The interest rates, or coupons, that bonds pay differ due to a variety of parameters. If bond A pays a higher interest rate than bond B, this premium is referred to as spread.
“SELL IN MAY AND GO AWAY (BUT REMEMBER TO COME BACK IN SEPTEMBER)”
Who has not heard of the old stock exchange rule “Sell in May and go away” – sometimes complemented by “but remember to come back in September”. We had a closer look at this adage and have analysed the performance on the global stock exchanges over the past 48 years. To this end, we looked at an index that measures exactly that: the company MSCI launched its MSCI World index on 1 January 1970, This is also the start date of our analysis.
Investing for the long or the short term? This is the question bond investors ask. In this blog, we will have a look at German government bonds with a remaining time to maturity of two years (2Y; short) and ten years (10Y; long). More specifically, we are interested in the yield differential between the long- and the short-term interest rates. The technical term here is the “slope of the yield curve”.
USA, the land of unlimited possibilities, the Grand Canyon, and the Big Mac. Here, everything is bigger, better, and higher. But is this also true for interest rates?
Have you ever been to the Monte Carlo F! Grand Prix? If so, you may have witnessed the problem of turning into a curve too late. The race car hits the crasher barrier faster than the driver can react, and a lot of money has to be thrown at the repair job.
“Don’t put all your eggs into one basket” – who has not heard this old stock market adage. With Easter approaching, we are having a closer look at the background of this saying.
If you thought “quarterly” was a simple adverb characterizing a regularly recurring activity, you may need to reconsider. A new term is making the rounds: “quarterly capitalism” – and in this context, “quarterly” stands for “short-term, myopic, greedy and dysfunctional”. In fact, the term was already invented four years ago by Dominic Barton of McKinsey and was swiftly embraced by, among others, Al Gore and Prince Charles to call for a major overhaul of current business practices of listed companies and fund managers. Recently the term has reached a new level of prominence after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in a series of appearances, complained that the “tyranny of the next earnings report” resulted in companies’ paying “too little attention on the sources of long-term growth: research and development, physical capital and talent”. Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Clinton’s proposed remedy consists of a mixture of higher taxes and more regulation.
The stock exchanges have been moving sideways and down for weeks. There are of course enough uncertainty factors such as the Greek crisis, the correction on the Chinese stock exchange, and the expected interest rate increase in the USA that can serve as explanation. However, one factor that has (so far) been left out of the equation is the fact that company earnings are hardly growing. The increase on stock exchanges is fundamentally justified if the valuation levels are rising across the board without earnings growth (e.g. price rises due to the low interest rates) or if company earnings themselves are rising (thus justifying the valuations). The interest rates can actually not fall any further, which means that the stock exchanges cannot get any impulse from that end.
How does the other factor, earnings growth, look? There is no clear answer to that question. Some market participants are rather sceptical. In the following I will try to shed some light on these factors, company earnings and earnings momentum.
After the recent, rather substantial corrections on the bond markets many investors were wondering:
“Can or should I still invest in bonds or bond funds in view of possibly rising interest rates?”
Let’s first have a look at the bonds with the highest quality within the Eurozone, i.e. German government bonds. Where have the prices of these bonds gone most recently?
In our example, we have chosen a 10Y German government bond.
We have seen European equities outperform their American peers in the year to date, both in local currency and in euro. Not even the increase of the US dollar relative to the euro of 8% made a difference to that. What is this pro-European optimism based on? After all, the US economy has seen a significantly better development than the Eurozone. The same is true for US companies, which have been recording profit growth, as opposed to Europe, where profits have generally been falling recently. The uncertainties in Greece and Ukraine only add to this scenario.