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Apple vs. Energy!?

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

The $ is still summiting, this is key to appreciate. China real estate which had everyone terrified is about to get stimulus as China re-opens and OPEC last week was the clearest message yet that the tectonic plates of a Bi-polar world are changing. These 2 charts again speak volumes…. XLE Energy vs QQQ/Nasdaq/Tech.

At the same time the Doom and Gloom is palpable amongst almost everybody in Equity and Bond land, who have lazily kept portfolios unchanged despite a screeching u-turn in what worked well with free money and benign inflation vs now the opposite. As an side, I am still amazed that most Venture Capital “marks” are still unchanged YTD in portfolios ->30%+, I am afraid that is the next wake-up call to come.

As to “rates”, if Fed Funds actually got to the terminal rate and stayed there for any period of time. Ask what paying an average rate of 4.6% on year-end 2021 debt would do to the interest service cost? Well, it rises by $636 billion to $1.028 trillion or the more than the entire US Defence budget of $801 billion. That would take the interest cost to 4.5% of total GDP, up from 1.7% in 2021. You may ask, So what? I am convinced increased inflation is preferable to detonating the treasury. The Pause is coming and it will send equities parabolic.

So, I have sympathy with the notion that the trade into '23 is to buy EM humiliation, sell US hubris. Why should the US be 66% of global market capitalisation when it's only 24% of global GDP? It is, after all, the reserve currency arms-maker and dealer. Nutstuff still senses that the commodity, oil, coal, Uranium and Precious Metal investments are going to now have a further tail wind. With EM, I am looking for opportunity. I think KWEB US is worth considering again. From where I sit, the market seems totally unprepared for any upside surprise. I like asymmetric returns whilst keeping exposure low to anything that doesn’t prosper in an environment with 10%+ inflation, $150+ oil and 4%+ Fed Funds. I still think the Fed is forced to keep going until they break something and with employment strong and many businesses about to report solid Q3 numbers, I think they’ll have the cover to keep pushing on rates. I want to think more on what to add as Pivot names and am fighting the urge to do so daily. Definitely worth building a list, but it feels too early still. With oil about to roar out of control, the Fed won’t be able to stop chasing until something breaks. If this plays out, little else matters..

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