Global markets have been volatile this year.
This has been partially due to a wave of sell-offs that began at the end of May, says Patrick Bradley, product specialist at Brandywine Global Investment Management. His firm manages the Renaissance Global Bond Fund.
That’s when the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it wanted to start pulling back on purchases of government and mortgage-backed securities by the end of 2013.
The Fed’s message “sent the markets into turmoil,” he adds, even though a slowdown in bond purchases would indicate the global economy is improving. In Q2 2013, the U.S. “gross domestic product…was upwardly revised to 2.5%,” for example, and economic growth reports coming out of regions such as the U.K. were positive.
And once tapering begins, “the [QE] spigot wouldn’t be turned off right away,” says Bradley. There would be a slower rate of purchases, and “there would still be ample liquidity in the system.”
Markets only reacted negatively, he adds, since the Fed announcement “sparked fears that capital would begin to dry up in [places like] emerging markets.” That’s why sell-offs occurred in those regions between May and September.
Prior to that period, emerging markets had benefitted from money flowing into their debts and equities due to high return and global growth expectations.
Despite market volatility, Bradley says global sell-offs have revealed market opportunities and caused “an increase in real yields [and] sizeable valuation change[s].” He made few changes to his team’s portfolio over the past six months, and bought more U.S. treasury securities as rates rose.
He added exposure and duration in Mexico as well, given its government’s proposed economic reforms in 2013. The region will also benefit from the U.S. recovery, says Bradley, who suggests investors can “profit from investments in the U.S. economy” and from exposure to regions that are connected to growing, developed countries.
“We anticipated expansionary monetary policies…would have a positive effect on economic growth,” he adds. He’s now seeing evidence of this across the globe, but investors need to be selective. They can’t “move into…securities or markets [just because they] have corrected.”