Excerpted from Dan Loeb's Third Point letter to investors,
2015 has been marked by increasing volatility, prompting a banker friend (hat tip to Jimmy L.) to characterize this as a “haunted house market” where a new scary event lurks around each corner.
Out of this year’s 25 trading days, 22 have had intra-day moves in the market of more than 1%.
Haunted house scares so far this year have included:
1) signs of lower growth across the globe despite falling oil prices;
2) the depegging of the Swiss Franc, which caused an overnight 15% move;
3) declining currencies from Japan to Europe putting pressure on US companies’ earnings and competitive position;
4) a disconnect between when the Fed expects to raise rates and what the market is forecasting;
5) the rise of populism and the anti-austerity left in Europe which has underscored how fragile the “union” of this fragmented continent is today;
6) Russian incursions into the Ukraine;
7) chaos in the Middle East;
8) a surprising lack of leadership on the international stage by the United States and an apparent unwillingness to take decisive action to promote democracy abroad; and
9) a seeming decline in government respect for rule of law, shown by numerous executive actions, confiscations of property, and use of various departments —ranging from the IRS to the Treasury — to intimidate citizens and interfere with legal commerce.
We have also lowered our gross and net exposures this year.
While we obviously believe our top positions will be worth more in the long run, we expect a fair amount of volatility in the interim. Avoiding dramatic downside in individual names and sizeable losses during inevitable sell-offs will be key to succeeding in this market and navigating successfully through the haunted hallways of 2015.