Oaktree

Hedge Fund Billionaire Slams Democracy, Says The "Tyranny Of The Majority Is An Unhealthy Development"

In his latest letter to investors, OakTree Capital's Howard Marks goes political (slamming Trump's tariffs and Bernie's minimum wage machinations), shedding some blinding light on the economic reality of America, the dismal failure (and increasing impotence) of central bankers, and the ongoing "tryanny of the majority" warning that if everyone wants to tax-the-rich, soon there will be no rich to tax. As he concludes, short-term fixes simply cannot create wealth out of thin air (see Venezuela), as Churchill once said "for a nation to try to tax [or stimulate or devalue] itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."

"Manic Depressive" Market Needs "Wholesale Panic" Before It Bottoms

"The market is manic depressive and it swings from seeing only the positives to seeing only the negatives," notes the world’s biggest distressed-debt investor, Howard Marks, but for now, as Bloomberg reports, the extremes (in risk pricing and sentiment) that usually signal opportunity (or capitulation) are not present. As Guggenheim's Scott Minerd warns, "wholesale panic" is what's needed before the market turns, and as RBS notes, "1,800 might come pretty quick."

Howard Marks Warns "Investor Behavior Has Entered A Zone Of Imprudence"

"Security prices are not low. I wouldn’t say high, but full. So people are thinking cautiously but they’re acting bullish and they’re behaving in a pro-risk fashion. While investor behavior hasn’t sunk to the depths seen just before the crisis, in many ways I feel it has entered the zone of imprudence... The market is not an accommodating machine. It will not go where you want it to go just because you need it to go there."

These Are The Junk Bond Trades That "Obliterated" Traders In 2015

When the word 'bloodbath' just doesn't quite sum it up, distressed debt investors's bonuses have been obliterated in 2015. Despite seeking safety away from oil and coal companies, one trader exclaimed, the pain is "like cancer, it's spreading throughout the body," as every industry from materials to retail and industrials has collapsed... though, as Bloomberg reports, some investments stood out in their awfulness.

Weekend Reading: Fed Rate Failure

The current surge in deflationary pressures is not just due to the recent fall in oil prices, but rather a global epidemic of slowing economic growth. While Janet Yellen addressed this "disinflationary" wave during her post-meeting press conference, the Fed still maintains the illusion of confidence that economic growth will return shortly. Unfortunately, this has been the Fed's "Unicorn" since 2011 as annual hopes of economic recovery have failed to materialize.

Frontrunning: September 10

  • Compare: S&P 500 Futures Advance After U.S. Stocks Ignored Global Rally (BBG)
  • And contrast: Global Stock Rally Grinds to a Halt (BBG)
  • And be very confused: Global Stocks Lower on U.S. Interest Rate Uncertainty (WSJ)
  • Hilsenrath: Fed Wavers on September Rate Rise (WSJ)
  • Time for more QE: Abe Adviser Says Next Month Good Opportunity for BOJ Easing (BBG)
  • Brazil downgraded to junk rating by S&P, deepening woes (Reuters)
  • Kiwi dollar tumbles after New Zealand cuts interest rates (Reuters)

Frontrunning: August 4

  • Unhappy Voters Shake Up Presidential Race (WSJ)
  • China stock exchanges step up crackdown on short-selling (Reuters)
  • China Dethroned as World’s Most Liquid Stock Market After Curbs (BBG)
  • Xiaomi retakes the smartphone lead in China as Apple slips (Engadget)
  • Impact of EPA’s Emissions Rule on Industry to Vary (WSJ)
  • Citadel’s Ken Griffin Leaves 2008 Tumble Far Behind (WSJ)
  • Greece says expects bailout deal by Aug 18 (Reuters)

Howard Marks Interviewed: "There’s No Free Market Today"

"If investors want complete safety, they can't get much income, and if they aim for high income, they can't completely avoid risk. It’s much more challenging today with rates being suppressed by governments. This is one of the negative consequences of centrally administered economic decisions. People talk about the wisdom of the free market – of the invisible hand – but there’s no free market in money today. Interest rates are not natural."

How To "Measure" Risk

While investor behavior hasn't sunk to the depths seen just before the crisis, Oaktree Capital's Howard marks warns, in many ways it has entered the zone of imprudence. "Today I feel it's important to pay more attention to loss prevention than to the pursuit of gain... Although I have no idea what could make the day of reckoning come sooner rather than later, I don’t think it’s too early to take today’s carefree market conditions into consideration. What I do know is that those conditions are creating a degree of risk for which there is no commensurate risk premium."