How is Ray Dalio navigating the inflexion point, defined as significant events, whether geopolitical or a change in the monetary cycle, that impact the trajectory of business and the economy?
Ray Dalio, a billionaire macro investor, issued a stern warning about the US economy.
In a recent interview, Ray Dalio discussed the US’s’ impending debt crisis.
Referring to the US balance sheet, how is Ray Dalio navigating the inflexion point?
The imbalance in the treasuries market, where the supply, fuelled by a ballooning public deficit, exceeds investor demand for treasuries, and such imbalances may contribute to future volatility in the markets.
“Ray Dalio, a billionaire macro investor, issued a stern warning about the US economy”
WEALTH TRAINING CONPANY
Ballooning debt, how is Ray Dalio navigating the inflexion point?
Ray Dalio noted in his latest interview that despite the current low unemployment rates and stable household incomes, the US economy faces some long-term challenges based on its record-high debt burden.
Ray Dalio believes that interest rates will remain stable and may even decline in the short term due to a steep recession.
But in the long term, the exponential growth in debt will eventually lead to a scenario where the government has to borrow money solely to service interest on the debt, which is the inflexion point.
Ray Dalio noted that the burden of servicing the public deficit could be a significant headwind for the economy.
Moreover, Ray Dalio warned about rising political polarity, which could lead to extremism and social instability in the US.
Ray Dalio believes that the current dynamic demand for US bonds could fall, pushing yields higher in the long term.
“in the long term, the exponential growth in debt will eventually lead to a scenario where the government has to borrow money solely to service interest on the debt, which is the inflexion point”
WEALTH TRAINING COMPANY
Ray Dalio navigating the inflexion point with sticky inflation
The billionaire macro investor is betting on sticky inflation, a situation where inflation is high, and persistent in the 3 to 3.5% range.
Ray Dalio sees a floor, or support, for bond yields of at least 100 basis points above the expected long-term inflation rate. If Dalio’s forecast is correct, then the long-term treasury yields could stabilize in their current range for the short term at least.
The latest 13F Bridgewater filings as Ray Dalio navigates the inflexion point
In short, Ray Dalio has a pessimistic outlook on the US economy and believes that inflation will remain higher for longer.
So this is how Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater navigates the inflexion point;
Bridgewater’s top holdings, in terms of percentage of the portfolio, in order of listing, according to its latest 13F filings, are as follows;
iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) 5.5%
iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) 5.3%
The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) 4.2%
The Coca-Cola Company (KO) 3%
Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) 2.8%
PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) 2.7%
Walmart Inc. (WMT) 2.6%
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) 2.6%
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) 2.6%
“All six of Ray Dalio’s holdings are consumer defensive stocks with financially sound balance sheets and top credit ratings” – Wealth Training Company
Investment strategy as Ray Dalio navigates the inflexion point
All six of Ray Dalio’s holdings are consumer defensive stocks with financially sound balance sheets and top credit ratings. So, these financially robust stocks make these companies able to better weather higher for longer interest rates. Moreover, considerable pricing power protects them from sticky inflation and their recession-resistant business models are least impacted by the slowdown in the US economy:
Here they are;
- Procter & Gamble: Procter & Gamble’s pricing power stems from its portfolio of essential consumer goods, ranging from hygiene products to household items. These products, often considered necessities, maintain steady demand regardless of economic conditions. Moreover, PG’s strong brand loyalty allows it to pass on higher costs to consumers without significant backlash, thereby shielding it from inflationary pressures.
- Coca-Cola: The international iconic brand Coca-Cola has global pricing power and is therefore relatively immune to persistently moderate inflationary pressures. Coca-Cola is viewed as an affordable luxury and therefore experiences sustained demand even during economic downturns. Furthermore, KO’s diverse product portfolio, including healthier options alongside its soft drinks, allows it to appeal to a broad consumer base, enhancing its ability to maintain its pricing power and profitability.
- Costco: Costco’s membership-based business model, is a significant factor in its pricing power. The bulk-buying discounts and perceived value, offered by Costco drive customer loyalty and frequent store visits. During economic slowdowns, consumers tend to become more price-sensitive, which plays into Costco’s strengths as a bulk discount retailer.
- PepsiCo: Similar to Coca-Cola, PepsiCo benefits from strong brand recognition and a diversified product portfolio, including snacks and beverages. This diversification allows PepsiCo to balance the impacts of economic cycles across different product categories, thereby maintaining strong pricing power and profitability, even in a stagflationary environment such as what Mr. Dalio expects.
- Walmart: Walmart’s business advantage lies in its extensive supply chain efficiency geared towards low-cost retailers. In economic downturns, consumers switch to affordable retail options, benefiting Walmart. Economies of scale allow it to negotiate favourable terms with suppliers, sustaining its pricing power even when inflation is somewhat elevated.
- Johnson & Johnson: JNJ’s pricing power is based on its diversified healthcare portfolio, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer health products. The essential nature of many of its products, especially in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, ensures consistent demand. JNJ also has a strong brand reputation in healthcare that lends it a degree of pricing inelasticity, as consumers and healthcare providers trust and rely on its products.
Ray Dalio navigating the inflexion point and how he is playing EFTS
Dalio’s top holdings are three ETFs:
two based on the S&P 500 and another – its largest overall holding – based on emerging markets. The fund’s exposure to the S&P 500 is financially oriented towards significant portfolio diversification.
He also has some exposure to the A.I. ‘Magnificent Seven’ (Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Tesla (TSLA), Meta (META), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), and NVIDIA (NVDA)).
Ray Dalio’s largest holding gives it a natural hedge against a severe downturn in the US dollar, which would likely occur if the US fiscal situation continues to deteriorate.