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Nowhere To Hide

Authored by James Rickards via DailyReckoning.com,

Investors don’t need to be told about the recent stock market crashes….

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Nowhere To Hide

Authored by James Rickards via DailyReckoning.com,

Investors don’t need to be told about the recent stock market crashes. The Dow Jones index is down 12.5% since early January. The S&P 500 is down 16.1% in the same period. The Nasdaq Composite is down an even more spectacular 26.5% this year. It lost more ground today.

This puts the Nasdaq solidly into a bear market (down 20% or more from an interim peak) while the Dow and S&P 500 are both in correction territory (down 10% or more from an interim peak).

This collapse coming so soon after the market crash of March 2020 may surprise some investors, although this outcome was predicted in my last book The New Great Depression, published last year.

We could get into the reasons for the recent market swoon, like the Fed’s taking away the punch bowl, but the reasons almost don’t matter at this point.

What truly is surprising is that the stock market is not alone in its recent dismal performance.

The Great Crypto Crash

U.S. Treasury bonds, foreign currencies, gold and other commodities have all declined sharply side by side with stocks. There are good reasons for this, including the prospect of a recession that could cause stocks, gold and commodities to fall in sync.

Still, the market carnage doesn’t end there. The biggest collapse among major asset classes is in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The price of Bitcoin has fallen over 55% since last November, when Bitcoin peaked at around $69,000. As I write this article, Bitcoin is trading at $29,647.

As is so often the case, gullible investors jumped in when Bitcoin was riding high. Now, 40% of all Bitcoin investors are underwater on their holdings. Like the saying goes, nobody blows a whistle at the top.

So much for Bitcoin being the new inflation hedge!

And the damage is by no means limited to Bitcoin. Huge losses have arisen in other popular crypto currencies such as Ethereum (down 57% over the same period), XRP (known as Ripple) and Solana.

Still, neither of those crypto collapses was the most spectacular. A crypto currency called Luna fell from $116.84 on April 5, 2022, to $0.0062 on May 16, an incredible 99.9% crash in less than six weeks.

That’s not just a crash, it’s a complete wipe-out. It just shows you how crazy speculative manias can become, completely unhinged from reality.

Contagion

The danger in these types of collapses goes beyond the losses to individual investors who happen to hold the coins. Such losses are indicative of a wider global liquidity crisis emerging. It’s a reminder of how deeply interconnected today’s markets are.

It comes back to contagion.

Unfortunately, over the past couple of years, the world has learned a painful lesson in biological contagions. A similar dynamic applies in financial panics.

It can begin with one bank or broker going bankrupt as the result of a market collapse (a “financial patient zero”).

But the financial distress quickly spreads to banks that did business with the failed entity and then to stockholders and depositors of those other banks and so on until the entire world is in the grip of a financial panic as happened in 2008.

Disease contagion and financial contagion both work the same way. The nonlinear mathematics and system dynamics are identical in the two cases even though the “virus” is financial distress rather than a biological virus.

As one market crashes, investors in other markets sell assets to raise cash and the collapse virus quickly spreads to those other markets. In a full-scale market panic of the kind we saw in 1998 and again in 2008, no asset class is safe.

Investors sell stocks, bonds, gold, cryptos, commodities and more in a mad scramble for cash.

Each Crash Is Bigger Than the Last

And unfortunately, each crisis is bigger than the one before and requires more intervention by the central banks.

The reason has to do with the system scale. In complex dynamic systems such as capital markets, risk is an exponential function of system scale. Increasing market scale correlates with exponentially larger market collapses.

Today, systemic risk is more dangerous than ever because the entire system is larger than before. This means that the larger size of the system implies a future global liquidity crisis and market panic far larger than the Panic of 2008.

Too-big-to-fail banks are bigger than ever, have a larger percentage of the total assets of the banking system and have much larger derivatives books.

To understand the risk of contagion, you can think of the marlin in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. The marlin started out as a prize catch lashed to the side of the fisherman Santiago’s boat.

But once there was blood in the water, every shark within miles descended on the marlin and devoured it. By the time Santiago got to shore, there was nothing left of the marlin but the bill, the tail and some bones.

The point, again, is that today systemic risk is more dangerous than ever, and each crisis is bigger than the one before. Remember, too-big-to-fail banks are bigger than ever, have a larger percentage of the total assets of the banking system and have much larger derivatives books.

The Fed Has No Answers

The ability of central banks to deal with a new crisis is highly constrained by low interest rates and bloated balance sheets, which exploded even higher in response to the pandemic. You see how much damage the Fed’s recent rate hikes and end of quantitative easing have caused.

The Fed’s balance sheet is currently about $9 trillion, which it’s just beginning to reduce. In September 2008, it was under $1 trillion, so that just shows you how bloated the Fed’s balance sheet has become since the Great Financial Crisis.

How much the Fed can drain from the balance sheet without triggering another serious crisis is an open question, but we’ll likely get the answer at some point.

The threat of contagion is a scary reminder of the hidden linkages in modern capital markets.

The conditions are in place.

But you can’t wait for the shock to occur because by then it will be too late. You won’t be able to get your money out of the market in time because it’ll be a mad rush to the exits.

The best description I’ve ever heard of the dynamic of a financial panic is, “Everybody wants his money back.”

We seem to be headed to that state of affairs at a rapid rate.

The solution for investors is to have some assets outside the traditional markets and outside the banking system.

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/17/2022 - 17:05

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New technology is now the beating heart of patient care

Patient care and healthcare provision have always appeared among society’s top priorities, but keeping people well came into
The post New technology…

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Patient care and healthcare provision have always appeared among society’s top priorities, but keeping people well came into sharp focus during the pandemic.

So, too, did the role of pharmaceutical companies – not least how amazing advances in medical science could help the world combat Covid, but also how the sector was remunerated for its efforts.

As we seek to move beyond the difficulties of the past few years, pharma firms now have the chance to make further advances and bring innovation to market and, in the process, gain competitive edge over their rivals.

The race is on

With an abundance of patient data to hand – GDPR compliance permitting – and cutting-edge technology to aid the development and delivery of new products, the race is on to escalate and improve patient care with solutions that can truly make a difference.

Patients aren’t blind to the tech-driven changes going on around them. We’ve been using wearable technology for decades already. Acceleration of this market really kicked in 20 years ago, when devices from Bluetooth headsets to smart watches came on-stream. Ever since, we seem to have been glued to screens to understand more about ourselves, tapping apps that promise to monitor everything from self-care to Circadian rhythms.

Wearables are becoming breakout technology in the pharma space, too. Biospace estimates the market for these types of devices that add to the patient care toolkit will grow from today’s $21.3bn to $196.5bn by 2030.

In effect, the possibilities are endless. We already have access to devices that monitor our heart rate and alert first responders if sensors detect a health crisis like a stroke or heart attack. Similar technology could be rolled out across society, accelerating critical treatment times.

Emergency response is the tip of the iceberg. All of the data produced by wearables – from blood sugar levels to monitoring changes in the menstrual cycle – can automatically be passed to frontline healthcare organisations, enabling professionals to read and appropriately respond.

Such tech is just one example of an area that is ripe with opportunity for pharma businesses. But there are lots of other exciting developments at our fingertips.

Biosimilars get the sector’s blood pumping

During the past few years, interest has been growing in biosimilars. If you’re unaware of these types of drugs, the NHS describes them as: “Biological medicines that have been shown not to have any clinical meaningful differences from the originator medicine in terms of quality, safety, and efficacy.”

Biosimilars are therefore biological medicines that are highly similar to another version already licensed for use, and they are now being recommended all the time. They are, of course, subject to the same NICE guidance as originator medicine it has already approved. NHS leaders believe biosimilars will create up to £300m of annual savings thanks to their speed of development, a timely saving in a challenging market that looks set to come under increasing financial pressure during the next few years.

Clinicians also note that the biosimilars market will rapidly develop and grow in complexity, since more pharma players will introduce their own treatments using these techniques. At the same time – with full patient/carer consent, it should be acknowledged – healthcare providers are beginning to offer patients biosimilar treatments, such that they should become widely recognised and hopefully accepted in short order.

Patients will experience biosimilars in different ways. For example, my own experience of biosimilars has been to help a global pharma company launch a biosimilar autoimmune drug. The really smart part about this development is the wider use of technology it taps into.

An app was developed so that patient symptoms could be monitored – for example, their baseline health indicators checked and logged, and dietary and exercise advice offered – and adjustments to the drug dose made accordingly by their healthcare provider.

Meanwhile, reading patient data and symptoms using this method will become commonplace. For the patient, constant improvements and updates to associated apps will present them with a slick interface to keep tabs on their own condition and ease access to support.

The wide-ranging benefits of tech-driven treatment

Of course, generations of patients have become used to traditional treatment methods. Whenever there is change it often happens slowly and people need to be persuaded about the benefits of such an evolution.

It’s useful to pause and summarise the reasons why different types of technology are now so important to developments in the pharma and healthcare sectors. Expressing its benefits can help win the hearts and minds of millions of patients the world over:

  • Constant ability to monitor symptoms – including emergency alerts
  • New interaction methods for healthcare providers and patients
  • Better control of treatment plans, including long-term care
  • Overall, a promise of quicker and more efficient service delivery

As mentioned, apps will be one of the main interfaces where this new type of professional-patient relationship takes place. According to a survey by NEJM Catalyst, a majority (60%) of clinicians and healthcare industry leaders believe effective patient engagement makes a serious impact on the quality of care, and can substantially decrease the costs in the system.

Anything that can be done to cure this problem must surely be viewed as a positive. A patient engagement app that improves the experience for physicians and patients is a valuable tool.

Digital tools augment the benefits of medical products, such as by the aforementioned remote monitoring features with the ability to collect important patient data. Overall, mobile patient engagement promises better efficiency for pharma firms’ treatments, doctors, clinics, medical associations, and the whole industry in general.

Pharma giants such as Pfizer, Merck & Co., and Novartis are actively equipping their representatives with innovative digital tools to strengthen their credibility and relevance, reconnect with target audiences, and improve the infrastructure around medical products.

The creation and provision of efficient medical apps for professionals contributes to wider efforts to overhaul treatment programmes.

Digital can be a cure-all for lack of awareness or understanding among patients about their conditions and what they can do to alleviate symptoms. It can also drive better communication between doctors and patients by removing red tape from the process, while maintaining compliance with medical regulations. And it can build efficiency into often overwrought systems, particularly the densely populated urban areas and underserved rural communities that are under the most pressure for different reasons.

Simply by providing apps that drive patient engagement and improve their experience of treatment and healthcare provision, user trust grows. Healthcare apps can be built for patients with a deep level of personalisation, with user-friendly and agile design to suit a wide range of demographic groups. And that’s really the heart of the matter.

Why connecting with the end user matters

Mass adoption of new technology-driven medicines, treatments, and healthcare services will only stand if patients – and therefore their healthcare providers – feel comfortable that this new wave will change their outcomes for the better.

Two elements are critical to society feeling comfortable: technology and communication. That means building and using platforms, from patient apps to portals for healthcare professionals that display information and advice from pharma providers.

By connecting the dots between the pharma companies using cutting-edge platforms for innovative drug delivery, their healthcare markets, and the patients who professionals exist to support we can create a virtuous circle.

Patients will play their own part in the healthcare delivery revolution and provide their data in real-time as part of a feedback loop that the pharma industry can use to refine and invent treatment.

Whether you work in pharma or frontline healthcare delivery, there is no doubt that tech innovation can – and must – be the beating heart of patient services and treatment. You only need to consider the advances it has helped other markets make. For example, observe how smarter use of customer data has shaken up the energy market, allowing consumers to take control by switching to a more suitable option in a few short clicks.

Then consider the wider advertising industry, which has evolved from mass TV marketing to one-to-one, personalised messaging, drawing on data and technology as its fuel.

It’s in this context that we should view the future of pharma and healthcare provision. Technology and the data it delivers can drive drug development, but also the use of medicine in ongoing patient care.

Health tech investment is set to swell as the private and public sectors join forces for the benefit of society at large, and patient demand for innovation in diagnosis and treatment increases. There has never been a better time for pharma leaders to consider new ways to deliver smart, efficient treatments – driven by technology that provides a platform for new medicines and user adoption.

About the author

Rachel Grigg, partnership director at LABS (part of Initials CX), has worked in digital technology for the past 25 years and has seen and been involved with the advent of digital transformation first-hand. Her roles have varied from working in large corporate companies designing technical products to being MD and COO helping small digital agencies grow and succeed.

The post New technology is now the beating heart of patient care appeared first on .

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Dinosaur teeth reveal what they didn’t eat

Scratches on dinosaur teeth could reveal what they really ate. For the first time, dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) has been used to infer the…

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Scratches on dinosaur teeth could reveal what they really ate. For the first time, dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) has been used to infer the feeding habits of large theropods, including Allosaurus and T. rex. By taking 3D images of individual teeth and analyzing the pattern of marks scratched into them, researchers could reason which dinosaurs may have frequently crunched on hard bone and which may have regularly eaten softer foods and prey. This technique opens up a new avenue of research for paleontology, helping us to better understand not only dinosaurs themselves but also the environment and communities in which they lived.

Credit: 2022 D.E. Winkler

Scratches on dinosaur teeth could reveal what they really ate. For the first time, dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) has been used to infer the feeding habits of large theropods, including Allosaurus and T. rex. By taking 3D images of individual teeth and analyzing the pattern of marks scratched into them, researchers could reason which dinosaurs may have frequently crunched on hard bone and which may have regularly eaten softer foods and prey. This technique opens up a new avenue of research for paleontology, helping us to better understand not only dinosaurs themselves but also the environment and communities in which they lived.

From Fantasia to Jurassic Park, the T. rex is seen as a terrifying apex predator that would chase down its prey and crunch on it whole. But how much did this iconic dinosaur actually chow down on bones? And what about other predatory dinosaurs that existed long before it?

Researchers from the University of Tokyo, in collaboration with teams from the University of Mainz and the University of Hamburg in Germany, have used dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA), a scanning technique to examine topographical dental wear and tear in microscopic detail, on individual dinosaur teeth from more than 100 million years ago to better understand what they may have eaten. “We wanted to test if we could use DMTA to find evidence of different feeding behaviors in tyrannosaurids (from the Cretaceous period, 145 million to 66 million years ago) compared to the older Allosaurus (from the Jurassic period, 201 million to 145 million years ago), which are both types of theropods,” explained postdoctoral fellow Daniela Winkler from the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences. “From other research, we already knew that tyrannosaurids can crack and feed on bones (from studies of their feces and bite marks on bone). But allosaurs are much older and there is not so much information about them.”

DMTA has mainly been used to study mammal teeth, so this is the first time it was used to study theropods. The same research team from the University of Tokyo also recently pioneered a study on DMTA in Japanese sauropod dinosaurs, famous for their long necks and tails. A high-resolution 3D image was taken of the tooth surface at a very small scale of 100 micrometers (one-tenth of a millimeter) by 100 micrometers in size. Up to 50 sets of surface texture parameters were then used to analyze the image, for example, the roughness, depth and complexity of wear marks. If the complexity was high, i.e., there were different-sized marks which overlaid each other, this was associated with hard object feeding, such as on bone. However, if the complexity was low, i.e., the marks were more arranged, of a similar size and not overlapping, this was associated with soft object feeding, like meat.

In total, the team studied 48 teeth, 34 from theropod dinosaurs and 14 from crocodilians (modern crocodiles and alligators), which were used as a comparison. The team was able to study original fossilized teeth and take high-resolution silicon molds, thanks to loans provided by natural history museums in Canada, the U.S., Argentina and Europe. “We actually started dental microwear research of dinosaurs in 2010,” said Lecturer Mugino Kubo from the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences. “My husband, Dr. Tai Kubo, and I had started collecting dental molds of dinosaurs and their contemporaries in North and South Americas, Europe, and of course Asia. Since Daniela joined my lab, we utilized these molds to make a broader comparison among carnivorous dinosaurs.”

“It was especially challenging to carry out this research during the pandemic,” said Winkler “as we rely on being able to gather samples from international institutions. The sample size might not be so large this time, but it is a starting point.”

Winkler says what they found surprising was that they didn’t find evidence of much bone crushing behavior in either Allosaurus or tyrannosaurids, even though they know that tyrannosaurids ate bone. There may be several reasons for this unexpected outcome. It could be that although Tyrannosaurus was able to eat bone, it was less commonly done than previously thought. Also, the team had to use well-preserved teeth, so it might be that extremely damaged teeth that were excluded from this study were in such a condition because those animals fed more on bone.

Something the team did find with both the dinosaurs and crocodilians was a noticeable difference between juveniles and adults. “We studied two juvenile dinosaur specimens (one Allosaurus and one tyrannosaurid) and what we found was a very different feeding niche and behavior for both compared to the adults. We found that there was more wear to juvenile teeth, which might mean that they had to more frequently feed on carcasses because they were eating leftovers,” explained Winkler. “We were also able to detect different feeding behavior in juvenile crocodilians; however, this time it was the opposite. Juvenile crocodilians had less wear on their teeth from eating softer foods, perhaps like insects, while adults had more dental wear from eating harder foods, like larger vertebrates.”

Winkler says that the next step with dinosaurs will probably be to look in more detail at the long-necked sauropods, which the team has also been studying. But for now, she is experimenting with something much, much smaller: crickets. The insects’ mouths may be tiny and don’t have any teeth, but the researchers want to see if they can still find evidence of mouth wear using the same technique. “From what we learn using DMTA, we can possibly reconstruct extinct animals’ diets, and from this make inferences about extinct ecosystems, paleoecology and paleoclimate, and how it differs from today.” said Winkler. “But this research is also about curiosity. We want to form a clearer image of what dinosaurs were really like and how they lived all those millions of years ago.”

###

Paper Title: 

Daniela E. Winkler, Tai Kubo, Mugino O. Kubo, Thomas M. Kaiser, Thomas Tütken. First application of dental microwear texture analysis to infer theropod feeding ecology.  Palaeontology, 2022, e12632. doi:10.1111/pala.12632

Funding: 

This work was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (ERC CoG grant agreement no. 681450) to T.T. The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science under a Postdoctoral fellowship awarded to D.E.W. (KAKENHI Grant No. 20F20325).

Useful Links:

Graduate School of Frontier Sciences: https://www.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/index.html

Mugino Kubo Lab: https://sites.google.com/edu.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp/mugino-kubo-lab/home

 

Research Contacts

JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow Daniela E Winkler, Ph.D.

Department of Natural Environmental Studies,
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences,
The University of Tokyo

5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa City, Chiba 277-8563

E-mail: daniela.eileen.winkler@edu.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Lecturer Mugino O. Kubo
Department of Natural Environmental Studies,
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences,
The University of Tokyo

5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa City, Chiba 277-8563

E-mail: mugino@k.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Press contact:
Mrs. Nicola Burghall
Public Relations Group, The University of Tokyo,
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan
press-releases.adm@gs.mail.u-tokyo.ac.jp

 

About the University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo is Japan’s leading university and one of the world’s top research universities. The vast research output of some 6,000 researchers is published in the world’s top journals across the arts and sciences. Our vibrant student body of around 15,000 undergraduate and 15,000 graduate students includes over 4,000 international students. Find out more at www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/ or follow us on Twitter at @UTokyo_News_en.

 

 


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Could investing in bonds yield better returns than equities in 2023?

It’s not news that 2022 has been a tough one for stock markets. There have been sectors, like energy and utilities, that…
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It’s not news that 2022 has been a tough one for stock markets. There have been sectors, like energy and utilities, that have bucked the negative trend but the big picture has been bleak. The UK’s large cap FTSE 100 index has faired better than most and is more or less flat for the year thanks to its heavy weighting towards energy, industrial commodities, and finance.

Source: CSIMarket

But it’s been a volatile ride and the end of the year could still drag London’s benchmark index into the red.

ftse100index

Over in the USA, the major indices have suffered significant losses. The growth companies, especially in the tech sector, that saw Wall Street enjoy over a decade of strong growth with only the occasional short-lived correction have been among those hit hardest by inflation hitting decades-long highs and interest rates rising.

That’s seen the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite register an over 30% loss for the year-to-date and the broader based S&P 500 is down a little under 18% over 2022.

nasdaq composite

However, while the hangover from the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were unpredictable events that have undoubtedly deepened stock market losses, a turn of the market cycle is not a surprise. The bull market that preceded the 2022 bear market was the longest in history, supported by unprecedented levels of quantitative easing and record-low interest rates in major developed economies.

If anything, the surprise was that the bull market for equities persisted for as long as it did and pushed valuations so high. More bearish analysts had been warning of a reversal for years before it actually transpired.

What has been far more surprising, almost unprecedented, is that bond markets have failed to live up to their traditional portfolio role of providing insurance against an equities bear market. When equities, especially growth stocks, enter bear territory, bonds usually go in the opposite direction, rising with interest rates and an influx of capital seeking a safe haven.

Traditionally, a portfolio with a 60% allocation to equities and 40% allocation to bonds should come into its own during periods like this year. The bond allocation would be expected to cushion the blow of an equities bear market, paying its way for lower returns than equities during the good times.

But in the third quarter of this year, a traditionally conservative portfolio with a 40% allocation to equities would have actually underperformed one 100% allocated to equities. Inflation remaining stubbornly high this year despite the Fed and other central banks including the Bank of England has upended the conventional investing wisdom that equities and bonds do not both move in the same direction – the foundational principle of traditional diversification strategies.

But will that change in 2023? Could bonds outperform equities next year in a way that means investors should consider increasing their portfolio weighting towards fixed-income investments?

Why have bonds not lived up to their billing in 2022?

Nothing has worked well for diversified investors this year, not equities, not bonds and not the traditional 60/40 portfolio split between the two asset classes. But will this year prove a blip or has the relationship bet equities and bonds changed fundamentally?

Analysts including Morningstar’s Lauren Solberg believe the performance of the bond market next year will be most influenced by inflation. If inflation remains high, bonds could continue to struggle alongside equities. However, if major central banks including the Fed manage to wrestle inflation back down towards target levels, especially if that is accompanied by a recession, bonds would be expected to revert to their traditional anti-correlation with equities.

This year, one they would have been expected to benefit from a flight from equities and rising interest rates, has been the worst for bonds in modern history. It’s also been the only time in history that stocks and bonds have both recorded losses for three consecutive quarters.

chart2

Source: Morningstar

Sky-high inflation, which is bad for both equities and bonds, has negated the usually positive impact on bonds of a bear market for equities and rising interest rates.

Will bonds return to form in 2023?

There is differing opinion among analysts and market observers about what 2023 might hold in store for bond markets. The more common expectation is that bonds will do a much better job at insulating portfolios than this year with yields now much higher than they were in late 2021.

However, others believe that a secular change in the correlation relationship between equities and bonds is now underway. That is based on the expectation that inflation, even if it falls meaningfully in 2023, could remain at higher levels and be more prone to volatility than it has been over the past couple of decades.

Recent research published by Truist Wealth shows that U.S. government-backed debt has delivered average annual returns of 6.6% over the past four recessions, beating both high-yield ‘junk’ and investment-grade corporate bonds. That would indicate 2023 could be a very good year for bond investors with the right exposure – a focus on government rather than private sector debt. However, we’ve already seen a significant divergence from historical patterns this year.

Marta Norton, chief investment officer for the Americas at Morningstar Investment Management, believes 2023 could be hold opportunities for fixed income, across government-backed and corporate bonds:

“When you look over the past 10 years, it’s really only been an equity story: It’s been such a good market to take on equity risk, a tremendously good time to be an equity investor. But today, it’s harder to know where to invest the marginal dollar. Fixed income is looking more appealing than it has in some time. You don’t have to take enormous risk to earn some return, and that’s a mindset shift to the environment we had before.”

While she acknowledges that U.S. equities now look a lot more attractively priced than they did a year ago, she cautions against investors rushing back to the market and thinks the bear cycle could last longer than many expect. She says the “buy the dip”mentality that has worked so well over the past decade could mean investors risk suffering meaningful losses by moving into a losing market.

She doesn’t advise not investing in equities but that investors should instead drip feed any investment instead of trying to time a bottom.

She is more confident in the opportunities around fixed income investments, especially higher-quality, shorter-dated fixed income, which she says comes with the added benefit of lower risk, especially if a deeper recession materialises.

Christian Mueller-Glissmann, head of asset allocation research within portfolio strategy at Goldman Sachs agrees. He notes the gap in yields between stock and bonds has narrowed substantially since the COVID-19 crisis and is now relatively low. The same is true for riskier credit, which yields relatively little compared with practically risk-free Treasuries and means investors are getting little premium for the risk of owning equities or high-yield credit in comparison to lower-risk bonds. As a result, equities and high-yield debt are particularly exposed to an economic slowdown or recession:

“That just makes equities and riskier debt very vulnerable for disappointments on growth next year”.

Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley is also championing bonds for 2023. She concludes:

“We continue to believe it is premature to call an end to the bear market for U.S. stocks. Investors may have moved on from inflation concerns, but they cannot ignore the economic picture. For now, investors should consider reducing U.S. large-cap index exposure. Instead, look to Treasuries, munis and investment-grade corporate credit. Stay patient and collect coupon income.”

What about UK Gilts vs London-listed equities?

Should investors mainly exposed to London-listed rather than Wall Street-based equities be thinking along similar lines? The FTSE 100 has remained largely flat in 2022, finally benefitting from its lack of growth stocks and heavy weighting to more traditional sectors like energy, commodities and finance.

London-listed equities were considered cheap before 2022, which is another reason valuations have not fallen in the same way as they have in the USA. On the other hand, they are also less likely to see as much upside if a recession is avoided next year and economic sentiment improves.

The FTSE 100 has also been boosted considerably by the soaring valuation of big energy companies like BP and Shell and utilities such as Centrica, which has compensated for companies in other sectors, such as consumer cyclicles, losing value. Energy prices easing off next year, which is by no means guaranteed depending on how geopolitical factors play out, would be negative for the benchmark index.

The UK’s outlook for both equities and government debt is not particularly positive. RBC Wealth Management summarises:

“A crippling cost of living, austerity measures, and the Bank of England tightening monetary policy will all conspire to create a prolonged recession in the UK, in our view. We advocate an underweight position in UK equities, although we are mindful that depressed valuations may produce interesting dividend income opportunities. We have a negative outlook on UK sovereign debt, as increased government debt issuance and the Bank of England proceeding to sell its Gilts portfolio will likely create a Gilt supply glut.”

While it may not appeal to patriotic sentiment, investors looking for the best risk-to-reward ratio in 2023 might be better served to invest in U.S. Treasuries than UK Gilts if a fixed income approach is favoured.

The post Could investing in bonds yield better returns than equities in 2023? first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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