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A Glimpse into Barron’s Roundtable Part 1 (January 17 print edition)

edited January 16 in Other Investing
This is a fascinating and lengthy look at the markets past and present. I highly encourage folks to obtain and read the full text. While I quote a few lines from different participants, realize each had a unique point of view. And, sometimes those viewpoints diverged sharply.

Participants:

Todd Ahlsten - Parnassus
Rupal Bhansali - Ariel
Scott Black - Delphi
Abby Cohen - Columbia Univ.
Sonal Desai - Franklin Templeton
Henry Ellenbogen - Durable Capital
Mario Gabelli - Gamco
David Giroux - T. Rowe Price
William Priest - Epoch
Meryl Witmer - Eagle

Quotable Quotes:

Cohen: “Unlike in recent years past, we will see that diversification, stock selection, and risk control matter.” She terms 2022 “the revenge of the nerds”.

Bhansali: “My (year-end) forecast implies a double-digit decline in U.S. markets (S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100) …”

Giroux: “The asset class today with the most attractive risk/reward profile is leveraged loans. I’ve taken leveraged loans to 12% of my portfolio …”

Giroux: “I would make a bet that the 10-year doesn’t get above 2.5% in the next year.”

Witmer: “What has been noticeable in the past year is extreme volatility in individual stocks.”

Witmer: “If the music stops and crypto tanks, there could be a contagion into the stock market. It could set up a good buying opportunity.”

Black: “The NTF craze in the art market is reaching the heights of delirium.”

Black: “I would avoid fixed income like the plague.”

Desai: “With TIPS, you end up taking on duration risk. If there is a selloff in Treasuries, TIPS won’t deliver …”

Priest: “There is also an existential political risk to the market around the question, ‘Does market efficiency require a democracy in order to operate optimally?’ “


Some of the funds mentioned favorably by various panelists at different points in the interview:

GLFOX, PAVE, EAPCX, SRLN, FRIAX, FEIFX, MPACX, CPREX (closed end)


From Barrons - January 17, 2022

Comments

  • edited January 16
    Direct real estate fund CPREX is an interval-fund, a special type of unlisted fund that can be bought from brokers any time, but redemptions are limited. For CPREX, that redemption is up to 5% per quarter at NAV (so, may take 20 quarters (5 years) to get completely out).

    There are about 3 dozen such interval-funds that are suitable for illiquid securities. These are sort of in between ETFs and CEFs. Some describe them as roach-motels.
  • edited January 16

    Direct real estate fund CPREX is an interval-fund, a special type of unlisted fund that can be bought from brokers any time, but redemptions are limited.

    For CPREX, that redemption is up to 5% per quarter at NAV (so, may take 20 quarters (5 years) to get completely out). There are about 3 dozen such interval-funds that are suitable for illiquid securities. These are sort of in between ETFs and CEFs. Some describe them as roach-motels.

    Thanks. Most interesting. I wondered about CPREX as Lipper couldn’t locate it. From what I could find, there’s a $1,000,000 minimum. Of all the mentioned funds (I already own GLFOX) this one looked interesting. Generally I won’t open a new position in anything that’s up 20-30% in a year’s time. Prefer to buy low and get paid to wait. I suspect, that like real estate funds generally, CPREX has already seen a nice run up - hence off my radar.


    PS - a link to its 1, 3, 5 year performance would be appreciated.
  • The inception date for CPREX is 09/27/2019.
    Fund performance
  • There are several classes of CPREX. In Barron's/Lipper database, interval-funds are shown under CEFs as "Continuously Offered" but info is very limited, mostly N/A. The Franklin Templeton site link is https://www.franklintempleton.com/investments/options/mutual-funds/products/92083/I/clarion-partners-real-estate-income-fund-inc/CPREX

    BTW, I own ANOTHER direct real estate fund, TIAA Real Estate Account VA through my 403b. https://www.tiaa.org/public/investment-performance/investment/profile?ticker=41091375

    Real estate has done well but it has a long cycle. Other options are real estate equity (VNQ, FRESX, etc) or hybrid (FRIFX, not many similar funds).
  • edited January 16
    Thanks, Hank and YBB.

    “If the music stops and crypto tanks, there could be a contagion into the stock market. It could set up a good buying opportunity.”

    This is the one thing I have been very nervous about. There can be a lot of pain before the buying opportunity. The overlords in DC are completely asleep at the wheel on this. There are multiple simultaneous bubbles in the financial markets; unfortunately, they do not pop at the average investor's desired timing or speed.

    Good to know I already own a lot of leveraged loans through Giroux.
  • edited January 16
    @yogibearbull - Thanks for the links. Please know I welcome your more comprehensive Barron’s’ summaries, which received a number of positive responses last week. My occasional Barron’s posts are “hit & miss”, focusing on single articles.

    Re crypto, I can’t say any of the participants was very enthralled by it. One point of view expressed was if the central banks issue their own crypto currencies backed by sovereigns it might put the current ones out of business.

    There was a nice swipe at Musk’s SNL appearance … to the effect that if a single “off-the-cuff” comment by a celebrity on television can cause one of these currencies to soar or plunge in value, it ought to be avoided.

    PS - I’ve been trying to guess which miscalculation or failure will bring down the equity markets. Generally it’s an unanticipated “bolt out of the blue”. Crypto could be one ignition source. But there are plenty of others. I will concede there’s already been some correction. Can’t see the ARKK type stuff going much lower. Some of the holdings are off 70% over 1 year. My guess: Maybe another 10-15% for many of the names on Wood’s little tug that couldn’t.
  • edited January 16
    I don't know what the "floor" will be, but many Nasdaq stocks were recently down 50% or more from their 52-week highs.

    "Four out of every 10 stocks in the Nasdaq are currently down 50% or more from their 52-week highs.
    One out of every 5 stocks in the S&P 500 are down 20% or more from their highs of the last year.
    And this is at a time when the S&P 500 itself is less than 2% from all-time highs."


    Link
  • Yeah, the real-estate fund (CPREX) recommended is a joke, IMO. From its fact-sheet:
    "The fund is newly organized with a limited history of operations... 71% of assets in the NE US. the fund is 'inherently illiquid'. there is no guarantee repurchases will occur".

    Oh, yeah, sign me up for that!

    I do think floating-rate funds are the place to be. I prefer the relatively tame FFRHX here. Though if CEFs participate in sell-off of risk assets, I might move into some loan-CEFs at that time.

    One guy NOT on this year's roundtable is FELIX ZULAUF. However, for anyone interested, his recent thoughts/prognostications are on a recent YT video. He expects a major drawdown in equity markets in H1-2022. If I recall, something like a 33% decline from the 4800 peak on the SPX. Maybe less in EAFE, as its not so expensive. He then expects the Fed & other CBs to again come to the rescue, resulting in new highs off the drawdown lows. He seemed to think that after any sell-off EM equities might be work a look too.



  • edited January 16
    Edmond said:

    One guy NOT on this year's roundtable is FELIX ZULAUF. However, for anyone interested, his recent thoughts/prognostications are on a recent YT video. He expects a major drawdown in equity markets in H1-2022. If I recall, something like a 33% decline from the 4800 peak on the SPX. Maybe less in EAFE, as its not so expensive. He then expects the Fed & other CBs to again come to the rescue, resulting in new highs off the drawdown lows. He seemed to think that after any sell-off EM equities might be work a look too.

    Felix Zulauf hasn't participated in Barron's Roundtable since 2017.
    Approximately a month ago, Mr. Zulauf shared his 2022 outlook with Barron's:

    "He sees a major decline of 30% in the U.S. market, with perhaps losses of five percentage points less in Europe, because the excesses there are more moderate. 'After that decline, it will shake authorities.
    Instead of a taper and rate hikes, they will move back to stimulate to stop the selling panic,' he predicts."

    Link

    We'll see what happens...
  • edited January 16
    @Thanks @Edmond for the insights on CPREX. I noted that one of the roundtable participants mentioned it favorably - that’s all. 10 different participants. Some may have been tossing grenades. However, based on your description, I’ve decided not to invest the $1,000,000 minimum in that fund.

    Randal Forsyth summarized Zulauf’s current bearish views a few weeks ago. I checked Zulauf’s forecasting record which isn’t very good, and so I withheld posting that on the board. I’m somewhat in agreement with Zulauf myself. But it’s certainly not a mainstream view. Would be happy to hear you and others discuss it - supplying the necessary substance to make Zulauf’s case or negate it. I subscribe to Bill Fleckenstein’s “Daily Rap” column / blog and get a somewhat similar take on the markets there as what Zulauf is saying.

  • edited January 16
    And notable Ahlsten / Parnassus quote: “ Value has done well out of the gate, but growth stocks could come back strongly in the second half as the yield curve flattens. People will rediscover that they want to own innovative companies, not slow-growth, narrow-moat, old-economy companies. Areas like semiconductors could do really well. Semis are 60 basis points of the global economy but bring intrinsic value to the table. Hyperscaled software providers, and innovative companies in healthcare, life sciences, and life-science tools all could do well as the economy slows. The second half could be almost the mirror image of the first half. The S&P 500 could end the year up by mid- to high-single digits.”

    Black: “ I follow small- and mid-caps, as well. The small-cap Russell 2000 trades for 17 times forward earnings, but 39% of the companies in the index have no earnings. Thus, the Russell’s true P/E is about 28 times, as is the Nasdaq’s”
  • great thread. i'm learning.
  • edited January 17

    Some clarification re the “favorably mentioned” funds I listed in the OP.

    All 8 funds were cited by Sonal Desai, CIO and portfolio manager Franklin Templeton Fixed Income. I should have noted that in the OP. Here’s the full text of her remarks re CPREX in the Barron’s article under discussion:

    Desai: “From a portfolio perspective, there are different ways to hedge against inflation. For that reason, I started moving toward real estate in the middle of last year. All of my picks are funds. First, I want to highlight a private real estate fund, Clarion Partners Real Estate Income fund [CPREX]. It is a Franklin Templeton fund. Clarion offers direct access to institutional-quality private real estate, with daily pricing. These are commercial real estate properties with the scale and balance-sheet quality that institutional investors demand. It's hard to come by such assets as a retail investor. The fund has direct investments in commercial real estate and real estate securities. It is backed by long-term real estate contracts and taxed as a real estate investment trust, which has investment benefits. The retail fund has been around only since 2019, but Clarion has a 30-year track record serving institutional clients. The portfolio's target allocation is 60% to 90% private real estate and 10% to 40% public real estate securities. It invests in warehouse, apartment, office, retail, and other property sectors.”

    As always, before investing read a fund’s prospectus, perform due diligence and make sure the fund is appropriate for you. (Also, note comments re CPREX made above by members.)
  • Too late for me. I moved into a real estate fund (RQI) over a year ago. Oh well.
  • edited January 17
    Don't know if you can consider CEF such as RQI in the same category as CPREX with respect to the risk-reward. RQI has done well last year just as the OEF such as VNQ. I maintain small allocations in FRIFX and VNQ.
  • edited January 17
    The difference to me is that I know the real estate holdings held in RQI. I don't know anything about the 'private' holdings in CPREX. What can I say.

    And of course there's that little matter of a million dollar buy in.
  • Mark said:

    Too late for me. I moved into a real estate fund (RQI) over a year ago. Oh well.

    And RQI may do well this year as well, but certainly not at a 56% clip...sometimes leverage works in your favor.

    Here's a asset allocation heat map from Ben Carlson showing real estate at the top of the heap for 2021.

    https://awealthofcommonsense.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Screenshot-2022-01-07-131143-1.png

  • The mechanics of buying (even when you have one million dollar) and selling does not work for many people. These are for institution and wealthily individuals.

    For me it is more important to have competence active management and exposure to that asset class. If I want the exact holding, I buy that stock instead.
  • Look, I wasn't trying to make any point other than I already hold a real estate fund. Period. RQI isn't for everyone anymore than CPREX is. Also I don't expect any one particular fund to repeat one year's performance anymore than I expect it to bounce around like a yoyo. Last year it worked, who knows what it will do this year. All I do usually is devote 5-10% of my portfolio to the real estate sector.
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