The Trump administration's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will target China, but not the way most observers believe. For the US, the most important bilateral trade issue has nothing to do with the Chinese authorities' failure to reduce excess steel capacity, as promised, and stop subsidizing exports.
The ability to withstand the next market correction may require making investment decisions that go against the grain. Can a multi-asset approach help?
As the recent market volatility made clear, there’s a big difference between plain vanilla ETFs and leveraged products making big bets with big risks.
Stocks are most vulnerable when optimism is at an extreme and its long-term trend reverses. This is when careless investment decisions are exposed, as well. Right now, the P/E is well above its 48-month MA and secondary up trendline, and is showing no signs of weakness.
The US economy has experienced nine recessions during the last 50 years. What makes the current situation unusual and more worrying than in the past is the low level of short-term interest rates and the high (and rising) level of federal debt, which will limit policymakers' ability to provide the stimulus needed to counter a recession.
In the fall of 1981, the twenty-year US bond yield peaked slightly above 15% and has been zig zagging down through each successive business cycle since. During the last one hundred and sixty-years or so, the average secular, (very long-term) trend in rates has lasted around twenty seven-years. After thirty five-years of declining rates, the current secular bear is getting long in the tooth.
As the new year begins to unfold, the environment for risk assets is still benign: the global economy is strong, monetary policy is accommodative, and volatility is low and steady. At this point, we don’t see excesses developing that could change that.
The US government should focus on combating foreign governments’ trade policies – such as technology theft, non-tariff barriers to US exports, and forced technology transfers – that hurt American firms without any offsetting benefits to American consumers.
Generating consistent returns under uncertain conditions is a challenge. Can multi-asset strategies make the job a little easier? We think so. But a lot depends on how they’re designed.
The US Congressional Budget Office has estimated that some 32 million people would lose their formal insurance coverage in the next decade under the various proposals to replace "Obamacare." But it is important to understand just what that would mean in practice, and how much it would actually affect health outcomes.