1year of Russia-Ukraine
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Now, it’s been a year since Russia first launched its invasion of Ukraine, and today I’m sharing my conversation with a top investment chief who, before his finance career, worked as a reporter in Moscow.
He anticipates the war continuing well into 2024.
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Rhys Williams is the chief investment officer at Spouting Rock Asset Management. He is also a former Moscow-based journalist for The London Sunday Times.
This conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Phil Rosen: What are the implications for financial markets of Russia’s war on Ukraine?
Rhys Williams: A drawn out war is priced in, that’s what everybody expects.
We can all root for Ukraine, but if Ukraine starts to win, that raises the risk of tactical nukes and China getting more involved.
If Ukraine really does start to win, it becomes risky for the market, but if Russia wins, that makes markets very nervous too. I do think both cases are unlikely, and that a stalemate is the likely case, which has more or less been priced in.
There will be a sell-off in stocks and probably a flight to bonds in a scenario where either Russia wins big, or loses big.
Aside from markets, how would you characterize this war?
RW: This is an existential war for Vladimir Putin. It may not be in Russia’s interests to continue, but Putin is all in.
It’s absolutely impossible for Putin to get on national TV and say he made a mistake. He’s committed to gaining territory.
Now, with the stock market rebuffing the Fed to start the year, how do you see this year panning out for equities?
RW: The chances of another 2022 are very remote. Things will have to really break terribly for that. But the chances that the market is up 30% are also I think remote.
I think the market is fairly valued, and the kind of companies that can grow and don’t need a terrific economy should do relatively well.
Here’s the full story from my conversation with Rhys Williams.
What do you think of Williams’ insights on markets and the Russia-Ukraine war? Let us know in the comments.
And here are the top stories from markets this week:
1. Retail investors are piling into the riskiest parts of the market. The Reddit-loving day traders are back in a big way, piling record amounts of cash into stocks to start the year. But strategists warn that the enthusiasm may be ill-conceived.
2. In a recently surfaced clip, Tim Ferriss asked Warren Buffett how he would invest $1 million if he were starting over. The Berkshire Hathaway legend’s advice to the podcaster in 2008 was to park the lump of cash in an index fund, “forget it and get back to work.”
3. The Mormon Church and its investment arm will pay $5 million to settle SEC charges. The regulator said the Church’s investment manager “went to great lengths” to avoid disclosures. Its most recent 13F filings show the Church has a $100 billion portfolio.
4. This fund manager outperformed 95% of his peers last year. He shared a list of 16 stocks that can help investors collect consistent cash payments while inflation stays high. See the names.
5. Meet a real-estate investor who owns 1,250 units and was able to retire by age 36. Dave Allred was able to stop working just 13 years after buying his first property. Here’s how he was able to “reverse engineer” his financial freedom.
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This newsletter was curated by Phil Rosen.