« Brexit has driven a sharp drawdown in equities
The UK vote to ‘leave’ the EU has triggered a sharp drawdown in European and global equities. We have long argued that equities are stuck in a ‘Fat & Flat’ range given both elevated valuations and a lack of growth. The impact of Brexit on confidence and the ERP, as well as on European growth, increases the risk that we move downward in this trading range. We have highlighted risks of a correction in our recent GOAL – Global Strategy Paper No. 19 and strategies to mitigate this risk. A key concern remains the lack of diversification or availability of ‘hedges’ for equities as most safe assets, in particular bonds, remain expensive alongside equities.
Potential for further weakness & volatility in global equities We think equities will remain volatile and stay defensively positioned in our asset allocation (neutral equities over 3- and 12 -months, overweight cash over 3 months). While we think investors have been lightly positioned into the drawdown, we feel that due to policy uncertainty and lack of growth, risk appetite might remain low in the near term. However, a combination of further declines in valuations and positive growth/policy surprises are needed to stabilise equities within their ‘Fat & Flat’ range.
Lowdown on the drawdown
Comparing the current EURO STOXX 50 drawdown to history indicates that it might continue (most drawdowns have lasted more than a month), valuations might have to drop further and bonds have been less good hedges for equities. Gold and Yen performed best as ‘risk off’ hedges. »
Unfortunatelly or fortunatelly the reporter who asks questions is completely in line with European commission’s dogmatic views. For a newspaper that claims to bring indepth analysis of economy and society, it’s a shame when one of his journalist only has cliches question to throw away.
Well, the markets are heading into panic mode, again. Brace yourself ! Lots of opportunities will probably arise, but wait a little, that dust settles down before chasing quality stocks at discounted prices, because right now, the market is still expensive and most quality stocks trade at a premium…
« The global expansion remains unbalanced, debt levels and financial risks are still too high, productivity growth is too low, and the room for manoeuvre in macroeconomic policy has continued to narrow », warns the BIS, with a global message: current governance and ruling of financial markets around the world is a big mess and there is little progress in aknowledging and fixing that…
It’s sad/funny that this kind of analysis comes at a time when the IMF is sending ultimatums to Greece which replies with democratic call to its people, something IMF’s leaders are probably not accustomed to.
Reknowned investor Guy Spier (Aquamarine Capital) published his autobiobraphy late 2014, a book entitled The Education of a Value Investor (Palgrave MacMillan). As Spier explains himself, the book recounts his journey from Wall Street where he started as a junior investment banker to becoming a Buffett’s groupie (like many value investors, including myself) and a famous value investor, with an outstanding track record (here it is as of end 2012). Lire la suite →
Very interesting booklet done by Ronald H. Muhlenkamp that website Valuewalk shared. It dates back to 2005, but is full of useful concepts. Must read. h/t Valuewalk. You can download the doc following this link.
Lastet investor survey from BofAML is out, and guess what… people are more bearish than a couple of months ago… Yet their bearishness translates into more portfolio protection rather than simply get off the boat. So far, that’s probably the least painful trade.
« The uncertainties that made us cut our risk OWs to small have not gone away and merit hedging. The biggest one comes from an early end to the cycle caused by the lack of productivity growth. Inflation will be the warning sign and should be hedged. »
Back in 2003, reading The Intelligent Investor blew my mind. I had been a financial reporter for a couple of years, in a publication that was supposed to give valuable investing ideas to individuals. From 2001 to 2002 we just witnessed the market crash, and failed to help investors protect their capital. All the way down to capital destruction, bad investment advices, all to be ashamed of when I think about it in retrospect (I sincerely apologize for that by the way).
After having read Graham’s book, I actually wondered why no one had ever asked me to read the book BEFORE I joined the newsroom… The paper is still in business, but I’m not sure their readership has greatly expanded since 2003… Lire la suite →
Derivatives specialists at Goldman have put up an interesting piece of research. Unfortunatelly, it only covers the US equity market.
Over the past 9 months, the cost of SPX 55% OTM 5 year equity puts has more than doubled while the cost of 10 year puts is up 50%+. Long-dated options markets appear increasingly concerned about the potential for a decline in the S&P 500. Equity valuation and CDS spreads have been highly correlated with put prices over the past several years, but long-dated put prices have diverged. We see reason for concern as put prices were up a similar amount in 2007 ahead of the financial crisis, diverging from credit and equity at that time as well.
For now on, « deflationary fears have receded », claims Goldman’s strategists. So far so good for European equities which shot up more than 13% YTD and still have steam to run up further, according to the bank.
ECB decision: 60 bn € of asset purchase on a monthly basis, starting in March and for as long as the inflation trajectory of the Eurozone is not sustainable. This was partly priced. The expansion of ECB’s balance sheet is ON, so this will certainly have some impact on markets.
Yield search isn’t a new theme. It’s actually been around for a couple of years. But with a growing number of bond yielding zero or less, due to the « globalization » of ZIRP, the chase for yield is intensifying.
Here’s the stock of bond yielding below 0, that is that investors have to pay for to own… Japan is a clear leader, but we now see Germany, France, the Netherlands joining the club. While Japan is above 2tn€, the Eurozone is close to 1.4tn€…
And obvisouly, the equity market doesn’t seem to care (although that’s partly true). From SocGen’s quant team (one of the greatest read coming from a broker).
As shown in a report published today, SocGen reminds us that Eurozone equities have been a very nice performer over the last 30 months and « trade on an aggregate at P/E premium to the rest of Europe and the rest of the world ». The question they ask therefore is: « Where is the equity upside, if any, from ECB QE? »
First off, the rebound in EZ equity market has 2 reasons: the level of equity indices after the market crash of 2008-2009 and then after July 2012, the main driver of EZ equity rebound was of course multiple expansion, or, its equivalent, market risk premium compression. Lire la suite →
In a summary: cash levels remain high. Deflation in Eurozone is seen as the major risk (along geopolitical tensions). Investors are somewhat still optimistic about global growth, but less so than previous month and their expectations regarding EPS going forward have come up a tide grim.
The most contrarian call is Energy and Materials, but as long as oil prices do not recover, that probably to risky a call.
From Suki Mann, FI strategist at UBS (bold statements from us):
« Corporate bond market capitulation: Is it coming?
We believe that if the ECB announces any kind of corporate bond buying this week, investors could well embark on a fairly aggressive grabfest ahead of the actual commencement of the programme.
Already bereft of supply, decent yield, spreads unchanged into the macro-headwinds; and, plenty of pent-up demand for paper as cash keeps rolling-in to the asset class, we think that the actual announcement could see a lurch tighter in spreads. That is, QE is not in the current price. Some think it is, we don’t.
How much can spreads tighten? The answer ultimately depends on the modalities of the program (size, duration, mix). »
From Srikanth Sankaran & Shrina B. Poojara at Morgan Stanley fixed income research team:
« We maintain a constructive bias on credit heading into Thursday’s ECB meeting. Despite the outperformance of European credit in recent months, we do not think that QE upside is fully priced in. A 20-25bp compression in IG spreads is likely, should the ECB deliver.
Sovereign QE is now our economists’ base case: Our economists’ base case now is €500 billion of government bond purchases and €100 billion of private sector asset purchases. In terms of timing, the complexity of designing a sovereign QE programme makes January 22 an ambitious start day. Announcement in January and execution in March is more realistic, they think. »
I’m not sure how this is good news for the liquidity of financial markets. First we had the regulatory pressure on exchanges to open them to competition, which split away the liquidity and has made it more difficult for money managers to buy/sell even equities.
Second we had the regulatory pressure on insurers, banks, pension funds to limit their risk appetite with contracyclical rules (which basically says: « you have to buy bonds when they are expensive and sell equities when they are quite cheap »).
So now, big money managers (Fidelity, etc…) are said to organize dark pools which would exclude hedge funds and investment banks (good thing) but in the end would reduce overall market liquidity. Imagine what will be left to individual investors if this project goes through and goes global…
Although the bank predicts the European equity market might gain c. 8% over next 6 months from QE’s announcement, its economist are still scratching their heads regarding the ability to implement and the benefits of this kind of measures. Lire la suite →
In short, Goldman sees oil market equilibrium back around 2016, since the main adjustment course will come from capital. Warns of « high yield defaults potentially beginning if prices were maintained at $40/bbl ». Sees US supply growth slowing to 400k b/d yoy in 4Q15.
BUT, as GS puts it: « To keep all capital sidelined and curtail investment in shale until the market has rebalanced, we believe prices need to stay lower for longer. » That’s a warning.
Now sees marginal cost at $65/bbl for WTI and $80/bbl for Brent. Lire la suite →
Au moins 4 millions de personnes ont défilé ce dimanche en France. Du jamais vu qui démontre l’attachement des citoyens que nous sommes tous aux idéaux de liberté et de démocratie, de savoir-vivre ensemble et de tolérance.
Mais quelle lecture en feront nos dirigeants politiques ? On peut voir les choses de deux façons, que l’on se propose de résumer ici par deux mots : la soupape et l’électrochoc. Lire la suite →
« We believe the fall in the oil price is set to translate into a significant boost for European corporate earnings. Energy accounts for around 10% of European earnings – and historical precedent suggest a 50% drop in the oil price should lead to a 25% fall in energy EPS. Earnings for chemicals, utilities and mining, which together account for a further 10% of European earnings, should also experience a net negative impact from lower oil prices. However, the remaining 80% of European corporate earnings should see a net boost of around 13% on our estimates, as lower material costs lead to higher gross margins. In aggregate, we estimate that even on conservative assumptions a 50% drop in the oil price should translate into a net boost of around 7% to European market-level EPS. »
From Michael Hartnett and Brian Leung at Bank of America Merrill Lynch:
« BofAML’s base case for 2015 is bullish US$, bullish volatility, bearish spreads, bullish real estate, bullish stocks, bearish rates and more opportunistic in commodities & EM. We forecast higher global growth, lower liquidity, no deflation, lower expected returns: global stocks 4-8%, US dollar 3-5%, US house prices 3%, corporate bonds 2-4%, 30-year Treasury -5%, and 1-3% for commodities. 2015 has begun bearishly with lower oil, yields and, today, a buy signal for risk assets from our contrarian Bull & Bear Index.
Our bottom lines: Our conviction in US recovery is high. We expect, by late-spring, lower oil, lower currencies and lower rates to start boosting European and Asian
We believe risk assets will ultimately generate positive returns this year, but investors may need to have patience and tolerate large market swings.
Short-term we expect risk assets to rally into the ECB QE event on Jan 22nd but volatility could quickly reappear in February if the ECB package marks “peak QE expectations”, the US earnings season is impacted by the US dollar and “credit events” related to the oil collapse become more visible. We would be more aggressive buyers of risk later in Q1. »
This might look simplistic, but when you look for cheap equities around the world, Europe is not alone. Asia Pacific and even Japanese equities look interesting. Of course, currencies make equity investing a little bit more tricky when you look globally.
The problem with European equities is twofold: first, the debt crisis is far from over (public deficits and debts are astronomically high, economic and earnings growth are subpar and deflation is here); second, all hopes rely on the decision of the ECB to start buying government debt, which from a cautious investor standpoint is worrysome, all the most in a region where economic and political governance is inefficient.
Nomura recently issued a new tool called « Tactical Navigator » to help investor decide how much risk they should put in/redraw from their allocation. Currently, the message is: go hide yourself. Incidently, recent moves in financial markets says the same thing. YTD (only 10 days) performance for various asset classes show: MSCI World down 0.9%, 10Y Treasuries yield -24bp to 1.95% (!), gold up 2.7% to 1,216$/ounce and € down 2.1% against US$. Lire la suite →