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Global Portfolio Strategy | April 05, 2024


The LPL Strategic & Tactical Asset Allocation Committee (STAAC) determines the firm’s investment outlook and asset allocation that helps define LPL Research’s investment modelsand overall strategic and tactical investment thinking and guidance. The committee is chaired by the chief investment officer and includes investment specialists from multiple investment disciplines and areas of focus. The STAAC meets weekly to foster a close monitoring of all global economic and capital markets conditions to ensure that all the latest information is being digested and incorporated into its investment thought.

Stocks rose in March as the S&P 500’s 3.2% return made it five straight monthly gains for the index. The more than 10% first quarter gain, accompanied by more than 20 record highs, was the best since 2019 as stocks benefited from a resilient U.S. economy, easing inflation, rising corporate profits, and anticipation of Federal Reserve (Fed) rate cuts. As April began, equity markets struggled with a backup in Treasury yields on concerns rate cuts may be delayed.

U.S. Treasury performance was mostly flat in March, but the Bloomberg Aggregate Index did manage to end the month up by about 1%. Markets are now pricing in less than three rate cuts for the remainder of 2024, which is less that than the latest Fed communications suggest. Recent economic data has driven the shift in pricing and until the economy begins to show signs of slowing, Treasury yields are like to remain around current ranges, The LPL Research STAAC sees the risk-reward trade-off between equities and fixed income as roughly balanced despite such a strong start to the year given the improved economic and profit backdrop.

  • The STAAC maintains its recommended neutral equities allocation. An increasingly likely soft landing for the U.S. economy, growing earnings, and expected stability in bond yields help offset elevated stock valuations.
  • In GWI, the Committee has moved to a neutral view on small cap stocks. High-quality small cap stocks are attractively valued and have made technical progress as market performance broadened out in recent weeks.
  • The Committee also maintains a slight preference towards large cap growth, but slightly reduced that overweight tilt in March as value stock performance began to improve and the macroeconomic environment became more favorable for value stocks.
  • The STAAC’s regional preference remains U.S. over developed international and emerging markets (EM) due largely to superior earnings and economic growth in the U.S. The Committee favors Japan over Europe amid supportive monetary policy and improved corporate governance.
  • The STAAC continues to hold a strong overweight tilt in preferred securities as valuations remain attractive. However, the risk/reward for core bond sectors (U.S. Treasury, Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), investment-grade corporates) is more attractive than plus sectors. In our view, adding duration isn’t attractive due to persistent (but subsiding) inflationary pressures, and the STAAC remains neutral relative to our benchmarks.

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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors and they do not take into account the particular needs, investment objectives, tax and financial condition of any specific person. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, please consult your financial professional prior to investing. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Because of their narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Value investments can perform differently from the market as a whole and can remain undervalued by the market for long periods of time. The prices of small and mid-cap stocks are generally more volatile than large cap stocks. Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity.
Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds.

Municipal bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Municipal bonds are federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. If sold prior to maturity, capital gains tax could apply. U.S. Treasuries may be considered “safe haven” investments but do carry some degree of risk including interest rate, credit, and market risk. Bond yields are subject to change. Certain call or special redemption features may exist which could impact yield. Mortgagebacked securities are subject to credit, default, prepayment, extension, market and interest rate risk.

Credit Quality is one of the principal criteria for judging the investment quality of a bond or bond mutual fund. Credit ratings are published rankings based on detailed financial analyses by a credit bureau specifically as it relates to the bond issue’s ability to meet debt obligations. The highest rating is AAA, and the lowest is D. Securities with credit ratings of BBB and above are considered investment grade. Duration is a measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. It is expressed as a number of years.
Alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors and should be considered as an investment for the risk capital portion of the investor’s portfolio. The strategies employed in the management of alternative investments may accelerate the velocity of potential losses.

Event driven strategies, such as merger arbitrage, consist of buying shares of the target company in a proposed merger and fully or partially hedging the exposure to the acquirer by shorting the stock of the acquiring company or other means. This strategy involves significant risk as events may not occur as planned and disruptions to a planned merger may result in significant loss to a hedged position.
Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, geopolitical events, and regulatory developments. The fast price swings in commodities and currencies will result in significant volatility in an investor’s holdings.

Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Earnings per share (EPS) is the portion of a company’s profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock. EPS serves as an indicator of a company’s profitability.

Earnings per share is generally considered to be the single most important variable in determining a share’s price. It is also a major component used to calculate the price-toearnings valuation ratio. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis. It includes all of private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports that occur within a defined territory.

All index data from FactSet.

For a list of descriptions of the indexes referenced in this publication, please visit our website at

Managed futures are speculative, use significant leverage, may carry substantial charges, and should only be considered suitable for the risk capital portion of an investor’s portfolio.

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