Per SocGen’s real good quant team led by Andrew Lapthorne, « the use of the ‘Fear Index’ (VIX) as a predictor of future market performance has been rather mixed, with moves in VIX appearing more contemporaneous than forward looking. »
Well if VIX is not a great predictor of market returns what is ?
« 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. »
« 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).