Investors should head for credit rather than cash: UBS Wealth


Americans have been piling into cash amid uncertainty around the impact of the coronavirus, according to UBS Global Wealth Management, which says that strategy isn’t the answer.

“Rushing to the exits may feel like a safe choice for those uncomfortable with the rally or unresolved COVID-19 risks,” chief investment officer Mark Haefele wrote in a note Tuesday.

But “with yields on savings and money-market funds so low, we think investors will need to consider diversifying into riskier, higher-yielding assets such as lower-quality credit or stocks,” he wrote.

As coronavirus fears deepened over an eight-week period, cash piles soared by more than $1 trillion, to around $4.7 trillion, according to UBS estimates.

The S&P 500 Index tumbled 34% from its February record to its low in March as investors fled from riskier assets as the pandemic spread. While markets have bounced back thanks to record stimulus measures, most projections indicate the pandemic will continue to affect markets for months or even years.

UBS Wealth’s recommendations include:

 •  Going into credit over cash, with particular value seen in U.S. high-yield credit, U.S. investment-grade credit, dollar-denominated emerging market sovereign bonds and green bonds.

 •  Getting off the sidelines with an averaging-in strategy, plus being selective in stocks, with particular opportunity in select cyclicals, stable and defensive stocks.

 •  Buying into themes given a boost by Covid-19, including e-commerce, fintech, automation, robotics and genetic therapies.

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