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Asset Allocation Insights – A Relief Rally With No Legs

Asset Allocation Insights - January 13 2019

Breathing a Sigh of Relief For Now

►A huge comeback for holders of risky assets such as equities, real estate,  and commodities

►US small caps perform the best of our major asset classes – up 4.8% for the week but still down 6% over the last 3 months

►REITS also had a huge week after a poor last couple of weeks – up 4.5% and 3.2% for 2019 thus far

►Commodity indices also made a nice comeback boosted by higher oil prices – up 7.5% for the year already

►Aggressive, domestically focused multi-asset class strategies out-performed less risky options

►In 2018 lower risk asset allocation strategies   outperformed especially if allocations involved international equities but the story is reversed thus far this year

►Within equities, Growth has slightly under-performed Value but over the last year Growth remains solidly ahead

►Over the last year, Cash remains the best performing of the major asset classes


►The USD is losing some strength as budget discussions in Washington remain unresolved and the Fed has indicated being close to done with rate hikes

►A depreciating USD will boost international asset returns

►A big question mark for this coming week is what happens to Brexit (Tuesday vote)

►The Yen is now in a Break Out phase as investors remain very risk-averse and the Yen is usually considered the “safe” trade

►Resource-oriented currencies experienced the biggest gains last week relative to the USD as commodity prices have stabilized

►In general, FX volatility has increased substantially in the last couple of months


►Commodity indices continue in a Down Trend even as oil markets showed some nice gains last week

►On the flipside, grain prices went down slightly last week but have recovered from the lows of last summer

►Sugar and coffee prices recovered along with the Brazilian Real – these 2 commodities are very sensitive to the currency

►Gold and Silver are in the Break Out phase as investors have flocked to them as a hedge against equity volatility

►However, we still view US Treasuries as the best hedging option for equity risk

This Coming Week:

►While risky assets recovered last week we still think that risk is being shunned at the moment

►While not comfortable, US investors should allocate more money to non-US stocks due to their lower valuations

►The strong USD will not persist much stronger as the FED appears close to the end in terms of interest rate hikes

►The Value/Growth discussion is being overshadowed by sector rotation but on a risk-adjusted basis we believe that higher allocations to Value are warranted

►We are also watching out for any jump in inflationary expectations (which have been trending down)

►Tariffs are inflationary and will be reflected in higher consumer prices eventually

►Our biggest concerns revolve around blowing out interest rate spreads and a slowing global economy

►Leverage on the balance sheet of companies should be cross-checked for sustainability

►We still see a risk on/off market this year making it difficult for short-term investors – probably best to extend horizons

►In general, investors seem very pessimistic making contrarian plays interesting from a tactical perspective

►In this environment of fear, it is best to allocate capital to specific assets rather than asset classes


To read our full weekly report please click here

ic J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC


Global Focus Capital
Global Focus Capital


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