Chart of the Month – Shifting gears in the equity markets

by Cedric Dingens

Shifting gears in the equity markets

Source: Bloomberg, IBES, NS Partners

The two main drivers of equity markets are liquidity (provided by the Central Banks) and earnings (provided by corporations). When both drivers are favourable, equity performance is extremely good. In the graph above you can see two very good periods reflecting this:

  • (ORANGE): Earnings recovered very fast after the Great Recession of 2008 and also after the initial stages of the Covid pandemic.
  • (BLACK): FED rates tumbled to almost 0% after the Great Recession of 2008 and again during the Covid pandemic.
  • (BLUE). The SP500 performed extremely well when the two tail winds blew in the same direction: 16.5% CAGR during the 2009-13 period, and 30% CAGR since April 2020.

But the party cannot last forever, and Central Banks will start tightening and withdrawing liquidity once the economy recovers. The graph shows this situation during the period of Jun13 to Dec18 when the FED started tapering, and then hiking rates. This was an earnings driven market where profits continued to increase while liquidity was reduced by Central anks. Still the equity market managed to achieve a respectable 9% CAGR performance.

Where are we now? Thanks to the combined efforts of the scientific world (vaccines), Central Banks (rate cuts + bond purchases) and Governments (huge fiscal packages) the world economy has recovered well, so the economy no longer needs assistance from Central Banks. They have either started to reduce liquidity (Bank of England, Norway…), or will do so during 2022 (FED, ECB, …)



  • (BLACK): The FED will gradually stop buying bonds by April 2022; during 2022 the FED rates will likely increase 3 times, by 0.25% each time. This will be a headwind for the market. Remember the old saying: “Don’t fight the FED”.
  • (ORANGE): Earnings have recovered very fast in 2021 and will continue to increase in 2022 and 2023, but at a lower rate of 10% according to IBES estimates, which is much less than the 25% increase that we enjoyed in 2021.
  • (BLUE). The SP500 will likely rise again in 2022 but with the headwinds from the Central Banks and the lower EPS growth, the market will probably shift down a gear to deliver a return of 5% to 10% performance during 2022.





Past performance is not indicative of future results. The views, strategies and financial instruments described in this document may not be suitable for all investors. Opinions expressed are current opinions as of date(s) appearing in this material only.

References to market or composite indices, benchmarks or other measures of relative market performance over a specified period of time are provided for your information only. NS Partners provides no warranty and makes no representation of any kind whatsoever regarding the accuracy and completeness of any data, including financial market data, quotes, research notes or other financial instrument referred to in this document.

This document does not constitute an offer or solicitation to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it would be unlawful to make such offer or solicitation. Any reference in this document to specific securities and issuers are for illustrative purposes only, and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell those securities. References in this document to investment funds that have not been registered with the FINMA cannot be distributed in or from Switzerland except to certain categories of eligible investors. Some of the entities of the NS Partners Group or its clients may hold a position in the financial instruments of any issuer discussed herein, or act as advisor to any such issuer.

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© NS Partners Group

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