Eq: Large Cap

(New York)

How to protect against the next recession? This is a difficult question. Since it may be rate induced, it will be hard to hide out in Treasuries, and gold has not inspired much confidence. Well, SkyBridge Capital thinks the big money maker is to short high yields. “Our largest short position right now is in high yield, and it’s not because we think we’re going to make money this year or next year … It’s to protect against the eventual recession or [a] surprise recession”, says a portfolio manager there. “If you’re looking to put on [a] relative cheap short position, it’s hard to figure out how you lose money given how tight spreads are”.

FINSUM: High yield has seen a big expansion of credit and a decline in quality, and when the next recession rolls around there are going to be some big losses.

(New York)

It might not always feel like it, but rising rates are good if you are an income investor. Rates are most definitely rising. Treasury yields are up strongly and the Fed is hiking quarterly. That can cause some rate driven losses even as yields on fixed income assets rise. One fund manager summarized the risks and benefits this way, saying “Rising rates and/or lower equity valuations should lead to higher long-term expected returns, although the movement from low yields to high yields, or high valuations to low valuations, often requires a painful short-term capital loss”.

FINSUM: The move to “low valuations” sounds terrifying as an investor, but the key is to take advantage of higher yields while holding hedged positions.

(New York)

As analysts and the market try to sort out how the new division in Congress will play out in markets, one beneficiary is becoming increasingly clear. Aerospace analyst Ron Epstein of Merrill Lynch had this to say the day before last week’s election, “The change to Democratic control of the House is the best scenario for defense spending. It points to upside in the defense budget. Gridlock keeps budgets intact, and defense is a bipartisan issue”. That argument is a bedrock of the new view that defense stocks are likely going to surge in the new Congressional environment. Epstein points out that aerospace companies are simultaneously seeing commercial and defense businesses growing strongly.

FINSUM: Earnings seem like they will stay in very good shape for the defense sector, and because budget changes look unlikely, the whole industry seems to be in for smooth sailing.

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