Many advisors and investors follow the yearly predictions of Robert Doll, chief equity strategist of Nuveen Asset Management.
In 2015, the portfolio specialist expected investors “to transition from ‘skepticism’ to ‘optimism’ as we experienced” several improvements in the economy, Doll explained in his recap of the past 12 months.
Specifically, he anticipated solid momentum in U.S. economic growth and low inflation; an uptick in consumer spending tied to job growth, confidence and “a positive wealth effect; solid earnings growth, stimulus from low commodity prices and financing costs; as well as “a still-good liquidity environment aided by stimulus from non-U.S. central banks.”
How did the realities of 2015 jibe with Doll’s predictions? Read on to see what the seasoned investment analyst got right and wrong for the year.
1. U.S. GDP grows 3% for the first time since 2005.
“Growth averaged 2.2% over the first three quarters,” Doll said, citing data from the Commerce Department. That was “slightly less” than he expected.
“We believe growth will accelerate modestly next year,” he explained.
2. Core inflation remains contained, but wage growth begins to increase.
Thanks to falling energy (and other commodity) prices, inflation levels have been low in 2015. Still, we “have been seeing indications that inflation may start to creep higher,” Doll states.
“The latest reading from November shows average hourly earnings rose 2.3% year-over-year,” he explained, pointing to research from the Labor Department.
3. The Fed raises interest rates, as short-term rates rise more than long-term rates.
“It took until the end of the year, but the Fed finally increased rates in December,” said Doll.
Overall, the yield on the 10-year Treasury is largely unchanged for the year. The yield on the two-year, though, rose from 0.66% to 0.95%.
4. ECB institutes a large-scale quantitative easing program.
The ECB launched its massive QE program in January and expanded its bond purchases at the end of the year. The central bank is continuing to look for ways to promote growth in Europe.
5. U.S. contributes more to global GDP growth than China for the first time since 2006.
Doll and his colleagues anticipated that China’s economic growth would slow in 2015. Still, he says, they have been “surprised by the magnitude of the decline.”
Through mid-December, the United States has contributed $448 billion to global GDP vs. $390 billion from China, Doll says, citing data compiled by Morningstar Direct, Bloomberg and FactSet (as of Dec. 18).
6. U.S. equities enjoy another good yet volatile year, as corporate earnings and the dollar rise.
Sort of Right/Sort of Wrong