This mid-year break, 10 years on from the financial crisis, is the perfect time to bring the big picture into focus.

At Neuberger Berman, we pride ourselves on investing for the long term. Nevertheless, we are all susceptible to the short movements of markets. Yet, as the summer matures and the second-quarter earnings season draws to a close, as investors leave for their vacations and the day-to-day noise of the markets settles to a low murmur, a space opens up to really take in the big picture—to think, perhaps with the help of a good book, in years and decades rather than in stock market ticks.

The 10th anniversary of the Great Financial Crisis will welcome us back to our desks, so this year inspires reflection more than most. That is why a number of my colleagues and I have been taking time over this summer to talk about the ways in which markets, the economy and society have changed since the financial crisis.

Forces

We took this as an opportunity to look forward as much as back, asking which of the forces currently in place would still be driving the investment world 10 years from now.

That is not surprising. The events of 2008 were so momentous that some of the effects are only now becoming clear; it seems likely that many will resonate far into the future; and few weeks have passed this summer without a headline confirming the big trends we identified.

For example, a lot was said about the way governments are dominating a growing proportion of the world’s economic activity, whether that is via the emergence of permanent public deficits, the explosion of central bank balance sheets, the rise of China, or the sweeping post-crisis regulation of banking and financial markets. The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have only this summer joined the U.S. Federal Reserve in announcing a plan to withdraw some of their extraordinary monetary stimulus. In May, the U.S. Congress made its first rollback of regulations from the Dodd-Frank Act, reminding us that these trends rarely evolve in a straight line, but rather ebb and flow with the times.

We also discussed the transition to a genuinely global, and yet also more fractious multipolar world order, characterized by further integration of the emerging with the developed world, but also rising economic nationalism. Both Brexit and the Trump presidency arguably have roots in the financial crisis. This summer has seen China onshore equities added to global benchmark indexes, as well as the first steps toward the same for China onshore bonds—even as the first shots rang out in a U.S.-China trade war.

In addition, we mulled over the restructuring of capital markets—including the post-crisis wave of bank disintermediation, but also the increasing importance of private markets. That owes a lot to regulation such as Dodd Frank, but also to advances in technology, another important trend, which we identified as growing rapidly both as a social force and an investment theme. This month, underscoring both these trends, Apple became the first $1 trillion company and one of the great maverick CEOs of industrial technology raised the prospect (on social media, naturally) of Tesla becoming the biggest public-to-private buyout transaction in history.

Connections

In a few weeks’ time, to mark the anniversary of the peak of the financial crisis, we will publish our thoughts on these major trends more fully.

In the meantime, enjoy a good mid-year break; maybe use the downtime to remember what you were doing this time 10 years ago, and consider what you might be facing 10 years from now. We found it a stimulating experience that revealed numerous and often unlikely connections, not only among the themes we identified, but also between today’s new stories and the deeper trends that stretch back and forth across decades.

Joseph V. Amato is President of Neuberger Berman Group LLC and Chief Investment Officer—Equities at Neuberger Berman. He is also a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and its Audit Committee. To learn more, see Mr. Amato's bio or visit www.nb.com.

In Case You Missed It

  • Eurozone 2Q 2018 GDP (Second Estimate):  +2.2% Annualized Rate
  • U.S. Retail Sales:  +0.5% in July
  • NAHB Housing Market Index:  -1 to 67 in August
  • U.S. Housing Starts:  +0.9% to SAAR of 1.17 million units in July
  • U.S. Building Permits:  +1.5% to SAAR of 1.31 million units in July

What to Watch For

  • Wednesday, 8/22:
    • U.S. Existing Home Sales
  • Thursday, 8/23:
    • U.S. New Home Sales
    • U.S. Purchasing Manager Index
    • Eurozone Purchasing Manager Index
    • Japan Consumer Price Index
  • Friday, 8/24:
    • U.S. Durable Goods Orders

– Andrew White, Investment Strategy Group

Statistics on the Current State of the Market – as of August 17, 2018

Market Index WTD MTD YTD
Equity      
S&P 500 Index 0.7% 1.4% 7.9%
Russell 1000 Index 0.6% 1.4% 7.9%
Russell 1000 Growth Index 0.3% 2.2% 12.9%
Russell 1000 Value Index 0.9% 0.7% 2.9%
Russell 2000 Index 0.4% 1.4% 11.1%
MSCI World Index 0.0% -0.5% 3.4%
MSCI EAFE Index -1.1% -3.7% -3.7%
MSCI Emerging Markets Index -3.7% -5.8% -9.9%
STOXX Europe 600 -1.4% -4.9% -4.8%
FTSE 100 Index -1.2% -1.7% 1.5%
TOPIX -1.3% -3.2% -5.5%
CSI 300 Index -5.1% -8.1% -18.3%
Fixed Income & Currency      
Citigroup 2-Year Treasury Index 0.0% 0.2% 0.2%
Citigroup 10-Year Treasury Index -0.1% 0.8% -2.6%
Bloomberg Barclays Municipal Bond Index 0.1% 0.2% 0.2%
Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index 0.0% 0.5% -1.1%
Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index -0.1% -0.5% -2.1%
S&P/LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 Index 0.0% 0.3% 3.0%
ICE BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Index 0.0% 0.3% 1.5%
ICE BofA Merrill Lynch Global High Yield Index -0.2% -0.7% -0.9%
JP Morgan EMBI Global Diversified Index 0.0% -1.6% -4.4%
JP Morgan GBI-EM Global Diversified Index -1.8% -5.7% -10.1%
U.S. Dollar per British Pounds -0.3% -2.9% -5.8%
U.S. Dollar per Euro -0.2% -2.5% -5.0%
U.S. Dollar per Japanese Yen 0.2% 1.3% 2.0%
Real & Alternative Assets      
Alerian MLP Index -1.0% 4.5% 10.7%
FTSE EPRA/NAREIT North America Index 3.3% 3.1% 5.5%
FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Global Index 0.9% 0.0% 0.8%
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.0% -2.3% -4.4%
Gold (NYM $/ozt) Continuous Future -2.9% -4.0% -9.6%
Crude Oil (NYM $/bbl) Continuous Future -2.5% -4.1% 9.1%

Source: FactSet, Neuberger Berman.