Takeaways from the Intellectus Partners Investment Committee for the week ending Nov 2,2018: At this meeting our mission was to attempt to take a hard look at whether or not we are entering the “End of Cycle” period for the economy and thus the Bull Market that begin in 2013. The Intellectus very bullish call in the Fall of 2016 positioned us well for the run that followed. To see a meaningful correction post a move like that is not surprising. Our Investments & Allocations have had excellent s

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With the recent volatility we wanted to share some of our thoughts on what is happening , and how we think about these types of interruptions of the Bull Market. Markets are hard to predict, so we do not really spend too much time on predicting them. What we do is look for powerful trends, innovation, great management teams and undervalued companies. Each and every analyst, portfolio manager or trader that interacts with our capital has the same high bar to achieve. Make sure that the capital i

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Profit margins in Japan are quietly surging. This is a phenomenon that we certainly have been seeing in the US for years, and incrementally in Europe. But, the rate of change in Japan is in fact, far better than the other two. Better yet, as the Wall Street Journal points out, with Net Margins at just about 6%, they have room for further improvement as they still lag these other developed markets. Since Abenomics has begun, the productivity of working age population 25-54 year old has risen sha

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President Trump is set on the economy to grow beyond 5 percent real GDP. But high growth has a natural ‘side effect’ and that is a strong dollar. Reducing the trade deficit to spur growth increases domestic investment and appreciates the dollar. Trade tariffs hurt other economies and weaken their currencies. That too raises the value of the dollar. Resolving lower tariffs and trade barriers by invest and build in the U.S. will drive up demand for the dollar. Thus, a policy of targeting a lower t

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The plunge in the Turkish Lira attributed to a tweet and a defiant speech. But underneath there was a “sudden stop” in the Turkish currency. In 1997 this happened in Indonesia that went from a darling in the eyes of foreign lenders to a nightmare. The rupiah crashed and Indonesia’s debt to GDP soared to 170 percent. Capital flows to Indonesia ‘stopped’ leaving financial markets in disarray. What followed next was contagion spreading across the South East Asia region. A key reason for contagion

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If there is a word to recap past months in markets, then it is “chaos.” Recent tensions in Italy were a reminder Europe could break up at some point in the future. Investors responded by seeking “safe havens” like U.S. Treasuries and the Japanese Yen. When uncertainty reached a climax in June, Italian interest rates spiked above those of the U.S. (see Figure 1). A situation like this can lead to a political resolve. Markets were for example discounting the Federal Reserve to hold off on interes

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There is a lot of attention for the yield curve lately. Several Fed officials like James Bullard and Neel Khaskari have warned the yield curve could “invert.” That would be a bad signal because historically when the yield curve inverts, a recession could follow a few years later. During the testimony to Congress, Fed Chairman Powell said flattening of the yield curve was a sign of long term rates figuring out when the Fed would stop tightening. Now President Trump has weighed in on that point sp

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As we have been calling for since the end of last year, there is indeed regime change in the markets. Our point was that the framework of the interest rate deck has changed. The next several years will be different because of this. What it means obviously is yet to be determined. But what really strikes me when I look at this chart below is this: The beginning of this enviornment was when we were reeling from the crisis. Frankly, at the time most of the market participants thought we were stil

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Market focus has been notably on Trump’s tweets on the subject of geopolitical tensions. Investors do have some experience how Trump’s handles such a situation. Think of North Korea that looked quite threatening but has resulted in a future Summit with Kim Jong-Un. The same may happen with Russia where Trump plans to meet with Putin but uses his “punch in the face” strategy to get meaningful dialogue. The "unknown-unknown" of missile attacks causes the oil price to go up but other traditional sa

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New Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s first congressional testimony made it clear to markets that it’s no longer business as usual. Under Powell’s predecessor, Janet Yellen, developments in the labor market drove monetary policy. And since employment is a lagging economic indicator and slack in the labor market was large, it was an easy message to convey. Monetary policy would gradually adjust as the labor market showed steady improvement. As a result, market volatility was subdued becau

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Cash can be a valuable commodity when returns on financial assets turn negative. After all, cash is easy to manage, has no volatility and doesn’t result in losses. Yet, cash is not abundantly available judging from global surveys such as by Bank of America. Those surveys are conducted among a diversified base of global investors. Respondents see excessive valuations and yet, portfolio cash levels have fallen to pre-crisis (see Fig. 1). A growing wedge between the perception of valuations and cas

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We thought that you would find this "white paper" from our long time partners at Polen Capital very interesting. At Intellectus, we need to manage risk on a daily basis. Risk can mean different things to different people. It comes in different forms and most people react to it very differently. A common perception is that diversification, is the primary and only means of reducing risk. In fact, there is an old Investor adage that says, "You make money through concentration, you keep it via dive

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Bitcoin has advantages over gold, and actual currencies as a store of value. If you believe that society will spend a growing percentage of capital on "digital goods/assets" vs physical goods in the future, here is a rationale. When one considers that the cost of putting 1MB of information onto the Bitcoin blockchain is somewhere between $7,000 and $8,000 , it sounds like an expensive way to store information. It would be many orders of magnitude cheaper to store information in a database on a

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Past week’s sell off in equity markets was one of the largest in recent years. When something like that happens, market analysts like to look at indicators such as the “Relative Strength Index.” This index is a technical indicator used in the analysis of financial markets. It is intended to chart the current and historical strength or weakness of a stock or market based on the closing prices of a recent trading period. The relative strength or weakness is known as “overbought” or “oversold” cond

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As many of you know, the team at Intellectus Partners has been working on and refining a number of Quantitative driven analytics. Today we release our proprietary economic algorithmic indicator, which we have coined the "IntelleCator". We take this opportunity to further expand upon our findings and methodology. The idea is that our economic indicator will enable the team to have a nearly real-time pulse on the health of the broader economy. This in turn, will provide us a clearer perspective

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