Jeff Gundlach runs DoubeLine Capital, one of the world’s largest bond funds. His reputation has grown in the investment community in recent years, given the performance of his fund, and some great calls he’s made on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Japan, and natural gas.
Gundlach is a fan of webcasts — he usually holds several a year, where he lays out his outlook for the market and frequently gives a few picks.
In his most recent webcast, held Thursday, Gundlach favored US Treasuries, emerging markets, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Japan, and gold.
Ignore the US Treasury route
Gundlach has been bullish on Treasuries now for a few weeks, and it’s been a losing trade. Since the beginning of May, the yield on the US 10-year has jumped from about 1.6% to over 2.50%.
But Gundlach is sticking by his call. He thinks the yield is poised to drop back to 1.7%. Gundlach argues that, based on economic data, there’s no sign of inflation anywhere, and that bonds will be the place to be in the coming months — specifically, treasury bonds.
If investors want to follow Gundlach into the trade, they can do so by buying a Treasury bond ETF. iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Trasry Bnd Fd (NYSEMKT:IEF) is such an ETF. It holds US Treasuries expiring in 7-10 years, and has an expense ratio of just 0.15%.
Over the last three months, it has been a poor performer, dropping 5% — a relatively large decline for a government bond fund.
But if Gundlach is right, iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Trasry Bnd Fd (NYSEMKT:IEF) might be a solid investment.
The ultimate contrarian play
For investors interested in making a contrarian play, Gundlach thinks emerging markets are the bet to make.
Some of the biggest emerging market economies include Brazil, China, and Turkey — all of them have struggled in recent months. China’s economy might be on the verge of a banking crisis, while Turkey and Brazil have faced widespread protests.
The problems that these countries face appear to be very real, so any investment right now obviously carries a great degree of risk. But sometimes, playing the contrarian can be profitable — Gundlach made a similar call on natural gas last year and it worked out spectacularly.
As with US Treasuries, the best way to play emerging markets might be through an ETF. Individual emerging market ETFs are out there, but there are also entire sector ETFs, like Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEMKT:VWO)’s.
The fund is exposed to a number of emerging markets including Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, and India. As an index fund, it has a low expense ratio — just 0.18%.
Year-to-date, it’s down nearly 14% — as one might expect, given the recent troubles in emerging markets. But if investors are looking to play an emerging market turnaround, this fund might be the best vehicle with which to do so.
Apple is still printing money
Gundlach has a bit of a history with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). He was a vocal critic as early as last April, arguing that the stock should be sold short. Back then, he slapped a price target of $425 on the Cupertino tech giant.
All last summer, Gundlach’s investment idea looked terrible — Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continued to power higher. But then, things changed quickly. The hedge fund community, many of which had sizeable positions in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), dumped their stock seemingly in unison, and shares plunged to around $400.
Now, Gundlach has switched sides. He’s positive on Apple, and loves the company’s cash flow.
He still thinks the loss of Steve Jobs is a big deal — someone he’s referred to in the past as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s rainmaker and product innovator. But with the company generating billions in free cash flow, and the stock priced with a far below market multiple, Gundlach likes Apple at these levels.