Research and Commentary

A Clear Perspective and Point of View

About Global Market Outlook Reports

Q3 Market Outlook: A Late 2019 Performance Pivot to Non-US Markets?

Despite a rocky mid-point, precipitated by the infamous "tweet heard around the world" on May 5th, when President Trump once again pivoted to a more bellicose stance in the trade war with China, global equities eked out a solid gain of 3.6% during 02. Coincidentally,...

About Global Market Outlook Reports

Our CIO, Tina Byles Williams, publishes our market outlook on a quarterly basis, based on research that examines market conditions over a three- to six-month period. These quarterly analyses serve as key inputs to our fund construction process, which incorporates strategic tilts to the market segments we believe will outperform over a six- to 12-month time frame. For global equity portfolios, these tilts incorporate regional, sector, and capitalization strata as well as investment process and style factors. For U.S. equity portfolios, tilts include sector, capitalization strata, investment process, and/or style factors.

Our objective is to construct a portfolio of “best in class” investments with weightings consistent with our overall investment strategy.

FIS Group Global Market Outlook Reports

2018 Outlook for Frontier Markets

The 2018 frontier markets outlook provides predictions for frontier markets in the year ahead, including Argentina, Vietnam, frontier Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Frontier markets surged in 2017, mostly driven by a PE re-rating in the market.We...

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Q1 2018 Market Outlook

Market Outlook As we turn the page to 2018, there are a few obvious clouds on the horizon for the world economy; however, we expect 2018 to be a transition year. Stretched valuations and extremely low volatility imply that risk assets are vulnerable to the...

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Q4 2017 Market Outlook

Market Outlook Our Q4 Market Outlook includes: A recap of Q3 global equity markets, and why we think the "Goldilocks" environment will continue to fuel pricing into mid-2018 The key risks to the global bull market going into 2018 that we think call for...

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Q3 2017: Full Steam Ahead

Market Outlook | Papers Article Summary As global equity markets continue their rise, here is  our Q3 Market Outlook report "Full Steam Ahead". This issue includes: The Q2 global equity market recap FIS Group's global country and sector positioning for Q3,...

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Q2 2017: Reality “Trumps” the Reflation Trade

Market Outlook Article Summary Our 2Q Market Outlook "Reality "Trumps" the Reflation Trade," evaluates the recent retreat in risk assets, trends in global equities, the impact of a strong U.S. dollar, and continued political uncertainty under the Trump Administration....

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Big Winners in the Neglected Frontier Universe

Our Q1 2017 Global Market Outlook, Who Knows? Navigating the Known Knowns and Underappreciated Knowns In Current Market Consensus, examines vulnerabilities in the bullish consensus narrative underpinning global equity markets. The key vulnerabilities discussed are U.S. dollar appreciation, elevated U.S. Small Cap valuations, questionable assumptions behind the bullish narrative on EM equities, as well as gathering geopolitical risks.

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Market Insights Alert

Papers: FIS Group Proprietary Research

A Short Note On Brazil’S House Of Cards

Brazilians are famous (or at least stereotyped) for their supposedly laid back “tropical” attitude towards life. Generations of foreign visitors smitten by the profound beauty and docility of Brazil’s natural landscape have marveled at “the Brazilian way” (o jeitinho brasileiro) of managing what to outsiders appears to be a relaxed, happy-go-lucky life amid structural chaos, bureaucratic ineptitude, and economic disarray. The old and famous Brazilian joke cited above pokes fun at these seeming contradictions.

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What Is Really Happening In China? — A Late-Year Revisit And Local Insights From Our China Trip

Since mid-June this year, the wild ride in the Chinese A-share stock market along with deteriorating economic and profit data have unnerved many global investors. Against this backdrop, the Chinese government’s remarkably stable GDP growth reports of 7% for Q2 and 6.9% for Q3 have engendered increasing concern over the credibility of official figures. In an attempt to counter this slowdown, the government has rolled out a series of measures designed to stimulate demand. It has cut interest rates and reduced bank reserve requirements seven times this year, released funds for infrastructure investment, cut taxes on automobile sales and lowered the required down-payment for home mortgages. Historical precedent suggest that as China transitions to a “middle income” economy, the path of least resistance is downward. Based in part on observations from our recent visit to China, in this report, we posit that the key to understanding opportunities and risks in China is to:

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Transition To A Chinese-Style “New Normal”: Less Is More

In China, economic results of late have largely been disappointing, with traditional headline indicators highlighting sluggish growth and mounting deflation risk. Our view is that China is experiencing the economic transition to a so-called “New Normal”, and the prevailing growth slowdown, gauged by traditional industrial-focused indicators, is both necessary and essential for the ongoing economic transformation. In this paper, we will discuss the key priorities of the reform agenda, along with the Chinese government’s progress in implementing these reforms to date. In the last section, we will discuss the nascence of this round of the bull stock market and the recent massive correction, along with our short-term and long-term expectations. The bottom line is that we are positive on China’s economic reform and the government’s efforts in supporting capital market reform. We also believe that there will be more upside in Chinese A-shares, but that the next leg will be characterized by extreme volatility.

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Big Is Bad (Really Bad) In Frontier Market Equities

For 19 years FIS Group has successfully invested with entrepreneurial managers in global equities markets based on the considerable body of research suggesting that talented, high-active share, entrepreneurial managers are best positioned to outperform market benchmarks, net of fees. We believe that there are generally two reasons, both timeless and universal, why this inefficiency will continue. First, entrepreneurs with “skin in the game” are motivated to work harder, as entrepreneurs generally are in every other business across the time and space of human history. Second, in the modern markets of listed equities, size and scale are the enemies of alpha. While we have long known both of these simple (but nonetheless surprisingly ignored) truths to be self-evident in asset management, the significant opportunity of investing with entrepreneurial managers continues unabated. However in our firm’s 19 years of investing and decades more of experience of our principals, we have rarely (if ever) seen so clear a demonstration of both of these sources of alpha in one simple chart.

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Observations On The Greek Debt Crisis From Across The Pond

As Greece’s negotiations with its creditors devolved over the weekend fostering a global rout in risk assets on Monday, through my attendance at a global investor forum in Europe, I solicited the thoughts of institutional investors that live and work closer to the epicenter of the crisis. Not surprisingly, I found a wide divergence of risk appetites and aversion. However, my overwhelming impression is that, while many recognize a high risk of short term volatility, investors here are quite sanguine about the medium and long-term risks of a Greek default or even a so called “Grexit”. This document reflects my observations from the various presentations and conversations over the last few days. This commentary borrows heavily in particular from a presentation and paper by Marko Papic, from BCA Research.

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The Big Structural Upside In Japanese Equities

Since late 2012, coinciding with the election of reformist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japanese equity markets have surged nearly 70% (in local currency) in the past two years. Yet ‘Abenomics’, as the set of ambitious and bold fiscal and monetary policies pursued by the Abe Administration have been dubbed, have thus far failed to move the appetites of Japanese household savings. But there is reason to believe that Japan is on the precipice of reordering its domestic savings structure as soon as this year, with potentially significant implications for its equity markets.

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Videos And Webinars

Market Outlook and Research Webinars

View Q4, 2014 Webinar

Tina Byles Williams, CEO/CIO of FIS Group leads a wide-ranging discussion on FIS Group’s view of geopolitical, demographic and macroeconomic trends shaping risk and investable opportunities for institutional investors.
The panel moderator Sam Austin, III, SVP Director of Marketing and Client Service (FIS Group) and Ms. Byles Williams conducted this discussion as a part of FIS Group’s third annual Investment Symposium. The event was held on September 26, 2014 in Philadelphia.
FIS Group, Inc. is an 20-year old Philadelphia based institutional asset management firm that focuses on investing in long-only global and international equity strategies.

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