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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... ]

Prices Move Before the News

One of the great virtues of our process is that it is sensitive enough to identify sudden changes in the relationship between risk and return, which have no apparent justification in real life – until the news story which prompted them finally breaks. We have just had a classic example of this with the resignation of Prime Minister Abe, which was announced in late August, eight weeks after our weighting in Japan was suddenly reduced. There is always an explanation, even if you don’t what it is, and this note highlights ten other recent moves at sector or country level, which we think are only partially explained.  [Read More... ]

Two Red Flags from China

China’s stock market is always subject to official intervention, so the signals need to be interpreted carefully. However, there are two new red flags in our equity sector model, relating to Technology and Financials. Technology has suddenly started to deteriorate, which has historically been a good lead indicator for the US Tech sector. Financials are heading for a multi-year low relative to the index, which could have important implications for China’s FX policy regime.   [Read More... ]

Party Like It’s 1999

The US Tech sector has just flashed an important warning signal. Our recommended weighting has just dropped below its 52-week moving average. This has happened seven times in the last 25 years and the result is always a significant reduction in exposure. Six times out of seven, the sector has not bottomed until it was deep in underweight territory.  [Read More... ]

Signs of Life in the Eurozone

Our charts for Eurozone equities relative to the rest of the world have suddenly gone vertical. The change started in late June and the charts have improved in each of the last four weeks. It is now supported by improving lead indicators in cyclical sectors, like Materials and Industrials, and deep value sectors like Financials. The latter are key to the rehabilitation theme. Without them, a Eurozone rally will be anaemic; with them it could be surprisingly powerful.   [Read More... ]

Rotation in the US

Our US equity sector model has been unusually quiet of late, but we are picking up signals that this is about to change. The lead indicator for the scale of potential changes is close to a one-year high and the level of conviction attached to this reading is at a two-year high. We expect the rotation to start at the bottom and work upwards. Energy and Materials look interesting, while Staples, Utilities and, possibly, Healthcare look challenged.  [Read More... ]


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