Trying to predict investment opportunities for a year or two into the future is not an exact science. The standard warning that goes with such forecasts is they are educated predictions, and there is no guarantee they will occur. However, as I share my forecast with you, I’ll explain the thinking that goes into it.
This is for those of you who are sitting on a good amount of cash. You may be an individual or a company with the pleasant problem of deciding what to do with your money. You might find yourself continually asking, “Should I invest my money or hang onto it? And if I invest, where should I put it?” After all, the goal of an investment is to preserve what you are investing, while receiving a good return off it.
As everyone knows, the stock market has been perking steadily upward for more than a decade. It seems like an extremely attractive vehicle to place your money. While history gives no indication of future performance, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In its past, the New York Stock Exchange has seen several streaks where the stock market continually rose. One was from 1949-1956 and resulted from World War II concluding and America starting its march to becoming the most robust economic machine in the world. A couple others occurred in the 1980s and ’90s, when new federal laws governing investments, savings and pensions infused a great deal of money into the market. The latest is from 2009-present and came about after the market meltdown of 2008. Much of the current streak is the result of very low interest rates as the Fed cut those rates to historically low levels for a long time.
The previous upward trends, and any other little streaks the market had, all have one thing in common — they ended. Some ended with a bang and a crash, while others were more of a bull market turning to a bear market. I don’t think we are going to be heading into an economic recession with a resulting market crash or major correction anytime soon. However, there is one factor affecting the stock market that is unpredictable and, I believe, has a more significant impact on its performance than ever before.
I am talking about politics, both the national and international variety. Whatever your opinion is of President Trump, the stock market should stay steady throughout 2020 and into 2021, at least, if he wins re-election next year. If the Democratic candidate wins, the stock market will probably take a negative hit, at least initially. Investors would then have to see what type of economic policies the new administration formulates to get an idea where the stock market will go from there.
The policies of whomever is president as they deal with trade and relationships with other countries will also have a bearing on the nation’s economy. Every time trade with China is in the headlines, you see a bounce or a dip in the stock market depending on the type of news. Wars and conflicts can also crop up at an alarming rate, and when that happens, all forecasts get thrown out the window until the situation stabilizes. Unfortunately, we live in a volatile world, and there is no sign of that abating in the future.
Overall, I believe the stock market will continue to rise, but because of the political volatility the nation is experiencing, there are going to be some peaks and valleys with moderate growth. Fixed investments continue to see a low yield and low interest rate environment. While their rate of return might not be stellar in the economic conditions that favor the stock market, there are ample opportunities to invest in things like general account portfolio of life insurance companies and other specialized fixed items, such as short-term private lending and mezzanine debt, due to their availability.
The economy still appeals to the bulls. For bears, low interest rates make it difficult for those who receive a fixed income on conservative investments. Those same low interest rates set by the Fed that spurred the current bull market have slowed the growth of some other investments.
The bottom line is the economy looks good for the next couple of years. I don’t think we will see a recession. That being said, I urge great caution for anyone considering a major investment right now. The potential effect the political environment in the United States can have on the stock market and other investments is a wild card you cannot ignore. If you are sitting on money to invest, it would be wise to keep sitting on it. Even with a still rising economy, keeping money liquid for future investments is a good idea. Even if the political dust clears after the 2020 election, it might not be until 2021 that the picture will clear on the best places to put your cash.
The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.
Raise a glass to this resilient alternative investment – Wealth Professional
“We created a company that completely turned [wine investing] on its head, which wasn’t to lose the sexiness or the passionate side of wine, we embrace that. But it was also to go to serious investors and say, ‘we’ve got the access, we’ve got the capacity, we have a top-down asset management approach, we have the right checks and balances internally, and we build portfolios based upon someone’s risk profile.”
Gearing said its portfolios are built to deliver the best risk-adjusted returns. Integral to this is its in-house data science team, which has developed its own bespoke proprietary software. The past two years has seen the company invest heavily in machine learning and AI algorithms, which are a big part of modelling and making sure they get the best portfolio balance.
Gearing said: “We use the human touch where the human touch is needed. Wine is a qualitative product in that it’s subjective. You need a human to have some input on the taste or feeling or emotion you get from it. You’re never going to get computers to be able to tell you that because a computer can’t tell you if the wine is over its maturity rate, for example.
“It’s going to take an expert sommelier to taste the wine and say that. We can then build data patterns around that based upon historical knowledge and subjective tasting notes but it’s about combining the two – and that’s what we try to do. We’re not trying to be a quant.”
Cult Wines, therefore, marries the expertise of its in-house sommelier with its tech talent and investment committee. These touch points have helped grow a global company that, as well as a 24,000 square foot warehouse in Wiltshire, U.K., has storage facilities in northern central France, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Brazil, and New York state.
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The biotech sector has started the year with a bang. The industry benchmark, iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (IBB), is up ~11% so far in January — far better than the S&P 500’s 3% return. Covering the sector for Wells Fargo, 5-star analyst Jim Birchenough is upbeat about what he sees. “Overall, we see roughly 20% to 30% additional upside for the sector by historical metrics and would argue that accelerating pace of innovation and greater pipeline de-risking should ultimately support higher returns on investment,” Birchenough noted. An environment like that will be manna from heaven for any investor interested in pharmaceutical stocks; an improved political climate will just add some icing to this cake. “While a split House and Senate supporting continued legislative inertia would have been best received, in terms of maintaining a positive status quo for biotechnology growth, we believe that value proposition for emerging biotechnology therapeutics should win-out under any administration and House/Senate mix,” Birchenough added. With this in mind, we wanted to check out some of Wells Fargo’s recent picks in the biotech space to see if the investment firm could steer us towards any game-changers. After running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we found out that two recently scored Buy ratings from the rest of the Street, enough to earn a “Strong Buy” consensus rating. Karuna Therapeutics (KRTX) We will start with Karuna Therapeutics, a specialty pharma company whose focus is mental health. Specifically, Karuna works on the development of new drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia and dementia-related psychoses (DRP). With a potential patient base exceeding 2.7 million people, this is a large market. And the state of current treatment options is widely considered less than satisfactory. Medication side effects are severe, while therapeutic effects are less than desired. This leaves an opening for a company that can put a new, more effective, treatment on the market. Karuna is currently enrolling the pivotal Phase 3 EMERGENT-2 Study of its leading drug candidate, KarXT, for the treatment of acute psychosis in adults with schizophrenia. KarXT has showed a differentiated safety profile and efficacy in Phase 2 data. Furthermore, Phase 1b data in healthy elderly volunteers for DRP remain on track for 2Q21. This solid pipeline, with a new drug in multiple studies to treat several aspects of a serious disorder, has piqued Wells Fargo’s interest. Covering KRTX for the firm, analyst Jacob Hughes writes, “Karuna Therapeutics is our top idea in 2021. While KRTX shares have had an impressive run… we see a very attractive setup for the stock over the next couple years and several important catalysts in 2021 to drive the shares higher… We think the pipeline has been de-risked and we like the risk/reward at these levels as the value of KarXT is proved out.” To this end, Hughes rates the stock an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and his $163 price target implies an upside of ~59% for the coming year. (To watch Hughes’ track record, click here) It’s not often that the analysts all agree on a stock, so when it does happen, take note. KRTX’s Strong Buy consensus rating is based on a unanimous 6 Buys. The stock’s $138.80 average price target suggests a 35% upside from the current share price of $102.80. (See KRTX stock analysis on TipRanks) Zymeworks, Inc. (ZYME) Vancouver-based Zymeworks is a clinical stage biotech involved in researching new drugs for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune disorders, and inflammatory diseases. The company focuses on biotherapeutics, drugs precisely engineered for their target diseases. The company’s lead candidate, zanidatamab, has indications for biliary tract cancer, breast cancer, and gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma. The drug is in Phase 1/2 testing for these cancers. Zymeworks’ second clinical candidate, ZW49, like zanidatamab, is an HER2 bispecific antibody in early stage study as a solid tumor treatment. Initial data will be presented at an investor event on January 27. Based on Zymeworks’ recent study results, Wells Fargo’s Jim Birchenough writes, “[We] expect zanidatamab to differentiate from current HER2 standards by virtue of depth of response in both refractory and frontline patients and to attract a prominent partner to pursue neoadjuvant and adjuvant breast cancer studies, and for ZW49 go-forward dose to demonstrate consistent responses to support further development, with upside potential from additional dose escalation.” In line with his bullish stance, Birchenough rates ZYME an Overweight (i.e. Buy) and his price target, at $71, implies a ~47% growth ahead. (To watch Birchenough’s track record, click here) Turning now to the rest of the Street, it appears that other analysts are generally on the same page. With 4 Buys and 1 Hold assigned in the last three months, the consensus rating comes in as a Strong Buy. In addition, the $60.82 average price target implies ~26% upside from current levels. (See ZYME stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for biotech stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
EU sustainable investment rules need better corporate data: banking report – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett
LONDON (Reuters) – European Union rules aimed at defining sustainable investments should help reduce “greenwashing” by businesses, but better quality corporate data is needed to ensure they work effectively, a banking report said on Tuesday.
The sustainable finance rules will classify investments that can be marketed as sustainable, a move aimed at steering much-needed cash into low-carbon projects to deliver the bloc’s climate goals.
From January to August 2020, 26 of the region’s biggest lenders tested the EU framework across a range of core banking processes, including retail banking, trade finance and lending to smaller companies.
As the main providers of finance to companies across the EU, the ability of the banking system to track and report on whether corporate activities are sustainable or not could prove crucial in assessing the rules’ success or otherwise.
The lenders broadly welcomed the regulations as they seek to align their businesses with the transition to a low-carbon economy, the report by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the European Banking Federation found.
However, they also raised a number of issues, many of which were data-related and could require a phasing in of reporting requirements.
While many large companies are already required to disclose certain environmental and social information by law, the bulk of smaller and mid-sized banking clients are not, hampering banks’ assessment of their alignment with the rules.
Concerns over the quality, detail and standardisation of data is also an issue when looking at banks’ lending overseas, something that would be made more complex as other regions launch their own regulations.
The banks who tested the EU rules called on regulators to seek global alignment of regulations, and for better tools to manage data from clients, such as a centralised EU database.
While under no compulsion to lend to activities that can be classed as sustainable, banks see sustainable finance as a growth area that is likely to take on more importance in coming years should policymakers tighten environmental legislation.
With more investors globally looking to become shareholders of companies with a good record on managing environmental risk, banks are also likely to look to reduce their exposure to environmentally or socially harmful activities over time.
The European Commission is expected to finish the section of the rules covering climate change in the coming months, before they take effect in 2022.
(Reporting by Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett; Editing by Pravin Char)
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