Lead Left Interview – Stephanie Link (Part 2)

This week we continue our conversation with Stephanie Link. Stephanie is a managing director and equity portfolio manager for TIAA Global Asset Management. She manages large-cap equities primarily based in the US. She is also a CNBC contributor and appears regularly on Closing Bell and HalftimeSecond of two parts – View part one

The Lead Left: Do you think that a recession has now been postponed?

Stephanie Link: A recession is unlikely this year. We’re only at 2 ½-3% GDP growth now.  Even if that rises to 4% that isn’t runaway growth.   The key will be 2 of the Fed’s mandates – inflation and employment.  We’re basically at full employment but if that leads to higher inflation and the Fed gets behind the curve and has to aggressively tighten – that’s your recession risk.  I think the Fed has made it clear that they will be gradual in rate rises – but going back to what I worry about – that is another one.  That the Fed has to get more aggressive on rates because they get behind the curve.

TLL: So what kind of exogenous factors are you worried about?

SL: I worry about the dollar. The US is the best game in the world, the place to be. If we have stronger growth vs the rest of the world, the dollar rises.  That said – if Trump’s growth plans lead to higher deficits then the dollar should retreat.  And theoretically – global economic stimulus should lead to higher growth globally – so that could also ease pressure on the dollar’s rise.  It’s a wild card at the moment.

Secondly does oil take off? The OPEC news last fall was one thing, yet oil shale is still a big source here. So what does energy dependence mean? Oil’s preferred level in my view is $70-75/barrel. Those two things – oil and the dollar – plus the political risk with China, are what worry me.