Why has this top ranked strategist and fund manager completely changed his portfolio positions? Richard Bernstein makes the case for faster economic growth and reflation.

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The investment climate is changing. The speed of the economy is picking up. Interest rates have risen and around the world inflation is edging higher.

The Federal Reserve acknowledged the improvement last week with its first rate hike of the year and only its second since the financial crisis.

Investors are responding too. U.S. markets have been leading the charge and market leadership has changed. Year-to-date the large cap S&P 500, with its many global businesses is up just over 11%, while the more domestically oriented and more speculative, small company stocks in the S&P SmallCap 600 have surged more than 27%. On an industry basis as well, more cyclical S&P 500 sectors like Energy (+24.7%), Financials (+22.3%), Industrials (+18.3%) and Materials (+15.8%) have vastly outperformed more stable, defensive businesses like Consumer Staples (+3.2%) and Health Care (-3.9%).

Richard Bernstein
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot
Richard Bernstein

What a difference an election can make! According to The Wall Street Journal global equity markets have added $3 trillion to their total value since November 8th, while an almost equal amount came out of the global bond market.

Improving economic indicators and profits is what this week’s guest spotted early this year and convinced him to abandon what had become the common wisdom on Wall Street, that interest rates and inflation would stay “lower for longer”. As a result he completely changed the positioning in his portfolios from high quality defensive to lower quality cyclical.

He is Richard Bernstein, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Richard Bernstein Advisors, an independent investment advisory firm that focuses on longer-term strategies combining top-down macro-economic analysis and quantitative portfolio construction.

Bernstein runs multiple portfolios including several mutual funds. His flagship fund is the Eaton Vance Richard Bernstein Equity Strategy Fund which is rated 4 Star by Morningstar and has beaten its World Stock category and market benchmark, with less than market risk, since its 2010 inception.

We will discuss what Bernstein describes as a seismic shift in the macro picture and what it means for investment strategy.

 

Consuelo

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Richard Bernstein: Everyday Insights Make A Difference

Richard Bernstein is known as a big thinker. He was ranked the number one analyst in several categories including Portfolio Strategy and Quantitative Research for multiple years before making the switch to managing money and mutual funds at his own firm in 2009. With all of the data available to him, what does he pay attention to? Sometimes it’s the everyday things that can make a difference.