Private Wealth

Weekly Research Briefing: Main Street > Wall Street

September 07, 2022
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If you feel like you are in an episode of the “Twilight Zone,” you are not alone. For those Americans who do not live for every tick of the stock and bond markets, life is good. The recent data shows solid job growth, decent wage growth and falling inflationary pressures led by a three-month slide in gasoline prices. The average consumer balance sheet is very healthy thanks to the post-COVID increase in housing values. And with two job openings for every unemployed worker, the ability to find another gig with a better wage and benefits is easy right now. This is the best of times if you do not need to depend on a monthly portfolio valuation.

But for those that do turn on a daily TV on with a stock ticker running across the screen, the happiness on Main Street could be making you stressed and nauseous. Economic super strength might be good for America, but it has led to bears ravaging your stocks and bonds. Right now the financial markets do not see a soft landing as possible. They either think the Fed will cause meaningful recession or that inflation will not slow down. As a result, there is little interest in buying public equities or debt, either here or abroad. Three weeks ago, the market was much more receptive to a soft landing, but since then we have had a more hawkish Fed, an increase in China lockdowns and a rise in European uncertainty due to the Nord Stream 1 closure. A fall in any of these big market hurdles could occur at any time, but until then the state fairs will be a much better time than watching the opening bell on financial TV.

A quiet, short week with no big economic data releases, but there will be lots of Fed speakers talking before the blackout period leading up to the September FOMC meeting. Fed Chair Powell as well as the Fed's "I want stocks to fall" Kashkari will be among the top watched. The market is still split between a 50 and 75 basis point Fed Funds hike but that figure is still awaiting next week's CPI number. The ECB will be meeting this week and the market is forecasting a 75-basis point hike in their decision, but anything is possible given the number of balls that they are juggling right now. Not much in the way of earnings this week, but the Restoration Hardware CEO always has some interesting data points and views to offer. Kroger will also have some things to say about the consumer. Have a great week and good luck to your NFL team in week 1.


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The data shows that U.S. equity investors have rarely been this negative...

@bespokeinvest


And the returns of public stock/bond portfolios reflect the negativity...

2022 is on pace to be the most bearish year in the history of the AAII sentiment survey.

@bespokeinvest


Friday's job report was great news for Main Street, but Wall Street remained concerned about the Fed...

Job growth slowed in August but remained strong, offering fresh hope that policymakers will be able to bring down inflation without causing a recession...

“We’re all waiting for the significant drop, the free fall, but that is not what we’re seeing,” said Becky Frankiewicz, the North American president for Manpower Group, a global staffing agency. “As employment slows down in one industry, it picks up in another industry.”...

Job gains were broad in August, with retailers, manufacturers and even the struggling construction industry adding jobs. Economists said that reflected the underlying strength of the recovery: Companies and consumers alike may be pessimistic about the outlook, but as long as sales remain strong, employers will keep hiring.

“The question is: When does that turn?” Ms. Meyer, of Mastercard, said. “It will turn when you see that shift in their bottom line, which really hasn’t happened yet for the majority of industries out there.”

“For today,” she added, “they still have sales, so they still need people.”

The New York Times



786,000 people joined the labor force in August. Whoa...

After a lot of bad news of late, there is some good news in this report. We think the market will focus on the participation rate going up to 62.4% from 62.2%. Without question, we view this development as a positive one. Much of the improvement came from workers aged 60+ and from really young workers. Also, wages grew a little less quickly than consensus expectations, with year-over-year wages expanding 5.2% compared to a consensus of 5.3%. Importantly, job growth was not too hot, which gives the Fed some ability to slow its hiking campaign later in the year.

KKR


Time to find out if soft landings only happen in fairy tales and Hollywood...


Last week's JOLTs showed us there are nearly two job openings per every unemployed worker in the U.S...

The Daily Shot


With so many job openings, if you don't love your current one, time to move...

Or, as they say in the tech and software industry, grab a second and a third.

The gap in pay raises for job switchers versus those who stay put is also the widest it’s been in decades: People who kept at the same job reaped a median annual wage increase of 5.9% in July, a slightly smaller gain than workers reported the month before, the Fed data show.

The raises that job switchers are commanding demonstrate the leverage workers continue to wield despite signs the job market is cooling somewhat. Motivated to fill open positions, many employers are willing to pay a premium for new hires, recruiters and economists say. Nearly 4.2 million U.S. workers left jobs in July, near the record highs of the past year, Labor Department data show—suggesting many workers remain bullish about their prospects...

Other job switchers are netting double-digit percentage increases in pay, too. A new analysis of pay data for 10 million workers conducted by ADP, the payroll provider, shows the median wage increase for recent job changers was 16.1%, compared with 7.6% for those who stayed in the same jobs.

WSJ


The Main Street of Mankato, MN is rocking...

MANKATO, Minn. — A construction company needs workers so badly, they’re flying them in from Puerto Rico and from Texas and paying $20 an hour to install roofs. An online Halloween costume retailer booked hundreds of hotel rooms across the city to house its seasonal workforce.

Welcome to Mankato, Minn., home to one of the tightest labor markets in the nation. The unemployment rate in this metro area of 103,000 is even lower than the state average of 1.8 percent — a record low since federal labor statistics began tracking data, and far below the national average of 3.7 percent.

The U.S. labor market is in its 20th month of eye-popping job creation, as worker shortages, abundant job growth and mass resignations have become a hallmark of the recovery after the pandemic downturn, helping blunt the pain of widespread inflation...

Jones Metal, a beloved employer, saw a wave of departures last year, at a rate of 1 out of 3 workers. Even longtime welders who had been around for decades quit in search of new opportunities. To find workers, Jones Metal has partnered with local colleges and high schools to sponsor classes and applied for state grants that offer welders free college tuition. Still, filling welding and machining jobs can take months.

When he was 20, Thomas Lawton, a welder at Jones Metal, could afford to buy a four-bedroom house with a two-car garage on the Minnesota River, where he catches catfish in the evenings. Now 22, he makes enough, at $24.50 an hour, to set aside 15 percent of his income in a retirement account.

“I’m very comfortable,” Lawton said, noting that manufacturers and health-care employers began to court him and his peers in Mankato when they were teenagers. “There’s lots of opportunity here.”

Washington Post


The reversal in gasoline prices now sets the stage for a negative year-over-year price comparison in October...

This could be a big deal not just to the upcoming CPI data sets, but also for the November mid-term elections.

Finviz.com


U.S. balance sheets are looking very fine...

J.P. Morgan


A surge in housing prices a big explainer to the rise in average net worth...

J.P. Morgan


A perfect U.S. PMI report as August came in better than expected with prices paid weaker and jobs stronger...

*(US) AUG ISM MANUFACTURING: 52.8 V 51.9E; PRICES PAID: 52.5 V 55.3E

Sub Indices:

- New Orders Index: 51.3 v 48.0e

- Employment: 54.2 v 49.5e

- Inventories: 53.1 v 57.3 prior

- Backlog of Orders: 53.0 v 51.3 prior

- New Export Orders: 49.4 v 52.6 prior Comments

- "The U.S. manufacturing sector continues expanding at rates similar to the prior two months. New order rates returned to expansion levels, supplier deliveries remain at appropriate tension levels and prices softened again, reflecting movement toward supply/demand balance. According to Business Survey Committee respondents' comments, companies continued to hire at strong rates in August, with few indications of layoffs, hiring freezes or head-count reductions through attrition. Panelists reported lower rates of quits, a positive trend.

- Prices expansion eased dramatically in August, which — when coupled with lead times easing — should bring buyers back into the market, improving new order levels. Sentiment remained optimistic regarding demand, with five positive growth comments for every cautious comment.

TradetheNews

Best Year for Commodities

The Daily Shot


Speaking of prices paid...

@LizAnnSonders: Looks like commodity crisis is fading for manufacturers … number of commodities reported as being in short supply and up in price has collapsed per August ISM Manufacturing report

Best Year for Commodities

After the ISM data was released, the Atlanta Fed boosted its Q3 GDP forecast...

(US) Atlanta Fed GDPNow: raises Q3 GDP to 2.6% from 1.6% prior The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the third quarter of 2022 is 2.6 percent on September 1, up from 1.6 percent on August 26. After this morning’s construction spending release from the US Census Bureau and this morning’s Manufacturing ISM Report On Business from the Institute for Supply Management, the nowcasts of third-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth and third-quarter real gross private domestic investment growth increased from 2.0 percent and -5.4 percent, respectively, to 3.1 percent and -3.5 percent, respectively.

TradetheNews


And Fed's Mester grabbed the mic to reiterate its hawkish stance...

(US) Fed's Mester (FOMC voter): Don't anticipate Fed rate cuts next year; Need to raise rates to somewhat above 4% by early-2023 and hold it there; Recession risks over next year or two have moved up

- Reiterates in favor of raising rates above 4% in early 2023

- Real rates will need to move into positive territory and remain there for some time

- Can't be precise yet on Fed's terminal interest rate

- Size of rate increases at each meeting depends on inflation outlook

- Far too soon to conclude inflation has peaked, inflation fight will be a long one

- Expect inflation in the range of 5-6% for this year, then to make more progress back down over next years

- See unemployment above 4% by year end as job market cools

- Wage pressures show little sign of abating

- Without assets sales, reduction of balance sheet could take 3 years or so

- Have to curb inflation even if that means a recession

TradetheNews


As the reporting season winds down, Wall Street earnings estimates continue to inch lower but the decreases are still lower than some have feared...

S&P 500

@EarningsScout


Morgan Stanley pulling out the scythe...

S&P 500

Could Seagate Technology be the average technology experience for the current environment?

[STX] Cuts Q1 EPS meaningfully below $1.20 v $1.41e, Rev $2.0-2.2B v $2.60Be (prior $1.20, Rev $2.35-2.65B); Weaker economic trends in certain Asian regions have amplified customer inventory corrections and supply chain disruptions - CEO: “Since our earnings call in mid-July, weaker economic trends in certain Asian regions have amplified customer inventory corrections and supply chain disruptions. We have also seen more cautious buying behavior among global Enterprise / OEM and certain US cloud customers amid ongoing macro-economic uncertainties. These external factors are impacting near-term mass capacity demand while continuing to weigh on the consumer centric legacy markets,” said Dave Mosley, Seagate’s chief executive officer. - We are further reducing our production output, lowering expenses, and moderating fiscal 2023 capital investments. The combination of lower revenue, increased under-utilization charges and less favorable product mix in the September quarter will result in a sequential decline in margins, with non-GAAP EPS now expected to be meaningfully below our prior guidance of at least $1.20.

TradetheNews


Big page one news in the Idaho Statesman last week...

Congress passes the CHIPS act and Micron acts quickly.

On Thursday, Micron announced that it would invest $15 billion to build a new semiconductor plant in Idaho — just weeks after Congress passed $52 billion in new money to boost domestic chip manufacturing.

Micron’s announcement is just the latest in a series of multi-billion-dollar plans to jump on the Biden administration’s recently approved CHIPS and Science Act. Last month, Micron said it would use the act’s new subsidies to invest $40 billion into US-based memory fabs, or fabrication plants, by 2030, creating an estimated 40,000 new jobs. The new Boise plant is expected to create 17,000 new jobs, including 2,000 Micron jobs, over the next eight years.

In a Thursday statement, Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra thanked the Biden administration for finishing the bipartisan chips legislation. “Our new leading-edge memory manufacturing fab will fuel US technology leadership, ensuring a reliable domestic supply of semiconductors that is critical to economic and national security,” Mehrotra said.

The Verge


Over in the financial markets, long treasuries are breaking down...

S&P 500

In credit land, yields have moved up, but are not yet in dangerous territory...

J.P. Morgan


One of the crazier energy stories last week...

So instead of pipelining gas from Russia to Europe, it is being piped from Russia to China, liquified and then shipped to Europe. Think of all the wasted molecules that this entails.

Europe’s fears of gas shortages heading into winter may have been circumvented, thanks to an unexpected white knight: China.

The world’s largest buyer of liquefied natural gas is reselling some of its surplus LNG cargoes due to weak energy demand at home. This has provided the spot market with an ample supply that Europe has tapped, despite the higher prices.

As a result, Europe’s imports of LNG grew 60 per cent year on year in the first six months of 2022, according to research firm Kpler. The 53mn tonnes that the bloc purchased surpasses imports by China and Japan and has brought Europe’s gas-storage occupancy rate up to 77 per cent.

If this continues, Europe is likely to reach its stated goal of filling 80 per cent of its gas storage facilities by November…

If Russia ends up exporting more gas to China as a means to punish Europe, China will have more capacity to resell its surplus gas to the spot market — indirectly helping Europe.

The Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline that runs between Russia and China has capacity to carry more gas.

Financial Times


J.P. Morgan trying to keep equity investors in the game...

Kolanovic summarizes the overall view for cyclical assets as follows: “We maintain that inflation will resolve on its own as distortions fade, and likely drive a Fed pivot, while a stronger H2 recovery in China should provide support for the global cycle. This, in combination with still very low investor positioning, creates a positive environment for cyclical assets”

J.P. Morgan


Even with the big outperformance in Energy shares and rising fundamentals, the sector has still never been cheaper in the last 30 years...

Energy sector remains in a particularly sweet spot with very attractive valuations, strong fundamentals and significant improvement in quality. Currently Energy is trading at an extreme ~10x PE discount vs market (0.3%ile, Fig 2). More so, across all sectors Energy is seeing by far the largest improvement in its ranking across all key styles / factors simultaneously. This makes it the most favorable sector based on various Quant models and should result in incremental positive equity flows from various types of products (e.g. Equity Quant, Smart Beta, etc.), that we estimate currently to be ~$20bn per month as these products get rebalanced. Unsurprisingly, Energy policy is starting to become less restrictive as developed countries look to tackle the oil & gas crisis (e.g. Florida and Texas). At the same time, based on our meetings, investors are increasingly becoming cautious and skeptical of their ESG allocations and frameworks due to continued underperformance.

J.P. Morgan


Where the CHIPS Act created semi jobs in the U.S., the IRA is about to do the same for green industry jobs...

The passage of the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) should provide tailwinds for the secular theme of Green Capex, impacting virtually every vertical in our Green Capex mosaic. While the incremental tax incentives provided by the bill -- about $265 bn over 10 years -- is not an immediate panacea to fully fill the gap of what is needed globally to be on track with Net Zero pathway by 2050, it will likely accelerate both investment and innovation, in our view.

Goldman Sachs


IN: Apartment finders. OUT: Realtors.

Home buyers are feeling the pinch of rising costs more than renters.

The median monthly mortgage payment was almost one-and-a-half times as much as the median monthly asking rent in the second quarter, the largest differential in records going back to 2009, according to data tracked by the Mortgage Bankers Association, an industry trade group.

Home prices and rents have risen briskly over the past year-and-a-half. But the rising relative cost of buying is largely the result of additional interest buyers are paying when they lock in mortgages at the highest rates in years.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 5.66% this week, nearly double what it was a year earlier, according to a Freddie Mac survey. The shift is a shock for many buyers because low interest rates in the past few years had ushered in a period of greater affordability and brought many first-time buyers into the market.

Best Year for Commodities

WSJ


In looking at my Real Assets team's data, this apartment vacancy data will likely be pressured lower...

Best Year for Commodities

And it looks like the recent cap rates have it figured out...

Best Year for Commodities

Hamilton Lane


Institutional investors think that private markets should continue to outperform public markets. Here are some good reasons why...

In a CoreData Research survey of 130 European fund selectors in June 2022, 27 percent of respondents said their firms are shifting their investment focus from public to private markets; 31 percent said they think private markets will consistently outperform public markets going forward.

Jeffrey Diehl, managing partner and head of investments at Adams Street Partners, a private markets investment manager with over $50 billion in assets under management, said the majority of his clients have either upped their asset allocation to private market investments or kept them flat in the past few years.

“I can’t think of one that’s actually taking it down,” Diehl told II. “The only reason someone might take it down is if they feel they need to become more liquid.”

Diehl said there’s no question that the institutional investor community expects the private markets to continue to outperform the broader market, a position he backs. The assumption that private markets will act as a bandaid for lower expected returns might come from a few factors. One driver is the way private companies are governed: owners have more control over operations and strategy than shareholders in a public company. Diehl argues there is more alignment of interests between private company owners and upper level management.

Diehl said another reason could be that the “innovator’s dilemma” is hard to execute at a public company. This happens when companies see a shift in the way their customers are operating and invest in their operations or products to keep up. Public companies that put more money into research and development or other initiatives to shift direction need their shareholders to sit tight when their stock prices fall in response to higher expenses. But private companies don’t have to answer to a public stock market and innovation can happen at a faster rate — at least theoretically. Private companies often have an advantage over public peers, an attractive quality for investors looking to cushion their portfolios.

Institutional Investor


Here is what we see in our database...

Best Year for Commodities

*see disclosures for additional definitions.

(Hamilton Lane via Cobalt)


Individual investors now want a much bigger piece of this market...

The products and the platforms have been built out for investors to get much more involved. Now it is education time to find the best products that fit each client.

What everyone agrees on, though, is that individual investors are set to have an impact on private equity and the broader private markets in general. It is, in fact, projected that high-net-worth individuals will increase their capital commitments to private equity at a rate which will outpace institutional growth in the asset class by 2025, according to a report released earlier this year by Boston Consulting Group and iCapital, which has created a platform enabling financial advisors and their HNW clients to invest in private market funds.

High-net-worth investors, according to the report, are expected to account for more than 10% of all capital raised by private equity funds in 2025 and the total assets under management of individual investors is expected to be 2.4 times larger than in 2022, rising to $1.2 trillion.

Hugh MacArthur, who leads Bain & Company’s global private equity practice, said the consulting firm sees the retail/high-net-worth channel as being a potentially significant source of capital, given that individual investors and family offices account for roughly 40% of investable assets and have invested little in private markets.

He said that the emergence of retail investors in private equity has occurred “frankly more [quickly] than I thought.” As recently as a year ago, MacArthur said he thought that “true access” to the asset class was five years away. But now, “it is essentially here.”...

Dan Vene, an iCapital Cofounder and Managing Partner, agrees, saying “private firms have rolled out extremely high-quality and thoughtful products for high-net-worth and retail investors,” rather than just “creating a new share class on an existing institutional fund or a fund that was difficult to sell in the institutional market.”

The Blackstones, KKRs and Apollos, he said, have come to the realization that the institutional capital sources can only grow so much, especially given the allocation issues that public pension funds are facing and the fact that corporate pension funds are less active. They, however, are hardly alone. iCapital currently has some 300 unique general partners – a group that includes newly formed firms who feel they might get better traction with individual investors than large institutions.

Platforms like iCapital and Moonfare are making it easier for both accredited investors to take part in the asset class and for private investment firms to attract and land them. Individuals are generally eligible to invest in the asset class if they have $1 million of household wealth or $200,000 of annual income. Rather than having to invest $5 million or $20 million in order to get into a fund, investors can get in for as low as $25,000 in many instances.

Meanwhile, a growing number of firms, including Hamilton Lane and Fairway Capital Management have created evergreen funds that provide individuals and smaller institutions exposure to the asset class.

Hamilton Lane three years ago launched its Global Private Assets (GPA) Fund, comprised primarily of direct equity and secondary investments, along with direct credit. Initially the fund had an investment minimum entry fee of $125,000 but after partnering earlier this year with ADDX, a Singapore-based digital private markets exchange, ADDX investors can now get into the open-ended fund for a minimum of $10,000. GPA is part of the firm’s broader evergreen platform, which had $2.7 billion in assets as of June 30.

Firm Managing Director Stephen Brennan, who heads private wealth solutions, said the impetus to start the fund was the firm’s desire to broaden access to the asset class, which historically often required a minimum investment of $5 million.

The firm, he said, recognized the “structural hurdles” that made it hard for non-institutional investors to get into private market and went about structuring the fund in such a way to make it “appealing” to high-net-worth individuals, taking into consideration factors such as tax reporting, capital deployment and liquidity. The firm also has sought to tap into its extensive platform and deal flow, giving the fund the ability to take part in co-investment transactions.

“We’re taking the same strategies we’ve used on the institutional side to the high-net-worth investors.” Brennan said the fund has shown Hamilton Lane that there is “significant potential” to tap this market through additional products.

Markets Group


Checking in on my private asset vehicle for its last reporting period in July shows continued solid returns for my core ballast during this volatile time in the public markets...

Best Year for Commodities

(S&P Capital IQ and Hamilton Lane)


Away from the sporting world, I didn't see a better story than this one...

TOKYO — Cooing, giggling and the patter of tiny feet mix with the sound of walkers and wheelchairs at a nursing home in southern Japan. In this graying nation, one home has been recruiting an unusual class of workers to enliven its residents’ days.

These are “baby workers,” as the nursing home’s head calls them: 32 children so far, all under 4 years old, who spend time with its residents, who are mostly in their 80s. Residents strike up conversations with the young helpers. The babies, accompanied by their parents or guardians (usually mothers), offer the residents hugs.

The visitors’ reward? Diapers, baby formula, free baby photo shoots and coupons for a nearby cafe.

The facility, Ichoan Nursing Home, is in Kitakyushu, a city of 940,000 in Fukuoka Prefecture that is aging and shrinking like the rest of Japan. As families have become smaller and older people more isolated, the nursing home’s baby worker program has helped people connect across generations.

“I don’t get to see my grandkids very often, so the baby workers are a great treat,” said Kyoko Nakano, 85, who has lived at the nursing home for over a year. While she enjoys knitting and watching TV, she said she drops everything to spend time with the babies and toddlers when they arrive.

Best Year for Commodities

The New York Times



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DISCLOSURES

*All Private Markets – Hamilton Lane’s definition of “All Private Markets” includes all private commingled funds excluding real estate, fund of funds, and secondary fund of funds. 

Private Equity –A broad term used to describe any fund that offers equity capital to private companies. 

Barclays Aggregate Bond Index – The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index tracks the performance of U.S. investment grade bonds. 

Barclays Municipal Bond Index – The Barclays US Municipal Bond Index tracks the performance of the long-term tax-exempt bond market. 

Barclays Global Treasuries Index –The Barclays Global Treasuries Index tracks the performance of fixed-rate, local currency government debt of investment grade countries, including both developed and emerging markets. 

Credit Suisse High Yield Index – The Credit Suisse High Yield index tracks the performance of U.S. sub-investment grade bonds. 

HFRI Composite Index – The HFRI Composite Index reflects hedge fund industry performance. 

FTSE/NAREIT Equity REIT Index –The FTSE/NAREIT All Equity REIT Index tracks the performance of U.S. equity REITs. 

S&P Global Infrastructure Index – The S&P Global Infrastructure Index tracks the performance of 75 publicly-listed companies from around the world that represent the infrastructure industry. 

MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) –The MSCI All Country World Index measures global stock market activity through the equity returns of 2,400 companies in 47 developed and emerging markets. 

MSCI World Energy Sector Index – The MSCI World Energy Sector Index measures the performance of securities classified in the GICS Energy sector. 

MSCI World ex. US Index - The MSCI World ex. U.S. Index tracks large and mid-cap equity performance in developed market countries, excluding the U.S. 

MSCI Emerging Markets Index –The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance of emerging markets. 

Russell 3000 Index – The Russell 3000 Index is composed of 3000 large U.S. companies, as determined by market capitalization. 

Real Assets – Real Assets includes any PE fund with a strategy of either Infrastructure or Natural Resources. Real Estate funds are not included. 

Real Estate – Any closed-end fund that primarily invests in non-core real estate, excluding separate accounts and joint ventures. 

Desmoothing– A mathematical process to remove serial autocorrelation in the return stream of assets that experience infrequent appraisal pricing, such as private equity. Desmoothed returns may more accurately capture volatility than reported returns. The formula used here for desmoothing is: 

rD(t) = (r(t) –r(t-1) * ρ) / (1 –ρ)
where: rD(t) = the desmoothed return for period t
r(t) = the return for period t
ρ = the autocorrelation

The information presented here is for informational purposes only, and this document is not to be construed as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, securities. Some investments are not suitable for all investors, and there can be no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. The hyperlinks included in this message provide direct access to other Internet resources, including Web sites. While we believe this information to be from reliable sources, Hamilton Lane is not responsible for the accuracy or content of information contained in these sites. Although we make every effort to ensure these links are accurate, up to date and relevant, we cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers. The views expressed by these external providers on their own Web pages or on external sites they link to are not necessarily those of Hamilton Lane.

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