Investing In A Biden Era Economy
Within our previous economic articles, we discussed at length the potential implications of unknown election concerns on the economy, and by extension, on consumerism and the behavior of consumers in a Biden Administration era.
- A Look Ahead At The Risks and Opportunities In The New Year
- Two Weeks Following The Election. Still Many Questions, and Very Few Answers
- Market and Economic Implications of Election Results – What Can We Observe Now?
Within these articles, I discussed the potential for the market’s reaction as uncertainties became known. About one month ago, I encouraged everyone to remain invested and true to their long-term objectives, while being defensively hedged during this period of time.
2021 Brings Some Relief from Market Volatility
Today, many of those previously unresolved election-related concerns are now known factors. Fortunately, we haven’t experienced another volatile period of melting algorithms similar to what we experienced in February and into March of last year related to COVID-19 concerns; However, we are beginning to see what is in my opinion a sector rotation away from pure growth, high beta assets and into what has historically been more conservative, defensive, and lower beta holdings that focus on generating dividends.
A Possible Shift In Market Leading Assets
In just the first few weeks of 2021, I have observed quite a few pure growths, high beta stocks that performed well last year losing 20% or more in value so far year to date. Conversely, we’ve seen quite a few stocks in sectors that, despite not contributing much to the rally from March of last year, are performing strongly just three weeks into the new year.
Just since Christmas Eve of 2020, we have observed a noticeable rise in the yield of the 10-year Treasury bond, and we have also observed a very demonstrable rise in the price of oil. Furthermore, asset classes that lagged the rally from last year are now leading market sectors in just the first few weeks of this year. I believe this is the market looking ahead and beginning to make the adjustments that we’ve discussed in the past as it considers the factors that will likely have an impact on the economy going forward.
Economic Seasons Change
At a very high level, I have offered the following analogy to my clients. The shorts and T-shirts that you were wearing in July are just not the best articles of clothing for the weather in January. Seasons change. Economic seasons change. Today, it is time for the jackets and the jeans. Following that analogy, we are encouraging clients to adjust portfolio holdings to reflect the season into which I believe we are changing.
I do not believe that we will observe an attempt to undertake massive tax reform in 2021, but that is very likely in the following year. Therefore, this sector rotation could give us an extended opportunity for the reallocation of portfolios when suitable.
Proactive Approach to your Portfolio
Within last month’s video, I strongly suggested that this is not the time for an investment portfolio to be left on autopilot. This is the time for proactive management with an eye toward the future. The question should be, where are we going, and why? Today, I would strongly encourage everyone reading this article to be more concerned about that question rather than being complacent with where we have been.
As I have discussed previously, I believe that we are entering into a new season that will be characterized by the slower velocity of money, higher treasury yields, higher inflation, weaker dollars, and a change in consumer sentiment away from discretionary spending in favor of a more cautionary focus on consumer staples spending. Corporations will become more cognizant of the higher tax environment within which they must operate. All of these factors will have an impact on the economy, and by extension the market.
The Economy at a High-Level
At a very high level, I believe that some of the traditional, slower growth and dividend-paying sectors will likely show strength over the coming years. Under the economic and fiscal spending initiatives of the Biden Administration, and given the potential for changes in future tax policy, I believe that some emerging and nontraditional sectors of the market could also perform well.
My Current Thoughts On Types of Stocks and Assets
However, I would caution against simply adopting a basket of utilities, for example, at the surface level. You must dig deeper to eliminate certain candidates that might be very positively correlated to certain sectors such as fossil fuels. Likewise, I would advise against adopting a broad level basket of pharmaceutical stocks but would prefer to hold those that are diversified in a product line and have a wide economic moat.
Speak With A Financial Planning Professional
I could certainly continue along these lines, but for the purposes of this article, I would suggest that if you work with a financial planning professional, engage that person frequently at this time. Determine where your strengths lie and identify where weaknesses may exist, as a function of where we are now and where we are potentially going, as it pertains to changes that will likely come with a new administration.
Do this with an eye on the long-term financial plan that should be guiding you toward the objective of your stated investment goals. In last month’s video, I suggested that there is usually always something to hold in your portfolio. However, there is an art to knowing when to hold certain things, and why. You must always be aware of how the economic seasons are changing so that you can recognize the opportunities for portfolio adjustment. Complacency is not an option.