Young Bears

“There’s no bear like an old bear.”

-Samantha Armstrong


Oh, to be a young cub again… what would consensus do to be able to go back to the April to July period of 2015 and have sold higher?


While most #LateCycle growth expectations in macro markets peaked in April, the US stock market peaked in July as US Treasury Yields were putting in their last head-fake of a “breakout.” That makes this bear market in growth expectations relatively young.


And, yes, I get the hedgie-perf-anxiety-disorder (#HPAD) that helped lead this week’s bounce to lower-highs. It is what it is – kind of like expecting GDP and the US 10yr would be > 3% in 2015. It’s entertaining to watch the storytelling of it all.

Young Bears - Lower Highs cartoon10.07.2015


Back to the Global Macro Grind


Today, at 1PM EST my research team and I will walk you through our 60 slide Q4 Global Macro Themes deck. As always, we’ll start the conference call by reviewing our most recent Q3 Macro Themes which were #timestamped in July as follows:


  1. #ConsumerCycle Slowing
  2. #SecularStagnation
  3. #EuropeSlowing


Themes 2 and 3 became clearer to consensus as the quarter played out. Most investors realize that the Slower-For-Longer case that was being priced into both the stock and bond market had plenty of confirming economic data to support it.


Theme 1 was less convincing… until the most recent US jobs report confirmed the top in the #LateCycle US Employment, that is. And, perversely, it was that rancid employment print that gave birth to this 1-week old baby bull in “reflation” expectations.


After all, there’s no bull like the Old Wall’s…


And Dollar Down (on Dovish Fed expectations post the jobs print) + Rates Down ripped both #YieldChasing and everything linked to Down Dollar Reflation (Commodities, Energy Stocks, Russia, etc.) higher.


Confusing a 1-week or 1-month old bull in “reflation” with accelerating demand was actually one of the biggest mistakes Consensus Macro made in 2015. That’s what had chart chasers buy the July top, don’t forget.


So today’s call won’t focus so much on that narrative fallacy as it will the core of what’s been our bearish growth theme all along – this young bear is about to go into her “mid-cycle” maturation process!


Just to give you a sneak-peak on why the “mid-cycle slowdown” thesis is probably as wrong as the bond market thinks it is (*note: not one of the strategists calling this a mid-cycle slowdown was calling for a slow-down of any kind 9 months ago, but they seem quite sure it’s not #LateCycle), here are our Top 3 Global Macro Themes for Q4 of 2015:

  • #SuperLateCycle (USA): Slowing growth typifies the twilight of an economic expansion and negative 2nd derivative trends are creeping in across much of the domestic fundamental data. From labor and manufacturing markets to consumer and business confidence, leading indicators are beginning to roll as the late-cycle moves past peak. We'll detail why Slower-And-Lower-For-Longer remains the call. 
  • #GlobalSlowing: With the Street, IMF, World Bank and OECD all still forecasting global growth of around 3% for 2015, we find it appropriate to reiterate our call for global growth to come in at or below half that rate. Moreover, while China's August CNY devaluation effectively made our #EmergingOutflows theme a consensus bearish cog in the global economic outlook, we do not think investors are appropriately positioned for a likely trend of negative revisions to the respective growth outlooks in the U.S., Eurozone and Japan throughout the balance of the year.
  • #Crashing: Definitive crashes have occurred across many global macro markets in recent months. Those market participants on the wrong side of growth slowing and deflation are feeling the most pain. Crashing inflation expectations are perpetuating the pain across all asset classes and sectors levered to unrealistic growth expectations (energy, industrials, materials), as well as across the high-yield bond market, commodity markets, commodity currencies. Is the U.S. equity market next in line?

After adding the SP500 (SPY) to our Best Short Ideas Short list in July (we summarize our Themes each quarter with our best long/short ideas across our TRADE, TREND, and TAIL durations), we’ll reiterate that call again today.

If you’re an intermediate to long-term investor, you should be well equipped to risk manage these intermediate-term TREND themes. If you’re more of a chase the daily emotion of the S&P Futures type of a guy/gal, I’ll give you some risk ranges for that too (no immediate-term support to 1860 SPX).


If the new bull market thesis is getting back to break-even for 2015, that’s cool. I get it. Everyone who is in the business of being perma-long growth expectations needs to start somewhere. Sort of like this bear market – she’s just getting started.


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:


UST 10yr Yield 1.96-2.09%

DAX 99
EUR/USD 1.11-1.13
Oil (WTI) 46.02-48.99


Best of luck out there today,




Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Young Bears - zzz 77

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