As a result of continued market underperformance, assets under management at Jeremy Grantham's iconic GMO have tumbled to about $80 billion, down from a peak of $124 billion in June 2014, a drop of 35% in two and a half years.
A very large percentage of the American public (including myself), remain irate at the complete lack of any justice served with regard to finance criminals in the aftermath of the economic collapse of 2008/09. When it comes to greedy, unethical behavior in the wake of that tragic period, Steve Mnuchin is in a class of his own. To appoint such a toxic financial oligarch to Treasury Secretary is a serious slap in the face to all American citizens.
It's official. As previewed earlier this morning, when we reported that according to media reports, Sullivan & Cromwell lawyer Jay Clayton, a long-time favorite of Wall Street and especially Goldman Sachs, has been nominated to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Donald Trump is preparing to appoint another Wall Street proxy to the top Wall Street regulation, supervision and enforcement post. According to the WSJ, Wall Street M&A and IPO lawyer, Jay Clayton, is Trump's leading candidate to become chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and could be announced as the nominee as soon as Wednesday.
Cognitive dissonance is a powerful drug. It makes otherwise-very-intelligent people goofy and incoherent in their thinking and blinds them to certain realities that they should normally see right in front of their noses. You’ll hear hundreds of theories and rationalizations on Trump’s miraculous victory, but a reason you will almost never hear is also the most likely one: Trump won the election because he serves the interests of the establishment.
The world has gotten so used to ultra-low interest rates that even economists and money managers seem to be shocked by what happens when rates start creeping back towards normal levels. Some of the mini-bubbles that formed in an essentially free-money environment are now starting to leak.
"Markets don’t have a purpose any more - they just reflect whatever central planners want them to. Why wouldn’t it lead to the biggest collapse? My strategy doesn’t require that I’m right about the likelihood of that scenario. Logic dictates to me that it’s inevitable..."
Trump’s election has given hard money advocates the most hope in over 30 years that our nation’s failed monetary policy will be reformed. Mixed with the current hawkish wave that is already percolating in the veins of some FOMC members, Trump’s future appointments can have a huge impact on the central bank’s immediate decision-making. One can only hope that the president-elect will stick to his guns and do the right thing.
"We are experiencing deep economic problems and it is the fault of the economics discipline. Their macro theories suck... But, there is no mechanism forcing it to alter its models when they don’t appear to work."
At bottom, it is not central bank stimulus and intervention alone that drives equities and bond markets; it is the naive faith and willful ignorance of average market participants. There is a problem with this kind of economic model, however. Reality is never kept in check indefinitely. Fiscal truths will be exposed, one way or another.
Last week, the Federal Reserve decided to keep US interest rates unchanged, marking its 96th month of life at the zero bound. Apparently, for all of its "data dependence", the Fed feels the economy could still benefit from *just* a little more of its ZIRP happy juice. But as anyone with a little common sense will tell you,More is not always better. It's quite possible to have too much of a good thing. And in its pursuit to kick the can for a little longer, the Fed has crossed a dangerous line.