This note was originally published at 8am on December 14, 2011. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.
“There thus appears to be an inverse correlation between recovery and psychotherapy.”
With The Correlation Risk whipping around faster than a Keynesian can drum up the next big central plan, I’ve decided to source my morning quote from a psychologist. If I have to deal with managing risk today like I did yesterday, I think I might need one.
The late Eysenck was a “German-British psychologist … best remembered for his work on intelligence and personality… at the time of his death, Eysenck was the living psychologist most frequently cited in science journals” (Wikipedia).
The Big Government Intervention experiments of Japanese, American, and now European social scientists may not be cited in the scientific journals of our children as successes. I’m thinking maybe more like pre-Einstein “scientists” are remembered from Berlin.
After Ben Bernanke’s FOMC proclamations of faith yesterday, I was reminded of what the President of the United States should be holding him accountable to (his job):
- Achieve full employment
- Establish price stability
In the Transparency, Accountability, and Trust school of questioning perceived academic wisdoms, I give the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and the policies he has perpetuated globally to inflate very low grades.
Sure, somewhere in between what he thought was going to be an employment recovery and psychotherapy, I can be convinced that the man got lucky with some inverse correlations (driving commodities and stocks up with the Dollar Down). But for now, it’s the Correlation Risk (i.e. the other side of the trade), that’s ungluing just about everything that he believed would stick.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
As the SP500 bumped up against (and failed at) my immediate-term TRADE line of resistance (1249) yesterday, I sold my long position in the SPY (957AM EST, #TimeStamped).
While that’s a 180 versus what I was outlining yesterday, there’s also a 180 degree difference between the SP500 at 1229 and 1249. There’s an even bigger difference on a TRADE line breakdown through 1232. Risk works both ways.
Contextualizing why you make immediate-term TRADE decisions requires an intermediate to long-term risk management process. That’s why we call our model Duration Agnostic.
If you take a step back and consider our most fundamental intermediate-term TREND view in Global Macro right now, it’s a lot easier to see why we’d have a 0% asset allocation to something like Commodities.
Hedgeye Global Macro Themes for Q411 (introduced in mid October):
- King Dollar – an explicitly bullish view of the US Dollar across durations
- Correlation Crash – an explicitly bearish view of Global Equities, Commodities and Foreign Currencies
- Eurocrat Bazooka – a view that the Europeans would ultimately fail in keeping rumors in line with reality
So far, so good.
Our competition (shh, even in a fair share world, it really still is a competition) has had plenty of opportunity to follow the leader on these Global Macro Themes. But, sadly, they have chosen the path most travelled by Old Wall Street sell-side firms and stayed the course with what didn’t work for them in 2008 and certainly is not working now. Same broken models.
Not to name names, but whether it was Goldman saying buy Commodities in October (then buy the Euro in November!), or Tom Lee at JP Morgan just saying buy buy buy, it’s all one and the same old thing. I’m not the only one who should be considering psychotherapy.
Back to The Correlation Risk…
Yesterday I heard a few pundits talk about how interesting it was that the “correlations are starting to come undone.” Not sure what that means (they were saying it when US stocks were up on the day actually), but here’s the latest math:
Immediate-term inverse correlations between the US Dollar Index and the big Macro that matters:
- CRB Commodities Index = -0.87
- SP500 = -0.59
- EuroStoxx = -0.73
- Gold = -0.82
- Silver = -0.89
- Corn = -0.84
Now maybe if you are US stock centric and not paying attention to Global Macro Correlations other than the SP500, this data could be spun as half-true (SP500 was a -0.8). But C’mon Man – interconnectedness is what’s been driving the Alpha bus for all of 2011. Period.
Since we authored this very basic thought, we do agree that the best path to long-term prosperity in America is through a Strong Dollar. Correlation Risk is not perpetual. With time, Strong Dollar = Strong US Consumption. Strong Consumption (71% of US GDP) will ultimately save this country from the Keynesians themselves - like it did in 2009.
Unfortunately, this is not yet 2009. Bottoms are processes, not points. And this Correlation Crash still needs to run its course.
My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold, Brent Oil, German DAX, French CAC, and the SP500 are now $1637-1718, $107.12-109.56, 5667-5842, 3026-3133, and 1214-1232, respectively.
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer