These are my personal notes from attending an interview with Danielle Booth today: Investing Notes: Danielle DiMartino Booth 9/25/2020. I think my fingers got a major workout for the 45 minutes she was being interviewed trying to type/write as much as I could from what she was saying. Super smart, savvy woman who obviously knows her stuff and does not apologize at all about her opinions. The "Speak Truth to Power" type of stuff - which I'm a personal big fan of. In a sea of men that were presenting today at this 3 day investor conference, it was so refreshing to see and hear her.
Took a screenshot (sorry, not the most flattering I know if you see this Danielle) - see below. Here's a link to her bio too.
Anyways - hope these notes are helpful. Feedback welcome. Normally I wouldn't be sharing my notes with everyone so forgive me if they're a little rough. Trying something out (sharing).
Notes from the conference on this talk: Danielle DiMartino Booth will be interviewed live by our hosts, where she will give a brief overview of the recent global developments and their potential economic effects. She will undoubtedly discuss central bank action and the likely scenarios for equities, interest rates and various asset classes.
Her ability to create really useful analysis and her Markets Briefings was how she made her mark and gained the attention of the great investors (Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger for example). They saw some of her work and invited her to Omaha to meet with them personally (she couldn't because she had a 5 month old baby - and they said no problem, they would provide childcare so she took the whole family.) Worked in the Fed, Speaks truth AND she doesn’t do sensitivity training. :) LOL. In the Fall 2015, inside the Fed, she was given special instruction to pay attention to only Jay Powell. An outsider insider. Danielle was not liked at the Fed.
Covid was a bump or the catalyst, from October 2018. She really understands the markets and the behaviors, the impact to the market. Jay Powell really understands the credit markets. What’s going to happen going forward does she think? A doomsday policy was in place after junk bond issuance freezing. May 2019, Neiman Marcus issued debt and the bond market froze. Jay Powell talked about easing so the markets over again. Again, there already was a doomsday policy. Morgan Stanley did the math. Jay Powell already knew TRIPLE B was an accident happening. Any downgraded debt was eligible for purchase by the Fed — so even if anything was junk, the investors had to treat it with respect.
The problem is that today, the market is losing confidence. Jay Powell cannot create cashflow. He hates Trump (even though he’s a Republican). He will not buy stocks 39 days before an election. Optimically and narratively it’s more damning. It’s ready to deploy - but he will likely do nothing. He will not do negative interest rates. Other countries can. Everything will break. Someone needs to have a reference free rate.
Jay Powell spoke yesterday. Downside risk is out there without further federal aid. The Fed is begging congress to do something. The growth of fed balance sheet is correlated with the S&P. The Fed wants more stimulus. “I wouldn’t say we are out of ammo”. Did he say it? He kind of did. They need “product” = They need “paper”.
Is the Fed influenced by the president? Danielle says no. Jay is afraid of the credit markets. He doesn’t care about supporting Trump. One thing to note, is that Munichen and Powell speak the same language. What the Fed is doing is doing now against the law. During WWII there was yield control and there was a cap. The Fed and the Government were severed in 1951 - Fed was separated from government. There was an accord. Now because of what's going on, future politicians will have to RE-separate the Fed to be nonpolitical.
Rhethoric today for Powell, is one of his biggest tools. The briefcase indicator. Powell likes to “play” with investors. What happens if the investing public loses confidence in the Fed? You’re already seeing that. He blows it on Jackson Hole on August 27. The whole world freaked out as a regime change. F1c statement to 2023, with a target of 1.7%. Market took a step back. The Fed, before this rhetoric, the Fed had been buying up all kinds of stuff. The Fed is creating the narrative. 26 million people are collecting unemployment, when there’s deflation knocking on the door. Powell is trying to bring up inflation. Rent is coming down. Housing is the main # into every model.
The Fed gauges inflation how? Fed has to hide behind inflation. Our health care inflation is not medicare/medicaid rates. They know that. They know we spend more on housing. They have to have this broken metric to support the Contant QE. They can’t change this. They are trapped. QE is important. They cannot turn the facilities, they cannot turn off the printing presses. If they decide to become the printing press for hire. We’re going to go from deflation too STAGflation.
What is the breaking point that will push yields? Traders are all waiting for this. Dallas, Scottsdale - Jay Powell has created the housing boom. The Housing is the most leading of all sectors. He bought all mortgage back securities in 5 minutes. You have rates of 1.99%. Ed Pinto (Fannie’s former economist). IN 6 months, cash out refinancing is HOT. The appraisals are not even happening. Fed is creating the narrative that there is this hot market. Wealthy people are renting homes for $75k. People who have money? FHA lending is still 3.5% down — people who are not wealthy are hurting. If you see the riots now, it’s going to be worse in March. Once banks can start to foreclose - this is going to cause mayhem. This is all caused by the Fed.
You’re bullish precious metals? Gold? What will drive prices higher. Right now investors are going after the traditional next. Miniature repeat of March/April 2020. People are calling bluff of Fed and selling Gold. Gold is still outperforming in both deflationary and inflationary markets, and with volatility. If you’re looking for protection - Buy the Move.
How do you feel about cryptocurrencies? The trading community is favoring it as a hedge. It’s like TikTok instead of the walkman. People that want to make a name for themselves buy Bitcoin. The old people want Gold. If we go over the line into quantum and it becomes more economical to mine this stuff. People are disgusted with the fiat currency. Danielle owns gold.
Lot of people look at what the Fed is doing, expanding the balance sheet. $1.5Billion/hour worldwide is what is being printed. Will asset prices will go higher? Is this a V shaped recovery? No, it’s a VERY K SHAPED RECOVERY. Small businesses hire most of the Americans and have been left behind. Great innovations. Great new industries. Lots of people left behind. The K may not be permanent. Raymond James, law firms are laying off. Indeed.com — job postings for high income are down 24% year over year. If we have more white collar jobs lost, then we’re in trouble. The stimulus really helped - if you see white collar layoffs, they the K will not happen. It’ll be a W shape.
What about Japan and the bank of Japan? The rates are at 0. US to Japan is apples and oranges, but is there anything to compare? Yes and no. The No is that the fact about 1/3 of treasuries are owned by foreigners. It’s owned by the post office. Banks own 40% of CLOs. Good luck Japan. We are not Japan in the sense that we don’t have a long runway to start the printing presses because we pushed it so far. We are not at the point to being a recovery. Starting points matter. It’d be more convenient if we were Japan. The whole world is in recession. Japan is going in and out of recession despite it all. Nothing cataclysmic has happened - they’re an innovative country that’s moved that innovation to China. @bondstrategist on Twitter — sent out a poll a few weeks ago. We believe we’re in the Great Financial Crisis 2.0 because of the Credit issue.
Is there a way for the Fed to get out of the box? They keep buying ever increasing debt. She wrote a book “fed up” as she’s not a fan of the Fed. That’s the trillion dollar question? The answer is you have to look at 2019. Russell 2000 and the broader stock have not ever gotten back to ATH’s off 2018, when the Fed tried to get out of it. They think they can do this for 10 years. I don’t think the market will not allow it. Bondage vigilantes have been hibernating for a long time - they will come out. The Fed can continue this for much longer - what they want us to believe. As long as there’s deflation, they will continue.
If Biden wins? Remember, the debt ceiling was passed - it was because the Democrats asked for no debt ceiling until 2021. From now until June 2021, there’s no debt ceiling. The bond investors will hit their pain threshold soon. Who knows when or what will happen.
How to find Danielle? Come to Quillintelligence.com — we publish/write every day. Macro investing is hot again. Data means something now again. They put unvarnished best research. She says @dimartinobooth follow on Twitter.
As an insider at the Fed, is the plunge protection thing real at the Treasury? It is. It’s not inside the Fed. It involves more than the Fed and Treasury. It’s like you need a Lehman Brothers. That’s because they already had the Doomsday plan ready to go.