Having defined and explained various management styles in equity management in part 1, we will now have a look at the specific styles and their return/risk ratio over time.Read more
A clear sense of style is not only important in fashion, but more and more so in equity management as well. But what does “style” mean in equity management? Do stylistic preferences change over time, like in fashion? If so, what triggers those changes? Questions upon questions, but before we go into detail in part 2 of this series, let us first clarify what we mean by style(s):
Two developments are prominently noticeable on the markets at the moment: on the one hand, the indicators of real economic growth suggest a stable real economic growth rate of about 3%. On the other hand, we have seen global consumer price inflation decline since the beginning of the year. The reflation phase, i.e. the general increase in inflation in the second half of 2016, seems to be over (for now).
Everybody who has read academic literature on the performance of shares will know about the fact that value shares (and small cap shares) outperform so-called growth shares in the long run.
Real global economic growth was surprisingly weak in Q1. The preliminary estimate for the annualised growth rate of Q4 2014 to Q1 2015 is only 1.5%. This is mainly due to disappointingly weak growth of the GDP in the USA (+0.2%), in China (+5.3%), in the UK (+1.2%), and in Japan (+1.5%; estimate). Brazil (-2.4%) and Russia (-11.5%) have even shrunk (both figures are preliminary estimates). In line with this situation, the data surprises have been largely negative, and the trend of downward revisions for economic growth has continued.
The new normal
The importance of China for the global economic and financial system continues to grow at a rapid pace. Last year the country set a new milestone by becoming the world’s biggest economy. The total value of goods and services produced in a year exceeds that of the United States. Thus, at 30% China accounts for the largest contribution to global economic growth.
The dynamics of the economy and the markets have declined. Global economic growth is down on a quarter-on-quarter basis, the two most important trends of the past months (appreciation of the US dollar and falling oil price) have come to a halt, inflation is not falling anymore, and the US Fed has put a damper on the expectations of interest hikes. One important exception: the Eurozone has been picking up speed.
The US dollar has appreciated significantly vis-à-vis the euro in the past months. For this trend to continue, at least two developments would have to be in place. Firstly, the US Fed would have to abandon its zero interest rate policy; and secondly, the ECB would have to remain on its path of negative interest rate policy and bond purchases.
The driving topics on the financial markets are the stabilisation of the oil price, mixed economic indicators globally vs. positive economic indicators for the Eurozone, the temporary decline in escalation risk, and the expansive central bank policies.