Eq: Total Market

(New York)

Not only did the stock market fall 3-4% yesterday, but something very unusual happened alongside it—yields rose. Historically speaking, it is rare for yields to rise when there is a big stock selloff, as investor generally flee to the safety of Treasuries. Selloffs can portend economic weakness to come, which makes bonds seem more attractive.

FINSUM: This is quite a worrying development and is reflective of the current environment. No one can get comfort from the “safe haven” of Treasuries because it seems very likely yields will keep rising on the back of the strong economy. In other words, there is no place to hide (other than in hedged investments).

(New York)

One of the most ominous signs surrounding the equity market this year are the inflow numbers into stock funds. In 2017, $517.2 bn of new money flowed into US ETFs and mutual funds from the start of the year through September. This year that number is down by almost 50% for the same period, as only $281.7 bn has flowed in. Actively managed mutual funds are seeing net withdrawals. According to Deloitte “It feels like investors are in the early stages of positioning themselves for a potential downturn … [they] are returning to cash and relatively defensive positions”.

FINSUM: Retail inflows and outflows have never been a very good indicator of coming market performance (much like sentiment), so take these figures with a grain of salt.

(New York)

Most investors are worried about the potential impact of the trade war, not to mention rising rates and yields. However, there is one stock that should shine through all of it—Weight Watchers (not what you were expecting, right? Us either). The company, now called WW, seems poised to gain. As one financial reporter puts it “This is a subscription-heavy company relying on decent employment rates, a country in need of wellness advice, and a charismatic spokesperson (Oprah!) trading at a below-growth multiple”. The company is looking to improve its revenue by a quarter by 2020 to $2 bn, 80% of which is subscription-based.

FINSUM: There does not seem to be any reason that WW would be at the mercy of many of the forces hurting markets right now. It could be a good bet.

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