Current views - December 2018
Our investment team assesses the prospects for a range of asset classes and currencies
Improved valuations and solid fundamentals, but peak earnings growth led us to be neutral on equities.
We prefer USD bonds versus EUR and GBP bonds. More attractive valuations in inflation-linked and high yield bonds.
Attractive diversification characteristics compared to equities and bonds.
Cash has defensive and opportunistic qualities in uncertain and volatile markets.
Brexit uncertainty continues to weigh on sentiment, especially on domestically-oriented small and mid-cap companies.
Slowdown in domestic economic growth and increased trade tensions could hamper earnings.
Economic fundamentals are solid with relatively attractive earnings growth versus rest of world.
Progress on corporate governance offsets some concern about the upcoming consumption tax hike.
Trade war remains a headwind but a weaker dollar should be supportive.
Valuations and fundamentals look attractive relative to developed markets, and a weaker dollar should be supportive.
US Treasuries are relatively more attractive given the normalisation of yields that is taking place.
Returns are likely to be driven largely by government bond markets. Relative value is returning as corporate spreads have widened to post 2009 averages. UK spreads have been particularly affected by Brexit concerns.
Significant spread widening, particularly in Europe, has improved the risk/reward outlook.
US inflation-linked government bonds are particularly attractive compared to conventional ones and will outperform if inflation expectations rise again. Elsewhere they are fairly valued.
Emerging market bonds offer good value, selectively, and would benefit from a weaker US dollar.
Increased volatility and dispersion should provide opportunities. We favour trend followers and long/short strategies.
Commercial property (UK)
Post-Brexit concerns have resulted in the marking down of property valuations, but income characteristics remain attractive.
Gold is attractive as a diversifier, portfolio insurance and an inflation hedge.