Displaying items by tag: recession
Natixis Investment Managers issued its outlook for 2024. It notes that cash levels are higher than normal due to volatility and uncertainty. However, it does believe that some of this cash will be put to work in model portfolios.
Overall, it sees uncertainty continuing given a tense geopolitical situation in multiple parts of the world, an upcoming presidential election, and the risk that the economy stumbles into a recession. But these conditions are positive for fixed income given attractive yields, falling inflation, a more accommodative Federal Reserve, and equity valuations which are once again getting expensive.
According to Marina Gross, the head of Natixis Investment Managers Solutions, model portfolios are one of the biggest trends in wealth management. She notes that “Firms are looking to provide a more consistent investment experience for clients in an increasingly complex market, advisors are looking to grow their practices and know clients want more than an allocation plan, and clients are looking for broader more comprehensive relationships with their advisors. Models offer a solution that fits the bill for each in 2024 and beyond.”
Model portfolios are particularly suited for the current environment as they help manage risk and increase the chance that clients will stick to their financial plan through market turbulence. For advisors, it leads to more confident clients while freeing up time for revenue-generating and business-building efforts.
Finsum: Natixis is forecasting that model portfolios will continue to gain traction in 2024. Given high levels of uncertainty, model portfolios are particularly useful for advisors and clients. .
PIMCO sees a changed environment in 2024 as the Fed will pivot to rate cuts. However, it sees the impact of prior rate hikes still impacting economies and leading to stagnation or a mild contraction.
Financial markets will be focusing on the timing and pace of rate cuts. Based on history, central banks don’t ease in anticipation of economic weakness. Instead, they tend to cut only after recessionary conditions materialize and tend to cut more than expected by the market.
PIMCO agrees with Chair Powell that inflation and growth risks are now more ‘symmetrical’. However, it believes the market is underpricing recession risk especially given that some assets are already priced for a soft landing given the strong rally in many assets over the past few months.
It also believes that fixed income is particularly appropriate for this environment given that yields are still close to multi-decade highs. It also offers protection and upside in the event of economic conditions deteriorating. Within the asset class, it favors mortgage-backed securities and believes investors should stick to medium-duration bonds as yields are attractive while interest rate risk is reduced. On a longer-term basis, PIMCO sees neutral policy rates to reach similar levels to before the pandemic which is also supportive of the category.
Finsum: PIMCO sees financial conditions easing in 2024 as the Fed cuts rates, but economic conditions will deteriorate given the delayed impact of tight monetary policy.
Allworth Financial manages $19 billion in client assets. Recently, Allworth CIO Andy Stout shared the firm’s approach to managing model portfolios for clients. The firm has a scorecard in which it quantitatively evaluates all investable mutual funds and ETFs. It follows up by having conversations with managers of funds with high marks to see if their process is ‘repeatable’ prior to investing.
Allworth’s core portfolio is a 60/40 mix between equities and bonds, respectively. The equities side is composed of 48% US stocks and 12% international. The fixed income side is a combination of short-term fixed income funds, investment grade, total return funds, and a handful of active funds.
Allworth believes in spreading allocations between multiple asset managers. For instance in its core portfolio, they use SPDR, Vanguard, Blackrock, and JPMorgan. When it comes to fund selection, the firm looks for securities that are equipped to navigate the entire business cycle. Stout also noted that consistency is valued more since success is more about ‘avoiding strikeouts’ than hitting a home run. In terms of risks, he sees recession risk as remaining elevated and thus favors more defensive sectors and investments.
Finsum: Allworth Financial CIO Andy Stout shared the firm’s approach to model portfolios, and what opportunities and risks he sees at the moment.
Gold prices ended the year on a strong note by making all-time highs and finished the year with a 13% gain. Next year, the outlook remains bullish due to expectations that real interest rates will decline as inflation falls and the Fed shifts to a dovish policy, leading to increased demand. JPMorgan has a year-end forecast of $2,300.
Some of the factors that could lead to gold outperforming are the economy being weaker than expected which could lead to more aggressive cuts by the Fed. Additionally, there is a risk that geopolitical tensions could inflame even further whether it’s in the Middle East or the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Budget deficits in the US remain high for the foreseeable future with another close and contentious presidential election on the horizon.
Another positive catalyst for gold prices is that central banks are net buyers. According to the World Gold Council, they will purchase between 450 and 500 tons in the upcoming year. This is in addition to strong investing demand from ETFs which have seen substantial increases in assets over the past year.
The major risk to the outlook is if the economy remains robust enough so that the Fed can keep the fed funds rate elevated for a longer period of time. During the last 2 ‘soft landings’, gold had a total return of -1.6%, while Treasuries returned 16% and equities were up 33%.
Finsum: Gold prices are flirting with all-time highs. Recent catalysts for strength include geopolitical turmoil and expectations that the Fed is in the midst of a pivot.
The last FOMC meeting saw the Fed put a pause on hikes. Recent economic data, specifically softer inflation prints, is also supporting the notion that the Fed’s next move will be to cut rather than hike. Adding fuel to the rally was comments from Fed governor Christopher Waller that Fed policy was ‘well-positioned’ to bring inflation back down to its desired level. Waller’s concession is noteworthy given that he has been among the most hawkish FOMC members.
It’s already resulted in longer-term yields dropping, as the 10-year yield has declined from 5% in mid-October to 4.3%. As a result, equities have surged higher, and bonds posted their best monthly performance in nearly 40 years. The Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index was up nearly 5% in November. This performance is likely to attract inflows especially as bonds will further strengthen if the economy does fall into a recession.
With these gains, the asset class is now slightly positive on a YTD basis. Many investors may also be eager to lock in these rates especially as the ‘higher for longer’ narrative around interest rates seems to be passing. There’s also increasing chatter of a rate cut as soon as spring of next year, while the odds of another hike have diminished.
Finsum: Bonds enjoyed a strong rally in November. Some of the major factors behind this strength were dovish comments from FOMC members, soft inflation data, and the Fed nearing the end of its hiking cycle.