The BCG Investor Perspectives Series is intended to bring the voice of the investor to business leaders and board members. While we feature the most recent research here, you can explore earlier editions below.
Our most recent survey, conducted June 5–8, 2023, found that investors are remaining bearish for the short term and bullish beyond 2023 despite a wide variety of challenging macro events. Many investors (78%) expect inflation to remain elevated through at least the end of 2023 (up from 60% in February), but they anticipate that the rate will gradually decline for 2024 and 2025. When asked about companies’ concern that they are trading at a discount to their intrinsic value, 43% of investors cite an unclear growth strategy and outlook as a top-three reason, followed by a lack of management credibility. Investors are increasingly conservative about how companies allocate capital, especially for M&A and share buybacks.
The respondents represent investment firms with more than $5 trillion in combined assets under management. They cover a broad spectrum of investing types and styles, and about 96% are portfolio managers and senior analysts directly responsible for making buy, sell, and hold decisions. The series began in March 2020 as the COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check. This is the 23rd edition in the series.
BCG Investor Perspectives Series: Q1 2023 | February 13-22, 2023
Investors are less bearish than they were in Q4 2022, but they remain concerned about elevated inflation and a potential recession in 2023. At the same time, optimism for the next three years is at a series high—73% of investors are bullish, compared with the series average of 61%.
BCG Investor Perspectives Series: Pulse Check #21 | October 7-11, 2022
Only 5% of investors are bullish for 2022, and many think a US recession is around the corner. The number one macro concern for 87% of investors is inflation and the Federal Reserve’s policy.
BCG Investor Perspectives Series: Pulse Check #20 | June 17-21, 2022
Investors are the most pessimistic they have been since the Global Financial Crisis. However, the majority of investors are bullish for the next three years, which is reflected in an average annual TSR of 8.5%.
BCG Investor Perspectives Series: Pulse Check #19 | March 18-22, 2022
Investors are more bearish on the economy, with 65% expecting a recession in 2022 or 2023. The importance of geopolitical risks has grown, and many—71%—want companies to disclose their exposure to Russia.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #18 | January 28-31, 2022
Investors are more bearish on the economy and the stock market—especially for 2022. And while they see a company’s long-term growth outlook as the primary investment criterion, a series high of 86% expect companies to deliver on guidance.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #17 | October 29-31, 2021
Investor concern about the business impact of the pandemic is waning—with 55%, down from 63% in June, seeing it as an important investment consideration. But investor concerns over inflation, interest rates, and macroeconomic growth are on the rise—and investors increasingly expect management to deliver on forecasts.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #16 | June 19-20, 2021
While investors are more bullish on the US economy, they are less optimistic on the stock market, with 39%—down from 50% in April—bullish for the rest of 2021. And 63% continue to view COVID-19 as an important consideration in their investment decisions.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #15 | April 29-30, 2021
Investor expectations may be starting to return to prepandemic norms. While 88% of investors (down from a series high of 95% in February) want management to invest in building advantage even at the expense of EPS, a series high of 79% expect management to deliver EPS that at least meets guidance or consensus.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #14 | February 6-7, 2021
A majority of investors expect the pandemic’s economic impact will extend through Q4 2021. And 95% of investors believe companies should build capabilities now, even at the expense of short-term results.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #13 | December 12-13, 2020
Most investors still offer management unprecedented flexibility to invest for long-term advantage. But they also expect management to deliver EPS that at least matches revised guidance.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #12 | November 13-14, 2020
Investors are more bullish on the US economy and stock market than they were just one month ago. And while investors continue to offer management exceptional latitude, more expect companies to maintain their dividend.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #11 | October 16-17, 2020
Investors are more bearish on the duration of the pandemic and the outlook for 2021. In addition, 74% think management teams should move quickly to revise plans after the US election.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #10 | September 18-19, 2020
A majority of investors expect the S&P 500 to return to earnings growth by the end of Q2 2021. And 70% support reinstating dividends at some level for COVID-resilient companies by the end of Q1 2021.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #9 | August 7-9, 2020
A majority of investors expect either a W-shaped or U-shaped recovery. And 71% believe management should actively pursue acquisitions to strengthen the business, preferably using tuck-in deals.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #8 | July 17-19, 2020
Investors expect the pandemic’s impact on the US economy to last longer—through Q2 2021. In addition, only 11% of investors think management is seizing the moment to build advantage.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #7 | June 26-28, 2020
Investors are more pessimistic on the timing and shape of the recovery. This edition also includes investor perspectives on management incentives in the current environment.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #6 | June 5-7, 2020
Investors are more bullish than they were in April—and still willing to offer management significant flexibility to invest for the long term. They also want discretionary investment focused on financial health and future growth.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #5 | May 15-17, 2020
Investors are less bullish on the market than they were one month ago, and they want honest and transparent communications from management.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #4 | May 1-3, 2020
Investors expect the pandemic’s impact on the US economy to continue through the end of 2020, and less than half of them are bullish for the market in 2021.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #3 | April 17-19, 2020
Investors are increasingly negative on the economy in 2020 and on the stock market in 2021. See the results from the investor survey conducted April 17–19.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #2 | April 3-5, 2020
Investors are bearish now, but they are increasingly bullish for 2021 and 2022—and willing to offer executives unexpected flexibility to navigate the crisis.
COVID-19 Investor Pulse Check #1 | March 20-22, 2020
BCG’s ongoing survey provides insights on the US market and economy direct from the portfolio managers and senior analysts making buy, sell, and hold decisions right now.
Jeff Kotzen is global leader of the shareholder value topic at The Boston Consulting Group. The topic focuses on optimizing total shareholder return (TSR) by aligning business, financial, and investor strategies, leveraging the firm’s proprietary tools and methodologies. Jeff began his consulting career in 1991 and has been with BCG since 1997.
Hady Farag is a core member of the Corporate Finance & Strategy practice at Boston Consulting Group. He is an expert for corporate strategy and shareholder value and, since 2006, has worked extensively on these topics with clients around the world in various industries including technology, health care, transportation and logistics, and consumer goods.
Tim Nolan joined Boston Consulting Group in 2003. He is a core member of the firm’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications and Corporate Development practices. He leads BCG’s information services area and is an expert in B2B pricing.
Gregory Rice is a member of the Corporate Finance & Strategy practice at Boston Consulting Group and co-leads the firm’s Shareholder Advisory & Activism effort. He brings the perspective of an investor and capital markets leader to BCG clients who are facing complex shareholder issues.
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