Legislating Deflation?

This note was originally published at 8am on September 29, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“There are far too many great men in the world; there are too many legislators.”

-Bastiat

 

Today in 1789, the 1st United States Congress adjourned. There were no political parties in Congress back then. Members of US Congress were grouped (informally) according to their voting records. There was at least some peer review and accountability in that.

 

As far as who was a “great” man back then, I personally can’t tell you for sure. My only certainty is that the more I try to understand #history through the lenses of different perspectives (books), the less I know.

 

I can tell you with 100% certainty that, of all the great men and women I know, not one is a legislator. The thing about great leaders is that they embrace their own imperfections and rarely feel certain about anything. Find me that in today’s political media and I will happily reconsider. Sadly, the deflation of my expectations continues to accelerate on that front.

 

Legislating Deflation? - founding fathers

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Deflation and depression aren’t cool feelings. I guess that’s why the Bush/Obama politicians who perpetuated the most recent decade of US economic growth surprising on the downside call the recession a #Great one.

 

There’s always spin from political incumbents who aren’t telling you the truth about economics.  The Federal Reserve is going to be spinning its wheels with a conflicted “World Economic Think Tank” from Germany called the Kiel Institute this week.

 

Their topic: “The Labor Market After The Great Recession.” Their problem: that both the US and Germany may very well be entering their next recessions. Yep. So let’s make sure US legislators get told what to do by left-leaning German states in preparation for that…

 

Deflated yet?

 

Back to real world leading economic indicators in Global Equity markets, here’s what happened last week:

 

  1. The illiquid small-cap #bubble component of the US stock market continued to deflate
  2. The Russell 2000 was down another -2.4% on the week and is now down for 4 consecutive weeks
  3. The more liquid (and “cheaper”) Dow and SP500 were down -1.0% and -1.4%, respectively
  4. US Industrial Stocks (XLI) led losers, falling -2.1% on the week and have lagged for the last 3 months
  5. REITS (MSCI Index) corrected another -1.9% as deflation in real estate prices continues in #Quad4
  6. Emerging Markets deflated another -2.7% and -4.2% on the wk for the MSCI EM and LATAM indexes, respectively

 

In what we call FICC (Fixed Income, Currencies, and Commodities), here’s what Mr. Macro Market said last week:

 

  1. Draghi’s (un-elected) Devalued Euro move continues with the EUR/USD down another -1.1% on the week
  2. US Dollar Index added to its most deflationary move since 1997, closing up the same that the Euro was down
  3. Canadian Dollars dropped -1.7% in kind, and the Japanese Yen fell another -0.2% on the week to $109.29 vs USD
  4. Commodities (CRB) Index held the 280 line (where it started 2014), closing +0.3% on the week
  5. Gold and Copper were +0.1% and -3.7% on the week, respectively (YTD: Gold +1% vs Copper -10%)
  6. UST 10yr Bond Yield dropped another -5 bps to 2.53%, down -17% YTD (or down 50bps)

 

That last thing (10yr yield falling) is one thing that the perma-US-growth-bulls have had a very hard time explaining (especially overlayed with the Russell). Since US #history tells you that falling bond yields are never a sign of accelerating growth, that’s for good reason.

 

Much like the politically partisan, perma-growth-bulls are very good at seeking data that confirms their bullish biases. Instead of talking about early cycle-stocks like Housing (ITB), Regional Banks (KRE), and Consumer Discretionary (XLY) being down for 2014 YTD, they’re now all experts on #Strong Dollar and “falling oil prices” (even though WTI crude was +2% last week to flat on the YTD).

 

I like #StrongDollar, but only as a leading indicator of US economic #GrowthAccelerating when long-term interest rates are RISING at the same time. Let me write that one more time in these terms: Dollar Up, Rates Up = Hedgeye Bullish On Growth!

 

That, of course, was why we loved US growth stocks in 2013 and had an equal amount of joy shorting the US bond market. This year, being the only decisively bi-partisan bull/bear risk managers you pay, we have had precisely the opposite position.

 

I’ll go through the why on Dollar Up, Rates Down (it’s called #Quad4 deflation) on our Q4 Global Macro Themes call this Thursday afternoon at 1PM EST. Institutional Investors, please ping sales@Hedgeye.com for access.

 

I’d like to extend an invite to any Member of The 113th US Congress who would like to learn something about where economic risks are going (rather than where they’ve been). I don’t hang with them, so I’d appreciate it if you passed it along to your local central planner.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.48-2.58%

SPX 1962-1994

RUT 1100-1136

VIX 13.53-16.13

EUR/USD 1.26-1.29

Gold 1209-1249

 

Best of luck out there this week,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Legislating Deflation? - 09.29.15 USD vs. 10 Yr


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