The US yield curve has consistently flattened since the Federal Reserve began tightening monetary policy several years ago. History strongly suggests that this is an entirely normal market reaction to a rate hiking cycle. If short-term interest rates continue to rise at the pace we expect, we could well be looking at an inverted curve by the middle of 2019.
Market volatility has picked up, but as multi-asset investors we must be careful about derisking too much or too often. Otherwise we risk missing out on upside for our portfolios. Given cyclical inflation pressures and quantitative tightening, the risks are higher in 2018, but as long as we remain confident in the fundamentals we'll remain invested and try to dance to this different tune.
In a raging bull market there is always the temptation to buy the laggards in the hope of juicy returns from a 'catch-up' trade. Unfortunately, all too often you end up in a value trap instead: there’s a reason the stock has lagged and that reason often turns out to be annoyingly persistent. There’s no doubt that Mexico meets the laggard definition. But I would argue that there’s a strong case it could actually be a catch-up story.
How could investors not like technology stocks? They’re cool companies, led by charismatic CEOs making irresistible products. And what's more, they're posting amazing growth rates with stocks that just keep going up. I’m sure the bottom-up investment case is much more sophisticated than that, but today I want to lay out the strong macro case for tech stocks.
The Bank of Japan is trying to convince the market that there is “nothing to see here” despite a sharp drop in its asset purchase flow from ¥80 trillion to ¥60 trillion per annum. Add this to the list of reasons to worry about potential yen appreciation, but don’t think of it as a leading concern for global rates or risk assets.