Posts Tagged "Kevin Caron CFA"

The gardener must sow seed in fertile ground for a garden to grow. Once planted, young seedlings must be cared for and cultivated. If all goes well, the seed grows into an abundant garden, while also producing the seed and nutrients for next year’s plantings. In this way, the gardener achieves a sustained cycle of growth, and everyone benefits. The same is true for a business. Like a seed, a firm must sow investments in assets that yield a profit if it hopes to grow. Additionally, investments will be subject to risk and unknowns, some will produce profit, and some…

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As the economy reopens, we believe growth is set to surge. The United States is well along the path on vaccination, which is unleashing months of pent-up demand. Meanwhile, other parts of the world are lagging in vaccinations and confronted with potential challenges, including a stronger dollar. Given continued signs of progress and growth in the United States, we refocus tactically around domestic and high-quality assets. We also maintain a tactical overweight to equity over bonds, given incoming data as we enter the third quarter.

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Illusion and Reality

Our economy grows decade to decade, with corporations capturing an increasing share of global income in the form of profits in recent years. Along the way, low interest rates prompted growth, encouraged risk-taking, and pumped up the value of future profits. It is not surprising, then, that stocks have enjoyed a historic rise, achieving great returns far above other asset classes. Not even a global pandemic was able to short-circuit this wealth creation process. In this week’s commentary, we revisit an old idea — namely that real factors dominate growth and stock returns in the long-run, while illusory factors can…

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Dividend growers outperformed all dividend categories for the past 48 1/4 years with less risk. This is our conclusion based on data provided by Ned Davis Research. The research focuses on dividend payers, non-dividend payers, and dividend cutters. Note that the pattern of dividend growers outperformance holds for both the entire period of analysis and each sub-period (First Table). It also holds that growers experienced lower volatility for both the entire period and each sub-period (Second Table). In this note, we address why we think this phenomenon exists and what it could mean to investors. Return By Dividend Category (Annual)…

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Is there a way for bond investors to win if interest rates rise? We think laddering bonds is one way to navigate an uncertain and changing environment. First, we must start with a simple fact. Nobody knows for sure what will happen to interest rates in the future. There are potential ranges of plausible outcomes, but in reality, the future direction of interest rates is unknowable. What is knowable is today’s level of interest rates. So, an investor interested in knowing the nominal dollar return of a T-bill or zero-coupon U.S. Treasury can know that future return with certainty today….

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The U.S. stock market has been on a tear of late, rising 56% in value, or $18 trillion, in the last year. Two-thirds of the gain came in the six months since October. Surging stock values mirror last spring’s rapid plunge, leaving many feeling elated, unnerved, and anxious. Are expectations for the world ahead justified and fairly factored into stock prices? Or is the bull run reflecting unrealistically high hopes? A Pretty Penny In our view, valuations are full. By most metrics, we see stock values at high levels. Just look at the value of U.S. stocks at $48 trillion…

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Leverage and Quality

It is essential not to overlook critical assumptions. One of the most basic stock investing beliefs is that firms will continue to exist — firms do not live forever. Beginning as a start-up and ending in decline, firms undergo many changes over their lives. An idea becomes a business that generates growing profits and revenue. As a result of sound investing, the company continues to grow, finds new markets, and fends off competitors. At some point, the demand for the firm’s product or service slows, competition erodes advantages, and the business shrinks. In an age of rapid technological change and…

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President Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion Coronavirus aid package last week. New spending of $1.1 trillion is expected this year, with the remaining $0.8 trillion spread out over the coming years. The spending is on top of last year’s $3 trillion fiscal support program, sets up 15% annual deficits for 2020 and 2021, and increases debt to 110% of GDP.   Why should we care about such spending, especially when the economy is hobbled by COVID-19? Indeed, the package will indeed help many. There are $670 billion in checks and enhanced unemployment benefit checks on the way to…

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The Rate Conundrum

Since the Georgia Senate races went to Democrats on January 5, forward expectations of short-term rates have moved up sharply (Chart A, below). With nearly $2 trillion of anticipated deficit-financed spending now in the pipeline, long-term U.S. Treasury bonds are also selling off, causing long-term yields to rise too. Investors worry that massive new COVID-19 spending, happening when financial markets are already flashing “risk-on” signals, may be problematic. Typically, such large stimulus occurs only when an uncertain economic outlook is rattling markets. Chart AForwards Markets Start to Envision Higher Rates A High Bar But fear is not really the prevailing…

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Quality First

There is lots of discussion about the return of speculation. Cryptocurrencies, message board short-squeezes, soaring penny stocks, “blank check” companies, and record issuance of risky debt dominate today’s headlines. It is hard to imagine that, just under a year ago, financial markets were in freefall. Greed replaced fear in the span of a few short months, despite an ongoing pandemic. This week we return our focus to “quality” as a key factor in portfolio construction. Risk-On! Notice the chart below. It is a ratio of the most volatile stocks in the S&P 500 divided by the least volatile. When investors…

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While risk-taking remains in fashion and more stimulus is on the way, we are trimming back some equity exposure. We now forecast some tempering in the outlook ahead (Chart A, below) after a long stretch of improving conditions. As a result, we reduced stock exposure to 67% from 80% and increased bond exposure to 33% from 20%. CONQUEST tactical asset portfolios remain overweight stocks versus bonds, only less so. Chart A WCA Fundamental Conditions Barometer High Hopes Since the governments and central  banks around the world went “all-in” to save the economy from the pandemic last spring, wealth has exploded….

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Valuations, Revisited

The stock market is on a historic run, with U.S. stocks eclipsing $42 trillion in value for the first time ever last week. The broad market, measured by the S&P 500, continues a decade of strong returns with the rolling 10-year real return for the market above 10% (Chart A, below). Chart AS&P 500 Trailing 10yr Real Annualized Return Market of Stocks Many of this year’s “stay at home” themes are playing out and the technology sector is on a tear. Yet, this year reminds us it is not so much a “stock market” as a “market of stocks.” Even…

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In the realm of corporate finance, “real options” are those that allow managers flexibility to make decisions in the future. Instead of making all decisions upfront, managers can wait and make additional choices in the future. The assumption, of course, is that conditions could change or more information might be available then. One of the simplest real options managers have is timing. Delaying investment in hopes of improved information in, say, a year could help improve the project’s value. The same line of thinking can be applied to allocating assets in the context of a thoughtful investment portfolio process. Some…

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Kevin Caron, CFA, senior portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors, makes his Real Vision debut by breaking down the imbalances in China’s economy. He examines the relationship between trade and debt, discusses the origins of the trade war, and reviews his outlook for 10-year Treasury notes, in this interview with Jake Merl. Filmed on August 22, 2019.

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Boom

A month after the announcement of the first highly effective COVID-19 vaccine, positive momentum is building. Potentially game-changing vaccines, a new round of government spending, and continued, pedal-to-the-metal monetary policy are nurturing a boom environment as we end a most challenging year. While COVID-19 cases grow globally, and in the wake of the election, it is easy to lose track of market trends. In no particular order, here are a set of observations about recent trends worth noting. Observations: The value of all U.S. stocks is nearing $42 trillion, or 2 times the whole economy’s size ($21 trillion GDP). High…

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