Markets

(New York)

Barron’s ran an interesting article today chronicling the market views of famed investor Leon Cooperman. The legendary hedge fund manager argues that investors should stay away from bonds, but that stocks are “fundamentally cheap”. “My world is cash and stocks … I think bonds are the bubble”, says Cooperman. He argues that a big downturn in stocks is not in the cards because the economy “if anything, is too strong”.


FINSUM: This argument makes sense, bonds do seem overvalued. However, what if stocks and bonds are too pricey? That seems logical too.

(New York)

Short-term bonds are looking like an ever better buy right now. Two-year Treasury yields are at 2.87%, up from 1.55% a year ago, and well over the 1.9% average yield of the S&P 500. That means the spread between the two- and ten-year notes is only about 28 basis points. Considering the latter has significantly more rate risk, two-year bonds like a good bet right now.


FINSUM: There are many ultra short-term bond funds out there to choose from. Actually, given the breadth of ETFs in the space, there has never been a better or cheaper time to play defense in this kind of rate environment.

(Beijing)

This story is not getting much attention in the US, but we thought it too big to ignore. S&P Global, one of the world’s leading credit raters, just announced that a “debt iceberg with titanic credit risks”. S&P says that China has seen a massive rise in borrowing by its local governments, much of it hidden from view, and the the excessive borrowing poses grave risks. The ratings agency says there is between $4.3 tn to $5.8 tn of off-balance sheet debt held by local governments following “rampant” borrowing. The debt is hidden is what are called “Local government financing vehicles” (LGFVs), which were entities used to raise debt before local governments were allowed to issue bonds in capital markets.


FINSUM: This is a pretty scary story that only the FT seems to be covering. It makes one wonder if LGFVs will be the acronym at the center of the next crisis.

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