There has been a lot of speculation lately, including by FINSUM, that Amazon might buy FedEx. FedEx’s share price could be considered cheap, and it would be a bold and strategic move if Amazon is actually committed to building its logistics business. However, Barron’s is today arguing that Amazon will never buy FedEx. The reasons why are two-fold. The first is that the 10.7x p/e ratio is not actually very cheap, and secondly, because Amazon does not really need FedEx’s capabilities, which have less to do with last mile delivery than they do with “upstream sorting”.
FINSUM: The real question here is whether Amazon wants to build up a logistics business in its own right, not just internal capabilities to serve its ecommerce business. If it does, then it is a smart acquisition. However, it would likely face significant anti-trust hurdles.
For the last six months, there has been a lot of focus in the media and amongst analysts that a recession will be arriving in 2020. 2019 always seemed to close of a call because of how the economy was trending, but 2020 seems to be a safe bet based on some of the indicators out there. Now, JP Morgan is saying a recession in 2020 is unlikely. The catalyst for the change? The Fed. Strategists at JP Morgan concluded “If the Fed is less spooked by full employment, more tolerant of an inflation overshoot and less anxious to reach restrictive policy, then 2020 might not be a year to think about recession and so late 2019/early 2020 would be premature to position defensively cross-asset”.
FINSUM: This analysis is dead simple, but we would agree. If the Fed is less hawkish, then it will prolong this cycle.
A lot of investors are nervous to put their money back in markets. The big losses of December have given way to a great start to the year, but investors are still shy because of the volatility. Well, JP Morgan says investors need to get back in markets soon as waiting for analysts to turn bullish again has a history of being a poor idea. Generally speaking, analysts can be a year behind actual market moves, so if investors wait until the mood improves, they will have already missed out on a lot of the gains.
FINSUM: Worries about forthcoming earnings aside, the market definitely has a renewed spring in its step and we are generally feeling bullish given the now lower valuations.
Active funds have been much maligned in the press over the last couple of years. The rise of passive investing has drawn the value of active investing into question, and the media has focused lot of attention on large groups of underperforming funds. That said, active funds, at least in fixed income, are winning right now. In every period from one to ten-years, actively managed bond funds have outperformed ETFs. Such funds are less constrained in their ability to seek out safe high yields, whether that be in junk bonds or emerging markets.
FINSUM: In many ways this makes sense, as there are many more bonds than there are equities, which means that there is likely more alpha to be generated through an unconstrained approach.
The fiduciary topic has mildly faded into the background in the media lately. The reason why is that the SEC and DOL are both in major revision/redrafting mode, with new versions expected to be released later this year. No one is sure how those will play out, but the most likely case right now appears bleak for advisors and the industry—a broad and relatively mild SEC best interest standard undergirded by much stronger and strict state-level fiduciary rules. That vision may be terrifying to some as it would create a complicated, and likely contradictory patchwork of state and federal rules, making inter-state business more difficult.
FINSUM: Patchwork from hell?