It's not a bubble. Until it is...
A year ago, when we reported that "Hedge Funds Underperform The S&P For The 5th Year In A Row", we thought there is no way this underperformance can continue: after all who in their right mind could possibly anticipate that a "risk-free" centrally-planned world could last for 6 years (well, maybe the USSR). Back then we explained this now chronic, "new abnormal", regime as follows: "hedge funds are "hedge" funds and appear to have done a great job managing performance over time... but in the new normal world in which we live, where downside risk is irrelevant (until it runs you over), all that matters is return (not risk-reward)." And yes, as the chart below shows we were wrong: because as of this moment the average hedge fund is not only underperforming the market for a record, 6th year in a row but as Goldman pointed out last night, the return of the entire hedge fund universe as of NOvember 19 is... negative 1%.
While we are not predicting that the proverbial "wheels are about the come off the cart," today, this is another in a long list of indications that value in the stock market is no longer present. Of course, this would also suggest this might be, just maybe, a time to start considering "selling high." Of course, such a suggestion is wildly ludicrous and absolutely illogical since it is widely believed that the markets will never go down...ever.
It seems like it was only yesterday when Goldman was predicting either two-thirds chance of a 10% correction in stocks, said that the S&P is either 30% or 45% overvalued relative to its historical value, or warned about a market slide when it downgraded the S&P500 "to neutral over 3 months as a sell-off in bonds could lead to a temporary sell-off in equities." Alas, that was the old Goldman: the one which still considered the impact of fundamentals in a centrally-planned world. The new one is far more pragmatic for the New Normal times, and overnight David Kostin, who has consistently fluctuated on either his year end S&P500 price target in 2014, or the justification for getting there (first higher bonds yields, then lower), came out with his latest thesis why now is the time to own stocks. Naturally, his catalysts have nothing to do with actual fundamentals, and instead all focus on the three only relevant metrics of the new normal: beta, momentum and career risk, which can be summarizes as follows: buy stocks because Hedge Funds suck.
As a reminder, this kind of market action is neither normal or healthy longer term and has only seen near historical major market peaks. Of course, timing is everything. With the current influx of liquidity coming to an end in October, combined with a plan to start to increasing interest rates in 2015, the Fed has clearly begun to signal the end of 5 years of ultra-accommodative policies. The question that remains to be answered is whether or not the economy is actually strong enough to be removed from "life support?" This weekend's "Things To Ponder" is just a smattering of interesting articles cover a wide range of topics that I hope you will find interesting, informative and contemplative.
One of the biggest mistakes that investors make is falling prey to cognitive biases that obfuscate rising investment risks. Here are 5 counter-points to the main memes in the market currently...
According to a paper by economists at UC Northwestern University and UC Berkeley, Anna Cieslak and Adair Morse and Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, another, even more surprising trading pattern using FOMC announcement has emerged. Specifically, anyone who engaged in the simple "even" strategy of buying the stocks of the S&P 500 on the day before a Fed policy announcement, selling them a week later, then buying them again the following week and sticking with the pattern until the subsequent Fed meeting generated a whopping 650% return since 1994, far outperforming the inverse "odd" strategy which shocking had a negative return over the past two decades years, and jsut as surprisingly, outperforming the market's own 505% return during this period.
We recently noted that the average Russell 2000 stock is down over 22% and the majority of the broad equity market is well into correction territory as the rally is supported by fewer and fewer names (cough AAPL cough). However, as FBN's JC O'Hara notes, looking at the percent of stocks above their 200 day moving average in the S&P 500 vs the percent of stocks above their 200 day moving average for the Russell 2000, we find the spread is at its widest point in the history of our database. While we find breadth is not a proper market timing tool, a heightened reading often forewarned of troubles ahead. It was more common to alleviate a wide spread by the S&P pulling back to the Russell rather than the Russell playing catch up.
Renowned for something, Dennis Gartman has outdone himself once again (again). After explaining that bonds are rallying on pension fund rebalancing but stocks should not be lower and shorting bonds never works; the bearded market-timing philosopher gives a glimpse of the kind of insight that can only be purchased for $29.95: "the market will stop when it stops; not a moment before."
Today's short squeeze, EM-is-fixed, Fed-hope-fueled relief rally (in the face of compounding errors in earnings expectations and outlooks) we thought reminiscing on what happened the last time stocks were this high and over-levered and debt-bloated entities were rapidly revealed for what they were would be useful. While the 'just three charts' we showed two weeks ago provide plenty of concern, when the NYSE Composite, which accounts for 1,900 companies representing 61% of the world's publicly traded stock market capitalization, shows eery similarities to the tipping point in 2007 as NewEdge's Brad Wishack pointed out earlier, we thought it worth sharing.
These names can fall farther than investors ever think once the downside momentum kicks in......
All that glitter is not gold.
When I heard Kyle Bass discussing one of the reasons he was investing in Herbalife is because of possible future stock buybacks at all-time highs – I just shake my head as this isn`t going to end well folks!