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Extraordinary policy measures may be tilting inflation risks to the upside, reinforcing the need for diversifying assets that tend to respond well to unexpected inflation.
- Global real estate securities: Rent growth has historically outpaced inﬂation, while property values may beneﬁt as higher costs for land, labor and materials raise the economic threshold for new supply.
- Global listed infrastructure: Many infrastructure assets have pricing mechanisms that include rate escalators linking user fees to inﬂation, while a stronger economy has typically driven higher throughput and cash ﬂows.
- Real assets multi-strategy: A diversified real assets allocation has historically delivered equity-like returns with reduced volatility and strong relative performance in inflationary periods.
Long-term inflation pressures are building
Recent market attention has been acutely focused on the spike in U.S. headline inﬂation, which has accelerated from near zero to 2.6% over the past year. This short-term increase has been well telegraphed considering that conditions today are the mirror opposite from a year ago, with global growth in 2021 on course to hit a 50-year high. The recovery in oil prices, supply chain disruptions and a reopening economy suggest inﬂation could peak above 3% in the next few months before settling back to just above 2% for the remainder of the year.
Further out, however, we believe the market’s ﬂat inﬂation expectations over the long run underestimate the potential impact of $30 trillion in global ﬁscal and monetary stimulus and more inﬂation-tolerant central bank policies.
Index definitions and important disclosures
An investor cannot invest directly in an index and index performance does not reﬂect the deduction of any fees, expenses or taxes. Index comparisons have limitations as volatility and other characteristics may diﬀer from a particular investment.
Bonds: ICE BofA U.S. 7-10 Year Treasury Index is composed of U.S. Treasury Notes with a 7–10 year maturity. Commodities: Bloomberg Commodity Total Return Index, formerly known as the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index, is a broadly diversified index composed of commodities traded on U.S. exchanges, with the exception of aluminum, nickel and zinc, which trade on the London Metals Exchange. Global listed infrastructure: 50/50 Blend of Datastream World Pipelines and Datastream World Gas, Water, & Multi-Utilities through December 2002; Dow Jones Brookfield Global Infrastructure Index thereafter. The Dow Jones Brookfield Global Infrastructure Index measures the stock performance of publicly listed infrastructure companies, intending to measure all sectors of the infrastructure market. Global natural resource equities: 50/50 Blend of Datastream World Oil & Gas and Datastream World Basic Materials through December 2002; S&P Global Natural Resources Index thereafter. The Datastream World Index Series encompasses global indexes of companies in their respective sectors (Gas, Water & Multi-Utilities; Materials; Oil & Gas; and Pipelines) compiled by Thomson Reuters Datastream. S&P Global Natural Resources Index includes 90 of the largest publicly traded companies in natural resources and commodities businesses that meet specific investability requirements, oﬀering investors diversified, liquid and investable equity exposure across three primary commodity-related sectors: Agribusiness, Energy and Metals & Mining. Global real estate: FTSE Nareit Equity REIT Index through 12/31/1989 and FTSE EPRA/Nareit Developed Index thereafter. FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index is an unmanaged market-weighted total return index which consists of many companies from developed markets who derive more than half of their revenue from property-related activities. Global stocks: The MSCI World Index is a free float-adjusted market- capitalization-weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets. U.S. real estate: FTSE Nareit All Equity REIT Index is an unmanaged, market-capitalization-weighted index of all publicly traded U.S. REITs that invest predominantly in the equity ownership of real estate. U.S. stocks: The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 large-capitalization, publicly traded stocks representing a variety of industries. Real assets multi-strategy: Consists of a blend comprised of 27.5% global real estate, 27.5% commodities, 15% global listed infrastructure, 15% natural resource equities, 10% short-duration fixed income and 5% gold. Short Duration Fixed Income: The ICE BofA US Corporate 1-3 Year Index tracks the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated investment-grade rated corporate debt publicly issued in the U.S. domestic market with a remaining term to maturity of less than 3 years. Gold is represented by the gold spot price.
Data quoted represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results. The information presented above does not reflect the performance of any fund or other account managed or serviced by Cohen & Steers, and there is no guarantee that investors will experience the type of performance reflected above. There is no guarantee that any historical trend illustrated herein will be repeated in the future, and there is no way to predict precisely when such a trend will begin. There is no guarantee that any market forecast made in this document will be realized. The views and opinions in the preceding document are as of the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and should not be relied upon as investment advice, does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell a security or other investment and is not intended to predict or depict performance of any investment. This material is not being provided in a fiduciary capacity and is not intended to recommend any investment policy or investment strategy or take into account the specific objectives or circumstances of any investor. We consider the information in this presentation to be accurate, but we do not represent that it is complete or should be relied upon as the sole source of appropriateness for investment. Cohen & Steers does not provide investment, tax or legal advice. Please consult with your investment, tax or legal professional regarding your individual circumstances prior to investing.
Risks of investing in real estate securities. The risks of investing in real estate securities are similar to those associated with direct investments in real estate, including falling property values due to increasing vacancies or declining rents resulting from economic, legal, political or technological developments, lack of liquidity, limited diversification and sensitivity to certain economic factors such as interest rate changes and market recessions.
Risks of investing in global listed infrastructure. Investments in global infrastructure securities will likely be more susceptible to adverse economic or regulatory occurrences aﬀecting global infrastructure companies than an investment that is not primarily invested in global infrastructure companies. Infrastructure issuers may be subject to regulation by various governmental authorities and may also be aﬀected by governmental regulation of rates charged to customers, operational or other mishaps, tariﬀs, and changes in tax laws, regulatory policies, and accounting standards.
Risks of investing in foreign securities. Foreign securities involve special risks, including currency fluctuations, lower liquidity, political and economic uncertainties and diﬀerences in accounting standards. Some international securities may represent small- and medium-sized companies, which may be more susceptible to price volatility and less liquidity than larger companies.
Risks of investing in commodities. An investment in commodity-linked derivative instruments may be subject to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities, particularly if the instruments involve leverage. The value of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be aﬀected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors aﬀecting a particular industry or commodity, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariﬀs and international economic, political and regulatory developments. The use of derivatives presents risks diﬀerent from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. Among the risks presented are market risk, credit risk, counterparty risk, leverage risk and liquidity risk. The use of derivatives can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying asset, index or rate, which may be magnified by certain features of the derivatives.
Futures trading is volatile, highly leveraged and may be illiquid. Investments in commodity futures contracts and options on commodity futures contracts have a high degree of price variability and are subject to rapid and substantial price changes. Such investments could incur significant losses. There can be no assurance that the options strategy will be successful. The use of options on commodity futures contracts is to enhance risk-adjusted total returns. The use of options, however, may not provide any, or only partial, protection for market declines. The return performance of the commodity futures contracts may not parallel the performance of the commodities or indexes that serve as the basis for the options it buys or sells; this basis risk may reduce overall returns.
Risks of investing in natural resource equities. The market value of securities of natural resource companies may be aﬀected by numerous factors, including events occurring in nature, inflationary pressures and international politics.
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