John Taylor On Why “The Ground Is Not Solid Beneath Our Feet”
May 10, 2012
By John R. Taylor, Jr.
Chief Investment Officer
Investors should be questioning their positive assumptions after the events of the past two weeks. Things have changed a great deal and rumors abound on how the authorities plan to support the market now. At the end of last month, only ten calendar days ago, the perky US equity market, the placid foreign exchange scene, calm credit spreads and rock-bottom volatility implied to us and anyone paying even cursory attention that the world was happy with the way things were turning out in 2012, no matter what the Mayan calendar might be saying. But now, after the Socialist victory in France, the Greek electoral disintegration, the poor US employment numbers and the disastrous European PMI readings the market is very uncertain with the EUR/USD below 1.30, Spanish 10-year Bonds back over 6.00% and equity markets down sharply around the world. Our cyclical analysis finds this weakness very appropriate as we should be in a decline. A look back at the letters of the last two weeks will give you a hint as to our state of mind. I am clearly worried that we could be at the start of a serious meltdown in the global markets, not the same as 2008 and not like the flash crash of 2010, but perhaps incorporating some of the characteristics of both. At the same time, as a manager of corporate risk and an absolute return manager, I have to be ready for the government intervention that is sure to come. As you might guess, we are not too optimistic about the Eurozone authorities’ chances of final success, but the bad news will continue and eventually they will do something dramatic. The road to hell is paved with good intentions of governments, but they make for a volatile ride. We know we will be wrong on many counts, but our function as analysts is to lay out our view of the next few months, so here it goes:
We still believe Barack Obama is not likely to be re-elected this November as US unemployment is much more likely to be above 9% rather than below 8%.