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The Lyxor ETFs on this website are undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) (i) domiciled in France and approved by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) or, (ii) domiciled in Luxembourg, approved by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and authorised to market their units or shares in the French Republic in accordance with the notification procedure under Article 93 of Directive 2009/65/EC. Investors should note that the prospectuses of certain Lyxor ETFs under Luxembourg law that have been notified in accordance with this procedure are only available on the website in English. A French translation of these prospectuses can be obtained upon request by sending a letter to Lyxor International Asset Management (“Lyxor”) – 17 Cours Valmy, 92987 Paris La Défense, France.


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12 Dec 2019

What’s going to move equity markets in 2020?

Another year has flown by, and what a year it’s been for equity markets. After a strong start to 2019, performance was affected again by political uncertainties around the world. Debates continue on whether we will see the fourth mini-cycle since 2009, or a mild recession in the US. Looking ahead to 2020, the key market drivers will be any de-escalation of the US-China tariff war, Brexit progress, and a possible mild economic upturn. Appetite for ESG investments, regardless of regional equity allocation, will also likely remain strong.  

Does ESG mean choosing principles over performance?

US: Economic growth in the election year ahead 

As we covered last week, we believe US economic growth will hold in 2020. Downside risks may be more prevalent in H2 during the US presidential election campaign.

In our view, the S&P 500 is likely to remain range-bound from here, with limited downside risks. US capex would benefit from diminishing trade tensions, favouring productivity gains. The anticipated cyclical upturn in H1 should act as a support for domestic equities.

However, margins will likely continue to erode over the year and we expect a slowdown in EPS growth to low single digits at around 3% in 2020. There is concentration risk within the S&P 500, too, as the top 10 stocks now represent close to 25% of the index’s market capitalisation.

History tells that US equity performance is usually positive in an election year. Yet we maintain a neutral stance on the market. Valuations may be vulnerable to a Democratic win, as this would likely lead to political measures more in favour of workers and consumers than shareholders. We also find the valuations of other developed markets more attractive. 

Europe: Recent outperformance should continue in 2020 

In Europe, sluggish economic activity has been a drag on EPS growth. However, we may have passed the worst – a cyclical upturn looks on the cards. The probability of a no-deal UK Brexit scenario has considerably reduced, leaving Europe less at risk from a severe negative growth shock. We believe the recent outperformance of value stocks that has started in recent months will continue in the year ahead.   

As previously outlined in our blog on European equities, valuations and positioning remain quite extreme in Europe compared to historical standards. Our valuation models based on cyclically-adjusted metrics suggest European markets can deliver returns around 7-8% annualised over the next five years (6-7% is normal). Shorter term, a mild cyclical upswing along with fiscal and monetary policy accommodation would certainly act as a support. We maintain our preference for cyclical sectors such as consumer discretionary and industrials. 

In the UK, fiscal policy should significantly expand to weather some of the negative effects on growth from Brexit. More domestic-oriented UK corporates would benefit from fiscal expansion vs large caps. Large caps will be also more sensitive to a stronger GBP.

Japan: Not too late to buy 

In Japan, fiscal policy has already become more expansionary despite the sales tax hike in October 2019 – and we expect this to continue. Policy accommodation and the market rotation to value stocks have been supportive factors for Japanese equity performance in the second half of 2019. 

Looking ahead, we believe Japanese equities have plenty of scope to provide further strong returns over the longer term, as they still look cheap on a cyclically-adjusted basis. The cyclically-adjusted dividend yield is currently around 1.5%, a level that has historically been consistent with future annualised returns of 13–15% (pre-dividends). Additionally, a lower level of equity-FX correlation suggests that a mild JPY upside would be manageable. The market also provides diversification benefits for Europe- or US-heavy portfolios.

EM: Selectivity will be key

Global liquidity conditions are set to remain supportive in 2020 and we expect the EM-DM growth gap to support EM equity performance, valuations and flows.

In Asia, we expect the 4Q cyclical upturn to extend into the first half of 2020. The EPS cycle, led by northeast Asia, is recovering. The context remains less favourable for the ASEAN markets of southeast Asia, amid sluggish growth and stalling momentum on reforms. In China, we expect additional stimulus measures to be implemented over the first half of the year. This should act as a support to the local equity market with room for higher margins and multiple expansions. However, we suspect that trade tensions will resume eventually in the second half of the year, putting a lid on local equity performance.

In Latin America, a rebound in Brazil’s GDP growth is expected while a little room for monetary policy easing remains. This should provide some support for Brazilian equities, our preferred market in the region.

Finally, a large fiscal stimulus in Germany would benefit eastern European countries (Slovakia and Slovenia in particular). One way to take advantage of fiscal easing in Germany is to get exposure to EU Europe equity markets (ex-Russia).

Overall, we believe selectivity will remain key in EM equities portfolio allocation over the year ahead. Take a look at our joint blog with MSCI to learn more on EM equity portfolio construction.

That’s it from us for this year. Thanks for reading and all the best for the festive season!

Risk Warning

This document is for the exclusive use of investors acting on their own account and categorised either as “Eligible Counterparties” or “Professional Clients” within the meaning of Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2014/65/EU. These products comply with the UCITS Directive (2009/65/EC). Société Générale and Lyxor International Asset Management (LIAM) recommend that investors read carefully the “investment risks” section of the product’s documentation (prospectus and KIID). The prospectus and KIID are available free of charge on, and upon request to

Except for the United-Kingdom, where this communication is issued in the UK by Lyxor Asset Management UK LLP, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK under Registration Number 435658, this communication is issued by Lyxor International Asset Management (LIAM), a French management company authorized by the Autorité des marchés financiers and placed under the regulations of the UCITS (2014/91/EU) and AIFM (2011/61/EU) Directives. Société Générale is a French credit institution (bank) authorised by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (the French Prudential Control Authority).

The products mentioned are the object of market-making contracts, the purpose of which is to ensure the liquidity of the products on the London Stock Exchange, assuming normal market conditions and normally functioning computer systems. Units of a specific UCITS ETF managed by an asset manager and purchased on the secondary market cannot usually be sold directly back to the asset manager itself. Investors must buy and sell units on a secondary market with the assistance of an intermediary (e.g. a stockbroker) and may incur fees for doing so. In addition, investors may pay more than the current net asset value when buying units and may receive less than the current net asset value when selling them. Updated composition of the product’s investment portfolio is available on In addition, the indicative net asset value is published on the Reuters and Bloomberg pages of the product, and might also be mentioned on the websites of the stock exchanges where the product is listed.

Prior to investing in the product, investors should seek independent financial, tax, accounting and legal advice. It is each investor’s responsibility to ascertain that it is authorised to subscribe, or invest into this product. This document is of a commercial nature and not of a regulatory nature. This material is of a commercial nature and not a regulatory nature. This document does not constitute an offer, or an invitation to make an offer, from Société Générale, Lyxor Asset Management (together with its affiliates, Lyxor AM) or any of their respective subsidiaries to purchase or sell the product referred to herein.

Research disclaimer

Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) or its employees may have or maintain business relationships with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that LIAM and its employees may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. Please see appendix at the end of this report for the analyst(s) certification(s), important disclosures and disclaimers. Alternatively, visit our global research disclosure website

Conflicts of interest 

This research contains the views, opinions and recommendations of Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists. To the extent that this research contains trade ideas based on macro views of economic market conditions or relative value, it may differ from the fundamental Cross Asset and ETF Research opinions and recommendations contained in Cross Asset and ETF Research sector or company research reports and from the views and opinions of other departments of LIAM and its affiliates. Lyxor Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists routinely consult with LIAM sales and portfolio management personnel regarding market information including, but not limited to, pricing, spread levels and trading activity of ETFs tracking equity, fixed income and commodity indices. Trading desks may trade, or have traded, as principal on the basis of the research analyst(s) views and reports. Lyxor has mandatory research policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to (i) ensure that purported facts in research reports are based on reliable information and (ii) to prevent improper selective or tiered dissemination of research reports. In addition, research analysts receive compensation based, in part, on the quality and accuracy of their analysis, client feedback, competitive factors and LIAM’s total revenues including revenues from management fees and investment advisory fees and distribution fees.

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