Monetary Policy

Jeremy Grantham: Avoid U.S. Stocks, ‘Heavily Overweight’ Emerging Market Equities

When I last blogged about “Crash Prophet” Jeremy Grantham right after Thanksgiving, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (currently overseeing $74 billion in client assets) had just mentioned in a Wall Street Journal interview that although U.S. stock prices were high, profit margins were also are unusually high, lending support to high valuations. In addition, low interest rates make equities more attractive than fixed-income investments. As a result, he didn’t forecast a crash is stock prices as much as a decades-long reversion to anywhere near the long-term average.

Now, regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I like to read and pick apart Grantham’s quarterly letters on the GMO website. And his third quarter letter has just been released. Grantham, whose individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, penned the following about U.S. equities in “Career Risk and Stalin’s Pension Fund: Investing in a World of Overpriced Assets (With a Single Reasonably-Priced Asset)”:

The trend line will regress back toward the old normal but at a substantially slower rate than normal because some of the reasons for major differences in the last 20 years are structural and will be slow to change. Factors such as an increase in political influence and monopoly power of corporations; the style of central bank management, which pushes down on interest rates; the aging of the population; greater income inequality; slower innovation and lower productivity and GDP growth would be possible or even probable examples. Therefore, I argue that even in 20 years these factors will only be two-thirds of the way back to the old normal of pre-1998. This still leaves returns over the 20-year period significantly sub-par. Another sharp drop in prices, the third in this new 20-year era, will not change this outcome in my opinion, as prices will bounce back a third time

Near-term major declines suggest a much-increased value of cash reserves and a greater haven benefit from high-rated bonds.

My assumption of slow regression produces an expectation of a dismal 2.5% real for the S&P and 3.5% to 5% for other global equities over 20 years, but also a best guess of approximately the same over 7 years.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Grantham’s thoughts on where one might invest?

My conclusion is straightforward: heavily overweight EM equities, own some EAFE, and avoid US equities.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Referring to an exhibit, he pointed out:

1) developed ex-US is well below its 20-year average and 40% below the US; and 2) Emerging is 65% below its high in 2007.

There were also these nuggets from the letter:

Pension funds should brace themselves for a disastrous 1% to 3% return in the next 10 years.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And:

My view on Resources is that the cycle has turned, global economies are doing quite well by recent standards, and oil prices are likely to rise for three years or so.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yet another insightful letter from Grantham, which you can read here in its entirety on the GMO site.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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Peter Schiff: When Stock Bubble Pops, Trump ‘Going To Have To Take The Blame’

As I mentioned in that last post, the U.S. economic expansion is now the third-longest since World War Two.

And if the next recession hits on President Trump’s watch, a number of Americans will blame him for it.

The same goes for a stock market crash.

Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, touched on this in a recent interview with the folks over at Financial Argument, “a daily show that will cover issues surrounding the economic collapse.” From their exchange posted on YouTube.com on November 26:

FA: I wanted to start off with the stock market. I mean, we’re seeing it continually move up. And before Trump was President, he was out there saying that there’s bubbles in the stock market, there’s bubbles in housing, there’s bubbles everywhere. Now that he’s President, he really doesn’t say this anymore. And he’s saying that the stock market’s going up because of me, and it’s fantastic. When you look at the stock market, does it make any sense whatsoever, and can actually Trump take credit for this?
SCHIFF: Well, first of all, there was a bubble before Trump was elected. Clearly. And Trump pointed that out himself. That was one of his talking points on his stump speeches. There was a big, fat ugly bubble in the stock market. And if Trump wants to take credit for the bubble getting bigger, I would agree. I think there has been a lot of optimism, a lot of enthusiasm, among investors. And that has resulted in higher stock prices. But I think where Trump is getting into trouble is by claiming that the stock market going up is no longer a bubble. That now this is just a real bull market that reflects the improvement of the fundamentals since he’s been elected. That’s not the case. This is simply more air into the same bubble. And this bubble is going to burst, and I think unfortunately now that Trump has branded it- just like it was one of his buildings, he’s put the big “Trump” marker on it- when this thing pops, he’s going to have to take the blame.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“PETER SCHIFF- Worst Stock Market Crash of a Lifetime Ahead of Us 2017-2018”
YouTube Video

Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, speculated on the Federal Reserve’s future moves and a coming recession. From the discussion:

FA: The Fed is keeping everything steady as she goes right now. They’re not raising interest rates. They’re slowly unwinding their balance sheet. Are they backed into a corner?
SCHIFF: They’re not slowing unwinding their balance sheet. They talked about slowly unwinding the balance sheet. But the balance sheet hasn’t unwound at all. It’s as high as it’s ever been. I think this is all a bunch of talk. There’s no way they’re going to be able to shrink that balance sheet in any significant way because it would drive interest rates up and weaken the economy and affect asset prices. In fact, I think the next major move in the Fed’s balance sheet is another big leg up when they have to launch the next round of quantitative easing. Obviously, the U.S. economy is going to go back into recession. I think we’d already be in recession had Trump not won the election. And I do think that the enthusiasm surrounding his victory and the optimism, I think, probably postponed the recession for a year or two. But, it’s going to hit, and then, how is the Fed going to respond? Well, we know. In fact, Donald Trump has appointed a new Fed chairman to follow Janet Yellen that he’s confident will do exactly what she did. Or exactly what Bernanke did. Which is slash interest rates, and print more money, and buy government bonds, and buy mortgages, or buy whatever they have to buy to keep everything from imploding.

Here’s what Schiff had to say about a potential economic crisis in 2018:

I do think we’re going to see a downturn. We could see a crisis, but chances are the crisis itself will happen later.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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James Rickards: Fed Preparing For Next Recession

James (Jim) Rickards, an American lawyer, economist, investment banker, and best-selling author, shared what he thinks the Federal Reserve is up to these days during a recent interview on “The Bottom Line with Henry Blodget.” Rickards, who wrote national-bestseller The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites’ Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis last year, informed viewers:

Here’s what the Fed is trying to do. They need to normalize the balance sheet, meaning get the balance sheet down to maybe $2 trillion. Right now it’s over four. It’s coming down a little bit. It’s a long way between $4 trillion and $2 trillion, bearing in mind that in 2008 it was $800 billion. And they need to normalize interest rates, which means getting from 1% to 3-3.25%. But the question is how do you get there? So the Fed is trying to raise interest rates 25 basis points, four times a year every March, June, September, and December through 2019 to get to 3.5% or so and bring down the balance sheet. They’re going to be reducing it by the end of next year by $50 billion a month, which is a lot. And there are some estimates that the impact of that is the equivalent of a 1 percentage point rate hike, because it is a form of tightening- you’re reducing the money supply. You’re reducing base money. The question is, why are they doing it? Why are they doing it in kind of a relatively weak economy? The answer is they’re preparing for the next recession. They want to run the playbook again, which is cut rates and then go to QE4 and QE5. How do you prepare for the next recession without causing the recession you’re preparing to cure? That’s the finesse, that’s the problem, and I don’t think they can do it.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The current U.S. economic expansion is now the third-longest since World War Two.


“The Fed is trying to prepare for the next recession without causing it”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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Peter Schiff: Invest Overseas, Buy Commodities To Avoid Either U.S. Stock, Dollar Plummet

Turning to “crash prophet” Peter Schiff this afternoon, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital was recently interviewed by Scott Gamm of TheStreet. Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, echoed colleague Jim Rogers in warning about a future bear market in U.S. stocks. From the exchange:

THESTREET: Peter, it’s been an incredible record run here. And the levels we’re seeing now even with this slight pullback were record highs not too long ago. So, what do you say?
SCHIFF: Well, the bubble keeps getting bigger. Donald Trump called it himself as a candidate. He said it was a big, fat, ugly bubble. He was right then. He’s wrong now because now he denies it’s a bubble because he’s now the President and so it’s his bubble. And so he’d rather it be a bull market. But the valuations here really are extreme. The complacency is also extreme. I mean, investors are willing to pay very high prices and have very little worry (chuckle) that the stock market is going to go down. And people have very short memories. I’ve mean, we’ve had two major 50 percent declines in the stock market this century, since 2000. So we’ve had the market cut in half twice and it can easily happen again, yet nobody seems concerned. And I think one of the reasons is because the last two times the market went down the Fed was able to bail out investors to bet on one bubble by inflating a bigger one. So a lot of investors may have been conditioned to believe that even if the market implodes, if they hold on, they’ll get their money back. But the third time might not be the charm. It’s possible that the Fed can’t blow a bubble big enough to bail out investors this time…
THESTREET: So do you think that tide kind of turns in the next year?
SCHIFF: Hey, I don’t know. There’s no way to know. I mean, I think Donald Trump has nominated somebody who will try and do his best to keep the air in the bubble- cut rates, QE 4. But at some point, the market forces will overwhelm the Fed. The market will go down. And if it doesn’t go down the dollar will collapse instead. But either way, you’re going to see the real value of U.S. stocks come way down, whether it happens nominally or not. And I have a feeling that if the Fed prints enough money to prevent the market from going down dramatically, then the real losses will be even bigger because of the implosion of the U.S. dollar.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

When asked about advice for investors as to where to put their money right now if they’re worried about U.S. stocks, the author of The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy – How to Save Yourself and Your Country told viewers:

People who are in the U.S. market are overlooking much better returns from much better valuation levels that are happening overseas. So I think people should take advantage of the overpriced U.S. stock market, the overpriced U.S. dollar, and sell, and move money abroad. Get into the international markets- developed and emerging. Get into the commodities space. Look at oil hitting a new two-year high again today. This is going on in commodities across the board. We are coming off of major bear markets. We’re in the infancy of new bull markets. And I think the dollar is about to get killed. This is the first year in many years now that the dollar is down. But I think it’s the first of many. I think the dollar could fall for the next 5 to 10 years in a major, major bear market taking the dollar to all-time record lows. And this will enable enormous profits for people who are invested outside the U.S. in the right currencies, the right assets, the right companies. That’s what I think we’re doing with our clients at Euro Pacific Capital and that’s certainly what I’m doing with my own money.


“Peter Schiff Slams Bitcoin, Federal Reserve and Antitrust Regulators”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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Jeremy Grantham On U.S. Bonds, Stocks, And A Market Crash

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity may have noticed I retired the “Crash Prophets” page earlier this month (too much time to update). For those not familiar with this section, it’s where I compiled the investment activities/recommendations of “crash prophets” Dr. Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff (designation earned by being smart enough to spot the 2008 economic crisis and warning of future financial turbulence). Despite the retirement, I will continue to blog about the latest from these soothsayers.

And this morning I want to talk about Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (currently overseeing $74 billion in client assets). In case readers missed it, a couple of weeks ago Grantham, whose individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, took part in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The “crash prophet” discussed the booming U.S. stock market, a potential crash, and U.S. bonds. John Coumarianos wrote on the WSJ website on November 5:

With the S&P 500 up more than 15% this year, it may be time for a reality check. To that end, we spoke with Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist at Boston-based money manager Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. and a noted spotter of market bubbles.

He thinks U.S. stocks and bonds will fail to generate inflation-beating returns over the next seven years, but he doesn’t see an imminent crash in share prices…

Mr. Grantham has already cemented his legend by arguing that U.S. stocks were overvalued in 2000 and again in 2007, anticipating the market’s two most-recent crashes. He also noted before the 2008-09 financial crisis that the relationship between home prices and income had become unglued, and said at least one large financial institution would fail.

By Mr. Grantham’s lights, U.S. stock prices are again high, with an overall Shiller price/earnings ratio (share price relative to the past decade of real average earnings) over 30, compared with its average of 16.8 since 1880. But profit margins also are unusually high, lending support to the high valuations, he says. And the Federal Reserve’s policy of keeping interest rates low supports share prices by making fixed-income investments less attractive as an alternative to stocks.

So this time, instead of a crash, stock valuations may take decades to revert to anywhere near the long-term average, Mr. Grantham says…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The actual interview proved insightful, with Grantham communicating his bullishness on foreign stocks. The exchange can be read in its entirety here on The Wall Street Journal website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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Jim Rickards Gold Forecast: ‘My Intermediate Target Is $10,000 An Ounce’

James (Jim) Rickards, an American lawyer, economist, investment banker, and best-selling author, was interviewed by Kitco News anchor Daniela Cambone at the Silver & Gold Summit in San Francisco this past week. Rickards, who penned the USA Today and Wall Street Journal business best-seller The New Case for Gold last year, offered up the following forecast for the price of an ounce of gold. From the interview:

CAMBONE: Last time you were on Jim you made a lot of headlines with your forecast. You don’t think $10,000 gold is out of the question. People raised a lot of eyebrows. But they don’t raise eyebrows with $50,000 Bitcoin calls now. Does that surprise you?
RICKARDS: Well, I’ll leave Bitcoin out of this. But here at the Silver & Gold show, and this morning in my presentation, I went through the $10,000 gold. It’s not a made-up number. I don’t do it to get headlines or attract attention. It’s actually the price that gold would have to be to avoid deflation. If you had a gold standard, or even if you were using gold as a reference in some kind of indirect gold standard, you have to get the price right given the quantity of gold. So the implied, non-deflationary price of gold is about $10,000 an ounce, conservatively. There are other, if you change M1 to M2 and increase the backing, you get to $40 or $50,000 an ounce. I don’t have to go there. My intermediate target is $10,000 an ounce.


“A ‘Major’ Gold Rally Is Coming, Thanks To The Fed- Jim Rickards”
(gold discussion starts at 3:11)
YouTube Video

Earlier this year Rickards explained how he arrived at that $10,000 price for an ounce of gold. From a piece he authored on the Daily Reckoning website back on March 7:

There is a solid mathematical basis for $10,000 gold. It’s actually the implied non deflationary price of gold under a gold standard.

The combined M1 money supply in the world is about 24 trillion dollars. That includes the United States, China, the Eurozone and Japan. Those four entities combine for over 70% of global GDP.

Now, the official gold in the world is about 33,000 tons. That’s not counting private gold, because private gold is not part of the money supply.

So if you wanted to restore a gold standard, how much gold do you need to back up the money supply? My estimate is about 40%.

Historically, central banks have run successful gold standards with less backing. In the 19th century, for example, the Bank of England only had about 20% gold backing. In most of the 20th century, the U.S. had 40% gold backing.

I use the higher number, 40%, because I think a higher number might be needed to restore confidence in event of a collapse. The point is, 40% is a debatable, but reasonable figure.

Many people say there’s not enough gold to support the money supply. That’s one of the objections to gold standard. But my answer is that’s nonsense. There’s always enough gold to support the money supply. It’s a question of price.

Now, if you back 40% of the $24 trillion of money supply with the amount of official gold, it implies a gold price around $9,000 an ounce. But I predict $10,000.

So how do I arrive at $10,000 an ounce?

That’s because I expect central banks to print a lot more money by the time this issue comes to a head. So, by the time the printing presses stop running around the world, that $9,000 number will likely be in the range of $10,000.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

Source:

Rickards, James. “The Path to $10,000 Gold.” Daily Reckoning. 7 Mar. 2017. (https://dailyreckoning.com/path-10000-gold/). 24 Nov. 2017.

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Peter Schiff Predicts Resumption Of Dollar Decline, Gold Rally This Week

It’s been a while, but Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff added a new entry to The Schiff Report YouTube vlog on Saturday. Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, talked about a number of subjects, including his belief that the Federal Reserve has no intention of raising rates in March, “a lot” of dollar selling is coming, and the gold rally will resume. From the video:

The reason the Fed didn’t give a clue that it might be raising rates in March, is because it has no intention of doing so…

I think the trade deficits are going up. I think the budget deficits are going up. Certainly to the extent that we get some tax cuts. We continue to get more government spending. If we get more government spending under Trump on the military, on the border, on infrastructure. Rising trade deficits. Rising budget deficits. Rising inflation. All of this is going to be a big negative for the dollar. And of course, everybody was so loaded up long the dollar, I think the people who own the dollar- there’s a lot of dollar selling that’s coming. And I think the dollar bulls are going to end up losing a lot of money…

Since the beginning of this year the Dow is barely up more than 1 percent. You can contrast that to the price of gold which is up 6 percent so far this year. Look at gold stocks. Gold stocks are up 17 percent as a group so far in 2017. 17 percent. Everybody’s talking about the Dow. No one’s talking about gold stocks. In fact, gold stocks were the number one performing sector last year, by far. Wasn’t even close. And they’re already by far the number one performing sector this year. But nobody really wants to talk about it…

I think we’re going to see a resumption of the dollar decline and gold rally next week…


“Rising Unemployment Is Just The Excuse The Fed’s Been Waiting For”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

Schiff’s latest book…

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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