1. Focus on safe yield: High-quality corporates (non- cyclical, high cash reserves, minimal refinancing needs). Corporate balance sheets are in very good shape.
2. Equities: focus on reliable dividend growth/yield; preferred shares (“income” orientation). Starbucks just caught on to the importance of paying out a dividend.
3. Whether it be credit or equities, focus on companies with low debt/equity ratios and high liquid asset ratios — balance sheet quality is even more important than usual. Avoid highly leveraged companies.
4. Even hard assets that provide an income stream work well in a deflationary environment (ie, oil and gas royalties, REITs, etc...).
5. Focus on sectors or companies with these micro characteristics: low fixed costs, high variable cost, high barriers to entry/some sort of oligopolistic features, a relatively high level of demand inelasticity (utilities, staples, health care — these sectors are also unloved and under owned by institutional portfolio managers).
6. Alternative assets: allocate significant portion of asset mix to strategies that are not reliant on rising equity markets and where volatility can be used to advantage. (Ie, long-short equities - Bill)