The Key Investment Theme of Each of the Past Seven Decades

October 27, 2023

Since the end of World War II, each decade has been broadly characterized by a key investment theme.

In each instance, a particular asset class, region, or sector of the market has captured investors and driven returns that outpace the rest of the market. The image below from Visual Capitalist shows the key investment theme over the past 70 years, based on data from Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

Each decade’s respective theme is usually the product of a confluence of factors, including geopolitics, monetary policy, the macroeconomic environment, and technological disruptions. The past decade was dominated by U.S. mega-cap stocks, but analysts expect a shift to come at the 2020s progress. The disconnect between the size of U.S. equity markets, which accounts for 43% of the global share, and the country’s economic output, which is 26% of the world’s total, along with sky-high valuations of the U.S. stock market, which are at the highest levels in 100 years, relative to the rest of the world, suggest a shift may be on the horizon.

The Key Investment Theme of Each Decade (1950-Today)

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