Gundlach Reveals His Favorite Trade For 2018
One day after Stanley Druckenmiller confessional to CNBC that as a result of central planning and markets that make no sense, the legendary hedge fund manager had a “terrible” year, and his “first down year in currencies ever” (he also said many not very nice things about bitcoin), it was Jeffrey Gundlach’s turn to confess some of his more controversial views. And so, the man who two years ago correctly predicted the Trump presidency, first discussed his best investment idea for the new year. To those who listened to his latest DoubleLine investor presentation last week, the answer will hardly be a surprise: namely commodities, because they’re “historically, exactly where you want it to be a buy.”
“I think investors should add commodities to their portfolios,” Gundlach says on CNBC’s Halftime Report.
Gundlach said commodities are just as cheap relative to stocks as they were at historical turning points, while the macroeconomic backdrop also supports the case for commodities; he was referring to the following chart which he highlighted last week.
Echoing his presentation from last week, Gundlach said that once “you go into these massive cycles… the repetition is almost eerie. And so if you look at that chart the value in commodities is, historically, exactly where you want it to be a buy.”
Investors should add commodities to their portfolios. There is a really remarkable relationship between a market cap or the total return of the s&p 500 and the total return something like the Goldman Sachs commodities index. The cyclicality is really repettiive.
Gundlach also noted that commodities are just as cheap relative to stocks as they were at turning points in previous cycles that began in the 1970s and 1990s. The S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index is up 5% this year, versus the S&P 500’s 19% gain.
There is also a fundamental case for investing in commodities, Gundlach said. He pointed out that global economic activity is increasing, a tax cut could boost growth and the European Central Bank is implementing “absurd” stimulus policies in the euro zone.
In addition to his favorite trade, Gundlach touched upon several other topics including:
What drives the dollar:
“Short-term fed moves are not what drives the dollar. It correlates much more to what the bond market thinks vis-à-vis the fed say 18 months forward. So if you actually rook at the bond market pricing for 2019 now, there’s a pretty big discrepancy between the bond market and the fed, so that’s going to be really interesting in driving the dollar, and this time i think the bond market is going to be right.”
Why the markets are so calm:
“I think it’s because of central bank pegging of rates and quantitative easing going on full bore in europe and in japan. One of the charts that i love to reference is the nearly linear rise in central bank balance sheet holdings ever since 2011, where the Fed stopped quantitative easing back three years ago, and japan and the ecb just took over the slack, and it’s just a linear rise.”
On ECB president Mario Draghi:
“That’s going to slow things down a little bit, but the real worry from the central bank activity would be forward about a year. Because Mr. Draghi has said astonishingly that they’re going to continue 30 billion euros per month of quantitative easing at least until September and then he threw in, just to put a cherry on top of the cake of stimulus, he said, and negative rates well past the end of quantitative easing. Which means – sounds to me you’ll have negative rates as long has Mr. Draghi is around which is a little under two years.”
On tax cuts and bonds:
“If there is a net tax cut, it has to be bond unfriendly. we already have growing bond supply. we’ve been liiving in a world for the last three years thanks to quantitative easing of negative net bond supply, really, from sovereign bonds in the developing world. and that’s gonna flip because the fed is now letting bonds roll off, the budget deficit is increasing, a tax cut would increase the deficit further, and to the extent that a tax cut might be stimulative to the economy, that’s bond unfriendly, because bonds don’t like economic growth and also it’s more bonds, expanding the deficit, so even more supply.”
On tax hikes and risk:
“If i’m correct and i’m going to receive a seven-point bump in my tax rate, which is actually about a 15% tax increase, i have a feeling that i’m probably going to be less able and willing to buy risky assets or buy all the other things that are bubbling up these days, and maybe that side of the narrative will start showing up.”
On stimulating the economy:
“While we’re not probably going to get 3% real for the year, we’ve had it for two quarters in a row. and gdp now at the atlanta fed has been bouncing around but it’s around 3% for the third quarter. when is the last time we had something like 3% growth for three quarters in a row? it’s a long time. why would you be stimulating the economy?”
Finally on bitcoin: