To Be Clear, The Fed Dropping Guidance Was A Big Deal

So here we are the week after the Fed announced on April 9 that they’re just going to throw out that guidance that they’ve been spending the last three years meticulously articulating to the public, and we remain in a down market.

End of the world?

Hardly.

This is exactly what happened following the announcements of QE’s I, II, and III. The market continued to be slaughtered following the announcement, market “professionals” and “experts” lamented the end of global civilization and then…it stopped.

No, it didn’t just stop. It lampooned the detractors, dragging anyone short equities into obscene losses, while making those with blind faith quite wealthy.

What the Fed is really communicating here is that the game will remained rigged for as long as it takes. And since what the Fed is doing doesn’t seem to be making a difference (free money tends to get doled out to those closest to the trough, not those that actually need it), well then that’s just a another way of communicating that the game is going to be rigged forever, isn’t it?

Forever or until the guns come out.

So we’re seeing the monthly POMO purchases dropping another $10 billion and people are ever so afraid – but think about this rationally. From $80 billion a month, we were buying up $960 billion annually in effectively newly issued currency. That’s idiotic, QE I levels of program. I mean, QE II was only a $600 billion program, not counting the reinvestment of proceeds (which was really going to happen anyway, they just publicized it).

So $55 billion in new asset purchases are still on the table, which is for the moment still $660 billion every year. After the next $10 billion drop, we’ll still be at an annualized $540 billion every year. I mean, look, the numbers being thrown around here still equate to another QE II every 12 months.

I do some quick back of the envelope math and pretty quickly work out that QE III, from its inception on September 13, 2012, was somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 trillion.

So I’m supposed to lose my grip now that that’s being slowed to a “paltry” $600 billion? Let’s be straight here, just winding down QE III is going to be another QE II.

You know, because we’re winding it down permanently, really.

Or not, really.

Whatever…

And – oh yeah – your expectations that interest rates were rising next year are also premature. In a $17.4 trillion economy, a 1% rise in interest rates NOT materializing by itself is good for probably $150-200 billion a year worth of market forces. Multiply that by every percent financial institutions were expecting.

My point is this; right now everything is super scary, market short sellers are behaving like gigantic dicks, and The Fly’s comment section is haunted hourly by scum. But I’m thinking this is just the same story we’ve seen play out on at least three separate occasions already.

The fear is drawing everyone in. But the victory blow has already been struck – point Yellen.

But you can’t have a fox hunt without a fox; so we’re pressing downward. Make no mistake though, death awaits all short sellers. Before this is over, even just having too much cash on the sidelines will be grounds for humiliation, and short sellers should just actively start picking out that special “last rights” shotgun now.

First The Good News, Then The Bad

Most of my portfolio is now solidly shrugging off Yellen’s slip of the tongue. Our good bankster friends over at JPMorgan said it best – Yellen is fresh and inexperienced, and she still needs to learn how to speak without actually saying anything.

It will come. It will come.

Despite my state of shock at watching Yellen crack the market like an egg yesterday, I didn’t react. I want to watch a few more days before I make a move, even if they should lose me money. With a +14% year going, I have buffer room.

Now, the good word here is that CCJ and BAS are both moving higher. I suspect HCLP will join in soon as well (that position can be rewarded a little breather, it’s come a long way). The energy themes are solid and intact.

The bad side of the coin is that fear/reality of higher interest rates is going to just ravish the REIT and associated housing space. Check out VNQ over a five day period, and you can almost sink the cracking point up with Yellen’s comments. My current position AEC is breaking down again this morning, and an old position MAA is following.

This has to be treaded carefully. If you’re juggling garbage like NLY, I’d say you’re one four day panic away from another round of 30% losses.

I’ve said well before today, back when I never imagined Yellen would spook interest rates higher, that I was interested in rebuying MAA. This is sort of a blessing in that regards. I’d venture a guess that long term damage to multifamily REITs from higher interest rates will hover somewhere between “negligible” and “not damaging, actually positive”.

But well before that point, there will probably be a lot of indiscriminate selling from emotionally driven fund managers. The climax of that, if it should materialize, is the buying opportunity.

Between then and now, it’s important to keep a wary eye on reform efforts to Fannie and Freddie. There’s been some “bipartisan chatter”. Mortgage origination is >70% dominated by the government backed mortgage giants, and the entire housing market is totally dependent on them. A poorly thought out reform effort could rain chaos. But there’s no sense even having a discussion about that just yet. First things first, interest rates.

BAS Is Returning 7% Today Alone

Although my 40% cash position may create the illusion that I am missing out, such a view would be misplaced. Careful allocation and selection on my part is gifting me full participation in today’s excess in spite of recent reservation.

BAS is up 7.29% at the time of this writing, as the natural gas cycle makes full leaps and bounds forward. As I told you it would transpire, this is where your money must be at for the next 10 years. Companies and partnerships like BAS and HCLP will grow at unprecedented rates, facilitating the United States of America back to Her rightful status as Greatest Country and Loan Superpower on planet Earth.

HCLP is also up 2% and taken altogether, my portfolio is up .9%.

As for the excitement about Yellen, I don’t fully understand the sentiment. If you go back and read or listen to anything from Yellen, it’s pretty clear she has been consistently more in favor of Federal Reserve supporting markets and the economy than Bernanke was.

Despite that, there is good reason to believe a deep pullback may come soon enough (first half of 2014). We can’t all be millionaires.

UPDATE If you followed my initial purchase of BAS on 8/16/2012, you are presently up 65% on the position. If you’ve been trading along with me inside The PPT, you are up far more.

Ben Bernanke Deals Out One Last Rally

Hate on the man all you like, Ben Bernanke will go down in history as the greatest Federal Reserve chairman who ever lived. He played this market like a fiddle, and bent even the most staunch opponents to his will. All while sporting a ridiculous beard and a speaking voice that would make a rhetorician cringe.

You are nothing next to the legacy of The Bearded Clam.

This guy smote the short sellers effortlessly at a time when they had all the momentum and benefit of the doubt needed to sink the indices as low as they wanted to go, then kept the market running higher for five years on nothing but empty promises and that devilish smirk.

The guy pulled more than three trillion dollars worth of asset purchases out of his hat, meaning greater than 75% of the Federal Reserves balance sheet was hand selected by Bernanke alone. His predecessors have nothing on his influence.

Bernanke is king. Meanwhile, forgotten media favorite Greenspan doesn’t have two shillings worth of reputation left to rub together.

It’s been just an astounding five years. This is the most fitting end to the Bernanke era I could possibly think of.

Monetary Policy Remains Overwhelmingly Accommodative (And Outlook)

The fed decision to test the waters with a taper while I was away did surprise me, somewhat. Yet it did not phase me much and so I elected to remain on vacation, silent on the issue.

I would state now in hindsight that a $5B per month taper (with as much as another $5-10B in the works) would still put the Federal Reserve on path to add another ~$800B to its balance sheet in 2014. This remains colossal and would have the Fed assets outstanding at just under $5 Trillion by 2015.

They may very well have tapered by $5B/month just because they were running out of things to buy…(laughter)

If I were to state things that concern me as potential impediments to the US economy and growth, they would list (1) consumer slowdown from budget impacts (pension, healthcare costs, rents/mortgage, increased retirement contributions, etc), (2) foreign existential shocks (EU breakup, Asian crisis, similar collapse that disrupts foreign trade) – where exactly did the EU government debt go and why is it now suddenly not an issue? Who is buying it (ECB, Fed, banking scheme, inter-government trade imbalances, etc)? And what stops non-payment concerns from popping up again in the future? and (3) the election of a Republican majority

But banking solvency just isn’t on that list right now. Neither is inflation, really, although long term prospects of an uncontrollable outbreak of inflation remains a viable possibility. With credit expansion in this country limited to growth of government balance sheets, deflationary pressure is set to commence…until it doesn’t. In the meantime, another ~$1 Trillion of free money to those closest to the trough will keep a major disruption of financial assets here at home as a low probability outcome. Of course, this bodes ill for the “wealth equality” lot, but they’re too dumb to call the system out on that, so we maintain the course.

Concerns aside, I am optimistic. Recessions don’t last forever, and my concerns are outweighed by hope in outlook. I am very long (no margin) and prepared to reap the rewards of economic growth. It’s been almost six years; the system has been on a hyperactive outlook for problems which greatly reduces the likelihood that a real “Black Swan” manages to crop up. It could still happen of course, but with hundreds of thousands of financial professionals calling bubbles as quickly as problems crop up, and a full time central banking staff armed with an unlimited supply of money attacking them at first sight, how exactly is a crisis supposed to materialize from all of this?

The only room for crisis in the US is rampant commodity/asset appreciation, which remains benign. That or an elsewise major shock to the consumer. Financial assets and liquidity issues are covered.

Now, that being said, historically we haven’t had a period longer than 10 years without a recession since at least 1789 (and probably not since long before that either – I just lack records to verify a more robust claim). I’d say the expectation of a correction since the Great Depression is 5-10 years with occasional 1-3 year shocks intermittently. We’re past the small shocks phase, which would put the expectation at right about where we’re at.

These times are unprecedented and the support the Fed is willing to lend the markets (unlike any time in recorded history) makes me think we blow through the averages. I want to say this ship will have the wind to sail to years seven, eight or nine, uninterrupted. We may even match the record holder of 10 or above.

However, it would be foolhardy to doubt another recession will most likely crop up before 2020. The ever growing levels of margin debt to buy equities may well be the first sign of the beginning of the final run before that. Of course it could be nothing.

My belief then is that a long commitment remains the way to go. I have been positively surprised by recent developments that have overridden prior comments on wanting to have a larger cash position by about this time (end of 2013) that I made late last year. However, as gains are taken, a portion should begun to be set aside, starting sometime mid 2014 to early 2015. This should create a reserve build-up of steadily marching intervals (10-20%, with a 1-2% increase every month topping out at around 40-50% of ones account value) sometime around late 2015 to early 2016.

At such time, a second hard look should be had. Earlier and exceptional strength should trigger a reassessment of these statements. Casual to quality growth does not necessarily change them. A major weakness (such as a shock of a GOP majority and fear of monetary policy interference) of course may necessitate a sudden course change.

My most hated places to invest are land/real estate (excluding multifamily or renting derived), oil companies (excluding natural gas predominated), and retail (excluding facilitation to the ultra-rich).

My favorite places center around natural gas production expansion, uranium, coal, multifamily REITs, and I remain interested in holding physical precious metals in a full position in the event an inflation shock from significant expansion in credit hits the economy.

I’m indifferent to the insurance market – especially health insurance. It could swing either way; they crawled into bed with the devil so it’s all political at this point. On the one hand, the entire market is shifting in wild and unpredictable ways. On the other, the feds are rigging the game in the insurance companies favor. Just stay away.

To Be Clear, The Fed Dropping Guidance Was A Big Deal

So here we are the week after the Fed announced on April 9 that they’re just going to throw out that guidance that they’ve been spending the last three years meticulously articulating to the public, and we remain in a down market.

End of the world?

Hardly.

This is exactly what happened following the announcements of QE’s I, II, and III. The market continued to be slaughtered following the announcement, market “professionals” and “experts” lamented the end of global civilization and then…it stopped.

No, it didn’t just stop. It lampooned the detractors, dragging anyone short equities into obscene losses, while making those with blind faith quite wealthy.

What the Fed is really communicating here is that the game will remained rigged for as long as it takes. And since what the Fed is doing doesn’t seem to be making a difference (free money tends to get doled out to those closest to the trough, not those that actually need it), well then that’s just a another way of communicating that the game is going to be rigged forever, isn’t it?

Forever or until the guns come out.

So we’re seeing the monthly POMO purchases dropping another $10 billion and people are ever so afraid – but think about this rationally. From $80 billion a month, we were buying up $960 billion annually in effectively newly issued currency. That’s idiotic, QE I levels of program. I mean, QE II was only a $600 billion program, not counting the reinvestment of proceeds (which was really going to happen anyway, they just publicized it).

So $55 billion in new asset purchases are still on the table, which is for the moment still $660 billion every year. After the next $10 billion drop, we’ll still be at an annualized $540 billion every year. I mean, look, the numbers being thrown around here still equate to another QE II every 12 months.

I do some quick back of the envelope math and pretty quickly work out that QE III, from its inception on September 13, 2012, was somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 trillion.

So I’m supposed to lose my grip now that that’s being slowed to a “paltry” $600 billion? Let’s be straight here, just winding down QE III is going to be another QE II.

You know, because we’re winding it down permanently, really.

Or not, really.

Whatever…

And – oh yeah – your expectations that interest rates were rising next year are also premature. In a $17.4 trillion economy, a 1% rise in interest rates NOT materializing by itself is good for probably $150-200 billion a year worth of market forces. Multiply that by every percent financial institutions were expecting.

My point is this; right now everything is super scary, market short sellers are behaving like gigantic dicks, and The Fly’s comment section is haunted hourly by scum. But I’m thinking this is just the same story we’ve seen play out on at least three separate occasions already.

The fear is drawing everyone in. But the victory blow has already been struck – point Yellen.

But you can’t have a fox hunt without a fox; so we’re pressing downward. Make no mistake though, death awaits all short sellers. Before this is over, even just having too much cash on the sidelines will be grounds for humiliation, and short sellers should just actively start picking out that special “last rights” shotgun now.

First The Good News, Then The Bad

Most of my portfolio is now solidly shrugging off Yellen’s slip of the tongue. Our good bankster friends over at JPMorgan said it best – Yellen is fresh and inexperienced, and she still needs to learn how to speak without actually saying anything.

It will come. It will come.

Despite my state of shock at watching Yellen crack the market like an egg yesterday, I didn’t react. I want to watch a few more days before I make a move, even if they should lose me money. With a +14% year going, I have buffer room.

Now, the good word here is that CCJ and BAS are both moving higher. I suspect HCLP will join in soon as well (that position can be rewarded a little breather, it’s come a long way). The energy themes are solid and intact.

The bad side of the coin is that fear/reality of higher interest rates is going to just ravish the REIT and associated housing space. Check out VNQ over a five day period, and you can almost sink the cracking point up with Yellen’s comments. My current position AEC is breaking down again this morning, and an old position MAA is following.

This has to be treaded carefully. If you’re juggling garbage like NLY, I’d say you’re one four day panic away from another round of 30% losses.

I’ve said well before today, back when I never imagined Yellen would spook interest rates higher, that I was interested in rebuying MAA. This is sort of a blessing in that regards. I’d venture a guess that long term damage to multifamily REITs from higher interest rates will hover somewhere between “negligible” and “not damaging, actually positive”.

But well before that point, there will probably be a lot of indiscriminate selling from emotionally driven fund managers. The climax of that, if it should materialize, is the buying opportunity.

Between then and now, it’s important to keep a wary eye on reform efforts to Fannie and Freddie. There’s been some “bipartisan chatter”. Mortgage origination is >70% dominated by the government backed mortgage giants, and the entire housing market is totally dependent on them. A poorly thought out reform effort could rain chaos. But there’s no sense even having a discussion about that just yet. First things first, interest rates.

BAS Is Returning 7% Today Alone

Although my 40% cash position may create the illusion that I am missing out, such a view would be misplaced. Careful allocation and selection on my part is gifting me full participation in today’s excess in spite of recent reservation.

BAS is up 7.29% at the time of this writing, as the natural gas cycle makes full leaps and bounds forward. As I told you it would transpire, this is where your money must be at for the next 10 years. Companies and partnerships like BAS and HCLP will grow at unprecedented rates, facilitating the United States of America back to Her rightful status as Greatest Country and Loan Superpower on planet Earth.

HCLP is also up 2% and taken altogether, my portfolio is up .9%.

As for the excitement about Yellen, I don’t fully understand the sentiment. If you go back and read or listen to anything from Yellen, it’s pretty clear she has been consistently more in favor of Federal Reserve supporting markets and the economy than Bernanke was.

Despite that, there is good reason to believe a deep pullback may come soon enough (first half of 2014). We can’t all be millionaires.

UPDATE If you followed my initial purchase of BAS on 8/16/2012, you are presently up 65% on the position. If you’ve been trading along with me inside The PPT, you are up far more.

Ben Bernanke Deals Out One Last Rally

Hate on the man all you like, Ben Bernanke will go down in history as the greatest Federal Reserve chairman who ever lived. He played this market like a fiddle, and bent even the most staunch opponents to his will. All while sporting a ridiculous beard and a speaking voice that would make a rhetorician cringe.

You are nothing next to the legacy of The Bearded Clam.

This guy smote the short sellers effortlessly at a time when they had all the momentum and benefit of the doubt needed to sink the indices as low as they wanted to go, then kept the market running higher for five years on nothing but empty promises and that devilish smirk.

The guy pulled more than three trillion dollars worth of asset purchases out of his hat, meaning greater than 75% of the Federal Reserves balance sheet was hand selected by Bernanke alone. His predecessors have nothing on his influence.

Bernanke is king. Meanwhile, forgotten media favorite Greenspan doesn’t have two shillings worth of reputation left to rub together.

It’s been just an astounding five years. This is the most fitting end to the Bernanke era I could possibly think of.

Monetary Policy Remains Overwhelmingly Accommodative (And Outlook)

The fed decision to test the waters with a taper while I was away did surprise me, somewhat. Yet it did not phase me much and so I elected to remain on vacation, silent on the issue.

I would state now in hindsight that a $5B per month taper (with as much as another $5-10B in the works) would still put the Federal Reserve on path to add another ~$800B to its balance sheet in 2014. This remains colossal and would have the Fed assets outstanding at just under $5 Trillion by 2015.

They may very well have tapered by $5B/month just because they were running out of things to buy…(laughter)

If I were to state things that concern me as potential impediments to the US economy and growth, they would list (1) consumer slowdown from budget impacts (pension, healthcare costs, rents/mortgage, increased retirement contributions, etc), (2) foreign existential shocks (EU breakup, Asian crisis, similar collapse that disrupts foreign trade) – where exactly did the EU government debt go and why is it now suddenly not an issue? Who is buying it (ECB, Fed, banking scheme, inter-government trade imbalances, etc)? And what stops non-payment concerns from popping up again in the future? and (3) the election of a Republican majority

But banking solvency just isn’t on that list right now. Neither is inflation, really, although long term prospects of an uncontrollable outbreak of inflation remains a viable possibility. With credit expansion in this country limited to growth of government balance sheets, deflationary pressure is set to commence…until it doesn’t. In the meantime, another ~$1 Trillion of free money to those closest to the trough will keep a major disruption of financial assets here at home as a low probability outcome. Of course, this bodes ill for the “wealth equality” lot, but they’re too dumb to call the system out on that, so we maintain the course.

Concerns aside, I am optimistic. Recessions don’t last forever, and my concerns are outweighed by hope in outlook. I am very long (no margin) and prepared to reap the rewards of economic growth. It’s been almost six years; the system has been on a hyperactive outlook for problems which greatly reduces the likelihood that a real “Black Swan” manages to crop up. It could still happen of course, but with hundreds of thousands of financial professionals calling bubbles as quickly as problems crop up, and a full time central banking staff armed with an unlimited supply of money attacking them at first sight, how exactly is a crisis supposed to materialize from all of this?

The only room for crisis in the US is rampant commodity/asset appreciation, which remains benign. That or an elsewise major shock to the consumer. Financial assets and liquidity issues are covered.

Now, that being said, historically we haven’t had a period longer than 10 years without a recession since at least 1789 (and probably not since long before that either – I just lack records to verify a more robust claim). I’d say the expectation of a correction since the Great Depression is 5-10 years with occasional 1-3 year shocks intermittently. We’re past the small shocks phase, which would put the expectation at right about where we’re at.

These times are unprecedented and the support the Fed is willing to lend the markets (unlike any time in recorded history) makes me think we blow through the averages. I want to say this ship will have the wind to sail to years seven, eight or nine, uninterrupted. We may even match the record holder of 10 or above.

However, it would be foolhardy to doubt another recession will most likely crop up before 2020. The ever growing levels of margin debt to buy equities may well be the first sign of the beginning of the final run before that. Of course it could be nothing.

My belief then is that a long commitment remains the way to go. I have been positively surprised by recent developments that have overridden prior comments on wanting to have a larger cash position by about this time (end of 2013) that I made late last year. However, as gains are taken, a portion should begun to be set aside, starting sometime mid 2014 to early 2015. This should create a reserve build-up of steadily marching intervals (10-20%, with a 1-2% increase every month topping out at around 40-50% of ones account value) sometime around late 2015 to early 2016.

At such time, a second hard look should be had. Earlier and exceptional strength should trigger a reassessment of these statements. Casual to quality growth does not necessarily change them. A major weakness (such as a shock of a GOP majority and fear of monetary policy interference) of course may necessitate a sudden course change.

My most hated places to invest are land/real estate (excluding multifamily or renting derived), oil companies (excluding natural gas predominated), and retail (excluding facilitation to the ultra-rich).

My favorite places center around natural gas production expansion, uranium, coal, multifamily REITs, and I remain interested in holding physical precious metals in a full position in the event an inflation shock from significant expansion in credit hits the economy.

I’m indifferent to the insurance market – especially health insurance. It could swing either way; they crawled into bed with the devil so it’s all political at this point. On the one hand, the entire market is shifting in wild and unpredictable ways. On the other, the feds are rigging the game in the insurance companies favor. Just stay away.

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