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2017 Midyear Outlook

For the first time in years, the world’s major economies all appear to be on the road to recovery. This shift is creating opportunities for investors to rebalance their portfolios to take advantage of new opportunities overseas as well as in the bond market.

Download our 2017 Midyear Outlook for an in-depth look at how economic momentum is building across the globe amid political uncertainty. Our research pinpoints unique opportunities in non-U.S. markets as the macroeconomic backdrop is positive for global growth. There are also ways to position fixed income portfolios as interest rates are likely to remain lower for longer in the U.S.

Highlighted below are some of the key insights from our Midyear Outlook. 

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The Long View: The Changing Face of the Global Consumer

Consumer spending, long a driver of the global economy, is undergoing sweeping change. Whether it’s housing for millennials or health care for baby boomers, a significant shift in the way people spend money is underway in both advanced economies and the developing world.

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Are the American Funds Exposed to Brexit?

International Funds Have the Highest Concentration of Investments in European Companies.

The U.K.’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union surprised many investors, triggering one of the steepest two-day selloffs for global equities in history. While markets have since recovered much of those losses, volatility will likely persist as the short- and long-term impact of Brexit on the U.K. and the rest of Europe remains unclear. The uncertainty has driven government bond yields to record lows and the U.S. dollar to a three-decade high against the British pound.

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July 2016
 |  FEATURING Matt Miller , Mark A. Brett & Jens Søndergaard

Brexit’s Fallout: Could a Shock to the System Be a Good Thing?

Capital Group portfolio manager Mark Brett and economist Jens Søndergaard, both based in London, discuss possible implications of the Brexit vote for the U.K., the European Union and investors.

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No doubt, the world’s markets spent the first half of 2016 on rocky ground. Investors have been confronted with the British vote to leave the European Union (“Brexit”), a “growth scare” in the U.S., the economic deceleration in China, and the introduction of negative interest rates in some markets. Nevertheless, the global economy is expected to remain on a path to growth — albeit very slow growth.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2016, market volatility is likely to remain elevated. What are the longer term implications of the Brexit vote? Can the resilient U.S. economy continue on its growth path? Will Chinese consumption remain healthy as the world’s second-largest economy continues to slow? Potential opportunity will likely arise for disciplined investors who can look past the near-term macroeconomic clouds toward individual companies with bright prospects.

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Three Reasons Why the U.K. Should Be O.K.

It’s not worth dwelling too much on the reasons why British voters opted to leave the European Union. That question will be analyzed by political pundits and the media for years to come. For investors, a key question today is, will the U.K. be OK going forward?

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But Process Will Be Lengthy and Outcome Likely Not as Bad as Markets Fear

  • Stock markets slide in response to Brexit vote in an orderly decline
  • British pound suffers big loss, euro also slides against dollar
  • Market volatility to remain elevated as Britain and Europe reach new agreements
  • A long-term investment horizon remains key to successful investing

British voters surprised the world on Thursday by approving a proposal to abandon the European Union, with 51.9% of the vote in favor of leaving and 48.1% in favor of remaining. Global markets and currencies reacted negatively to the news, evidenced by a spike in volatility and declines across all major equity markets. Stocks gave up ground after rallying the prior week in the run-up to the vote.

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Brexit: How Did We Get Here?

Great Britain joined the European Union’s predecessor, the European Economic Community, in 1973 and it has always been a somewhat reluctant member. The EU now includes 28 nations, 19 of which are part of the single-currency monetary union known as the euro zone.

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European Union Faces Crucial Test in Brexit Referendum

U.K. voters will go to the polls on Thursday, June 23 to decide whether they should stay in the European Union or abandon the 28-nation bloc. The so-called Brexit vote is a significant challenge to the EU’s authority and threatens to further destabilize Europe at a time when weak economic growth and high debt levels are already straining intergovernmental relations.

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INVESTMENT INSIGHTS  |  June 2016  |  FEATURING Fergus N. MacDonald & David A. Hoag

Sub-Zero World: Not Much Positive About Negative Rates

  • Central banks are experimenting with negative interest rates in an attempt to jumpstart weak economies. 
  • Negative-yielding debt in Europe and Japan makes U.S. bonds attractive on a relative basis. 
  • Portfolio managers David Hoag and Fergus MacDonald warn that negative rates may be causing distortions in asset prices and the economy.
  • Quantitative easing and negative rates are bound to spark inflationary pressures over time. 
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve is unlikely to introduce negative rates.

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INVESTMENT INSIGHTS  |  March 2016  |  FEATURING Joanna F. Jonsson & Georgios Damtsas

The New Breed of Global Companies Is Creative, Nimble and Networked

  • There’s been a shift in the makeup of global companies over the past decade to idea-driven companies
  • Speed of product adoption is much faster, but competition is greater
  • Marketing muscle and global distribution networks are crucial

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February 2016
 |  FEATURING Joanna F. Jonsson

Insights From a Morningstar® Award-Winning Manager

American Funds portfolio manager Jody Jonsson discusses the objectives of New Perspective Fund®, whose portfolio management team was recently named Morningstar’s International Stock Fund Manager of the Year. She also shares keys to the fund’s recent and long-term success.

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  • Volatility likely to persist amid global slowdown and uncertainty about central bank policies
  • Risk of a recession in the U.S. has increased due to a tightening of financial conditions
  • Fed likely to eschew any further rate increases in 2016
  • Negative interest rates and deflation pose a real threat in Japan and Europe
  • 2008 repeat still an unlikely scenario
  • Holding a broadly diversified portfolio with exposure to multiple asset classes is still likely the best approach

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January 2016
 |  FEATURING Kevin G. Clifford & Robert W. Lovelace

Capital Group Hiring Where the World Is Going

American Funds portfolio manager Rob Lovelace discusses the investment group’s approach to hiring new research associates.

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January 2016
 |  FEATURING Joanna F. Jonsson

China, Volatility and Why This Is Not 2008

Portfolio manager Jody Jonsson discusses the role of China’s decelerating GDP and overvalued currency in the latest market volatility.

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Stock and Oil Prices Decline Price Returns Since 12/22

Source: RIMES
Equity markets were led lower by the route in China’s stock market, which declined steadily from its recent peak on Dec. 22, 2015. Crude oil has also fallen on fears of oversupply and slackening demand.

  • High levels of volatility expected to continue as markets adjust to slowing growth in China, lower oil prices and weak industrial activity.
  • While stock prices could fluctuate further, chances of a global recession or a financial crisis are low.
  • Modest expansion in developed economies will partly offset deceleration in China.
  • Equity valuations in Europe are attractive and leave room for potential gains.
  • M&A activity is supportive and there remain many areas of opportunity in financial markets.

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MARKET COMMENTARY  |  December 2015

World Markets Review for November 2015

Global stocks produced mixed returns amid investor worries about sluggish economic growth and expectations for higher U.S. interest rates. European equities advanced on the promise of new monetary stimulus measures, however, U.S. stocks were flat and emerging markets retreated. Bonds also declined as Federal Reserve leaders indicated that a rate hike is likely in December. The dollar rose sharply against the euro and the yen.

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November 2015
 |  FEATURING Wesley Phoa

What a Rate Hike Can Mean for Long-Term Yields

A portfolio manager discusses why interest rates have remained low in the U.S. and what to expect from yields when rates do rise.

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MARKET COMMENTARY  |  November 2015

World Markets Review for October 2015

Global stocks rallied as central bank stimulus and rising M&A activity helped offset ongoing concerns about a slowing world economy. Energy and materials stocks led markets higher amid signs of stabilization in commodity markets. Information technology stocks also advanced on better-than-expected earnings from some bellwether companies. Bonds were generally flat, and the U.S. dollar rose against the euro and the yen.

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INVESTMENT INSIGHTS  |  October 2015  |  FEATURING Timothy D. Armour

Digital Dollars: Ad Money Didn’t Waste Any Time Moving Online

Advertisers have flocked to the Internet and mobile as consumers change behavior

The face of the world’s media market is changing. Advertising dollars are increasingly flowing from traditional ads to digital. Increased spending on mobile, social media and digital video propelled U.S. digital advertising revenue to $49.5 billion for the full year of 2014, a 16% increase over 2013.

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INVESTMENT INSIGHTS  |  October 2015  |  FEATURING Brad Barrett

Going Mobile: The Serious Business of Playing Games

With sales about to exceed $100 billion a year, video games are hardly kid stuff

In 2013, Grand Theft Auto V became the fastest-selling entertainment product of all time, with sales of $1 billion in just three days. That probably disabused most people of the notion that video games were kid stuff.

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Online and social media rival television as the main source of news in the U.S.

How people consume news has undergone a sea change. More people now get their news from digital sources than they do from either print newspapers or the radio, and digital is starting to make a move on TV as the dominant place people go for news.

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Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing. 

The return of principal for bond funds and for funds with significant underlying bond holdings is not guaranteed. Fund shares are subject to the same interest rate, inflation and credit risks associated with the underlying bond holdings. Lower rated bonds are subject to greater fluctuations in value and risk of loss of income and principal than higher rated bonds. Bond ratings, which typically range from AAA/Aaa (highest) to D (lowest), are assigned by credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor's, Moody's and/or Fitch, as an indication of an issuer's creditworthiness. If agency ratings differ, the security will be considered to have received the  of those ratings, consistent with the fund's investment policies. Securities in the Unrated category have not been rated by a rating agency; however, the investment adviser performs its own credit analysis and assigns comparable ratings that are used for compliance with fund investment policies. 

Investing outside the United States involves risks, such as currency fluctuations, periods of illiquidity and price volatility, as more fully described in the prospectus. These risks may be heightened in connection with investments in developing countries. 

Certain market indexes are unmanaged and, therefore, have no expenses. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. 

The Capital Group companies manage equity assets through three investment groups. These groups make investment and proxy voting decisions independently. Fixed income investment professionals provide fixed income research and investment management across the Capital organization; however, for securities with equity characteristics, they act solely on behalf of one of the three equity investment groups.

Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capital Group or its affiliates. This information is intended to highlight issues and not to be comprehensive or to provide advice.