Subject: Ross Rant May 9
The bond market has had some very good years over the past 35 years, but that is likely now over. We are not going to have negative rates, and so the near zero rates we now have are likely the all-time low point. In fact we may be starting to see a small rise in market rates as the economy reopens. That means rates only go up from here, and that means losses of value. Spreads have come in over the past week or so, but are still quite wide, even for investment grade debt.
The Fed has now announced it will buy certain bond ETF shares, but only if they are within 1% of underlying value of the bond. Over time all the flood of cash from both fiscal and monetary subsidies has to impact the bond market and push rates up. It is just a matter of when, and by how much. Bonds are at some risk now.
On the other hand, the Fed has to keep rates low to allow the government to deal with the massive debt we now have. It is highly likely rates stay very low for a few years, so holding bonds has no benefits since you get no return and a risk of loss in value as rates rise. What we will also have to deal with is the massive debt corporations are issuing now which provides short term liquidity, but long term repayment risk.
It is going to be a real problem for large cities and states to find ways to meet the needs of the citizens without major pension reform. It is all about pensions and healthcare granted mainly to teachers. These pensions are bleeding the big states run by Dems. They cannot keep raising taxes, and the Senate and Trump will not bail them out.
This is what Pelosi is demanding they do, because the teachers unions are huge contributors to the Dems in exchange for the big pensions. In case you wondered what is really going on. So expect a lot of muni debt to get issued to fill the holes, instead of responsible budget reductions and pension reform.
We already saw that this past week with an issue by the MTA of New York. They are just digging the hole deeper, and the day of reckoning will come in the next few years. There has to be pension reform or bankruptcy. It is that simple.
Now the Dems have a plan for an added $2 trillion of spending on all sorts of entitlement payouts, plus there will be a lot of wasteful items like Kennedy Center etc. They pay for it with tax increases so they spend vast sums and kill the economy with major tax increases. Makes perfect sense, just not to me.
Do they ever take an economics class? Do they ever look at history? Their about to be released plan is purely an election year political document where they will try to claim they have the plan to help the low income people and hit the rich and corporations, while the Republicans and Trump are just helping corporations and the wealthy.
You can write the script. It is very disappointing that America is experiencing one of its worst crisis and the Dems just want to play games. Along the same lines, Finland just reported they are ending the guaranteed income program. They learned that it did not do anything to get the unemployed back to work and it was financially unsustainable. They proved it does not work to have a guaranteed minimal income.
So what is Pelosi pushing- guaranteed income.
Oil is rebounded back to the mid 20’s. That is very helpful for jobs in energy. It is now likely that oil will stay up here or a little higher. It is going to be a long time to regain $50 levels. There is simply far too much excess inventory.
The stock market seems to just bounce around 2800-2900 on the S&P for now. Last week down, this week up, but in the end. Unclear how much longer that lasts, but if 32 million unemployed does not phase investors, unclear what does. How could we ever have imagined such a thing. It seems the market had fully accounted for the unemployment numbers, and are looking now at the probability this last report was the top, and with the reopenings, the numbers go down by millions from here.
The problem as reported by companies and labor recruiters is a combination of the extra $600 is keeping workers home, as is some remaining fear of getting sick. It will take longer than it should to get everyone back to work until the $600 runs out or until workers realize their job got filled and is not waiting for them any longer.
Maybe the states will invest in updated computer systems so we do not have these issues of getting people paid unemployment ever happen again. Don’t get over excited by the stock indexes rising. There is a long way to go to real recovery, and a lot of setbacks along the way. I am still assuming end of year around 2800- 3000 on the S&P, but maybe we will get a nice upside surprise. Just do not count on it.
If you take the unemployment checks plus the $600, plus deferral of paying taxes, forbearance on mortgages and credit cards, and auto payments, plus the $1200 per person, and ultra-low gas prices and mortgage rates, it is very likely that most consumers are in good financial shape despite the shutdown.
While some people are having issues, I am not buying the whining about the unemployed. It is clear from various reports that many workers are not returning to jobs due to the extra $600 which means these other things are letting many workers get by better than if they were working and this all had not happened.
It unfortunately means the restart will be delayed and companies will have to hire new people and retrain them in some cases, and then some who are not returning so they can get the $600 will demand higher wages to match the $600. Then we have the unions and the far left trying to use this situation to get higher wages and benefits. We will have some level of disruption for a while until all this sorts out.
But the important take away is consumers are not in bad shape as they would be in a normal recessions so a recovery should be much better than in any other recession. There may be a pent up demand show up as the year progresses and we return to normal functioning.
One tiny anecdote. I was in a fishing tackle store the other day. It was a very large store. They never closed, (essential recreation), and they told me they were extremely busy the whole time. Guys were buying expensive tackle and other things from what I saw.
As an aside, I was the only one wearing a mask including the staff, and there was no distancing except for me trying to avoid being close to people. The clerk told me the older staff guys were staying home, but there were plenty of others working the shop, a few not so young.
I was at the doctor again and everyone was wearing a mask in the waiting room and distancing, but they were all older and presumably had some health issue. I am fine, and just was there to get some routine tests and results. The dentists are all back open. Life is returning to normal here in the Longboat/Sarasota area.
Hotel and retail properties are already in trouble and seeking forbearance. 2600 CMBS loans already have sought relief, and that is just the start. That is $49.1 billion of loan amount, most of which are hotels and retail as expected. 8% are already in special servicing. 47% of hotels with CMBS loans are requesting help, as are 30% of retail. So far very few other loans are seeking forbearance, but that could change. It is very likely the vast majority of hotels will either be foreclosed, or need rescue capital and modified loans.
There is no way in my view that the major conference houses can avoid BK or massive value reduction and sale with lenders taking a loss. What company is going to send employees to a conference before fall at the earliest, and next year for many.
Hotel layoffs were 7.2 million. Shows the total devastation of that industry. Travel will be very slow to recover due to fear of contagion no matter what they do to make it look safe. The good news in the unemployment report was that wages rose substantially. We will see how Amazon and some others deal with the union attempt to push high wages. Given the unemployment levels it is unlikely higher wages will happen.
The real risk is as has been reported- the trial lawyers attacking already. There is no way the Dems will want to grant freedom from liability where a business dd it right. Trial lawyers are huge contributors to Dems. Corruption vs what is good for the country.
The good news on rates is that home mortgages are at or near all-time lows at 3.4%. Home buying as a result is up 7% in the past week and climbing. Home renovations will also increase. All of that is good news for the economy because the multiplier effect of home construction and renovation are huge positive impacts on related businesses. As I have pointed out several times, that is a major help to consumers as it makes their monthly payments much lower which frees up cash for spending or savings, or debt reduction of credit cards.
It remains impossible to know with any confidence what the recovery will look like.
A lot of small shops or other businesses will struggle, and did not get a PPP loan. Many who could reopen have been hit with the problem of employees not coming back now because they get a lot more from unemployment. We really will not know until sometime in late July how the recovery is going.
New York is in real trouble. It will be a while before it reopens and a lot of people there are working form home virtually. The longer that goes on and works smoothly, the less companies will want to have expensive offices.
DeBozo has run the city into the ground again with rising crime and high taxes. He has blown billions on all sorts of left wing programs that are only a cost and nil benefit. Homeless has increased dramatically. A lot of rich New Yorkers went to their counry homes in the Hamptons or upstate and many may just decide to stay. It is very hard to know. If companies set up some sort of rotating in office days, or once a week meetings and team building, that might become the new norm at some companies.
A lot of people find it hard to work on their own, especially with kids around, so over time maybe they all come back. Hard to know at this time. Unlike at 9-11, now we have Zoom and the Microsoft meeting app, where everyone can see each other and not just be a voice on a phone. Maybe that will make a difference, but I have my doubts. People need social contact.
Researchers now say NYC and Seattle are the places it all began for the US.
Cuomo refused to shut down at first, and all those travelers from the EU were arriving at JFK until Trump shut it off, and got a lot of attacks for doing so. The people from Europe then traveled onward around the country. Seattle was the start place on the west coast. They also now say the CA outbreak began in a nail salon where there are Chinese manicurists. So if Cuomo had acted sooner to shut NY, there would supposedly have been a lot less problem.
As the Flynn story comes fully out, the Dem party line already is, Flynn lied and plead guilty, and Barr is covering up for Trump.
Fact is, the Flynn decision was not made by Barr. It was by an assistant US attorney in charge of investigating the case history. Schiff of course claimed Flynn is guilty. Donna Brazil went on Fox to proclaim the same in an absurd series of claims that Flynn is guilty. They have not heard of entrapment I guess. The Dem party line is as expected. As opposed to Watergate where even Republicans were upset as the story of the coverup came clear, in this case the Dems and press will step up attacks on Barr. It will do no good as Durham issues indictments.
Now the transcripts are out, and Schiff and the Dems issued a press release claiming still that they show Trump was guilty, and Barr is a political pawn. Now in the press we get stories saying that former prosecutors were shocked that Flynn was let off, there has never before been such a thing, and that Barr is undermining the DOJ.
You can expect now there will be a flood of such absurd statements by the Dems and the press, instead of the press trying to honestly report what is a terrible scandal in the FBI and higher up. Unfortunately for the Dems and press, Clapper testified there was no evidence of collusion, as did Cohen and all the others.
As the transcripts are released, there will be clear proof the whole thing was a manufactured set up, and Rosenstein may have been a knowing player in setting up the Mueller probe. It is already clear Mueller knew almost from the start that there was no case.
The attacks on Barr have just begun because he is exposing that the press was a major disinformation source of the whole scheme to go after Trump. They even awarded Pulitzers for what is now shown to be totally false reporting. The onion is unwrapping quickly now, and as time goes by more and more will show there was a conspiracy all the way up to Brennan and possibly to Obama who knew they were going after Flynn.
It is hard to imagine Comey and Brennan were leading this on their own, and nobody told Obama and Holder. It now appears from the Yates transcript that Obama knew all about what was happening. They had to know the dossier was fake, and was Russia disinformation, and Obama had to have asked a lot of questions even if he was not directly involved.
I am willing to bet that when the whole story is out Obama and Biden knew about the entire conspiracy and Brennan was their puppet master running the whole thing. That is how Obama knew all about what Flynn said to the Russian ambassador when Yates was so taken aback by what he knew. Since the FBI was deeply involved Holder had to know. Durham is getting close to issuing indictments now, but it may be July before they come as it is very likely some lower level people are talking now, and that is leading to new routes for Durham to follow. I can’t wait for the Lindsay Graham led hearings.
Biden has another problem with Tara. On the U of P campus, in a display of disgraceful anti- free speech, the student council or whoever they are, kicked the campus Democratic group off campus because they support Biden over Tara. That is a canary in the coal mine moment.
Biden is losing the far left Bernie people. Now we have the release of the court filing by Reade’s ex which clearly corroborates what she is saying on top of the King tape from the same time, plus the four people corroborating. The Dems now have a real problem with these court docs. They cannot dismiss them as fake, or bad memory, or anything. They are the smoking gun. Now the Dems are trying to say well it does not say sexual attack, but only harassment. I did not know there is suddenly a pass for harassment by the Me Too people.
DeVos has finally released the new rules to give boys on campus their rights to due process. A major good thing. There are 600 cases in federal court right now from boys who were not allowed due process and whose lives were ruined. They are winning these cases.
One more example of how universities ignore basic constitutional rights to fulfill the Obama Biden agenda of pandering to women. The new rules are of course being attacked by left wing women who care not for the constitution when it does not suit them. The hypocrisy on Tara Reade and this is stunning.
In OR, near Portland, the county Emergency Ops Center has set aside a space where it is a “grounding space”, (whatever that means), for minority employees to escape predominant whiteness, Translation, identity politics run amok. It is so blacks can be segregated and this is supposed to be a good thing?
Can you imagine if in Harlem some government agency set aside a space so white employees could escape blackness. Remember Brown vs Board of Ed ended segregation and now we have a space for blacks to segregate themselves!!!In case you wondered if the insanity that happens on campus would invade the real world- here it is.
I had predicted that RBG would not still be on the court by now. She seems to be made of unnatural strength. She has had more serious illness than anyone in history, but she is determined to outlast Trump no matter what her condition. I still think it is not long before she is forced to retire one way or the other.