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After the S&P 500 returned 30% in 2013, many expect the stock market to see a correction this year. For those antsy investors looking for safe haven investments, BlackRock’s Russ Koesterich pointed to how these assets performed in periods of high financial markets stress in the last 20 years, as compared with the broader stock market. “Contrary to popular belief, gold may not be the best performing safe-haven option, at least based on an analysis by David Wang, a researcher on my Investment Strategy Group team,” he wrote.
“…Based on David’s analysis, though all of the safe havens examined outperformed the broad equity market during the high stress periods, they didn’t outperform equally. The 10-year U.S. Treasury was the best performing safe haven on a risk-adjusted basis, followed by 10-year German Bunds, 10-year U.K. Gilts, yen and gold, as the chart below shows.”
Koesterich for his part doesn’t think stocks are in bubble territory yet and thinks that in the absence of an external shock, they could still rise this year. He also said that “during periods of normal market performance when uncertainty isn’t high, safe havens tend to underperform the equity market.”
Vanguard is reminding clients that it’s important be cautious when considering past returns with caution when gauging future returns. This is because this can be “highly date-dependent.” “For example, take the five-year average annual return for the broad U.S. stock market, as measured by the Russell 3000 Index. That average just made a startling bounce: from 2.04% for the period ended December 31, 2012, to 18.71% for the period ended December 31, 2013.”
“True, the market returned a hearty 33.55% in the most recent 12 months, but that’s not enough to explain such a big leap in the average. Significantly, the 12 months ended December 31, 2008 — when U.S. stocks returned — 37.31% during the financial crisis — has now rolled off the five-year calculation.” This is why the thinks investors should always pick asset allocation strategies based on their long term goals and risk tolerance.
Goldman Sachs president and chief operating officer (COO) Gary Cohn spoke with Bloomberg TV’s Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle at the World Economic Forum in Davos. While he doesn’t say if he thinks investors are too bullish he did point out one key risk he sees.
“I don’t know if people are too bullish or not. But I’m gonna remind you of a conversation we had last time I was on the air with you. I said, look, something that I was concerned about – one of my risks – is liquidity. I said one of the things that is coming out of the market as we continue to regulate markets, we continue to increase capital charges — you’ve seen all of the banks withdraw balance sheet, withdraw risk-weighted assets from the market . We need to get used to seeing more and more moves like this. This is just a natural evolution of where markets are headed.”
In a letter to Jack Reed and Charles E. Grassley, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) chief Richard Ketchum said the regulator is working on a rule that would prevent brokers from demanding that their transgressions be wiped off their records. Based on the findings of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA), FINRA said it is “developing rule changes that would prohibit the practice of conditioning settlements on an investor’s agreement not to oppose expungement.”
“While the suggestion to include such conditions in exchange for additional compensation does not always originate with the brokerage firm or broker, this practice may interfere with arbitrators’ ability to independently determine the appropriateness of expungement and make the requisite affirmative finding.” The letter is dated January 6 but was released today.
The VIX is a popular measure of volatility and is also known as the ‘fear gauge’. A development in the derivatives market for the VIX suggests the sell-off we’ve seen in the stock market over the last two trading sessions could be ending. Near-term VIX futures are now more expensive than long-term VIX futures which suggests that traders expect volatility in the future to be lower than it is now, according to Dave Lutz, head of ETF trading and strategy at Stifel Nicolaus.
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