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Why Deleveraging Still Rules Markets in 2013

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- I have structured my investment themes for 2013 in two ways. The first is geared toward the current “risk on” climate, even though I doubt it will endure. The other is a “risk off” scenario that I believe will unfold once investors recognize the unsustainability of what I call the Grand Disconnect between robust securities markets and subdued economic reality.

The investment scene in the U.S. and elsewhere is dominated by a number of forces: the deleveraging of private economic sectors and financial institutions; the monetary and fiscal responses to the resulting slow growth and financial risks; competitive devaluations; the fixation of investors on monetary ease that obscures weak real economic activity; and central bank-engineered low interest rates that have spawned more distortions and investor zeal for yield, regardless of risk.