Bill Gross, the co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Co. and renowned “bond king,” has changed his stance on traditional investments. In his latest investment outlook, Gross advises against long-term investments in both stocks and bonds. Instead, he suggests exploring more sophisticated strategies, such as merger-arbitrage plays, for better returns. Additionally, he provides recommendations for specific stocks and highlights the potential benefits of Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) in the oil and gas industry. Let’s delve into the details.
Shifting Away from Traditional Investments
Gross believes that stocks and bonds no longer offer attractive total returns for the future. This statement challenges conventional investment wisdom and calls for a more dynamic approach to investing. He urges investors to explore alternative options that can generate higher profits.
Embracing Merger-Arbitrage Plays
One such alternative strategy Gross recommends is engaging in merger-arbitrage plays. This involves taking positions in stocks involved in pending transactions or betting against them. Gross highlights two companies, Activision Blizzard Inc. and Capri Holdings Ltd., as potential options for investors. Microsoft Corp. is set to acquire Activision, with the deal expected to close shortly after successfully overcoming legal obstacles presented by the Federal Trade Commission. Simultaneously, Capri is in the process of being acquired by Tapestry Inc., which owns prominent fashion brands like Coach.
Explore Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs)
Gross also suggests considering investments in Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) for their tax advantages and exposure to the oil and gas sector. Although Gross acknowledges that MLPs may face volatility due to oil prices, he believes they offer potential opportunities for investors interested in this industry.
Conclusion: A New Path to Enhanced Returns
In conclusion, Gross challenges traditional investment strategies, no longer endorsing long-term investments in stocks and bonds. Instead, he urges investors to embrace more sophisticated approaches, such as merger-arbitrage plays. Furthermore, he recommends specific stocks like Activision Blizzard Inc. and Capri Holdings Ltd., while also highlighting the potential benefits of investing in Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs). By exploring these alternative strategies, investors can position themselves for potentially higher returns in an ever-changing investment landscape.
Gross’s Bearishness and the Valuation of Stocks
Renowned bond manager Bill Gross is expressing bearish sentiments regarding the current state of the stock market. His rationale behind this stance lies in the rising Treasury yields, which have resulted in stocks being perceived as overvalued based on their forward earnings.
Gross backs up his assertion with a modified chart from Goldman Sachs Group analysts. The chart highlights a concerning divergence between the forward price-to-earnings ratio for the S&P 500 and the level of real yields, which represent bond yields adjusted for inflation. According to Gross, this correlation has held true for the past five years, except for the last 12 months.
Considering the current yield levels, Gross suggests that the forward price-to-earnings ratio for the S&P 500 should be around 12 times, as opposed to its current level of just under 18 times, according to FactSet data.
Gross’s bearishness extends to bonds as well. He anticipates that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will be unable to significantly lower interest rates in the near future, primarily due to inflation stubbornly remaining above 3%.
Gross’s pessimistic outlook aligns with recent market movements. On Tuesday, the yields for 10-year and 30-year Treasurys reached their highest levels since the second half of 2007. As a result, the S&P 500 has experienced a decline of nearly 7.5% from its closing high for 2023, which was reached on July 31 at 4,588.96. As of Wednesday, the index was trading at 4,249.
These developments raise concerns about the valuation of stocks and the potential impact on investors. Gross’s analysis and insights offer valuable considerations in navigating the current market environment.