This note was originally published at 8am on September 18, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.
“The tools for managing paradox are still undeveloped.”
That’s the opening volley in the latest #behavioral book I have cracked open, The Rise of Superman, by Steven Kotler. It’s a book about flow, as in athletic flow – where world class athletes “completely redefine the limits of the possible.”
When it comes to central planning limits, there are none (yet). And that’s making your job as a Risk Manager all the more challenging. No matter what you think the Fed, ECB, and BOJ should do, you have to operate within the paradox of what they will do.
When you’re forced to operate within a paradox, life gets tougher. By definition, a paradox is a “statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true” (Wikipedia). But what happens when the promised output of the policy within the paradox isn’t true?
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
The good news on the truth is that Janet Yellen actually rolled with it yesterday. When former WSJ reporter (now of The Economist fame) Greg Ip asked her why the Fed continues to cut its growth estimates, this is what Janet said:
“So, there’s been a little bit of downgrading… you are certainly right, there has been a pattern of forecasting errors.”
“So”, what we have within the Policy To Inflate America’s cost of living to all-time highs, is a pattern within the paradox. And it’s that very pattern (forecasting errors) that the entire edifice of consensus clings to like a free-climber to the mother of all centrally planned cliffs.
Oh, and to make matters worse, now every Mickey Mouse macro journo in America has figured out what the “dots” are…
That’s not good. Because the only thing worse than the buy-side trading on the Fed’s first “rate hike” expectations (which have been wrong all year), is the manic media agreeing that both the Fed and Wall Street consensus growth forecast is going to be accurate.
Forget this time – if all of consensus nails US GDP growth being +3% for the next 6 quarters, that would be different!
In other news:
- “Fed Keeps ‘Considerable Time’ Pledge As Growth Moderates” –Bloomberg
- Asset bubbles absolutely love incremental easing
- Ali-bubble (BABA) will be the biggest IPO in US history
Fortuitously, we aren’t yet brain-dead from trying to front-run the proactively predictable behavior of the Fed, and we got longer of asset price inflation on red (Monday and Tuesday, we moved to 12 LONGS, 4 SHORTS in Real-Time Alerts and cut our Cash position to 34% in the Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model).
But, on the damn dip, we didn’t buy into momentum bubbles or illiquid small cap US equity exposures. We went with:
- Moarrr #GrowthSlowing Bonds
- Stocks that look like Bonds (Utilities)
- International Growth Equity exposure (China, India, etc.)
Inclusive of the centrally planned pop, the Russell 2000 (small cap Style Factor) is still down -0.9% for 2014 YTD versus a proxy for the #GrowthSlowing Long Bond (TLT) which is +11.1% YTD.
No, long-term interest rates haven’t re-tested their YTD lows (they just hit those 3 weeks ago, so now you have the bounce in rates to lower-highs). And, no, the US Dollar hasn’t backed off its multi-standard deviation overbought highs (yet), but give these things time.
With time you get more data. And Janet made it very clear yesterday that she doesn’t want to be put in the dot-box; she wants to be “data dependent.”
Which, to me, means that if we are right and US GDP slows in Q3 and/or we have one more bad jobs report, market expectations will push those dots out (again). The Fed’s paradox is that the lofty growth expectations embedded in the dots just aren’t true.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now (we have 12 big macro ranges in our Daily Trading Range product, which includes our bullish/bearish intermediate-term TREND signals for each asset allocation):
UST 10yr Yield 2.39-2.62%
BSE Sensex 26588-27971
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer