IceCap Asset Management: The Tip Of The Iceberg... Is Straight Ahead; Here Is What Lurks Below The Surface

Tyler Durden's picture

From IceCap Asset Management's most recent monthly letter:

October 2011 - The Tip Of The Iceberg

It’s certainly not lost on us that IceCap’s corporate logo is an iceberg. Besides being a cool logo we do feel the iceberg is a perfect mirror of global investment markets. On the surface, attractive opportunities will always exist and appear achievable for everyone. However the real risks within the market are normally underneath the surface and should they tilt the market in one direction or another, financial markets, just like the iceberg can be turned upside down.

How exactly is the global iceberg looking today? Are the risks above water as many of the big bank investment advisors proclaim or are they below the surface? At IceCap we are confident that one day soon, we will wake up to see the most spectacular investment opportunities of our lifetime, until that day however we must remain very mindful of the risks below the surface.


We have to say, the continuous unbridled enthusiastic cheerleading for the stock market to go higher has us puzzled. Yet, many of investment leaders from the big box banks and mainstream media continue to shout about buying the dip, proclaiming stocks are cheap as well as touting the merits of the one-size-fits-all balanced fund for every investor for every occasion. While we genuinely believe that today this view will lead many to financial despair, it’s important to recognise why this view is shared by the hands that hold the savings for many people in the World. For starters, many of the industry’s largest players simply do not have the product available nor the expertise available to properly guide the average person during these dramatic economic times. Either the cognizance to understand the realities of 0% interest rates, money printing, and a risk free investing game for banks is missing, or they firmly believe actions by central banks and governments will save us all.


Our chart on page 2 shows the most significant risks for financial markets today. As we plunge deeper into each risk, we’ll explore the likely outcome and how we expect financial markets to perform.

On the other hand, considering that in 2008 all major countries showed no hesitation whatsoever with pushing the average investor and tax payer under the bus, in return for saving their beloved banks – expecting a similar response this time around, maybe isn’t that crazy after all.

If this is the view and reason for the super-enthusiastic bulls, then we see your point. The slightest potential for a solution to Europe will certainly provide markets with joy for a few minutes. Then, once this joy wears off you can prepare for America’s venture into LSAP (which we discuss on page 8), which is certain to launch stocks into outer space.

Should neither of these developments occur, then we’ll need to see dramatic improvements in the global economy and funding markets for banks before the next bull market resumes.

The question we do ask however, is how long, economically, and politically can the bailouts continue? From a pure mathematical perspective, the exact point in time when there really is too much debt has already passed for some and is on the horizon for others. Meanwhile, from a pure social perspective the exact point in time when people finally shout “we can’t take this anymore” has certainly arrived in Athens and Rome. And unless the perceived inequalities improve, suspect social unrest will likely grow further – maybe even onto Wall Street.

Much more inside the full letter (pdf)


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yabyum's picture

Deck chairs for all!

Mactheknife's picture

Hmmmm....I wonder which HFT bot is going to blink first and start the upcoming dump?

anony's picture

I'm not as in wonderment about which one, but WHEN it begins the dump.

My Shorts are strangling my ballsack.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Aaah yes, "leverage induced testicular trauma", I believe it is called.

Check out the latest from the Capital Research Institue "On Behalf of the 99%":

"...the media for the most part is completely in the dark, at best, or complicit, at worst.

The point being, people don’t really know WHAT they want, in terms of reform.  Thats why the ‘Change’ gimmick worked so well for Obama.  Because people KNOW they want change, they just want someone to tell them what will be changed, and why that will be better.  Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is the exact same.  People aren’t worried about the specifics, they just know they want change.   Well, I am here to help steer the herd a little, as it were.

What is needed is the banning of usury, an end to the Federal Reserve System, and a return to Sound Money, for starters."

Ahmeexnal's picture

give the sheeple "abortion rights", "the right to live beyond your means", "legalized drugs", "dancing with the starz" and they care not who issues their money nor who rapes them for generations without end.


but fear not my little padawans, for that huge iceberg will soon melt thanks to Al Gore's "glob-AL WAR-ming".

maybe he meant...GLOBAL WARMONGERING!

Everyman's picture

Boy I hate it when this guy is right!  But you are correct.


"Please nothing with substancial values or endeabours for me. please."


When they said "Tune In Turn ON and Drop Out", they weren't talking about Dancing with the Stars!!


Whqat a weird strange country we live in.  Strange and wonderful would be good, but just strange and mediocre.......

the tower's picture

I never understood how a guy like Al Gore can be on the board of Apple and therefore be co-responsible for producing one of the most polluting phones.. can't change battery, can't change memory, devices are not repaired but thrown away... that sorta tells you he's full of shit, right?

Global warming is just a fact though, every idiot can understand that, what bothers me is the people that want to make money out of it, and not solving it.

jeff montanye's picture

yeah.  make them have those babies and jail all those getting high on non-booze.  that's got to help.   and it's sure to save money.  jedi master.

tkoski6600's picture

My nuts are feeling the squeeze of the noose, as well.  But I have begun doubling down with extra cash I saved.  My fear is that cash will run out before the market decides to turn!

mtomato2's picture

"The markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

Believe it.

Mactheknife's picture

That 1258-60 S&P is some major resistance...with this lite volume...ain't gonna happen.

Everyman's picture

Fat lady has been singing her lungs out and there are helluva lotta forks.


But the HFTs and thelying media and theat Fucking Cramer BUY BUY BUY!!!!

The Heart's picture

And Platinum panties for those whose ball sacks are uptight.

knukles's picture

Might be especially appropriate what with the Vatican's (Yes, that same Vatican, oh history of men, sola fida, usury and the twin taxes to the king and heaven, that Vatican.) newly found interest in the Financial Well Being of the Peasantry whom she so effectively enslaved for centuries.

And no, this is not meant as an anti-religious statement... for matters of faith are best left to the individual alone.  But best church remain aloof from finances just as science and state from religion... all's so much better when one remaining focused upon one's own fucking knitting.
This is a frormula for ensured social upheval.  Bring in the "Church".
Funnily enough, given the spiritual progression from sin through guilt, salvation, redemption, attonement, and forgiveness culminating in freedom, is this not an underhanded way for an element of the Illuminati to seek redemption by seemingly siding with the peasantry whilst assuring a seat at the throne of the New World Order?  And I'm not even a conspiracist...

Everything in its final analysis is nipping at the throats of the middle classes.  The "we's" of the world.  Nothing is as it seems.

Careful, Alice.  That Rabbit Hole is Mighty Deep©

mtomato2's picture

I've always liked you, Knuck.  Now I like you even more.


Use of Weapons's picture

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us...If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness...If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The Vatican is enacting a doctrine that it should have given up. It managed to break these basic rules many times over, not least in the whole 'fucking small boys and knowing about it', but moving priests / bishops to different dioceses. As such, it has broken the mandate it was given, and has given itself to the opposition; not even the opposition that counts, but boring spreadsheets and profit. It is lost.

Sum quod sum - And the Angels & Devils I have met are too focused on staying here, and enjoying their roles. None could engage, and all too full of their mission and purpose to join a war so long in coming...and as such, all become human as the time comes. Wings fall, and we cry into the abyss.

merizobeach's picture

I hope the Vatican goes all-in to the derivatives market.

LongSoupLine's picture

I sense we may be "overanalyzing" this whole Vatican statement.  Perahaps they're just doing "God's work" and saying Goldman needs to run everything on a "central basis".  If that's the case, it's a non-event since that's what's happening already.

infinity8's picture

the vatican's "justice and peace department" - hilarious. J.F.C.

Long-John-Silver's picture

Deck chairs for all!


Lets just hope the cushions can also be used as flotation devices.

yabyum's picture

But, Damn that water is cold!

Zero Govt's picture

hitch the cushions to Bernankes, Trichets and Mervyn Kings puckered gobs, those central bankster windbags have been blowing bubbles for 4 years may as well do something useful with 'em 

Bumblebee Tuna's picture

My grandfather always told me if we dug a hole right through the earth, we'd end up in China.  I guess that same logic works for icebergs.

Mr.Sono's picture

thats a big ass iceberg.

harlanaladd's picture

And they forgot one item that belongs underwater:  US mortgages.

X.inf.capt's picture

good call, tyler...

yep, one icebreg, straight ahead....

they see it...

BofA moving assets to be covered by the FDIC...

3 month tresury yields at 0.00%...

the vatican calling for a world bank...

fed is out of bullets...


they see it, its coming within hours, at the latest, days, maybe a few...


Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The Vatican... Geez, when Organized Crime is calling for the Centralization of power, that must mean they have all the dominoes in place, i.e. all their people occupy the top positions currently.

I did it by Occident's picture

"BofA moving assets to be covered by the FDIC..."


what's that called, moral hazard induced risk transfer?  or socialism for the rich, capitalism for the rest.  something like that.

topcallingtroll's picture

Famy French I believe it was...too lazy too look it up, but for the average investor a passive, efficient portfolio with historical volatility within the range where you can sleep at night is the best way to go. Check out dimensional funds if they are still around and read about their portfolio construction.

If you are a doomer hedge it with 10 to 15 percent gold.

Nobody knows what is going to happen, not even doomers. Real alpha is so rare it is best not to bother looking for it.

What if europe has a century of shell gas?
What if the usa achieves conventional energy independence with oil and gas fracturing in ten years?

Temporalist's picture

What if you everyone won the lottery?  What if people's tears turned into diamonds?

Rynak's picture

pink unicorn vomit projectile

HD's picture

"What if people's tears turned into diamonds?"

Well, prozac sales would drop like a rock, and onion sales would soar...

topcallingtroll's picture

What if?

Are there any doomers out there who believe there is zero chance of avoiding a major crash in the next twenty years?

Some people are speculating with their portfolio it is 100 percent certainty that a horrific crash will happen in the next ten years.

technovelist's picture

Me, me, call on me!

Yes, there is zero chance of avoiding a major crash in the next 20 years.

Wait. Was that supposed to be a rhetorical question?

Everyman's picture

What question?  That was a "statement int he form of a question".


Give me lying bankers for $100, Alex!

GoinFawr's picture

I know! (!?)


Woody Harrelson: "This... this feels weird; are you sure this is legal?"

Tommy Lee Jones: "I dunno... it's fun though isn't it?"

Uncle Sam's picture

Here's an interesting take on an EU pre-approved list of banks that will be allowed to fail, and those that won't:

We need Reggie to get the list! (Or maybe he already has it . . . Sometimes he's late to the party, but history has shown the party doesn't start until he gets there!)

Hedge the unknown, created by the uncaring, planning the unthinkable, accordingly.

SwingForce's picture



Tomorrow, Russell 2000 goes up another 3.25%        U R an ASOL !

Use of Weapons's picture

No mention of Cthulhu.




PaperBear's picture

The ideal analogy.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Interesting thing about the iceberg in the illustration.  It is unstable as shown.  It will roll over on to its side.  Simple theory on flotation and stability that anyone into ship design will notice.  Is this an omen?

Matt1973's picture

Every talking head is sounding the "all clear" alarm....must be time to get short 

Matt1973's picture

[Still talking to myself]...will the Greek default be the catalist, or will it be "Wednesday's meeting"....evetually Greece defaults...doesn't pay any of its debt...then other PIIGS say "me too".....

Bill D. Cat's picture

I'm a little fuzzy on this " no risk " concept .

knukles's picture

Try a 3 day treasury bill at -0.003%.

No fucking risk, your money back just about as best of anything guaranteed to do.  No volatility.  
So you get to pay for it. 
You buy the bill at a premium and get par back.
Simplicity incarnate.