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Why Sovereign Funds are Unfazed by Latest Market Swings

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It has been hammered into the global collective consciousness that sovereign wealth funds are long-term institutional investors and contrarian stylistically at many instances. The latest U.S. stock market drop has put some investors at an impasse. Will the fall continue? How important is market timing?

The deleveraging of select institutional investors, such as systematic trading allocators, likely contributed to the stock market drop on the fifth of February. The plausible technical-driven sell-off has long-term pensions and sovereign funds licking their lips for the buy the dip moment. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) months ago signaled they were increasing public equities and reducing the amount of private equity managers being used.

There is legitimate anxiety of higher interest rates with a new Federal Reserve chairman – Jerome Powell – among traders and investors. The Federal Reserve being cautious on triggering a U.S. recession is undoubtedly looking at consumer sentiment and production indicators, before the signal or vote on rate decisions for the near future. The slowdown in quantitative easing (QE) policies have already impacted global markets, causing a rise in bond yields across markets. Risk-seeking traders playing the short-term volatility game felt the heat in early February, after the massive single-day decline in stock markets. Despite sovereign funds having a pool of over US$ 7 trillion in assets, retail investors have a major role in the ups and downs of the U.S. stock market. Wall Street often markets exchange-traded products and mutual funds off of stock-trading websites and financial news sites. Many retail investors dabble in stocks and exchange-traded products (ETP).

VIX Product Collapse

The Monday mayhem of February 5, 2018, jolted investors, both retail and institutional money. Two exchange-traded products tied to the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) volatility index – or VIX – collapsed in afterhours futures trading on Monday – February 5, losing 95% of their value after the popular indicator of investor anxiety doubled in response to the worst day for markets since the summer of 2011. CBOE Global Markets paid the price later on the sixth; as of 4:00 p.m. EST that day, CBOE’s stock was trading down 10.42% at US$ 116.93 a share.

The VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN (XIV) and ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (SVXY) – both issued by Credit Suisse – provide single-day returns on the inverse of the VIX, and have been immensely popular over the past year with traders banking on markets remaining mild. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

Norway GPFG Would Prioritize Value in Tesla Stake

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Sovereign wealth fund giant Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is an investor in Tesla, holding a 0.48% stake at the end of 2017. GPFG owns roughly 1.4% of all globally listed company shares, minus stocks from its exclusion pool. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Anbang Insurance Set to Sell its US Luxury Portfolio

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Distressed Beijing-based holding company Anbang Insurance Group is set to sell its U.S. luxury hotel properties, which were purchased for US$ 5.5 billion from the Blackstone Group in 2016. This is a move to raise quick cash, following the firm’s seizure at the hands of the Chinese government six months ago. Bids had already been ongoing for selected properties, including the famed Essex House Hotel, overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park. The portfolio of hotels is strategically placed in geographically diverse regions, including Miami and Chicago. Anbang is looking to cash in on the properties quickly, as its properties in China are already being liquidated. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norway GPFG Returns 1.8% for Second Quarter of 2018

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Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) returned 1.8% for the second quarter of 2018. Listed equity investments generated a 2.7% return for the period, while fixed income returned 0%. Unlisted real estate investments posted a 1.9% return for the second quarter. In addition, the Norwegian krone depreciated against the U.S. dollar during the quarter. Furthermore, 2 billion NOK was withdrawn from the fund.

“North American and European stocks had a positive development in the quarter despite the prospect of increased trade barriers. This made a positive contribution to the fund’s return,” says Trond Grande, Deputy CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, according to the press release.

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