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Asset Allocation Insights – Risk Is Off The Table

Investors Want No Part Of Risk

  • Another tough week for risky assets with no end in sight
  • US small caps take yet another down leg and are now down 7% for the year
  • REITS gave back some gains last week but remain our best key asset class for 2018 – up 4.1%
  • Commodity indices remain driven by lower oil prices with no sign of resurgent inflation
  • Aggressive, domestically focused multi-asset class strategies under-performed less risky options
  • YTD lower risk asset allocation strategies have outperformed especially if the allocations involved international equities
  • Within equities, Growth outperformed Value as Energy and Financials experienced large loses

Currencies:

  • The USD appreciated yet again last week and remains in a significant Up Trend
  • The British Pound continued depreciating due to major uncertainty regarding whether BREXIT will pass Parliament
  • The Yen continues in a Down Trend especially in light of lower economic growth in Japan
  • In general, FX volatility has increased substantially in the last couple of months

Commodities:

  • Commodity indices continue in a Down Trend as oil markets had another down leg
  • On the flipside, grain prices have been recovering since the summer but surprisingly soybeans were down despite increased Chinese purchases
  • Natural gas prices were down over 16% due to warmer predicted weather and lower levels of fuel switching than anticipated
  • Gold and Silver were slightly down last week but their technical picture has improved recently as risky assets continue cratering
    • We still view US Treasuries as best hedging option for stocks

This Coming Week:

  • The year of risk-off continues with little to offer us hope that risky assets will recover soon
  • 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
  • EM equities, in particular, are recovering but will end up in the red this year
    • We still believe that an allocation is warranted
    • 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 next year making it difficult for short-term investors – probably best to extend horizons

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To read our full weekly report please click here

Eric J. Weigel

Global Focus Capital LLC

eweigel@gf-cap.com

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Publications:

Weekly Asset Allocation Review – Free

Weekly Equity Themes Review – Free

The Equity Observer (Monthly) – Subscription Required

The Asset Allocation Advisor (Monthly) – Subscription Required

 

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