Displaying items by tag: euro
Strong Dollar, Stronger Volatility
Stocks had one of their worst days in months as the market fell off 2% and sent volatility measures such as the VIX spiking. Wallstreet’s ‘fear gauge’ was up nearly 4% as a result. This all happens as the dollar is reaching very strong levels and almost parodies the euro. While that might be great for those on a summer vacation in the Mediterranean, it's bad news for investors, because it reflects a more fed tightening, rising treasury rates, and inflation. Investors are concerned about rising volatility once again after it felt like it was behind them. With healthy job numbers and inflation trying to turn a corner, things looked bright and the market felt it, but the reality of a one-off good inflation report is setting in.
Finsum: Advisors need strategies for resilience vs inflation and excess volatility because its persistence seems strong.
ESG is Capturing the Bond Market
Environmental, social, and governance investing is reaching a new market just about every month these days, but ESG blew past a huge one this week. Socially conscious investing capped a quarter of all new debt sales. Between corporations and countries, the ESG movement pushed out $391 billion in new debt this year. Companies like Enel SpA are leading the way in Italy, being pushed by the strong arm of European governments. The goal is to have Europe be a leader in climate change. However, investors are paying a premium to get ahold of the bonds. What many are calling ‘grenium’ is the excess being commanded by these socially conscious investments as practically everyone in the bond market is tracking ESG ratings.
FINSUM: Europe is a leader in the ESG movement, but its bond market might be a bit saturated. Look to the American or even emerging markets to get a piece of socially conscious bond investing.
Italy is About to be Downgraded to Junk
Italy looks like it is in bad shape. It is openly defying the EU’s budget rules by running an excessive deficit, and what’s worse, it looks likely to be downgraded to junk status by ratings agencies. Moody’s already downgraded the country to Baa3, its lowest investment grade rating and just one rung above junk status. Yields have been swinging wildly on the country’s bonds as a result.
FINSUM: We are quite worried about the implications if Italy gets downgraded to junk, as it could mean lots of funds need to sell the bonds because of their mandates. What kind of sell-off could that spark?
Morgan Stanley Warns Inflation is Rising
Investors have gotten so used to low inflation that it is sometimes hard to imagine seeing it rise. However, Morgan Stanley is warning that inflation is rising across the globe and investors need to keep an eye on it. In Europe, Asia, and the US, inflation has risen from 1.1% to 1.4%, and it is bound to move higher, according to Morgan Stanley’s chief global economist. Interestingly, MS argues that the Euro area and Japan will see a higher rise in inflation than the US.
FINSUM: If inflation rises more strongly in other developed markets than the US, will that lead to even more foreign buying of US bonds because yields in those locations are so much lower? In other words, will there be even more demand for US bonds?
Italy is Still a Major Risk to Global Markets
Investors in stocks will be familiar with the market’s habit of focusing on an issue for a week or two, getting anxious, and then moving on almost completely once things looks even half-resolved. That is exactly what happened with Italy’s debt crisis a few months ago. However, this problem looks likely to rear its ugly head again. Italy is the third largest debt market in the world, and its looks dangerously close to imploding. That may be why Trump offered Italy funding to help its situation. The big fear is a near-term budget vote where the country’s parties are considering a package that would offer a flat tax rate and universal income for the left, all while ballooning the deficit to 7% of GDP, way above the EU limit of 3%.
FINSUM: Italy is currently led by a pair of parties that hate the Euro, so it seems likely that they may tempt fate with this kind of package. However, there is a potential compromise in the works.