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Why Is There a Flight to Quality Investments?
The US stock market is down a bit as investors are flocking to quality stocks, as reported by CNBC. What is going on? Why is there a flight to quality investments?
Both before the market’s October sell-off and in the two-week bounce, investors have shown a clear preference for “quality” stocks.
Not the same as cheap “value” stocks, these are companies with less debt, stable businesses and some defensive characteristics in a tougher market or economy.
A grouping of such companies by Citi surfaced the likes of Walmart, McDonald’s, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Amgen and Quest Diagnostics.
While not predictive in itself, this pattern is one seen in the run-up to a bear market.
So, what is a quality stock? CNBC notes this.
Quality has no single, strict definition. But the common traits are a sturdy business not reliant on a strong economy; high and resilient profitability; and a strong balance sheet unburdened by much debt.
The point is that many investors are hedging their investment risk as the bull market gets older and older, the trade war does not appear to be going away, and a House of Representatives controlled by Democrats may be a thorn in the side of the Trump administration.
Does a Quality Investment Need to Be a Stock?
An investment that is highly likely or even guaranteed to make a profit and is very unlikely to or guaranteed not to produce a loss should be considered a quality investment. When the risk of an economic downturn or market collapse rears its ugly head, you might just want to choose an investment that will not lose money no matter what happens. In our article we noted that bank deposits are protected by Federal Deposit Insurance. US Treasuries are protected by the credit of the US government. High grade corporate bonds are quite safe. And, long term investing in value (quality) stocks is a way to preserve capital during a downturn and a experience gains as the economy and market improve.