Ray Dalio the American billionaire investor, hedge fund manager, and founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds believes that it is “both risk-reducing and return-enhancing to consider adding gold to one’s portfolio.”
In an article written in LinkedIn today, Dalio highlights the following 4 key developments that are likely to cause a massive financial paradigm shift with implications for all savers and investors
1. Central banks have been lowering interest rates and doing quantitative easing (i.e., printing money and buying financial assets) in ways that are unsustainable. At the same time, central banks doing more of this printing and buying of assets will produce more negative real and nominal returns that will lead investors to increasingly prefer alternative forms of money (e.g., gold) or other storeholds of wealth.
2. There has been a wave of stock buybacks, mergers, acquisitions, and private equity and venture capital investing that has been funded by both cheap money and credit and the enormous amount of cash that was pushed into the system. That pushed up equities and other asset prices and drove down future returns. It has also made cash nearly worthless. (I will explain more about why that is and why it is unsustainable in a moment.) The gains in investment asset prices benefited those who have investment assets much more than those who don’t, which increased the wealth gap, which is creating political anti-capitalist sentiment and increasing pressure to shift more of the money printing into the hands of those who are not investors/capitalists.
3. Profit margins grew rapidly due to advances in automation and globalization that reduced the costs of labor It is unlikely that this rate of profit margin growth will be sustained, and there is a good possibility that margins will shrink in the environment ahead. Because this increased share of the pie going to capitalists was accomplished by a decreased share of the pie going to workers, it widened the wealth gap and is leading to increased talk of anti-corporate, pro-worker actions.
4. Corporate tax cuts made stocks worth more because they give more returns. The most recent cut was a one-off boost to stock prices. Such cuts won’t be sustained and there is a good chance they will be reversed, especially if the Democrats gain more power.
These were big tailwinds that have supported stock prices. The chart below shows our estimates of what would have happened to the S&P 500 if each of these unsustainable things didn’t happen.
Most people now believe the best “risky investments” will continue to be equity and equity-like investments, such as leveraged private equity, leveraged real estate, and venture capital, and this is especially true when central banks are reflating. As a result, the world is leveraged long, holding assets that have low real and nominal expected returns that are also providing historically low returns relative to cash returns (because of the enormous amount of money that has been pumped into the hands of investors by central banks and because of other economic forces that are making companies flush with cash). I think these are unlikely to be good real returning investments and that those that will most likely do best will be those that do well when the value of money is being depreciated and domestic and international conflicts are significant, such as gold. Additionally, for reasons I will explain in the near future, most investors are underweighted in such assets, meaning that if they just wanted to have a better balanced portfolio to reduce risk, they would have more of this sort of asset. For this reason, I believe that it would be both risk-reducing and return-enhancing to consider adding gold to one’s portfolio. I will soon send out an explanation of why I believe that gold is an effective portfolio diversifier.
You can read the full article here on LinkedIn.com
News and Commentary
LBMA Gold Prices (AM/ PM Fix – USD, GBP & EUR)
17-Jul-19 1400.80 1410.35, 1129.61 1135.61 & 1249.09 1256.90
16-Jul-19 1416.10 1409.85, 1136.85 1134.79 & 1260.05 1256.88
15-Jul-19 1416.25 1412.40, 1127.76 1127.24 & 1255.93 1253.79
12-Jul-19 1405.60 1407.60, 1122.23 1122.14 & 1248.74 1251.50
11-Jul-19 1423.10 1413.75, 1135.06 1126.62 & 1262.72 1255.83
10-Jul-19 1395.45 1408.30, 1117.34 1126.78 & 1243.35 1252.68
09-Jul-19 1387.90 1391.55, 1113.51 1115.61 & 1239.39 1241.54
08-Jul-19 1404.90 1400.10, 1121.11 1119.38 & 1251.20 1248.19
05-Jul-19 1414.40 1388.65, 1126.43 1110.92 & 1255.99 1237.70