This note was originally published at 8am on August 14, 2012 for Hedgeye subscribers.
“This book isn’t based on academic theories. It’s based on our experience.”
-David Heinemeir Hansson
What a difference the last 5 years makes. Or did it? The aforementioned quote comes from the introduction of one of my favorite leadership and innovation books. Some of you already have it on your bookshelf. I’ve cited it often since founding the firm – REWORK, by Jason Fried and Victor Heinemeier Hansson.
If you are jammed for time into summer’s end, I read this book in 12 minutes to our team at a workshop meeting – lots of pictures. We like pictures. We’ll show you one of our risk management favorites in today’s Chart of The Day.
Re-work, Re-think, Re-do. Sadly, when it comes to Old Wall Street’s forecasting and risk management processes, there hasn’t been much of that going on in the last 5 years. Instead, broken sources keep re-cycling the same old stuff that sucked people in during Q3 of 2007.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
2007? Pardon? Weren’t we talking about Q308 similarities? Or was it the 1930s? 1987?
Here are 3 Big Macro things that are precisely like 2007:
- SALES: GDP Growth led Corporate Revenue Growth Slowing; by Q307, companies were right confused
- MARGINS/EARNINGS: stocks were “cheap” if you used peak margins and peak earnings assumptions for 2008
- VOLATILITY: US Equity market Volatility got slammed by “rumors” of Bernanke bailouts, rate cuts, etc.
Fast forward to Q3 of 2012:
- SALES: Same pattern – but Global GDP growth slowing faster now than it did then (China especially)
- MARGINS/EARNINGS: perma-bulls are still using peak margins and prior 2007 all-time high in EPS to justify “cheap”
- VOLATILITY: yesterday marked the 1st time since 2007 since the VIX dropped below 14
Since the VIX dropped below 14 eighty nine (89) times throughout 2007, the good news is that you probably have plenty of time to get out of stocks before everyone else has to. There are only 30,000 funds chasing beta at this point.
One question on that: after the shorts have all covered how, precisely, is that going to happen without volume? Probably just a silly risk management question; NYSE volume was only down -42% versus my intermediate-term TREND duration average yesterday. That’s gotta be bullish for someone. Just not Tommy Joyce.
Enough about price, volume, and volatility already – who cares about 3-factor risk when simple 1-factor Fisher Price point and click 50-day moving averages tell us all we need to know in the rear-view mirror?
Let’s deal with my personal baggage instead…
Not that I took it personally, but since I got fired for being “too bearish” in October 2007, I do remember the proceeding birth of my 1st son and the vision for Hedgeye quite vividly. So do the perma-bulls. The SP500 dropped -4.4% in November 2007.
And, that was it.
That was it for the storytelling. That was it for the “world is awash with liquidity” thing. That was it for the academic theory that “shock and awe” rate cuts to zero were going to free we centrally planned beasts from the shackles of our own thoughts.
Where to next?
The only thing I can predict, with 100% certainty, from here is that this is not 2007. This is 2012. And next year will be 2013.
What will get #GrowthSlowing to stop slowing? Will it be a bird or a plane? Or will Keynesian Economics finally provide the long lasting elixir of life that its group-thinkers have so often promised (growth) but never delivered?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that if you are buying US stocks at lower long-term highs (-10.3% versus October 2007 and -1.1% versus April 2012) at anything < 14 VIX, you either think 1990s growth is coming back and/or that this all ends well.
My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar, EUR/USD, Spain’s IBEX, and the SP500 are now $1601-1624, $110.36-115.42, $81.76-82.59, $1.23-1.24, 6943-7199, and 1393-1406, respectively.
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer