World Economy

How negative headlines can become self-fulfilling

Positive case for EU equities: Pro

For anyone holding a newspaper Thursday morning, it won't take long to find worrisome headlines surrounding the markets. The front page of The New York Times, which doesn't typically feature financial news above the fold, read "U.S. Stocks Continue Slide on Fears of Slowdown." Paras Anand, head of European equities at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, said that this near-term negativity is overshadowing global growth.

"When it's in the press, it's in the price," Anand told CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange" on Thursday. "It's important to take a step back from some of these negative headlines and think about what could be some of the more positive drivers over the medium term."

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The market is certainly reacting to concerns about the global economy: the Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 350 points Wednesday, the ended below 1,900 for the first time since September, and the Nasdaq composite saw its worst day since the so-called August flash crash. Crude also fell below $30 a barrel for the first time since 2003. But Anand said that oil-importing countries, such as the U.K., stand to benefit from low crude prices that have shaken the markets.

"As the costs of energy and all of these inputs come down, that is a form of tax cut or income growth for the average consumer in the developed markets," Anand said. "Obviously that takes some time to feed through but I see that as being part of the positive story over the medium term."

Another positive story, according to Anand, is economic development, especially in the eurozone. "I think that what interests me, and us as investors, is that more positive scenarios like the development of the economy in the U.S., in Europe, in the U.K., across the developed world, are being crowded out by near-term negative factors." This development is often reflected in factory activity and consumer confidence, and by those measurements, the global economy looks to be in the phase of gradual recovery, he said.

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A key driver for a "positive growth surprise" is normalizing monetary policy in the EU, said Anand, who's forecasting strong performance from economies that prompted reform in the wake of sovereign crises. Spain and Ireland, for example, have rebounded, and Germany had positive development across its economy last year.

His team at Fidelity is also upbeat on earnings. "This year we'll start to potentially end up with a more positive perspective on corporate earnings growth," Anand said. While market averages have made progress, aggregate corporate earnings have not, he said. "In a sense, the market has made progress in anticipation of recovery in corporate earnings."

Concerns about macroeconomic outlook tend to push corporate earnings recovery out of the picture, according to Anand. "As a result of that, I do think that some of the reaction in the short-term has been quite overdone."