Thursday, 6 June 2013

Asset Class Returns As At 31 May 2013


By Guest Blogger, Salvador Dali of MalaysiaFinance.Blogspot.com

This is highly interesting. As a test, if you were looking at the table what could you say or what kind of observations could you make. Not trying to be an asshole or "guru" here, but if you are honest about your knowledge of markets, the ability to synthesize data and tell a story, you should do well in financial markets. If you can't, then you shouldn't be, or are just plodding along. To be in the markets you can study, but you have to have passion for it. Make your own observations before scrolling down.

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- The one month data does not tell us much.

- YTD, the equity markets have been well led by the US, in fact emerging markets have been trailing ... suffice to say that most of the Asian markets which have been surging so far this year have been an anomaly, which further depresses the real performance of other emerging markets.

- We know the financial markets have been awashed in liquidity with QEs from various central banks, but where have they been headed. The YTD figures are again revealing, some have exited gold in a big way. Them taking money off gold may be just profit taking or likely to mean they are more comfortable that currencies won't be debased anymore, or that bailouts have finally went past a peak. The reduction of fear or volatility could be another reason.

- So where is the liquidity? They went largely into US stocks, US REITs and even foreign REITs. The REITs interest is but a reflection in a strong bottoming in property price correction and a resurrection of demand, and also a hint that people are more employable even now to take up new mortgages, and/or that a lot more PE/VC/vulture funds are taking advantage and making deals on distressed commercial properties.

- Look at crude oil, one month, YTD or 1 year even, that is a good reflection about the robustness (or lack of) of the global economic recovery. The recovery is benign and in patches still.

- Look at commodities, again the same conclusion as for crude oil, still working of excess inventory in the global system.

- Look at the emerging equity markets from 1 year ago, there has been a dramatic shift away from emerging markets back to US and possibly Japanese stocks. Again the robust performance of other Asian equity markets is very telling as it is viewed as largely unscathed and the equity markets there do attract sufficient interest compared to other emerging markets.

- The most important point one has to conclude is a drastic shift away from bonds of all kind. Bonds have been great on a 3 year basis but more funds are moving out. They move out because they either think there is a bubble there (too safe, and too many people willing to pay too high a price for low yields) and/or equity provides a better return even after accounting for risk.

From the above, I am quite confident that the current sell down in equities will be brief.