The Outlook for 2013

18 December 2012

Standard Life Investments, the global investment manager, expects the sustainable yield investment theme to evolve in 2013. While Standard Life Investments believes the desire for corporate bonds will remain strong, more investors will see the attractions of equity income in an environment of interest rates lower for longer and improving, if still moderate, economic growth.

The latest edition of Global Perspective explains why Standard Life Investments’ House View has been positioned for sustainable yield from a mixture of credit, equity and real estate. This will remain the case in 2013 – in particular yield compression in corporate bonds can continue for much longer than many commentators expect, as the situation in Japan has clearly demonstrated.

Andrew Milligan, Head of Global Strategy, Standard Life Investments said:

“Looking into 2013, we are examining the triggers – political, economic and especially corporate - which would allow portfolios to take on more, or less, risk.  One is evidence that the economic upturn is becoming more sustainable, and the benefits are flowing through in terms of corporate cash flows. A reduction in policy uncertainty should encourage CEOs to put cash to work, whether in terms of plug-in M&A, capital spending to enhance capacity, or long-term hiring. Conversely, why might risk levels be lowered in portfolios?

“One trigger would be evidence that the corporate earnings cycle is coming under too much pressure, whether from policy errors or an unexpected rise in costs, so that the record corporate margins or profits/GDP ratio decisively roll over. Most global equity markets have traded in a broad range since 2010. As time goes on - time is the great healer following a crash - the underlying uptrend should become more apparent. Global equities are mid range in terms of valuations, sufficient to suggest 5-10% pa returns for a long term investor. Within this, the income component, from dividends and share buy backs, is particularly important.”