BOSTON - In today’s turbulent world, there will be plenty of investment opportunities, but also plenty of risk.
That’s was the message delivered at a panel entitled “Rewarding Risks: Taking Advantage of the Global Economic Expansion and Recovery,” at the Money Management Institute’s annual convention in Boston on Thursday.
“Volatility will create cheapness,” said Richard Hoey, chief economist, Bank of New York Mellon. “It’s a world of steel nerves. Investors and advisors will have to have a cool head, lean against the volatility, and realize when things are going too far in one direction or the other.”
Currently the global economy is at an inflection point, said Michael Atkin, head of sovereign credit research at Putnam Investments. Over the past several years interest rates have been kept low by banks and massive fiscal stimulus has been pumped into the markets.
“In 2010 there was an environment where investors were paid to take risk,” he said. “Now the world economy is going through a fairly decent recovery and things are changing. These sorts of inflection points in the economy are times when you’d expect some volatility.”
As 2011 progresses, the reward for taking risk will decrease. Investors will no longer be paid handsomely for any risk they take. Atkin said he has dialed down risk a bit in his fixed income funds. “Looking from October through the end of the year and into next year the run looks to be a pretty good one,” he said. “The world economy looks to be improving. Opportunities seem to be opening with the sovereign debt issue. There are some pretty attractive options in Europe. We’re looking at a fairly benign environment for the global investor after the volatility passes.”
Emerging markets still spell opportunity for investors. That’s because they were willing and able to provide the type of stimulus not seen in the U.S., said George Iwanicki, Jr. of J.P. Morgan Asset Management. While inflation pressures in emerging markets are still a concern, Iwanicki believes they are selective rather than systemic. There are a few specific countries that have inflation issues, he explained, such as India, where the central bank has been slow to respond and is only now catching up with the process; Indonesia, which falls in the same category; Brazil, where the central bank is tightening and inflation is reasonably contained; and China, which Iwanicki said he is becoming more constructive on.
As far as what Atkin called “the Greek situation,” Germany will be forced to help out Greece to save the Euro, but it will be a much slower process than the markets would like. “The markets want everything resolved now,” Atkin said. The markets have to live with the fact that German politics won’t move quickly on this. Greece is insolvent. No one is sure whether Spain and Portugal are insolvent. Greece will be forced into restructuring. The great opportunity here is in non-Greece peripheral debt.”