Global Investing

Yield-hungry tilt to equity from credit

April 2, 2012

For income-focused investors, the choice between stocks and corporate bonds has been a no-brainer in recent years. In a volatile world, corporate debt tends to be less sensitive to market gyrations and also has offered better yields – last year non-financial European corporate bonds provided a yield pickup of  73 basis points above stocks, Morgan Stanley calculates.

March world equity funk flattered by Wall St

April 2, 2012

It was all about the United States last month as far as equity markets were concerned. S&P’s world equity index may have ended the month with a small gain of just 0.3 percent but that was down to a 3 percent rise on  U.S. markets, data from the index provider shows. Strip out the U.S. contribution and it would have been a pretty poor month for world equities. Beyond Wall St, there was a decline of 1.7 percent and $285 billion lost in market value. Instead, the $418 billion added to U.S. market capitalization dragged the global aggregate up by $132 billion.

Three snapshots for Friday

March 30, 2012

The correlation between individual country equity indices is rising again:

U.S. consumer spending jumps in February but income growth tepid.

Apple vs. RIM market value:

Pension funds’ hedging dilemma

March 30, 2012

Pension funds have no shortage of concerns: their funding deficits are rapidly growing in the current low-return environment, and ageing populations are stretching their liabilities.

Three snapshots for Wednesday

March 28, 2012

Spanish stocks jump out as the only only major equity market to miss out on the strong first quarter:

Three snapshots for Tuesday

March 27, 2012

Is now the time to shift to equities vs. bonds? Goldman Sachs think so and traditional valuation measures such as the equity risk premium (chart) make bonds look expensive relative to equities when compared to the average over the last 20 years.

Market exhaustion?

March 26, 2012

It’s curious to see so many asset managers reaffirm their faith in a bullish 2012 for world markets just as a buzzing first quarter comes to a close on Friday with hefty gains in equities and risk assets.  Whether or not there is a mechanical review of portfolios at quarter end, it’s certainly a reasonable time for review. The euro zone crisis has of course eased, the ECB has pumped the banks full of cash and the U.S. recovery continues.  So, no impending disaster then (unless you subscribe to the increasingly-prevalent hard-landing fears in China). But after 11+ percent gains in world equities in just three months on the back of all this information, you have to wonder where the “new news” is going to come from here. The surprise factor looks over and we’re highly unlikely to get 10%+ gains in global stocks every quarter this year.  So, is it time for tired markets to sober up for a while or maybe even reconsider the risk of reversal again? Strategists at JPMorgan Asset Management, at least, reckon the economic news has just lost its oomph.

Quarter-end rebalancing: A myth?

March 26, 2012

With world stocks up more than 10  percent since the start of the year, it must be tempting for investors to cash in their gains before the quarter-end/fiscal year-end. Or is it really?

Three snapshots for Friday

March 23, 2012

Yesterday’s much worse than expected PMI data from the euro zone has pushed the Citigroup economic surprise index for the region below zero.

Investing in active funds: what’s the point?

March 19, 2012

Active vs passive investment is a long-lasting debate: active funds will tell you they deliver alpha (extra returns), but for a fee. Passive investment simply tracks the index so it’s cheaper. The risk is you may underperform your peers.