Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eat your heart out Albert Edwards: "And now for something extremely bearish…"

The last time I used the "Eat your heart out..." headline was in "Eat your heart out Albert Edwards": Royal Bank of Scotland Calls for 550 S&P (and: "South Sea Bubble Redux").*
Here's FT Alphaville:
… from John Taylor, the chairman of FX Concepts, one of the world’s biggest currency hedge funds.
Some of this stuff would make even Albert Edwards blanch, but given Taylor’s track record, he’s more than qualified to pontificate on the FX market.
Selected highlights from Taylor’s Market Insight Report for October.
After the Phoney War, Things Really Got Nasty
Not too many traders remember ‘the phoney war,’ or the Sitzkrieg, as it happened 71 years ago. After Hitler invaded Poland on the first day of September 1939, Poland’s European allies France and England declared war on Germany, but nothing significant happened on that front until the following May when the German Army rolled through Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium and into France. Although the horror started in Poland in the fall of 1939, for a few months, the rest of Europe was spared that horror, which eventually lasted through the next five years.
Strangely, this past September (2010), the US equity market rose by about 8.8%, its best return for that month, since that same September (1939). To me the parallels are ominous. What were those people thinking back in 1939? Could a coming world war have that positive an impact on the economy and on markets? They must have been crazy – of course equities gave up their gains and were cratered in May 1940 when Germany invaded the west. But, what are we thinking of now? A war has just begun....MORE
*That post had a nice little vignette:
South Sea Bubble Survivor Says Dismantle RBS Along With Lloyds
From Bloomberg:
Henry Hoare made a 1.6 million- pound ($2.2 million) profit [*] from the South Sea Bubble, a speculative bust that bankrupted thousands of English families in the 1720s. His great-, great-, great-, great-, great-, great-grand- nephew boosted the deposits of his family’s bank by 20 percent in the past year to come through one of the worst financial crises since then, which is why people might want to listen to him.
“Keep it simple, stupid,”[**] Alexander Hoare said in an interview in his drawing room on the first floor of C. Hoare & Co.’s 180-year-old office on London’s Fleet Street. “Get the depositors in, lend to people who can afford to borrow.”
That’s a lesson Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc should have learned, said Hoare, 46, whose family-owned firm started in 1672 and now has about 10,000 customers....MORE
HT: FT Alphaville who headlined their linkpost "Esoteric headline of the day"

*From deep in the link-vault comes a tiny treasure, an analysis of Hoare's trading during the South Sea bubble (15 page PDF):

Riding the South Sea Bubble
This paper presents a case study of a well-informed investor in the South Sea bubble. We argue that Hoare’s Bank, a fledgling West End London bank, knew that a bubble was in progress and nonetheless invested in the stock: it was profitable to “ride the bubble.” Using a unique dataset on daily trades, we show that this sophisticated investor was not constrained by such institutional factors as restrictions on short sales or agency problems....MORE
**As pointed out in Friday's "Markets: Where Do We Go From Here?", we are firm believers in the low I.Q. approach to business.