As the 10-year tech bubble continues to deflate, Richard Bernstein of the asset management firm Richard Bernstein Associates, has a simple solution for investors to cushion their portfolios. Bernstein sees the current investment landscape as “a seesaw,” he tells Financial Advisor, with tech stocks, venture capital and cryptocurrencies—all down in January—on one side, while all of the more mundane assets are on the other.
Investors should shift to those less-popular assets—gold, industrials, energy, materials stocks, and commodities. For example, the S&P 500 Energy index had a one-year return of 66.1% at the end of January. On the other end of the seesaw, those long-duration assets are on the verge of a bubble burst, Bernstein says, adding that “cryptocurrencies are the biggest financial bubble in history.” While speculation is a risky form of investment, bubbles do much more damage because they “go outside markets and pervade every aspect of the economy.”
Bernstein points to unsuccessful central bank policy as the driving force of the long-duration assets bubble, believing the Fed’s misfires in trying to stimulate the economy after the Financial Crisis of 2008 caused a boom in tech stocks, venture capital, and similar assets. Of course, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell would argue that the Fed doesn’t have any control over the long end of the yield curve.
But cryptocurrencies haven’t provided the hedge against inflation or dropping stock prices that many had hoped, and some are turning to them as a hedge against central bank money printing. The trouble with that is “people can’t separate the story from the valuation of the asset,” Bernstein says, in the article’s conclusion.