Citi privilégie les actions, le high yield US et le cash

Les actions, le crédit à haut rendement (« high yield ») américain et le cash sont les classes d’actifs préférées de Citi pour le moyen terme. A court terme cependant, la banque est plutôt neutre sur les actions (mais surpondère le Japon et sous-pondère l’Europe et les émergents). Elle est également neutre sur le plupart des classes d’actifs et sous-pondère les matières premières. Une prudence justifiée par un environnement plus « risk-on ».

La thèse de la banque résumée en moins d’une page (les passages en couleur sont surlignés par moi):

 « A number of negative cross currents continue to swirl around asset markets. First, European bank stocks remain near 8 month lows, post the botched Cyprus bail out and there are other worries in Europe too like the dangers posed by the proposed FTT. Second, N Korean events remain a concern. Third, the recent Boston bombs remind us that the threat from terrorism persists. But probably most importantly for markets, economic data in recent weeks has disappointed pretty much around the globe. This is even more the case in EM countries than developed markets. In the face of this news, risk aversion has risen modestly according to the GRAMI and a “risk-off” signal has been triggered.
So the open question is: do we still like risk assets and, if so, which ones? Taking the broader question first, yes we do continue to expect significant positive returns from global equities over 2013.

Citi’s base case is that there will be a reacceleration of global growth in 2014 from 2013, led in 2013H2 by a faster expansion of the US consumer as fiscal drag fades. Furthermore, earnings continue to grow and equity valuations are not stretched. Finally, monetary policies remain supportive, with ongoing Fed QE now supplemented by a similar sized balance sheet expansion in Japan. The UK could yet join in the party and even in EM economies, policymakers are likely to be leaning more towards ease/ less tightening as growth has slowed and there has been little impetus to inflation.
In effect, wobbles in equities may have started, in part, because of discussion about “tapering” or gradual withdrawal of Fed QE. But this is, for now, self limiting. With fiscal drag significant now, any tightening of financial conditions via lower stocks prices will likely draw forth increasingly dovish Fed commentary leading markets to extend the QE end game further into the future and hence limiting the damage.
Thus, while there is certain seasonality to equity market returns in recent years, with the second quarter a poor month, any setback now will likely present an opportunity to allocate more assets to equities. As a result, our medium term allocation remains long equities even though we have scaled back to neutral our short term tactical allocation. »

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