Emerging Markets fundamental momentum still very weak

In our regional allocation work, we have been underweight in Emerging Markets relative to developed markets since May, and remain so currently. A key reason for our continued underweight stance is that the relative fundamental momentum for emerging markets remains very weak compared to that of the broader global equity market.

The chart below shows one of our popular composite indicator charts based on the relative performance of the widely-followed MSCI Emerging Markets ETF, ticker EEM, versus the broad global benchmark of the MSCI All-Country World Index (ACWI) ETF, represented by ticker ACWI.

Cyclical sectors still have the fundamental momentum

One of the biggest questions we have been getting from clients is “is it time to rotate out of Cyclical/Value sectors toward Growth (or Defensive) sectors?”. Based on our measures of fundamental earnings momentum and macro views, our answer is “not yet”.

There has certainly been rotation in relative returns among Cyclical/Value and Growth sectors recently, along with worries about when the Fed or fiscal policy will shift to a less supportive stance. Our view is that corrections or consolidations after large gains (on an absolute or relative basis) are healthy and to be expected, and that is likely what we are seeing in the Value/Growth relative performance recently.