10 post-Brexit opportunities

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With the recovery from the Brexit sell-off happening much quicker than anyone expected - even Nigel Farage likely wouldn't have been this bullish - it's impossible to say whether this rally is sustainable.

We're all looking for a bit of guidance in uncertain times, so UBS has put together its top 10 trading opportunities for the next three to six months.

UBS global chief investment officer Mark Haefele has come up with short-term trades across equities, fixed income, foreign exchange and alternative investments. Investors seeking long-term growth should look to multi-asset portfolios diversified across regions, sector and asset classes, he says.

While there is something for everyone, some of his ideas are aimed squarely at more sophisticated investors, so consider your risk/reward profile before taking the plunge. Careful analysis could help unlock some great potential here.

EQUITIES

Buy US equities

Move since Brexit result: -4 per cent; Upside: 5-8 per cent

Generating two-thirds of revenue domestically, stocks should benefit from the strengthening US consumer position.

Labour income is solid and housing market improvements should support consumption. The Federal Reserve is also unlikely to tighten policy, so refinancing costs should stay low.

Favouring those companies executing buybacks and/or paying healthy dividends, UBS analysts see the recent sell-off as an opportunity and remain 'overweight'.

Buy dividend stocks: Europe

Move since Brexit result: -1 per cent versus eurozone equities; Upside: 5 per cent versus eurozone equities

Even the more defensive stocks have been hit by the UK's decision to leave the EU.

The 12-month-forward yield on the MSCI [European Economic and Monetary Union] index is now near all-time highs at 4 per cent, and 3.9 per cent higher than German government bonds.

Buy dividend stocks: Asia Pacific

Move since Brexit result: -2 per cent; Upside: 5-8 per cent

Although only slightly affected by Brexit, Asian equities look relatively cheap right now, thinks UBS.

The environment is still uncertain, however, so investors should look to stocks with bond-like characteristics, including high yields, low risk to earnings growth and strong free cash flow.

UBS points to Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Thailand, regions with high-dividend stocks in low-gilt yields.

Buy UK real estate versus European real estate stocks

Move since Brexit result: -19 per cent for UK versus -3.5 per cent for Europe ex-UK; Upside: Low double-digit total return

UK real estate stocks have collapsed in response to Brexit, which has left valuations at 'historical extremes', says UBS. Spreads are near all-time highs and stock prices imply a 25 per cent discount to net asset value.

But Brexit uncertainty could be offset by a number of factors, including low exposure to financial tenants, international interest after sterling declines, rate cuts and low leverage levels.

This won't be a quick money-maker though. Investors should be prepared to hold for at least 18 months to two years.

Buy 2021 Eurostoxx dividend futures

Move since Brexit result: -10 per cent; Upside: 4-7 per cent

While Eurozone dividend futures were cheap before the vote, current levels are pricing in a fall of 35 per cent - greater than in the financial crisis.

Bullish UBS isn't convinced: 'Even if we assume that all financial companies will cut their dividends to zero, and that there is no dividend growth for any other Eurostoxx 50 company for five years, eurozone dividend futures are still well priced.'

FIXED INCOME

Buy European high yield credit

Move since Brexit result: -1.5 per cent; Upside:3-4 per cent

Ignoring Brexit, easy monetary policy and access to emergency measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) should keep nerves at bay.

With modest economic growth and low corporate funding costs, default rates - when a company can't repay its debt - should stick around a small 2 per cent. The ECB is also supporting the euro credit markets directly by buying corporate bonds.

Yielding 5 per cent after the sell-off is enough to catch many investors' eye.

Buy gold miners' bonds

Move since Brexit result: slightly up; Upside: 8 per cent

In times of uncertainty, investors flock to safe havens like gold - that's why the price always rockets in crashes. Bonds benefit from this demand as well.

While costs are still low, higher gold prices should drive profitability at miners and UBS is bullish on the imminent second-quarter results season.

With an average 4 per cent spread, as few bonds mature in 2016-2018, cash generated will likely be used to tender outstanding bonds.

Is it time to invest in gold?

Buy Asian bank Tier 2 subordinated bonds

Move since Brexit result: unchanged; Upside: 2-2.5 per cent

Restricted supply against strong demand for Asian banks' tier 2 bonds should underpin strong technical support for the fixed income vehicles.

Most of these are BBB/BBB-rated and are popular with Chinese onshore buyers.

'Current yield to maturity for Asian Tier 2 bonds is approximately 3.6-3.8 per cent, and Tier 2 bank bonds feature attractive valuations with a 2.0 times subordinated/senior spread ratio relative to senior bonds,' says anlayst Timothy Tay.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Long US dollar versus Australian dollar

Move since Brexit result: +3.5 per cent; Upside: 3 per cent

With its economic growth previously driven by its mining boom, Australia has struggled to offset the commodities rout that sent global stocks into a tailspin.

While prices have started upon their - very - long road to recovery, Australian growth drivers are weakening further and global uncertainties aren't helping.

With further monetary stimulus expected in August, risks to the region remain firmly to the downside.

This weakness strengthens the dollar in this currency relationship, with an inverse rate policy and risk-off flows supporting the dollar in the near term.

Long Brazilian real (versus euro and US dollar)

Move since Brexit result: unchanged; Upside: 4 per cent

Brazil isn't a risk-free opportunity given recent political turmoil, but global monetary policy should underpin high-yielding markets over the next few months.

'Despite the risk of temporary setbacks (e.g. from domestic politics), we see potential for further compression in risk premium in the second half,' says UBS.

ALTERNATIVES

Buy a diversified portfolio of hedge funds

Upside: 4-6 per cent over the next six months

Far from removing the uncertainty rocking global markets, the referendum result immediately added at least two years to their sentence.

The speed and strength of London's recovery has shocked most, but volatility will dictate the market for a while yet.

While this is going to be a problem for market-tracking beta investments, this is where hedge funds can make a killing.

The actively managed funds make use of derivatives and leverage in both domestic and international markets to take advantage of certain opportunities.

The investment vehicles usually require a minimum investment and are illiquid as there is usually a lock-up period - where withdrawals can't be made.

'Their superior risk-return characteristics and access to uncorrelated investment opportunities provide both downside protection and diversification benefits,' says UBS.

This article was written for our sister website Interactive Investor.


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