S&P Says High Corporate Debt Could Trigger Defaults

According to S&P Global Ratings, tightening credit conditions could lead to increased defaults by companies with heavy debt loads. This according to a recent article in Bloomberg. The article cites a February 5th report issued by the rating agency that says removing the “easy money punch bowl” could trigger a rash of defaults since heavily leveraged borrowers are more sensitive to rate hikes. It cites a global sample of 13,000 business entities showing that 37… Read More

The “Near Perfect” Investing Environment May End Soon

For the past two decades, government bonds have moved in the opposite direction of equities in the short run but have produced similarly strong gains in the long run, representing a nearly “perfect” investment, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. From the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2017, the article says, “holding the latest 10-year Treasury and reinvesting coupons returned 155%, the S&P 500 with dividends 158%, while a… Read More

Ray Dalio Says Market Surge Ahead

 At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, billionaire Ray Dalio told CNBC that the coming tax cut could lead to big gains for the U.S. stock market. “We are in a Goldilocks period right now,” said the Bridgewater CEO. “Inflation isn’t a problem. Growth is good,” he said, predicting a “market blow off” rally fueled by cash from banks, corporations and investors. “There is a lot of cash on the sidelines,” he added. “If… Read More

Pimco Adviser Says Market’s Lack of Fear is Scary

As many expect the current bull market to last longer, Pimco global economic adviser Joachim Fels recently told Bloomberg TV, “The fact that the fear is gone is the main reason why we should be worried.” Fels argues that interest rates could rise faster than expected, pushing up government bond yields, and inflation could bump up. The fact that fear is at a low, he says, “means most investors are now pretty fully invested and… Read More

Gold Outperforming Since Fed Rate Hikes

Since the Fed raised rates last month, gold has outperformed most major asset classes, according to a recent Bloomberg article. Though counterintuitive, the article says, gold’s strong performance has become the norm since the global financial crisis. “Unless greenback weakness reverses,” says Bloomberg intelligence analyst Mike McGlone, “gold should shine.”

Interest Rate Sensitivity and Low-Vol Investing

Interest rates have a significant impact on security prices, according to an article by Morningstar’s Alex Bryan, CFA, the firm’s Director of Passive Strategies Research, North America. Bryan writes that, unlike bonds, which have a finite life and fixed cash flow, the impact of rates is more difficult to anticipate for equities. He explains his theory that firms that are “more sensitive to the business cycle tend to experience greater cash flow growth during economic… Read More

Pimco Strategist on Trump and the Global Savings Glut

A study conducted by economists at the Bank of England found that the vast majority of the 450-basis point decline in global interest rates since the 1980s was due to a decreased desire in saving and investing rather than lower potential economic growth. This according to a Bloomberg article by Pimco managing director Joachim Fels, who shares his thoughts on the potential impact of the Trump administration in this regard. Fels argues that “quite a… Read More

Active Investors Get a Chance to Shine

From the investor’s standpoint, a low level of unemployment isn’t necessarily good news, says a recent Bloomberg article. However, it can bode well for active versus passive investors. When more people are working, it says, “Wage growth can exceed economic growth, putting pressure on corporate profit margins. Interest rates can rise, tightening financial conditions. Inflation can rise, putting more pressure on central bankers to remove liquidity from the system.” For active investors, however, it presents… Read More

Hedge, But at What Cost?

Crowded trades can undermine investors’ attempts to find safe havens, according to an article in last month’s Wall Street Journal. “Now it is more expensive to insure against losses in utility and consumer-stapes stocks and related trades than numerous assets world-wide.” Defensive stocks “soared” in the first half of this year, the article says, “as ultralow bond yields drove money flows into shares of high-dividend companies.” But this flow has fallen off in the third… Read More

What Rising Rates Mean to Low-Vol Investors

“Confusing risk with volatility can be dangerous,” says a recent report by Greenline Partners, as it “can lead to seeing things that do not exist.” This according to an article published this past May in Chief Investment Officer. Greenline, the article states, found that low-vol strategies outperformed the index by nearly 1%-2% annually over the last 50 years, but two-thirds of this period coincided with falling rates. A recent report published by the asset management… Read More