Fundamentally Unsound

My impression remains that the U.S. is still in the “incubation phase” of an economic and financial downturn that is likely to be far more disruptive than we’ve observed to-date. Meanwhile, our estimate of prospective 12-year returns on a conventional passive investment mix again matches the most negative levels in U.S. history.
Read More

Incubation Phase: Gradually and then Suddenly

It’s sometimes said that “risk happens fast.” Yet underlying financial damage often has a long and quiet incubation phase, which is why Hemingway described bankruptcy as occurring “gradually and then suddenly.”
Read More

Containing the Crisis

Containing this epidemic, and containing this economic downturn, both require a clear understanding of how the infection is transmitted, and how to blunt its impact.
Read More

Navigating Turbulence

There’s no need to worry about various scenarios, to project targets, to predict market movements, or to become tied to any particular forecast about future economic or financial events. This is not about prediction, and projection, and forecasting. What's needed is the ability and willingness to flexibly respond to changes in observable market conditions as they emerge.
Read More

Clearing Rallies and Crashes (Buckle Up)

Presently, we continue to observe extreme valuations, coupled with ragged and divergent market internals. Yet we also observe very compressed short-term market action that has historically been permissive of “fast, furious” clearing rallies to relieve that compression. We are not “bullish” from a full-cycle perspective, and we continue to view safety nets as essential, but this compression does encourage us to have a more “two-sided” view about very near-term volatility.
Read More

Make Good Choices!

The menu of investment choices for passive, long-term investors is now the worst in history. When speculation drives prices to hypervalued extremes and likely risk-premiums to zero - or worse - investors face an additional problem. A market crash is simply a low risk-premium spiking higher. That's not hyperbole, and it's not a market call. It's just a fact.
Read More

Whatever They’re Doing, It’s Not “Investment”

The more glorious this bubble becomes in hindsight, the more dismal future investment returns become in foresight. Investment is not independent of price. As Graham & Dodd observed, "Had the same attitude been taken by the purchaser of common stocks in 1928-1929, the term ‘investment’ would not have been the tragic misnomer that it was."
Read More

One Tier and Rubble Down Below

One of the striking things about bull markets is that they often end in confident exuberance, while simultaneously deteriorating from the inside. Internal divergences, the lowest prospective market returns in U.S. history, and why not-QE really is not QE.
Read More

The Meaning of Valuation

Last week, our estimate of prospective 12-year nominal annual total returns on a conventional portfolio mix (invested 60% in the S&P 500, 30% in Treasury bonds, and 10% in Treasury bills) fell to the lowest level in U.S. history, plunging below the level previously set at the peak of the 1929 market bubble. Yes, interest rates are low, but with them, so are the discount rates and long-term returns embedded into prices.
Read More
Back To Top