The Fed’s Beige Book: read or ignore? | Responsible Investor Weekly Newsletter, April 22nd, 2023


Responsible Investor is a weekly newsletter and an Apple/Spotify podcast for those who are interested in investing responsibly. Go to for more information and to read our disclaimer. This week’s newsletter is titled “The Fed’s Beige Book: read or ignore?”, and was written on April 22nd, 2023.

Weekly summary in a paragraph

The US stock market indices finished mildly lower this week, with the exception of the Russell 2000. In the UK, the latest economic data revealed that inflation is still high: this report spooked global markets on Wednesday. The European stock market finished higher again this week, and is now up 20% year to date. The 2-10y spread increased and is still inverted at -60 basis points: this corresponds to a 22 basis points increase in the past month. In corporate news, Tesla tanked on Thursday as more price cuts were announced and Q1 2023 earnings showed a significant reduction in profit margin. Netflix also disappointed reporting weaker-than-expected results. Procter & Gamble, conversely, beat on both the top and the bottom line, thanks to price hikes which meant that the company could pass the impact of inflation on to its customers (we are long). Next week is very busy in terms of earnings as mega cap tech companies report: by the end of the week, more than 40% of the S&P500 companies will have reported, allowing to draw some initial conclusions on the Q1 2023 earnings.

Asset classes weekly performance

This week the Dow finished -0.2% lower (+2.0% year to date) while the S&P500 lost -0.1% (+7.7% year to date), the Nasdaq gave up -0.4% (+15.3% year to date) and the Russell 2000 advanced +0.6% (+1.7% year to date). Gold finished -1.3% lower (+6.2% year to date, we are long) while Silver lost -0.4% (+3.1% year to date, we are long). Oil tanked -3.7% (+0.9% year to date). The 10-y US treasury yield finished flat (-5.9% year to date). The European stock market rose +0.5% (+20.2% year to date). The Euro finished flat against the US Dollar (+2.6% year to date).

Weekly pitch

Perhaps the most significant piece of economic news this week consisted in the Fed’s Beige Book, which was published on Wednesday. The main takeaway message in it was the fact that the loan demand dropped significantly in the US. Its relevance arises from the implicit indication that slower economic activity is expected, therefore. This, in turn, suggests an increased risk of negative impact on earnings and on the stock market. Analysts now believe that another quarter point rate hike will happen at the May FOMC meeting, with an 86% probability. Until more earnings data is available over the next couple of weeks, responsible investors should exercise caution and maintain a healthy proportion of their portfolio in cash and hedges. This week we have beaten the market again and have initiated new long and short positions.

Weekly Portfolio Update

Here are this week’s movements: we took profits on our EOG Resources long position (+10.5%) and partial profits on our Google long position (+7.9%). We initiated long positions on Rational and Fielmann, and added to our Range Resources and Berkshire Hathaway long positions; we also initiated a short position on XPO Logistics and on World Wrestling Entertainment. Cash, precious metals and hedges amount to 39% in our portfolio (unchanged compared to last week).

Top 5 Weekly Portfolio Performers

Essilor Luxottica +5.73% (Medical Specialties)

Sibanye Stillwater +4.75% (Precious Metals)

Mariott International +3.75% (Hotels & Leisure)

Chipotle Mexican Grill +3.55% (Restaurants)

Procter & Gamble +3.36% (Consumer non durables)

Portfolio Asset Allocation

US Long stock positions 51% (reduced)

EU Long stock positions 10% (increased)

US Short stock position 4.5% (unchanged)

Hedges 7.5% (unchanged)

Silver & Gold 5% (unchanged)

Cash 22% (unchanged)

1-year Portfolio Performance

Our portfolio performance over the last 12 months is +2.4% (excl. dividends) vs the S&P500 loss of -5.9%, which corresponds to a +8.3% market beat.

Invest responsibly!!!


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