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Top 10 post-Brexit opportunities
By Harriet Mann | Thu, 30th June 2016 - 14:59
UBS global chief investment officer Mark Haefele has come up with short-term trades across equities, fixed income, foreign exchange and alternative investments. Investors seeking long-term growth should look to multi-asset portfolios diversified across regions, sector and asset classes, he says.
While there is something for everyone, some of his ideas are aimed squarely at more sophisticated investors, so consider your risk/reward profile before taking the plunge. Careful analysis could help unlock some great potential here.
Buy US equities
Move since Brexit result: -4%
Generating two-thirds of revenue domestically, stocks should benefit from the strengthening US consumer position. Labour income is solid and housing market improvements should support consumption. The Federal Reserve is also unlikely to tighten policy, so refinancing costs should stay low.
Favouring those companies executing buybacks and/or paying healthy dividends, UBS analysts see the recent sell-off as an opportunity and remain 'overweight'.
Buy dividend stocks
Move since Brexit result: -1% vs Eurozone equities
Upside: 5% vs Eurozone equities
Even the more defensive stocks have been hit by the UK's decision to leave the EU. The 12-month-forward yield on the MSCI EMU [European Economic and Monetary Union] index is now near all-time highs at 4%, and 3.9% higher than German government bonds.
Move since Brexit result: -2%
Although only slightly affected by Brexit, Asian equities look relatively cheap right now, thinks UBS. The environment is still uncertain, however, so investors should look to stocks with bond-like characteristics, including high yields, low risk to earnings growth and strong free cash flow.
UBS points to Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Thailand, regions with high-dividend stocks in low-gilt yields.
Buy UK real estate vs European real estate stocks
Move since Brexit result: -19% for UK vs -3.5% for Europe ex-UK
Upside: Low double digit total return
UK real estate stocks have collapsed in response to Brexit, which has left valuations at "historical extremes", says UBS. Spreads are near all-time highs and stock prices imply a 25% discount to net asset value.
But Brexit uncertainty could be offset by a number of factors, including low exposure to financial tenants, international interest after sterling declines, rate cuts and low leverage levels.
This won't be a quick money-maker though. Investors should be prepared to hold for at least 18 months to two years.
Buy 2021 Eurostoxx dividend futures
Move since Brexit result: -10%
While Eurozone dividend futures were cheap before the vote, current levels are pricing in a fall of 35% - greater than in the financial crisis.
Bullish UBS isn't convinced: "Even if we assume that all financial companies will cut their dividends to zero, and that there is no dividend growth for any other Euro Stoxx 50 company for five years, Eurozone dividend futures are still well priced."
Buy European high yield credit
Move since Brexit result:-1.5%
Ignoring Brexit, easy monetary policy and access to emergency measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) should keep nerves at bay. With modest economic growth and low corporate funding costs, default rates - when a company can't repay its debt - should stick around a small 2%. The ECB is also supporting the euro credit markets directly by buying corporate bonds.
Yielding 5% after the sell-off is enough to catch many investors' eye.
Buy gold miners' bonds
Move since Brexit result: slightly up
In times of uncertainty, investors flock to safe havens like gold - that's why the price always rockets in crashes. Bonds benefit from this demand as well.
While costs are still low, higher gold prices should drive profitability at miners and UBS is bullish on the imminent second quarter results season. With an average 4% spread, as few bonds mature in 2016-2018, cash generated will likely be used to tender outstanding bonds.
Buy Asian bank Tier 2 subordinated bonds
Move since Brexit result: unchanged
Restricted supply against strong demand for Asian banks' tier 2 bonds should underpin strong technical support for the fixed income vehicles. Most of these are BBB/BBB-rated and are popular with Chinese onshore buyers.
"Current yield to maturity for Asian T2 bonds is approximately 3.6-3.8%, and Tier 2 bank bonds feature attractive valuations with a 2.0x subordinated/senior spread ratio relative to senior bonds," says anlayst Timothy Tay.
Long US dollar vs Australian dollar
Move since Brexit result: +3.5%
With its economic growth previously driven by its mining boom, Australia has struggled to offset the commodities rout that sent global stocks into a tailspin. While prices have started upon their - very - long road to recovery, Australian growth drivers are weakening further and global uncertainties aren't helping.
With further monetary stimulus expected in August, risks to the region remain firmly to the downside.
This weakness strengthens the dollar in this currency relationship, with an inverse rate policy and risk-off flows supporting the dollar in the near-term.
Long Brazilian real (vs euro and US dollar)
Move since Brexit result: unchanged
Brazil isn't a risk-free opportunity given recent political turmoil, but global monetary policy should underpin high-yielding markets over the next few months.
"Despite the risk of temporary setbacks (e.g. from domestic politics), we see potential for further compression in risk premium in the second half," says UBS.
Buy a diversified portfolio of hedge funds
Upside: 4-6% over the next six months
Far from removing the uncertainty rocking global markets, the referendum result immediately added at least two years to their sentence. The speed and strength of London's recovery has shocked most, but volatility will dictate the market for a while yet. While this is going to be a problem for market-tracking beta investments, this is where hedge funds can make a killing.
The actively managed funds make use of derivatives and leverage in both domestic and international markets to take advantage of certain opportunities. The investment vehicles usually require a minimum investment and are illiquid as there is usually a lock-up period - where withdrawals can't be made.
"Their superior risk-return characteristics and access to uncorrelated investment opportunities provide both downside protection and diversification benefits," says UBS.
This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser