Some Safety Plays May Not Work
Positive correlation between equities and bonds still a threat
The top-down consensus is rightly gloomy about the outlook for earnings estimates and equity benchmarks in the US. The problem is that the market shares this analysis and still refuses to go down. We need an additional catalyst to shake us out of the current trading range. A mild US recession is not the main risk to balanced portfolios, provided bonds rise while equities fall. What we worry about is a bear market in everything, if the current regime of positive correlation between equities and bonds continues. There are ways to mitigate this, by lowering the beta in your equity portfolio, increasing exposure to Europe (and anywhere else that may benefit from a weak dollar) and increased exposure to cash and money market funds.