Global Investing

Three snapshots for Monday

China’s trade balance plunged $31.5 billion into the red in February as imports swamped exports.  It followed reports on Friday that inflation cooled in February while retail sales and industrial output fell below forecast, all pointing to a gradual cooling.

Investors ploughed more money into hedge funds over the past month as performance has picked up after last year’s losses.

Final Q4 Italian GDP growth came in at -0.7%q/q. This chart showing GDP vs the Markit purchasing managers’ index shows the current recession may continue into this year.

 

 

Revisiting March lows

No, not in the way you think. Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of world stocks hitting what appears to be their post-financial crisis low. The index was the MSCI all-country world index. The low was hit on March 9, 2009.

At the time, many investors reckoned their world was collapsing. Stocks had fallen close to 60 percent in a little more than 16 months. But the low proved to be the start of a remarkable rally that brought the index back up 80 percent until January this year.

All is not well on equity markets at the moment, given worries about European debt, the end of special central bank liquidity programmes and questions about the sustainability of the U.S. economic recovery.  The MSCI index seems to be having a hard time staying in positive territory this year.

from Joseph Giannone:

Alpha Male: Goldman’s Carhart is back

Undated photo from Goldman days

More than a year after one of the hedge fund industry's best known managers departed Goldman Sachs, Mark Carhart re-emerged at a hedge fund conference and told Reuters the big news: he is coming back. You heard it here first.

Mark and his longtime partner, Raymond Iwanowski, retired last March and with research head Giorgio De Santis. More than 12 years of strong performance from Goldman's quant team had made Global Alpha the bank's flagship fund and one of the industry's largest at its early 2007 peak of $12 billion.

 But a year before Wall Street imploded, computer driven funds had their own debacle. Global Alpha plunged in August 2007 as stock prices gyrated and interest rates jolted, prompting investors to pull out billions. That after the fund had lagged the average fund in 2006. And so Carhart "retired" at the age of 43.

from Summit Notebook:

Tax evaders on the run

  By Neil Chatterjee
    The U.S. has promised it will hunt down tax evaders.
    And it seems tax evaders are on the run.
    DBS bank, based in the growing offshore financial centre of
Singapore, told Reuters it had been approached by U.S. citizens
asking for its private banking services. But when told they would
have to sign U.S. tax declaration forms, the potential clients
disappeared.  
    Swiss banks also approached DBS on the hope they could
offload troublesome U.S. clients to a location that so far has
not been reached by the strong arms of Washington or Brussels.
    DBS said no thanks. In fact many private banks and boutique
advisors now seem to be avoiding U.S. clients.
    Will this spread to other nationalities, as governments
invest in tax spies and tax havens invest in white paint?
    Is this the end of offshore private private banking?

Falling on deaf ears

The European private equity industry today published its response to the proposed Alternative Investment Fund Managers directive that seeks to place controls on the industry.

In what it must hope will be seen as a carefully considered and constructed response to the European Commission’s hastily drafted and ill-thought-out proposed directive, the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association — the voice for private equity in Europe — calls for the threshold for reporting on its companies’ activities to be lifted to 1 billion euros assets under management from 500 million.

It argues that private equity firms smaller than that specialise in managing small and medium-sized companies and should be subject to national legislation.

Permabears are coming out of hibernation

After a 40-percent gain, the rally in world stocks might be losing momentum.

For permabears who live on doom and gloom to make money this is just a blip which is going to end in tears.

David Tice, a 20-year veteran short seller who manages Federated Investors’ $1 billion short fund, says we are in for a secular bear market which is going to last for 10 years.

“I’ve never more been convinced than anything in my life that this is a suckers rally,” Tice says.

More than a nice-to-have, buy-side considers its actions

More than a “nice to have,” investor sentiment is running heavily on the side of environment, social and governance (ESG) factors, according to the latest Thomson Reuters Perception Snapshot.

Feedback from 25 global buy-side investors found that 84 percent evaluate ESG criteria to some degree when making an investment decision.

The remaining 16 percent say ESG issues are not considered until a company’s ability to generate high returns is hindered by these factors.

from Funds Hub:

Watch Pi Capital CEO David Giampaolo give his investment outlook

Giampaolo was speaking today at the London leg of the Reuters Hedge Fund and Private Equity Summit.

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from Funds Hub:

Watch hedge fund manager Colin McLean give his market outlook

McLean was speaking today at London leg of the Reuters Hedge Fund and Private Equity Summit.

from Funds Hub:

Great expectations

It was the outcome most commentators were expecting.

rtx9j4vEven Roger Lawson of the UK Shareholders' Association, which represented 150,000 small investors, admitted it was "not totally unexpected".

But the defeat for hedge funds RAB Capital and SRM Global and other former shareholders claiming damages for the loss of their holdings in Northern Rock when it was nationalised last year is nevertheless a hard blow to bear.

The former shareholders may appeal, but a valuation of the equity at zero or close to zero is now looking entirely possible.