eToro Post – Adding US Dollar Index (DXY) Exposure to an All Seasons Portfolio

Interest rate risk and sentiment risk (periods of risk off behaviour) are two risks that are typically difficult to hedge. These risks have characterized the first nine months of 2022, so if we could find some asset that could help offset losses in stocks and bonds during these periods, that would be great.

Therefore, with this post, we look at an alternative investment that could provide at least some protection against rising rates, and one of them could be to go long the United States Dollar. In this article, we will be looking at an index giving broad exposure to the dollar, what benefits it adds to a diversified portfolio, and how a retail investor can add this exposure to a portfolio.

We review the UUP ETF (Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund) and its underlying exposure to the US Dollar Index ("DXY"), what it is, and why it might be a good diversifier.

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Portfolio Update – August 2022

July is well behind us, and now that most of the rate hikes in the US up to about 3.75-4.00% are expected and priced in, the All Seasons Portfolio got a bit of a revenge this past month with some positive performance.

The US inflation rate for July was just published as 8.5%, down from 9.1% in June, and below market expectations of 8.7%. It could be that inflation has peaked, as theorised by several market commentators and macro traders, and that the main fear on a forward-looking basis is weak growth.

We check out a few extra charts this month to find more perspective on what the market believes about inflation going forward. If expectations are coming down, there would be more room for new surprises to the upside that are not priced in.

It is wise - as always - to remain agnostic.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – August 2022

Portfolio Update – July 2022

July is well behind us, and now that most of the rate hikes in the US up to about 3.75-4.00% are expected and priced in, the All Seasons Portfolio got a bit of a revenge this past month with some positive performance.

The US inflation rate for July was just published as 8.5%, down from 9.1% in June, and below market expectations of 8.7%. It could be that inflation has peaked, as theorised by several market commentators and macro traders, and that the main fear on a forward-looking basis is weak growth.

We check out a few extra charts this month to find more perspective on what the market believes about inflation going forward. If expectations are coming down, there would be more room for new surprises to the upside that are not priced in.

It is wise - as always - to remain agnostic.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – July 2022

Insights – Interest Rate Risk and Asset Correlations with Future Cash Rate Expectations

"Is the All Seasons Portfolio strategy not working anymore?"

With an annual drawdown for such portfolios almost as bad as for the stock market YTD (S&P 500 currently being down 16% since 1 January, having briefly been below -20%), I am not surprised that I have been hearing this question more and more recently. Is this a bug or a feature?

The first seven months of 2022 can be illustrated by two major themes in terms of financial markets: a) significant underperformance of major asset classes such as stocks and bonds, and b) rising rates.

The latter constitutes one of two undiversifiable risks for investors, as when the cah rate rises, that impacts asset prices as returns of risky assets always compete with the return of cash.

In this article, we explore interest rate risk and how most major asset classes have correlated with the future cash rate expectations over the first seven months of 2022. We try to answer the question on if the All Seasons Portfolio strategy is broken, or if the playing field has been reset and that we can expect better performance ahead.

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Portfolio Update – June 2022

The half-time whistle has sounded for 2022, and it is one of the worst first halves in a very long time for the stock market - not since 1970 has this US stock index declined more than 20% in the first six months of a year. Coincidently, that was also a time of rapidly rising inflation and rising rates to combat it, which echoes in this market decline, albeit there are many structural differences between the two compared years.

A decline of more than 20% also famously (or infamously) is the mark for when investors consider a bear market to officially have begun. While stocks have recovered slightly in the first part of July to get back on the right side of that limit, it is still clear that this current market environment is not fitting stocks at all.

As predicted a month ago in the May 2022 monthly update, the Fed's chairman Powell has increased the steering rate by 75bps to 1.50%, and as non-farm payrolls came in stronger than expected for June (372k added jobs vs. expected 268k), there is room for further sharp hikes from the the US central bank as the hikes so far have not adversely impacted the employment rate, why further hikes would be possible without hurting the economy as much as first feared. It is likely that the Fed is chasing a recession as it is currently only focusing on inflation as stated by J. Power after the June meeting, why rising rates can be expected into a recession.

The commentary on the latest Macro Voices episode with an interview of Jeff Snider (7 July 2022), is however that from looking at the eurodollar curve, the market expects some additional hikes into the autumn and end of 2022, before the Fed lifts its foot from the throttle and perhaps starts easing again into 2023/2024. This possibility is something to bear in mind while allocating assets ahead, but much uncertainty remains.

Let us take a closer look at how this all affects the markets and my All Seasons Portfolio.

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Portfolio Update – May 2022

Market update of May 2022 includes a growing dependency on the next few inflation prints, as these will determine the strength of Fed's reactions and in extent the direction of the stock and bonds markets.

With negative QoQ real GDP growth in the US and continuing high inflation, we are not far from a technical recession and truly entering a stagflationary environment. While not there completely yet, the risk will put pressure on growth assets and nominal bonds, why broader exposure to other assets is recommended.

In my All Seasons Portfolio, the above factors impacted monthly returns negatively, but I expect my strategy to be prepared for the uncertainty ahead with continuing overweighting to inflation assets.

Continue ReadingPortfolio Update – May 2022