In late July, Oaktree Capital’s Howard Marks put out a memo describing current investment trends that could turn out to be mistakes. Marks urged caution on equity valuations, low volatility, FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google), ETFs, interest rates, private equity, venture capital and bitcoin.
Caution alone is not an investment strategy, so Marks penned a follow-up memo recently to give investors six options for how to invest in a low-return world:
• Invest as you always have and expect your historic returns.
• Invest as you always have and settle for today’s low returns.
• Reduce risk to prepare for a correction and accept still lower returns.
• Go to cash at near-zero return and wait for a better environment.
• Increase risk in pursuit of higher returns.
• Put more into special niches and special investment managers.
And here’s how he would proceed, given today’s choices: “As I mentioned above, none of these possibilities is attractive or a sure thing. But there are no others. What would I do? For me the answer lies in combination of numbers 2, 3, and 6.”
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