Le Tour de France is my favourite sporting event of the year for many reasons. The landscapes and scenery are spectacular. Then there are the tactics, the subtleties of the scoring systems, the roles of the individuals within each team, the various maillots and the ever-changing technology behind the bikes. There are also huge individual personalities within cycling, both female and male. The 2021 version has seen some huge new personalities emerge and one all-time great cement his place in history.
But if there is only one thing about this sporting event that I love, it would have to be the suffering. Maybe that’s why I’m a fixed-income investor, and maybe that’s why I am once again reminding you that not all is rosy in the garden. Stocks are at all-time highs, credit spreads are near all-time lows, the supply of financing is plentiful, funding is cheap, and, at the time of writing, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are exploding. But all is not good, I’m afraid. Interest rates are not at zero because things are great, quantitative easing does not continue apace because everything is good, the pandemic is not over and, I am sorry to say, growth is not uniformly strong.
To return to my cycling introduction, it feels like we are flying up the Col du Tourmalet at 25 kilometres an hour, with the wind in our hair, sun on our backs and unlimited strength in our legs. But look down! You’re riding an electric bike, and the assistance the motor is providing is the only thing preventing you rolling all the way back down the climb. Let’s hope our battery doesn’t run out anytime soon.