Erik: Joining me next on the program is MI2 founder, Julian Brigden. Julian has been one of our most prescient guests. A lot of his calls on the fixed income markets in particular have been incredibly accurate. And it’s so timely to get him back on the program as everyone is wondering, okay, what’s going on with 10-year Treasury yields? Are we really headed much higher from here? Or are we seeing what actually might be the beginning of a major retracement downward in yields?
Julian put a fantastic chart book together. Registered users will find the download link in your Research Roundup email. If you’re not registered yet, just go to our home page at macrovoices.com. Look for the red button that says “Looking For The Download” next to Julian’s picture.
Julian, before I get into specific questions, let’s start with the really big picture of what drives the fixed income markets. What is the big picture driver of yields that you look at? And how does that play into your overall thesis that you’ve described to us in past interviews? And what are you seeing now in this market?
Julian: We have been very adamant, and we got lucky at calling the lows back in July of 2016 – as yields were around 1.35%, 1.36% – in saying that we thought the low was in in Treasury yields. And I mean the low. And one of the reasons for that, Erik, is that I think people frequently misinterpret the bigger picture.
The bigger picture is really set, to a large extent, by demographics. And I think a lot of people draw inferences to Japan and say, look, 10-year Treasury yields have to go toward 10-year JGB yields. To me, that’s wrong for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, Japan is a little unusual. It eats what it kills. So it does fund its own deficit. The United States is a little different. It actually relies on overseas funding of deficits.
Jeff, I want to start with this story in gold. I’ve been watching this market for months and months. It seemed to me like there wasn’t a whole lot of a story to tell. It was inverse of the dollar, as you would expect.
But then, on October 11, we saw gold and the dollar move up on the same day and they moved up big in both the dollar and gold. I think that’s perplexed a lot of people. A whole bunch of conspiracy theorists said, okay, that means that the secret Chinese manipulation is over and we’re about to go to $2,000.
But a couple of weeks went by and things have settled down. We’re starting to trade lower again. So do you have any explanation of what changed around the 11th of October? And how that’s played into markets?
Keith, it’s been a year – I can’t believe it – since we had you on the program. Last time that you were on, I think that you were very much bullish real growth and there were a lot of naysayers saying the market was headed lower. You were adamant, and you were proven right.
Now things have changed and we actually got a little bit of a heads up from your colleague Darius Dale when we had him on the program. He said, hmm, we are not firmly bullish anymore. We’re starting to think twice.
As I look at Slide 5 in your deck, it looks like you guys have moved into the fourth quad. So talk about the four quads, why you use them in your process. But, particularly, how did we end up here underneath the neutral line in the fourth quad? And where is it headed.
Keith: I appreciate you recapping that Erik, because being a bull or a bear permanently is no permanent position to take. And, really, we’ve built the process, or I have, over the course of the last long while trying to use the two most causal things that change markets, which are the rates of change and growth in inflation to get ahead of any change from bullish to bearish or bearish to bullish.
Erik: Joining me next on the program is Variant Perception founder Jonathan Tepper. Jonathan, last time that we had you as well as some of you colleagues from Variant Perception on the program I asked the question: Is it time to short the stock market? And the answer was a resounding “No,” but very quickly after that qualified as “not yet.” And it seemed like the clear expectation was that’s coming.
So I guess my first question to you is, Are we there yet? Is it time to be short? Is it time to get out?
And where is this headed? A lot of people are saying, okay, that’s it, the top is in. Do you agree? And what do you see coming next for the market?
Jonathan: My colleague Tian Yang was on the show, and when he was on, effectively, the market continued rallying, basically, up until September and the market was going higher. And his message was correct.
One of the key themes that we’ve been writing about this year was our recommendation to favor defensives over cyclicals. And if you look at, for example, the classically cyclical sectors of financials, home builders, and then you look at things like semiconductors – all of those have drastically underperformed the index over the last few months.
Even within the market, obviously you have the index itself, which was trending higher up until October – but within that you were seeing a big rotation going on. You were seeing defensive stocks starting to outperform. And they you were seeing cyclical stocks really get hit and smacked.
Erik: Joining me now is Dr. Pippa Malmgren.
Pippa, everybody on this program knows you for your past appearances as a geopolitical consultant and analyst and advisor to two US presidents, not to mention a consultant to the government of the United Kingdom – a very geopolitical and government background.
It’s so out of character, it would seem, as a former tech entrepreneur myself, the last person that tech entrepreneurs think of as rolling up their sleeves and building something are geopolitical analysts that are engaged in government.
But you are also the founder of a robotics drone company, H Robotics.
So give us the personal story here. How did you get from advising US presidents to rolling up your sleeves and starting a company to build drones?
Pippa: Well, here’s the thing. I was in the markets advising big institutional investors for many years, first at Bankers Trust and then UBS and then on my own. And what I found is I could be right. I could make really big calls. Like, I sold everything before the financial crisis, I told all my clients to sell everything, asked critical questions about the stability of the firms they worked for, and I was right.
But I couldn’t really make any money out of it because I didn’t have a balance sheet.
So over the years I’ve been very aware that I needed to get involved in the real economy in some way if I wanted to participate in the performance. And about six or seven years ago, I started to have the view that the financial market was going to start to shrink because the regulators were going to make it shrink, circumstances would make it shrink, poor performance of assets would probably make it shrink, and therefore you might make more money running a real business than running a hedge fund – which has turned out to be exactly right.