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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

Currencies:

►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

Commodities:

►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

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To read our full weekly report please click here

ic J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC

eweigel@gf-cap.com

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Global Focus Capital
Global Focus Capital

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