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The first quarter of 2020 was one of the worst on record, and it certainly felt like it.  In a matter of weeks, a virus that likely emerged from a wet market in Wuhan, China, brought the global economy to a halt.  A Saudi-Russian induced oil price war exacerbated the decline.  Only cash, select government bonds, and gold provided refuge from the carnage.  There is tremendous uncertainty in the near term, as policymakers inject wartime stimulus into economies, creating a bridge until health risks subside and economic activity recovers.  Opportunities are emerging amid the associated uncertai

The first quarter of 2020 was one of the worst on record, and it certainly felt like it.  In a matter of weeks, a virus that likely emerged from a wet market in Wuhan, China, brought the global economy to a halt.  A Saudi-Russian induced oil price war exacerbated the decline.  Only cash, select government bonds, and gold provided refuge from the carnage.  There is tremendous uncertainty in the near term, as policymakers inject wartime stimulus into economies, creating a bridge until health risks subside and economic activity recovers.  Opportunities are emerging amid the associated uncertai

In the ten years since the global financial crisis, emerging markets have faced significant challenges, including a collapse in commodity prices, QE-induced financial market volatility, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and corruption scandals in Brazil.  Largely, their people, institutions, and governments rose to meet those challenges and charted a path forward.  With this COVID-19 outbreak, East Asian emerging market countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan, are managing the crisis with competence and efficiency.

2019 was an extraordinary year for most asset classes, and global equities in particular, with the MSCI World Index delivering its third best gain in the past 30 years.  Markets climbed a wall of worry, receiving a boost from the January reversal of central bank policy coupled with an easing of two significant risk factors faced at the beginning of the year:  Sino-US trade tensions and Brexit.  International equities delivered solid returns but were outpaced by US equities and highly priced technology stocks, which led the advance.  Unlike the poor market sentiment entering 2019, current bu

Quarterly Letter

2019 was an extraordinary year for most asset classes, and global equities in particular, with the MSCI World Index delivering its third best gain in the past 30 years.  Markets climbed a wall of worry, receiving a boost from the January reversal of central bank policy coupled with an easing of two significant risk factors faced at the beginning of the year:  Sino-US trade tensions and Brexit.  US equities and highly priced technology stocks led the advance.  Unlike the poor market sentiment entering 2019, current bullishness has reached six-year highs, while other measures of risk, includi

Global markets ended the year on an optimistic note, as synchronized policy easing and an imminent trade deal between the U.S. and China boosted equities, commodities, and emerging market currencies.  Monetary easing and an increasing amount of fiscal stimulus across developing markets boosted cyclical stocks, despite persistent downgrades to global GDP growth expectations. The signing of the phase one deal between the U.S. and China is a positive milestone, but complex, ideological differences between the two countries mean a lot of work lies ahead for subsequent negotiations.

The Altrinsic International Equity composite gained 1.0% during the third quarter, outperforming declines of 1.1% and 1.8% by the MSCI EAFE and ACWI ex-US indices, respectively, as measured in US dollars.  International markets actually delivered positive returns, as measured in local currencies, but weakness in non-US currencies versus the US dollar more than offset underlying gains.  Dovish central banks and subdued inflation provided a supportive backdrop for equities, but the weight of tepid growth in profits, weakening economic indicators, high debt levels, and escalating geopolitical

Quarterly Letter

The Altrinsic Global Equity composite gained 2.8% during the third quarter, outperforming the flat and +0.5% returns by the MSCI ACWI and World indices, respectively, as measured in US dollars.  Dovish central banks and subdued inflation provided a supportive backdrop for equities, but the weight of tepid growth in profits, weakening economic indicators, high debt levels, and escalating geopolitical risk (US-China trade war, US politics, Brexit, and developments in the Middle East, to name a few) contributed to volatility that is likely to persist.  Aggregate portfolio risk, measured by bet

The global economy continued to slow during the third quarter, as trade tensions remained high and geopolitical risks escalated.  With limited prospects for a comprehensive trade deal and reacceleration in global trade, emerging market policy makers have been pulling the traditional policy levers to confront stagnating growth.  A moderating inflation outlook lowers the risk of capital outflows and downward currency pressure, allowing central banks to join the synchronized monetary easing well underway in the developed world.  Manageable government deficits have also cleared the way for more

Global stock markets delivered robust gains thus far in 2019, outperforming all other asset classes.  This strength continued during the second quarter as dovish central bank commentary outweighed the preponderance of weak economic data and tariff fatigue.  Key developments during the second quarter included aggressive declines in bond yields, continued yield curve inversion in major markets, rallying equity markets led by US stocks, "growth" continuing to outperform "value," disparate performance among commodities, and reduced pricing of risk as indicated by narrowing CDS spreads in most c

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