In our March Markets in Motion and our Envestnet hosted webinar, we focused on the need in a financial crisis (whatever the origin) to help craft easy-to-understand, longer-term narratives for Advisors and their Clients. Panicking and abandoning diversified investment strategies during volatility and market crashes/surges is a time-tested losing proposition. This update is going to center specifically on our current view, with an intent to update everyone as we process critical data and information from our proprietary research as well as corporate and governmental sources.
1) The economic recovery from the recession-conditions we have entered is most likely “U”-shaped.
We have notedthat “event driven” recessions aretypically shorter in duration and areaccompanied by severe initial marketcrashes followed by quick rebounds ineconomic and market conditions—the “V”-shaped recovery. Our data isindicating that we will not get a reliableforecast of top-down corporate earningsuntil at least late 3rd or early 4th quarterthis year. That injects more uncertainty
over a longer period of time, thus:
2) Market volatility will likely stay high during this longer-than-anticipated period of uncertainty.
We believe for now–dependent on additional dataon the economy re-opening and re-building, as wellas very large improvements in virus testing andtreatment therapies– that the equity markets willbe subject to a handful of “ups and downs.” The best proxy we have is the last meltdown in 2008-09, where an initial crash was followed by six sizablebounces, leading us to conclude:
3) That a conservative portfolio of high quality equities and a recession-level amount of short term treasuries and near cash equivilents is the prudent tactical allocation right now.
If there’s a vaccine or a massive improvement in testing capibilitiesbetween now and the 4th quarter, which results in a far faster ramp-up of economic activity and resultant confidence incorporate earnings estimates, then we will capture a decent amount of upside and have opportunities to employ cash for our growing “post-virus” shopping list. To go back to where we started—we’d be delighted with a quick “V” shaped economic andmarket recovery, which equity prices seem to be signalling currently, but are not convinced we want to bet a large amount of risk on that scenario. Adaptability to new data is embedded in the GT process, and we will be vigilent in protecting client assets and alert as opportunities unfold.
With this month’s positioning, we recognized that credit and financial conditions have continued to deteriorate while risk assets rallied sharply, and we took steps to de-risk our portfolios; we sold our US value equities, European equities, emerging market equities, preferred stocks and commodities to raise cash equivalents. We will continue to be data dependent and evaluate further changes in positioning.
Finally, know that all our Strategies will adapt to fundamental or rules-based, not emotional influences. We seek opportunities for solid risk adjusted returns and to preserve capital in asset market downturns.
Recent Portfolio Changes
We exited our positions in US Value equities, European Equities, Emerging Market Equities, Preferred Stocks and Commodities to raise cash equivalents. After a sharp rally for risk assets, we took steps to meaningfully de-risk our portfolios amid unprecedented volatility and deteriorating financial conditions.
1 Information as of 4/15/2020. Individual account allocations may differ slightly from model allocations
2 Contains international exposure
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The JAForlines Global Tactical Allocation Portfolio composite was created July 1, 2009. The JAForlines Global Tactical Income Portfolio composite was created August 1, 2014. The JAForlines Global Tactical Growth Portfolio composite was created April 1, 2016. The JAForlines Global Tactical Conservative Portfolio composite was created January 1, 2018.
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