How to build a staircase

Engaging Stakeholders - EFQM Model Criterion 3

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Stock market outlook 2022

Stock Market Outlook 2022

The corona pandemic continues – and with it the economic uncertainties. Investors who focus on the right sectors can benefit from the global upswing. Report(+)PLUS asked Austria’s top analysts where investments are worthwhile.

The stock market year 2021 was once again dominated by the pandemic and its consequences. Inflation, interest rate policy, supply backlog and geopolitical tensions brought additional unrest to the financial markets. But the crisis also proved to be a catalyst for some industries – especially IT and pharmaceuticals. Investors who did not shy away from risk had a thoroughly satisfactory year, as equities performed better than supposedly safe investments such as government bonds or gold.

In its 250th trading day, the Vienna Stock Exchange. In its tenth anniversary year, the ATX reached a ten-year high in terms of share turnover and was able to more than compensate for the losses incurred in 2020. Once again, the special position of the Austrian stock market was confirmed: In downturns, the ATX loses more than other trading centers, but gains significantly more in upswings. This trend is likely to continue – the ATX is still undervalued in the international arena.

Some signposts for 2022 are already in place: the U.S. Fed will raise key interest rates later this year, while the European Central Bank remains cautious in this regard. Several countries have announced major investments in infrastructure. Rising energy prices bring oil and gas companies back into the picture. The trend toward sustainable investing is picking up speed: More and more companies and funds are aligning themselves with environmental and social criteria. USA, China and Russia continue to flex their muscles. Things remain exciting.

Friedrich Mostbock, Head of Group Research, Erste Group Bank AG:

How to build a staircase

1. Are capital markets becoming increasingly resistant to crises??

It depends on the crisis! Every crisis is uncharted territory at the start. Surely we are already used to dealing with covid. However, if a crisis turns out to be more dramatic again (like the start of the Covid crisis or the financial crisis, etc.), this is not the time for a new crisis.), this would certainly have a strong negative impact on the markets again.

2. Assess rising inflation as problematic?

Higher inflation rates will always be irritating in the short term, especially if they are higher than expected. However, the economy continues to pick up globally and shares are in many cases without alternative anyway as a result of low interest rates. In addition, listed companies pass on higher prices to their customers over the longer term, which in turn should translate into higher sales and profits.

3. Are "green" investments worthwhile??

Yes, definitely. Before the financial crisis, ESG (environmental, social, governance) investments were still being ridiculed, but now they have gone mainstream. The trend will continue, as not all ESG is the same, and there is also a need for differentiation, e.g., in the area of green investments. B. about greenwashing, will take place. Institutional and private investors alike will increasingly pay attention.

My personal investment tip: Austrian Post: as a defensive stock, lags behind the overall market development, infrastructure-relevant and stable cash flow, very well positioned, experienced management, dividend stock with 5% dividend yield.

Herta Stockbauer, Chairman of the Board BKS Bank:

How to build a staircase

1. We are indeed in a new capital market environment. Central bank policy has gained more and more influence on capital market developments, crises do not have an immediate impact. Substantial crises should never be underestimated, however, as they can be cushioned with this policy, but not eliminated sustainably.

The inflation trend in recent months has spooked some market participants and is indeed worrying. However, we assume that inflation rates have peaked and will decline in the second half of the year, but will not reach pre-Corona levels.

Green investments are always worthwhile. BKS Bank has already been committed to this for years. Since 2013, we have been offering our clients an asset management service that has been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel, and for several years we have also been offering green bonds. We still consider green investments to be a megatrend and will continue to expand our commitment in this direction in the years to come.

My Tip:
We always advise our clients to diversify their assets as widely as possible. Asset-managed funds are particularly well suited for this purpose. It is also important to link the expected return to a correspondingly long investment horizon. The higher the expected return, the higher the risk. The higher the risk, the longer the investment horizon should be.

Oliver Prinz, Head of Investment Management and Strategy, UniCredit Bank Austria:

How to build a staircase

We assume that the previous and known market mechanisms will remain unchanged and that the capital markets will not become more resistant to crises by their own efforts. What has changed, however, is the behavior of central banks, which recently reacted to crises very quickly and with large amounts of liquidity, driving the indices from record to record.

2. We adjusted our investment strategy very early to rising inflation risks. A weighty part of our bond portfolio is invested in inflation-linked bonds. So the returns on these bonds remain stable after adjusting for inflation. In the equity sector, we trust in high quality business models that are able to pass on the increased input prices to consumers.

3. In my view, the reduction of ESG risks is an important performance factor for the future. Even if there is no performance advantage, it pays to focus on sustainable investments, because with the same performance, something good can be achieved for sustainable issues as well. Furthermore, returns and sustainable investing have long since ceased to be mutually exclusive.

My tip: I recommend getting comprehensive and competent advice. Professional asset management is particularly well suited for sustainable investment success on the international financial markets.

Nils Kottke, Member of the Management Board of Bankhaus Spangler:

How to build a staircase

1. The capital markets are undoubtedly not completely resistant to crises. However, it can be observed that crises have been overcome quickly in the recent past. This is partly due to the swift intervention of central banks and governments. However, central banks are increasingly squeezed between rising inflation and high public debt.

2. If inflation remains high, this development will be problematic. Confidence in the ECB could be permanently damaged. At a certain point, the ECB would have to raise interest rates, which could have adverse consequences in government budgets, the stock market or the real estate market.

3. Investments in future-oriented business areas are worthwhile, provided the companies also deliver what they promise. This also applies to "green" investments, which in many cases are located in future-oriented sectors. However, a certain "bubble formation" cannot be ruled out in this area due to a currently still undifferentiated demand.

My bet: My investment recommendation for 2022 is "TINA" (There Is No Alternative). By this I mean that there are currently no real alternatives to equities. Gold is a sensible addition in this inflationary environment.

Peter Brezinschek, Chief Analyst, Raiffeisen Bank International:

How to build a staircase

1. In principle, it must be noted that unexpected dangers or events always leave the strongest impact. This was evident when Corona occurred in early 2020. In the case of known risks, precautions can be taken at an early stage to counteract them. Monetary and fiscal policy can also have a balancing effect. Covid-19, for example, has not had a negative impact on the financial markets since March 2020, despite its severe effects. On the contrary, stock indices have risen again to all-time highs.

2. Eurozone growth of 5.0% in December was the highest since the introduction of the euro in 1999. So far, inflation has mainly been driven by commodity and energy prices. Since the fall, however, increasing price pressure has also been felt on durable consumer goods and services. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how far the inflation rate regresses in the course of 2022. There is a risk that the CPI will remain well above the two percent mark and therefore, in addition to the US Fed, the ECB will also have to react sooner or later.

3. Investments in climate protection are essential building blocks for a successful trend reversal towards less CO2. Innovation and technological progress coupled with public investment (EU Fit for 55) will have a positive impact on the financial figures of companies. Therefore, there is no way around "green-inspired" investments.

My Tip: Index certificate for the DAX index: The weighting of the DAX is balanced and should also ensure a successful stock market year in 2022.

Erich Stadlberger, Head of Private Banking& Asset Management, Oberbank AG:

How to build a staircase

1. Since the financial market crisis of 2008/09, central banks and governments have taken more extensive and more rapid action. These huge support measures have led to much shorter recessionary phases in the real economy. As a result, there have been hardly any major or minor events on the capital market. long-term downward phases and higher price fluctuations to be observed. However, due to the good economic conditions, monetary and fiscal policy will no longer be necessary to the same extent. As a result, fluctuations on the stock market should increase, but returns should remain solid.

2. Current inflation rates are already a tad too high and, if they continue to develop, would cause ongoing concerns for companies and consumers. For investors, this primarily means a decline in purchasing power. While we expect energy prices to remain high, supply chain issues should gradually moderate. Consequently, we expect inflation rates to normalize starting in the middle of the year.

3. In recent years, sustainable investments in the stock market have not had any performance disadvantage. We are convinced that sustainability will play an even more important role in the next decades. Individual industries, especially in the energy sector, even if they are sustainable, will remain very volatile, however.

My tip: I also feel very comfortable in the home market. The Austrian stock market convinces with strong business models, favorable valuations and attractive dividend yields.

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