Over the past eight years, extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy has served as the primary catalyst for spurring continued economic growth in the U.S. and around the globe. Although the economic expansion has delivered steady gross domestic product (GDP) growth, consistent returns for the broad stock market, and an improving job market, the expansion itself has been lackluster. While we’re still set in a familiar scene, solidly in this economic expansion, we need some new characters to take charge—to bring the market back to its traditional roots and raise the bar on what we expect from global growth, a continued expansion, and one of the longest and largest bull markets in history.1
At LPL Research, we’re looking ahead to a “return of the business cycle.” Instead of relying on intervention by the Federal Reserve (Fed) to propel employment and personal consumption, we will turn to fiscal policy and improving business fundamentals to spur further growth in the economy and stock market. Regarding fiscal policy, we’ll look for increased government spending and tax cuts, which could provide added support for businesses in terms of revenue, earnings, and future growth prospects.
We often talk about cycles in terms of the economic periods of recession and expansion. And while we’re not returning to the beginning of that economic cycle, what we’re referring to here is a return to the traditional drivers that propel the cycle. We are looking to the forces that have historically supported economic and market growth, before we entered this recent period of accomodative monetary policy. The economic cycle still matters and we put ourselves solidly in the second half, although with a potentially low likelihood of a recession starting in 2018. But what may be more important in the next year is the fundamental shift we’ve experienced in what’s driving the cycle and what it means for businesses and investment returns.
In short, we expect to return to an environment in which investors may be rewarded for their ability to focus on business fundamentals, as markets respond to the shift from monetary to fiscal support and greater incentives for entrepreneurial risk-taking. The LPL Research Outlook 2018: Return of the Business Cycle reminds investors of where we have been, what we have accomplished, and why the return of these market forces may bring new opportunities for market participants. With this guidance and investment insight, investors will be ready to embrace this market environment in their search for long-term success.