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Three Ideas from the US Senate

Elections don’t change things, except when they do. The combination of the Saudi oil cut and Democrat control of the Senate could usher in a period of materially higher oil prices. The Senate victory also means that social media companies may be threatened with more regulation and even a possible break-up. But does the new administration have the political capital to take on Big Pharma at the same time? The outlook for the Healthcare sector may be more hopeful than the Blue Wave doomsters suggested.  [Read More... ]

Two Big Ideas for 2021

In 2021, we expect our models to recommend an extended underweight in US Equities and an overweight in Small Caps, particularly Europe, The US underweight is controversial and has often been wrong, but investors need to know that we have been significantly overweight for most of the last 10 years. The underweight worked well in the recoveries of 2003-04 and 2009, and we participated on both occasions. The same is true of our overweight on Small Caps, which is our preferred way of playing the economic recovery and equity rotation at the same time.  [Read More... ]

How the World Turns

This report is a real-time survey of how the great rotation is progressing in different regions of the world. Our conclusions are (1) Many of the important sector infection points happened back in September; so talking about them now in terms of factors suggests that people missed them the first time round. (2) The UK has much the most aggressive sector rotation and China the least. (3) There are different winners and losers in each region and any attempt to apply one paradigm to all of them is likely to fail. (4) Many value-rich sectors in each region have hardly moved, suggesting that the value trade has already been differentiated into those sectors which have catalysts and those which don’t.  [Read More... ]

Rotation, Inflection & Persistence

There has been a lot of excitement about factor rotation in equities, but it’s mostly based on the back of two days’ trading at the start of this week. We agree that rotation is going to pick up, but from a very low base and our work suggests that it’s going to be from the top to the middle and vice versa. We think that the laggards, like Financials, Energy and Telecom could underperform for some time to come. If the factors in question are meaningful, they will show up in sector performance fairly soon. If not, perhaps they are not as important as reported.  [Read More... ]

10 with 10% in China

We think that global equities could be on the cusp of switching to a new big idea, moving out of US Technology and into something else. It may be US infrastructure, depending on who wins the election and controls the Senate, but the growth of the Chinese consumer has been thrown into sharp relief by the relative impact of Covid on China vs the West. Oil at $35/bbl is a significant stimulus and a similar idea (overweight in EM Equities) worked very well in 2002-05. We have a big overweight on both Consumer sectors in China and we highlight 10 consumer-related companies in Europe which derive more than 10% of sales from mainland China.  [Read More... ]

FAANGs can bite you

We re-iterate our call to take profits in US Tech. We have downgraded Communications to neutral this week and we already have Google/Alphabet as an underweight. The Tech sector broke down through an important technical signal in late August and is now accelerating towards a downgrade. Leading stocks like Microsoft have been downgraded and only Apple looks robust at current levels. The majority of the large stocks we cover have lower scores than they did at the end of summer.  [Read More... ]

Dropping Bunds as the Benchmark

It’s time to restructure our euro-denominated fixed income portfolio. The yield on 7-10 year German bunds is too negative for comfort and they no longer offer the best way of creating risk-efficient portfolios. A pan-euro index of government bonds with the same maturity has done this more effectively for the last two years and we believe it offers a safer and more liquid benchmark asset.  [Read More... ]

How to Hedge an Equity Sell-Off

Bonds don’t always go up when equities go down. In 2003, holding long-dated government bonds on average offset 50% of local currency losses in developed equity markets. That ratio has fallen steadily in each of the following major sell-offs, 2009, 2016 and 2020. This year, it was effectively zero on average for the seven largest developed markets. For some countries, it was negative - i.e. bonds went down just when you needed them most.   [Read More... ]


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