Five companies — Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook — account for nearly $3 trillion of the S&P 500’s roughly $22 trillion market capitalization. Now the most highly valued companies in the world, their stratospheric rise and heavy weighting in the S&P have investors and market commentators asking a lot of questions.
The notion of global investing is not what it used to be just 10 years ago. Rapid advancements in technology, free trade agreements and the rise of multinationals in emerging markets have transformed the structure of the economic world today, allowing companies to compete for customers, labor and capital on a global basis.
Emerging markets debt has had a strong and almost uninterrupted rally this year, bringing gains for dollar-denominated bonds to 9% through the end of August and 15% for local currency debt. Now, as we enter a new period of monetary policy in developed markets characterized by the withdrawal of liquidity by central banks, investors are questioning if EM debt will maintain its momentum.
It may seem like U.S. equities recovered from the financial crisis years ago, but the market as a whole has not. The global financial crisis naturally hit financial stocks the hardest, and the sector declined nearly 80% following its peak in May 2007. And while the S&P 500 Index reached new highs way back in 2012, financials have lagged.