February General Markets Comments

by Pierre Mouton

February General Markets Comments

“This world today is a mess” – Donna Hightower, 1972.

A slowdown (or a recession?) is expected, but economic releases do not support this projection yet; hard landing, soft landing or no landing (?); China is reopening, but underperforms; Oil is supposed to get scarcer, but do not rise; a weakening dollar is in everybody’s mind, but the greenback doesn’t seem to agree; long term yields rise, but Growth outperforms; Turkey is a NATO member and sends drones to help Ukraine, but also buys Oil and Gas from Russia; Chinese balloons fly over the US and its fighter jets circle around Taiwan; Mammoth Mountain in California has a 5 meters snow base, while Zermatt in Switzerland has 10 centimeters; and the list goes on. Yes, this world today is a real crazy mess.

Markets have a hard time performing well when too much uncertainties hover around; they wander even more when contradicting signals show up, which is clearly the case. The outcome of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is anybody’s guess, but this might not be what drives market sentiment (although a severe escalation would undoubtedly trigger a massive sell-off); it is still Central Banks, monetary policies and interest rates which heavily weigh on the direction of markets, and in parallel the economic outlook.

Here again, making predictions often equals to betting on the black or the red at the roulette…

Even though markets struggled in February, they did resist somewhat, as only a fraction of the gains recorded in January were erased: the MSCI World abandoned 2.53% but is still up 4.3% year to date as an example; the S&P 500 lost 2.6%, the Nasdaq 0.5%, but the dollar was strong (+2.72% for the DXY), which can provide an explanation for the positive returns from the MSCI Europe and the Topix (+1.6% and +0.9%) and the MSCI Emerging Markets’ weakness (-6.5%). In the context of rising interest rates (+41 bps and +37 bps for the US and the German 10 year yields respectively) and falling Commodity prices (-2.3% for the WTI and -3% for the CRB Index), Gold logically fell (-5.3%). Credit enjoyed a second positive month in a row: the Itraxx Crossover advanced 0.5% last month and is now up 3.5% year to date.




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Antonio Mira

Antonio Mira joined NS Partners in 2006 as Group Chief Financial Officer. He heads the corporate functions and is involved in coordinating and implementing the decisions of the Executive Committee.
An experienced bank auditor, Antonio started his career in 1995 with Arthur Andersen, where he worked for some 7 years before joining Ernst & Young in 2002 as a Senior Manager.
Antonio is a Swiss chartered accountant and a Business graduate of Lausanne University (HEC).

Sébastien Poiret

Sébastien Poiret joined NS Partners in 2008 and manages funds of hedge funds and private client mandates. He also oversees the development of the Group’s offices in Mauritius.

Prior to joining NS Partners, he served as a Trader, Head of Manager research and Portfolio Manager in the USA and Switzerland for a single hedge fund (1998-2004) and for Optimal (2004-2008), Grupo Santander’s fund-of-hedge funds operations.

Sébastien holds a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Finance from the ESPEME Business School (EDHEC Group) and an MBA in Finance and Economics from the Institute of Business Administration, both in Nice.

Abir Oreibi

Abir Oreibi joined the Board of the NS Partners Group in 2018, where she brings her truly international perspective and rich experience.
Among many other ventures, Abir set up’s first European office. After living and working in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and London, she now lives in Geneva, where she is CEO of Lift Events, an organization that identifies technology trends, their business and social impact through the organization of events and open innovation programs. Issues related to the challenges and opportunities created by new technologies as well as the strategic responses from organizations are at the heart of Lift’s activities.
Abir holds a BA in Political Sciences from the University of Geneva. She is an investor, and member of advisory and innovation boards.

Romain Pidoux, CAIA

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Romain Pidoux joined NS Partners in 2011 and heads the Group’s Risk Management.
He started his financial career in 2005 as Head of Quantitative Analysis for a Swiss Family Office, selecting funds and managing portfolio allocation. In 2008, he switched to the alternative world and joined Peak Partners as hedge funds analyst.
He is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) and holds a Master’s degree in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International Studies at Geneva University.

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