The key theme that all these speakers pulled on was that 2015 was going to be a year of volatility and rising interest rates.
Bill Gross seemed to headline the event and gave a somewhat grave outlook for 2015:
When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes. The good times are over.
Bill Gross left Pacific Investment Management Co. in September 2014 and to give an idea of what kind of weight he pulls and how much investors listen to him, PIMCO recorded a net loss of $150 billion in its mutual funds for 2014. This was the largest annual exodus ever experienced by a mutual fund firm. According to Morningstar, there was a total outflow in 2014 of $103 billion in the Total Return fund that Gross ran.
The recent bull market had been fueled by low interest rates and as a result increased credit growth. However that time will be over soon according to Gross, and the time for taking risks is over as well. He would go on to say:
Asset prices depend significantly on economic growth, and that isn’t good news for investors in 2015. Aside from the United States, the growth outlook for developed countries and many emerging ones is subpar. Do not look, therefore, for economic growth to be the magic elixir for 2015. Almost all economies are facing structural headwinds.
He did say that to weather this storm investors should hold high-quality assets with stable cash flows, similar to stock in companies with little debt and active dividends, Treasuries, and high-quality corporate bonds.
The benchmark U.S. 10-year yield fell to 1.99% and shares of Janus were down about 1% at $15.57 in the last half of the trading day. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $15.75 and a 52-week trading range of $10.13 to $16.61. It has a market cap of nearly $3 billion.