Posts tagged MSCI World
Is global liquidity now hostile for equities?

Last week I said that investors have plenty to worry about, but also that many of the traditional reasons to abandon ship—chiefly extended valuations and political paralysis and risk—perhaps weren't as valid as many think they are. The most convincing argument for not panicking despite extended valuations is that ample global liquidity and low interest rates remain as support for equities and credit markets. I imagine that his idea has been put down on page one of most investors' playbook since the financial crisis. The argument is pretty simple. As long as central banks are on the bid, their purchases of bonds—and other assets—will drive private investors into riskier markets. Known as the portfolio balancing effect, this is recognised to operate via both the stock and flow of central banks' balance sheets. Finally, front-end interest rates that are locked at the zero bound—or slow to rise even as the economy recovers—also translates into higher equity prices and tighter spreads. Low rates mean an increase in the future discounted value of cash flows and also encourages investors to pay a higher multiple for the same level of earnings. It also forces investors to seek out yield in private debt markets to reach their return targets, despite the higher risk profile of corporate bonds.

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Just what the doctor ordered?

Weaker oil prices, a Fed rate hike, and Geert Wilders' anti-EU party swooping in as the second-biggest party in the Dutch parliamentary elections. You would have thought that these events last week would have been enough to scare investors. But headlines can be deceiving. Despite the weakness in oil, the price hit strong resistance at its 200dma, and snapped back in the latter part of last week. The tone of Mrs. Yellen's statement was just right to maintain markets' faith that the Fed will only gently push borrowing costs higher. In other words, risks assets wanted a dovish hike and decided that this is what they got. And finally, the key story in the Dutch elections was not that Mr. Wilders made headway.

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Who will blink first?

I have a feeling that equity markets are setting a trap for investors, but I can't quite figure out which kind it is. Will the last bull be sucked in before the disappointment sets in, or are we now on a sustainable glide path towards new highs with maximum frustration for the sceptics? We didn't get any decisive clues last week. Equity volatility rose a tad, but ranges remain incredibly tight across a number of key asset markets. False breaks are guaranteed, and vol-sellers will continue to play cat and mouse with the heroes trying to straddle the ranges, playing for a breakout. 

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