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Hedge Funds Betting on a Deflationary Market Collapse

Hedge Funds Betting on a Deflationary Market Collapse

black swansCourtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

The observations herein regarding the nature of this stock market rally are quite in parallel with our own.

Buying the dollar to play the debt deflation trade may also be a good one in the short run, especially if leveraged foreign punters have to quickly raise cash to cover bad bets made in the US markets.

However we would have to add that this scenario assumes no black swans with regards to the heavy overhang of US dollars being held by overseas central banks.

If we were in such a position, we would be selling the rallies, given the huge amount dollars on the books.

Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Wrong on Economic Recovery, Macro Hedge Funds Say

By Cristina Alesci

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) — Paul Tudor Jones, the billionaire hedge-fund manager who outperformed peers last year, is wagering that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley got it wrong in declaring the start of an economic recovery.

Jones’s Tudor Investment Corp., Clarium Capital Management LLC and Horseman Capital Management Ltd. are taking a bearish stand as U.S. stock and bond prices rise, saying that record government spending may be forestalling another slowdown and market selloff. The firms oversee a combined $15 billion in so- called macro funds, which seek to profit from economic trends by trading stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.

“If we have a recovery at all, it isn’t sustainable,” Kevin Harrington, managing director at Clarium, said in an interview at the firm’s New York offices. “This is more likely a ski-jump recession, with short-term stimulus creating a bump that will ultimately lead to a more precipitous decline later.”

Equity and credit markets have rallied on hopes that government intervention is pulling the U.S. out of the deepest economic slump since the Great Depression. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index jumped 51 percent from its 12-year low in March through yesterday.

The economy will expand at an annualized rate of 2 percent or more in four straight quarters through June 2010, the first such streak in more than four years, according to the median estimate of at least 53 forecasters in a Bloomberg survey.

Tudor, the Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm started by Jones in the early 1980s, told clients in an Aug. 3 letter that the stock market’s climb was a “bear-market rally.” Weak growth in household income was among the reasons to be dubious about the rebound’s chances of survival, Tudor said…. (aka the growth in the median wage that we have been harping about – Jesse)

A focus on misleading indicators is driving markets, macro managers say. (Are there any other kind coming out of Washigton or Wall Street these days? – Jesse)

Clarium watches the unemployment rate that accounts for discouraged job applicants and those working part-time because they can’t find full-time positions, Harrington said. July joblessness with those adjustments was 16 percent, according to the Department of Labor, rather than the more widely reported 9.4 percent.

The housing data isn’t as rosy as some see it, Harrington said. As existing U.S. home sales rose 7.2 percent in July from the previous month, distressed deals including foreclosures accounted for 31 percent of transactions, according to the National Association of Realtors, a Chicago-based trade group.

A report by the Mortgage Bankers Association, based in Washington, showed the share of home loans with one or more payments overdue rose to a seasonally adjusted 9.24 percent in the second quarter, an all-time high.

Clarium, which oversees about $2 billion, is positioned for an equity bear market through investments in the U.S. dollar, Harrington said. Falling stock prices will strengthen the currency by forcing leveraged investors to sell equities to pay down the dollar-denominated debt they used to finance those trades, he said…. (That’s one way to play it, conventionally, if the swans stay white – Jesse)

The Financial Accounting Standards Board voted in April to relax fair-value accounting rules. The change to mark-to-market accounting allowed companies to use “significant” judgment in gauging prices of some investments on their books, including mortgage-backed securities that plunged with the housing market.

Banks are reporting better earnings because they haven’t been forced to account for their losses yet, Clarium’s Harrington said.

“We haven’t fixed the problem,” he said. “We’ve just slowed down the official recognition of it…”

Source:  Goldman Sachs Wrong on Economic Recovery, Macro Hedge Funds Say

 


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