This is a link to Barry Ritholtz recent article on how to be wrong and move on. He applies it to trading, but the same philosophy could be used at anything. Admit your mistake, correct it and move on without dwelling on it. It helps not having a big ego – a rarity among the trading kind.
What does NOT admitting error look like? It is Apple investors, who double up all the whole way down from $700 to $400. It is the radical financial deregulators like Edward Pinto & Peter Wallison blaming the financial crisis on unrelated bank loans to poor minorities. It is the cacophony of excuses from the Gold community, blaming the 30% drop on central banks, Goldman Sachs, “paper” gold, the shorts and the dollar. My friend Albert Edward’s reiterated call for S&P500 at 450 — with the SPX kissing 1600 — smacks of a classic non-admission of error. His preference is to go down with the ship.
I would also include another category to this group: those who trade on political inclinations rather than on reality. John Paulson, one of the goldbugs (and a Romney donor) who saw his fund lose 27% last month (and 47% YTD) is one of those sophisticated guys who are no different from Glenn Beck, betting on the apocalypse. Why do they bet on the apocalypse? Because Obama is a socialist, thus the economy cannot possibly recover during his term. Although, I have to give John Paulson some credit – at least he bets his own money on entrenched personal sentiments. Glenn Beck types first scare regular folks about the upcoming Armageddon and then simultaneously peddle them gold coins. Nice, full-proof business model.
But still, I’m puzzled, and even fascinated how smart guys can be so blinded by political hatred that they allow it to envelop their thinking. John Paulson is not a stupid guy: he made billions betting against subprime in 2007-2008. How could guys like him not have put two and two together? For the last 3 years it was obvious to me that Bernanke will keep his foot on the QE gas pedal for as long as possible, and given the abject economic situation in 2009-2010, one could safely say that it’s going to be years, not months. This simple fact guided my being long stocks and withstand all the ups and downs. You don’t have to have a PhD to see what was going on. Whether QE is good or bad is secondary to this discussion: guys like Paulson don’t care about social implications when they make money; they only bring up social implications when they have lost all other arguments. Zerohedge guys, another famous goldbugs, are now annoyed to find out that without QE the market would have stayed flat. They want QE ended immediately because it was so successful and thus prevented their luddite, gold-obsessed worldview to be realized in real life! WTF?
This has been my sentiment for the last 3 years. You can agree with the Fed’s monetary policy, you may disagree with it, but the trade for the last 3 years was to be long equities. And that’s that.
Big Banks should deleverage or perish.
But there’s a bright side, albeit with a cruel irony, to such institutional failure. If we’re powerless to break up the banks, then we’re also powerless to bail them out should they fail. There will be no more bailouts, because we’ve simply run out of options.
On the pages of WSJ, no less.
I have been one of the biggest supporters of Bernanke (here, here and here) in terms of both the remedies he used in the aftermath of the crisis and, as an extention, being long stocks for the last 3-4 years. Inflation is non-existent, QE helped asset prices rise and keep yields low, banks are flush with cash. Bernanke is becoming a legend.
Now, many say that he can’t dispose of those assets purchased without doing damage to the economy and driving the inflation up. But why is he’s receiving so little credit? Do they just expect him to dump the entire porfolio on the market in the matter of days? And secondly, if it drives inflation up a bit – it will only indicate a growing economy, or in simpler terms, more money chasing fewer goods – a scenario that we all should welcome. Wild-eyed inflation hawks, of course, envision Zimbabwe-like scenario where we push wheelbarrows of cash going grocery shopping. My only answer to them is: put your money where you fear is. Put the freaking inflationary position, like PIMCO did many times, and show us all how it’s done! Make some money on your sentiment.
My latest article in the American Banker.
Back from France.
I don’t know if you saw Niall Ferguson hit piece on Obama yet. But here’s a nice take down by his buddy Andrew Sullivan.
Especially stunning is this graph:
It makes Bush look like a socialist and Obama as a responsible business-friendly guy. I mean if Obama had the same public sector job growth we’d be hearing cries from Republicans that we have already arrived at socialism.
In other news: Bernanke was right, inflation hawks were wrong, as have been pointed out before in my blog.
Heavy news day today. Turns out inflation is kind of low, which vindicates Ben Bernanke’s view.
And for those inflation hawks out there, you guys are in the world of wishful thinking. I kind of knew that all along, and I’m just an amateur.
A little belated analysis of the recent article in the Atlantic.
I find it amusing that I seem to be the only person who doesn’t dislike Bernanke.
Let me first list the reasons.
1. Rates stayed low (and some who bet against it had acknowledge their mistake – e.g. Bill Gross), which led to the monthly payments on my arm mortgage to stay ridiculously low.