“If any man seeks for greatness, let him forget greatness, and ask for the truth – and he will find both.”
There’s a blizzard rolling in on the East Coast this morning and they’ll be legally selling pot in Colorado today. Welcome to 2014.
Last year I had a well known pundit tell me I wasn’t being “truthful” about US #GrowthAccelerating. The truth is US growth accelerated from +0.14% in Q412 to +4.12% by Q313. So I thought I’d start with the weather this morning. It’s tougher to obfuscate.
One thought I’ll share with our team in this morning’s New Year’s meeting will be to Breathe and Be Yourself. That’s a subtitle to a solid chapter in Unusually Excellent titled “Being Authentic” where John Hamm reminds us that “authenticity is the first step of leadership… because it is the basis for the kinds of trusting relationships with followers…” (pg 27). Ask yourself for the truth, every day.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
While we may not always be positioned for it, in this game last price is truth. We can argue with it, twist it, call it names – but that won’t change what it is. It’s the score.
Check out some of this morning’s Day 1 of 2014 scores:
- Thailand’s stock market -5.2%
- South Korea’s stock market -2.2%
- India’s stock market -1.3%
- Greece’s stock market +2.6%
- United Arab Emirates stock market +3.0%
#Fun. We call this a big macro day of #Divergence in Global Equities.
In commodity land, there are some interesting price % moves as well:
- Silver +3.2%
- Platinum +1.6%
- Wheat +0.8%
In other words, 3 of the commodities that experienced the biggest crashes in their 2013 prices are up more than mostly every commodity and stock market in the world today. We call this a nice bounce (to lower-highs).
Then alongside the #PotShops thing in Denver, you have some other social truths to consider in Japan this morning:
- Japan’s population growth (lack thereof) showed its largest decline on record in 2013 (-244,000)
- Japanese births were -6,000 y/y and deaths were -19,000 y/y in 2013, allegedly (hard for us to get to these #s)
But don’t worry, after opting for the Burning of The People’s Purchasing Power (their hard earned currency was -17% in 2013), the Japanese stock market was +59.3%. So some people crushed it in Japan; some people got crushed.
What do all these truths mean? And are they in fact truths? What if the birth/death calculation in Japan is as suspect as it is here in the US? However suspect the data, our working assumption here @Hedgeye is it’s apples to apples, suspect vs suspect.
Accepting the last market price as truth is a lot easier than taking conflicted and compromised government data at face value. The aforementioned 8 price moves in global equities and commodities, combined with what was already starting to move COUNTER-TREND in December, leads my macro craw to the same potential Global Macro Theme: Inflation Expectations Rising.
Stay tuned for our Q1 2014 Global Macro Themes call in the coming weeks where we’ll try our best to contextualize a developing truth (last price vs. market history) and what it could mean for your asset allocation and positioning.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now as follows (bullish or bearish TREND duration in brackets):
UST 10yr yield 2.97-3.07% (bullish)
SPX 1 (bullish)
Gold 1180-1223 (bearish)
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
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TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – January 2, 2014
As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 28 points or 0.99% downside to 1830 and 0.52% upside to 1858.
CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:
- YIELD CURVE: 2.64 from 2.65
- VIX closed at 13.72 1 day percent change of 1.18%
MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):
- 8:30am: Init. Jobless Claims, Dec. 28, est. 342k (pr 338k)
- 8:58am: Markit US PMI final, est. 54.7 (prior 54.7)
- 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, Dec. 29 (prior -27.4)
- 10am: Freddie Mac mortgage rates
- 10am: ISM Manufacturing, Dec., est. 56.8 (prior 57.3)
- 10am: Construction Spending M/m, Nov., est. 0.7% (pr 0.8%)
- No major events scheduled
WHAT TO WATCH:
- Fiat to buy full control of Chrysler in $4.35b deal
- Ford adds SunPower solar cells to recharge electric concept car
- Macau Dec. casino rev. rises 18.5%, beating est.
- U.S. Northeast storm threatens travel disruptions
- U.S., Canada box office set 2013 record
- U.S. solar battery makers ask for probes into Chinese products
- Samsung’s Lee urges shift beyond hardware in Apple battle
- Berkshire seen failing Buffett’s 5-yr test for 1st time
- Chinese manufacturing indexes fell in Dec.
- AllThingsD editors unveil technology-news Site called Re/Code
- Oil impurities, labeling being probed in rail explosions: WSJ
- ICE said to seek EU1b-1.5b in Euronext IPO, Telegraaf reports
- Motorola Moto X smartphone now starting at $399
- Google to shut down Bump, Flock: TechCrunch
- Snapchat account information of 4.6m said leaked: CNET
- No earnings scheduled by S&P 500 companies
COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)
- Copper Touches Six-Month High as Inventories Continue to Shrink
- Cheaper Hanoi Pork Shows Crops Ease World Food Cost: Commodities
- Brent Trades Near One-Week Low as Libya Oilfield Seen Restarting
- Gold Rebounds With Silver After Worst Annual Retreats Since 1981
- U.S. Natural Gas Rebounds From Biggest Drop in Eight Months
- Wheat Prices Steady in Paris Before Grain Trading Starts on CBOT
- Rebar Rises First Time in Three Days as Property Prices Advance
- Cocoa Drops Below 100-Day Moving Average as Robusta Catches Up
- World’s Biggest Iron-Ore Port Opens as Australia Storm Fades
- Perth Mint Gold Sales Jump 41% in 2013 on Worst Rout in 32 Years
- LBMA Says Rene Hochreiter Most Accuarate Gold Forecaster in ’13
- South African White Corn Rises to 17-Year High on Supply Concern
- OPEC Oil Output Declines to Lowest Since July 2011: BI Chart
- Palm Ends Near Three-Week High After First Annual Gain Since ’10
The Hedgeye Macro Team
This note was originally published at 8am on December 19, 2013 for Hedgeye subscribers.
“The way I feel about music is that there is no right and wrong. Only true and false.”
I was dead wrong on the no-taper call yesterday, and (after covering my US Dollar short position within minutes of the decision) was somehow positioned right (8 LONGS, 0 SHORTS). Where I was brought up, being right for the wrong reasons is called luck.
True or False: Ben Bernanke did the right thing in tapering yesterday? True. Whether or not his obeying the US 2013 #GrowthAccelerating data on a lag (he’s 3 months late in making a decision he should have made in September) proves to be right is up to history.
I think that if most people were intellectually honest about it, they wouldn’t have told you that A) Bernanke was going to taper yesterday AND B) US stocks would rip to all-time highs on that. But they did. That is the only truth that matters this morning.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
So what do we do now? Sticking with the process, that’s actually the easiest call to make. We simply go right back to where we were positioned from December 2012-September 2013:
- Long Growth (Equities)
- Short Gold, Bonds (and Equities that look like Bonds, like MLPs)
- #RatesRising + a USD that isn’t going down in a ball of flames = bad for Gold Bond positions
- #Flows (out of Gold Bonds into US Growth Stocks) should dominate well into the new year
That’s why my 1st three moves in #RealTimeAlerts after the taper decision yesterday were:
- COVER US Dollar Short
- SHORT Pimco’s Total Return Fund (BOND)
- SHORT Kinder Morgan (KMI)
It’s one thing to make mistakes in this game. It’s entirely another to make mistake-upon-mistake after making that first mistake. In hockey terms, give away the puck once – feel shame. Give it away again – feel sitting on cold Canadian bench for rest of game.
I could have easily given away the puck post taper yesterday buying something like Gold because it was down. It’s down a lot more this morning (Silver -3.9%, Gold -1.1%) and testing its June 27th YTD closing low of $1200/oz.
True or false: Gold hates #RatesRising?
- US Treasury 10yr Yield 2.88% = +17 bps month-over-month and +112 bps YTD
- Gold (started the yr at $1675) = still crashing, -28.3% YTD
Another puck I could have given away would have been trying the long Yen “because everyone is short the Yen.”
True or false: Nikkei loves Burning Yen?
- Japanese Yen (vs USD) = crashing, -17% YTD
- Nikkei = +1.7% overnight to +54.97% YTD
In other words, as soon as you saw the word “taper” yesterday, you got the Dollar right (up) and that helped you get a lot of other things Global Macro right.
True or false: Dollar Up = Emerging Markets Down?
- US Dollar (despite being UP now for 1st wk in 6) = +1.1% YTD
- MSCI Emerging Markets Index = down -5.9% YTD
Oh, and despite the epic US Equity market rip to all-time highs (SP500 1810 = +26.9% YTD), Emerging Equity markets in Asia were down overnight (India -0.72%, Philippines -0.64%). Turkeys’ stock market is -0.7% this morning too.
On the taper news yesterday, Argentina, Chile, and Peru all saw their stock markets close down on the day. “Emerging” commodity countries = #EmergingOutflows.
So is it the marketing messages of asset management firms that are perma long Gold, Bonds, and Emerging Markets that are right or wrong in a Dollar Up + #RatesRising environment? Or are the perceptions of their investors simply false?
The truth is always in the balance of your account. It’s there, each and every market day, whether you played lucky or not.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
Takeaway: Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough offers up his 13 favorite reads over the past year.
Here are (in no particular order) the baker's dozen books that the Hedgeye CEO/puckhead/nerd/market guru read this past year and highly recommends. Click on the book link to see more on Amazon.
By George Gilder
This is a thought leader’s book. With so many people whining about not having a “solution” to Washington’s economic policies, ask yourself if we’re asking the right leaders for new ideas. This book is the antichrist of broken western-academic-economic-policy group-think. -KM
By William L. Silber
An easy read that will educate people on how central planning has become so causal to American Purchasing Power (US Dollar) and inflation/growth expectations. -KM
By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Buy the book. A must read as we continue to narrow the gap between Chaos Theory and Behavioral Finance. -KM
By Malcolm Gladwell
"The bestselling author behind the inventive Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point is back with another thought provoking theory that fascinates, entertains, and informs. He gives underdogs their due this time, challenging everything readers believe about facing-and conquering-life's stumbling blocks, using the 'real' story of David and Goliath and more to make his point." -Celeste Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Doris Kearns Goodwin
“If you find the grubby spectacle of today’s Washington cause for shame and despair—and really, how could you not?—then I suggest you turn off the TV and board Doris Kearns Goodwin’s latest time machine. … [Goodwin puts] political intrigues and moral dilemmas and daily lives into rich and elegant language. Imagine ‘The West Wing’ scripted by Henry James.” –Bill Keller, NYT
By Henry Hazlitt
A million copy seller, Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson is a classic economic primer.
By Charles P. Kindleberger
"Underneath the hilarious anecdotes, the elegant epigrams, and the graceful turns of phrase, Kindleberger is deadly serious. The manner in which humans beings earn their livings is no laughing matter to him, especially when they attempt to do so at the expense of one another. As he so effectively demonstrates, manias, panics, and crashes are the consequence of an economic environment that cultivates cupidity, chicanery, and rapaciousness rather than a devout belief in the Golden Rule." -Peter L. Bernstein
By Dan Ariely
“Through a remarkable series of experiments, Ariely presents a convincing case. . . . Required reading for politicians and Wall Street executives.” (Booklist)
By Jack Weatherford
"As entertaining as it is thoughtful....Few contemporary writers have Weatherford's talent for making the deep sweep of history seem vital and immediate." –The Washington Post
By Eric J. Chaisson
“Chaisson conducts an intriguing tour over vast realms of time and space. A lucid and sprightly guide, he brings forth original and provocative observations, while gathering a host of wonders in his cosmic embrace.” -Dudley Herschbach, 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
By Stephen Greenblatt
“The Swerve is one of those brilliant works of non-fiction that's so jam-packed with ideas and stories it literally boggles the mind.” -Maureen Corrigan - NPR/Fresh Air
By Jack Weatherford
“Weatherford brings a cultural anthropologist's wide-angled perspective to this illuminating investigation of money's role in shaping human affairs…Full of forgotten lore and provocative opinions (e.g., harmful inflation is identified as the dominant monetary theme of our century), and sprinkled with allusions to Voltaire, Goethe, L. Frank Baum and Gertrude Stein, this intriguing selective survey will captivate even readers with no particular yen for financial knowledge.” –Publisher’s Weekly
By Daniel Kahneman
“A tour de force. . . Kahneman’s book is a must read for anyone interested in either human behavior or investing. He clearly shows that while we like to think of ourselves as rational in our decision making, the truth is we are subject to many biases. At least being aware of them will give you a better chance of avoiding them, or at least making fewer of them.”—Larry Swedroe, CBS News
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