Finance

This year has proven to be an average one for major asset classes — in multi-asset portfolios, neither equities or bonds performed particularly well. Next year could be more of the same for mostly everything but U.S. dollars, according to analysis from Goldman Sachs.

“We generally expect another year of low risk-adjusted returns across assets in 2019,” Goldman Sachs global equity strategist Christian Mueller-Glissmann said in a note to clients Tuesday. “We prefer cash and remain [overweight].”

Goldman remains “modestly pro-risk” in its asset allocation: The firm is overweight equities and commodities, and underweight bonds. Mueller-Glissmann said he still expects low returns for bonds their value as a hedge in a “risk off” trade is “likely to remain poor.”

This year though, cash was its best bet.

“U.S. cash was the asset class with the highest return and a tough benchmark on a risk-adjusted basis as volatility has started to pick up,” Mueller-Glissmann said. “Based on our forecasts, the reward for taking risk should improve in 2019 with a steeper efficient frontier, in particular due to higher returns for equities.”

This week, equities rallied after the announcement of a three-month pause on the U.S.-China tariff escalation and higher oil prices after Canadian supply cuts and expectations for an OPEC cut. But the exuberance likely won’t last into next year, Goldman said.

On a positive note, the London-based analyst said at the beginning of this year most assets were expensive. Those sky-high valuations have mostly declined year to date.

“This improves the outlook for medium-term returns, but we see a weaker expected macro backdrop in 2019 as likely to limit return potential,” he said.

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