Dollar Down, Rates Up?

This note was originally published at 8am on June 03, 2015 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“We live in time, and through it.”

-Wallace Stegner

 

That’s another great quote about life from a book I’m quite liking right now, Angle of Repose. For the record, there is no repose for me this morning. And I like it. There will be plenty of time to sleep, when I retire.

 

In the meantime, I’m getting on a plane to the heartland of America for a day of investor meetings. I’ll be outlining what I think is becoming more likely by both the day and economic data point – Slower-For-Longer, on both US and Global growth, that is…

 

The two core components of our Global Macro slide deck remain A) the cyclical call (USA in a #LateCycle slowdown) and B) the secular call (#Demographic slowing of core baby boomer consumption cohorts, in the US, Europe, Japan, and China).

Dollar Down, Rates Up? - Growth cartoon 05.19.2015

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Dollar Up, Rates Down? Yep. We lived through that yesterday. In terms of our positioning, some of that was good – some of it bad. It was a very immediate-term move, but here’s what it looked like:

 

  1. Dollar Down -1.5% on the day (biggest down day in a month)
  2. Euro (vs. USD) +2.1% to the top-end of my current $1.08-1.12 risk range
  3. Commodities (CRB) Index +1.1% on the “reflation” trade to 226
  4. Oil (and Oil & Gas stocks) up with XOP leading US equity sub-sector performers +1.8%
  5. German 10yr Yield ramped from 0.49% to 0.71%, in a day
  6. US 10yr Yield chased that and went from 2.12% to 2.28%, in a day

 

This, mostly on consensus headline chasing of “inflation is back”, after the Eurozone posted a mind-altering 0.3% year-over-year “inflation” report for the month of May.

 

In other news, European producer prices (PPI) deflated -2.2% year-over-year. But don’t tell Bond Bears that.

 

What did my day look like?

 

  1. FX: I came into the day short the USD in Real-time Alerts and signaled buy/cover #Oversold
  2. Commodities: with our asset allocation at a 1yr high, I was satisfied and stayed put
  3. Bonds: didn’t do much of anything as we already trimmed our allocation to FI on last week’s rally
  4. *Stocks: opted to buy US stocks that look most like bonds in Utilities (XLU) and short more Retail (XRT)
  5. Hockey: coached practice until 7PM and felt normal for about an hour
  6. Family: kissed my kids on the forehead before bed

 

We either let these macro moves raise our anxieties to un-healthy levels or we live through them with a work/family life balance. I’m much more prepared on that front today than I was for the last US #LateCycle slow-down. That’s a #process too.

 

Back to the positioning (I think of asset allocation on a NET exposure basis, just because I love shorting/selling things when they are at the top-end of my risk range, so that I can hopefully cover/buy things back at the low-end of the range):

 

  1. US Equity Allocation = UP from 2% at the all-time SPX high of 2130 to 6% as of yesterday’s close
  2. International Equity Allocation = FLAT at 10% with most of that leaning long Japanese Equities
  3. Commodity Allocation = DOWN 1% from 13% to 12%
  4. Fixed Income Allocation = UP from 23% to 24%
  5. FX = DOWN from 3% to 2%

 

I realize how I communicate allocating capital to assets on down moves and taking some off on up moves isn’t for everyone. But it’s dynamic and daily. I do it every day in this transparent format so you can hold me to account.

 

On the Fixed Income vs. Equities debate I don’t really think that’s what matters most right now. I think the Sector Style and asset allocations you make to either the growth #accelerating or #decelerating exposures does.

 

In other words, if you think that:

 

A)     US growth is going to accelerate in 2H 2015, you buy inflation/growth stocks and short Treasury Bonds

B)      US growth is going to continue to decelerate in 2H 2015, you buy #YieldChasing stocks and bonds

 

Sure, you’ll have to live through volatility along the way. But, if the best longer-term risk management call you could have made 1-year ago was preparing for Global #Deflation, from here until 2016 it’s setting up for Global #GrowthSlowing (again).

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.01-2.29%

SPX 2098-2118
Nikkei 20103-20709
VIX 13.03-14.94
USD 94.83-98.33
EUR/USD 1.08-1.12
Oil (WTI) 58.68-61.90

Gold 1178-1203

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Dollar Down, Rates Up? - z 06.03.15 chart


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