Displaying items by tag: volatility
Fixed index annuities are a relative newcomer to the annuities industry. For those unfamiliar, fixed index annuities offer some upside from markets, while also putting in a floor on losses. Their sales have surged lately. While volatility from COVID was a strong tailwind for fixed index annuity sales, the other big factor has to do with interest rates. Diversifying holdings into fixed income yields next to nothing, and does not currently offer the de-risking that investors have long sought it for. Couple that reality with the huge mass of Baby Boomers entering retirement and it is clear why fixed index annuities are so sensible right now.
FINSUM: Fixed income just isn’t offering the traditional risk hedge versus equities that it long has. That makes fixed index annuities—with their loss floors and upside participation—the natural replacement.
Large cap value is a very interesting area at the moment. Over the last few weeks there has been a pickup in breadth, with gainers outpacing losers 2-to-1. Megacap tech stocks are not leading the market like they were early on in the recovery. That means the chances for broad market gains are looking stronger. With that in mind, large cap value looks like an excellent choice. Compared to small and midcaps, large caps are less volatile and more diversified. They do have more international exposure (which could be a positive or a negative), but on the whole they appear as though they have as much or more upside potential with less downside risk.
FINSUM: If you believe in a coming broad-based rally in stocks, then large cap value seems like a good place to be.
The fixed income market used to be where you went for safety and steady income. Those days seem long ago, and fixed income is not just as likely as any other asset class to eb the riskiest and most volatile in your portfolio. Between COVID and the Fed, interest rates are extremely low, with yields low and bond price very high, and vulnerable. Some have been comparing the situation to Japan in the 1990s and beyond, but there is a huge difference that makes the US bond market much worse than Japan ever was—inflation. When Japan started its massive zero rate, ultra-low yield period, it was experiencing deflation, which meant there was still a positive real rate. But that is not true in the US today, as yields are actually well below real-world inflation, meaning genuinely negative real interest rates.
FINSUM: There is ultimately going to have to be a reckoning in the bond market, because real returns are not sustainable. That said, it does not seem like the Fed is going to let that happen any time soon.
A lot of investors are hoping a new government stimulus package will be a shot in the arm for markets. However, the reality might be something much more disappointing. While a deal would be a nice benefit for the economy, the weight of an autumn case surge and a highly volatile election are heavy on the shoulders of markets. According to one market strategist at Miller Tabak, “We believe an agreement on a new fiscal plan is likely, but we’re not so sure it will help the stock market rally in a sustainable way. The market is still quite overvalued and the combination of the weakening employment picture plus a second wave of the virus does not bode well for any improvement for the ‘E’ part [earnings] of the P/E ratio going forward”.
FINSUM: The stimulus deal will likely be good for a 0.50% move in indexes, but with little continued benefits. It just doesn’t seem enough to re-spark the bull market given everything else going on.
Goldman Sachs is stressed about the election. In particular, they are concerned about what a contested outcome could mean for stock prices. Because of that, they think the debates which started this week have the potential to be an “important catalyst for investors to assess risks”. The debates have the possibility of swinging the election strongly one way or the other, which means they can be tipping points for investors. “One way to lower the odds of a contested outcome (that brings noise and volatility) is via a large margin of victory that cannot be undermined”. That said, according to the bank’s strategists, even a big win could have risks: “Although undoubtedly under the clean-sweep scenario there is the negative implications for risk assets to be considered, stemming from a Democratic legislative agenda including higher corporate taxes and increased capital-gains taxes”.
FINSUM: Goldman is making it abundantly clear that they think most paths for the market lead lower—likely until the end of the year. With Trump now having COVID, that makes uncertainty even higher.