Results for search of category: Diversification

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... ]

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Two weeks ago, we had the lowest number of net buying opportunities for individual countries since May 2000. It’s hard to be bullish about global equities as an asset class when there are so few leaders. Japan is one of just three countries which look attractive on our system, but nobody seems to care.  [Read More... ]

Capitulation and the rule of 35

Equity bears are capitulating. The priority is to protect their portfolios from further underperformance by getting closer to their benchmark equity weight. Our models have always shown that the worst sample periods for our process are between 29-35 weeks. The behavioural explanation would be that fund managers are allowed to be wrong for two quarters in a row, but not for three. Cutting a losing position during the third quarter of the mistake tends to be more damaging than doing it early in the second.  [Read More... ]

Don’t Forget the Skew

Although our models are consistently bearish about the outlook for equities, we agree that there are several large problems which have depressed performance, which would allow the market to bounce if they were “solved” - even temporarily. Rather than prepare for an outright bear market, we think investors should focus on the bull/bear skew and sell countries which tend not to perform in rising markets, even though they are heavily exposed when they fall. This list includes several large Anglo-Saxon markets such as the UK, Canada and Australia.  [Read More... ]

Almighty dollar

Many clients are surprised by our low exposure to US Equities given the strong dollar and their performance relative to global equities. It’s a direct consequence of the way we structure our asset allocation model. We could use a currency-based rather than an asset-class approach, but it doesn’t perform as well over the long-term and it doesn’t offer as much downside protection in the event of a correction. In any case, the risk-adjusted returns from US Equities have been bit underwhelming in 2018 to date.  [Read More... ]

Lagging sectors and regions

What does an underweight in both really mean? This week we look at which equity sectors have historically been rated underweight when their region is also rated underweight. Causation is much harder to establish than for overweight sectors in overweight regions. The main lesson is that sector selection may not compensate for being in the wrong region in a bull market or the wrong asset class in a bear market.  [Read More... ]

Few places to hide

UK portfolios could be vulnerable to rising oil. We are concerned that oil may be entering a new trading range which could damage a conventional balanced portfolio. We look at two correlations: between equities and bonds and between oil futures and a balanced portfolio. In the Eurozone, investors don’t really need a hedge. In the US, it may be “nice to have”, but not essential. In the UK, equities and bonds are positively correlated at the highest level since 2001, which means that investors need some sort of hedge, even though we can’t yet be sure that oil is the right on.  [Read More... ]

Enjoy Your Long Weekend

US buy-backs to the rescue. Risk conditions have deteriorated faster than we expected and the deterioration has been led by the US, which is unusual. The excess volatility of US Equities relative to Treasuries has experienced the sharpest three-month increase in the last 22 years, including the run-up to the GFC. The current correction could well be as bad as early 2016. To end it, we may need the Fed to take a time-out on the June rate-hike. We will certainly need US corporates to resume their buy-back programmes as soon as the earnings timetable allows. Apart from Emerging Markets, buying the dip in international equities, without doing the same in the US, is not an attractive strategy.  [Read More... ]


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