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Demographics, Deficits, & Deflation
Secular trends are conspiring with the Pandemic to reduce demand in the US. A newfound thrift by consumers from the Pandemic would further slow growth and is unnecessary. Policy action is required to avoid a decade’s long impairment of consumption. Best pay now, rather than a higher bill later.
It is the best of times for equities. It is the worst of times for employment and interest rates. The earnings season arrives with its insight into the durability of business during the Pandemic. Volatility may reign across markets. For the prepared, risk will offer opportunity.
The key to successful long-term investing is managing risk. The hedge fund investment process is long, arduous, and requires experienced professionals using sophisticated analytical tools to ensure value to the portfolio. Liquid alternatives overcome these barriers for the investor.
Interest rates in the US are at levels never seen before. Before the Pandemic, the expectation was that the increasing productivity of the Millennial generation would modestly lift real rates. Without an effective policy response, that outcome is doubtful and could repress real rates for decades. Investors are forewarned that this time is not different.
Monetary policy is solving one problem and creating another. A reversal of equities may not result in a corresponding increase in credit spreads due to Fed actions. Thus, an equity decline would impair assets with no similar reduction of liabilities. Sponsor beware.
During a period requiring leaders, the US had politicians. Instead of addressing the problem in front of them, their eyes are fixed on the next election and placating their adoring masses. The long-term effect may be a lost generation. The short-term outcome may be needless hardship for those industries that are primarily hit.
A bad opening foretells show cancellation. Australia and Hawaii reveal the threat of early openings even with near eradication of the virus. Leaders face an unequivocal dilemma: limiting travel outside your bubble and gathering inside with the consequential economic impact or accepting the increased deaths and concede the prior economic sacrifice was meaningless. Plaintive politicians know these alternatives are an atrocious trade.
Global problems require global solutions. The United States is a pariah for its inability to address the Pandemic. The investing implications are profound. Without election and virus certainty, volatility reigns as the malevolent monarch of the markets.
The first wave is just beginning, not ending. The good news is that the fatality rates appear lower than initially measured. The bad news is that the US reproduction rate’s current growth would return to the May 1st level by July 4th.
Value investors are asking themselves, will the promise of value investing return to prominence? The answer is multi-faceted. Indeed, value investors experienced under-performance versus the broader market and growth stocks for the last thirteen years.
The economic environment in the US has a stable consumer and supportive fiscal policy, which should carry the US economy for the year with government expenditures supporting. The question is whether investment will rebound or is the decade long expansion ending?
The economic environment in the US continues to show a stable consumer, rebounding investment, and supportive fiscal policy. The lone detractor from growth is the continuing drag from net exports, but this is merely an accounting identity.
The yield curve and interest rate levels are difficult to forecast in aggregate or individually. Forecasting accuracy is improved when focusing on the factors that describe the term structure and augmenting the models with a market or economic variable.
As much as it is difficult to foresee what technology will change the world a decade from now, it is equally tricky identifying top investment managers in advance. A few key ingredients distinguish an environment that permits success to grow when it arrives.
Despite a rebound in growth after the Great Recession, an index of commodity prices now stands at the same level as it was in 1975. The natural question is to ask what the role of commodities is, specifically a commodity total return index, in a diversified portfolio.
The way forward is measured by the degree to which we will listen to scientists and consideration for our neighbors. In essence, we will live a social experiment in real-time with thousands of lives in the balance.
The economic epidemic is delivering uncertainty to such an extent that the equity markets fell at an unparalleled speed. The economic decline may be greater than the Great Depression and unemployment may reach 30%.
The prognosis is grim. Millions of dead, overrun hospitals, and insufficient ICU beds for the seriously ill. These are the outcomes absent mitigation strategies to slow the spread of the virus until the development of an antiviral drug for treatment or a vaccine.
The US economy shows a stable consumer with monetary and fiscal policies providing support. While betting against the US consumer is for those with the strength of conviction, broad-based declines of import and investment suggest the demise of demand and a slump of supply.
That this time is different is without a doubt. The question is, how different? While the depth of the contraction may have a parallel with the Great Depression, the speed of the collapse of employment is unrivaled in US history.
The speed of the equity market decline shares a common trait with the bull market that preceded it: they are both unprecedented in their length. The longest bull market gave way to the fastest crash in US history. Investing was infected with the economic calamity that results when whole segments of an economy close their doors.