What are the risks after the rebound in financial markets ?

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

The rebound in financial markets reflects strong optimism among market participants that real and nominal economic growth and inflation are about to get stronger in the coming years. This view has supported a sharp rebound in valuation ratios (see chart above). At the same time, USD has continued appreciating against most currencies, and the fixed income market has consolidated on the back of rising yields. Lire la suite

Is it time to worry about credit market liquidity ?

Yes, probably according to BofAML analysts.

« Our analysis shows fewer bonds trade on a daily basis over the past year. We also find that trading volumes are declining over the past years as a percentage of the stock of corporate bonds. Liquidity is concentrated in benchmark bonds; 5y and 10y bonds exhibit better liquidity both in terms of tighter bid/offer spreads and also higher turnover. Higher spread/yield bonds exhibit better liquidity. »

Lire la suite

High quality stocks, US/EU credit, EM debt are most crowded trades

The latest survey of global fund managers by Merrill Lynch continues to reveal high levels of cash in asset allocation, neutral stance on equities (1% net overweight vs 9% a month ago), yet on the backdrop of positive sentiment towards economic and profit growth…

Interestingly, most investors explain that high cash levels in allocation (net 5.4%) reflect « bearish views on markets »…

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Another interesting indicator in the survey is about the « most crowded trades » based on investors’ views.

From Merrill’s note:

« Most crowded trades are all « NIRP-winners »: long High Quality stocks; long US/EU Corporate bonds; long EM debt. Sept FMS shows first meaningful reduction in bond proxy exposure (staples, utilities, telcos – Exhibit 1), as well as reduction in « high growth » US market. But both REITs & tech remain big stubborn longs, and EM equity OW highest in 3.5 years. All vulnerable should Fed and especially BoJ fail to reduce bond vol in Sept. »

When you think about the increasing interest in EM debt, or the sustaining impact of QE on « low vol », « bond proxies », « high visibility/quality » stocks, you get a sense markets are probably ripe for a correction…

From ‘Expansion’ to ‘Downturn’ – Morgan Stanley

One of the latest publication on X-asset strategy comes from Morgan Stanley and the message is pretty grim:

« Our cycle indicators across DM have stalled, pointing to rising risks of a shift from ‘expansion’ to ‘downturn’. The dilemma is that this peak has characteristics of both ‘true’ and ‘false’ turns. We explore our cycle checklist. »

Lire la suite

Puzzling times for investors

Excerpt from the latest GOAL publication from Goldman Sachs… I’m just picking a couple of paragraphs that give a good understanding of how difficult it is to do proper asset allocation and not be weary of losing it all when markets are distorted by central banks and the prospects for growth and inflation are dull…

Lire la suite

Morgan Stanley Cross asset views after Brexit

MS_cross_asset_views_Jun2016

Source: Morgan Stanley

Interestingly, one week after the event, systemic risk doesn’t seem to be an issue…

MS_cross_asset_views_Jun2016_Systemic_Risk

Source: Morgan Stanley

Views per asset classes:

  • Equities: stay defensive (global earnings have been falling, and valuation are relatively fair)
  • Currencies: USD bull market is not over…
  • Rates: lower for longer
  • Credit: best option for carry

Goldman’s strategy after Brexit

From GOAL report dated June 26:

« 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. »

Lire la suite

What to worry about – JPMorgan View

« 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. »

Another good read from Jan Loeys and team at JPMorgan…  Lire la suite

ECB decision and market comments

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.

Key items of ECB policy action:

Draghi’s Speech

Asset purchase program

Here are a couple of first market reactions and commentaries.

Lire la suite

Recap: asset classes and ECB QE – Morgan Stanley

For those investors who did not have time to read all Morgan Stanley’s reports about ECB QE and its impact on asset classes, here’s the summary of the summary.

Lire la suite

Morgan Stanley on « QE and beyond »

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. »

Lire la suite

A more favorable backdrop for risk assets – Barclays

On the back of slightly better global growth in 2015 and most importantly accommodative monetary policies, risk assets should prevail next year, says Barclays in its freshly published outlook. Attached is the summary per asset class, and some key introductory remarks to this 168 page document distributed to investors and clients. Enjoy!

Lire la suite

Citi relève ses prévisions de croissance à nouveau

Les économistes de Citi ont relevé une nouvelle fois leurs prévisions de croissance de l’économie. Ils anticipent une progression de 2,5% du PIB en 2012 (contre 2,4% un mois plus tôt), puis de 3% en 2013 et 3,5% en 2014. Lire la suite