Displaying items by tag: volatility
Using Debt to Buy Stocks is Surging and Dangerous
Prepare to have your eyes opened, wide. US investors have taken out $642.8 bn of loans against their stock portfolios in order to deepen their positions in the market. That huge margin debt exacerbated this month’s selloff, and is likely to make the next one even worse, as many investors will be forced to liquidate positions. The size of the total margin debt (as a percentage of total market cap) is greater than at any point since the figure started to be tracked in 1980.
FINSUM: Record high margin debt sounds like a great leading indicator for a crash.
10 Stocks to Thrive in Volatility
We are entering a period of rising rates. This is a fundamental change from the modus operandi of the last decade and represents a paradigm shift for markets and investors. Therefore, volatility looks likely to stick around for some time. Accordingly, investing in low volatility stocks, which have been shown to perform just as well, if not better, than stock market indices during periods of stress, seems like a good idea. Barron’s chooses the ten lowest volatility stocks on the market, a list which includes Aflac, Coca-Cola, Loews, PepsiCo, Berkshire Hathaway, and Procter & Gamble, among others.
FINSUM: Given the ground shifting beneath investors’ feet, having some allocation to low volatility stocks seems like a wise plan.
Morgan Stanley Says Selloff was Just a Prelude to Big Downturn
Morgan Stanley has just come out with a big warning for investors. The bank says that the selloff over the last few weeks, which amounted to around 10% at its peak, was just a tiny start to what is to come. Describing the recent losses as the “Appetizer, not the main course”, Morgan Stanley says that big trouble will occur when growth weakens but inflation keeps moving ahead. “Strong global growth and a good first-quarter reporting season provided an important offset. We remain on watch for ‘tricky hand-off’ in the second quarter, as core inflation rises and activity indicators moderate”.
FINSUM: If growth starts to weaken, but inflation and rates are still rising, that is the catalyst for a big correction, or more likely, a prolonged bear market. But we are not there yet.
4 Stocks for the Aging Market
This bull market is getting old. We mean very long in the tooth. However, even if you are anxious about a broader downturn, there are still some good plays, says Barron’s. The two big sectors to consider when planning for the end of a bull market include financials and industrials, as both benefit from rising rates. That said, stocks may not perform as poorly as many imagine, as some argue that stocks never fully priced in ultra low rates, so as they rise, they should be less affected.
FINSUM: Stocks not fully pricing low rates is an interesting argument, and it is somewhat supported by the fact that equities did not sell-off alongside bonds when inflation came out the other day. We think of stocks as both an inflation hedge, and as a direct beneficiary of economic growth, which often accompanies rising rates, so we are not too bearish.
Be Careful of That ETF You are Buying
While the idea is more important for retail investors, we thought Bloomberg’s article today warning about buying ETFs might also be relevant for advisors. Bloomberg argues that the name “ETF” has become so vague as to be almost meaningless, and that investors need to be very disciplined in understanding the fund before buying it. The catch-all term “ETF” now encompasses everything from ultra-low cost index tracking funds to hugely leveraged volatility funds, all traded under often simple names and tickers.
FINSUM: The name of the game here is to read the fund prospectus and deeply understand the product being bought. But advisors already know that!