US stocks ‘rich and vulnerable’ but other markets still attractive

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Glenn Freeman: I'm Glenn Freeman for Morningstar. We're here on the sidelines of the Morningstar Investment Conference. And I'm joined today by Simon Doyle from Schroders. Thanks for joining us today.

Simon Doyle: My pleasure.

Freeman: Now, Simon, at the start of the session today, you were talking about / covering asset classes and you were speaking about multi-assets. Now, which parts do you find most appealing? I know you were saying Australian equities was one. But where do you like at the moment?

Doyle: Well, I guess, we are sort of starting from a point where we think near-term there are plenty of risks for markets with trade wars, uncertainty about sort of the global growth outlook and so on. So, I think, that's where we are starting.

But I think within that there's markets that are better priced, better value and are more likely to deliver returns for investors.

So, things like the Australian share market. We don't think it's sort of cheap, but it's certainly not demanding and there are some sort of key sectors there that have sort of lagged the rest of the market.

Japanese equities is another area that has underperformed, is relatively cheap.

And I would contrast that to say the US market where a lot of good news has been price. There's a lot of policy and economic uncertainty and we don't like US equities. We think it's a very rich and very vulnerable market.

I think outside equities, in the credit market area, we probably prefer quality. We prefer areas like the Australian investment grade market. Not a market where there's a lot of excess return, but we also think it's a market where there's not a lot of risk.

The Australian mortgage market may surprise some people, but we do think the quality end of that market there's good spreads and that will reward investors in actually a very low-risk way.

And I think other areas that are interesting are probably in currency markets. We think the sort of environment we're in will lead to sort of further depreciation of the Australian dollar.

So, the US dollar versus the Australian dollar. Currencies like the yen. And a bit of a sort of an outlier, if you like, is with UK being affected very much by concerns around Brexit, sterling is cheap and to some extent the UK equity market is cheap as well. So, I think there are areas where investors are likely to be more rewarded than others.

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