Upside Potential For Malaysia Is Not A Given, Says HSBC

Source: Pixabay

The laggard argument to reposition part of asset allocation to Malaysia might be a mistake, according to HSBC’s strategists. Investors should actually be looking at more fundamental drivers to reconsider their exposure to the Asian economy, such a rising commodity prices, increased China investments in the region and political upside risk.

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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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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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Frexit? No Longer a Dumb Idea…

After the Brits, the French are making the headlines, not for the best. The market is slowly pricing the possibility that a far-right movement (Front National) might win at the next presidential election.

The risk here is that such a vote might provoke a sharp market correction that could have global ripple effects, since France is the 2nd largest economy of the eurozone and has been at the core of the European project since the 50s – something the Front National is openly questioning by promoting the « Frexit ».

According to SocGen’s strategy team, this is how the French market might react if French government yield were to rise slightly:

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Real Rates Are the Real Problem – DBk

US 10 year yield is around 2.5% which is quite low. But if you take inflation into account, the situation is far worse. But real rates should be higher, based on the current fundamentals of the economy. This means that central banks should have ended QE some time ago already, but they can’t because they are prisoners of financial markets. They are just stuck in a mess they helped creating in the first place, because they never got the guts to stop banks around the world, and especially in the US, from doing stupid things.

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Chart of the Day – Cross Asset Correlation is VERY Low

Source: Morgan Stanley

Per MS’s report dated Jan 3rd 2017:

« 2016 saw the 3rd best annual performance for US High Yield on record. Commodities posted their best year of returns since 2009, a feat all the more impressive given early losses. It was a surprisingly ho-hum year for performance in global equities (+8.5% in MSCI ACWI), global rates, and the USD (+4.3%), with those numbers masking big divergences by region, style, and the 1st-versus-2nd half of the year. We also note that global correlations have plunged, driven largely by the breakdown in rates correlation to risk assets and regional correlations within equities. »

Risk Appetite Needs Growth – Goldman Sachs

Source: Goldman Sachs

Per today’s report:

« As equities rallied and bonds sold off, our measure of risk appetite reached a new post-crisis high, but it has started to retreat more recently. Near-term, we think growth optimism will persist and keep risk appetite strong. We are long US equity near-term as it should be a direct beneficiary of growth optimism, but expect optimism to moderate eventually. Later in 2017 we are looking to rotate from S&P 500 to EM (specifically EM-ex-China) where risk appetite has lagged and we expect the growth picture to be more supportive. We also like Europe and Japan on a 12-month horizon in our asset allocation. Both of these lagged global equities in 2016, but should continue to be beneficiaries of reflation and have supportive monetary policy backdrops. »

On a 12 month horizon, GS is overweight Equities, with a bias towards Europe and Japan, but underweight US equities and Neutral on Asia ex-Japan.

The bank underweights Government bonds and is Neutral on credit (yet with a preference for US High Yield and Euro High Yield).

It’s also Overweight Commodities and Cash.