Friday, August 6, 2021

Morning Note: Why Our Approach

So ya'd think on a morning when the official jobs number comes in just shy of a million that the stock market would be screaming higher, wouldn't ya?

Only if you thought today's stock market (investors and traders collectively) were the least bit interested in the fundamentals... 

Well, in truth, they actually are very interested in the fundamentals -- it's just that the bulls would prefer to not see them improve to any serious degree.

You see, today's market is trading on top-down stimulus, and the prospects for more going forward. Should the economy show serious signs of life, and of lasting inflation, well -- at least when it comes to EASY monetary policy (read low interest rates and fast money printing) -- that's a serious problem.

Thus, everything interest-rate-sensitive is feeling it this morning: The dollar's up, Gold, tech and utility stocks are down, bank stocks are up. 

On balance US stocks are doing okay (call it mixed) to start the day. 

As for today's jobs news and the pressure it puts on the Fed to pull the punchbowl, well -- in that they remain desperate to not poop on the party (burst asset bubbles) -- they'll leverage the fact that there remains 6 million unemployed Americans vs pre-covid, and, speaking of covid, that the latest concerning trend has accelerated since the July jobs data was collected (mid-month).

Asia leaned red again overnight, with 9 of the 16 markets we track closing lower.

Europe's leaning slightly green this morning, with 10 of the 19 bourses we follow trading up as I type.

US stocks, save for the interest rate sensitive sectors, are better to start the day: Dow up 94 points (0.27%), SP500 up 0.01%, SP500 Equal Weight up 0.20%, Nasdaq 100 down 0.42%, Nasdaq Comp down 0.32%, Russell 2000 up 0.45%.

The VIX (SP500 implied volatility) is down 2.26%. VXN (Nasdaq 100 i.v.) is down 1.24%.

Oil futures are down 0.45%, gold's down 2.21%, silver's down 3.33%, copper futures are up 0.70% and the ag complex is down 0.11%.

The 10-year treasury is down (yield up) and the dollar is up a big 0.48%.

Led by MP (rare earth miner), bank stocks, oil services stocks, materials and energy stocks -- but dragged by gold miners, silver, gold, uranium miners, Indian equities and solar stocks -- our core portfolio is off 0.17% to start the session.

We've drawn plenty of parallels between the current stock market setup and bubbles (tech bubble in particular) past. So you know that valuations of late have pretty much eclipsed those late-90s records. 

In the close to yesterday's morning note I wrote (with regard to our global macro approach to investing) the following:

"Frankly, I couldn't imagine approaching our task in any other manner. Stock market-centricity -- the retail advisor's ethos -- is, in our view, a historically dangerous way to approach the investing process, particularly right here."

To get a feel for why a global macro view of the world is an absolute must (particularly right here), here's a look at how such an approach (using the index that tracks global macro hedge funds as our proxy) fared leading into the tech bubble blowup and stretching through the 2008 Great Financial Crisis:

Note how global macro managers (in the aggregate) successfully avoided the tech debacle, then captured less than half the drawdown of the S&P during the '08 crisis. Booking huge outperformance over the time period.

Since then, however, U.S. stocks have been on an absolute tear (which we exploited)! But, then again, during the notable drawdowns along the way the global macro approach fared much better, without exception.

Have a great day!

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