Is it Time for Multi-Year Period of International Equity Outperformance?

— We are avoiding foreign currency fixed income to benefit from higher US dollar interest rates. We expect spreads between US dollar and foreign currency interest rates to narrow, and therefore will benefit by concentrating all of our fixed income exposure in US dollar denominated holdings.

— Our fixed income portfolio adopts a barbell approach: we own long-duration sovereign bonds counterbalanced by high yield bonds and preferred stock. This gives our portfolios extra exposure to cyclical assets, while still maintaining a relatively high portfolio duration.

— Our US equity exposure is limited to four sectors: financials, technology, biotech, and aerospace & defense. Financials benefit directly from a higher interest rate environment in the US, as well as a more favorable tax and regulatory environment which is likely to develop. The pace of disruption of old industries by new products and processes has continued to accelerate, and technology and biotech give us exposure to this process of creative destruction. US allies will likely increase their military spending in coming years in response to the Trump administration’s perceived unreliability—the aerospace and defense industry will be a beneficiary.

— After Emmanuel Macron’s first round victory in the French election, we are more confident in our view that European politics will move away from populism and nationalism this year. This will enable European policymakers to implement reforms necessary to bring stability to the Eurozone and assuage fears of redenomination risk that have plagued the continent. This would support the Euro and European equites, benefitting our positions in Eurozone equities and the European financial sector.

— Japanese equities are supported by the Bank of Japan’s ongoing aggressive monetary easing. However, the Yen has rallied in 2017 as investors have sought its safe haven status. With the threat of a disruptive French election nearly behind us, we expect it to resume weakening. We have therefore increased our position in currency-hedged Japanese equities.

— Australian equities are supported by expansionary fiscal policy. They also give our portfolio exposure to commodity prices, which we have very little of elsewhere.

— Emerging market equities continue to benefit from positive capital inflows and represent attractive relative value. Furthermore, we expect Fed policy to ere on the dovish side as the year goes on, which will be supportive of emerging markets.

— Gold’s status as an alternative currency should support it as global central banks continue to pursue extremely aggressive policies and geopolitical risks remain elevated. Furthermore, as an asset with low correlations to most others, it helps lower overall portfolio volatility.

This article was written by John Forlines III, chairman and chief investment officer, at JAForlines, a participant in the ETF Trends Strategist Channel.

Disclosure Information

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The material contained herein as well as any attachments is not an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. It is presented only to provide information on investment strategies, opportunities and, on occasion, summary reviews on various portfolio performances. Returns can vary dramatically in separately managed accounts as such factors as point of entry, style range and varying execution costs at different broker/dealers can play a role. The material contains the current opinions of the author, which are subject to change without notice. Statements concerning financial market trends are based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate. References to specific securities and issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations to purchase or sell such securities. Forecasts are inherently limited and should not be relied upon as an indicator of future results. There is no guarantee that these investment strategies will work under all market conditions, and each advisor should evaluate their ability to invest client funds for the long-term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Some products/services may not be offered at certain broker/dealer firms.

As of 5/1/2017. *Individual account allocations may differ slightly from model allocations. ^Some Emerging Markets allocation overlaps with regional allocations. **Excludes GTA’s 7% alternative and cash positions. ^^Contains international exposure