Investors rattled by the recent bout of equity selling take heart: the fears about rising inflation and wage growth crimping corporate profits are way overblown, according to JPMorgan Securities Plc strategists.
Mislav Matejka, global equity strategist with the firm, argues it is the outlook for both production and sales volumes rather than higher wages that determine the impact on profitability. “Cyclicals and the broader equity market do not tend to fall when costs start to shoot up, as these increased cost pressures are typically a sign of a healthy economic backdrop,” Matejka and other JPMorgan strategists said in a report.
Investors should consider selling when production and revenue growth begin to disappoint, at which point concerns about wages and input costs will disappear. Matejka doesn’t expect weaker growth any time soon in any case, as policy tightening remains far from restrictive.
And Matejka has the numbers to prove it. Since the release of U.S. consumer price index data last week, global equity benchmarks have been rising.
The strategists remain bullish on stocks, as the asset class provides a “natural hedge against inflation” by producing nominal earnings and sales growth. Historically, equities tend to produce their best returns with inflation in the 1 percent to 3 percent range, which also happens to be what JPMorgan is forecasting now.