Market News 2012


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A brief reflection on 2011 and an outlook for 2012.

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Market News 2012

  1. 1. market news February 2012 1301 Annapolis Drive • Raleigh, NC 27608 • 919.838.3221 • toll free: 877.678.5901Highlights of our Baseline Thinkingfor 2012: 2012 – Year of the Dragon and the Politician  pward bias for stocks with a range of U Floods, earthquakes, and landslides rocked 1,100 to 1,550 and low bias for interest the planet in 2011. Humans shook the earth rates up to first-half of 2012: headwinds as well. Dictators were toppled, global citi- Michael D. Hakerem, and uncertainty may surface quickly zens shouted their displeasure in the streets, CFA®, Chief Investment  ross domestic product, manufactur- G ing, retail sales still muddling through and America lost her coveted AAA credit Officer. Michael leads the and below true unrestricted potential: rating. Unfortunately, we leave nothing TSWM portfolio manage- no U.S. recession despite recession more than a calendar technicality behind as ment team with a passion in Europe the tumultuous characteristics will not dis- for the highest standards of integrity and professional  lobal debt-crisis can kicked down the G appear. Much like the decades of the 1970s excellence. He is responsible for advice that includes road: reflation and manipulative efforts and 1980s, pressures are building and every- asset allocation, tactical strategy, securities analysis by the world’s central banks are in place one feels its reach. Whether you foresee pos- and portfolio implementation. and somewhat coordinated in the U.S., itive breakthroughs or complete disaster, we Asia and Europe can all agree that 2012 marks a significant  hina will not implode in 2012 despite C inflation, export, and real estate risks time of historical transformations. Putting to work harder than ever to gather informa-  merging Markets are attractive long- E the Mayan Calendar aside, the Chinese New tion on your family, communicate the good, term with better growth prospects, Year begins on January 23—the Year of the bad and the ugly in the financial markets, young populations, et cetera: still rely Dragon. It is sure to be an interesting year, as and to be the most trustworthy advocate on developed nation customers and the world is soon to be further awash in hot your family can rely upon in 2012. carry risk political breath.  Investors sometimes seek the silver bul-  atch key barometers like global yields W We must all put fire under ourselves, not let as protection when markets are stressed. (especially French, Spanish and Italian); necessarily to change strategic plans and Unfortunately, many investment vehicles Copper prices, Euro-to-US $; Chinese rotate into whatever worked last year (the that are popular during volatile times are GDP +/-8% and CPI +/-6% biggest of big companies, Treasuries, Gold expensive, complex, tax inefficient and take  riangle Securities Wealth Management T (TSWM) believes in the merits of main- and Utilities), but to recommit to a thor- unfair advantage of investors’ fear. They taining a well-thought-out plan of asset ough examination of objectives and unique also can have significant adverse effects on allocation and conservative balance. As financial planning inputs. It makes sense portfolios during normal market environ- your family’s trusted advocate, we will to first decipher and prioritize those items ments. Behavioral research shows that typi- not rely on our gut reactions as 2012 which are somewhat more controllable yet cal investors will let their emotions rule unfolds. We will commit to sound port- still often overlooked, ignored or procras- their financial decisions—letting fear or folio and financial planning principles in order to mitigate the impact of emo- tinated away. We know that budget forma- euphoria prompt them to exit and enter tional decision-making. tion, estate planning, mortgage decisions, the markets at precisely the wrong times— timing of retirement, social security benefits severely impairing their results. TSWM and other cash flow judgments are hard to believes in the merits of maintaining a tackle; nonetheless, it must be done. We well-thought-out plan of asset allocation have to commit to providing complete and and conservative balance. As your family’s realistic information for ourselves and our trusted advocate, we will not rely on our gut advocates. Let us obligate ourselves to sound reactions as 2012 unfolds. We will commit strategic and backup plans before the vola- to sound portfolio and financial planning tility escalates further. Do not let this hard principles in order to mitigate the impact of and required work fall to the bottom of your emotional decision-making. to-do list, for the transformation that con- tinues in 2012 is far reaching. The Triangle Securities Wealth Management team plans Continued on page 3
  2. 2. Reflection on 2011 In 2011, the SP 500 posted a modest 2.11% return with dividends. International equities suffered large double-digit losses. Over the last five years, mutual fund investors collectively withdrew roughly a half trillion dollars from U.S. stocks and added nearly one trillion dollars to bond funds. These investments were made despite the seemingly cheaper equities and overvalued bonds. In fact, the biggest gainer in 2011 was the 30-year Treasury with a total- 4 return north of 30% as its yield fell by 145 basis 3.5 points from 4.34% to 2.89%—the yield on the 10– 3 year fell by 143 basis points to 1.88% after reaching a low for the year of 1.67% in October. Rates were 2.5 supposed to go up due to runaway inflation and 2 too much debt, right? (Yields and bond prices 1.5 move inversely) In our January 2011 market update, we outlined 1 a 60% probability investment scenario driven by 0.5 battles aligned with those waged in 2010: refla- tion versus deflation, austerity versus stimulus, 0 et cetera. We outlined the case for an SP 500 to trade from 1,100 to 1,463. In actuality, the SP’s closing ranges were 1,099 and 1,364. We believed Source: Data provided by Zacks Research interest rates would remain low due to the Federal Reserve’s documented fear of deflation alongside the world’s lack of long-term growth initiatives. Interest rates hit historic lows in the fall. We were completely baffled by the lack of urgency and compromise surrounding the U.S. debt-ceiling debacle and subsequent downgrade of America’s AAA credit rating in August. We endured severe volatility led by endless foreign rhetoric and European Summits. The investment climate was especially miserable from August to October as the SP 500’s price dropped nearly 13% for the year at its close on October 3rd. The combination of centrist political cooperation and stimulus activity sent the SP 500’s price upwards by over 33% from the lows of July 2010 to the high reached on April 29, 2011. In 2012, an equivalent upward move in time and per- centage from October 2011’s low would drive the SP to 1,465 by July 2012. We believe there is a high probability this will occur as we previously outlined in three past market updates. We reiterate that we are currently in the midst of that risk-on and reflation move; however, we importantly note the strong potential for a relatively short-lived rally into 2012 based on where the world stands today—shaky ground. Of course, we must also substitute the likes of China, Brazil and Australia’s rekindled efforts to stimulate their economies rather than give much credit to political cooperation! By the way, any political cooperation or advancement has mostly come from the European Central Bank’s willingness to institute its own stealth quantitative easing and bank liquidity facility. Have you ever traveled north on I-95? Then you are familiar with the complete political traf- fic jam that is inside the Beltway. We still count Washington D.C. as a major point of risk as the only certainty is the opportunity to create more chaos. Unfortunately, the political power struggle Source: Data provided by Zacks Research is global in nature as countries throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Russia are likewise set for elections. A continuation of the minutely positive economic trends of the fourth quarter 2011 and early 2012 could be claimed as a victory for the financial markets. Furthermore, despite our own set of monumental problems, the U.S. may gain traction as the winner of investor’s hearts and wallets while Europe fights its downward spiral. Nevertheless, we would much rather maintain long-term, balanced and conservative investment and financial planning strategies than wager on a political miracle.2
  3. 3. Dragon and the PoliticianContinued from Page 1A trip around the World of critical decisions, none of which come On the positive side, two major structuralThe World Bank cut its forecast for global as “easily” as deciding whether to pay your influences on U.S. gross domestic producteconomic growth this year from 3.6%, pre- debts. Germany is scheduled to begin its have renewed interest in today’s rhetoric.dicted in June, to 2.5%, the biggest reduc- 18th parliamentary (Bundestag) elections Manufacturers are mobilizing produc-tion in three years. For the U.S. economy, in September 2013. tion and jobs back to our shores as demandthe bank softened its prediction from 2.9% The year of the politician goes without say- shifts and cost gaps with overseas opportu-to 2.2% growth. For the Eurozone, the bank ing in the United States of America where nities narrow. If government can removechanged from 1.8% expansion to 0.3% con- we vote on November 6th for the office of barriers and provide a favorable businesstraction. According to the International President, the House of Representatives and and investment climate, the trend may gainMonetary Fund (IMF), Europe’s debt crisis one-third of the Senate. The mudslinging significant traction this decade. Speakingthreatens to drag the world into recession. and negative campaigning is sure to make of decades . . . decades of presidents haveThe IMF cut its forecast for this year’s global us feel even worse about America the beau- promised energy independence. In his Ovaleconomic growth from 4% to 3.3%. Chief tiful. President Obama offered Americans a Office address on June 15, 2010, PresidentEconomist Olivier Blanchard spoke out populist economic vision in his State of the Obama laid out high ambitions and calledon the crisis, saying, “The epicenter of the Union address. for a “national mission” to wean the U.S. offdanger is Europe, but the rest of the world At the latest Federa l Open Market its “addiction to fossil fuels.” Hopefully weis increasingly affected. There is an even Committee meeting on January 25th, the are not faced with another pie-crust prom-greater danger, namely that the European Federal Reserve indicated a current strat- ise. On February 1st, Navistar announcedcrisis intensifies, and in this case the world egy of keeping rates low into at least late its launch of a comprehensive natural gascould be plunged into another recession.” 2014. Bond yields have been artificially dis- strategy, including integrated natural gas Europe is taking the marathon approach torted by the Federal Reserve’s programs product offerings that will provide custom-to its problems; nevertheless, it faces a sprint as a means to stimulate the economy and ers with a sustainable, commercially viableof maturing debt, bank insolvency threats, keep U.S. borrowing costs low. For exam- solution for adding natural gas poweredunpopular austerity, social and cultural ple, the Federal Reserve was the buyer of trucks to their fleets. The United States hasconflicts and upcoming elections. “Please about 61% of the long term Treasuries auc- been called the Saudi Arabia of natural gastake the long-drawn-out processes with tioned in January 2012. So, we obviously and we have lots of black gold, too.a degree of acceptance,” Chancellor of have unusual activity impacting rates and An escalation of events surrounding IranGermany Merkel said in a question-and- whenever that adjustment back to reality will heighten volatility and add upwardanswer session at the World Economic shall pass, it will be quick! What is that next pressure on oil and gas prices. With assassi-Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January fork in the road? More quantitative easing? nations of scientists, war games in the Strait25, 2012. Euro nations have hundreds of More money supply? of Hormuz (20% of the world’s traded oilbillions in euro principal and interest pay- On Ja nu a r y 27th, t he C om merce passes daily) and further sanctions by somements due in 2012-2013 alone. Department announced the first estimate U.S. allies, a transformation in Iran can be Germany is in a crisis of historic mag- of real U.S. gross domestic product growth expected in 2012. The United States report-nitude. It must have a free-trade zone in at an annualized pace of 2.75% in the fourth edly sent a letter to Iran via multiple inter-Europe as 40% of its economy is export- quarter of 2011, the fastest pace in more mediaries warning Tehran that any attemptdriven with a great deal of the goods sold to than 18 months yet well below more typical to close the Strait of Hormuz constituted aEuro nations. Germany has taken a leader- recovery rates. The Congressional Budget red line for Washington. In Ankara, Iranianship role in deciding the balance between Office projects we could see an extra $11 parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani met withgrowth objectives, austerity and prudence in trillion in cumulative national debt over the Turkish officials, floating hints of flexibilityborrowing practices for many of its brothers coming decade, pushing the total to over in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.and sisters in the Euro Community. While $26 trillion. It is clear that we have a two- A parliamentary election will be held inGreece is at the forefront of today’s head- pronged problem: too low growth and too Iran on March 2nd to elect new members oflines and discussions, other nations are not high debt. Negative structural problems the Islamic Consultative Assembly, Majlis.far behind. Germany must be careful not to of debt and entitlements, unemployment This is the first national vote since the 2009fester too much of the anti-German feelings and education, growth initiatives, and big disputed presidential poll when popularof previous eras. How far is Germany will- government are very real, very big, and noing to push its own national interests? Let us genuine and sustainable plan is underway.not forget that it is culpable for this crisis, The payroll tax cut is a prime example oftoo! The Germans are faced with a number limited thinking in order to win votes. Continued on page 5 3
  4. 4. A Few Thoughts on Asset Allocation and Portfolio Positioning for 2012:   egative for all assets and especially stocks: If no compromise is reached on N extensions, what are the implications if investors sell in 2012 to avoid a higher tax regime in 2013? It depends on what is at stake on the buy-side of investors’ motiva- tions later in the year; however, Triangle already implements strategies to harvest tax-losses, promote low turnover of holdings, defer gains, and invest in potentially tax- efficient securities like municipal bonds and Master Limited Partnerships.   ositive for stocks and especially U.S. stocks: Domestic, International and Emerging Market equities are cheap. P For example, the SP 500 trades at roughly 12-13 times estimated 2012 earnings of $106, 3 multiple points below the last 50 years’ average (when the yield on the 10-year U.S. note approached 6.70%) and nearly 7 multiple points below times in history when interest rates and inflationary expectations were similar to today’s 2% levels. The future is so unreliable due to among other things, terrorism and war, political and regulatory uncertainty, and the perceived unfairness of financial markets resulting in investors refusal to pay for $1 of earnings like they did in the past. We expect a varying degree of discount to persist indefinitely; however, some of this gap could close. Individual and institutional investors have fled U.S. stocks since the highs of October 2007 so there is ample room in portfolios for renewed demand. Developed International stocks may get cheaper if Europe goes into full blown recession, the debt crisis further deteriorates and the Euro’s existence is perceived as vulnerable. Any failure in the global reflation effort may knock off worldwide demand for goods and services. This would translate into another bad year for emerging market stock performance despite the favorable balance sheets, demographics and strong long-term growth potential.   ositive for stocks if you believe in contrarianism: Consumer confidence and investor sentiment has improved. P Then again, distrust and skepticism remain for everything from housing to the perceived fairness of the stock market. We will watch mutual fund flow data, retail sales and sentiment polls to gauge any return to exuberance. Historically, activity and interest in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) market has been a reliable indicator of risk- taking and euphoria. Will the Facebook IPO mark a top on the 2012 market advance? Hmmmm . . . .   ositive for portfolio performance: Diversification and conservative balance have historically delivered positive P risk and inflation adjusted after-tax returns. Points of emphasis should include cash in-hand strategies where many securities pay dividends or interest. While dividend income has been a major aspect of returns for decades, its appeal is heightened by investor concerns over market volatility, low bond yields and the threat to bond values from an eventual rebound in interest rates and inflation. A balanced portfolio could also include a mix of complementary securities that TSWM refers to as Hybrids, where specific events, strategies or market niches are targeted. Many of our clients tend to favor large blue-chip companies, which is positive. However, another hybrid of sorts that may prove beneficial is to emphasize the stocks of mid-sized companies where earnings growth is potentially higher than average, yet liquidity and valuation are possibly more attractive versus the stocks of smaller companies.*   hort-term pain for long-term gain: After selling off early in the year over credit concerns and a weak Treasury S market, municipal bonds finished the year with benchmarks of 10-year and 30-year AAA rated municipal bonds trading at low levels of 1.86% and 3.86%, respectively (Municipal Market Data). Low yields and shorter-durations (sensitivity to interest-rate movements) hurt portfolio performance in 2011. This “safer” strategy of avoiding long maturity bonds may hurt again if rates stay the same or actually retreat in 2012. The trend of ever lower rates will reverse at some point when high rates (lower bond prices) and inflation are perceived as threats. It makes sense to pass on short-term performance in order to avoid long-term pain in fixed-income. *All clients are unique and not all securities will be deemed suitable for specific goals.4
  5. 5. Dragon and the Politician and entrepreneurship. China will also Play with fire and someone gets burned… begin staggered parliamentary transitions The investment and asset allocation sce-Continued from Page 3 in October 2012. Second, the 12th Five- narios for 2012 are endless. Investors whouprisings against the results challenged the Year economic plan (2011-2015) announced choose to make big concentrated bets willlegitimacy of the regime. The elections will in March 2011 sets the nation’s course for be rewarded if they are right. Smart peoplebe of great interest in the Islamic republic, as social and economic measures that will have think you can make another double-digiteconomic and political discontent in Iran is a deep impact on the business landscape, return in thirty-year Treasuries as the rateaccelerated with fears of a major confronta- both within China and in countries that do drops back to 2.5% from today’s 3.1%. Stilltion with the West over its nuclear program. business with China. Three of the main pri- others believe all Gold, all of the time, willThe other dynamic is the covert operations orities in this plan are sustainable growth, win no matter inflation, deflation, or Blackof Iran. The Arabian Peninsula is fertile industrial upgrading and the promotion of Swan event. We can argue for new highsground for power struggles and the trans- domestic consumption. Most importantly, in equities and new lows in bond pricesformation of essential relationships in leadership must demonstrate significant (higher rates) and we can rationally putplaces like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are at efforts to address the root causes of rural forth rationale for the complete opposite.stake. Another test of influence should play discontent fuelled by poverty, inequality, Most investors can agree that, with eachout when Egypt holds elections “no later corruption, rising healthcare costs and new phase of the moon, the end game ofthan” June 30, 2012. illegal land requisition. The last item that the super debt cycle gets closer. Though, China will not bring the global economy causes us to minimize the global risk threat nowhere is it written that 2012 will be adown in 2012. In fact, it will add upward posed by China in 2012 is less visual and year of investment turmoil. The Mayanspressure on global reflation and reflation more cultural. The Year of the Dragon car- could not possibly have foreseen a superoriented trading. Some large global inves- ries great symbolic significance for the debt cycle and over spending followed by ators worry that a financial and real estate Chinese people. In Chinese astrology the massive deleveraging and austerity, right?collapse is looming and regard China as the dragon was seen as a powerful almighty Wealth preservation is the single mostsingle greatest threat to the global economy. king because it was made up of different important objective we hear from TSWM’sWe see this risk as very minimal in 2012 as parts of animals such as a tiger, fish, snake family of clients! Our conversations high-the Chinese are extremely incented to pre- and an eagle. The Chinese dragon was not light a desire to protect principal and pur-vent, push-out or “control” such news. The seen as a threatening evil being—rather a chasing power, with a majority uninterestedruling Communist Party is shifting focus to symbol of power and wisdom. Still today, in sharing more of their hard-earned dollarssupport growth rather than dampen infla- the dragon is a revered symbol as seen in with that drunken ole’ sailor Uncle Sam.tion as Europe’s debt crisis threatens to curb many sculptures and carvings. Let us hope Conservative factors such as income pro-exports and threaten 8-9% GDP growth. that the Chinese five blessings of harmony, duction, liquidity, transparency, low costs,To “promote social harmony,” China will virtue, riches, fulfillment and longevity diversification, and tax efficiency are topcontinue to focus on rebalancing growth, reach us all! priorities yesterday, today and tomorrow.restructuring the economy and increasing The United States relationship with China Sure, all clients want to grow their assetsconsumer and investment demand to sup- has been called one of the most important and it is natural to compare your portfo-port the economy. “Priority will be given to factors of our future. On the one hand, lio’s absolute performance versus the SPkey projects and projects under construc- Xi Jinping, China’s vice president who is 500 or to some “homerun” story writtention, and we will limit industries suffering widely expected to become president this in the Wall Street Journal . As you know,from overcapacity, those that cause heavy year, will visit the White House on February we are your family’s advocate and we arepollution and are energy intensive,” said 14th. It is the second of planned reciprocal prepared to evaluate the risks of 2012 muchPremier Wen. visits between the vice presidents, as U.S. more than the “homeruns.” Buying the best Three areas must be viewed as success- Vice President Joe Biden visited China in performing asset in 2011, the thirty-yearful in 2012 in order for China to exhibit its August 2011. Xi is scheduled to meet with U.S. Treasury bond was risky last year. Ofplace in the world order. First, the trans- President Barack Obama, Biden and other course, that is why it paid over 30%. In 2012,formation to a fifth generation of political senior officials, and also travel to Iowa concentrated positions in U.S. Treasuries,leadership scheduled for the 18th National and California. On the other hand, it is emerging markets, European developedCongress of the Chinese Communist Party reported that the Obama administration markets, commodities and the highest riskmust be smooth. The current top leaders of is considering significantly expanding the stocks could pay off handsomely. If wealthPresident Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao U.S. military presence in the Philippines, preservation is a serious objective,and Chairman of the National People’s two decades after the island nation evicted then we cannot prudentlyCongress Wu Bangguo are all expected to American forces from their biggest base in ignore diversification andretire. It is interesting to note that new lead- the Pacific. Such an expansion would be the risk management, no mat-ership is much less the traditional engineer latest in a series of strategic moves aimed at ter how convicted we are onand more trained in management, finance countering China. any given investment. 5
  6. 6. Still Super: 1. he United States of America is still the T most powerful country on the planet. Its downfall has been called for many times: our democracy, growth and GDP per capita, innovation,Triangle Securities We alth diversity, quality of global franchises, expertise, operationalManagement is an independent execution and political foundations are still envied the world over.registered investment advisor pro-viding customized asset manage- 2. ight or wrong on the methods used; our banking system is recapitalized, liquid Rment and comprehensive financial and funded with the solid deposits of global cash.planning services. 3. .S. corporations boast the strongest balance sheets and best margins, are the U most productive, and are arguably the most solid operators in the world. Even through the recent depression, U.S. corporations advanced their global fran-Our mission is to help our clients chises and brands and now serve more diverse end markets and geographiesachieve the peace of mind that comes than ever before. Our corporations are positioned for offensive dominance if wefrom placing their financial wealth in can just remove the barriers of uncertainty.the hands of caring, competent and 4. e U.S. currency, debt and system of corporate reporting and checks and bal- Thexperienced people. We are in busi- ances are still among the strongest in the world. Compare, for example, theness to serve our clients. global statistics on opaque reporting and regulations, pirating and corruption, and political stability. We are by no means perfect; however, look at the compari-Our core values describe who we are sons to countries like China and India and you may feel a little prouder.and what we stand for, as well aswhat our clients can expect from us 5. e U.S. is rich in self-reliant resources, has important geographic distinctions Theveryday. such as trade routes like the Mississippi, and has the most powerful Navy and military force in the world. 6. e were fortunate enough to hear Tony Blair speak last November in San W Trust. Service. Value. Francisco, and he noted that a true test of a country is whether people want to leave it or come to it. The world’s citizens are still drawn to the United States ofThe trust we establish with our cli- America for a better life and to pursue all the golden opportunities it can offer!ents is paramount in creating long Despite all the news of the aging Baby Boomer generation, the U.S. is the thirdterm relationships. most populous country (315 million) and has waves of new younger generations.We strive to provide an exceptional Our demographic trends are particularly more favorable for growth than thoselevel of service at all times by antici- trends seen in other industrialized nations.pating the needs of our clients andthen exceeding expectations.Our clients should expect to receivemore value from us than they can get Considered Wins in 2012:anywhere else.   eal U.S. GDP Growth: 3–4% (annualized after inflation adjustment) RPlease note: When you send us  SP 500: Any positive that pays for the risk incurreda check, don’t forget to make it   0–Year U.S. Treasury Rate: rises to 3% due to sustainable growth trajectory 1payable to “Charles Schwab,” not   nemployment Rate: 9% with an average participation UTriangle Securities. rate of 66% (now reported at 64%)   il: $85-$100 a barrel and working lower based on domestic supplies O Triangle Securities News is and use of natural gas; for instance, 18-wheeler fuel conversion published by Triangle Securities   nflation: 2% with a belief that a Japanese-style deflationary cycle is avoidable I 1301 Annapolis Drive, Raleigh NC 27608 phone 919.838.3221 toll free 877.678.5901 ast performance does not indicate future results and there is no assurance that any forecast/targets will be obtained. The charts and indices have P been included to provide you with an understanding of their historic long-term performance and are not presented to illustrate the performance fax 919.838.9081 of any security. Source of Graphs: Thomson Reuters Baseline. Investors cannot directly purchase an index. The SP 500 is (a registered trade- mark of McGraw Hill Inc.) an unmanaged, index of common stocks. This was prepared by, or obtained from, sources believed to be reliable and represent the views of Michael Hakerem. Any market prices are only indication of market values and are subject to change. The material has been prepared, or is distributed, solely for informational purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument, or to participate in any trading strategy. Triangle Securities Wealth Management, Inc. does not provide tax or legal advice.