“The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”
A friend of mine in Connecticut just sent me that quote. Like most of us on the East Coast, he’s up and at it early this morning. Risk happened fast. Now it’s time to slap on a pair of jeans, fire up our generators, and take on the day.
In The Signal And The Noise, Nate Silver calls out what physicist Didier Sornette alludes to as the “fight between order and disorder” (page 368). That fight isn’t new. However, through chaos theory, we are beginning to understand it more clearly.
Not unlike the world and its weather, I think about the Global Macro marketplace as one of interconnected factors that are colliding within a complex system. “Complex systems like this can at once seem very predictable and very unpredictable… they periodically undergo violent and highly non-linear phase changes from orderly to chaotic and back again.” (Silver, page 369)
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
For most things Big Beta, October was gnarly. We won’t know what the fallout looks like on the buy-side until it’s old news. But the new news is that buying high-beta stocks and/or commodities at the Bernanke Top of September 14th, 2012 left a mark.
That’s not to say there weren’t what perma-bull marketing pundits tried to sell you yesterday morning as a “hurricane Sandy buying opportunity.” You just need to be selective about what you buy and when.
In the US stock market alone, look at the S&P Sector performance divergences for October 2012:
- SP500 = -2.0%
- Financials (XLF) = +2.0%
- Utilities (XLU) = +1.4%
- Basic Materials (XLB) = -2.1%
- Technology (XLK) = -6.3%
Markets rarely make perfect sense to me but, from a research perspective, these Sector divergences did.
- SP500 = bearish TRADE and TREND, so pervasive weakness into month-end made sense
- Financials = that’s the 1st Sector you buy if you think Romney wins (his closing the gap was enough, for starters)
- Utilities = that’s the low-beta trade that we recommended downshifting to last month; we’re still long it
- Basic Materials = get the Dollar right (Romney momentum = anti Bernanke momentum), you get commodities right
- Technology = Growth and #EarningsSlowing (our Top Macro Theme for Q412) matters, in the end
Where to from here? Let’s start with the Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model:
- Cash = 58%
- Fixed Income = 21% (Treasuries, Treasury Curve Flatteners, German Bunds – we still like them all during #GrowthSlowing)
- International FX = 15% (Strong US Dollar, stick with it unless it becomes clear that Obama is going to win)
- US Equities = 6% (Utilities and Financials we think continue to work; buy them on red)
- International Equities = 0% (with markets like Russia moving back into crash mode (-19.1% since March) we’re in no hurry)
- Commodities = 0% (we’ve been calling it Bernanke’s Bubble since March – sticking with it)
The asset allocation model isn’t for everyone. It’s actually for me. It’s how I think about my own money and what I am willing to put at risk at a given time and price. Since I own a lot of Hedgeye stock, my Cash position is overstated. This is meant to be a product whereby I can signal when/where I’d be adding to or subtracting from big liquid asset classes, on the margin.
The most important principle in my decision making process is uncertainty. I embrace it every minute of the day and reserve the right to change my mind, fast. That’s not for everyone. And I get that. I also get that, sometimes, it’s better than being slow.
After all, that’s what Rupert Murdoch is alluding to in the aforementioned quote inasmuch as the world’s largest sovereign governments have been reminding you of, almost daily, for the last 5 years. While Too Big To Move can be a problem for you when you have an 80 foot tree hanging on power lines across your driveway, you still need to be fast to adapt and change.
Our immediate-term risk ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar, EUR/USD, UST 10yr Yield, Technology (XLK), AAPL, and the SP500 are now $1, $107.41-109.09, $79.56-80.39, $1.28-1.30, 1.70-1.75%, $28.29-29.44, $586-616, and 1, respectively.
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer