Three Big Risks

Friday, August 4th, 2023

Dollar, oil and Treasury yields

Our models suggest that the near-term outlook for crude oil and 10-year Treasury yields is higher, while the trade weighted dollar is lower. This is not the consensus view. More importantly, we think that the medium-term risk-case for Treasury yields and the US dollar is much worse than the consensus is prepared to consider. It is hard to imagine a world of high and rising yields, if you have spent your career in an era of falling yields. The same is true of the dollar but in reverse. Investors ought to make the effort to do so, lest they are unpleasantly surprised.

Filed under: Categories: , , , ,
Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

Bull Market in Cash

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Bonds are not the best hedge for equities

The 40-year bull market in bonds is over and investors will have to adapt. We argued last time that cash should have a much more important role as the risk-free asset against which all investment propositions are evaluated. This week, we look at how cash has interacted with equities and government bonds over the last two years. We find that a three-asset portfolio, using our standard process, has significantly outperformed our standard equity/bond model, in both the US and Europe. Returns are higher in both absolute and relative terms and drawdowns are much lower. We think investors should consider raising their benchmark cash weighting to somewhere between 15-20%, with a pro-rata reduction in both equities and bonds. Some of this new cash weighting could be held in foreign currency.

Filed under: Categories: , ,
Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

The Case for Europe

Friday, January 20th, 2023

Currency, sector orientation and valuation are all favourable

The basic argument in favour of European Equities is that three of the largest sectors in the index, Financials, Industrials and Consumer are ranked in the top three in our models – unlike the situation in the US, where Technology is in the bottom three. All three have forces driving their outperformance which should last most of this year (respectively rising interest rates, re-opening of global supply chains and rearmament, and post-pandemic recovery). The region, its currencies and its equity markets were priced in October for a catastrophe which simply hasn’t happened, and which is now very unlikely. There may be some short-term profit-taking, but the excessive valuation discount and the currency misalignment will take longer than a few weeks to unwind.

Filed under: Categories: , , ,
Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

Santa’s Merry Massacre

Friday, December 2nd, 2022

What Santa gives the New Year can take away

Recent strength is US and global equities is entirely consistent with normal seasonality, particularly the outperformance of the Eurozone. If normal seasonal patterns prevail, we would expect many of the recent trends to reverse in the New Year as follows: US equities will give up recent gains, Eurozone equities will underperform, US Technology will suffer further declines and the US dollar will strengthen once again. All of this would be consistent with normal seasonality, as is our new call that the bottom of the bear market will not come until Q3 2023 at the earliest.

Filed under: Categories: , , , ,
Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

Switch Off the Autopilot

Friday, October 7th, 2022

Currency impact on equity allocation is now extreme

The strength of the US dollar has hugely overstated the attractiveness of US equities to both US and international investors. The currency effect against developed markets is more powerful than it has been in all but 3% of weekly observations, going back to 1995. This is fine while it lasts, but one day it will go into reverse. Meanwhile, the dollar index is approaching generational highs. After the last tech-bust and peak dollar, US equities underperformed the rest of the world, in dollar terms, for the next five years (2003-08).

Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

Currency, Currency, Currency

Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Euro and sterling FX markets could become disorderly.

Nobody likes to consider the prospect of a currency crisis, but we think this is getting more likely by the day. We have long thought that the hiking cycle in the US would cause at least one major asset class to come unstuck.  When we wrote the original note, we didn’t think it would be European currencies, but this is what the price action now suggests. Both sterling and euro have broken down out of previous trading ranges and both could test historic lows if the FX markets become prisoners of their own momentum, as sometimes happens. European investors need to own as many natural hedges as they can – US issuers in credit and dollar earners in equities.

Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

Approaching a Turn in USD

Friday, December 10th, 2021

The consensus for a strong dollar is more fragile than it appears

Our asset allocation models have been significantly dislocated by the strength of the US dollar. Our previous note – Currency First Is Second Best – showed that we had a model for working round the problem, even if it was difficult to know when to use it. This note introduces our G7 currency model, which we have been live-running for about two years. We don’t use it to make trade recommendations because we think the risk-adjusted returns are normally unattractive compared to those in other models, but it is occasionally useful in times of extreme market stress. The model itself is based on a mean-reversion approach and it is now close to its largest underweight position in USD over the last two years. This time last year, it was close to a two-year maximum overweight, when the consensus view was the dollar would be weak in 2021. If we were forced to commit capital, we would position for a weaker USD, but we think the right time to do this is January, not December.

Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

Approaching a Turn in USD

Friday, December 10th, 2021

The consensus for a strong dollar is more fragile than it appears

Our asset allocation models have been significantly dislocated by the strength of the US dollar. Our previous note – Currency First Is Second Best – showed that we had a model for working round the problem, even if it was difficult to know when to use it. This note introduces our G7 currency model, which we have been live-running for about two years. We don’t use it to make trade recommendations because we think the risk-adjusted returns are normally unattractive compared to those in other models, but it is occasionally useful in times of extreme market stress. The model itself is based on a mean-reversion approach and it is now close to its largest underweight position in USD over the last two years. This time last year, it was close to a two-year maximum overweight, when the consensus view was the dollar would be weak in 2021. If we were forced to commit capital, we would position for a weaker USD, but we think the right time to do this is January, not December.

Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

Currency First is Second Best

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Even the strong dollar is not as important as you think

Clients often ask whether they should incorporate a currency view into their asset allocation process, to which the short answer is No. Although we don’t normally publish it, we have a model which prioritises currency selection over asset class selection. There are times when it outperforms our standard model (and now is one of them), but over the long run it produces lower returns, with higher volatility and deeper and longer drawdowns. Two conditions are required for the Currency-First model to outperform – a global bull market in risk assets and easy monetary policy in the US. Neither one, on its own, is sufficient. If you believe the latest FOMC minutes, our standard asset class model should start to outperform again, sometime in the first half of 2022.

Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN

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.

Filed under: Categories: , , , ,
Synopses can be downloaded by subscribers holding a Harlyn All Access Pass
PURCHASE ALL ACCESS PASS
Already hold an All Access Pass? LOG IN