Our good friend Doug B., a financial advisor based in Boulder, CO, has done well for his clients by keeping them heavily weighted in bonds. In the essay below, he explains why he intends to stick with this strategy even though many of his peers expect a rebounding stock market to outperform fixed-incomes in the years ahead. For Baby Boomers in particular, the deflationary trend that buttresses Doug’s strategy holds stark implications.
Rosenberg's note today mentioned the global bull market in agriculture. Which,as I recall, was becoming an issue pre-lehman. Inflation is just about the only thing stopping food prices from levitating once again. Trade balances, supply constraints, changing weather patterns, and emerging market demand continue to support a structural bull market.
While we spend a lot of our time pointing out critical factors driving the reality of our markets and economies, today's note from David Rosenberg, of Gluskin Sheff, provides a spot-on and unarguable description of what every one of your favorite long-only strategist, sell-side economist, and hope-heavy CNBC anchor told you would happen - and hasn't! Then Rosie goes on to compare Italy to Lehman in a not so flattering light.
Dramamine market got you down? You are not alone. David Rosenberg explains: "Yesterday's trade was rather telling. The Nasdaq dropped 2% and not only did volume rise but the breadth was awful with losers beating winners by a 5-to-2 margin (9-to-2 on the NYSE). The fact that the Nasdaq sliced below support of 2,600 and dipped below its 50-day moving average for the first time in six weeks is a bit ominous to say the least; while the S&P 500 undercut its lows of the past four weeks (even though it has managed to hold above the 50-day m.a. of 1,205). But between the slide in equities, commodities, oil and gold, coupled with the rally in Treasuries, yesterday had a certain eerie 2008 feel to it. And did you see the huge 70 point rally in the Dow just in the last couple of minutes? The volatility is incredible. Look at the charts below — they look the same, but one is the Dow's closing level each day this year and the other is the minute to minute ticker on any random session (we chose October 7th out of the hat). The new normal is seeing a year's worth of volatility bunched into 6 ½ hours!"
Watch Rosenberg And Krugman Debate Larry Summers and Ian Bremmer On Whether The US Is Turning Into JapanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2011 21:54 -0500
Minutes ago, the always delightful Munk Debate on the American economy concluded, which pitted two skeptics: David Rosenberg and (yes, he is a skeptic when it comes to his belief in the "proper" implementation of Keynesianism) Paul Krugman on the one hand defending the null motion of the debate, against Larry "Warren (watch the clip)" Summers, best known for destroying capitalism, and Ian Bremmer. The core debate topic was as follows: "North America faces a Japan style era of high unemployment and slow growth an accurate forecast of the future." Naturally, as Krugman immediately explained, by North America the organizers mean the US, simply because Canada is too small and hasn't screwed up enough (we would add that the screw up has not been perceived yet: everyone has screwed up, but luckily we have enough distractions for the time being). Either way, the progression of the debate should not come as a surprise to most, neither how each particular economist will perform: that Rosie sees Japan in every aspect of the US should not surprise anyone; that Krugman does too unless the politicians agree to being invaded by aliens, is also to be expected. On the other side, "Warren" Summers' argument can be simplified to his fallback motto of Keynesianism and Central Planning 101 in which he believes that the printing of money and job creation are sufficient to fix all US problems. No surprise there either: after all this is the man who three weeks ago said: "The central irony of financial crisis is that while it is caused by too much confidence, too much borrowing and lending and too much spending, it can only be resolved with more confidence, more borrowing and lending, and more spending."
David Rosenberg On The Depression, The ECB, MF Global As A Canary In The Coalmine... All With A Surprise EndingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/11/2011 22:27 -0500
Consuelo Mack has just released a long overdue interview with David Rosenberg, in which the former Merrill strategist is allowed to speak for 27 whole minutes without commercial interruptions of manic depressive momentum chasers cutting off his every sentence, demanding he tell them what stocks he is buying right this second! In addition to the traditional now discussion of America's depression (see attached extended walkthru by Rosie), probably the more interesting part in the interview starts at minute 11 when the conversation shifts to MF Global which to Rosie is a canary in the coalmine, and is merely the 2011 version of Bear Stearns as there is "never just one cockroach." Then the Q&A shifts to Europe, the ECB's next steps and the future of the Eurozone and Germany in particular. Mack concludes with some thoughts on what bond rates indicate about the future of the word, how the 7% output gap as a % of GDP will drive deflation (although in a vacuum: there is little accounting for the Fed's and global central bank kneejerk reaction), and how the corporation is now more powerful than the sovereign, courtesy of more pristine corporate balance sheets than those of actual countries, all of which are on the verge. Will the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks take over when Europe and the US finally tumble? Oh, and like a good M. Night Shyamalan movie, there is a surprising twist ending.
Instead of tackling any specific and highly volatile high frequency macroeconomic data points today (which will most likely be diametrically inverted in the next update iteration), today David Rosenberg focuses on sundry items and flights of fancy that are worth noting, such as that "the S&P 500 has recorded 62 consecutive days in which it has swung by 1% or more in intraday trading. The Dow has also closed 1% higher or lower 38 times since the beginning of August (compared with just 25 in the first seven months of the year)." Additionally, Rosie shares some views on the Paradox of thrift, i.e., that "spending on appliances, jewellery, watches, air travel, recreation vehicles, cameras, gambling is actually lower today than in 2005", on credit unions whose customers don't want to borrow money, " "Too few of its 95,000 members, most of whom live or work in five counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, want to borrow money. And too many are making extra payments on mortgages and car loans — or paying off personal loans ... Provident's loan portfolio has shrunk by 25% since the end of 2008, including a 5% drop in the first nine months of this year" but most notably concludes with the observation that while the 2008 "Great Financial Crisis" was quite memorably, "I wonder whether we'll say 2008 wasn't the real crisis — it was a warm-up, but the real crisis was the sovereign debt crisis in Europe....It is clear that the situation in Greece has deteriorated markedly and that the scope for any further fiscal restraint without triggering some sort of revolution is small. The only way toward fiscal sustainability — to get the sovereign debt/GDP ratio down to 110% by 2020 — is for investors to grant the country a jubilee of sorts and accept a 60% write-down." Naturally, France will throw up over any proposal that sees a 60% haircut Greek haircut, not so much due to Greek losses per se, but due to imminent losses when Portugal, Ireland, Italy and lastly Spain (to which four countries France has exponentially more exposure) decide to do the same as Greece and start underreporting data, striking daily, and overall just shut down their economies.
David Rosenberg On The Insanity Of Fixing Excess Leverage With More Leverage, And The Relentless Euro RumormillSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/19/2011 11:51 -0500
We though we were the only ones brought to the verge with the relentless lies out of a completely clueless Europe, which as we learned at last weekend's G20 meeting, has 3 more days to get is act together. Oh wait, they were lying too? Got it. Well, no, David Rosenberg has also had it pretty much up to here. More importantly, Rosenberg also, like us, but also like Citi's and RBS, to throw some more "credible" names, is convinced that this latest deux ex machina is D.O.A. To wit: "How cool is it that we live in a world where complicated financial engineering in a radically overleveraged system forms the cornerstone of the solution to these debt problems...Why are we so skeptical? Well, when you go back to the opening months of 2010, it was all about Greece and the prime goal was to prevent contagion to Portugal and Ireland. We know how that went. Then that fall, the risk was Greece, Ireland and Portugal and this was when the term PIG was coined. At that time, the goal was to protect Spain and Italy. And we know how that went. Then just this past July, the crisis moved beyond just Greece, Ireland and Portugal to include Italy and Spain (and this is where PUGS was coined). At this point it was about preventing contagion to the banks, but nothing has worked. The contagion has merely spread, and this is not the first time a late-day press release or policy announcement was leaked to juice the market. So, we are still living in a world were levering up is somehow deemed to be a solution to a world of excessive credit and all this will do, again, is just kick the can down the road." As we made it all too clear, far less diplomatically yesterday, "Are we the only ones dazed, confused, and tired beyond comprehension with this endless, ridiculous, pathetic, grovelling Groundhog Day bullshit? Stop risking civil and international war just to satisfy your bureaucratic vanity. THERE IS NO MONEY! YOU KNOW IT, WE KNOW IT, THE PEOPLE KNOW IT. ENOUGH!!!" So much for enough: 6 hours later we had the latest European rumormongering fiasco courtesy of The Guardian which has now devolved to the status of England's latest "paid for publication" tabloid.
David Rosenberg has issued yet another piece of blistering common sense (which most mainstream and sellside economists seem to lack in wholesale amounts these days), in which he explains why the action at the margin is all that matters for asset prices and all that follows. As he says "this is about change, not levels" - a jab directly at the Federal Reserve, whose core underlying premise is that "stock" is all that matters, whereas "flow" (or change) is irrelevant. This is arguably one of the biggest errors that Fed chairman after Fed chairman perpetuates, and further explains why the Fed will always have to be engaged in some (ever greater) form of monetary intervention in order to simply keep asset prices constant as the "stock" theory is disproven time and time again. Alas, since we are dealing with brilliant PhD Economists they will never admit their foolish theory is flawed until it is too late. In the meantime, for everyone else who does not live in Bernanke's ivory towers, here is Rosenberg's explanation why what happens at the margin is all that matters.
Five simple lessons from one of the original skeptics.
When one compiles the annals of the great deflationists of the early 21st century, they will be hard pressed to decide who is deserving of the title most ferocious deflationist in a runoff between David Rosenberg and Gary Schilling. And while David did not have much notable to say today, despite his daily release of interesting and insightful commentary from his perch atop Gluskin Sheff, Gary Schilling took advantage of the media vacuum to appear on Bloomberg TV and preach, what else, deflation. Among the topics touched upon were the #1 issue du jour - the Chinese hard landing, presented earlier here, and the resulting collapse in copper, on bond market volatility, on investing and speculation, and lastly on the S&P, which just like Rosenberg, he see as deserving of a 10x multiple applied to a soon to be revised S&P 500 EPS of 80 (do the math). All in all sensible stuff except for one thing: his statement "Inflating away is an excess supply world is almost impossible, even for the Fed" leaves a little to be desired. While he may be spot on, it does not mean the Fed will not try. And try it will: we expect rumblings for full blown LSAP to commence in a few days, and QE4 in which the Fed will pull a BOJ and buy ETFs, REITs (in addition to MBS and Agency bonds) early in 2012, after which it will be time to quietly depart from these continental US, or else load up on lead, spam and precious metals.
Still confused by the 500 DJIA point rally in 48 hours? You are not alone. Here is David Rosenberg guaranteeing that your confusion will be even greater when you realize that nothing has really changed, suffice to say that the record confusion has provided the best smokescreen for nothing short of a collusive global window dressing session for massively underwater hedge and mutual funds.
- between six and 30 years), net interest margins in the banking sector will likely be negatively affected.
- The dramatic decline in the 30-year bond yield is going to aggravate already-massively actuarially underfunded positions in pension funds
- The Fed says it is going to extend this Operation Twist program through to June 2012. This is a subtle hint to the markets that barring something really big occurring, there is no QE3 coming — not over the near term, in any event, and certainly not at the next meeting on November 1-2. So a stock market that has continuously been fuelled on hopes doesn't have any in this regard for at least the next month and a half.
With the FOMC meeting currently in full swing, speculation is rampant what will be announced tomorrow at 2:15 pm, with the market exhibiting its now traditional schizophrenic mood swings of either pricing in QE 6.66, or, alternatively, the apocalypse, with furious speed. And while many are convinced that at least the "Twist" is already guaranteed, as is an IOER cut, per Goldman's "predictions" and possibly something bigger, as per David Rosenberg who thinks that an effective announcement would have to truly shock the market to the upside, the truth is that the Chairman's hands are very much tied. Because, all rhetoric and political posturing aside, at the very bottom it is and has always been a money problem. Specifically, one of "credit money." Which brings us to the topic of this post. When the Fed released its quarterly Z.1 statement last week, the headlines predictably, as they always do, focused primarily on the fluctuations in household net worth (which is nothing but a proxy for the stock market now that housing is a constant drag to net worth) and to a lesser extent, household credit. Yet the one item that is always ignored, is what is by and far the most important data in the Z.1, and what the Fed apparatchiks spend days poring over, namely the update on the liabilities held in the all important shadow banking system. And with the data confirming that the shadow banking system declined by $278 billion in Q2, the most since Q2 2010, it is pretty clear that Bernanke's choice has already been made for him. Because with D.C. in total fiscal stimulus hiatus, in order to offset the continuing collapse in credit at the financial level, the Fed will have no choice but to proceed with not only curve flattening (to the detriment of America's TBTF banks whose stock prices certainly reflect what a complete Twist-induced flattening of the 2s10s implies) but offsetting the ongoing implosion in the all too critical, yet increasingly smaller, shadow banking system. And without credit growth, at either the commercial bank, the shadow bank or the sovereign level, one can kiss GDP growth, and hence employment, and Obama's second term goodbye.
With the expanded two-day FOMC meeting (which until 45 days ago was supposed to be just one day) set to start shortly, here is chief policy maker Goldman Sachs reiterating again how much futile loosening to expect from the Fed. Nothing new here: Goldman repeats its call that Twist will hit tomorrow (and in a following report MS reiterates its call for Torque), sees IOER being cut from 0.25% to 0.1%, (sending the money and repo markets into a tailspin), but stops short of demanding another major round of LSAP. Basically, anything short of this will crash the market; anything long of this (as Rosenberg predicts) including several hundred billion in outright bond purchases, sends risk and gold soaring, and the dollar plunging.