World stocks’ dance to continue, but inflation could mute the music
The bull-run in global stocks fueled by cheap cash and reflation hopes will continue for at least another six months but a rise in bond yields as inflation expectations grow could throw a spanner in the works, Reuters polls found.
Despite severe economic damage from the pandemic, MSCI’s global stock index — which tracks shares across 49 countries — notched up all-time highs this month, having risen over 70% since hitting rock-bottom in late March amid ample liquidity from central banks and massive fiscal stimulus.
In recent trading sessions, world stocks have pulled back as a rapid surge in global bond yields raises expectations that major central banks could eventually turn less accommodative in a bid to tame inflation.
But even as a gauge of equities slipped this week on hints of rising inflation led by higher oil prices and the strongest copper price in nearly a decade, the Feb. 12-24 polls of nearly 300 equity strategists found the trend of stock market gains was set to continue this year.
All 17 major stock indexes polled on by Reuters, from Tokyo to Toronto, were expected to end 2021 higher from here, with nine predicted to extend their record-setting rallies.
Fifteen of those indexes have already breached the mid-2021 consensus level and 10 indexes are above the end-2021 median level predicted in the previous poll in November.
In response to an additional question, over two-thirds, or 79 of 111 analysts, said the run-up in global stocks would continue for at least another six months, including 58 who said over a year.