Sep 12, 2023
Back in July, I made one important point - “we’re not so sure we’re out of the woods yet” (in terms of avoiding a major economic recession or market pullback) so we “remain positioned with some strategic cash.”
Fast forward to today, and it seems that conservatism served us well in August.
All of our active equity strategies outperformed their benchmarks* thanks to a combination of (1) relatively strong individual stock performance and (2) our strategic cash holdings which buffered us from the full impact of the market’s decline.
Here’s some more context:
1/ What Happened and Why: The S&P 500 and Nasdaq suffered their first monthly declines since February (-1.8% and -2.2%, respectively). This was due to a variety of factors - from concerns about stretched market sentiment and positioning to worries about China's economic growth.
2/ What We Did About It: In the face of these risk factors, we held more cash for clients. As you know, we’ve been in the “higher for longer” interest rates camp for a while now. This means we’ve been expecting higher bond yields than the market (which we anticipated would hurt stock prices), so when they arrived, we were prepared with strategic cash holdings to buffer against losses. We did not buy/add to any stocks in August, though we did sell/trim a few stocks (see Ebix/Consol Energy and Verra Mobility in Opportunities).
3/ The Path Forward:
No change to our views since last month. We remain cautiously optimistic with roughly ~80-85% net exposure across our active equity strategies, holding strategic cash as “dry powder” to capitalize on continued volatility. We feel great about our portfolios but few ideas on our watchlist are “screaming buys” right now, so we are staying patient.
We are waiting for confirmation of a hard vs. soft landing which we should get over the next few quarters as a few key catalysts unfold, such as the resumption of required student loan repayments. The resulting hard vs. soft landing will be a factor in determining the degree and speed with which we deploy vs. shore up our strategic cash.
Until then, we’ll continue to pick our spots as attractive bottom-up opportunities present themselves in individual stocks.
In case you’re looking for more, check out our first “Investment Committee” video from last week.
Beyond our active equity strategies, we’ve loved hearing the client feedback around Smart Cash which creates a seamless cash management experience for you at Titan. For your low-risk money, we have Smart Cash; for your growth capital we have our actively managed strategies. With rates at two decade highs, Smart Cash is yielding up to 5.30%* and serves as an excellent place for your rainy day fund.
If you have any questions for me or the team, just reply to this email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Stay cool out there.
Co-CEO and Chief Investment Officer
*Performance relative to benchmark assumes an ‘Aggressive’ risk profile. Clients with ‘Moderate’ or ‘Conservative’ risk profiles generally would have experienced lower returns.
**Yield is as of 9/08/23. This represents the highest 7-Day Yield currently available among our options. Certain funds have specific investment minimums, which can be up to $3,000. Investors who invest amounts below these minimums may experience lower yields than those advertised. Yields will fluctuate over time, and are not a forecast or guarantee of future earnings.
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