Insights

Apr 29, 2019

Fund of America Class A shares (without sales charge)* rose 18.66% in the first quarter, outperforming the S&P 500 index, which returned 13.65%. The rebound we expected in our portfolio after the second-half 2018 drawdown occurred, with strong performance in first quarter 2019 driven by many of the stocks that had performed poorly last year.

Apr 26, 2019

As we have written in the past, the growth of debt over the last decade has brought forward demand in the economy and generally benefited corporate profit margins; in the future, however, debt instead may become a headwind for nominal growth around the world. Furthermore, when the level of debt is high relative to borrowers’ capacity to repay it—i.e., the cash flows available to businesses and consumers and the latent taxing capacity of governments—debt that comes due cannot be amortized from cash flows; it needs to be rolled over. We believe this renders markets more vulnerable to bouts of risk aversion.

Apr 26, 2019

As we have written in the past, the growth of debt over the last decade has brought forward demand in the economy and generally benefited corporate profit margins; in the future, however, debt instead may become a headwind for nominal growth around the world. Furthermore, when the level of debt is high relative to borrowers’ capacity to repay it—i.e., the cash flows available to businesses and consumers and the latent taxing capacity of governments—debt that comes due cannot be amortized from cash flows; it needs to be rolled over. We believe this renders markets more vulnerable to bouts of risk aversion.

Apr 26, 2019

High yield had been more resilient earlier in the year but cracked in the fourth quarter, with lower-quality issues—CCC bonds—bearing the brunt of the market’s weakness. Outflows from ETFs and other passive structures proceeded in reasonably good order during the quarter, but we are not confident that future outflows will be managed as smoothly.

Jan 11, 2019

We cannot predict what will happen next in economies or markets, but 2018 had the feel of a transitional year. Volatility, which in our view, had been muted for an unexpectedly long period of time, returned in force during the year—first in February and then again in the fourth quarter.

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