Editor's Note: It's been a tumultuous start to the New Year for the stock market. Below is a particularly prescient Early Look written by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough on December 11, 2015. In it, he explains why "we are in the midst of the 3rd major crash I've seen in my Wall Street career." You can still take advantage of our special New Year 66% off deal on this product and more here.
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“It wasn’t luck that made them fly – it was hard work and common sense.”
-John T. Daniels
The big picture
One of the most recognizable pictures in the history of American innovation (“First In Flight”) is the Wright Brother’s original “Flyer.” John T. Daniels “was the amateur photographer who took the photograph of their first flight on December 17th, 1903.” (Wikipedia)
He was also one of the men who spent a lot of time with the Wrights in their workplace. He said “they put their whole heart and soul and all their energy into an idea and they had the faith.” (The Wright Brothers, pg 108)
While we don’t just have boys working here @Hedgeye, if there’s one thing I’m most proud of it’s how hard everyone works. I know - on Wall Street everyone thinks they work hard. Build a culture where you actually work harder than most, and your business will fly.
With the beloved “the market is flat” quote of the year (SP500) hovering below where it started the year (2058), many other components of the Global Macro market (Credit, Currencies, Commodities, EM, etc.) continue to crash into week’s end.
Not to cherry pick the composite performance of 2000 stocks instead of 30 or 500, but the Russell 2000 is down -5% for 2015 YTD. More importantly, it’s down -11.3% from the all-time #bubble high for US stocks that we called in July. The 2nd half of 2015 draw-down has been nasty.
What is a draw-down? You don’t need the Wright Brothers to build you a draw-down table:
If you lose this amount… you have to return this to break even:
This is very basic math that most in the mainstream (who haven’t run client portfolios) don’t think about when they talk about what “the market” is doing vs. what it would need to do to get people who got plugged chasing charts back to break-even.
In other words, what is the catalyst to get:
- The Russell (2015) Bubble +12-13%, from here, to break even?
- The CRB Index (2011-2012 Bernanke Bubble) +33%, from here, to break even?
- Kinder Morgan (the Yield Chasing Inflation Expectation Bubble) +163%, from here, to break even?
That’s right. If you chased the Kinder Morgan’s (KMI) chart and bought it at $44.57, on April 23rd, 2015, your client’s account is First In Crashing to a level they’ll never be able to recover from. That’s why Kevin Kaiser putting all his energy into a SELL idea mattered.
I get why innovation in Wall Street Research hasn’t included many independent research firms that have literally 0% conflicts of interest. If you don’t have a bank, broker dealer, or asset manager on your platform, it’s really hard to “get paid.”
What you may not see is that when I started Hedgeye, I wasn’t looking to get paid. I was simply burnt out by the compromised and constrained ways of the Old Wall and wanted to build a better way. I really wanted to help the average person not crash again.
Forget what people who are in the business of marketing “the market is flat” are telling you, across asset classes we are in the midst of the 3rd major crash I’ve seen in my Wall Street career. All 3 coincided with a major economic cycle top:
Every one of these economic cycle tops had different asset bubbles underpinning their hopes that it was “different this time.” Not one of these cycle tops was different in terms of classic rate of change slowdowns in major economic factors.
As you can see in today’s Chart of The Day (one of my favorite 20 year cycle charts in all of macro), the Commodity Super-Cycle crash we are witnessing today is largely a function of both Greenspan and Bernanke devaluing the US Dollar to a 40-year low from 2001-2011.
That’s a decade of devaluing the purchasing power of hard working Americans (their currency) every time the US economy started to slow from its cycle peak. While the early 20th century had The Wright Brothers, the early 21st had The Central Planners.
No, that’s not to say that there wasn’t American innovation all the while (newsflash: most innovation is born out of necessity, not economic expansions). It’s simply to say what the mother of all economics risks remains the unwind of a centrally planned bubble.
I’m obviously not alone in defining history this way (they’re just time series charts). Most of the money managers who are having a fantastic year understand that The Deflation Risk is real and not “transitory.”
If you want to have a big-gravity-bending economist tell me that the Federal Reserve wasn’t the causal factor in USD Devaluation, that’s fine. I’ll smile and move along. I have too much work to do to argue with these people anymore.
It’s hard work and common sense that will preserve and build wealth during this slow-down. That’s not different this time either.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now (with intermediate-term TREND research views in brackets):
UST 10yr Yield 2.13-2.32% (neutral)
SPX 2033-2072 (bearish)
RUT 1131--1172 (bearish)
NASDAQ 4987-5092 (bullish)
Nikkei 19010-19447 (bullish)
DAX 10308-10856 (bearish)
VIX 16.85-20.47 (bullish)
USD 96.70-98.73 (bullish)
EUR/USD 1.05-1.10 (bearish)
YEN 121.24-122.69 (bearish)
Oil (WTI) 35.41-39.25 (bearish)
Nat Gas 1.95-2.13 (bearish)
Gold 1049-1084 (bearish)
Copper 2.01-2.12 (bearish)
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer