Exposure rates of the Dorval Asset Management Range – 5th February 2021

The main scenario for Europe is still for countries to bring the pandemic sufficiently under control to gradually be able to reopen the worst hit sectors from the spring onwards, despite the spread of new variants. These prospects – alongside strong showings for the world economy – are keeping upward pressure on the equity markets.

Vaccine doses administered as a % of the population

UK / US / Italy / Germany / France

 

The European Union lags on its vaccination program compared with the United States and the United Kingdom (cf. chart 1). This raises challenges for an area where the sectors most severely hampered by restrictions sometimes account for a fairly hefty share of the national economy. However, according to data company Oxford Economics, European countries should be able to ease business restrictions from the spring as the most vulnerable – around 8% of the population – receive their vaccines (cf. chart 2). Meanwhile, by the start or end of the summer – depending on the scenario adopted – 70% of the European adult population should be inoculated.

 

 

 

Hopes for treatments may also provide a possible booster to this outlook, with a medical center in Israel testing a treatment that seems to work for serious Covid-19 cases: patients recovered and were able to go home within five days. This all still needs to confirmed on a wider scale and via double-blind trials. However, if this success is established, it would obviously have a considerable impact on hospitalization rates, which are a key variable in countries’ decisions to close and open up again their economies. This hospitalization rate has actually started to decrease in a number of countries over the past three weeks, including the United States.

 

So after a correction at the end of January, the world stock-markets have taken an upturn again, powered by an admittedly uncertain but still reasonable prospect of getting the epidemic under control. In Europe, cyclical stocks have outperformed again, and the sectors most affected by the crisis are staging a recovery. The prospect of Mario Draghi setting up a government of national unity in Italy has also helped push down Europe’s risk premiums, although it’s not all done and dusted in the country yet. The banking, tourism and airline sectors could pick up again (cf. chart 3) after shedding part of their relative outperformance built up in November when vaccine breakthroughs were announced. We have raised our equity exposure rate again in our flexible portfolios and ramped up on post-Covid themes in Europe and worldwide.

 

Performances for Covid themes since the announcement of vaccines
Baskets of European stocks (source Goldman Sachs), relative performance to Stoxx 600

 

Airlines / Tourism & Leisure / Stay at home stocks / Banks / Digitalization

 

Download the weekly letter in PDF version: Exposure rates of the Dorval Asset Management Range – 5th January 2021

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