We geek it up a notch and use some of the popular text-processing techniques to quantify the hawkish/dovish sentiment of the latest Fed statement. Some human “coaching” is needed in every step of the process (hence the “artificial” part). But when these tools are used properly for carefully chosen tasks, they can be quite intelligent.
While the market seems to have priced in a quick recovery, recent economic data has materially exceeded market expectations and provided support to the rally. Within fixed income, we maintain a favorable view toward investment-grade corporate bonds and we still recommend staying within range of the Fed’s fire power.
From a top-down view, since 2003, Value’s performance has been much more closely tied to various asset markets and macro drivers. From a bottom-up perspective, we believe the change in Value’s migration behavior might be the key to its failure. We believe macro tailwinds and positive surprises are both necessary for a true Value revival.
March’s mad dash for cash didn’t stop with rates/credit/FX markets. Among equities, there was also a strong preference for cash liquidity. The market rewarded companies that had strong cash positions and punished those without—which explains why traditionally defensive styles actually underperformed.
Chinese and Hong Kong markets are currently following the same script as seen during the SARS outbreak, but we caution against using S&P 500 performance as a guide for what is likely to happen this time around.
The ultimate question is whether the Fed’s recent “insurance cuts” are enough to overcome uncertainties about trade talk—and the upcoming election—to avert a recession. We updated our “Slowdown vs. Recession” study to see where we stand now. The bottom line is: It’s too early to rule out a recession.
With the Fed now pausing its rate hikes, and the PBoC recapitalizing banks and reactivating lending, our view on credit has turned from defensive to neutral, with a more constructive bias. One of our biggest concerns, global central bank liquidity withdrawal, has been eased by the recent policy moves.
Many were caught off guard by the relentless drop in stock prices and bond yields, but we think the real problem is that most people have underestimated the twin threats of central bank tightening and the ongoing trade war with China.