July 17, 2017 / 11:15 AM / a month ago

RPT-INVESTMENT FOCUS-The global equity bull market: halfway there?

(Repeats story from July 14, text unchanged)

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - Janet Yellen told U.S. lawmakers worried about the health of the economy last year that expansions do not die of old age.

As the bull market in stocks enters its eighth year and shows little sign of slowing there are growing signs that sthe Federal Reserve chief may be on the money.

Conventional wisdom argues that a lack of volatility in markets coupled with high asset prices reflects growing complacency among investors, making an aging expansion increasingly vulnerable to a turn.

But the view that age determines when boom turns to bust has come under question in an era of abnormally low interest rates and at a time when central bankers are struggling to combat anaemic readings of output, productivity and wage growth.

Here are four charts that highlight how long the current global equity market rally has lasted and why it may have more room to run:

GLOBAL EQUITIES ON A TEAR

The MSCI All-Country World Index is at an all-time high, and a third-quarter gain for the measure would mark its longest streak of quarterly gains in twenty years.

MIRRORING A LONG, BUT SLOW UPTICK IN GLOBAL GROWTH

Forecasts by the International Monetary Fund predict the global growth recovery after the financial crisis of 2008 will continue.

STOCKS HAVE OUTPERFORMED BONDS

Equities have remained far more attractive than debt in investors' search for yields.

VOLATILITY...LOW, BUT WITH A LONG TAIL Analysis by the world's largest asset manager concludes that investors may be at the risk of being 'under-risked' in the current environment. That's because realized volatility has historically been low, with only a few bouts of strong price gyrations.

"Our research suggests that breaks to a high-volatility regime rarely occur without the economic expansion coming to an end," strategists at Blackrock wrote in the firm's mid-year investment outlook.

"We see the probability of a volatility regime shift as low – as long as the economy remains stable and systemic financial vulnerabilities are kept in check."

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.

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