Legendary hedge fund manager Julian Robertson, who has been conspicuously absent from CNBC in recent months, spoke with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo about his take on markets. He was hardly bullish, which may explain his absence from the cadre of CNBC bubble cheerleaders.
Robertson (in addition to some generic comments on the weather impacting the jobs numbers: apparently the weather only impacted the warmer March, not the freezing January and February) said that "the thing that worries me the most are the twin bubbles that are developing, certainly the Federal Reserve, the people that run their Treasury operations, are trying to create a bubble in bonds and they are doing it."
The other implied bubble of course is that of stocks, because with no upside left in bonds, capital appreciation starved investors have no choice but to go into stocks which as of today just hit 21x on a forward GAAP PE multiple surpassing even David Tepper's 20x bogey.
Asked how the bubble will end, Robertson notes that "nobody knows when bubbles are gonna burst. As a child when you are blowing a bubble you don't know when it's gonna burst and that's part of the fun of the "bubble" bubbles, but this is more serious and I am very worried about it"
Will a bursting bond bubble disrupt the equity rally? Robertson is honest enough intellectually to admit that bond and stock bubbles are connected and says that a bursting bond bubble will crush stocks and the Fed is "frightened to death" over fears a plunge in stocks will also crush the economy.
So what is the solution? According to Robertson the Fed must act and hike rates soon because “the economy warrants it and I think [the Fed is] not crazy enough just to let this thing boil over into complete explosion."
He adds: "I think that eventually we are going to see the Federal Reserve do the responsible thing which is put a little lid on this tea kettle that's boiling over, but I don't know when that's going to be. That will trigger a little bit of a slowdown in the overall economy."
Considering the Fed allowed both prior bubbles boil over into a "complete explosion" and considering this time it is not just the Fed but the BOJ, the ECB, the BOE and the SNB, one wonders why Robertson is so confident that nearly a decade after the start of ZIRP (which in Europe is now NIRP) some academic, somewhere, deep in the bowels of the Marriner Eccles building will do the right now.
Robertson's conclusion: we can certainly see a 2008-like market crash because "the bigger this bubble gets, the bigger the burst."
I am looking at a bubble that is almost sure to pop at some time and I don't know when it's going to happen, but I know it's going to happen.
His conclusion, and the reason why there is no CNBC any time in Julian Robertson's future is his answer to how big a selloff we could get: "I don't think it's at all ridiculous to think of a selloff like we saw in 2008." Obviously, he uses the term "selloff" loosely.
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And so we hit peak irony: when even those who reap the biggest benefits of the Fed's idiotic, bubble-blowing policies explicitly warn that these same policies will lead to a bubble crash that results in a ~70% collapse in stocks. Only this time it will be far, far worse, because once the Fed loses credibility, and no amount of verbal intervention will restore some faith in the grand Ponzi, its only recourse will be to - literally - paradrop money from the skies - an endgame Bernanke himself warned about some 13 years ago. In fact, this final bubble burst may well unleash the war and/or revolution that Paul Tudor Jones warned about.
So buy stocks... unless you want mushroom clouds to become a permanent neighborhood fixture.
Full interview below: