Equity Outlook  |  Q4 2018

Seeking opportunity in uncertainty

Equity Team


While most world markets advanced in the third quarter, U.S. stocks saw their biggest quarterly gain in nearly five years, boosted by rising wages, low unemployment, continued economic growth, and positive investor sentiment despite an escalating U.S.–China trade conflict. Outside the United States, emerging markets struggled with weaker currencies, rising interest rates, and worries over a slowing Chinese economy.

For equities in the months ahead, we believe rising inflation is a key potential risk, fueled by tightening labor markets and elevated energy prices. The escalating tariff conflict also threatens to disrupt market momentum, although we are seeking opportunities among stocks that we believe are being unfairly punished. We are monitoring developments in a number of markets, with a focus on their vulnerability in a rising-rate environment and political uncertainties that could lead to increased volatility.

U.S. stocks lead global equity markets in 2018 chart

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Despite risks of inflation and trade conflicts, opportunities exist for equity investors worldwide.

An active, research-driven approach to investing in equities

Equity investing at Putnam features a tenured and talented team of portfolio managers backed by an integrated group of research analysts with worldwide reach. Our research organization is structured to focus fundamental analysis on the factors that matter most in global equity markets.

Aaron M. Cooper, CFA
Chief Investment Officer, Equities
Investing since 2000
Joined Putnam in 2011
Simon Davis
Co-Head of Equities
Investing since 1988
Joined Putnam in 2000
Shep Perkins, CFA
Co-Head of Equities
Investing since 1993
Joined Putnam in 2011