Thursday, March 17, 2011

Marc Faber on His Unfortunately Timed March 4 "Buy Japan" Call (EWJ)

One week to the day before the earthquake he was pounding the table.
Here's the buy rec at BusinessWeek:
Faber Says Now Time to Buy Japan Stocks After 20-Year Bear
He began talking up Japan in October but since the day of the Bloomberg article the iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund dropped from a closing $11.44 to the intraday low of $9.24 (that's 19.2% kids) to the current $10.14, up 5% on the day and 9.7% from Tuesday's low.
So what now?
Here's some backround from GuruFocus on the 14th. This gets ugly, look away if you are squeamish:

Marc Faber's Stock Picks Sunk By Japanese Earthquake
Marc Faber, publisher of the Doom and Gloom report is one investor who has been negatively impacted by the earthquake in Japan.

In recent months Faber has recommended Japanese equities and European insurance companies. Both sectors have seen plunging stock prices in the wake of the 8.9 earthquake last week.

During the Barron's Roundtable in January, Faber was bullish on a "basket of Swiss insurers including Zurich Financial [ZURN.Switzerland], Swiss Life [SLHN.Switzerland] and Swiss Re [RUKN.Switzerland] are attractive at current valuations." ...
The only worse positioning would be a buy rec on the nuke operator, TEPCO. Fortunately he didn't do that and very fortunately he had actually cut his total market exposure in February. Here are his picks via January's Barron's Roundtable.

On the 15th Mr. Faber appeared on CNBC, here's ZeroHedge with the coverage:
Marc Faber On The Japanese Disaster, On A 20% Market Correction And On QE18
Marc Faber appeared earlier on CNBC in response to a plunging market, and gave his latest updated outlook on QE3... and 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 (not to mention 18). "We may drop 10 to 15 percent. Then QE 2 will come, (then) QE 4, QE 5, QE 6, QE 7—whatever you want. The money printer will continue to print, that I'm sure. Actually I made a mistake. I meant to say QE 18." Faber was modestly constructive on the Japanese selloff, which at one point hit 18% down in overnight futures trading: "This huge selloff is an investment opportunity in Japanese equities, but if a meltdown occurs then all bets are off." As usual, there is no love loss between Faber and the Chairsatan (recall that today's Empire Manufacturing survey confirmed margins continue to be crushed due to surging input costs): "I think Mr. Bernanke doesn't know much about the global economy but he probably watches the S&P every day." And on Fed criticism: ""Until very recently the Feds have had very few critiques, very few people criticized the Fed's policies under Mr. Greenspan and Mr. Bernanke....MORE, including the video
Oops, I guess he didn't really address the losses that hit his followers (and presumably his own) net worth when the earthquake struck.
Here are some snips of his predictions:
-His macroeconomic forecast is an “ultra-bearish scenario” where “everything will collapse and that there will be World War III, and collapsing countries in the middle east, and then the supply will be curtailed and prices will go up.

- the damage from the Japanese crisis will necessitate very heavy spending to rebuild infrastructure, and “that will be somewhat inflationary for the Japanese economy.”
- may be beneficial for equities in Japan
- negative for JGBs (Japanese government bonds)
- situation is “very negative for the yen in the long run”
- sees this as a “turning point for the yen”
- crisis is a “huge financial burden on a government that is already indebted”
 ...MORE at GoldAlert

Don't get me wrong, Faber is very sharp but we found him to be early in some of his calls back in the mid-2000's and because of that sat on his February 2009 recommendation to buy the market until March 10, 2009, three weeks later and 12% cheaper. and a day after the bottom.

You don't have to be smart but if you aren't you'd better know who is.
And what their foibles are.