Empirically Bankrupt

This note was originally published at 8am on November 15, 2013 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“Much of the profession is empirically bankrupt because it is no longer taught economic history.”

-Charles Kindleberger

 

That quote comes from Chapter 12 “The Scandal of Money” (pg 115) in one of the only forward thinking economics books of 2013 (George Gilder’s Knowledge and Power).  It’s market practitioners like me vs the government PH.Ds. And it’s on.

 

The reason why Gilder gets it is that he combines the weaponry of A) economic history and B) math (chaos theory). The late Charles Kindleberger, of course, wrote one of the most important market history books ever (Manias, Panics, and Crashes) in 1978.

 

Keynesian economists (who Kindleberger alluded to as “the profession”) don’t do non-linearity, entropy, etc. They are all about “smoothing” cycles, and “equilibrium” (or something like that) which are designed to promise the end-user (Big Government Interventionists) certainty. NEWSFLASH: markets, bubbles, and economies are grounded in uncertainty. Embrace it.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

If you don’t get what I am talking about, take a few minutes to watch and listen to Janet Yellen’s confirmation hearing yesterday. Watching a human being’s body language is always as important as attempting to listen to what it is they are trying to say.

 

If you don’t want to study the kinesics of it all (the study of lying) or read economic history, read my friendly competitor’s (Zervos) rant yesterday about how he loves Yellen. There’s no math or history in his analysis; it’s all about the storytelling.

 

Critical to #KeynesianCrack storytelling is the fear-mongering and the emotion of it all. Just so you know the difference between our perspectives, David Zervos is a Ph.D. who worked for the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C.  I’d boil down his backslapping of his groupthink tank’s (The Fed’s) anti-dog-eat-dog-economic-cycle-gravity-banning-central-planning idea as follows:

  1. “Optimal Control Policy”
  2. “Rule evolution”
  3. “Equilibrium risk-free”

Like many in Washington, he’s entertaining – and he gets markets right too. But how he thinks this all ends for America, her former “free” markets, and economy is about as far off on another planet as I’ll ever be. To him, I’ll sound crazy this morning.

 

Calling our kings and queens crazy? People often ask me what I’d do differently if I was at the Fed. Since I’m not the central planning type, I’d either do what Volcker did (end the madness of stagflation policy), or just shut the place down.

 

People also ask me what I’d ask our almighty Federal Reserve Ph.D.’s if I was in Congress. Well, since I have never voted for a politician in my life, I doubt being in Congress is in the cards, but here are some questions for my friends sipping the Keynesian chartreuse:

  1. What the hell is an “optimal control” policy model and why use any model when every model the Fed has used has failed?
  2. Does “rule evolution” mean that when the prior optimal policy doesn’t work, you just change the rules?
  3. How do you think keeping the “risk free rate” at 0% ends when the bond market turns on your expected “equilibrium”?

Traditional anti-Marxists would call trying to mark markets to some damn “optimal” model and/or price floors just plain dumb. But I won’t do that this morning. I am Mucker. How dare I challenge a Ph.D. “science” of charlatans?

 

Yes I called them charlatans. If you don’t think I’m crazy yet – watch this video I made for my Washington friends yesterday titled #Yellen: Tools, Crickets, and Crack: http://app.hedgeye.com/media/697-yellen-tools-crickets-crack?media=all&page=1

 

Yep, too many pucks to the head. But before these Ph.D.’s bubble (and blow) up markets for the umpteenth time in world history, I’ll be standing on the front lines against their academic dogmas. Yes, Mr. Zervos – I’m the one who knocks.

 

Back to how we risk managed the event risk of Yellen being who she is (The Mother of All Doves), we made the playbook move of buying slow-growth Yield Chasing assets that drive what Jefco calls the “spooooz” higher.

 

But do not mistake Gold, Bonds, and Utilities leading yesterday’s short squeeze to another all-time US stock market (SPY) high for rising growth expectations (the Russell Growth Index was down). Remember, a Policy To Inflate nominal is not real economic growth.

 

Oh, and I sold all my Gold and Bonds by 11AM EST. Yellen’s darting eyes toward Nero Corker (the Keynesian overlord from Tennessee) did me in. I just couldn’t stomach being long their empirical bankruptcy for more than a few more hours. Keep moving out there!

 

Our immediate-term Risk Ranges (its math – we have 12 Big Macros in our Daily Risk Range product) are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.66-2.81%

SPX 1770-1794

VIX 11.99-14.41

USD 80.53-81.41

Pound 1.59-1.61

Gold 1261-1294

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Empirically Bankrupt - Chart of the Day

 

Empirically Bankrupt - Virtual Portfolio


7 Tweets Summing Up What You Need to Know About Today's GDP Report

"There's a tremendous opportunity to educate people in our profession on how GDP is stated and projected," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote today. Here's everything you need to know about today's GDP report.

read more

Cartoon of the Day: Crash Test Bear

In the past six months, U.S. stock indices are up between +12% and +18%.

read more

GOLD: A Deep Dive on What’s Next with a Top Commodities Strategist

“If you saved in gold over the past 20 to 25 years rather than any currency anywhere in the world, gold has outperformed all these currencies,” says Stefan Wieler, Vice President of Goldmoney in this edition of Real Conversations.

read more

Exact Sciences Up +24% This Week... What's Next? | $EXAS

We remain long Exact Sciences in the Hedgeye Healthcare Position Monitor.

read more

Inside the Atlanta Fed's Flawed GDP Tracker

"The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNowcast model, while useful at amalgamating investor consensus on one singular GDP estimate for any given quarter, is certainly not the end-all-be-all of forecasting U.S. GDP," writes Hedgeye Senior Macro analyst Darius Dale.

read more

Cartoon of the Day: Acrophobia

"Most people who are making a ton of money right now are focused on growth companies seeing accelerations," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote in today's Early Look. "That’s what happens in Quad 1."

read more

People's Bank of China Spins China’s Bad-Loan Data

PBoC Deputy Governor Yi says China's non-performing loan problem has “pretty much stabilized." "Yi is spinning. China’s bad-debt problem remains serious," write Benn Steil and Emma Smith, Council on Foreign Relations.

read more

UnderArmour: 'I Am Much More Bearish Than I Was 3 Hours Ago'

“The consumer has a short memory.” Yes, Plank actually said this," writes Hedgeye Retail analyst Brian McGough. "Last time I heard such arrogance was Ron Johnson."

read more

Buffalo Wild Wings: Complacency & Lack of Leadership (by Howard Penney)

"Buffalo Wild Wings has been plagued by complacency and a continued lack of adequate leadership," writes Hedgeye Restaurants analyst Howard Penney.

read more

Todd Jordan on Las Vegas Sands Earnings

"The quarter actually beat lowered expectations. Overall, the mass segment performed well although base mass lagging is a concern," writes Hedgeye Gaming, Lodging & Leisure analyst Todd Jordan on Las Vegas Sands.

read more

An Update on Defense Spending by Lt. Gen Emo Gardner

"Congress' FY17 omnibus appropriation will fully fund the Pentagon's original budget request plus $15B of its $30B supplemental request," writes Hedgeye Potomac Defense Policy analyst Lt. Gen Emerson "Emo" Gardner USMC Ret.

read more

Got Process? Zero Hedge Sells Fear, Not Truth

Fear sells. Always has. Look no further than Zero Hedge.

read more