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August 07, 2023

Managing assets through higher rates

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August 07, 2023

Managing assets through higher rates


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Managing assets through higher rates

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August 07, 2023

 
 

Global equities continued to rally in July as fears of a hard landing seem to have dissipated amid persistent inflation and rising interest rates. The S&P 500 Index returned 3.2%1 (USD) while the MSCI Europe (EUR) Index was up 2.0%1and MSCI Japan Index (JPY) gained 1.3%1. However, the top performers this month were emerging markets, with the MSCI EM Index gaining 6.3% (USD). China soared and held onto early gains with the MSCI China Index returning 10.7% (USD), after the country’s policymakers signalled a ramping up of stimulus measures without providing details. While most analysts do not anticipate the kind of massive support measures seen in previous crisis situations, the risk of instability has decreased. The US 10-Year Treasury yield rose, ending July at 3.95%2 after reaching a high of 4.06%3 during the month, after the Federal Reserve decided to raise rates and economic data surprised to the upside. The VIX index remained subdued, ending the month at 13.92.

 
 

As we head into the final weeks of summer and the heatwave seems to grip most of the world, inflation finally shows signs of cooling. The U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) and core CPI (except food and energy) both increased at a monthly rate of 0.2%[1] and annual rates of 3.0%4 and 4.8%4 respectively, the latter being the lowest since October 2021. The Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 0.25% in July for the eleventh time in the past 17 months, in an effort to contain inflation, but offered little insight into when or even if it might raise rates again. As a result, the benchmark Fed Funds Rate rose to a new high ranging between 5.25% and 5.5%[2], the highest level since January 2001. The expectation for a recession, if any, has shifted to 2024. With persistent labour market strength and the economy continuing to grow, inflation remains higher than the Fed's 2% target. While they remain noncommittal about their next steps, the Fed implied their readiness to jump into action, if needed.

On 27 July, the European Central Bank (ECB) also announced an interest rate hike of 0.25%[3] indicating that inflation, while slowing, was still too high to be comfortable. They indicated keeping rates restrictive, for as long as it takes to bring inflation closer to the 2% target. Meanwhile the Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced a unanimous decision to keep the short-term policy interest rate unchanged. However, in order to enhance the sustainability of its stimulus policy, the BoJ adopted a decision to expand the scope of yield curve control policy.

Investment Implications
As central banks around the globe remain data-dependent, it may very well be the beginning of the end of the hiking cycle, as inflation continues to ease. However, we remain nimble and well-positioned to manage both of the fat tail risks. We increased risk for risk-targeting portfolios. Portfolio realised volatility has increased modestly and the adjustment allowed us to keep broad asset allocations unchanged, while implementing the following tactical changes in July:

US equities
We moved from neutral to overweight US equities, owing to a strong labour market, while corporate profit margin weakness is troughing and rebounding. Fundamental momentum is shifting in favour of US equities and away from Eurozone equities.

US small cap equities
We moved further positive on US small cap equities as we believe they are best valued for our non-hard landing view. Small caps represent higher beta amidst the growth resilience in the economy.

European equities
We move from neutral to underweight European equities, as the European economy is showing signs of weakness and peak corporate profit margins risk reversing eurozone equities.

Eurozone banks
We moved from positive to neutral eurozone banks, as economic growth has been disappointing in the region and the ECB policy increases weigh on demand.

Greek Government Bonds
We moved from neutral to positive on Greek government bonds, as the Greek growth outlook looks more favourable than its European peers, due to its dependence on services and tourism. Greek bonds also have fair cross-sectional valuations.

EM Local Currency Sovereign Debt
We moved from neutral to positive on EM Local Currency Sovereign Bonds, as they provide diversification benefits and less interest rate sensitivity, along with higher yields than traditional safe fixed income investment grade allocations in the current environment. At the same time, we took profits by reducing the overweight to front-end Mexican bonds.

The index performance is provided for illustrative purposes only and is not meant to depict the performance of a specific investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  See Disclosure section for index definitions.

 
 
 
Tactical Positioning
We have provided our tactical views below:
 

Source: MSIM GBaR team. Previous view is as of 30 June 2023 and current view is as of 31 July 2023. For informational purposes and does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security or to adopt any specific investment strategy. The tactical views expressed above are a broad reflection of our team’s views and implementations, expressed for client communication purposes. The information herein does not contend to address the financial objectives, situation or specific needs of any individual investor. The signals represent the GBaR team’s view on each asset class. A negative signal indicates a negative or underweight relative view, a positive signal indicates a positive or overweight relative view.

 
 

1 Bloomberg, 1-month returns, local currency unless otherwise stated, as of 31 July 2023.
2 Bloomberg, 31 July 2023.
3 Bloomberg, data as of 7 July 2023.
4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12 July 2023.
5 https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20230726a.htm
6 https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2023/html/ecb.mp230727~da80cfcf24.en.html

 
andrew.harmstone
 
jim.caron
Chief Investment Officer
Portfolio Solutions Group
 

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RISK CONSIDERATIONS

There is no assurance that the Strategy will achieve its investment objective. Portfolios are subject to market risk, which is the possibility that the market values of securities owned by the portfolio will decline and that the value of portfolio shares may therefore be less than what you paid for them.  Market values can change daily due to economic and other events (e.g. natural disasters, health crises, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) that affect markets, countries, companies or governments. It is difficult to predict the timing, duration, and potential adverse effects (e.g. portfolio liquidity) of events.  Accordingly, you can lose money investing in this portfolio. Please be aware that this strategy may be subject to certain additional risks. There is the risk that the Adviser’s asset allocation methodology and assumptions regarding the Underlying Portfolios may be incorrect in light of actual market conditions and the Portfolio may not achieve its investment objective. Share prices also tend to be volatile and there is a significant possibility of loss. The portfolio’s investments in commodity-linked notes involve substantial risks, including risk of loss of a significant portion of their principal value. In addition to commodity risk, they may be subject to additional special risks, such as risk of loss of interest and principal, lack of secondary market and risk of greater volatility, that do not affect traditional equity and debt securities. Currency fluctuations could erase investment gains or add to investment losses. Fixed-income securities are subject to the ability of an issuer to make timely principal and interest payments (credit risk), changes in interest rates (interest-rate risk), the creditworthiness of the issuer and general market liquidity (market risk). In a rising interest-rate environment, bond prices may fall and may result in periods of volatility and increased portfolio redemptions. In a declining interest-rate environment, the portfolio may generate less income. Longer-term securities may be more sensitive to interest rate changes. Equity and foreign securities are generally more volatile than fixed income securities and are subject to currency, political, economic and market risks. Equity values fluctuate in response to activities specific to a company. Stocks of small-capitalization companies carry special risks, such as limited product lines, markets and financial resources, and greater market volatility than securities of larger, more established companies. The risks of investing in emerging market countries are greater than risks associated with investments in foreign developed markets. Exchange traded funds (ETFs) shares have many of the same risks as direct investments in common stocks or bonds and their market value will fluctuate as the value of the underlying index does. By investing in exchange traded funds ETFs and other Investment Funds, the portfolio absorbs both its own expenses and those of the ETFs and Investment Funds it invests in. Supply and demand for ETFs and Investment Funds may not be correlated to that of the underlying securities. Derivative instruments can be illiquid, may disproportionately increase losses and may have a potentially large negative impact on the portfolio’s performance. A currency forward is a hedging tool that does not involve any upfront payment. The use of leverage may increase volatility in the Portfolio.

INDEX DEFINITIONS

The indexes shown in this report are not meant to depict the performance of any specific investment, and the indexes shown do not include any expenses, fees or sales charges, which would lower performance. The indexes shown are unmanaged and should not be considered an investment. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Consumer Price Index: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care. The CPI is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them; the goods are weighted according to their importance. Changes in CPI are used to assess price changes associated with the cost of living.

P/E: Price-Earnings (P/E) is the price of a stock divided by its earnings per share for the past 12 months. Sometimes called the multiple, P/E gives

investors an idea of how much they are paying for a company’s earning power. The higher the P/E, the more investors are paying, and therefore the more earnings growth they are expecting. Forward to price earnings (P/E) is a measure of the price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) using forecasted earnings for the P/E calculation.

MSCI Europe Index: The MSCI Europe Index captures large and mid-cap representation across 15 Developed Markets (DM) countries in Europe.

MSCI Emerging Markets Index captures large and mid cap representation across 27 Emerging Markets (EM) countries. With 1,417 constituents, the index covers approximately 85% of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in each country.

MSCI Japan Index: The MSCI Japan Index is designed to measure the performance of the large and mid-cap segments of the Japanese market.

S&P 500 Index: The Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index tracks the performance of 500 widely held, large-capitalisation US stocks.

VIX ©: This is a trademarked ticker symbol for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index, a popular measure of the implied volatility of S&P 500 Index options. Often referred to as the fear index or the fear gauge, it represents one measure of the market’s expectation of stock market volatility over the next 30-day period.

DISCLOSURES

There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions, and each investor should evaluate their ability to invest for the long-term, especially during periods of downturn in the market.

A separately managed account may not be appropriate for all investors. Separate accounts managed according to the particular Strategy may include securities that may not necessarily track the performance of a particular index. Please consider the investment objectives, risks and fees of the Strategy carefully before investing. A minimum asset level is required.

For important information about the investment managers, please refer to Form ADV Part 2.

The views and opinions and/or analysis expressed are those of the author or the investment team as of the date of preparation of this material and are subject to change at any time without notice due to market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Furthermore, the views will not be updated or otherwise revised to reflect information that subsequently becomes available or circumstances existing, or changes occurring, after the date of publication. The views expressed do not reflect the opinions of all investment personnel at Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) and its subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively “the Firm”), and may not be reflected in all the strategies and products that the Firm offers.

Forecasts and/or estimates provided herein are subject to change and may not actually come to pass. Information regarding expected market returns and market outlooks is based on the research, analysis and opinions of the authors or the investment team. These conclusions are speculative in nature, may not come to pass and are not intended to predict the future performance of any specific strategy or product the Firm offers. Future results may differ significantly depending on factors such as changes in securities or financial markets or general economic conditions.

This material has been prepared on the basis of publicly available information, internally developed data and other third-party sources believed to be reliable. However, no assurances are provided regarding the reliability of such information and the Firm has not sought to independently verify information taken from public and third-party sources.

This material is a general communication, which is not impartial and all information provided has been prepared solely for informational and educational purposes and does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security or to adopt any specific investment strategy. The information herein has not been based on a consideration of any individual investor circumstances and is not investment advice, nor should it be construed in any way as tax, accounting, legal or regulatory advice. To that end, investors should seek independent legal and financial advice, including advice as to tax consequences, before making any investment decision.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Charts and graphs provided herein are for illustrative purposes only.

The indexes are unmanaged and do not include any expenses, fees or sales charges. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Any index referred to herein is the intellectual property (including registered trademarks) of the applicable licensor. Any product based on an index is in no way sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by the applicable licensor and it shall not have any liability with respect thereto.

This material is not a product of Morgan Stanley’s Research Department and should not be regarded as a research material or a recommendation.

The Firm has not authorised financial intermediaries to use and to distribute this material, unless such use and distribution is made in accordance with applicable law and regulation. Additionally, financial intermediaries are required to satisfy themselves that the information in this material is appropriate for any person to whom they provide this material in view of that person’s circumstances and purpose. The Firm shall not be liable for, and accepts no liability for, the use or misuse of this material by any such financial intermediary.

This material may be translated into other languages. Where such a translation is made this English version remains definitive. If there are any discrepancies between the English version and any version of this material in another language, the English version shall prevail.

The whole or any part of this material may not be directly or indirectly reproduced, copied, modified, used to create a derivative work, performed, displayed, published, posted, licensed, framed, distributed or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without the Firm’s  express written consent. This material may not be linked to unless such hyperlink is for personal and non-commercial use. All information contained herein is proprietary and is protected under copyright and other applicable law.

DISTRIBUTION

This material is only intended for and will only be distributed to persons resident in jurisdictions where such distribution or availability would not be contrary to local laws or regulations.

MSIM, the asset management division of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), and its affiliates have arrangements in place to market each other’s products and services.  Each MSIM affiliate is regulated as appropriate in the jurisdiction it operates. MSIM’s affiliates are: Eaton Vance Management (International) Limited, Eaton Vance Advisers International Ltd, Calvert Research and Management, Eaton Vance Management, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC, and Atlanta Capital Management LLC.

This material has been issued by any one or more of the following entities:

EMEA:

This material is for Professional Clients/Accredited Investors only.

In the EU, MSIM and Eaton Vance materials are issued by MSIM Fund Management (Ireland) Limited (“FMIL”). FMIL is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and is incorporated in Ireland as a private company limited by shares with company registration number 616661 and has its registered address at The Observatory, 24-26 City Quay, Dublin 2 , DO2 NY19, Ireland, Ireland.

Outside the EU, MSIM materials are issued by Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited (MSIM Ltd) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 1981121. Registered Office: 25 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QA.

In Switzerland, MSIM materials are issued by Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc, London (Zurich Branch) Authorised and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht ("FINMA"). Registered Office: Beethovenstrasse 33, 8002 Zurich, Switzerland.

Outside the U.S. and EU, Eaton Vance materials are issued by Eaton Vance Management (International) Limited (“EVMI”) 125 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1AR, UK, which is authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Italy: MSIM FMIL (Milan Branch), (Sede Secondaria di Milano) Palazzo Serbelloni Corso Venezia, 16 20121 Milano, Italy. The Netherlands: MSIM FMIL (Amsterdam Branch), Rembrandt Tower, 11th Floor Amstelplein 1 1096HA, Netherlands. France: MSIM FMIL (Paris Branch), 61 rue de Monceau 75008 Paris, France. Spain: MSIM FMIL (Madrid Branch), Calle Serrano 55, 28006, Madrid, Spain.  Germany: MSIM FMIL Frankfurt Branch, Große Gallusstraße 18, 60312 Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Gattung: Zweigniederlassung (FDI) gem. § 53b KWG). Denmark: MSIM FMIL (Copenhagen Branch), Gorrissen Federspiel, Axel Towers, Axeltorv2, 1609 Copenhagen V, Denmark.

Middle East:
Dubai: MSIM Ltd (Representative Office, Unit Precinct 3-7th Floor-Unit 701 and 702, Level 7, Gate Precinct Building 3, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai, 506501, United Arab Emirates. Telephone: +97 (0)14 709 7158).

This document is distributed in the Dubai International Financial Centre by Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited (Representative Office), an entity regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (“DFSA”). It is intended for use by professional clients and market counterparties only. This document is not intended for distribution to retail clients, and retail clients should not act upon the information contained in this document.

This document relates to a financial product which is not subject to any form of regulation or approval by the DFSA. The DFSA has no responsibility for reviewing or verifying any documents in connection with this financial product. Accordingly, the DFSA has not approved this document or any other associated documents nor taken any steps to verify the information set out in this document, and has no responsibility for it. The financial product to which this document relates may be illiquid and/or subject to restrictions on its resale or transfer. Prospective purchasers should conduct their own due diligence on the financial product. If you do not understand the contents of this document, you should consult an authorised financial adviser.

U.S.:

NOT FDIC INSURED | OFFER NO BANK GUARANTEE | MAY LOSE VALUE | NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY | NOT A BANK DEPOSIT

Latin America (Brazil, Chile Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay)

This material is for use with an institutional investor or a qualified investor only. All information contained herein is confidential and is for the exclusive use and review of the intended addressee, and may not be passed on to any third party. This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a public offering, solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell for any product, service, security and/or strategy. A decision to invest should only be made after reading the strategy documentation and conducting in-depth and independent due diligence.

ASIA PACIFIC

Hong Kong:
This material is disseminated by Morgan Stanley Asia Limited for use in Hong Kong and shall only be made available to “professional investors” as defined under the Securities and Futures Ordinance of Hong Kong (Cap 571). The contents of this material have not been reviewed nor approved by any regulatory authority including the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong. Accordingly, save where an exemption is available under the relevant law, this material shall not be issued, circulated, distributed, directed at, or made available to, the public in Hong Kong.

Singapore:
This material is disseminated by Morgan Stanley Investment Management Company and should not be considered to be the subject of an invitation for subscription or purchase, whether directly or indirectly, to the public or any member of the public in Singapore other than (i) to an institutional investor under section 304 of the Securities and Futures Act, Chapter 289 of Singapore (“SFA”); (ii) to a “relevant person” (which includes an accredited investor) pursuant to section 305 of the SFA, and such distribution is in accordance with the conditions specified in section 305 of the SFA; or (iii) otherwise pursuant to, and in accordance with the conditions of, any other applicable provision of the SFA. This publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.  

Australia:
This material is provided by Morgan Stanley Investment Management (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 22122040037, AFSL No. 314182 and its affiliates and does not constitute an offer of interests. Morgan Stanley Investment Management (Australia) Pty Limited arranges for MSIM affiliates to provide financial services to Australian wholesale clients. Interests will only be offered in circumstances under which no disclosure is required under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the “Corporations Act”). Any offer of interests will not purport to be an offer of interests in circumstances under which disclosure is required under the Corporations Act and will only be made to persons who qualify as a “wholesale client” (as defined in the Corporations Act). This material will not be lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Taiwan:
This material is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation where such a solicitation is unlawful. The products mentioned herein this material may or may not have been registered with the Securities and Futures Bureau of the Financial Supervisory Commission in Taiwan, Republic of China (“ROC”) pursuant to relevant securities laws and regulations. Such products may only be made available in the ROC if they are (a) registered for public sale in the ROC or (b) availed on a private placement basis to specified financial institutions and other entities and individuals meeting specific criteria pursuant to the private placement provisions of the ROC Rules Governing Offshore Funds.

Korea:
This material is not, and under no circumstances is to be construed as an offering of securities in Korea. No representation is being made with respect to the eligibility of any recipients of this material under the laws of Korea, including but without limitation, the Foreign Exchange Transaction Law and Regulations thereunder. The Fund’s mentioned herein this material may or may not have been registered with the Financial Services Commission of Korea under the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act and may not be offered directly or indirectly, in Korea or to any resident of Korea except pursuant to applicable laws and regulations of Korea.

Japan:
For professional investors, this material is circulated or distributed for informational purposes only. For those who are not professional investors, this material is provided in relation to Morgan Stanley Investment Management (Japan) Co., Ltd. (“MSIMJ”)’s business with respect to discretionary investment management agreements (“IMA”) and investment advisory agreements (“IAA”).  This is not for the purpose of a recommendation or solicitation of transactions or offers any particular financial instruments. Under an IMA, with respect to management of assets of a client, the client prescribes basic management policies in advance and commissions MSIMJ to make all investment decisions based on an analysis of the value, etc. of the securities, and MSIMJ accepts such commission. The client shall delegate to MSIMJ the authorities necessary for making investment. MSIMJ exercises the delegated authorities based on investment decisions of MSIMJ, and the client shall not make individual instructions.  All investment profits and losses belong to the clients; principal is not guaranteed. Please consider the investment objectives and nature of risks before investing. As an investment advisory fee for an IAA or an IMA, the amount of assets subject to the contract multiplied by a certain rate (the upper limit is 2.20% per annum (including tax)) shall be incurred in proportion to the contract period. For some strategies, a contingency fee may be incurred in addition to the fee mentioned above. Indirect charges also may be incurred, such as brokerage commissions for incorporated securities. Since these charges and expenses are different depending on a contract and other factors, MSIMJ cannot present the rates, upper limits, etc. in advance. All clients should read the Documents Provided Prior to the Conclusion of a Contract carefully before executing an agreement. This material is disseminated in Japan by MSIMJ, Registered No. 410 (Director of Kanto Local Finance Bureau (Financial Instruments Firms)), Membership: the Japan Securities Dealers Association, The Investment Trusts Association, Japan, the Japan Investment Advisers Association and the Type II Financial Instruments Firms Association.

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FOR USE ONLY WITH "PERMITTED CLIENTS" UNDER CANADIAN LAW. MAY NOT BE USED WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC. This presentation is communicated in Canada by Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc. (“MSIM”), which conducts its activities in Canada pursuant to the international adviser exemption from the Canadian adviser registration requirements. This presentation does not constitute an offer to provide investment advisory services in circumstances where the investment adviser exemption is not available. MSIM may only advise separately managed accounts of "Permitted Clients" and may only manage accounts which invest in non-Canadian issuers. “Permitted clients” as defined under Canadian National Instrument 31-103 generally include Canadian financial institutions or individuals with $5 million (CAD) in financial assets and entities with at least $25 million (CAD) in net assets. Permitted Clients may only invest in a separately managed account referenced in this presentation by entering into an investment management agreement with MSIM, of which this presentation is not a part. Materials which describe the investment expertise, strategies and/or other aspects of MSIM-managed separately managed accounts may be provided to you upon request for your consideration of the available investment advisory services offered by MSIM.  MSIM and certain of its affiliates may serve as the portfolio manager to separately managed accounts described in this presentation and may be entitled to receive fees in connection therewith.

 

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