Author: Niels Jensen

Asset allocation in a period of wealth mean reversion

Asset allocation in a period of wealth mean reversion

Mean Reversion of Wealth is one of the six structural mega-trends that we have identified. As is pretty obvious when looking at chart 2, wealth creation during the great bull market of 1981-2000 was quite extraordinary and, in our opinion, unlikely to be repeated anytime soon. Wealth simply cannot outgrow GDP indefinitely, as it has done in most years since the early 1980s. It is only a question of time before mean reversion kicks in.

Jensen: How long bonds could actually outperform equities

Jensen: How long bonds could actually outperform equities

The equity markets that have fallen the least so far are the U.S. and the Japanese markets. If my prediction that we are looking into a more difficult period in the U.S. (and the euro zone), U.S. equities look particularly vulnerable, so maybe Jeremy Grantham will be proven right after all. If you add to that the rather lofty earnings expectations for next year in the U.S. (chart 10), the situation only gets trickier.

Despite not exactly being dirt cheap at current valuation levels, I am therefore going to stick my neck out and suggest that long bonds could actually prove a better investment than equities – at least until we approach the bottom of this economic cycle.

A Return to Fundamentals?

A Return to Fundamentals?

The Absolute Return Letter, July 2015 “In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” Mark Zuckerberg Greece on the brink A Greek, an Irishman and a Portuguese walk into a bar and order a drink. Who picks up […]

Are bond investors crying wolf?

Are bond investors crying wolf?

The abrupt spike in interest rates from mid-April to mid-May is very unlikely to be the beginning of something much bigger and much more likely to be the sort of occasional panic attack that Japan has seen so many of in recent years.

How to dress for a rainy day (of low nominal investing returns)

How to dress for a rainy day (of low nominal investing returns)

A typical portfolio will almost certainly not deliver the required returns over the next decade. If ‘typical’ means a 60/40 approach, as already mentioned, then 2-4% annualised returns are what can realistically be expected. If ‘typical’ means an entry into alternative investment strategies but only mainstream alternatives such as equity long/short and nothing else, you will almost certainly also end up short of your own expectations.

The ‘Perfect Storm’

The ‘Perfect Storm’

Going forward, equity markets are likely to have a much bigger impact on the economy than has been the case in the past. This is a simple conclusion derived from the fact that total equity market value today is 1.2x GDP. 35 years ago, when we entered the great bull market, total equity market value was only 0.4x GDP (the numbers are U.S.). No wonder the financial collapse in 2008 had such a dramatic effect on the economy.

The financial crisis end game

The financial crisis end game

It is quite possible that more than one end game will unfold in the months and years to come. For example, we could see a Greek Eurozone exit. Simultaneously, we could have a crisis unfolding across emerging markets, as the strong U.S. dollar begins to do damage to borrowers in those countries, of which there are many. Quite how it will all pan out is very difficult to predict. If I were a betting man, my money would be on the ‘permanent condition’ becoming the generally accepted view of the future economic environment.

Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky

We are still in a post-crisis environment, and enough people are still negative on equities, and interest rates are low enough, to provide plenty of purchasing power. We therefore expect it to be an ok period for equities over the next year or two – not outstanding given our modest growth expectations but ok. The trick is to be careful on emerging markets. If the U.S. dollar continues to be strong, it is an accident waiting to happen.

A Brave New World

A Brave New World

By Niels Jensen The Absolute Return Letter, December 2014 “The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.” Aldous Huxley In the the last two Absolute Return Letters I have argued why one should expect global GDP growth to be below average over the next decade […]

Snail Trail Vortex

Snail Trail Vortex

The Absolute Return Letter, November 2014 “The single most robust and striking fact about cross-national growth is regression to the mean.”  -Lawrence Summers and Lant Pritchett Low growth is printed on the wall When financial markets capitulate, many investors lose the ability to keep things in perspective. That is a […]

Six Months of Nothing

Six Months of Nothing

Even if there are good reasons to believe that the prolonged rally can continue for a little longer, there are equally good reasons to believe that the current equity bull market may end in tears. I am not predicting a repeat of 2008-09. A much more modest decline, but still a decline, is a likely outcome at some point over the next 12-18 months.