Is the real economy rebounding or is this just a liquidity/stimulus driven rebound? David Rosenberg has an opinion:
IT’S ALL ABOUT LIQUIDITY, ROSENBERG!
This is what we are hearing. The fundamentals take a back seat because there is so much liquidity to be put to work, and it all must go into equities. This reminds us of all the liquidity talk during the bubble peak of late 2007. The reality is that the mountain of money is no higher or lower than it was when the market was plumbing the depths through 2008 — money market mutual funds back then were $3.5 trillion and guess what? Today they are $3.5 trillion. Go figure.
So you see, liquidity is a catch-all term when nobody can really explain why the market is going up. This rally is based on a lot of hope that we are going to see a V-shaped economic recovery in the U.S. The S&P 500 is priced for 4% real GDP growth. We don’t see it. Try 2%, which is what the investment-grade corporate bond market is priced for. If we get 4% GDP growth then the equity market is fully priced, but that sort of economic expansion would take Baa spreads of U.S. Treasuries down another 100bps to 200bps, if historical relationships were to hold. But if we see 2%, then at least you will clip your coupon in the fixed-income market. The S&P 500, which at one point would have licked its chops over such a possible outcome (back when it was priced for -2.5% growth last March), would now see 2% growth as a disappointment and would correct down towards 850, again, based on our models.
I would argue that it’s all about psychology. As the global economy began to fall off a cliff last summer and fall investors began to worry. When we saw some of our most prominent financial institutions vulnerable investors panicked and sold everything. Now, we’re seeing the return of rational thinking and cooler heads. The government has certainly helped to steady the markets, but what has really returned to the market is some semblance of confidence. What the government needs to start worrying about now is whether they are letting that confidence get a bit ahead of the real underlying fundamentals of the economy.
Source: Gluskin Sheff
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.