Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Julian Robertson: US To Face Poor Economy for 10-15 Years (And Warren Buffett Stops By)

So, gentle reader asks, why so many posts on the economy recently?
We have two answers:

1) The cleantech/alt space does not exist in a vacuum. The macro stuff will impact on both policy and investment.

2) If an investor gets creamed by the overall market, they won't have the psychological or financial resources to take advantage of opportunities as they come up.

Simple, huh?

From CNBC:
Multi-millionaire investor Julian Robertson told CNBC that the United States is "just getting into the recession," and that the poor economy will last as long as 10 to 15 years.

Last year, Robertson had said that the U.S. economy was in for "a doozy of a recession." He said the reason was the credit situation was worse than anyone had thought.

"Doozy’s a tough one and long one, I think that’s what we’re headed for," said the chairman of Tiger Management.

(Watch the accompanying video for the full interview with Julian Robertson...)

"I don’t mean to imply that this is going to last quite as long as what’s been happening in Japan, but when they went into their decline in 1990, almost 20 years ago, their people were loaded with savings—but [Americans are] all broke," he said. "...If we leave out the home in the calculations, I’d say that 80-85 percent of Americans are broke. So they have to cut back on their spending.">>>MORE

The question going forward will be the relationship between the length of recessions and the timing of the market's cyclical upturn. Then there's the larger secular bear market, which isn't so much about stocks going down as it is about contraction of P/E multiples. From "Grandmother Comments on First Solar (FSLR)":
...As grandmother used to say "Secular bear markets aren't just about declines [although they can be doozies], they're also about multiple contraction."

"Grandma, what's a doozie?"...

And from "First Solar: Analysts Target $350 to $450 Before Earnings (FSLR)":
...Granted STP's twenty cent (not percent) increase brings to mind this Warren Buffett quote:
"Now I'm known as a long-term investor and a patient guy, but that is not my idea of a big move."
-Warren Buffett

In this 1999 Fortune article "Mr. Buffett on the Stock Market". Granted the time and tape he was talking about was even worse:

December 31, 1964: DJIA 874.12
December 31, 1981: DJIA 875.00