By Alhambra Investment Partners (Douglas R Terry, CFA)
Bonds or Equities? Haters going to Hate
Our strategic macro economic research partner has a max underweight recommendation for bonds. Why the hate?
For starters, real yields are 0%. While certainly better than the first quarter of 2013, is 0% the best we can hope to earn from our savings and investment dollars?
Given current levels of GDP and current earnings yields for equities, bonds are at some of the worst relative levels of the last 20 years.
Continue reading Bonds or Equities?
Another solid report this week. I know that because it helped me out yet again in trying to understand all the components in play across markets; all the tops spinning around on the table.
Stock market sentiment is an issue as markets continue at an important technical decision point. The precious metals have short-term technical parameters but more importantly, they have some pretty important long-term signals coming in. Well, gold and even more so, gold miners. Silver is not something I am personally excited about on the big picture.
The biggest picture view, which has been an uninterrupted global economic contraction is intact and getting stronger. From that spring so many other items for extrapolation and strategy.
Guest Post by Michael Ashton
Ten-year nominal rates continue to drift back towards the 2012 lows; the 10y Treasury yields only about 1.75% now. But 2015 is so very different than 2012 in terms of the cause of those low rates.
Nominal bonds are like the packaged sandwich you pick up at a gas station: no special orders. You get the meats in the proportions they were put on the sandwich; in the case of nominal bonds you get real yields plus inflation expectations and the nominal yield moves the same amount whether the cause is a change in real yields or a change in inflation expectations. If you buy nominal bonds because you think the economy is growing weak, and you’re right but at the same time inflation expectations rise, then you’re out of luck. You get what’s in the package.
If you look beyond the packaging, to what is making up that 10-year yield sandwich, then the difference between 2015 and 2012 is stark. When 10-year nominal yields were at 1.50% back in 2012, 10-year real yields were at -0.90% and 10-year inflation expectations were around 2.40%. The bond market was pricing in egregiously weak real growth for the next decade, coupled with fairly reasonable inflation expectations. TIPS were clearly expensive at the time, although I argued that they were less expensive than nominal bonds. (In fact, I may have said that they were expensive to everything except nominal bonds).
Today, on the other hand, nominal yields are low for a different reason. TIPS yields, while low, are positive (10-year real yields are 0.13% as I write this) but inflation expectations are very low. So, in contrast to the circumstance in 2012, we see TIPS as very cheap, rather than rich.
One way to look at this difference in circumstance is to study how the proportions of meats in the sandwich have changed over time. The chart below (source: Enduring Investments) shows the percentage of the nominal yield that is made up of real yields. The percentage which is made up of inflation expectations is approximately 100% minus this number, so one chart suffices. Back in “normal times,” real yields tended to make up 40-50% of nominal yields.
Continue reading Pre-Packaged Baloney