Jonathan Golub, Chief U.S. Equity Strategist & Head of Quantitative Research, Credit Suisse
Alpha ExchangeMarch 06, 2023
00:59:2640.88 MB

Jonathan Golub, Chief U.S. Equity Strategist & Head of Quantitative Research, Credit Suisse

With 3 decades in markets, Jon Golub’s career is split evenly between the buyside and sell-side. Reflecting on his early days in the industry, Jon notes the especially benign environment that characterized the 90’s, a period of post-Cold War geopolitical stability, with the trauma of 70’s inflation sufficiently in the rear view even as the tail wind of lower interest rates was still a positive force in markets. While analyzing time series of economic and financial data is a critical part of his team’s process, Jon is careful not to draw broad conclusions because in market cycles, “this time is actually different” probably applies more often than not. He points to the less debt heavy capital structure of key segments of the S&P 500 today versus decades ago as a ready example of the unique attributes of different time periods.

Our conversation shifts to Jon’s work as Chief US Equity Strategist and Head of Quantitative Research at Credit Suisse and his assessment of present day risks and opportunities. Here he makes the interesting point that the US economy is less sensitive to higher rates than it has been historically. But for stocks, the short rate does matter, especially in the context of what he expects to be a more challenging earnings outlook. He sees the impact of Fed policy at least partially blunted by a labor market that is even tighter than the headline unemployment rate suggests. Next, we talk about inflation and the various ways in which it impacts both corporates and the consumer. For the latter, inflation matters, but the healthy jobs market matters more, especially when set against the backstop of savings. For companies, margin compression, dwindling profit growth and a middling economy lead to what Jon characterizes as “stagflation light”. This less than rosy outlook is in the context of valuations that appear reasonably fair, especially when set against long term corporate bond yields.

I hope you enjoy this episode of the Alpha Exchange, my conversation with Jon Golub.