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Category Archives: Global Tactical Asset Alloction

Asset Allocation Insights – It was a bad week for all of us, Mr. President

Weekly Asset Allocation Highlights

  • President Trump wasn’t the only one having a bad week – is this a Fake Correction?
  • Cash is king once again but our risk aversion index is not picking up any fear
  • US assets lost less last week if that is any consolation
  • International equities lost the most value last week
  • A 60/40 mix of purely US assets out-performed a global version once again
  • Lower risk multi-asset strategies out-performed last week and are ahead in the last month

Currencies:

  • The USD was range bound last week but continues in a technical Up Trend phase
  • Within EM currencies the pattern was mixed
    • The Rand continued depreciating while the Brazilian Real regained some ground versus the USD
  • Within the major currencies, the yen outperformed
  • The Yuan has stabilized after a period of depreciation but remains volatile within the “official” range

Commodities:

  • Grains are getting whipsawed by trade war on/off issues
    • Corn and soybeans continue being most at risk but regained some ground last week while Wheat continues deteriorating
  • Oil is also getting whipsawed by political tensions – down over 3% last week after several up weeks
  • Gold and Silver lost more ground last week and the trend is down especially as ST interest rates keep climbing higher

This Coming Week:

  • Is cash the new King?
    • Bonds and stocks are over-valued but growth still holding up which is positive for stocks but for how long?
    • We still prefer risky assets but are lowering risk at the portfolio level.
  • Are political issues in Washington of any concern to markets? Our risk aversion index is not picking up any concern at the moment.
  • The strong USD keeps crushing investors in international assets but should be losing some momentum.
  • International equities keep losing ground to US stocks despite superior fundamentals – becoming the contrarian play of 2018
  • EM equities, in particular, are taking a huge hit both on the asset side as well as currency
    • China has a lot to do with this given its weight in the MSCI index (30%)
  • Growth is outperforming Value YTD but things may be turning around especially if interest rates remain range bound
  • Global Tech has performed well this year but short-term it is in a break Down phase. More bad news to come or buy the dip? We are holding steady, not buying more.
  • Gold and Silver are losing their luster – not providing downside hedge and very driven by trends in short-term rates
  • What will make investors price risk more in line with history?
    • A growth scare in the US, maybe? A real inflation scare? Waiting for Impeachment?

 

To read our full weekly report please click here

Eric J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC

eweigel@gf-cap.com

___________________________________________________________________________________

Publications:

Weekly Asset Allocation Review – Free

Weekly Equity Themes Review – Free

The Equity Observer (Monthly) – Subscription Required

The Asset Allocation Advisor (Monthly) – Subscription Required

 

Asset Allocation Insights – Rewarding Risk Takers

Weekly Asset Allocation Highlights

  • Equities had again a big week last week as the market focused on growth again
  • US assets once again dominated non-US assets as the US dollar regained some lost ground
  • US REITS have continued their comeback after falling apart earlier in the year
  • Commodity index composition is playing a big role as divergences among commodities are accentuated
  • A 60/40 mix of purely US assets slightly out-performed a global version
  • Higher risk multi-asset strategies out-performed last week

Currencies:

  • The USD was flat last week
    • Down against developed market currencies but up against em currencies
  • Within EM currencies the pattern was mixed
    • The Rand depreciated over 2% while Rubble and Brazilian Real continued in a downtrend
  • Among the major currencies, the US dollar lost the most ground versus the Swiss Franc
  • The Yuan has stabilized after a period of depreciation but remains volatile within the “official” range

Commodities:

  • Grains are getting whipsawed by trade war on/off issues
    • Corn and soybeans continue being most at risk
  • Oil is also getting whipsawed by political tensions but had an up week due to smaller inventories in the US, robust Chinese demand and output curbs in Iran
  • Gold and Silver lost more ground last week and the trend is down especially as ST interest rates keep climbing higher
  • The large fall in coffee prices last week was again blamed on the falling Brazilian real

This Coming Week:

  • Still watching the USD – crushing investors in international assets but should be losing some momentum
  • International equities keep losing ground to US stocks despite superior fundamentals
  • EM equities, in particular, are taking a huge hit both on the asset side as well as currency
    • China has a lot to do with this given its weight in the MSCI index (30%)
  • Growth is outperforming Value YTD but things may be turning around especially if interest rates remain range bound
  • Gold and Silver are losing their luster – not providing downside hedge and very driven by trends in short-term rates
  • What will make investors price risk more in line with history?
    • A growth scare in the US, maybe? A real inflation scare?
  • Macro Events: Manufacturing (JP, UK, Germany, US), Trade Balance (US, China), lots of Fed Governor Speeches

 

To read our full weekly report please click here

Eric J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC

eweigel@gf-cap.com

___________________________________________________________________________________

Publications:

Weekly Asset Allocation Review – Free

Weekly Equity Themes Review – Free

The Equity Observer (Monthly) – Subscription Required

The Asset Allocation Advisor (Monthly) – Subscription Required

 

Asset Allocation Insights -Rewarding Growth Assets

Weekly Asset Allocation Highlights

  • Equities had a big week last week as the market focused on growth again
  • International assets dominated US assets as the US dollar lost some ground
  • EM stocks, in particular, had a good week, up 2.7%. Very little was currency related
  • European developed market equities also had a big up week (2.5%)
  • REITS had been slowly recuperating but last week they suffered a setback
    • Their behavior has recently become more aligned/correlated with equity markets so the poor performance comes as a surprise
  • A 60/40 mix of purely US assets vastly under-performed a global version
  • Higher risk multi-asset strategies out-performed last week

Currencies:

  • The USD lost some strength last week
  • Within EM currencies the pattern was mixed
    • The Rand appreciated over 2% but the real lost close to 5%
  • The Rubble continues imploding despite a jump in oil prices
  • Among the major currencies, the US dollar lost the most ground versus the Euro followed by the Pound
  • The Yuan has stabilized after a period of depreciation but remains volatile within the “official” range

Commodities:

  • Grains are getting whipsawed by trade war on/off issues
    • Corn and soybeans continue being most at risk
  • Oil is also getting whipsawed by political tensions but had a big up week due to smaller inventories in the US, robust Chinese demand and output curbs in Iran
  • Gold and Silver recovered a bit last week but the trend is down especially as ST interest rates keep climbing higher
  • The large fall in coffee prices last week was blamed on the falling Brazilian real – expect a reversal this week

This Coming Week:

  • Watching the USD – crushing investors in international assets but should be losing some momentum
  • International equities keep losing ground to US stocks despite superior fundamentals
  • EM equities, in particular, are taking a huge hit both on the asset side as well as currency
    • China has a lot to do with this given its weight in the MSCI index (30%)
  • Growth is outperforming Value YTD but things may be turning around especially if interest rates remain range bound
  • Gold and Silver are losing their luster – not providing downside hedge and very driven by trends in short-term rates
  • What will make investors price risk more in line with history?
    • A growth scare in the US, maybe? A real inflation scare?
  • Macro Events: Case-Shiller, US GDP, Japanese & German Inflation, rig count in US, Chinese PMI

 

To read our full weekly report please click here

Eric J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC

eweigel@gf-cap.com

___________________________________________________________________________________

Publications:

Weekly Asset Allocation Review – Free

Weekly Equity Themes Review – Free

The Equity Observer (Monthly) – Subscription Required

The Asset Allocation Advisor (Monthly) – Subscription Required

 

Asset Allocation Insights – The US Dollar is Killing my Best Ideas

Weekly Asset Allocation Highlights

  • The out-performance of domestic assets continued last week
  • A 60/40 mix of purely US assets vastly out-performed a global version
  • REITS had been slowly recuperating but last week they really took off
    • Their behavior has recently become more aligned/correlated with equity markets
  • International stocks continue under-performing despite cheaper valuations
    • EAFE in local currency is outperforming by 3.33% YTD
    • EM in local currency is outperforming by 5.13% YTD

Currencies:

  • The USD keeps chugging along notching weekly wins
  • EM currencies continue their pattern of depreciation
  • The biggest loser was the SA Rand – concerns over slower economic growth was a driver as well as contagion from the Turkish Lira
  • The rubble has stabilized but for how long?
  • The YEN was up slightly last week as monetary policy is likely to normalize soon in Japan

Commodities:

  • Grains are getting whipsawed by trade war on/off issues
  • Oil is also getting whipsawed by political tensions between the US and Iran – technicals are deteriorating
  • Gold and Silver continue a down-trend with little sign of relief especially as ST interest rates keep climbing higher
  • Lumber prices have become incredibly volatile and subject to trade issues between CA and the US

This Coming Week:

  • Watching the USD – crushing investors in international assets
  • International equities keep losing ground to US stocks despite superior fundamentals
  • EM equities in particular are taking a huge hit both on the asset side as well as currency
  • Growth is outperforming Value YTD but things may be turning around especially if interest rates remain range bound
  • Gold and Silver are losing their luster – not providing downside hedge and very driven by trends in short-term rates
  • What will make investors price risk more in line with history? A growth scare in the US, maybe? A real inflation scare?

To read our full weekly report please click here

Eric J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC

eweigel@gf-cap.com

___________________________________________________________________________________

Publications:

Weekly Asset Allocation Review – Free

Weekly Equity Themes Review – Free

The Equity Observer (Monthly) – Subscription Required

The Asset Allocation Advisor (Monthly) – Subscription Required

 

Asset Allocation Insights – Domestic Assets Keep Outperforming

Weekly Asset Allocation Highlights

  • The out-performance of domestic assets continued last week
  • A 60/40 mix of purely US assets vastly out-performed a global version
  • US small cap stocks had an up week as well as US bonds
  • REITS had been recuperating but last week was a setback despite steady US rates
  • International stocks continue under-performing despite cheaper valuations

Currencies:

  • The USD keeps chugging along notching weekly wins
  • EM currencies continue their pattern of depreciation
  • The rubble had an especially tough week as further US sanctions are taking a bite
  • Among the majors, sterling took the biggest hit despite an increase in ST rates
  • Second big down week in a row for pound

Commodities:

  • Grains are getting whipsawed despite presidential assurances of price supports
  • Oil is also getting whipsawed by political tensions between the US and Iran
  • Gold and Silver continue a downtrend with little sign of relief especially as ST interest rates keep climbing higher
  • Lumber prices are breaking down due to over-valuation and a possible dispute with Canada over newly imposed tariffs

This Coming Week:

  • Q2 earnings in the US almost done – good season for most, good US growth
  • Watching the USD – huge effect on international markets especially
  • International equities keep losing ground to US stocks despite superior fundamentals
  • Growth keeps outperforming Value – turning point might not happen unless expectations for rising rates stabilize
  • Watching agricultural commodities for trade war effects

To read our full weekly report please click here

Eric J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC

eweigel@gf-cap.com

___________________________________________________________________________________

Publications:

Weekly Asset Allocation Review – Free

Weekly Equity Themes Review – Free

The Equity Observer (Monthly) – Subscription Required

The Asset Allocation Advisor (Monthly) – Subscription Required

 

Asset Allocation Weekly Insights

Weekly Asset Allocation Highlights

  • The out-performance of domestic assets continued last week
  • A 60/40 mix of purely US assets vastly out-performed a global version
  • US large and small cap stocks had an up week but REITS were the standout performer
  • REITS have been all year moving along with rates but recently their correlation to equities has increased
  • EM stocks continue having a rough year

Currencies:

  • The USD keeps chugging along notching small weekly wins
  • EM currencies continue their pattern of depreciation
  • Among the majors, sterling took the biggest hit despite an increase in ST rates
  • The yuan continues depreciating in a controlled fashion

Commodities:

  • A week of recovery for grains as President Trump has offered assistance
  • Wheat is least affected by global trade fears and has continued on a solid Up Trend
  • Gold and Silver continue a downtrend with little sign of relief especially as ST interest rates keep climbing higher
  • Lumber prices are breaking down due to over-valuation and a possible dispute with Canada over newly imposed tariffs

This Coming Week:

  • Q2 earnings in the US almost done – above average earnings season
  • Watching the USD – expecting some depreciation as other central banks start their normalization plans
  • Expecting momentum as a factor to start losing effectiveness – last week saw a resurgence of value and yield-oriented strategies
  • In the US the key macro number to watch is the CPI – expect a further slow rise
  • GDP releases in Japan and England, in China we are expecting Trade Balance numbers as well as CPI

To read our full weekly report please click here

Eric J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC

eweigel@gf-cap.com

___________________________________________________________________________________

Publications:

Weekly Asset Allocation Review – Free

Weekly Equity Themes Review – Free

The Equity Observer (Monthly) – Subscription Required

The Asset Allocation Advisor (Monthly) – Subscription Required

 

Key Asset Allocation Insights – Weekly Review

The Week In Review

  • Asset allocation strategies came under attack last week as global capital markets saw the period of extreme calm come to an end
  • Between the “memo”, earnings week and Super Bowl preparations there was a lot going on
  • None of the key asset classes that we use in our asset allocation process escaped the increase in investor risk aversion. Volatility really spiked up on Friday
  • The Fed did not hike rates at Janet Yellen’s last meeting as Chair but did raise the specter of inflation
    We have been in the camp that believes that investors have been underpricing inflation risk
  • Three huge US companies (JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway, and Amazon) are planning to launch their own health care network. Nobody has found the cost-containment magic. Maybe self-insuring and pooling “healthy” employees is the way to go

Key Asset Classes:

Last week saw the best performing asset classes of last year take the biggest hit

Asset classes across the board suffered losses. Diversification only lessened the blow

 

 

 

Emerging markets still remain in an UP TREND but profit-taking may have set in

Interest sensitive asset classes are firmly entrenched in Down Trends

 

 


Currencies:

The USD keeps depreciating and the Trump administration seems to favor this trend

A weak USD should provide a boost to commodity prices

A weak USD also makes imports more expensive further boosting inflationary pressures

In my view, USD depreciation is a function of political turmoil in DC

Higher short-term rates in the US provide a floor to the USD – don’t expect massive USD depreciation


Commodities:

In a week where news outlets told us that investors once again became fearful of inflationary pressures, commodities did not fare well

I am a bit skeptical that the reason the equity market got clobbered was a realization that inflation was a problem

I still think that inflation risk is underpriced by investors, but the stress in the equity market seems unrelated to commodity prices

 


Investor Risk Aversion:

Our most recent Risk Aversion Index reading returned to the Normal Zone

On a 4 week moving average basis, the reading is still in the Euphoria Zone

Prior weeks readings have been extraordinarily low indicting great investor complacency

 

We expect a risk on/off market in 2018 – Friday might have been the start of more normal risk levels


Chart of the Week:

Inflationary expectations are ratcheting up

Wage growth is the most cited reason, followed by a strong US economy

A weak USD is also at work

 

 

 


What We See This Week:

  • A bit more fear – I see a lot more risk on/off in 2018
  • Further profit taking – I think that investors know that 2017 was a gift from above
  • Taking some money off the table may be a smart move especially given valuation levels
    The money is likely to be deployed in cash, not bonds
  • Continued distaste for bonds as an asset class
  • Some recovery among healthcare stocks in the US – the JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon venture will take time to crystallize
  • Lots of earnings – big companies reporting( Disney, Gilead, Tesla, Mondelez, GM, Allergan, Humana, Prudential, Cerner, Cummings, …)

Eric J. Weigel

Managing Partner, Global Focus Capital LLC


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DISCLAIMER: NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS INVESTMENT ADVICE, A RECOMMENDATION OR SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY SECURITY. PAST PERFORMANCE DOES NOT PREDICT OR GUARANTEE FUTURE SIMILAR RESULTS. SEEK THE ADVICE OF AN INVESTMENT MANAGER, LAWYER AND ACCOUNTANT BEFORE YOU INVEST. DON’T RELY ON ANYTHING HEREIN. DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK. THIS IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSIDER THE INVESTMENT NEEDS OR SUITABILITY OF ANY INDIVIDUAL. THERE IS NO PROMISE TO CORRECT ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS OR NOTIFY THE READER OF ANY SUCH ERRORS

Apples to Oranges – The Case Of Commodity Indices

commodity indicesCommodity investing dramatically increased in popularity with both institutions and retail investors in the last decade as it became cheaper and easier to invest in the asset class.

 

The two primary indices for commodity investing have been the S&P GSCI and the Bloomberg indices.  These indices are dramatically different in terms of weighting structure with the S&P GSCI being very energy heavy (63% weight) while the Bloomberg index tends to be more balanced across the primary commodity sectors. As a consequence both indices can have significant performance differences.

Both indices aim to cover the broad spectrum of most actively traded commodities.  Commodity pricing is primarily determined by global supply and demand conditions, but that is where the similarities among  commodity sub-groups often end.

When investors think of constructing their portfolios usually the starting point are broad asset classes such as stocks and bonds.  Asset classes tend to possess fairly well defined risk and return characteristics and represent aggregations of “similar” investment types.

As an example, stocks are usually broken down into economic sectors but most investors would agree that stocks are driven to a large extent by what happens to the broad equity market.  Similarly, while fixed income investments are frequently broken down by maturity and credit worthiness, the key driver of fixed income returns tends to be the general direction of government bond rates.  In general, return correlations within asset classes such as stocks and bonds tend to be high and frequently exceed 0.8.

commodity correlationsWhen evaluating investment returns within the commodity complex the high within asset class correlations typically seen among stock and bond investments are absent.  More common are correlations in the 0.2 to 0.4 range.

The low correlation among commodity groups is a manifestation of a less homogeneous asset grouping than typically seen for other broad asset classes such as equities and bonds.  Given that each commodity group has its own supply and demand dynamics and the vastly different swing pricing factors this result is to be expected.

Thinking of commodity investing as a broad concept has been useful for investors as a way to get their feet wet, but given the current depth of commodity markets, the variety of liquid investment vehicles available, and most importantly the dissimilar behavior within the commodity complex we think that looking at the space as one homogeneous asset class is like comparing apples to oranges. 

Other sections in this report include:

  • Thinking of commodity return behavior in terms of risk exposures
  • What do the risk estimation exposures tell us about commodity sub-group behavior?
  • What does our research imply for commodities in the context of a multi-asset portfolio?

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Eric J. Weigel

Managing Partner, Global Focus Capital LLC

Feel free to contact us at Global Focus Capital LLC (mailto:eweigel@gf-cap.com or visit our website at https://gf-cap.com to find out more about our asset management strategies, consulting/OCIO solutions, and research subscriptions.

DISCLAIMER: NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS INVESTMENT ADVICE, A RECOMMENDATION OR SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY SECURITY. PAST PERFORMANCE DOES NOT PREDICT OR GUARANTEE FUTURE SIMILAR RESULTS. SEEK THE ADVICE OF AN INVESTMENT MANAGER, LAWYER AND ACCOUNTANT BEFORE YOU INVEST. DON’T RELY ON ANYTHING HEREIN. DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK. THIS IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSIDER THE INVESTMENT NEEDS OR SUITABILITY OF ANY INDIVIDUAL. THERE IS NO PROMISE TO CORRECT ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS OR NOTIFY THE READER OF ANY SUCH ERRORS.

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