Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Beware of Valuations When Buying Emerging Markets Bonds & Dividend Stocks

At the start of 2016, emerging markets (EM) were in turmoil as droves of investors withdrew funds in the wake of a long-awaited Fed rate hike in December 2015. Eight months later, funds are flowing back into EM yield assets at a frantic pace once again. Facing negative rates in Europe and Japan as well as near-zero rates in almost all developed nations, yield-hungry investors have no choice but to return to EM.

However, investors are not focusing on growth or cheap labour - the traditional twin attractions EM used to offer in spades. They are simply drawn in by the relatively attractive yield like moths to a flame. This could lead to a bubble in the EM bond and stock markets. Valuations of traditional income stocks like utilities and telcos are approaching bubble levels. This crowded trade will not end well once the Fed hike rates because funds will pull out of EM as fast as they were poured in.

In my opinion, it is never prudent to generate more yield at the expense of taking on more risks. Remember the taper tantrums in 2013?

Balance risk and income


  1. I remember the market shock when we hit taper. :)

    1. Yup, the stampede out of yield stocks such as telcos and REITs was rather drastic after Uncle Ben mentioned the word 'QE Taper'. Fortunately, that correction gave me the opportunity to start big on my income portfolio, picking up some bargains. :)