Investment letters

Sell in may and go away

07/2019

A Welcome Truce

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

Tension ahead of late June G20 summit in Osaka was high. Would this gathering of world leaders put the final nail in the coffin of multilateralism or instead succeed in rekindling discussions towards a US-China trade agreement – not to mention global cooperation on the climate front?

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Sell in may and go away

06/2019

Not Out of the Woods

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

The European elections have come and gone, without the feared populist victory but yielding a fragmented landscape – which promises intricate negotiations to form a majority in parliament and elect the EU Commission President. Meanwhile, financial markets have also been rattled by a new set of Trump missiles, targeting China and Mexico. Making investment decisions in such an unpredictable and geopolitically-driven context really is a delicate and difficult task.

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Sell in may and go away

05/2019

"Sell in May and Go Away" ?

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

With little risk that central banks deviate from their accommodative stance – save perhaps a scenario of victory of the left in the European elections and subsequent German takeover of ECB leadership – risky assets look set to pursue their upward path, at least through the end of this year and of course conditional on a good outcome to the difficult, but still ongoing, trade talks between the US and China.

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Green Light from the Fed

04/2019

Green light from the FED

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

The one central bank that had embarked on the monetary policy normalisation route has just stopped dead in its tracks. The US Federal Reserve’s March 20 decision not to hike interest rates at this point – nor indeed probably for the remainder of 2019 – and to go easy on balance sheet reduction provides a clear signal to financial markets: low yields are here to stay, so the risky asset rally is welcome to continue.

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DOESVALUATIONMATTER

03/2019

Does Valuation Matter?

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

Helping financial markets extend their rally late February was an unexpectedly solid 4th quarter 2018 US GDP report. With the Fed now on pause, a trade deal with China seemingly at hand and Trump-promised infrastructure investments to possibly finally materialise, the largest world economy looks set to continue growing this year, breaking its post-war cycle length record.

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TradeWar2.0

02/2019

Trade War 2.0

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

A look at the recent performance of shipping stocks – or the Baltic Dry index (BDI) for that matter – would suggest that the end of the world is nigh. After all, transportation is typically considered a leading economic indicator, with shipping its most volatile segment. Should we really be readying for a disaster scenario?

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g20

01/2019

New Horizons

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

The first day of 2019 saw the NASA spacecraft “New Horizons”, launched in January 2006, reach the Ultima Thule comet in the Kuiper Belt, at the outer limit of our solar system. “New Horizons” took some 900 amazing pictures per second during its flyby, before continuing its voyage at a dazzling speed into the unknown territory of the wider galaxy.

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g20

12/2018

Cause and Consequence

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

Photograph: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Have financial markets been correcting because of underlying weakness in the real economy? Or could it be that market turmoil will be what bring this long-lasting economic upcycle to its knees? As we turn the last page of 2018, the eternal “chicken or egg” question is very much open.

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11/2018

Lessons from the October Rout

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

October certainly lived up to its adverse reputation, with the S&P 500 index posting its worst monthly decline since 2008, equities losing ground across the globe and bond yields nearing multi-year highs. Still, rather than marking the start of a deeper and broader downturn – one that extends even beyond financial markets – we view the recent corrective episode as a drill for what awaits investors, once the tipping point is eventually reached.

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10/2018

Nearing the Tipping Point

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

What if the main victim of US-promoted trade barriers were its own domestic economy? The European Central Bank recently made such a suggestion, which is also starting to be buttressed by economic data – be it in terms of the US trade deficit or inflation.

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09/2018

Should We Ride the New Economy Wave

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

The current outperformance of US equity indices goes beyond an investor craze for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (collectively known as the FAANG stocks). It reflects a new versus old economy battle, which is starting to have serious real-world implications. And this battle is being fought on uneven terms, with still cheap and plentiful money providing an undue advantage to new economy companies.

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08/2018

US Recession Concerns are Premature

by Pascal Blackburne & Luc Synaeghel

The market is wrong in thinking that the US have nothing to lose in a trade war with China – just as it is wrong in expecting the world’s largest economy to weaken already next year.

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