International Equities

The first quarter of 2020 was one of the worst on record, and it certainly felt like it.  In a matter of weeks, a virus that likely emerged from a wet market in Wuhan, China, brought the global economy to a halt.  A Saudi-Russian induced oil price war exacerbated the decline.  Only cash, select government bonds, and gold provided refuge from the carnage.  There is tremendous uncertainty in the near term, as policymakers inject wartime stimulus into economies, creating a bridge until health risks subside and economic activity recovers.  Opportunities are emerging amid the associated uncertai

2019 was an extraordinary year for most asset classes, and global equities in particular, with the MSCI World Index delivering its third best gain in the past 30 years.  Markets climbed a wall of worry, receiving a boost from the January reversal of central bank policy coupled with an easing of two significant risk factors faced at the beginning of the year:  Sino-US trade tensions and Brexit.  International equities delivered solid returns but were outpaced by US equities and highly priced technology stocks, which led the advance.  Unlike the poor market sentiment entering 2019, current bu

The Altrinsic International Equity composite gained 1.0% during the third quarter, outperforming declines of 1.1% and 1.8% by the MSCI EAFE and ACWI ex-US indices, respectively, as measured in US dollars.  International markets actually delivered positive returns, as measured in local currencies, but weakness in non-US currencies versus the US dollar more than offset underlying gains.  Dovish central banks and subdued inflation provided a supportive backdrop for equities, but the weight of tepid growth in profits, weakening economic indicators, high debt levels, and escalating geopolitical

Global stock markets delivered robust gains thus far in 2019, outperforming all other asset classes.  This strength continued during the second quarter as dovish central bank commentary outweighed the preponderance of weak economic data and tariff fatigue.  Key developments during the second quarter included aggressive declines in bond yields, continued yield curve inversion in major markets, rallying equity markets led by US stocks, "growth" continuing to outperform "value," disparate performance among commodities, and reduced pricing of risk as indicated by narrowing CDS spreads in most c

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Powell's shift to more accommodative policies and improving confidence surrounding U.S.-China trade negotiations were the primary drivers of strong first-quarter gains for most asset classes.  As seen in Chart 1, Q1 performance was an abrupt reversal from the fourth quarter swoon.  Global equities, as measured by the MSCI World Index, gained 12.5% as measured in U.S. Dollars, led by U.S. equities and, most notably, high-priced "growth" stocks.  Non-U.S.

2018 was a challenging environment for all asset classes, but particularly in equities, where negative returns were delivered across nearly all major markets and industries.  We outperformed market benchmarks during the fourth quarter and for the full year, as our intrinsic value discipline kept us out of many significant decliners, especially among banks, highly cyclical businesses, and previously high-flying tech stocks.

The Altrinsic International Equity Portfolio delivered a 3.8% return during the third quarter, outperforming the 1.4% gain by the MSCI EAFE Index as measured in U.S. dollars.  Strong equity market gains during the quarter masked a challenging environment characterized by a significant divergence in underlying stocks’ performance.  The dominance by a small group of high-priced and crowded U.S.

Investment performance was mixed across asset classes during the second quarter against a backdrop of stronger economic growth in the U.S. and China, election uncertainties (particularly in Italy and Mexico), intensifying trade tensions, and central banks' transition away from policy stimulus and quantitative easing (QE) to quantitative tightening (QT).  Energy prices (Brent Crude +14%) and the U.S.

The Altrinsic International Equity Portfolio gained 1.3% during the first quarter, outperforming the 1.5% decline by the MSCI EAFE Index as measured in U.S.

Quarterly Letter


The fear that persisted in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has been replaced by complacency and growing excesses in many markets.  It was difficult to lose money in 2017, as 38 of the 39 major asset classes monitored by Deutsche Bank delivered positive returns.  Global equity markets, as measured by the MSCI World Index, climbed in every single month of 2017 and have now delivered a 237% total return since their 2009 lows.2  Stock market valuations have become stretched by historical measures, while interest rates, credit spreads, and volatility hover near all-time lows.