Quick View on What’s on Investors Mind and in their Portfolios

Source: Pixabay

Merrill issued its latest Fund Manager Survey last week, right after the sell-off in equity markets. The message to take out is: don’t buy on dips (well my view is that you always have to think long term, understand the fundamentals of any asset class and have a view on valuation, otherwise, don’t invest at all – but that’s not the point here, I think this survey is useful to gauge market sentiment).

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Long Term Expected Returns Have Just Gone Lower – Morgan Stanley

Getting a decent return from a diversified portfolio is getting more difficult by the year. According to Morgan Stanley’s calculations, « a traditional 60/40 equity/bond USD portfolio will see 4.2% per annum over the next decade, while the same in EUR fares only slightly better at 4.7%, and GBP at 4.9%; only the JPY 60/40 portfolio sees above-average expected returns, driven by elevated equity risk premiums. »

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Low Vol Regime In Perspective

Volatility is the most disturbing factor in financial markets and it’s something people should always keep an eye on. Measured by popular metrics like VIX or VSTOXX, it’s assimilated to the « fear indicator » of investors.

Looking at the long past of the US equity market (S&P 500 in chart below), you can see that volatility goes in regimes that can change widely but rely mainly on macro environment (expansion/recession) and it’s impact on the psychology of investor (P/E or valuation).

Volatility in equity market in perspective

Source: Goldman Sachs

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FOMO

Better growth, low inflation. It’s the perfect backdrop for risky assets. But in a late cycle environment, one of the driver of financial markets people should always be fearful about is the « fear of missing out », especially when the rise in stock market accelerates and relies more on multiple expansion than fundamental improvement.

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French Elections: Macron Wins. It’s All Good?

SocGen’s view on Macron’s win last night, in a nutshell:

« What next? Newly elected President Macron is set to shortly appoint a PM and an interim government. Attention will now turn to the legislative election on 11 and 18 June.

Rates: EGB spreads are collapsing, more because of a desperate search for yield with few near-term risks, rather than any election relief per se. Bunds are exposed as tail risk falls.

FX: We see limited upside just now for EUR/USD, given the overshooting vs rates and the risk of profit taking. EUR/JPY should gain, HUF and PLN should gain more.

Credit: Markets may tighten still after the final vote of the French presidential election. Nonetheless, thoughts should quickly turn to whether CSPP can end soon.

Equity: Macron winning the election was expected and so mostly priced in. Eurozone markets should outperform: we favour our long-term calls on Italy (FTSE MIB) and Banks (SX7E).

Equity derivatives: Equity vol collapsed after the first round, and we see little scope for lower moves. The focus should shift quickly to the general elections and then to the German election.

Technicals: CAC40 on the verge of confirming a paradigm shift. »

Eurozone Equities Favored Despite French Election

Investors hold firm to their Eurozone equities despite growing worries about the outcome of the French presidential election, according to the latest poll on investor positioning published by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Investors consider a « Le Pen Win » might produce a 5-10% market correction, but the real risk would be a Europe disintegration in the case of « Frexit », which would have deeper and far more negative implications.

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