New rise in infection rates that kicked off the new year is gradually being brought under control.
The new strict lockdown measures introduced in many countries are paying off.
More and more vaccines are being approved. Vaccination has started, with programmes in some countries getting off to a lightening start. In others, however, it probably won't be until the second quarter before they get up to speed. Both the logistical challenge and producing sufficient doses are creating a bottleneck.
Lockdowns are again paralysing most of the leisure sector. Business confidence in the service sectors is declining sharply. On the other hand, the industrial sectors would appear to be suffering little inconvenience.
The rapid recovery in the third quarter of 2020 suggests that the economy will bounce back when mobility restrictions are eased again.
Wide-ranging support measures in Europe and in the US (where a huge new spending programme is on its way) will – in tandem with very accommodative monetary policy – underpin the recovery.
In recent weeks, stock markets have mainly been influenced by reassuring signals from the economy, relatively robust corporate results and the prospect of new stimulus measures in the US.
Within the stock component, we are opting mainly for sectors that will benefit from the economic recovery. We were particularly interested in the consumer sector, which includes growth segments like e-commerce, and in the leisure sector, where the recovery has yet to begin.
In the bond component, we are opting for corporate bonds and bonds issued by emerging market countries.
Besides this long-term vision, protection and trends on the financial markets are important aspects too. Your personal investment may have a different composition that takes account of your comfortzone.