Global Equity Commentary | 2Q 2023
8 min read | Narrow market leadership by highly priced US growth stocks has been a thorn in our side, and we have written extensively about the combination of factors that would cause markets to broaden out. Despite the most significant of these conditions being well underway (rising rates and inflation uncertainty), the lack of breadth in markets has returned to historically extreme levels, with enthusiasm surrounding generative AI contributing to the surge. AI is a significant technological innovation, but we believe it is being greatly overhyped and overestimated in the short term, as is typically the case with new technologies. Stock prices for leading “AI stories” discount growth rates that will be difficult to achieve, thus impairing their underlying margins of safety. Although there are pockets of excess and exuberance, 68% of global stocks underperformed the MSCI World Index in the second quarter – and 44% actually declined – leaving many companies offering very compelling risk/return propositions. We see opportunity among companies embracing AI in their operations to enhance their business quality and efficiency, most notably in health care, non-life insurance, exchanges, global consumer franchises, industrials, and business services, to name a few.