The Unreal, Real Yield

Friday, September 16th, 2022

Inflation expectations in the US are still too low.

There is a big mismatch in US inflation expectations, with 10-year breakeven rates anchored around 2 percent, survey data at 5 percent and core CPI at over 6 percent. We think the latter figures are far more realistic, which means that the US fixed income and equity markets could be in for a nasty shock. We also think that global currency markets are becoming disorderly and that the yen, euro and sterling will all test historic lows against the dollar. It’s not a “sell-everything” strategy, but it is closely related. There may soon be an interesting opportunity in EM Equities and EM Bonds. The last bull market in EM Equities started about three months before the dollar index hit its last high in late 2001 and we see other historical parallels which spark our attention,

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Pivot to Asia

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

It may be the least-worst option

There is a leadership vacuum in global equity markets. The US, the Eurozone and the UK all have serious issues to confront, ranging from valuation excess and monetary tightening to political uncertainty and energy rationing. Japan and Emerging Asia share some of these problems but are not as badly affected. One is a low return, risk reduction trade, while the other offers high risk and high reward. Both strategies have a place in a well-diversified global equity portfolio.

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Discontinuity Rules

Friday, March 18th, 2022

A lot has changed but not everything that should have

If the fall of the Berlin Wall was supposed to be the end of history, the invasion of Ukraine may well mark the rebirth of geography in investment markets. Equity returns in Europe are being impacted by country specific factors beyond the usual mix of sector effects. We see the potential for new definitions of core and periphery in Eurozone bond markets and there are many emerging equity markets in Latin America and SE Asia which are not affected by the war, even the asset class as a whole is (China, Russia, Eastern Europe). The thing which hasn’t changed is the momentum of US earnings growth.

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Time for Some Bottom-Fishing

Friday, November 26th, 2021

Chinese Technology could lead a rally in EM Equities

We spend a lot of our time dissuading clients from going bottom-fishing, mainly because it doesn’t work very well. But there are times when we may need to do it to protect ourselves from the risk of being underweight a sector or country which rallies very fast. This week we highlight a combination of charts (EM Equities and China vs the World and Chinese Technology vs China) which have all sent recent signals suggesting that we may need to close our underweight positions in a hurry. There is a risk/opportunity that Chinese Technology could lead sharp and unexpected rally in EM Equities.

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China vs US Exceptionalism

Friday, August 27th, 2021

Exposure to some sectors may be justified but timing is critical

Our recommended exposure to Chinese equities is effectively zero, but EM Equities (of which China is by far the largest part) are critical to the success of any global balanced portfolio. So, we have looked at individual Chinese sectors to see which ones have been the most successful diversifiers compared to their US counterpart. The good news is that it is easy to identify those which fail the test badly: Financials, Industrials, Telecom and Small Caps. The bad news is that only Technology has offered successful diversification over the whole of our test period, but now is not a good entry point. There may also be opportunities in Consumer Staples and Healthcare, but, again, we prefer to wait for a better entry point.

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Time to Separate China from EM

Friday, August 13th, 2021

EM ex China has begun an interesting rally

We think it is time to take China out of the main EM equity indices. Some of the arguments made for its inclusion are no longer valid. It doesn’t make sense to have separate benchmarks for companies listed in China and Hong Kong. Separate indices for China plus Hong Kong and the rest of Emerging Markets would increase flexibility for all investors, not just those who no longer wish to have passive exposure to the current regime in China. Once we make the split, we can see that EM ex China has already begun an interesting rally.

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The China Question

Friday, July 30th, 2021

China’s problem may be Europe’s opportunity.

Our recommended weight for Chinese equities has just hit its all-time low since the beginning of this century. They have been in extreme underweight territory for their longest period ever. We think this is more than a temporary misunderstanding. It could represent the breakdown of the pro-China consensus that has dominated US investment thinking for over a decade. There may be parallels with what happened when the US became disillusioned with Russia 10 years ago. US investors who want international equity diversification will be forced to have another look at Europe.

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Fizzing or Bubbling?

Friday, January 29th, 2021

The immediate danger lies in Asia, not the US

Everyone is suddenly on bubble alert, but our numbers suggest that the main danger lies in Asian equities, not the US. China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, India, Japan, Australia and Indonesia all have weekly RSIs above 70%, which is our warning signal. US equities are still below this threshold, apart from Small Caps, which broke above it three weeks ago.

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10 with 10% in China

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Push and pull factors suggest that the timing is right

We think that global equities could be on the cusp of switching to a new big idea, moving out of US Technology and into something else. It may be US infrastructure, depending on who wins the election and controls the Senate, but the growth of the Chinese consumer has been thrown into sharp relief by the relative impact of Covid on China vs the West. Oil at $35/bbl is a significant stimulus and a similar idea (overweight in EM Equities) worked very well in 2002-05. We have a big overweight on both Consumer sectors in China and we highlight 10 consumer-related companies in Europe which derive more than 10% of sales from mainland China.

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No Read Across in EM

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Don’t treat Asia like Latin America

Concerns about the credit quality of EM Bonds are rising. Some of the countries often cited are frontier, rather than emerging markets, but the concerns are well-founded. For us, the key difference from other bond categories is that the Fed won’t be buying them. We don’t think there is a read-across to EM Equities, which are now less volatile than the US, mainly because the major Asian economies have dealt with the virus better.

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