Feb 18, 2018

Jim Grant asks Jim Chanos, "Is this moment the craziest juncture in finance that you have seen?”

Jim Grant: Is this moment, considering all things, the craziest juncture in finance that you have seen?

Jim Chanos: I would say broadly yes, only because other times that we have sort of deemed the market to be "crazy," often it was in a narrow area or it was in a specific large group of businesses or stocks, and now in 2018 we are looking at a kind of global craziness, and we're looking at it broadly.  That there's debt buildup, speculation in a variety of areas, you've got low returns in lots of businesses that is being financially engineered by share buybacks and a variety of other things to prop up the businesses.  And so, yah, I think this is much broader than 1999 or '87, or 2007 even.

~ Jim Grant interview of Jim Chanos, RealVision.com, February 10, 2018

Feb 14, 2018

Financial adviser: "This pullback is awesome"

This pullback is awesome.

~ Green Alpha Advisors note to clients, "Advisors: What, Me Worry?", WealthManagement.com, February 6, 2018

Financial adviser on recent correction: "Turn off CNBC"

Turn off CNBC. Go to exercise class. Read a book. This market pullback was expected and very much needed to happen for the market to go higher. No need for defensive action...

~ Jonathan Torrens, President and CIO of TCM Wealth Advisors, "Advisors: What, Me Worry?", WealthManagement.com, February 6, 2018

Feb 11, 2018

Charles Schwab CEO: "investor sentiment reached highs not seen in almost two decades"

Our success with clients was bolstered by strength in the equity markets − the S&P 500 Index finished 2017 up 19%. In this environment, investor sentiment reached highs not seen in almost two decades, and clients actively engaged in the markets.

~ Walt Bettinger, CEO, Charles Schwab, Schwab 4th quarter earnings release, January 17, 2018

Zacks on correction concerns: "My advice: ignore it all"

If you look closely at some of the factors and events surrounding this market action, it's fairly clear in my view that is has all of the hallmarks of a classic stock market correction:

• Sudden, scary declines in equity prices
• No material changes to economic fundamentals, which we believe remain very strong globally
• Analysts and pundits reaching for 'causes' of the market correction, with what seems to be no clear answers
• Media abuzz with commentary over whether this could be a major downturn
• Investors shifting focus to day-to-day price fluctuations instead of focusing on long-term objectives 

What's more, if one were to review the "causes" given for the market correction, you would likely find are old, recycled fears and stories that may be too marginal to matter, in my view. So far, we've heard the correction was caused by rising inflation concerns, worries about concurrent rising interest rates and rising stock prices, fears about global central bank tightening, anxiety over the possibility of trade wars, and even the product of an obscure ETF that bets on the inverse of the VIX. The ETF, ticker XIV, fell some 85% and Credit Suisse is reportedly ending trading for it later this month.

We believe that the root cause of the correction could be any one of those events or none of them. Market corrections do not come with playbooks or detailed explanations, and they are very difficult to be timed.

My advice: ignore it all.

~ Mitch Zacks, Zacks Investment Management, February 22, 2018

Feb 10, 2018

Financial adviser: "In the long term the markets are very predictable—they go up" (2018)

The declines so far have been well within historic norms. Things could get worse, but if they do, they will recover. In the long term the markets are very predictable—they go up. Trying to time the markets is a recipe for failure.

~ Scott MacKillop, CEO of First Ascent Asset Management, "Ignore the Gurus: Part II," WealthManagement.com, February 9, 2018

Market strategist on recent 10% correction: "It isn't the beginning of the end" (2018)

It isn't the beginning of the end, but a normal correction in a long upward move.

~ Chris Gaffney, president of world markets, EverBank

Financial adviser: "some volatility is healthy for markets" (2018)

The economic backdrop remains positive and, in my view, this pullback is simply helping to get some of the froth out of the market. Some volatility is a natural part of investing, and it is healthy for markets.

~ Tim Armour, Chairman and CEO, Capital Group, "The Return of Market Volatility is Expected and Healthy," February 8, 2018

Feb 9, 2018

Leon Cooperman: "I don't see euphoria"

I don't see euphoria.  I don't see it in terms of individual investor behavior.  I don't see it in terms of overall market valuation.  The only way current levels would be euphoric is if the fundamentals deteriorated beyond anything we anticipate...  There's euphoria in bitcoin.  There's euphoria in a sense in bonds [German 10-year] at 38 basis points, but the broad market, I don't think is evidence of euphoria.

~ Leon Cooperman, CNBC interview with Scott Wapner, February 7, 2018

Feb 7, 2018

Ray Dalio: "These big declines are just minor corrections"

What we are seeing is typical late-cycle behavior, though more exaggerated because the durations of investment assets (i.e., their sensitivities to interest rate changes) are greater.  We've just had a taste of what the tightening will be like.  Fiscal stimulation is hitting the gas, which is driving the economy forward into the capacity constraints, which is triggering interest rate increases that are hitting the brakes, first in the markets and later in the economy.   This is happening sooner than we expected.  This confluence of circumstances will make it difficult for the Fed to get monetary policy exactly right.  Still, these big declines are just minor corrections in the scope of things, there is a lot of cash on the side to buy on the break, and what comes next will be most important.

~ Ray Dalio, founder and co-Chief Investment Officer, Bridgewater Associates, world's largest hedge fund with $160 bil AUM, interview on CNBC, January 5, 2018

Leon Cooperman: "Inflation is a plus for common stocks"

Let me make something very clear: inflation is a plus for common stocks.

~ Leon Cooperman, CNBC interview with Scott Wapner, February 7, 2018

Feb 4, 2018

Christopher Casey on the two questions for your financial adviser

I always tell people, that should be the first question you ask a financial adviser: "what causes recession," "what causes inflation?"...  I have attended a number of luncheons where you have, not even chief investment officers, but I'm talking chief economists, from major banks, especially in the Chicago-land area.  And if you ask what causes these, they really don't know and what's even scarier, they haven't really given it any thought.  And perhaps what's even scarier than that, they don't believe they need to.

~ Christopher Casey, WindRock Wealth Management, Mises Weekend interview with Jeff Deist, November 21, 2014

Feb 1, 2018

Alan Greenspan on bubbles in stocks and bonds

I think there are two bubbles.  We have a stock market bubble and we have a bond market bubble.  I think in the end of the day the bond market bubble will be the critical issue.  But for the short-term it's not too bad, but we're working obviously towards a major increase in long-term interest rates and that has a very important impact... on the whole structure of the economy.

~ Alan Greenspan, interview on Bloomberg TV, January 31, 2018

(He blamed the bond bubble on fiscal deficits.  No mention of the role of central banks.)