Try to imagine a market scenario where chip stocks hit a wall and tumble 50%, or the fallout as President Donald Trump slaps a tax on foreign earnings of American companies.
Outrageous you say? Welcome to Saxo Bank’s annual rite of passage — “Outrageous Predictions 2020,” shock-inducing forecasts that the Danish investment bank’s team has been coming up with the past 20 years.
A couple of last year’s calls came close, such as one that forecast Germany entering a recession — growth grew just 0.1% in third quarter. Another, that Trump would try to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hasn’t happened, but would have if the U.S. President “had the ability,” Steen Jakobsen chief investment officer, told MarketWatch in a telephone interview.
The theme for this year’s 10 predictions is engines of disruption. Jakobsen says he sees the ECB hiking interest rates as the most likely prediction to happen. He says he’s “sure we’ve seen the limits of negative interest rates in Europe,” predicting ECB President Christine Lagarde will try to do all she can to save the region’s banking system and normalize rates.
Here are a few of the predictions:
1) Chip stocks sink: “As reality sets in on the limitations of AI, the SOX Index SOX, -2.36% collapses 50% with deteriorating earnings growth as investments freeze in a new AI winter,” predicts Saxo’s head of equity strategy, Peter Garnry, who says that in 1960s and 1980s, chip applications didn’t live up to the hype. Select stocks, such as Advanced Micro Devices AMD, -1.54% have driven the SOX 46% year-to-date.
2) All in for value stocks: U.S. unemployment rises, inflation soars and demand stagnates, creating stagflation as interest rates can go no lower and looming recession requires massive expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet. The iShares MSCI World Value Factor ETF outperform FANGS (Facebook FB, -1.63% , Amazon AMZN, -1.61% , Neflix NFLX, -1.60% , Alphabet’s Google GOOGL, -0.35% ) by 25% as investors flock to value-oriented companies with solid earnings and dividends and shun growth names.
3) ECB hikes rates: In a surprise twist, ECB President Christine Lagarde hikes them on Jan. 23, with another hike shortly after. That’s good news for the EuroStoxx bank index SX7E, -1.26%, which gains 30% in 2020.
4) Green energy loses to dirty: Lower prices and investor avoidance of the traditional fossil fuel energy sector has pushed valuation on those companies to a 23% discount to their clean energy counterparts. In 2020, the tables turns as OPEC extends production cuts and unprofitable U.S. shale companies slow output growth and demand rises.
5) America First Tax: Fearing an election loss amid signs the China trade situation isn’t improving, Trump’s administration announces a flat, value-added 25% tax on all gross revenues for U.S. companies earned abroad. Corporations scramble to bring production home, where wages climb in an already tight job market, and investors flock to the safety of inflation-protected U.S. Treasurys.
6) Democrats sweep U.S. 2020 election: A win driven by millennials and women leaves big health care and pharma with big losses. “Talking to investors around the world, we’re staggered by the consensus that Trump is a shoo-in for a second term,” says John Hardy, Saxo’s head of FX strategy.
The rest of Saxo’s predictions, such as South Africa triggering trouble for emerging markets, or Hungary leaving the EU are here.