Equity Returns Without Equity Risk?
Convertible returns keep buy-and-hold alive and well.
It's certainly possible. While memories are usually amazingly short -- at least in my experience, we have to allow for some lasting effects from this crisis.
With triple-digit Dow moves becoming the norm, it may seem odd to talk about dead money. Money is scared, money is greedy - but it certainly doesn't seem dead.
On the other hand, the death of buy-and-hold investing is being declared in a number of quarters, particularly given the events of the recent and even the not-so-recent past. But a world in which we're all trying to out-trade one another hardly bodes well for full valuations.
Indeed, the idea that we all need to be traders, while understandable, screams zero-sum game. Furthermore, it reminds us that the equity markets have, at least in the short- and mediu-term, certain frightening Ponzi-like qualities. If we're all trying to out-trade one another, we are absolutely depending on new money coming in to take us out.
The fact that we're buying stakes in businesses -- in the economy -- ultimately validates equities. But this year has been a painful reminder that the comfortingly far-flung horizons we see on charts recommending equities for the long term are of little moment as we watch prices fall - and find ourselves imagining unimaginable scenarios.
Therein lies one of the main attractions of buying bonds now: You can get the kind of double-digit returns we used to associate with equities, but you don't need to count on another buyer to pay a higher price. As long as there are other buyers of equity at some price -- as long as the company is still valid and solvent -- your strategy will work.
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