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You sold it best when you sold nothing at all

This week is about closing the first half of 2021 and opening the second one. This is usually a time when a lot of tweaking and fine-tuning is due, as investors adjust their positions. We buy Mexican sovereign bonds and insurers.

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Key takeaways:

  • The first half of 2021 is drawing to a close. After some stellar returns, it is time to tweak a few positions accordingly. The best in terms of cyclical reacceleration seems to be behind us.
  •  We close any remaining recovery bias by downgrading cyclicals versus defensives.

Those investors who manage money on behalf of others are especially eager to make their best impression. They want to look good when presenting the half-year statements. Buying and selling minor positions means we might not see much of a direction in the coming trading sessions.

Catch-up potential is still sizeable
The best of the cyclical recovery seems to be behind us after six to nine months of a strong rebound. On a regional basis, Europe seems to be taking the lead now. It was about time, as Europe had been lagging Asia and the US for quite a while. The pandemic and the European response to it were the main reason for that lagging. As it seems infection rates are not falling any further, the question is whether the economic momentum will hold up all the same. Looking at the most recent prints of leading indicators, the catch-up potential is still sizeable.

Conclusion for investors
In terms of end-of-quarter routine, we complete the downgrade of the sectors sensitive to the global business cycle by downgrading cyclical versus defensive stocks overall. We keep a preference for financials and small caps, but this is balanced by a preference for healthcare in the non-cyclical, i.e. defensive, space. The days ahead may offer some opportunity to revisit emerging markets. The returns there have not been as stellar as in developed markets over the past months. We highlight Mexican sovereign bonds this week and the Asian insurance sector – an industry that may play catch-up to unlock its growth potential after the pandemic (see our number of the week). 

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