Outlook 2014 – LPL Financial
Portfolios Over Policy
A farming almanac is an annual publication containing a guide for the coming year and a forecast of the times and statistics of events and phenomena important to growing. Farmers’ almanacs have been a source of wisdom, rooted in the core values of independence and simple living, for American growers for over 200 years. In LPL Financial Research’s Outlook 2014: The Investor’s Almanac, we seek to provide a trusted guide to the coming year filled with a wealth of wisdom for investors.
In 2014, portfolios are likely to enjoy more independence from policymakers than in 2013, when the markets and media seemed to obsess over policymakers’ actions both here and abroad. This could be seen throughout 2013, during the government shutdown and debt ceiling debacle, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) mixed messages on tapering its aggressive bond-buying program, the bank bailout and elections in Europe, and the unprecedented government stimulus referred to as “Abenomics” in Japan, among many other examples.
In the year ahead, there are many reasons investors can return to the basics of growing and preserving their portfolios and spend less time gauging the actions of policymakers, including:
- After two “clean” lifts to the debt ceiling since 2011, which ensured any risk of default on Treasury obligations was avoided, we are unlikely to see concessions in exchange for a third increase in 2014 — making a high-stakes fiscal battle unlikely.
- The Fed is likely to begin to taper its bond-purchase program, known as quantitative easing (QE), in the first half of 2014, signaling a commitment to reducing its presence in the markets and transitioning to a post-QE environment.
- Europe is emerging from recession, which means less need for direct life support from the European Central Bank (ECB) or painfully austere fiscal policy as deficit targets are eased.