Watching Risk-Reward Ratios: Economic Data Still PositiveBut Rate Is Slowing
Risk-reward ratios are on our radar screen these days as we review the most recent economic data against the backdrop of recent market movement. This is not to say that we are in any way suggesting a top, a bear market, or even that a correction is on the horizon, even taking into account this past weeks movement and volatilityalthough each of these scenarios remains a possibility. At this point, though, we do have some minor concerns about risk-reward in the markets going forward, suggesting that a slight adjustment in beta or equity exposure from current levels is prudent.
Welcome Back, Visible Risk
Risk and more accurately "visible risk" has re-entered the market, and that's a very good thing. Visible risk is what you can measure, evaluate, mitigate, manage, and hedge (at least to some degree).
Through the Economic Lens: 2012 Looks More Like 2010
The recent selloff in the market, with nervous investors made all the more so because of the medias obsession with financial issues in Europe, is renewing talk about bear markets and recessions as people head for cover. In the midst of their misguided fears of a contagion effect, there is also concern about the fiscal cliff, spending cuts and higher tax rates that, at this point, will take effect on January 1. (Funny how that sounds like it would be a good idea for our debt problem.)
After the Speed Bump...
Slow down: Speed bump. After that, accelerate with care. Thats the essence of our near-term economic outlook. Although a tapping of the brakes is likely, there is virtually no danger of going off the road. The economic engine, having finally gained some sustainable momentum, will probably keep moving at a slow and steady pace, with a general upward trend overall for the rest of the year.
Regressing to the Mean Asset Values Returning to Low Correlations
Asset values are finally marching, once again, to the beat of their own drummers. This is a welcome change of tune. Among the many investing challenges of the past few yearsbeyond the aftermath of a near-meltdown of the financial system and a global economy that went into a deep recessionwas the high degree of correlation among different assets. Assets moved in tandem, whether in lockstep or with inverse moves, based largely on risk on/risk off investment decisions. Concerned about Europe? Sell stocks, buy bonds. Think the EU ministers will reach a deal? Buy stocks, sell bonds.
Outlook Report: 2010 Searching for the Afterparty
Markets will grow in 2010, but foreign and domestic gains will be harder to find than they were a year ago. The market's panic and robust recovery suggest a return to growth rates closer to historical norms, with some areas outperforming others. Sectors that performed best during the recession may be the highest performers during the recovery.