Category: Markets

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.

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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.

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Currency wars, the Swiss franc, policy divergence and Fed rate hikes

Currency wars, the Swiss franc, policy divergence and Fed rate hikes

Edward here. I wrote the following post with the anodyne title, “The Swiss National Bank turns to negative rates” for Credit Writedowns Pro on 18 Dec 2014, almost three months ago.. But I am now putting it on the blog site because the Fed is poised to reveal tomorrow whether or not they actually will move to a full-on tightening […]

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Five Investing Themes That Need Further Examination

Five Investing Themes That Need Further Examination

Tiger 5 – Grexit is inevitable

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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.

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The convergence of safe asset yields toward zero

The convergence of safe asset yields toward zero

As low nominal GDP growth takes hold, we should expect short-term interest rates to remain low and for the yield curve to flatten. There are three main reasons this is so. First, low nominal growth rates imply low inflation. Second, to the degree market volatility produces risk-off sentiment, the bid for safe assets will further suppress yields. And third and most importantly, the natural rate of interest on a zero-day fiat currency liability is zero. I expect that the safe asset class in lowflation currency areas will be dominated by these trends, causing yields to stay low or even shrink. This convergence to zero makes the highest yielding safe assets attractive and thus favours New Zealand and Australia, as well as the the US, UK and Canada to some degree. Comments below

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Russia, Oil, China and the Dollar

Russia, Oil, China and the Dollar

By Marc Chandler As the year winds down, a Gordian knot tying Russia, oil prices and China together is receiving a great deal of attention.  Let’s see if we can unravel some of the confusing twists and turns. We turn first to China’s offer of assistance to Russia.  The idea that Russia could activate its CNY150 bln (~$24 bln) currency […]

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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 HuxleyIn 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 or so, why interest rates should, as a consequence, remain low […]

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Zero rates, resource misallocation, and shale oil

Zero rates, resource misallocation, and shale oil

The following is an abbreviated excerpt of a post from 16 Oct from Credit Writedowns Pro The nexus of zero rates, resource misallocation, and risk on has favoured shale oil. But the drop in oil prices will call many of these projects into question precipitating a high yield energy funding crisis and a panic dash for the exits. There will […]

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China, Europe, and optimal currency zones

China, Europe, and optimal currency zones

Although I think China is clearly much more integrated as an optimal currency zone than Europe is today, it is probably less integrated than the US (I will use the US and Europe as the two extreme cases between which China falls). China of course does not have the problems of multiple sovereignty and taxation that Europe does, but there are still important frictional costs among provinces and regions that exceed those among US states and regions and that may make an adjustment to slower growth bumpier than expected.

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QE will end, GDP growth expected at 3.0%, deflator at 1.4%

– This will be a busy week between stress tests and data releases, which markets have taken as positively
– Market expectations have settled down, and the Fed is widely expected to announce the finish of QE
– Economic news for Europe has been mixed so far, with M3 improving by German IFO disappointing
– The initial impact of the Ukrainian and Brazilian elections will be local

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Are we in a global financial crisis?

With financial markets tanking across the board, there is a whiff of panic and some people might be thinking that the next global financial crisis is already upon us. I don’t think this is the case. Certainly, the European sovereign debt crisis has entered round two but this can easily be overcome. Turbulence and a simmering crisis in Europe, yes. An acute crisis, no.

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