Alger in 5: Market Update


I'd mentioned that, that within these areas of growth – these growth stocks, there are always areas of growth no matter what's happening in the economy. I know that's hard to believe with regard to the current situation when it seems like the entire world has stood still. So first off, historical example in the Global Financial Crisis, when GDP didn't grow for three years and retail sales were flat and the stock market was stagnant, e-commerce and internet advertising, both grew 30%. And what we try to do at Alger is, one, look for those areas of the economy that are going to grow, irrespective of what's happening in terms of recession, panic, what have you, and, two, to find companies that are levered to those areas of growth. So, for instance, Amazon obviously levered e-commerce in that very difficult Global Financial Crisis in the three years from the second quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2011, went from over $70 a share to over $200 a share. Today, we actually had one company that I won't name for compliance reasons. But one company that we hold in some of our portfolios, let's say, a cybersecurity company, report earnings today. And not only did they beat expectations but they guided above consensus significantly. And it just shows you that some industries are really non-discretionary like cybersecurity. You just can't cut back on that and are still in growth mode. And the other – so that's the one area that we like. Another thing we would highlight is a software-as-a- service. A lot of our strategies are overweight software in general. That’s our probably our largest overweighted industry across the firm. And not only is software we think a growing industry because of the digitalization across the American and global economies, but it's also a subscription-based service, which means that large companies, like Microsoft, we may get the estimates slightly wrong because of what's happening in the economy. But when you have a company like Microsoft that generates more than 80% of its revenues on a subscription basis, it's hard to get the revenues and earnings dramatically wrong. And so we favor companies where their revenues and earnings are more locked in rather than being simply discretionary.

Lastly, I just wanted to point out in thinking about how to invest. We're talking about what areas of the market that we like in terms of active management. Active management may be setting up for a very good period coming up. I mentioned earlier on the call that correlations between asset classes are very high. Well, correlations within the S&P 500 between stocks within the S&P 500 are actually the highest they've ever been since the two or three decades that we have on record in terms of data. And what that means to us is that a lot of good quality companies are going down with the companies that are less well-positioned, in other words, throwing babies out with the bathwater. And so we think that if managers are able to sift through that rubble and pick good quality companies, there may be significant amounts of alpha to be generated in the months and quarters going forward. Speaker Question : I was wondering if you could comment about what's going on in the bond market. I realize you’re growth equity guys. But the bond market and the potential for the disruption, ripple effects, whatever that it could carry over to the equity market. Brad Neuman : There is a lot of disruption and the Treasury markets haven't been functioning that well amazingly. Muni market hasn't been functioning that well and the corporate bond market, of course, has been under duress. The Fed just this morning announced some support for buying municipal. So hopefully that will help there. They've, of course, already given support to the commercial paper market and the money market funds. I believe that the Fed is in whatever it takes mode on those areas. So with that operator, I'd like to open it up to your questions.

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