Over the weekend, Bloomberg View’s quasi-economist wrote his latest laughable article, one which supposedly “explained” how “Everyone Worries Too Much About ‘Black Swans‘”, which in addition to being a rambling, meandering stream of consciousness that as is regularly the case with this particular author, made little sense, sparked a Twitter feud with the Nassim Taleb, the person who made the concept of a Black Swan into a household name.
We were therefore very amused to note that none other than former FX trader and fund manager, Richard Breslow who also writes for Bloomberg, seemingly had an epileptic fit upon reading the abovementioned drivel and wrote his own scathing reaction from the perspective of an actual trader, a rection which not only threw up on every argument of the so-called economist’s logic, but on everything else that now is passed off simply as, well, “the new normal.”
Here is Richard Breslow:
No One Worries Enough About Black Swans
Trading is a hard business. The world is becoming a more complicated place: a number out of China may do more to the price of your U.S. shares in a retailer than, well, U.S. retail sales. Yet creeping, dangerously, into the investment advice dialog is the argument that buying and holding no matter what the event is the winning strategy.
If you ever needed a “past results don’t guarantee…” disclaimer it’s especially true now.
It’s not surprising that such shallow reasoning is becoming commonplace. Sure beats staying late at the office doing cash-flow analysis. Bad things happen and the Fed will cut rates. Worked time and again. Presto chango, that financial crisis was a buying event, stupid. It’s gotten much worse post the latest financial crisis, as it’s assumed asset prices are the main (sole) focus of the all powerful central banks.
To buy (pun intended) into this you have to presuppose that Black Swan events are easily controllable episodes that last short amounts of time. That the authorities have unlimited firepower to counteract every natural and man-made disaster.
Equally scary, academics as well as analysts have taken to arguing that investors are overestimating the probability of crisis events. You don’t need to be a Taleb or Mandelbrot to calculate that we have been having once in a hundred year events on a regular basis for the last thirty years. Did a crisis happen, if you made money?
This flawed logic argues not only buy every dip, but why waste money on hedges? It assumes unlimited deep pockets and the nerve of a non-sentient computer. Just go “all in.” Looking more like today’s world all the time. Portfolio theory thrown right out the window. Perhaps Harry Markowitz will have his Nobel revoked.
A portfolio built to only withstand stress thanks to central bank intervention is one destined to blow-up spectacularly. The embedded flaw in this new logic is that central banks give investors perfect foresight. And nothing can go wrong. Re-read the Investment Process section of those prospectuses.
* * *
Thanks Richard, and to this we can only add the following: while there is no longer any doubt that it is constant central bank intervention that continues to prop and push up markets both in the US and around the globe, these same central planners must be getting very confused: “why are traders angry if we continue to push markets higher and help everyone make money?” One day they will get it.
* * *