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Jeff Gundlach Is ‘Amazed’ At How ‘Copacetic’ Markets Are About Coming Credit Apocalypse

"Stay out of investment grade bonds."

Markets are intently focused on the possibility that investment grade credit is set to usher in the next crisis, and you know what that means, right?

That means it’s time for Jeff Gundlach to repeat what everybody else has been saying for months and pretend like it has more meaning now that he’s said it.

As a reminder, this is Gundlach’s modus operandi. He listens to what everybody is talking about and then he shows up on CNBC or grants an interview with any mainstream financial news outlet that’s not the Wall Street Journal (who Jeff swears was in on a conspiracy to tarnish his reputation last year), and proceeds to suggest that he’s saying something nobody has ever heard before.

And look, I’m not being needlessly derisive. I can point you to countless examples of Jeff doing that and sometimes, it’s actually a positive development to the extent the weight his voice carries draws attention to something important like, for instance, the fact that the U.S. is running an exceptionally noxious mix of monetary and fiscal policies which Gundlach correctly described this year as a “suicide mission”.

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‘Good, Truth-Loving Soul’ Jeff Gundlach Thinks We’re All On A ‘Suicide Mission’

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Predictably, Jeff is now weighing on the great “BBB debate” and, equally predictably, he doesn’t have anything to offer that is any semblance of fresh.

“Stay out of investment grade bonds”, Gundlach told Reuters, during a Monday phone call that he probably initiated.

Does Gundlach have some incisive analysis to offer when it comes to the market’s topic du jour?

Why, hell no. Here’s Reuters from the linked post:

Gundlach said investors should avoid investment-grade bonds. They are riskier than they used to be because “triple-B” rated credit – the grade for securities just above “junk” status – has increased dramatically since 2008, from 20 percent of all investment grade credit to approximately 50 percent today, he said.

You’ve got to love this: “…he said”.

I mean, yes, he did “say” that, but the way it’s written makes it seem like Jeff came up with those figures on his own as opposed to say, reading any of the dozens of articles written about BBBs over the past two months.

But listen, Jeff wasn’t sure Reuters was picking up what he was layin’ down over what I’m sure was a truly ridiculous phone exchange. In case the dunces over at Reuters weren’t on the same page with him, Gundlach elaborated:

Because when rates start to rise in earnest, God forbid you get a downgrade. It’s amazing how people have been copacetic about the credit situation.

Big word alert! Jeff knows what “copacetic” means! Or maybe he doesn’t, because I’m actually not sure it works there.

But let’s just give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he means “upbeat” and/or “calm”. That simply isn’t the case. In fact, “people” are the very opposite of that when it comes to the “credit situation.” As our buddy Owen Davis pointed out over the weekend, “people” are literally freaking out.

Read more

The Press Knows What Will Cause The Next Crisis, And It’s Corporate Debt

And what about markets themselves? Are they “copacetic”? In a word: No.

IG spreads blew out by the most for any week since 2016 last week and widened out some more this week.

IGSpreads

(Bloomberg)

And this is hardly a recent phenomenon. IG is having its third-worst year since 1975, a fact that’s been so well documented over the past month that people are sick of hearing about it.

IGBad

(Bloomberg)

And how about junk? Is there a lot of complacency going on there? No.

In fact, it looks to me like mom and pop’s favorite liquidity-mismatched high yield ETF had fallen for nine straight days headed into Wednesday (today it’s on pace for its best session since early this year in what is almost assuredly a dead cat bounce).

HYG

(Bloomberg)

Meanwhile, high yield spreads mimicked their investment grade counterparts last week, blowing out the most in years.

HYSpreads

(Bloomberg)

Finally, here’s CDX for both IG and HY (you’re looking over on the right-hand side, where you can clearly see things starting to widen out):

CDX

(Bloomberg)

So, I don’t know you guys. I’m not seeing the complacency here that Gundlach seems to be convinced is endemic among market participants he imagines are asleep at the proverbial wheel.

But what do you expect, right? After all, this is a guy who, like Donald Trump, can’t taste the difference between a fine Bordeaux and a bottle of $15 Shiraz.

Read more on credit market jitters

In Credit, Searching For The Last Straw


 

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2 comments on “Jeff Gundlach Is ‘Amazed’ At How ‘Copacetic’ Markets Are About Coming Credit Apocalypse

  1. i cant help but notice the increase in spreads in 2015 on the chart above. i remember a guy who said these spreads are never like this outside a banking crisis…and since the news didnt talk about any banking crisis, market prices must be wrong.

    what exactly was occurring during that run in spreads and what pushed it back down? taper tantrum was 2013. and then rates fell to 2016 lows. i dont know the ecb’s history as well, the dates of its musings, deadlines, ltro’s, corp bond buying. but generally a massive round of QE on the part of the swiss, ecb, japan, that continued and peaked at an annual rate of growth in 2017 was occurring. an unruly market was met with some $2T+ of liquidity.

    so as the mkt started to see a reality of 1.9% max gdp, a strong dollar with declining EPS, and began to price in, historically ‘normal’ conditions (where some firms actually fail). but QE was still the fashion and draghi did whatever it took to buy us 3 more years of magical thinking.

    today QE is out. tightening financial conditions, in credit based economies, always result in recessions and often bear markets, some better some worse. we also have a generation of mkt professions who believe -33% is unthinkable, far to extreme, and preventable.

  2. Ferengi quote, “There is profit in war, there is profit in peace, who cares?

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