La grande rotation vers les actions, espérées par la plupart des courtiers, a-t-elle commencé ? Cela semble être le cas au vu des performances des grandes Bourses mondiales (Europe et US en tête), et des indications de flux redevenus positifs ces dernières semaines sur les actions.
Pour prendre un peu de recul sur ce qui se passe sur les marchés, ci-joint le commentaire hebdomadaire résumé de Jan Loeys, responsable de l’allocation mondiale d’actifs chez JPMorgan, toujours aussi intéressant à lire.
« Risk assets such as equities, commodities, and higher yielding corporates continue to rally on supportive economic and political news, while Treasury and Bund yields are reaching multi-month highs. High-grade corporates are caught in between and no longer appear to be benefiting from the search for yield given their already low yield levels. US HG yields are now higher than 3 months ago, and Euro HG is higher than 1 month ago, despite the strong equity rallies in both regions.
For now, we believe the underperformance of HG debt versus better-yielding HY and EM is not because of any emerging bearishness on credit, but simply because investors need higher coupon income and HG does not do it anymore. A true sell off in the broader fixed income market in our view will require an approaching end to QE and speculation about rate hikes, and/or signs of credit trouble among issuers that have borrowed beyond their ability to pay back. On the latter, we see clear signs of indiscriminate buying in the higher-yielding world, especially in EM, and one can tick many boxes on the bubble count, but we appear to be very far from the leverage that has doomed previous booms in credit and EM. Advanced as the boom in EM and credit feels, we believe it is hard to call an end to it before there is trouble at the issuer or lender level.
The other force that we believe has the potential to damage the broad bond world is a reversal in easy money, and thus in slow economic growth. We are seeing signs that the world economy is staging a rebound from the sub-trend 2% pace of the past 3 quarters. The most recent set of flash PMIs point to a sizable January gain in our Global Manufacturing PMI and keeps us with upside risk for Q1 GDP, which we pin at 2.3%. Euro area PMIs were particularly impressive, and are now only a point below the level that we need to signal that Euro area GDP has stopped falling and the recession has ended.
The US Congress’s decision to suspend, but not lift, the debt ceiling for 3 months shows that Republicans recognize that they cannot use the threat of a US default in a credible fashion. But it makes it now likely that they will no longer delay sequestration. This by itself is a net negative for our US GDP forecasts, by almost ½% of GDP. We are not lowering our growth projections at the moment as a better run rate of spending late in Q4 is having an offsetting positive impact on GDP. US forecasts are unchanged for now.
For us to go short duration and to move risk from credit to equities, we would need to see much more than the gentle rebound in global growth than we currently project. So far, better activity and survey data are only good enough to express an upward risk bias around forecasts. With 3% as trend global growth, we need growth significantly above that level, before discussing early exits from QE and earlier rate hikes.
The resistance to lower yields we see in high grade, both in dollars and euros, does not appear to reflect outright selling, but more that investors are seeking better yields in HY and EM. At the same time, we do not see that much appetite to buy stocks as there remains a strong aversion to the high short-term volatility that equities produce. We discussed last week that investors are not recognizing that much of equity vol is pure noise that can be diversified away over time. A side effect of this mark-to-market (MTM) aversion is that many market participants nowadays prefer to be in high-IRR, low-liquidity assets where there is little price volatility for the same reason that there is barely any secondary market for such assets. Hence, to put it in extreme terms, we believe there is a growing aversion to liquid assets as they imply high shortterm price volatility that investors do not like to reveal on their income statements. It is unnecessary to add that this stores up trouble for the longer term. »