentivise firms to not only stop capital expenditure in fossil energy but also to increase and speed up their investment plans in low-carbon renewables.

We have started to see some changes in the demand-side sectors, especially around mobility, transportation and in real estate. But we still need to continue raising our expectations on the energy supply mix firms – namely oil and gas companies which have a huge responsibility and shifting energy offering.

Here we have seen a very steep drop in prices and companies are starting to take into consideration the importance of shifting their energy mix, but it’s quite correlated to the economic situation – we need to consider that and look at how we can better support this industry in terms of the transition. Energy transition may speed up as a result of this pandemic but when the economy is collapsing, everything is collapsing.

"We need to continue to incentivise firms to not only stop capital expenditure in fossil energy but also to increase and speed up their investment plans in low-carbon renewables." - Lise Moret, Head of Climate Strategy – Impact and Responsible Investment

We still must deliver the message to policymakers that they need to encourage this transition, for example via subsidies. The hit to global GDP, forecast to contract by -4.4% this year, is likely to be temporary, and indeed the International Monetary Fund expects 2021 global growth to reach 5.2%.[iii] But that means the drop in global carbon dioxide emissions will be short-lived too. For all our progress over the years, we have not successfully decoupled economic growth from carbon emissions, at least not yet.

To put the potential 2020 coronavirus effect in a broader climate context, global greenhouse gas emissions would need to fall by more than 6% every year this decade, to limit warming to a maximum of 1.5˚C above pre-industrial temperatures. If negative emissions technologies are excluded or fail to become available at scale, then the required emissions reductions for 1.5˚C would be even higher, at 15% every year until 2040. From 2021, annual emissions cuts should be more than 7% and emissions need to peak as soon as possible.[iv]

Read more: COVID-19: Greening the recovery

However, the expected recovery will give us a chance to embed industrial and societal shifts that support the energy transition. We believe that the coronavirus outbreak should harden policy thinking around climate change, and the need for decisive and collaborative action to tackle global, existential threats. It should help encourage public stimulus for green initiatives and should strengthen key themes for investor engagement.

For us as investors, this means continued engagement with firms – and this equally applies to the wider investment community, and the transition is opening many new potential – and sustainable - investment opportunities. Consumers are demanding cleaner energy and companies need to rise to this, or risk being left behind.

Johann Plé, Green Bonds strategy manager

When the coronavirus crisis took hold there was a fear that one of the knock-on effects would be a significant slowdown in the financing of green projects. But this has not been the case. Earlier this year, the European Union unveiled a recovery deal, which included some €550bn dedicated to green initiatives – representing the biggest single climate pledge ever made.[v]

In September, France, which has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming the first major low-carbon economy in Europe, announced a €100bn post-COVID-19 rescue package, of which a third is earmarked for projects dedicated to climate-related strategies.[vi]

Climate change has not been forgotten and I believe plans to tackle its threat will indeed accelerate. The debt being raised right now is possible because interest rates remain very low, and markets are awash with liquidity. But at some point, this will need to be repaid and to do that, we need this debt to be sustainable. This means we need to invest in projects that account for the fight against climate change and invest in renewable energy, clean transportation and green buildings – as well as biodiversity preservation. All the recovery plans taking place are taking these elements into account and this is very positive.

Read more: Climate change, biodiversity and epidemics: Lessons for the next global crisis

I expect we will see more investment going into how we want to generate growth in the future – by investing and accounting for climate risk. Investors want to do good with their money, but they also want a good financial return. Recent years have witnessed the green bond sector enjoy robust growth with ever more issuers and deals coming to the market. In 2019 issuance climbed by more than 50% year-on-year, up from $171.2bn to $258.9bn – a new market high - while the number of issuers went from 347 to 506 according to the Climate Bonds Initiative.[vii]

Within our own, more focused green bond universe, we witnessed 75% growth last year – from $100bn to $175bn, while the number of issuers jumped by almost 70%. We expect issuance in 2020 to grow by another 25% to reach circa $220bn.

"We believe issuers that have a credible sustainable strategy should be better prepared to face climate risks and opportunities, hence should have better fundamentals in the long run compared to others and perform better." - Johann Plé, Green Bonds strategy manager

The green bond market disappointed during the first half of 2020 - issuance was barely in line with 2019, albeit for very understandable reasons. But we expect issuance to increase and we are very optimistic for the sector. Recently, we have seen Germany raise €6.5bn from its first ever green bond while numerous international brands have also introduced their own offerings.[viii] For example, carmaker Daimler launched its first product, which was more than four times oversubscribed.[ix]

There is a very good dynamic of diversification within the credit sector and the sovereign segment is on the rise; all positive factors for the market’s growth and liquidity. For investors this is good news as it means more opportunities in terms of how they can generate an impact and potentially better return prospects. 

We believe issuers that have a credible sustainable strategy should be better prepared to face climate risks and opportunities, hence should have better fundamentals in the long run compared to others and perform better.

Ultimately, we believe the onset of COVID-19 will likely speed up and intensify investor demand for more transparent and sustainable products. The coronavirus crisis has highlighted that it is not just financial risk that matters; non-financial risk, such as what we have endured in 2020, can also have a massive macroeconomic impact.

Amanda O’Toole, Clean Economy strategy manager, Framlington Equities

While an abundance of industries and companies have endured severe disruption during 2020, the experience of the renewable sector has been markedly different. We have found that firms have consistently demonstrated resilience, in terms of demand, new business and potential projects. This has manifested itself in their capital expenditure plans where they are bolstering either renewable capacity or the infrastructure that supports them.

For example, data shows that despite having to battle with the pandemic, US solar project developers installed nearly three times as much solar power capacity during the second quarter as they did during the same period in 2019.[x] But more broadly, we have detected a shift in corporate language. There is a real desire to do the right thing by staff and stakeholders in terms of supporting energy transition. It seems more than ever consumer brands want to be able to promote carbon neutrality at a product level.

For example, in January Microsoft announced plans to become carbon negative by 2030, and to remove/offset its historical emissions by 2050, i.e. it will be net zero throughout its existence.[xi] This is a huge commitment and since then other technology giants, such as Facebook, have come out with similar plans.[xii]

"The pandemic has certainly highlighted the strength of demand in the clean technology space and how broad-based it is. From an investment perspective, we believe this is very important." - Amanda O’Toole, Clean Economy strategy manager, Framlington Equities

But there is very strong demand driven by the economic rationale, in terms of customer retention, for cleaner energy sources. This is supported by a regulatory and political desire for a cleaner energy generation mix as it’s usually the cheapest source of energy to build.

The pandemic has certainly highlighted the strength of demand in the clean technology space and how broad-based it is. From an investment perspective, we believe this is very important. Take the electric vehicle sector, where in Europe more than 400,000 automobiles were sold in the first half of 2020, marking a 57% increase on the same period in 2019. This is the first time European sales surpassed China in some five years.[xiii]

And while the auto sector will not escape the crisis unscathed, industry estimates expect a strong electronic vehicle rebound.[xiv] Given the sector’s surrounding infrastructure and supply chains, I believe this will present a plethora of potential investment opportunities.

Read more: Can electric vehicles drive a green recovery?

Notably, the other pillar which has stood up very well is 5G investment- and while it is less directly associated with the energy transition, clearly this technology supports smart cities and factories, in terms of efficiency. And again, it boasts a wide supply chain – and diverse set of potential investment opportunities.

Overall, I believe energy transition acceleration is been driven by a consumer and corporate focus on ‘good citizenship’. Nevertheless, I also think government commitment to supporting the energy transition is helpful. We need to support the development of renewables and clean technology. As the market develops and opens, innovation in the sector gains greater traction.

Lise Renelleau, Director, Sustainable Investment Solutions, Rosenberg Equities 

The COVID-19 crisis will hopefully trigger a change in mentality, in that society becomes more galvanised in terms of taking on climate change. Right now, it is not just young people calling for action – investors and asset owners are demanding it too.

The pandemic has been a shock to investors, but also a powerful reminder. It has shown us that forward-looking, agile companies are potentially best placed to deal with crises. Of course, from an investor’s point of view 2020 has been a major economic challenge, but so is the climate crisis; parts of the world have been besieged by drought, fires, hurricanes and floods.

As an investor, we know time is not on our side when it comes to climate action. Given the structural transition at play, we need to take a forward-looking view on low-carbon solutions, more than ever. Many governments are taking the opportunity to finance the recovery in a climate-aware manner, and this can only be a good thing. Greater levels of sustainable investment are vital. And as a sustainable investor we aim to manage the risks associated with climate change but equally we want to take advantage of the possible opportunities that the energy transition presents to us.

Read more: Carbon reduction: Moving away from carbon footprint towards carbon footpath

In my view, the argument that climate action is going to go against investment performance is misguided. There is no shortage of research highlighting that the incorporation of ESG factors can potentially lead to better performance. One report concluded that some 90% of 2,200 empirical analyses found there was a relationship between ESG and financial performance – and in the main, this was a positive relationship.[xv] Additionally, we find the structural relationships between ESG credentials and companies help us assess future profitability and business risk of individual firms.[xvi]

In our experience, the companies which are ahead of their peers in terms of tackling climate change have been a lot more resilient than those that are lagging on this front. There is a clear sense today that the need for change is understood by both companies and investors and is supported by the prevailing winds. We are witnessing greater levels of companies and governments committing to energy transition - even Beijing has now committed to a net zero target.

"In our experience, the companies which are ahead of their peers in terms of tackling climate change have been a lot more resilient than those that are lagging on this front." - Lise Renelleau, Director, Sustainable Investment Solutions, Rosenberg Equities 

The companies leading the way today will likely to be the leaders of tomorrow. As such, for investors there are opportunities to take today. But it’s not just about ‘buying the best’. Our analysis shows less than 15% of market indices have reduced their carbon footprint by more than the 7% per annum required to reach a 1.5⁰C climate scenario.[xvii]

Therefore, we need to invest in transitioning companies, those trying to move away from polluting fossil fuels. The key aspect for any investor is to think about this from a long-term approach, in absolute - and transition – terms, to stay ahead of the curve in terms of climate-related policy and regulation, which will impact firms.

Our experience shows demand for sustainable investing has increased. Individual investors and companies are looking for solutions which will allow them to invest in a sustainable manner; strategies focused on delivering the kind of resilience that is necessary to navigate uncertain market conditions related to both COVID-19 and climate change. There is a disruption, and structural change is occurring. In the past ESG investing was more about mitigating risk but today, especially within the climate universe, it is also about seizing potential opportunities. Fundamentally, investors’ long-term financial objectives are aligned with immediate climate action.

 

 

[i] United Nations 2020

[ii] https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2020

[iii] https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2020/09/30/world-economic-outlook-october-2020

[iv] COVID-19: Greening the recovery, AXA IM April 2020  

[v] https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eu-summit-climate-change/eu-makes-worlds-biggest-green-recovery-pledge-but-will-it-hit-the-mark-idUKKCN24N230 / https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_940

[vi] https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/european-aspects-of-france-s-recovery-plan

[vii] https://www.climatebonds.net/resources/reports/green-bonds-global-state-market-2019

[viii] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bonds-green-germany/germany-raises-6-5-billion-euros-from-first-ever-green-bond-idUSKBN25T1TG

[ix] Daimler 2020

[x] https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/blog/essential-energy-insights-september-2020

[xi] https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2020/01/16/microsoft-will-be-carbon-negative-by-2030/

[xii] https://sustainability.fb.com/

[xiii] https://www.ft.com/content/2f59ae7d-0bcd-42a7-9459-20398d1de2dc

https://www.ev-volumes.com/

[xiv] https://about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook

[xv] Gunnar Friede, Timo Busch & Alexander Bassen (2015) ESG and financial performance: aggregated evidence from more than 2000 empirical studies, Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment

[xvi] https://www.axa-im.com/content/-/asset_publisher/alpeXKk1gk2N/content/does-diversity-provide-a-profitability-moat-/23818

[xvii] AXA IM Rosenberg Equities, 2020

 

 

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This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments as per MIF Directive (2014/65/EU), nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities.

Due to its simplification, this document is partial and opinions, estimates and forecasts herein are subjective and subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee forecasts made will come to pass. Data, figures, declarations, analysis, predictions and other information in this document is provided based on our state of knowledge at the time of creation of this document. Whilst every care is taken, no representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the recipient. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.

Issued in the UK by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Registered in England and Wales, No: 01431068. Registered Office: 7 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7NX (until 3rd September 2020); 155 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3YD (until 31st December 2020); 22 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ (from 1st January 2021).

 

In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.

Iceberg Data Lab et I Care & Consult sélectionnés pour fournir aux investisseurs un premier outil de mesure d'impact sur la biodiversité

AXA Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Asset Management (« BNPP AM »), Sycomore Asset Management et Mirova (filiale de Natixis Investment Managers) ont choisi comme prestataire de données le consortium formé  par Iceberg Data Lab et I Care & Consult pour développer un outil permettant aux investisseurs de mesurer l'impact de leurs investissements en matière de biodiversité. Cette sélection marque la dernière étape d'un appel à manifestation d’intérêt lancé en début d'année par les quatre sociétés de gestion.

« Cet appel d'appel d'offres a été une belle expérience collaborative et nous remercions tous les candidats pour leur grande implication. C’est à l’unanimité que nous avons décidé de retenir l’approche innovante qui combine les compétences en modélisation de données d'Iceberg Data Lab et la profonde expertise sur la biodiversité et le développement méthodologique d'I Care & Consult. Nous sommes impatients de rendre compte à nos parties prenantes des impacts de nos portefeuilles sur la biodiversité et de les intégrer progressivement dans notre évaluation et nos processus d'investissement » ont déclarés Julien Foll d'AXA IM, Robert-Alexandre Poujade de BNPP AM, Sarah Maillard de Mirova et Jean-Guillaume Péladan de Sycomore AM.

Iceberg Data Lab et I Care & Consult se sont unis pour étendre la « Corporate Biodiversity Footprint », mesure quantifiant l'impact sur la biodiversité des entreprises à travers leurs activités. L’outil en cours d’expansion permettra aux investisseurs d’intégrer dans leurs évaluations des risques et leurs recherches les impacts sur la nature et la biodiversité. En outre, la transparence de l'approche sélectionnée contribuera positivement à la convergence requise vers des indicateurs plus standards et comparables. Cela devrait servir de catalyseur important à l'action du secteur privé, avec des effets d'entraînement dans l'ensemble de nos économies.

FORTE ATTENTE DES INVESTISSEURS POUR FAIRE FACE AU DÉCLIN DE LA BIODIVERSITÉ

L’appel a été soutenu par une Déclaration des investisseurs sur la nécessité de mesurer l'impact sur la biodiversité[1], qui a recueilli plus d'une trentaine de signatures de la part de grands investisseurs institutionnels du monde entier, représentant plus de 6000 milliards d’euros d'actifs sous gestion. Cette déclaration démontre qu'il existe actuellement une demande non satisfaite pour une recherche de qualité visant à aider les investisseurs à répondre à la crise de la biodiversité.  

La sixième extinction de masse de la vie sur Terre est en cours à un rythme sans précédent, selon le rapport d’évaluation mondiale sur la biodiversité et les services écosystémiques de l'IPBES (Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 2019). La population des mammifères, oiseaux, poissons, amphibiens et reptiles a enregistré une baisse alarmante de 68% en moyenne depuis 1970, selon une évaluation récente du WWF (Living Planet Report 2020). Le Forum économique mondial estime que, sans changement de modèle économique, cette crise menace la moitié du Produit Intérieur Brut mondial, alors que d’autres trajectoires pourraient engendrer des retombées positives estimées à 10000 milliards de dollars pour les entreprises, et créer 395 millions d'emplois. Pour la première fois dans les perspectives à 10 ans de l'enquête du Forum économique mondial, les cinq principaux risques mondiaux identifiés comme les plus probables sont d’ordre environnemental, à l’image de la perte majeure de biodiversité (Global Risks Report 2020). La perte de biodiversité menace la réalisation de 80 % des sous-objectifs de développement durable liés à la pauvreté, à la faim, à la santé, à l'eau, aux villes, au climat, aux océans et aux terres (IPBES, 2019).

Les investisseurs reconnaissent qu'il reste encore beaucoup à faire pour promouvoir la transparence des entreprises sur les dépendances et les impacts liés à la nature. Il reste également de nombreux défis à relever pour intégrer la complexité de la nature dans des indicateurs de gestion et les dernières données scientifiques dans les décisions d'investissement. AXA IM, BNPP AM, Mirova et Sycomore AM continueront donc de collaborer avec des acteurs et des initiatives clés dans le domaine de la biodiversité tels que CDC Biodiversité et son Global Biodiversity Score, BFFI[2], UNEP WCMC[3], OP2B[4], UNEP FI[5] et TNFD[6].

Contacts

Hélène Caillet

+33 1 44 45 88 06

helene.caillet@axa-im.com

Julie Marie

+33 1 44 45 50 62

julie.marie@axa-im.com

[1] Déclaration d’investisseurs sur le besoin de mesurer l’impact sur la biodiversité

[2] Biodiversity Footprint Financial Institutions

[3] UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre

[4] One Planet Business for Biodiversity

[5] Initiative financière du Programme des Nations unies pour l’environnement

[6] Groupe de travail sur la publication d’informations financières relatives à la nature

 

NOTES AUX RÉDACTEURS

A propos de l’appel à manifestation d’intérêt

En janvier 2020, les investisseurs ont lancé un appel à manifestation d’intérêt pour qu'un fournisseur de données les aide à faire face à la crise de la biodiversité en cours. Au total, trente entités ont été mobilisées pour y répondre, notamment des consultants, des universitaires, des fournisseurs de technologies de pointe et de données non financières. Quatorze organisations ont répondu à cet appel à manifestation d’intérêt de six pays (Royaume-Uni, États-Unis, Suisse, Pays-Bas, France et Canada). Sept demi-finalistes ont été invités à un exposé oral, et trois finalistes ont été sélectionnés.

Le jury, composé des quatre gérants d'actifs, a reçu des conseils précieux de la part d'un comité scientifique composé de quatre experts indépendants : Julie Raynaud (consultant indépendant), Katie Leach (UNEP WCMC), Hugo Bluet (WWF France) et Guillaume Sainteny (Fondation française pour la recherche sur la biodiversité). Le comité scientifique est parvenu à un consensus sur la sélection des demi-finalistes et des trois finalistes.

 

A propos d'AXA Investment Managers

AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) est un investisseur global et multi actifs, qui s’appuie sur une approche active et de long terme pour offrir à ses clients les solutions dont ils ont besoin pour sécuriser l’avenir de leurs investissements tout en ayant un impact positif sur la société. Avec environ 815 milliards d’euros d’actifs sous gestion à fin juin 2020, AXA IM emploie plus de 2 350 collaborateurs dans le monde répartis dans 30 bureaux et 21 pays. AXA IM fait partie du Groupe AXA qui compte parmi les leaders mondiaux de la protection financière et de la gestion de patrimoine.

 

A propos de BNP Paribas Asset Management

BNP Paribas Asset Management est l'armateur de la gestion d'actifs de BNP Paribas, l'une des principales institutions financières au monde, et propose des solutions à forte valeur ajoutée aux épargnants individuels, aux entreprises et aux investisseurs institutionnels. Il dispose d'un large éventail de compétences dans quatre divisions d'investissement : Actions, Fixed Income, Private Debt & Real Assets et Multi-Asset, Quantitative and Solutions (MAQS). Le développement durable est au cœur de la stratégie et du processus de prise de décisions d'investissement de BNP Paribas Asset Management, et contribue activement à la transition énergétique, à la protection de l'environnement et à la promotion de l'égalité et de la croissance inclusive. Son objectif est de générer un rendement d'investissement durable à long terme pour ses clients. BNP Paribas Asset Management gère 428 milliards EUR * d'actifs (au 30 juin 2020), avec plus de 500 professionnels de l'investissement et près de 500 spécialistes de l'assistance à la clientèle, au service de clients particuliers, entreprises et institutionnels dans 72 pays.

* 580 milliards EUR d'actifs sous gestion et conseil au 30 juin 2020

Pour plus d'informations, veuillez consulter le site am.com.

 

A propos de Mirova

Mirova est une société de gestion dédiée à l’investissement durable et un affilié de Natixis Investment Managers. Grâce à sa gestion de conviction, l’objectif de Mirova est de combiner recherche de création de valeur sur le long terme et développement durable. Pionniers dans de nombreux domaines de la finance durable, les talents de Mirova ont pour ambition de continuer à innover afin de proposer à leurs clients des solutions à fort impact environnemental et social. Mirova gère 14 Milliards d’euros au 30 juin 2020.

Société de gestion de portefeuille - Société Anonyme

RCS Paris n°394 648 216 - Agrément AMF n° GP 02-014

59, Avenue Pierre Mendes France – 75013 - Paris

Mirova est un affilié de Natixis Investment Managers.

 

A propos de Sycomore Asset Management

Fondée en 2001, Sycomore Asset Management, société de gestion animée par un fort esprit entrepreneurial, est spécialisée dans l’investissement sur les entreprises responsables cotées.

Depuis sa création, l’engagement de Sycomore est de délivrer de la performance pérenne en identifiant les leviers de création de valeur durable des entreprises.

Son expertise s’appuie sur une démarche de terrain et un modèle propriétaire d’analyse fondamentale des sociétés intégrant des critères financiers et extra-financiers. Son équipe de 22 analystes-gérants dont 9 spécialistes ESG (Environnement, Social, Gouvernance) a pour mission d’évaluer la performance globale d’une entreprise vis-à-vis de ses parties prenantes : actionnaires, clients, employés, fournisseurs, société civile et environnement.

Depuis 2015, Sycomore AM a élargi sa gamme avec des fonds à impact social, sociétal et environnemental : tout d’abord, Sycomore Happy@Work, consacré au capital humain, puis Sycomore Eco Solutions, dédié au capital naturel, ensuite Sycomore Shared Growth, attaché au capital sociétal et enfin Sycomore Next Generation qui investit pour les générations futures.

Acteur de référence de l’investissement responsable, Sycomore AM est membre FIR, du GIIN (Global Impact Investing Network) et de l’IIGCC (Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change). Elle poursuit ses travaux de quantification des impacts environnementaux et sociaux.

 

A propos d'Iceberg Data Lab et I Care & Consult

Iceberg Data Lab est un fournisseur indépendant de données ESG qui s'appuie sur des outils de traitement des données de pointe et des méthodologies scientifiques pour aider les institutions financières à évaluer leur impact.

I Care & Consult est un consultant environnemental de premier plan qui conseille les entreprises sur leur stratégie environnementale et développe des méthodologies d'impact environnemental innovantes.

Gilles Guibout, responsable des actions européennes chez AXA IM, commente l’évolution des marchés actions en zone euro en septembre

Gilles Guibout, responsable des actions européennes chez AXA IM, commente l’évolution des marchés actions en zone euro en septembre et les perspectives pour les semaines à venir.

Septembre a vu progressivement revenir l’aversion pour le risque et s’est achevé sur une baisse des marchés actions. Après le rebond d’activité observé durant l’été, l’optimisme s’est dissipé à mesure que l’incertitude remontait. Sur le front sanitaire, la résurgence de l’épidémie fait craindre de nouvelles restrictions. Sur le front économique, la réduction graduelle des plans de soutien fait craindre pour les dépenses des ménages. Enfin, sur le plan politique, l’approche des élections aux Etats-Unis rend plus compliqué un nouveau plan de relance. En Europe, les négociations sur le Brexit semblent compromises après que le gouvernement britannique a présenté un projet de loi remettant en cause le traité signé l’an dernier.

Sur le mois, le DJ Eurostoxx dividendes réinvestis abandonne 1,81 %. Avec une baisse de plus de 9 %, les secteurs de la finance et de l’énergie sont les principaux contributeurs à la baisse, pénalisés par les taux bas pour le premier, la faiblesse du pétrole et les risques liés à la transition énergétique pour le second. A l’inverse, celui de la consommation discrétionnaire, généralement délaissé dans les phases d’aversion au risque, affiche une hausse sous l’effet principalement de l’automobile qui profite du message positif délivré par Daimler sur le rebond significatif des ventes au 3e trimestre.

Au cours des prochaines semaines, l’incertitude liée à l’issue des négociations sur le Brexit en Europe, combinée à celle de l’issue de la présidentielle américaine et de l’évolution de la crise sanitaire pourrait entraver une reprise des marchés d’actions.

Les niveaux de valorisation actuels, largement soutenus par les politiques monétaires, n’offrent qu’un potentiel d’appréciation limité et rendent les marchés vulnérables aux regains d’inquiétude.

Encore et toujours, si nous continuons d’être sélectifs dans notre choix de valeurs et privilégions les sociétés offrant un réel potentiel de croissance du chiffre d’affaires et/ou des marges, seule garantie, selon nous, de la capacité à générer des résultats et des dividendes dans la durée, nous cherchons également à maintenir une bonne diversification afin de pouvoir faire face à un éventuel changement brutal du scénario économique.

Contacts

Hélène Caillet

+33 1 44 45 88 06

helene.caillet@axa-im.com

Julie Marie

+33 1 44 45 50 62

julie.marie@axa-im.com

Servane Taslé

+33 6 66 58 84 28

servane@steelandholt.com

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Analyses et stratégies d’investissement

Le point mensuel global macro et la stratégie d'investissement - Et si Joe Biden l’emporte ?

Key points

  • The US has seen fewer new virus cases since its summer peak, but the virus is rising sharply in some European countries and across emerging markets more broadly. Governments are refraining from imposing the same scale of lockdowns.
  • Q3 looks likely to post record quarterly growth in many economies, following the record contraction in Q2. The outlook is more challenging with risks of rising precautionary behaviour and weak employment.
  • Some governments have extended support schemes, risks are compounded where others have not. Central banks will remain supportive for the foreseeable future.
  • US elections are in focus. Polls suggest a Biden win, but the Congressional outcome is key.
  • Equities have been supported by firming earnings outlook and policy support. As has record credit spread tightening. Both face risks from renewed corporate stress.

 

This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments as per MIF Directive (2014/65/EU), nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities.

It has been established on the basis of data, projections, forecasts, anticipations and hypothesis which are subjective. Its analysis and conclusions are the expression of an opinion, based on available data at a specific date. All information in this document is established on data made public by official providers of economic and market statistics. AXA Investment Managers disclaims any and all liability relating to a decision based on or for reliance on this document. All exhibits included in this document, unless stated otherwise, are as of the publication date of this document. Furthermore, due to the subjective nature of these opinions and analysis, these data, projections, forecasts, anticipations, hypothesis, etc. are not necessary used or followed by AXA IM’s portfolio management teams or its affiliates, who may act based on their own opinions. Any reproduction of this information, in whole or in part is, unless otherwise authorised by AXA IM, prohibited.

This document has been edited by AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS SA, a company incorporated under the laws of France, having its registered office located at Tour Majunga, 6 place de la Pyramide, 92800 Puteaux, registered with the Nanterre Trade and Companies Register under number 393 051 826. In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.

In the UK, this document is intended exclusively for professional investors, as defined in Annex II to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2014/65/EU (“MiFID”). Circulation must be restricted accordingly. 

© AXA Investment Managers 2020. All rights reserved

 

 

Macrocast

Une reprise plus lente que prévu

Key points

  • Traditional macro indicators are pointing to a relapse in Europe – but the situation in the US is also fragile.
  • Market resilience depends on the capacity of monetary policy to be constantly re-calibrated. On this we take a special interest in ECB board member Panetta’s speech last week, but we note that in EM some central banks are forced to give up on “all-out accommodation”.
  • Some positive “mood music” on the chances of a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and the EU.

The sense of disappointment on the state of the recovery is particularly acute in Europe, where the traditional macro indicators, such as the PMIs or the forward-looking components of the national surveys, are already pointing to a relapse in September, before most of the new restrictive measures taken to contain the second wave of the pandemic kicked in. But the situation in the US is also problematic. There, Initial jobless claims remain significantly higher than at any point during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Beyond the economic data, markets need to consider the US election uncertainty, especially since Donald Trump’s public refusal to commit to a swift transition if he loses.

September provided another natural experiment on the market’s dependence on easy monetary policy. Equities - which are not touched by central banks -  have lost 8% in the US. High-yield credit, only indirectly supported, suffered a bit, but investment grade credit, fully covered by the quantitative easing schemes of the Fed and the ECB, has barely moved. Still, this broad resilience of large segments of financial markets is dependent on the capacity of the monetary stimulus to be constantly re-calibrated to deal with new headwinds. From this point of view, we have been reassured by an important speech by ECB board member Fabio Panetta, who laid out what we think is the doves’ proposal to the central bank’s strategy review.

Not all central banks are equal. Credibility issues and compromised fundamentals pre-Covid act as “gravitational forces” which ultimately constrain monetary policy in some emerging markets to give up on their all-out accommodative stance. The central  banks of Turkey and – to a lesser extent – Hungary have had to “break ranks” and hike last week. This may be positive for financial stability but of course won’t help growth.

In this difficult environment, we take comfort in the positive developments in terms of political stability in Italy after the regional elections, as well as in the “positive mood music” in the British press on the chances of a Free Trade Agreement between London and Brussels. 

This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments as per MIF Directive (2014/65/EU), nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities.

It has been established on the basis of data, projections, forecasts, anticipations and hypothesis which are subjective. Its analysis and conclusions are the expression of an opinion, based on available data at a specific date. All information in this document is established on data made public by official providers of economic and market statistics. AXA Investment Managers disclaims any and all liability relating to a decision based on or for reliance on this document. All exhibits included in this document, unless stated otherwise, are as of the publication date of this document. Furthermore, due to the subjective nature of these opinions and analysis, these data, projections, forecasts, anticipations, hypothesis, etc. are not necessary used or followed by AXA IM’s portfolio management teams or its affiliates, who may act based on their own opinions. Any reproduction of this information, in whole or in part is, unless otherwise authorised by AXA IM, prohibited.

This document has been edited by AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS SA, a company incorporated under the laws of France, having its registered office located at Tour Majunga, 6 place de la Pyramide, 92800 Puteaux, registered with the Nanterre Trade and Companies Register under number 393 051 826. In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.

In the UK, this document is intended exclusively for professional investors, as defined in Annex II to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2014/65/EU (“MiFID”). Circulation must be restricted accordingly. 

© AXA Investment Managers 2020. All rights reserved

Vues d’Iggo

6 mois de rendements étonnants

The last six months have seen amazing returns from financial markets. They have also seen us forego travel, eating out and attending social occasions. Efforts to beat or control the virus will continue for some time and this will weigh on the investment outlook. What is clear is that, just like with the climate crisis, the pandemic has created a further need to work towards a more sustainable future. That touches all aspects of life – work, leisure, what we eat, how we provide education and how we invest. Structural trends will largely determine where investment returns come from but within that the companies that have the best environmental and social profiles will be the most successful.  

I would go out tonight.... 

This week marked the six month’s anniversary of the equity market bottom and the beginning of our changed way of lives. Lockdown began in earnest in the third week of March and, sadly, governments in Europe are once again tentatively re-introducing more restrictions on social activity and mobility. The headline number of reported new infections is rising again across Europe and even in the US, which was seeing reduced infection rates.  Of course, things are different now than they were in March. There is more testing and more testing detects more cases. So far, hospitalisation rates have been modest, but it would be dangerous to be complacent about that, given the lags involved and the potential for the current surge to impact on vulnerable people. Healthcare is better prepared, there is more capacity and a broader range of treatments. However, as many people have repeatedly said during the last six months, a second wave is one of the key threats to the economic recovery. There are also doubts about ability of governments to keep on spending to counter the potential downside risks. 

Oscillate wildly

Increasingly, how we deal with Covid-19 is becoming part of the broader discussion around sustainability. The disease has highlighted weaknesses in society and the economy. For investors, there are numerous themes. There has been higher volatility and divergent trends within markets that have provided opportunities for more active investment management. Of course, there have been winners and losers and a degree of conviction has been required over these last few months. In my blog on 20 March I argued that high yield, which had sold off very aggressively in the preceding few weeks, would deliver strong returns going forward despite the likely increase in defaults. Since 20 March, total returns from the US high yield index has been just short of 22%. In a sense, this is a response to the swift action taken by central banks and governments to sustain the orderly working of markets and levels of economic activity. 

Let's get social 

There are more sustainability issues at play here. Companies have had to adapt to the pandemic by changing how they manage their workforces and supply chains. Investors are likely to reward those companies that are meeting the challenge of making their businesses more sustainable. Covid-19 has strengthened focus on all aspects of ESG investing. The social pillar recognises the importance of adapting companies to new ways of working, to taking care of the well-being of their people and to how they interact with their customers and broader society in a world of heightened uncertainty and anxiety. This will be under the spotlight as more and more investors look at their assets through the social prism. Measuring employee satisfaction, the ability of how companies can communicate on the robustness of their business with more people working remotely, and how companies have interacted with government over things like furlough schemes will be taken more and more into account.

Pathways 

I and my colleagues and many others have highlighted the positive impact that lock-down had on carbon emissions as air and road travel was severely curtailed during the crisis. Again, investors will look to companies to see how they respond going forward by structurally reducing business travel and optimising their supply chains. It is quite astounding how rapidly the carbon transition is impacting business strategy through the need to disclose more data on carbon emissions, to sign up to targets that align with the Paris Agreement and to use carbon pricing as a tool to properly reflect the economics of their business. Being able to demonstrate how Covid-19 has accelerated the carbon transition will be critical in the discussions between company managers and investors. It is difficult at this stage to see many parts of the service sector going back to 100% occupancy of office space and having business travel as a key expense.      

Some losses 

In the current context, there are some businesses that potentially face the same risk. The newly imposed restrictions in the UK and elsewhere highlight once again the vulnerabilities of the travel, leisure and hospitality sectors, as well as the challenges for physical retail and commercial property. We are seeing job losses across those sectors and a need for either government support or radical balance sheet adjustments to stay in business. Some will not make it. Whether they are large businesses (I am sure we will see an airline go under at some point) or small businesses, there will be job and capital losses which will impact on shareholders, bond holders or credit institutions. These trends have not played out yet and there will be ongoing challenges for the energy sector (carbon transition), for parts of real estate and for travel, hotels and restaurants. 

Challenges ahead 

The biggest technical risk – from a mean-reversion point of view – is with global equities right now. To bring rolling 12-month returns back in line with the long-term average suggests something as much as another 10% correction. That is not a forecast, just a risk. But then overlay that with political uncertainty and potential disappointment that the Fed will fail to provide further information on how it proposes to evolve its policy took-kit in order to achieve its “average inflation target” and it could make for an interesting fall. Credit returns have eased back a little in the last month (US corporate bond returns were -1.2% in August), so they are somewhat less exposed to a performance set-back. A little portfolio re-balancing from stocks towards credit might not be a bad idea right now.

Rising 

It is clearer in the context of energy how we adapt to a more sustainable future. The shift towards a lower carbon economy is well underway. It will get more challenging but investment flows and new technology, together with strong leadership from governments, will help that. For parts of economic activity that have been derailed by Covid-19 it is not so easy. Yes, we will always want to travel, we will want to eat in restaurants, shop in city centres, go to sporting events and enjoy the arts, and holiday. How do we restore those activities in the future? Some providers today won’t survive, there will be capital and goodwill lost. Yet there will be chefs who want to restart a restaurant business. There will be families that want to have their annual holiday in the sun. There will be sports fans that want to see their teams play in real life and not just on TV. A big challenge is to get the finance and capital in place to allow those phoenix businesses to emerge. Government support will be hugely important in this respect and the next phase of global policy stimulus should not only focus on green topics but also on supporting what are economically and socially important activities. 

Sustainably healthy 

What if we have to live with the threat of viral pandemics going forward? If we do, the health aspect is vital to the ability of those activities to re-emerge and remain sustainable going forward. The development and deployment of vaccines and remedies to this and other illnesses is critical. Just as research and development is important in the energy transition, it is crucial in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries. To me, this remains an interesting and potentially rewarding sector to invest in. The earnings profile of healthcare is less volatile than in other more cyclical sectors and the growth potential is very strong, not least because pricing power is likely to remain strong even in the face of political efforts to reduce drugs prices. At the moment, consumers are still concerned about health risks so are not travelling, are not able to engage in socially engaged activities and are directing their spend online. A sustainable model for many industries going forward will be achieving the optimal balance between physical and digital engagement, customer care and the ability to meet what could be more demanding standards.

Tell the story

I don’t think there is one single shape to describe the economic recovery. Some activities recovered quickly; some will never recover. In the same way I think the outlook for equity markets is complex and dependant on the broader economic, policy, sectoral and individual company developments. Over time, businesses that have sustainable environmental and social profiles or enable that sustainability through their own products and services will be the ones that survive and prosper. The climate crisis and Covid-19 are accelerating the recognition of that and the ability of investors to respond by developing more responsible investment techniques. Data and transparency are crucial but not sufficient. Dialogue with companies in order to understand their business models and how they are adapting to changing market conditions is just as important. And for asset managers, being able to tell the story of their focus on sustainability along with the optimisation of asset allocation based on increasingly more informative data will help direct capital to promote better returns and a better future. 

Chilly winter?

We must hope that the next six months sees further progress in dealing with Covid-19. Market performance since March has been nothing short of startling with some equity markets up as much as 60% from the lows. However, as we enter the northern hemisphere Autumn, returns are cooling off and investors are paying more attention to the material risks out there – set-backs to the recovery, uncertainty around the US election, Brexit and risks in geo-political relations. Against those risks the policy environment will remain supportive for markets. That should mean that if there any market set-backs, there should be investors willing to rebuild exposure to growth assets. While some things are changed for good, there is a human desire to rebuild and re-start and to invest for a more sustainable future. With interest rates on hold for a long-time, governments able to use low borrowing costs to finance recovery programmes and the ongoing recovery of growth and trade, 2021 could be a much nicer year. 

This communication is intended for professional adviser use only and should not be relied upon by retail clients. Circulation must be restricted accordingly.
Issued in the U.K. by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. Registered in England and Wales, No: 01431068. Registered Office: 7 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7NX (until 3rd September 2020); 155 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3YD (until 31st December 2020); 22 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ (from 1st January 2021).
In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.
Information relating to investments may have been based on research and analysis undertaken or procured by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited for its own purposes and may have been made available to other members of the AXA Investment Managers Group who in turn may have acted upon it. This material should not be regarded as an offer, solicitation, invitation or recommendation to subscribe for any AXA investment service or product and is provided to you for information purposes only. The views expressed do not constitute investment advice and do not necessarily represent the views of any company within the AXA Investment Managers Group and may be subject to change without notice. No representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein.
Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them can fluctuate and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. Changes in exchange rates will affect the value of investments made overseas. Investments in newer markets and smaller companies offer the possibility of higher returns but may also involve a higher degree of risk © AXA Investment Managers Paris - 8E010277

Vues d’Iggo

Le mot de la fin

Risk-free yields and curves are range-bound and will remain so as central banks strengthen their resolve to encourage a rise in inflation. As such, the traditional cyclical upturn signal from the yield curve might be weaker in this recovery. Stocks, more than ever, need to take their lead from earnings expectations. Increased forecasts for earnings need confidence in the growth outlook and that in turn probably means more fiscal stimulus and ongoing central bank QE. The Fed and the Bank of England were nuanced in their communications this week, but you can’t rule out more concrete policy steps down the road. 

Get the message?

A meaningful rise in core bond yields became even less likely this week. In the US, the Federal Reserve (Fed) confirmed that rates will remain on hold until core inflation is above and set to remain above 2%. In the UK, the Bank of England admitted that it is preparing to use negative interest rates if necessary. These indications of future policy from the UK and US come a week after Christine Lagarde suggested that the ECB could take steps to counter any negative impact on the inflation outlook from a stronger Euro. Policy remains set against rising yields. Moreover, in our quarterly strategy meetings at which our fixed income portfolio managers discuss the fundamental and technical outlooks for their sectors, it was clear that there remains strong global demand for “duration”. What that means is that if long bond yields do go up a little, pension funds and life insurance companies will buy the bonds to help hedge their long-term liabilities.

In reserve

At this stage it is enough for central bankers to be fairly nuanced in their indications of incremental adjustments to the monetary policy framework. The global economy is in a recovery, of sorts, and markets are orderly. Sending messages about future policy reactions is enough while keeping actual operational changes in reserve. The Fed could still do some kind of yield curve control if longer bond yields do start to rise. Both the Fed and the Bank of England could go to negative rates. More balance sheet expansion is possible. What investors can rely on is that there is no tightening of policy on the horizon even if growth surprises to the upside and inflation increases. 

Flat returns

So government bond market returns will likely flatline and volatility in those markets will be low. Investors won’t lose much or make much in government bonds and making money probably requires some exposure to where curves are steepest, and that is the US Treasury market. The 30-year yield is around 120bps above the Fed Funds rate. The equivalent gap in the German market is 55bps and 65bps in the UK gilt market. No wonder peripheral European sovereign bonds are back in favour. Italy’s 30-year government bond yields 230bps above the ECB’s deposit rate and Spain’s is almost 160bps higher. Who knows what happens to Italian government finances over the next 30-years but for now Europe is safer and investor confidence is much higher than it has been when Euro break-up fears have been evident. There are some political concerns in Italy at the moment with upcoming elections, but I suspect any widening of the BTP-Bund spread will be seen as an opportunity to buy Italy again.

UK risks

For UK gilts there is the looming threat of the UK not reaching a free trade agreement with the EU. While the economic impact of that in the short-term will pale into insignificance compared to the effect of the March-May lockdown, the longer term implications have already hit sterling and led to gilts under performing in recent months. We will see if the Bank of England’s teasing comments about negative rates change the performance, but it is clear that foreign investors are sticking clear of the UK for now. Perhaps there will be more volatility in the UK gilt market than in other government bonds. The 10-yr is just 8bps above the Bank rate at the moment so further gains will rely on investors betting that rates can be moved lower. However, that is likely to be a Q1 next year story at the earliest and there is certainly room for yields to back up a little in the meantime, especially if sterling does suffer more from political risks. The read over to the UK credit market is that negative rates will be a major headwind for UK banks. 

Resolve

The backdrop to the view on core risk-free rates is that policy remains super accommodative. The recovery will continue but it is likely that levels of GDP won’t get back to where they would have been without the crisis for a few years. In the meantime, spare capacity will tend to depress inflation. So central banks have to be even more committed in their determination to convince markets that they will ultimately get inflation higher and keep it there (of course, they can’t by themselves, it depends on the speed at which aggregate demand rises and closes the output gap). Any reversal of the recovery – which could result from rising COVID mortality rates and re-introduction of more severe lockdowns; or from disappointments in the deployment or effectiveness of vaccines; or from a market shock resulting from the US election – will be met by a ratcheting up of that central bank rhetoric. 

2% inflation is a rare thing in the US

Since the mid-1990s there have not been many periods when the US core personal consumption expenditure deflator (PCE) has been above 2%. It was in 2004-2008 and the Fed responded by raising rates to 5.25% in 1.0% in the space of two years. The PCE rate rose from about 1.25% in 2015 to just above 2.0% in 2018 but the Fed had already raised rates from 0.25% to 1.75% by then, and then added another 75bp presumably stop inflation rising further. There are two observations from this. The first is that an inflation rate above 2% has been very uncommon so we probably do need to see much faster GDP growth and much lower unemployment. Second, is that the rates will remain on hold probably much beyond the 2023 time-frame that many pundits discussed following this week’s Fed meeting. 

Reluctantly bullish

If you believe, like I do at the moment, that rates are on hold for a long time and yields remain in a low and fairly narrow range, then I think it is logical to be more bullish on risky assets. For now, I think the environment remains positive for credit where spreads are still some way above their pre-COVID lows. Low rate volatility probably makes the credit risk premium more attractive even if the spread is getting narrower.  What we also observe is incredibly strong technical factors – supply and demand – in most markets. This year is going to be a record year for corporate bond issuance in many markets, but demand has been strong because investors are reassured by the central bank put. Companies have raised cash, largely to sit on the balance sheet, and that may mean less issuance going forward. That is a strong technical support for the market. It will only start to reverse when that gross-net leverage gap is closed by companies spending the cash on share buy-backs, M&A and speculative investment projects. For now, that is not a concern for the most part. I particularly like the long end of the lower rated parts of the US investment grade market. The BBB-rated, over 10-year US corporate bond index has a yield to maturity of 3.45% (relatively miles above the Fed’s not yet achieved inflation target!).

Equities for higher returns

While technical influences are also important for equities, I think investors need to take a more fundamental view. Yes, companies’ ability to reduce their financing costs is important and generally companies are in a fairly healthy cash position either because they have refinanced debt, raised cheap money or are just lowly-indebted cash generating megaliths. Equities in general probably keep going up because the alternatives offer no return (cash and risk-free assets), or very little return (credit). The debate amongst equity investors continues to centre on growth versus value and the concern that growth stocks, and particularly technology stocks, are in a “stay at home” bubble. I don’t think the cyclical parts of the market will be able to take a signal from the yield curve in the coming recovery because of the repression of yields. So, the signal has to come from earnings and earnings have to be forecast higher on the basis of better GDP growth.

Need more earnings upgrades

The earnings data is moving in the right direction although the traditional value/cyclical sectors are not moving quickly enough to get behind a big reversal in the growth/value relationship. On the basis of IBES consensus earnings estimates, forward earnings growth expectations are strong for healthcare and technology and still very weak for consumer services, industrials, energy and financials. Some better earnings news from these sectors is needed to fuel a more sustained rotation and to strengthen the view of a sustained cyclical recovery. If we get that, the signal might be from the equity market to the bond market to put pressure on the yield curve to steepen, rather than the other way around. 

Not another lockdown

All of the above discussion is conditional on the global economy continuing to live with the virus. This week there has been some positive indications on the vaccine development front, but global infection cases are not coming down. In the UK, selective regional lockdown policies have been introduced and there is talk of a more comprehensive 2-week lockdown in October to coincide with the half-term holidays. I am sure that few governments want to go back to the economic paralysis of the early Spring and hopefully, with hospitalisation and mortality rates remaining low, that won’t be necessary. Suffice it to say that a damaging second wave has always been a key risk to markets ever since the risk-recovery began in late March. Finally, as I have discussed recently, there are potentially market negative scenarios from the US election for markets. I like US corporate credit but if there is a bad outcome on November 3rd, that is an asset class that won’t be able to avoid some sell-off. Maybe investors wait to see if there are some better entry levels when the dust has settled in DC.

This communication is intended for professional adviser use only and should not be relied upon by retail clients. Circulation must be restricted accordingly.
Issued in the U.K. by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. Registered in England and Wales, No: 01431068. Registered Office: 7 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7NX (until 3rd September 2020); 155 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3YD (until 31st December 2020); 22 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ (from 1st January 2021).
In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.
Information relating to investments may have been based on research and analysis undertaken or procured by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited for its own purposes and may have been made available to other members of the AXA Investment Managers Group who in turn may have acted upon it. This material should not be regarded as an offer, solicitation, invitation or recommendation to subscribe for any AXA investment service or product and is provided to you for information purposes only. The views expressed do not constitute investment advice and do not necessarily represent the views of any company within the AXA Investment Managers Group and may be subject to change without notice. No representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein.
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Fixed income

Point macroéconomique et perspectives sur le marché obligataire

Point macroéconomique, Gilles Moëc, Chef économiste du Groupe AXA et Directeur de la recherche d’AXA IM
 

  • Sur le plan de la pandémie, les nouvelles ne sont pas rassurantes car nous n’échappons pas à la résurgence du virus ; l’économie ne retrouve pas la vigueur espérée pour le T4 car les ménages anticipent une dégradation des conditions d’emploi et préfèrent épargner plutôt qu’investir ou consommer. Les autorités publiques sont réticentes à un reconfinement dur afin de limiter l’entrave à la normalisation de la situation économique. Un stimulus supplémentaire des banques centrales sera sans doute nécessaire.
  • Aux Etats-Unis, les élections américaines vont générer de la volatilité. Une victoire de Joe Biden pourrait faire monter les taux à plus long terme et augmenter les dépenses budgétaires mais aurait un impact négatif sur le marché des actions compte tenu de son programme fiscal. L’élection de celui-ci engendrerait toutefois un impact positif dans le secteur de l’infrastructure.
  • En Europe, les programmes d’urgence sont prolongés. Nous ne voyons pas de risque sensible à court terme mais la tendance déflationniste fera sans doute pression sur la BCE qui pourrait augmenter le programme d'achats d'urgence face à la pandémie (PEPP) et soutenir l’Union Européenne dans ses émissions de green bonds.
  • Le pacte vert est un élément véritablement encourageant d’un point de vue macroéconomique. Ce stimulus rassurant vers une reprise économique verte en 2021 et 2022 pourrait être accompagné d’un soutien monétaire fort des banques centrales.
     

Perspectives sur le marché obligataire, Marion Le Morhedec, Responsable Active Fixed Income Europe et Asie
 

  • Nous continuons de penser qu’il y a de la valeur sur les marchés obligataires au travers d’une gestion active et sélective. Les marchés, qui présentent de nombreuses disparités sectorielles et géographiques, se sont normalisés mais demeurent tiraillés entre la bonne orientation des facteurs techniques et les fondamentaux.
  • Le marché des obligations à impact a été très actif durant le mois de septembre. L’essor des obligations à impact, vertes et sociales est de bonne augure pour la classe d’actifs à l’image de la récente émission de l’état Allemand avec un niveau de prime quasi-identique.
  • Le contexte déflationniste est plutôt favorable aux taux réels qui demeurent le principal moteur de performance des obligations indexées à l’inflation.
  • Sur les stratégies de duration, nous restons neutres avec toutefois un biais long aux Etats-Unis et court en Europe. Sur le marché du credit, nous anticipons un resserrement progressif des spreads. Nous pensons également que l’essentiel des dégradations de notation est derrière nous. La demande sur le marché primaire reste soutenue et les perspectives nous paraissent stables.
  • Sur le marché de la dette souveraine périphérique, nous surpondérons l’Italie et l’Espagne.
  • Nos stratégies Euro Credit Total Return et Global Strategic Bonds se sont particulièrement bien comportées grâce à leurs choix tactiques et leurs marges de manœuvre sur l’ensemble du spectre obligataire. Les perspectives de nos stratégies indexées à l’inflation demeurent bien orientées et nos offres responsables continuent de bien se classer vis-à-vis de leurs pairs.

Avertissement

Ce document est exclusivement conçu à des fins d’information et ne constitue ni une recherche en investissement ni une analyse financière concernant les transactions sur instruments financiers conformément à la Directive MIF 2 (2014/65/CE) ni ne constitue, de la part d’AXA Investment Managers ou de ses affiliés, une offre d’acheter ou vendre des investissements, produits ou services et ne doit pas être considéré comme une sollicitation, un conseil en investissement ou un conseil juridique ou fiscal, une recommandation de stratégie d’investissement ou une recommandation personnalisée d’acheter ou de vendre des titres financiers. Ce document a été établi sur la base d'informations, projections, estimations, anticipations et hypothèses qui comportent une part de jugement subjectif. Ses analyses et ses conclusions sont l’expression d’une opinion indépendante, formée à partir des informations disponibles à une date donnée.

Toutes les données de ce document ont été établies sur la base d’informations rendues publiques par les fournisseurs officiels de statistiques économiques et de marché. AXA Investment Managers décline toute responsabilité quant à la prise d’une décision sur la base ou sur la foi de ce document. L’ensemble des graphiques du présent document, sauf mention contraire, a été établi à la date de publication de ce document. Du fait de sa simplification, ce document peut être partiel et les informations qu’il présente peuvent être subjectives.

Par ailleurs, de par la nature subjective des opinions et analyses présentées, ces données, projections, scénarii, perspectives, hypothèses et/ou opinions ne seront pas nécessairement utilisés ou suivis par les équipes de gestion de portefeuille d’AXA Investment Managers ou de ses affiliés qui pourront agir selon leurs propres opinions. Toute reproduction et diffusion, même partielles, de ce document sont strictement interdites, sauf autorisation préalable expresse d’AXA Investment Managers.

L’information concernant le personnel d’AXA Investment Managers est uniquement informative. Nous n’apportons aucune garantie sur le fait que ce personnel restera employé par AXA Investment Managers et exercera ou continuera à exercer des fonctions au sein d’AXA Investment Managers.

AXA Investment Managers Paris – Tour Majunga – La Défense 9 – 6, place de la Pyramide – 92800 Puteaux. Société de gestion de portefeuille titulaire de l’agrément AMF N° GP 92-008 en date du 7 avril 1992 S.A au capital de 1 384 380 euros immatriculée au registre du commerce et des sociétés de Nanterre sous le numéro 353 534 506.

Investissement responsable

Impact Engagement Principles Delivering on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • AXA IM believes that significant positive societal impact can be generated through listed assets investment strategies. This is the case for capital allocation into best-in-class companies, and for engagement with companies where there is scope for change.
  • Engagement is an important route for investors in listed assets – public equities and corporate bonds in particular – to drive impact through their actions. When done right, intervention by investors can contribute to broader societal goals, such as those set out in the Paris climate agreement or in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • However, there is a risk of characterising business-as-usual environmental, social and governance (ESG) engagement as ‘impact engagement’ simply because there may be overlaps with the SDGs. We believe that this is not sufficiently ambitious.
  • We believe that ‘impact engagement’ is a specific and distinct approach to active ownership. It is differentiated from broader and well-established approaches to ESG-related engagement.
  •  In this paper, we propose an approach to ‘impact engagement’ which is strategic in nature and has objectives that, if successfully achieved, will lead to meaningfully positive outcomes. It will often focus on how capital can be allocated to drive the future ambitions of the company’s core activities, in line with the SDGs. It goes beyond gaining insights into a company’s operational performance, mitigating risks of negative externalities or improving sustainability reporting.

Not for Retail distribution: This document is intended exclusively for Professional, Institutional, Qualified or Wholesale Clients / Investors only, as defined by applicable local laws and regulation. Circulation must be restricted accordingly.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments as per MIF Directive (2014/65/EU), nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities.
Due to its simplification, this document is partial and opinions, estimates and forecasts herein are subjective and subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee forecasts made will come to pass. Data, figures, declarations, analysis, predictions and other information in this document is provided based on our state of knowledge at the time of creation of this document. Whilst every care is taken, no representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the recipient. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.
Issued in the UK by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Registered in England and Wales No: 01431068. Registered Office: 7 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7NX.
In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.

Multi Asset

Vues d'allocations d'actifs - Octobre 2020

Serge Pizem, Responsable de la gestion Multi-Asset partage ses vues de marché et d’allocation d’actifs.

 

Les points à retenir:

  • Les élections américaines
  • Un point sur la pandémie de Covid-19
  • La situation économique en Europe

Investissement Responsable

Pour lutter contre le réchauffement climatique, nous devons transformer nos économies

Durant la pandémie de COVID-19, on a pu observer une diminution spectaculaire des émissions de polluants atmosphériques. Les mesures de confinement ont eu des effets positifs immédiats en termes d’amélioration de la qualité de l’air, de réduction des polluants à courte durée de vie dans l’atmosphère et de retour de la faune dans certaines régions. Il est intéressant de noter que les matières particulaires, les fines particules en suspension dans l’atmosphère, semblent avoir diminué moins que prévu. Si le trafic et l’industrie ont ralenti en raison du confinement, l’activité s’est poursuivie dans le secteur agricole. Cela signifie que nous sous-estimons peut-être l’impact global de l’agriculture sur certains polluants tels que les matières particulaires, tout au moins sous le climat printanier ensoleillé que nous avons connu durant la période de confinement en Europe.

À plus long terme, les mesures de confinement auront peu d’effet sur le climat. Le dioxyde de carbone est un gaz qui reste longtemps dans l’atmosphère. Il aurait fallu que le confinement soit maintenu sur une période beaucoup plus longue pour apporter un changement quantifiable. Cela étant, la crise de la COVID-19 présente une occasion indéniable pour les sciences du climat. Dans le domaine de la recherche, il nous manque souvent ce qu’on appelle un monde contrefactuel, c’est-à-dire une vision du monde sans activité humaine ni émissions de CO2. Les modèles nous permettent de supprimer l’influence humaine et de construire ce monde contrefactuel, mais ils ont leurs limites. Grâce au confinement, nous avons pu observer un monde dans lequel l’activité humaine était nettement moins intense. Dans la plupart des pays, le confinement a duré plusieurs mois. Il s’agit d’une période suffisamment longue pour tirer des conclusions sur nos interactions, en tant qu’êtres humains, avec l’environnement. Au-delà des changements observés au niveau des polluants atmosphériques que nous avons déjà évoqués, il est probable que le ralentissement économique actuel aura un impact sur l’exploitation des ressources naturelles dans les pays pauvres. Il serait extrêmement utile de comprendre les interactions entre dégradation de l’environnement et économie pour élaborer des politiques climatiques résilientes.

« Il serait extrêmement utile de comprendre les interactions entre dégradation de l’environnement et économie pour élaborer des politiques climatiques résilientes. »

Sur la question de la santé, il existe des synergies manifestes avec les politiques de lutte contre le changement climatique dont nous devrions profiter. Réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre contribuerait également à protéger la biodiversité et à renforcer notre propre santé. Le confinement a mis en évidence une corrélation entre la réduction des émissions de CO2 et l’amélioration de la qualité de l’air, un bienfait pour les personnes souffrant de maladies respiratoires. L’alimentation est un autre exemple : consommer moins de protéines animales et davantage de fruits, de légumes ou de légumineuses serait non seulement bénéfique pour l’environnement, mais aussi pour la santé humaine.

Il faut également être conscient du fait qu’il y a aussi des compromis à faire dans la mesure où tout ce qui est bénéfique pour le climat ne l’est pas automatiquement pour nous ou pour les écosystèmes naturels qui nous entourent. L’élimination du dioxyde de carbone de l’atmosphère en est un exemple. Le faire par des moyens biologiques nécessite beaucoup de terres, lesquelles sont alors en concurrence avec l’agriculture. La solution consiste alors à intensifier l’agriculture, mais au risque de devoir recourir à davantage d’engrais. De même, l’hydroélectricité peut nuire à la biodiversité dans la mesure où elle implique la construction de barrages dans les estuaires ou en montagne. Les énergies renouvelables sont quasiment exemptes de CO2 et se développent, mais elles peuvent occasionner d’autres dommages à l’environnement. Il s’agit là d’équations compliquées. En général, nous comprenons ces arbitrages, mais ils ne sont pas exposés de manière suffisamment explicite dans notre débat public ou dans nos politiques économiques ou climatiques.

Il ne fait aucun doute que la pandémie a sensibilisé les populations au changement climatique. Nous devons exploiter cette situation avant qu’elle ne disparaisse. Il est possible que le comportement des gens change et qu’ils se mettent à moins consommer ou à consommer différemment de façon à réduire leur empreinte carbone. Dans le cadre de l’Accord de Paris sur le Climat, l’objectif des nations est de limiter le réchauffement à un niveau « nettement inférieur à deux degrés » d’ici 2030. Personnellement, je serais satisfait si nous pouvions atteindre cet objectif de +2 °C. Bien qu’il soit urgent de réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre, le calendrier des politiques de lutte contre le changement climatique va bien au-delà de 2030. Si l’on extrapole à la fin du siècle les engagements que les pays ont déjà pris, on obtient une hausse des températures d’environ +4 °C. Ce chiffre est de toute évidence trop élevé et cet écart entre +2 °C et +4 °C doit être comblé.

« Nous devons transformer l’économie et le faire suffisamment rapidement pour protéger l’environnement, mais d’une manière qui préserve également les emplois et les moyens de subsistance. »

Pour cela, nous allons devoir intensifier nos efforts, décarboner nos systèmes de production d’électricité et nos réseaux de transport, améliorer l’efficacité énergétique autant que possible et inverser le processus de déforestation. Les plans de relance économique actuels nous en donnent l’occasion. Aux quatre coins du monde, les autorités injectent davantage de fonds publics dans les économies. Il va de soi que cet argent doit être dépensé d’une manière qui soit non seulement bénéfique pour l’économie, mais aussi pour l’environnement, de sorte que la reprise soit véritablement verte. Certains pays se sont déjà engagés dans cette voie, mais la tentation sera toujours de redémarrer l’économie le plus rapidement possible. Le fait d’associer directement les investissements verts à la relance économique contribue à désamorcer ce problème et il est clair qu’un équilibre doit être trouvé. Avec la pandémie de COVID-19, nous avons vu que la fermeture de l’économie n’était pas la solution pour résoudre la crise climatique. Au contraire, nous devons transformer l’économie et le faire suffisamment rapidement pour protéger l’environnement, mais d’une manière qui préserve également les emplois et les moyens de subsistance.

Olivier Boucher

Membre du conseil scientifique du Fonds AXA pour la Recherche et directeur de recherche au Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Paris (France)

Le Dr Olivier Boucher étudie les propriétés physiques du changement climatique ; ses recherches sont axées sur les effets des aérosols sur l’atmosphère terrestre et les conditions météorologiques. Olivier est fortement impliqué au sein du Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat (GIEC). Son travail a été récompensé à maintes reprises, notamment par l’Outstanding Young Scientist Award de l’Union européenne des géosciences (EGU) et le prix Harry Otten pour l’innovation en météorologie.

En savoir plus sur le Fonds AXA pour la Recherche

Avertissement

Ce document est exclusivement conçu à des fins d’information et ne constitue ni une recherche en investissement ni une analyse financière concernant les transactions sur instruments financiers conformément à la Directive MIF 2 (2014/65/CE) ni ne constitue, de la part d’AXA Investment Managers ou de ses affiliés, une offre d’acheter ou vendre des investissements, produits ou services et ne doit pas être considéré comme une sollicitation, un conseil en investissement ou un conseil juridique ou fiscal, une recommandation de stratégie d’investissement ou une recommandation personnalisée d’acheter ou de vendre des titres financiers. Ce document a été établi sur la base d'informations, projections, estimations, anticipations et hypothèses qui comportent une part de jugement subjectif. Ses analyses et ses conclusions sont l’expression d’une opinion indépendante, formée à partir des informations disponibles à une date donnée.

Toutes les données de ce document ont été établies sur la base d’informations rendues publiques par les fournisseurs officiels de statistiques économiques et de marché. AXA Investment Managers décline toute responsabilité quant à la prise d’une décision sur la base ou sur la foi de ce document. L’ensemble des graphiques du présent document, sauf mention contraire, a été établi à la date de publication de ce document. Du fait de sa simplification, ce document peut être partiel et les informations qu’il présente peuvent être subjectives.

Par ailleurs, de par la nature subjective des opinions et analyses présentées, ces données, projections, scénarii, perspectives, hypothèses et/ou opinions ne seront pas nécessairement utilisés ou suivis par les équipes de gestion de portefeuille d’AXA Investment Managers ou de ses affiliés qui pourront agir selon leurs propres opinions. Toute reproduction et diffusion, même partielles, de ce document sont strictement interdites, sauf autorisation préalable expresse d’AXA Investment Managers.

L’information concernant le personnel d’AXA Investment Managers est uniquement informative. Nous n’apportons aucune garantie sur le fait que ce personnel restera employé par AXA Investment Managers et exercera ou continuera à exercer des fonctions au sein d’AXA Investment Managers.

AXA Investment Managers Paris – Tour Majunga – La Défense 9 – 6, place de la Pyramide – 92800 Puteaux. Société de gestion de portefeuille titulaire de l’agrément AMF N° GP 92-008 en date du 7 avril 1992 S.A au capital de 1 384 380 euros immatriculée au registre du commerce et des sociétés de Nanterre sous le numéro 353 534 506.

Analyses et stratégies d’investissement

Le «swoosh» ou le «push» ?

Points clés

  • Après un rebond mécanique, l’économie mondiale ne connaît pas une reprise en forme de V.
  • Le soutien politique reste important : les mesures de relance budgétaire en Europe sont étendues à mesure que le virus réapparaît. Davantage de stimulus est en suspens aux États-Unis.
  • Le soutien monétaire de la Réserve Fédérale reste solide – même si elle doit faire le travail pour deux. Nous attendons une nouvelle relance de la Banque Centrale Européenne en décembre.
  • Le crédit devrait être plus performant que les obligations d'État. Mais le cycle des bénéfices

La gestion du “swoosh”

Le récent flux de données est conforme à notre scénario de référence : l'économie mondiale ne connaît pas une reprise en "V", mais suit plutôt une trajectoire en forme de virgule (« swoosh ») dans laquelle, après un premier rebond spectaculaire, la croissance ralentit. L'accent est à nouveau mis sur l'offre, car de plus en plus de régions imposent des "blocages partiels" qui ne sont pas aussi stricts que ceux de mars et avril, mais qui sont toujours compatibles avec une forte dégradation de certains secteurs (par exemple, l'hôtellerie). Cela rend encore plus problématique l'inévitable réaction de la demande. Avec la poursuite de la détérioration des perspectives du marché du travail, l'épargne par précaution freinera inévitablement la consommation.

Dans une telle configuration, une position politique accommodante prévisible et sûre est essentielle pour maintenir la confiance. Aux États-Unis, la politique se met en travers de la route. Là-bas, le soutien budgétaire initial était très puissant, mais ce support s'estompe maintenant que les républicains et les démocrates au Congrès ne s'entendent toujours pas sur un autre programme de mesures d'urgence. À l'approche des élections, aucun des deux camps ne souhaite apparaître comme responsable de l'incapacité du gouvernement fédéral à agir à un moment décisif, ce qui signifie qu’un accord est toujours possible. Mais par construction, toute relance budgétaire à moyen terme devra en pratique attendre l'issue des élections et l'année prochaine. Nous ajouterions que le contexte politique actuel est rendu encore plus imprévisible aux États-Unis par le fait que le résultat des élections pourrait être contesté.

Heureusement, le calendrier électoral est léger en Europe en 2021. Les gouvernements sont donc mieux à même de donner de la visibilité aux entreprises et aux ménages. L'Allemagne et la France ont déjà dévoilé d'importants plans de relance pour 2021-2022. Cependant, la séquence mise en place avant l'été en Europe est compromise. Ces programmes à moyen terme étaient censés démarrer alors que les plans d'urgence expiraient progressivement. Or les restrictions persistantes de l'offre que nous constatons aujourd'hui exigent que ces plans très coûteux soient prolongés. La France a annoncé il y a deux semaines que son principal système de chômage à temps partiel, qui devait devenir moins généreux en octobre, resterait inchangé jusqu'à l'été prochain.

Vers un nouveau « push » monétaire

Cela signifie qu'en Europe, la politique monétaire devra continuer à assurer des conditions financières accommodantes à des gouvernements toujours plus actifs sur le plan budgétaire, tandis qu'aux États-Unis, elle devra peut-être - au moins pendant un certain temps – être "accommodante pour deux", c'est-à-dire compenser en plus un manque de soutien du budget fédéral. À ce stade, dans les économies développées où les taux d'intérêt étaient déjà très bas avant que la pandémie ne frappe, la capacité de tout stimulus supplémentaire de la politique monétaire à faire bouger le cadran est probablement très limitée. Rendre possible une politique budgétaire de relance pourrait bien être le canal de transmission le plus puissant pour les banques centrales à l'heure actuelle.

La conversion de la Réserve Fédérale (Fed) à un objectif d'inflation moyenne, qui promet de permettre un certain dépassement de l'inflation à l'avenir, est un autre geste courageux qui est conforme à l'idée de "plus faible pour encore plus longtemps" les taux d'intérêt, même si le Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) a choisi de ne pas annoncer de politiques "dures" (par exemple, cibler des échéances plus longues). La dernière communication de la Banque centrale européenne (BCE) a été encourageante de ce point de vue. Il est clair que les "bruits hawkish" perçus par le marché lors de la dernière conférence de presse de Christine Lagarde ont été plus que compensés par une série de discours et d'interviews d'autres membres du conseil d'administration qui ont souligné la volonté d'agir de la Banque centrale. Nous continuons à attendre une prolongation de la durée et du montant du programme d'achat d'urgence en cas de pandémie (PEPP) qui sera annoncée en décembre, ce qui permettra d'absorber rapidement les besoins de financement plus élevés des gouvernements l'année prochaine.

Le marché doit donc, une fois de plus, décider sur quoi se concentrer, soit l’augmentation des risques à la baisse sur la reprise, qui est négatif pour les bénéfices et fait augmenter les risques de défaut des entreprises ; soit la poussée politique qui en résulte et la vague de liquidités qu'elle déclenche. Jusqu'à présent, cette année, c'est toujours cette dernière qui a gagné. Nous sommes toutefois préoccupés par la diminution des rendements : la politique de relance substitue les dépenses publiques aux dépenses privées, mais elle ne protège pas nécessairement les bénéfices des entreprises.

Les revenus et l’inflation

Dans cette optique, deux facteurs fondamentaux sont essentiels pour les perspectives d'investissement : l'inflation et les bénéfices des entreprises.  Bien que les données mensuelles sur l'inflation puissent faire du bruit dans les mois à venir, il semble que l'on soit encore loin d'une période d'inflation moyenne conforme aux objectifs des banques centrales. Comme nous l'avons suggéré ci-dessus, cela signifie que les politiques des banques centrales resteront déterminées à améliorer les anticipations d’inflation tout en veillant à ce que les taux d'intérêt restent bas. Les rendements des obligations d'État resteront faibles pendant un certain temps et toute accentuation des courbes de taux – signal traditionnel de reprise économique – sera limitée par ce que beaucoup appellent la "répression financière".

Les rendements des obligations d'État se sont déjà aplatis en réponse à l'atténuation de la volatilité et il est probable que cela reste le cas pour l'instant. Les possibilités d'amélioration des performances des obligations indexées sur l'inflation pourraient être limitées si les marchés commencent à fixer les prix à des niveaux d'inflation compatibles avec la détermination des banques centrales. En outre, nous pensons que les rendements des crédits seront également supérieurs au taux sans risque, compte tenu des spreads de crédit actuels.

Historiquement, les multiples du marché des actions se situent dans leur fourchette supérieure, étant donné les niveaux actuels d'inflation. Les périodes de faible inflation (par exemple, inférieure à 1%) ou de forte inflation (supérieure à 4%) aux États-Unis ont été associées à des multiples cours-bénéfices plus faibles. À court terme, les risques vont probablement dans le sens d'une inflation plus faible, ce à quoi les banques centrales continueront de s'attaquer. Une inflation plus faible signifie un moindre pouvoir de fixation des prix et une capacité de gain réduite, d'où l'importance de la détermination des banques centrales.

Ce qui est important pour les perspectives des marchés d'actions, c'est le niveau des bénéfices ajustés par la faiblesse actuelle des taux. Jusqu'à présent, dans cette reprise, les investisseurs ont évalué le potentiel de bénéfices à long terme des secteurs de croissance défensifs comme la santé et la technologie par rapport aux secteurs cycliques plus touchés par la perturbation de la croissance mondiale. Si l'on examine les estimations actuelles pour les secteurs du S&P500, les prévisions ne montrent qu'une modeste reprise des bénéfices par rapport aux niveaux déprimés et inférieurs à la tendance pour des secteurs tels que les matériaux de base, les produits industriels et les biens de consommation cycliques. Tout recul de la croissance mondiale lié à la deuxième vague pourrait entraîner une plus grande déception sur ce front. Malgré la récente volatilité et la menace d'obstacles réglementaires et fiscaux à venir, la résistance de la croissance des bénéfices et la solidité des secteurs comme la technologie suggèrent qu'ils pourraient continuer à enregistrer des performances relativement bonnes.

Il faut espérer que le cycle des revenus reprendra avant l'inflation. À mesure que les prévisions augmenteront, les bénéfices seront actualisés à des taux qui ne bougeront pas avant un certain temps. Il pourrait y avoir un point d'attrait pour les actions cycliques en 2021 si la reprise reste sur la bonne voie. Dans le bruit des élections américaines et la trajectoire hivernale de la pandémie, les données sur la croissance et la trajectoire des bénéfices par rapport à l'inflation sont essentielles pour les perspectives d'investissement.

Télécharger la présentation détaillée de

notre Stratégie d’Investissement de septembre (en anglais)

AVERTISSEMENT

Ce document est exclusivement conçu à des fins d’information et ne constitue ni une recherche en investissement ni une analyse financière concernant les transactions sur instruments financiers conformément à la Directive MIF 2 (2014/65/UE) ni  ne constitue, de la part d’AXA Investment Managers ou de ses affiliés une offre d’acheter ou vendre des investissements, produits ou services et ne doit pas être considérée comme une sollicitation, un conseil en investissement ou un conseil juridique ou fiscal, une recommandation de stratégie d’investissement ou une recommandation personnalisée d’acheter ou de vendre des titres financiers. Ce document a été établi sur la base d'informations, projections, estimations, anticipations et hypothèses qui comportent une part de jugement subjectif. Ses analyses et ses conclusions sont l’expression d’une opinion indépendante, formée à partir des informations disponibles à une date donnée.

Toutes les données de ce document ont été établies sur la base d’informations rendues publiques par les fournisseurs officiels de statistiques économiques et de marché. AXA Investment Managers décline toute responsabilité quant à la prise d’une décision sur la base ou sur la foi de ce document. L’ensemble des graphiques du présent document, sauf mention contraire, a été établi à la date de publication de ce document. Du fait de sa simplification, ce document peut être partiel et les informations qu’il présente peuvent être subjectives.

Par ailleurs, de par la nature subjective des opinions et analyses présentées, ces données, projections, scénarii, perspectives, hypothèses et/ou opinions ne seront pas nécessairement utilisés ou suivis par les équipes de gestion de portefeuille d’AXA Investment Managers ou ses affiliés qui pourront agir selon leurs propres opinions. Toute reproduction et diffusion, même partielles de ce document sont strictement interdites, sauf autorisation préalable expresse d’AXA Investment Managers.

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© AXA Investment Managers 2020

Deux minutes

Deux minutes pour s’informer sur les marchés financiers

Que faut-il retenir ?

L'économie américaine a affiché une « nette amélioration » marquée par un redressement de l'activité après les creux atteints suite à la pandémie, mais les perspectives sont « très incertaines », a déclaré la semaine dernière le président de la Réserve fédérale, Jerome Powell. L'activité manufacturière a progressé en septembre aux États-Unis et dans la zone euro selon les derniers indices PMI des directeurs d'achat, mais le secteur des services s'est contracté dans les deux régions. Les craintes d'une augmentation du nombre de cas de coronavirus et de l'introduction de nouvelles mesures de confinement ont pesé sur les valeurs et les marchés mondiaux ont cédé 3,5 % durant la semaine jusqu'à la clôture de jeudi1. Par ailleurs, les Nations unies ont averti que le monde risquait de vivre une nouvelle décennie perdue si les autorités politiques n'élaboraient pas un plan de relance fondé sur l'investissement et le développement durable.

[1] Indice MSCI World NR exprimé en USD. Source : FactSet, données au 24/09/20

État du monde

La Chine vise la neutralité carbone d'ici 2060 et se dote de plans audacieux pour lutter contre les émissions. Le président du pays Xi Jinping a surpris l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies en déclarant que la Chine devrait atteindre un pic d'émissions de CO2 avant 2030 et qu'elle adopterait « des mesures plus vigoureuses » pour atteindre le nouvel objectif. C'est la première fois que le plus gros émetteur mondial de dioxyde de carbone s'engage à mettre fin à sa contribution nette aux émissions, ce qui pourrait exposer les États-Unis à de nouvelles pressions pour qu'ils se joignent aux efforts internationaux de lutte contre le changement climatique.

Le chiffre de la semaine

3 500 milliards USD

L'Organisation internationale du travail a estimé que la pandémie de coronavirus avait fait perdre 3 500 milliards de dollars de revenus à la population mondiale au cours des trois premiers trimestres de 2020. Ce chiffre représente une baisse de 10,7 % par rapport à la même période en 2019, avant prise en compte des mesures de soutien financier. Les heures de travail perdues devraient s'élever à 8,6 % au quatrième trimestre 2020, une prévision plus pessimiste qu'auparavant.

Éclairage

Clicktivisme

Le monde de la contestation sur Internet a été critiqué pour son inefficacité et même qualifié de « slacktivisme » par ses détracteurs, mais un article publié récemment par l'Université de Caroline du Nord suggère que ce phénomène pourrait avoir un impact considérable. Les chercheurs ont examiné les données de la dernière décennie qui ont montré que le poids considérable des messages diffusés sur les réseaux sociaux peut permettre de lancer de manière décisive des campagnes ou des mouvements auprès des internautes, lesquels s'engagent ensuite dans une cause dans le cadre de leur vie hors ligne.

Prochaines échéances

La Banque du Japon publiera mardi sa synthèse (évaluation périodique de l'économie et des perspectives de croissance). Les chiffres définitifs de la croissance du deuxième trimestre aux États-Unis et au Royaume-Uni seront communiqués mercredi, date à laquelle l'indice des directeurs d'achat chinois et les chiffres de l'inflation dans la zone euro seront également publiés. Les chiffres du chômage dans la zone euro sont attendus jeudi, suivis vendredi par ceux des États-Unis.

Ce document est exclusivement conçu à des fins d’information. Il ne constitue ni un élément contractuel, ni un conseil en investissement. Il a été établi sur la base d'informations, projections, estimations, anticipations et hypothèses qui comportent une part de jugement subjectif. Ses analyses et ses conclusions sont l’expression d’une opinion indépendante, formée à partir des informations disponibles à une date donnée.
 
Ainsi, compte tenu du caractère subjectif et indicatif de ces analyses, nous attirons votre attention sur le fait que l'évolution effective des variables économiques et des valorisations des marchés financiers pourrait s'écarter significativement des indications (projections, estimations, anticipations et hypothèses) qui vous sont communiquées dans ce document. En outre, du fait de leur simplification, les informations contenues dans ce document peuvent n’être que partielles. Elles sont susceptibles d'être modifiées sans préavis et AXA Investment Managers n’est pas tenu de les mettre à jour systématiquement.
 
Toutes ces données ont été établies sur la base d’informations rendues publiques par les fournisseurs officiels de statistiques économiques, et de marché. L’ensemble des graphiques du présent document, sauf mention contraire, ont été établi à la date de publication de ce document.
 
Les destinataires de ce document s’engagent à ce que l'utilisation des informations y figurant soit limitée à la seule évaluation de leur intérêt propre en considération des stratégies visées. Toute reproduction partielle ou totale des informations ou du document est soumise à une autorisation préalable expresse de la Société.
 
Rédacteur : AXA Investment Managers Paris – Tour Majunga – 6, place de la Pyramide – 92908 Paris La défense cedex. Société de gestion de portefeuille titulaire de l’agrément AMF N° GP 92-08 en date du 7 avril 1992 S.A au capital de 1 384 380 euros immatriculée au registre du commerce et des sociétés de Nanterre sous le numéro 353 534 506