Global Equities

This report is a cross-asset performance review in which we distill the key developments of the quarter, followed by substantiating charts and tables. 

 

Quarterly Letter

8 min read | It was a strong quarter for risk assets, with robust gains for equities, tightening high-yield credit spreads, rising oil prices, and a spike in cryptocurrencies. The global economy, led by strength in the US, has demonstrated impressive resilience following sharp interest rate hikes, as economic data generally surprised to the upside. Meanwhile, inflation has moderated but it remains well above levels experienced in recent decades. The resulting "soft landing" narrative, expectations for interest rate cuts, and continued excitement surrounding AI have fueled a powerful rally.

Quarterly Letter

8 min read | Global Equity markets delivered strong gains in 2023, climbing 23.8% for the year and 11.4% in the fourth quarter, as measured in US dollars. These gains marked a reversal of 2022's dismal market performance (-18.1%), as animal spirits returned with vigor. 2023 concluded with the VIX near multi-decade lows, bitcoin up over 150%, global high-yield bond spreads near 15-year lows, and equity investor bullishness near all-time highs.

Quarterly Letter

9 min read | The Altrinsic Global Equity portfolio declined 1.6% (-1.8% net) during the third quarter, as measured in US dollars, compared with declines of 3.5% and 3.4% for the MSCI World and MSCI All Country World indices, respectively. Outperformance came amid volatility in stock, bond, currency, and commodity markets, as markets and economies are grappling with an environment transitioning from one flooded with free money to one of rising nominal and real interest rates. This transition, coupled with significant uncertainty around growth, inflation, regulation, technology competition, and government policy, contributes to elevated risk in markets. We believe these factors should support a broadening out in markets with greater attention paid to quality, valuation, and risk.

Quarterly Letter

8 min read | Narrow market leadership by highly priced US growth stocks has been a thorn in our side, and we have written extensively about the combination of factors that would cause markets to broaden out. Despite the most significant of these conditions being well underway (rising rates and inflation uncertainty), the lack of breadth in markets has returned to historically extreme levels, with enthusiasm surrounding generative AI contributing to the surge. AI is a significant technological innovation, but we believe it is being greatly overhyped and overestimated in the short term, as is typically the case with new technologies. Stock prices for leading “AI stories” discount growth rates that will be difficult to achieve, thus impairing their underlying margins of safety. Although there are pockets of excess and exuberance, 68% of global stocks underperformed the MSCI World Index in the second quarter – and 44% actually declined – leaving many companies offering very compelling risk/return propositions. We see opportunity among companies embracing AI in their operations to enhance their business quality and efficiency, most notably in health care, non-life insurance, exchanges, global consumer franchises, industrials, and business services, to name a few.

Quarterly Letter

10 min read | Global equities delivered strong gains during the first quarter as investors shrugged off two of the three largest bank failures in US history and the collapse of once venerable Credit Suisse. The proximate cause for the rally is a belief that inflation risk is vanquished, interest rates have peaked, years of extraordinary financial stimulus can be normalized painlessly, and the global economy will not experience a downturn. This implies a tremendous amount of confidence in policymakers.

Quarterly Letter

10 min read | Global markets recovered strongly during the fourth quarter, aided by falling inflation expectations, optimism that the US Federal Reserve would move away from aggressive policy tightening, an improved energy outlook in Europe, and President Xi’s unexpected decision to unwind zero-COVID policies. The rally was certainly welcomed, but 2022 was the most challenging year since the global financial crisis. According to Michael Howell of CrossBorder Capital, global investors lost US$23T of wealth in housing and financial assets in 2022, equivalent to 22% of global GDP and greater than the US$18T of losses suffered in the 2008 financial crisis. Commodities were the only refuge, as long-term bonds had their worst year since the 18th century (according to the Financial Times) and equities fell 18.1% in 2022 (MSCI World Index) even after rising 9.8% in the fourth quarter, as measured in US dollars.

Quarterly Letter

The downturn in markets continued during the third quarter as concerns over tightening monetary policy, inflationary pressures, weakening economic growth, and geopolitical risks intensified. Despite strong gains early in the quarter, the MSCI World Index declined 6.2% (as measured in US dollars), ending approximately 22% below peak levels reached in September 2021. The Altrinsic Global Equity portfolio declined 8.2% over the same period.

Greed has given way to fear. We have not reached a stage of extreme capitulation, liquidity unwinds, or distress, but fear emanating from headlines and market declines is reflected in poor investor sentiment and the growing presence of value.

Quarterly Letter

Global equities delivered their worst quarterly performance since the European sovereign debt crisis as uncertainty stemming from inflationary concerns, tightening central bank policies, and rising recession risk weighed on markets.  The Altrinsic Global Equity portfolio declined 10.9% during the second quarter, outperforming the MSCI World Index’s 16.2% decline, as measured in US dollars.   Outperformance was derived from all major industry exposures except real estate, materials, and utilities.  We take no consolation in our relative outperformance during this painful drawdown.  Near-term macro data and corporate earnings will likely be disappointing, but we are confident in our positioning and encouraged by the investment propositions offered by a growing number of companies with strong long-term fundamentals and attractive valuations.

Quarterly Letter

The Altrinsic Global Equity portfolio declined 0.1% during the first quarter, outperforming the MSCI World Index’s 5.2% decline, as measured in US dollars.   Just as most nations began lifting COVID-related restrictions and returning to normal, tensions intensified amidst surging inflationary pressures, tightening policy measures in the US,  lockdowns in China, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.  

 

 

Pages