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COVID-19 vaccine approvals and shipments set the year-end tone for financial markets, injecting momentum into equities even as virus caseloads swelled and investors took U.S. presidential election and Brexit cliff-hangers in stride.
The European Central Bank expanded its emergency bond buying, continuing its “whatever it takes” approach; market pricing implied expectations the Bank of England (BoE) will move to negative rates in 2021.
With excess liquidity surging to new highs and yield curves flattening, our portfolio managers added longer duration securities to lock in yield, purchased new issues and added back high-quality corporate securities.
While 2021 is expected to see a return to normality and improving growth, continued lockdowns will remain an economic headwind; we expect low central bank rates for the foreseeable future.