Which Asset Class Is The Most Sensitive To a Fed "Taper"?

Tyler Durden's picture

Markets are starting to price the removal of the unprecedented policy stimulus provided by the Fed. Investors have faced this situation several times in recent years, but as Barclays notes, these prior episodes lacked broad consensus and proved short-lived as further risks to the global recovery quickly re-appeared. The edginess of markets to ebbs and flows in the data and Fed communications in recent months suggests this time is different. Market movements are saying the Fed’s exit is now more ‘when’ than ‘if’. Fed actions have led to some of the most extraordinary market moves on record. Nominal US bond yields are at historically low levels, and real yields have been negative for a prolonged time. Risky assets, by contrast, have rallied sharply, supported by central bank policy even in the face of poor economic data. If the Fed is preparing for an exit, these market moves may need to go in reverse...

Via Barclays,

Which asset classes are more vulnerable to Fed tapering?

 

We begin to tackle this question by constructing two indicators that seek to capture the sensitivity of various asset prices to Fed easing and the extent to which asset prices have responded to such easing. The explicit assumption here is that asset classes that have been most sensitive to Fed policy and appear most dislocated from historical norms are likely the asset classes at greatest risk.

 

Our first indicator calculates the beta of various asset classes to the Fed balance sheet expansion. In particular, we calculate the elasticity of asset prices to changes in the Fed balance sheet...

 

Our second indicator shows the (normalised) deviations of current asset prices from historical averages (z-scores). The idea is to gauge how Fed easing has affected prices relative to historical norms...

Investors who are concerned about the reversal of Fed easing should consider short positions in assets with high elasticities to the Fed and expensive valuations versus history. [ZH - European staples to the S&P 500 and US High Yield and US Healthcare stocks] appear vulnerable. Short positions on the latter make sense to protect risk portfolios.

 

The re-pricing has already started in safe havens

 

An earlier-than-expected Fed tapering has already been priced in to some markets, even before the events of this past week unfolded. Safe havens assets that benefited greatly from elevated global tail risks and central bank easing, such as gold, the Swiss franc and even the AUD, have suffered...


 

Source: Barclays