Explore our thinking about today's financial markets


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How an active core strategy can benefit equity investors

December 1, 2022  |  Equity

An active core strategy backed by fundamental, sector-based research has demonstrated impressive long-term performance versus passive strategies.

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How an active core strategy can benefit equity investors

Capital Markets Outlook

Price stability and credibility

Price stability and credibility

October 13, 2022  |  Capital Markets Outlook

As the Fed's interest-rate hikes make a recession more likely, 2023 earnings estimates for stocks need to come down.

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Fixed Income Outlook

As inflation takes root, fixed income opportunities change

As inflation takes root, fixed income opportunities change

November 4, 2022  |  Fixed Income Outlook

Fixed income markets experienced widespread declines in the U.S. and globally in the third quarter of 2022, as inflation remained high and became more broad-based.

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Equity Insights

Attention shoppers! Consumer stocks and other holiday bargains

Attention shoppers! Consumer stocks and other holiday bargains

December 1, 2022  |  Equity Insights

Members of Putnam's equity team offer insights and outlook on the consumer sector.

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All posts
How an active core strategy can benefit equity investors

How an active core strategy can benefit equity investors

An active core strategy backed by fundamental, sector-based research has demonstrated impressive long-term performance versus passive strategies.

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Expect a pause, not a pivot, as savings fuel spending

Expect a pause, not a pivot, as savings fuel spending

In the coming months, the Fed will not likely pivot, but pause and wait with a high level of rates for convincing signs of disinflation.

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How structured credit could be resilient against recession

How structured credit could be resilient against recession

The macro landscape calls for taking a lower level of risk and being alert to attractive opportunities.

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What's next for the traditional 60/40 portfolio

What's next for the traditional 60/40 portfolio

Volatility in both stock and bond markets persisted in Q3 2022, with equity markets making new year-to-date lows and interest rates reaching the highest levels since 2008. 2022 has also presented challenges for the traditional 60% equity/40% fixed income portfolio.

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High job openings signal wage-price spiral

High job openings signal wage-price spiral

Limited labor supply, higher wages, and a high staff turnover seems to have initiated a wage-price spiral.

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ESG: Hearing the signal above the noise

ESG: Hearing the signal above the noise

In our view, the best opportunities lie not at the extremes of ESG rhetoric, but at the heart of sustainability substance.

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What is the biorevolution?

What is the biorevolution?

The revolution in biology and life sciences is unleashing new potential for innovation across many sectors, creating opportunities for investors.

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What is a BDC?

What is a BDC?

A BDC is a business development company. BDCs provide financing to small and midsize private companies. Investing in BDCs can offer attractive income to public investors through private market exposure.

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Slowing economic growth and fixed income performance

Slowing economic growth and fixed income performance

As a follow up to the piece we published in July that focused on decelerating economic growth and equity returns, we thought it made sense to look at how some fixed income sectors fared during the same periods. We researched this concept to better understand the historical relationship between an economic slowdown, credit spreads, and total returns.

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What is the circular economy, and why is it important?

What is the circular economy, and why is it important?

Adapting business models to be less resource intensive creates opportunity for environmental and economic benefit.

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What is the circular economy and why is it important?

What is the circular economy and why is it important?

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Consumer sentiment and forward market performance

Consumer sentiment and forward market performance

In light of decades-high inflation, the Federal Reserve tightening monetary policy, and concerns about an economic slowdown, U.S. consumer sentiment has plummeted.. This year, sentiment is historically low, according to the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

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Covid-related labor imbalances complicate Fed's inflation fight

Covid-related labor imbalances complicate Fed's inflation fight

Demographic shifts and labor imbalances might have disturbed consumption-saving decisions that impact inflation.

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How an active target-date strategy can navigate interest-rate risk

How an active target-date strategy can navigate interest-rate risk

Active managers are in a unique position to manage risks in target-date strategies.

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Style and factor performance during economic deceleration

Style and factor performance during economic deceleration

Investors are concerned about decelerating economic growth and what this could mean for future equity returns. We researched this question to understand the historical relationship between an economic slowdown, earnings degradation, and any subsequent style or factor performance.

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Are bonds too risky right now?

Are bonds too risky right now?

With historical context in mind, we argue that the fear surrounding rising rates and their impact on bonds and retirement portfolios is likely overblown.

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How markets could react to Fed and ECB meetings

How markets could react to Fed and ECB meetings

A mixed batch of inflation readings moved market expectations, but it is more important to remember the Fed’s inflation dashboard.

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Cracks emerge in Europe's resilience

Cracks emerge in Europe's resilience

Recent economic data and the outlook for energy supplies are casting doubt on whether Europe has the resilience to withstand a recession.

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The long-term investment case for stocks and bonds

The long-term investment case for stocks and bonds

A study of the long-term investment performance of stocks and bonds can offer insights for bond investors today.

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A look at leveraged loans and CLOs

A look at leveraged loans and CLOs

A recent Active Insights podcast features a discussion of leveraged loans, and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs).

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U.S. recession ifs and whens

U.S. recession ifs and whens

The U.S. will likely avoid a recession in 2022, in our view. That risk rises next year as the Fed raises rates and China decelerates.

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Munis after Q1 — and April — and 8 reasons why we are still constructive

Munis after Q1 — and April — and 8 reasons why we are still constructive

While munis suffered a bad quarter to start 2022, brighter days may be ahead amid strong fundamentals.

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Look beyond dividends for income from value investing

Look beyond dividends for income from value investing

To build a value investment strategy, consider dividends in the context of overall income.

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U.S. households and asset prices are at tipping point as Fed lifts rates

U.S. households and asset prices are at tipping point as Fed lifts rates

In a supply-constrained world, reducing asset prices may be the only way for central banks to bring demand and inflation lower.

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Munis after a terrible Q1 and 8 factors that have us constructive

Munis after a terrible Q1 and 8 factors that have us constructive

While munis suffered a bad quarter to start 2022, brighter days may be ahead amid strong fundamentals.

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Yield curve inversion and market performance

Yield curve inversion and market performance

At its March meeting, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. The central bank also indicated that this is likely the start of a tightening cycle, as policymakers attempt to dampen the elevated levels of inflation seen since the start of the pandemic.

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China sets ambitious growth target despite new lockdowns

China sets ambitious growth target despite new lockdowns

China boosts fiscal spending to support its growth target in 2022 amid lockdowns in Shanghai and other cities.

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Oil prices face downside risk

Oil prices face downside risk

We expect oil prices to enter a correction stage and for Russia’s war in Ukraine to play less of a role in oil markets.

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Market performance during Fed tightening cycles

Market performance during Fed tightening cycles

In this analysis we assess asset class performance during prior cycles of Federal Reserve monetary tightening.

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Russia-Ukraine War could slow global growth

Russia-Ukraine War could slow global growth

The war and widespread sanctions will likely have a knock-on effect on economic growth, inflation, interest-rate policies, and the future of renewable energy.

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War and inflation put bull market in hibernation

War and inflation put bull market in hibernation

Investors may be underestimating the immense range of potential outcomes for the Russia-Ukraine War.

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Renewed optimism for securitized credit

Renewed optimism for securitized credit

We are optimistic about pockets of the U.S. structured credit market — prepayment strategies and commercial mortgage-backed securities — despite shifts in the investment landscape.

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Oil prices may correct after sanctions-related spike

Oil prices may correct after sanctions-related spike

While the Ukraine conflict and sanctions on Russia have lifted oil prices higher, current prices may be temporary.

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Teaming up on DX: A compelling investment opportunity

Teaming up on DX: A compelling investment opportunity

As businesses work at a faster pace to modernize their technology systems, compelling investment opportunities are emerging.

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Emerging markets walk a fine line

Emerging markets walk a fine line

Emerging market assets — especially currencies and bonds — have proved to be resilient amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, rising interest rates and Omicron.

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Oil: From sizzle to fizzle

Oil: From sizzle to fizzle

Crude oil prices have rocketed to seven-year highs. But we have a bearish view because current prices are unsustainable.

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What to know about munis heading into Fed tightening

What to know about munis heading into Fed tightening

A look at recent monetary policy cycles to glean insights about munis heading into Fed tightening.

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Precautionary stockpiling and its impact on growth

Precautionary stockpiling and its impact on growth

Companies are buying raw and intermediate goods at a record pace, which will influence economic growth in 2022.

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Finding growth potential in unexpected places

Finding growth potential in unexpected places

For franchised U.S. auto dealers, consolidation and the e-commerce imperative could mark the biggest changes to the industry’s structure, possibly ever.

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Charting the road ahead for ultrashort bond funds

Charting the road ahead for ultrashort bond funds

After an eventful decade for ultrashort bond funds, we remain steadfast in our belief that an ultrashort allocation is viable in all market environments.

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Help plan sponsors with the labor crunch

Help plan sponsors with the labor crunch

Facing the challenges of a labor crunch, employers may want to consider how workplace savings can help boost recruiting efforts.

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How could the yield curve impact risk assets in 2022?

How could the yield curve impact risk assets in 2022?

The Fed's policy changes will have implications for the U.S. Treasury market and other financial assets.

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The Fed’s conundrum — $7 lattes, $5 gas, 0% interest rates

The Fed’s conundrum — $7 lattes, $5 gas, 0% interest rates

We believe the Fed is likely behind the curve in containing inflation with ultra-low interest rates.

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Risk managers: Essential partners for delivering performance

Risk managers: Essential partners for delivering performance

A successful risk team is one that can analyze multiple measures of risk and work with investment teams before trades are executed to capture alpha.

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$100 oil may be a pipe dream

$100 oil may be a pipe dream

Oil prices have risen to multi-year highs on surging demand, tight supply, and the crunch on natural gas. We believe it is time to question the current rally.

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A look at the Federal Reserve’s 2014 taper

A look at the Federal Reserve’s 2014 taper

With the Federal Reserve nearing a decision to begin tapering its asset purchases, we thought it would be beneficial to look at what occurred the last time the Fed reduced its asset purchases.

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Consider convertibles to hedge against the risk of rising interest rates

Consider convertibles to hedge against the risk of rising interest rates

The potential for rising interest rates may mean it's time to diversify a portfolio with convertibles.

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Regulatory storm sweeps across China

Regulatory storm sweeps across China

President Xi Jinping's "common prosperity" campaign to address China's wealth gap has converged with the regulatory crackdowns.

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Emerging markets leading the way in innovation

Emerging markets leading the way in innovation

Innovation is driving exciting growth across emerging market countries.

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China property problem — Bigger than Mt. Evergrande

China property problem — Bigger than Mt. Evergrande

Recent default warnings from one of China's leading real estate development companies signaled a bigger property problem in the sector.

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How an active core strategy can benefit equity investors

How an active core strategy can benefit equity investors

An active core strategy backed by fundamental, sector-based research has demonstrated impressive long-term performance versus passive strategies.

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Post-recession market trends

Post-recession market trends

How do different asset classes perform coming out of recession? Is there a drop off in performance in the second year of a recovery relative to the first year? In this analysis we look at asset class performance in the two calendar years after a recession ends.

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Markets see living with Covid-19 as the new normal

Markets see living with Covid-19 as the new normal

Global financial markets might be pricing in a “living with the virus” environment and are adjusting to a lower growth path.

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Consider stable value funds for DC plans

Consider stable value funds for DC plans

For retirement plan sponsors, choosing a capital preservation option can be challenging. We offer insights about stable value funds and their performance.

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Taking a fiduciary view on target-date selection

Taking a fiduciary view on target-date selection

It is important for a fiduciary to understand glide path features and how these features are combined in target date fund selection.

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U.S. labor market — 55 is the new 65

U.S. labor market — 55 is the new 65

Following broad-based recovery in the labor market when the economy initially reopened in 2020, the labor force participation rate has stagnated and started to diverge.

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State financial health adds to muni appeal

State financial health adds to muni appeal

State financial health has improved as tax receipts rebound and states receive sizable federal aid.

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Toys, cars, and the U.S. recovery

Toys, cars, and the U.S. recovery

We believe growth in the United States remains strong, but expectations need to be revised lower.

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Don't overlook international small caps

Don't overlook international small caps

When focused on diversification one asset class that is often overlooked is non-U.S. small-caps.

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Time-as-a-Service, anyone?

Time-as-a-Service, anyone?

The evolution of time-as-a-service illustrates the changing nature of economic moats, competitive advantages that protect a company’s market share.

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A season for stock returns

A season for stock returns

Is there seasonality to equity market returns over time and, if so, is it repeatable, measurable, and significant? We turned to one of our favorite sources for market information, “The Stock Trader’s Almanac” to find the answers.

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Fiscal impetus and the U.S. labor market

Fiscal impetus and the U.S. labor market

We examine the interplay between President Biden's multi-trillion-dollar stimulus plans, the labor market, and corporate profits.

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If taxes go higher, will munis be hurt?

If taxes go higher, will munis be hurt?

The Administration's recent plan would increase the highest marginal income tax rate but would not likely impact muni yields.

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China technology stocks in a reboot, not a shutdown

China technology stocks in a reboot, not a shutdown

China’s technology sector has cratered since February and we view the selloff as a buying opportunity in China tech.

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Tracking PMI data and forward equity returns

Tracking PMI data and forward equity returns

We believe real economic growth is likely to reach levels not seen in the United States since 1983–1984. Our best estimate is for real GDP to approximate 6.5% year-on-year growth in 2021.

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From V-shaped recovery to bond vigilantes

From V-shaped recovery to bond vigilantes

The Federal Reserve remains dovish on monetary policy as bond market vigilantes push yields higher.

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Clean energy: Myths, reality, and opportunities

Clean energy: Myths, reality, and opportunities

We believe many companies are poised to benefit significantly from the big shift toward renewable energy.

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Pandemic recovery: Who may benefit once the dust settles?

Pandemic recovery: Who may benefit once the dust settles?

Uncertainty still surrounds the future of Covid-19 and various vaccines, but we're already seeing clear differences in consumer and business behavior since the pandemic.

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American Rescue Plan strengthens state and local finances

American Rescue Plan strengthens state and local finances

The American Rescue Plan Act provides billions in federal stimulus to states and local governments.

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Why think twice about investing in an EM ETF

Why think twice about investing in an EM ETF

Active management can offer superior performance when investing in an emerging markets ETF.

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Massachusetts budget taps rainy day fund, federal aid

Massachusetts budget taps rainy day fund, federal aid

The Governor of Massachusetts introduced a budget proposal that includes a withdrawal from the state’s rainy day fund and federal aid to balance the budget.

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Massachusetts budget taps rainy day fund, federal aid

Massachusetts budget taps rainy day fund, federal aid

The Massachusetts budget proposal for FY 2022 relies on money from the rainy day fund and federal aid to balance the budget.

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Munis in demand with new taxes possible

Munis in demand with new taxes possible

Demand for municipal bonds continues to be robust in 2021.

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Company diversity and social justice

Company diversity and social justice

Company diversity is a step toward equity and equity is a step toward inclusion, which is important to company success.

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New York confident about recovery

New York confident about recovery

New York leaders are confident about the state's economic recovery.

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Thinking about growth investment? Consider your exposures.

Thinking about growth investment? Consider your exposures.

The technology and healthcare sectors stand apart for bringing new products, ideas, and services to market.

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New medicines and digital tools target mental health

New medicines and digital tools target mental health

In recent years, there have been several developments for treating mental health. These innovations — which come after decades of slower-paced advances — include novel drugs and digital offerings.

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Is inflation poised to return?

Is inflation poised to return?

We believe that pandemic-related bottlenecks have temporarily lifted U.S. inflation. Still, the underlying inflation trend is weak.

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California budget outlook brightens

California budget outlook brightens

With revenues coming in higher than projected, the outlook for the California budget is positive in the near term.

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Mental health is a business issue: How companies are supporting their employees

Mental health is a business issue: How companies are supporting their employees

Companies are beginning to focus more on mental health at work, and some are offering a wider range of supportive and preventive care.

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U.K. starts new chapter after EU split

U.K. starts new chapter after EU split

It is strategic for the U.K. to have a trade deal with the EU given the short- and long-term negative effects of Brexit.

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Vaccine not in time for jobs recovery

Vaccine not in time for jobs recovery

The U.S. labor market continues to lose steam as fewer Americans were able to find work amid surging Covid-19 cases.

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Record-setting muni issuance pauses post-election

Record-setting muni issuance pauses post-election

Muni issuance pauses post-election, but reinvestment demand typically increases near year-end.

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Oil markets pin hope on vaccine and OPEC+

Oil markets pin hope on vaccine and OPEC+

Oil prices are likely to trend slightly higher as OPEC+ mulls maintaining lower output in 2021 and demand recovers in key markets such as China.

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Calls for new stimulus as recovery fizzles

Calls for new stimulus as recovery fizzles

Governments are trying to calibrate their policies to support growth as “fiscal cliffs” loom amid a resurgence in the virus.

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Post-election option markets show uncertainty for new reasons

Post-election option markets show uncertainty for new reasons

Two weeks after Election Day, we believe the markets have a lot more clarity, but options markets reveal uncertainty.

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U.S. politics amid virus surge

U.S. politics amid virus surge

U.S. election politics are playing out against a backdrop of an easing recovery, rising COVID-19 cases, and a potential new vaccine.

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Munis outpace Treasuries, taxable bonds

Munis outpace Treasuries, taxable bonds

The recovery in the municipal bond market continued in the third quarter as munis outpaced U.S. Treasuries and the broader taxable bond market.

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China leads, other emerging markets lag

China leads, other emerging markets lag

China is leading the economic recovery among emerging-market countries, buoyed by stimulus and stringent COVID-19 measures.

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Pandemic persists in policy patchwork

Pandemic persists in policy patchwork

Fiscal and monetary policies will be central to the economic recovery between now and the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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U.S. economy remains a centerpiece in 2020 vote

U.S. economy remains a centerpiece in 2020 vote

Fiscal policy will be a key focus for investors after the November election.

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VIX futures hint at post-election uncertainty

VIX futures hint at post-election uncertainty

When there is election uncertainty the VIX can experience a “kink” to price indicating idiosyncratic risk.

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The global economy and the race for a vaccine

The global economy and the race for a vaccine

The development of a vaccine will play a role in shaping the global economic comeback in 2021.

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If taxes move higher, demand for munis may surge

If taxes move higher, demand for munis may surge

The likelihood of higher taxes in the future could boost demand for tax-advantaged investments including munis.

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Keeping Japan's economy afloat after Abe

Keeping Japan's economy afloat after Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's resignation raises questions about the future of Abenomics and reform in Japan.

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Investors returning to municipal bond funds

Investors returning to municipal bond funds

Municipal bond funds rebounded in the second quarter as investors returned to asset classes they abandoned early in the pandemic.

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Muni-bond market slowly reviving from COVID-19 setback

Muni-bond market slowly reviving from COVID-19 setback

The Fed helped the muni-bond market revive the muni-debt market as states and local governments grappled with revenue disruptions.

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The Fed’s flexible new policy

The Fed’s flexible new policy

The Fed announced a shift in its approach to monetary policy and the new strategy can be viewed as a flexible form of average inflation targeting.

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The future is happening faster now

The future is happening faster now

We rarely see as much disruption as we have seen in 2020, and we believe this offers investment opportunities.

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Perspective on keeping perspective

Perspective on keeping perspective

Five months into our pandemic environment, financial professionals are looking for ways to keep their work in perspective.

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