Comparing Risk Assets in Mid-Cycle Markets
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Text on screen: Jason Odom, Product Strategist, Asset Allocation
Odom: Erin, starting with you, can you talk about our overall risk profile in multi-asset portfolios, given where we’re at in the cycle?
Text on screen: Erin Browne, Portfolio Manager, Asset Allocation
Browne: We’re overweight risk in our portfolios on the back of the view that we’re in a mid-cycle environment, and we generally prefer equities over other risk oriented asset classes in mid-cycle environments.
Text on screen: Emphasizing tactical flexibility and sector/security selection in portfolios
Images on screen: PIMCO trade floor
After the strong rally that we saw over the past year, we’re really emphasizing tactical flexibility along with sector and security selection in portfolios.
Odom: Thanks, Erin. Drilling into individual asset classes, Geraldine, can you talk about PIMCO’s views on equities and credit?
Text on screen: Geraldine Sundstrom, Portfolio Manager, Asset Allocation
Sundstrom: Above trend growth is a supportive environment of risky assets like equities or credit where we have an overweight stance. That said, on valuation grounds, equities are looking a little cheaper and our overweight is bigger.
FULL PAGE GRAPHIC -- presents PIMCO’s views across asset classes in five columns. Top of page shows Overall Risk with dial at overweight. Then from left to right -- Column 1: Equities, overweight; US, overweight; Europe, overweight; Japan, overweight; Emerging markets, neutral. Column 2: Rates, US, underweight; Europe, underweight; Japan, underweight; Emerging markets, overweight. Column 3: Credit, overweight; Securitized, overweight; Investment Grade, overweight; High yield, overweight; Emerging markets, overweight. Column 4: Real Assets, overweight; Inflation-linked bonds, neutral; commodities, overweight; REITS, overweight; Gold, neutral. Column 4: Currencies, underweight; USD, underweight; Euro, neutral; Yen, neutral; Emerging markets, overweight.
FULL PAGE GRAPHIC: Equities, overweight; US, overweight; Europe, overweight; Japan, overweight; Emerging markets, neutral.
Looking more precisely into equities, we are long those sectors and companies that are going to enable this green and digital recovery, paying particular attention to those ESG factors. In terms of region, this tilts us towards the United States, Japan, and emerging market Asia.
And when looking at sectors, we could mention in particular semiconductors and green technologies.
FULL PAGE GRAPHIC: Credit, overweight; Securitized, overweight; Investment Grade, overweight; High yield, overweight; Emerging markets, overweight.
When it comes to credit, we are cautious on generic corporate credit. That said, we do find certain numbers of opportunities in housing related credit, in particular non-agency mortgages and U.K. RMBS.
We also like other securitized credit like AAA CLOs in Europe. Last but not least, there are also some reopening sensitive corporate credit where we do also have exposure as well as select external debt from emerging markets.
Odom: And staying with you, Geraldine, how about our view on rates?
Sundstrom: We are slightly cautious when it comes to duration,
Images on screen: European Central banks
since we think central banks are going to very slowly remove accommodation, and we’ve reached that peak.
FULL PAGE GRAPHIC: Rates, US, underweight; Europe, underweight; Japan, underweight; Emerging markets, overweight.
That said, we don't think that rates are going to sell off dramatically, and we see them evolving inside a range.
Currently, interest rates are the bottom part of this range, and therefore, this warrants a tactical underweight stance. That said, we will be ready to dial up and down our exposure depending where we find ourselves, since fixed income is potentially the great diversifier in an asset allocation portfolio. In terms of region, we favor the dollar block as well as specific emerging market local rates.
Odom: Thanks, Geraldine. Erin, back to you. Can you talk about our active currency views?
Browne: Midcycle environments tend to be periods of dollar weakness, and in fact, when you look at the dollar relative to either developed market currencies or emerging market currencies right now, the U.S. dollar screens pretty rich on a relative valuation basis.
FULL PAGE GRAPHIC: Currencies, underweight; USD, underweight; Euro, neutral; Yen, neutral; Emerging markets, overweight.
As a result, we’re moderately underweight the U.S. dollar, particularly against other developed markets.
However, we do think that you need to be gradual in your approach in terms of scaling into emerging market currencies, particularly since the overhang of the COVID pandemic still continues to disrupt many emerging market currencies.
So we’re really looking to be selective in starting out with being long emerging market currencies in SEMEA and Eastern Europe, and we’ll look to gradually increase that position as we navigate through the back half of 2021 as well as into 2022.
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