I believe that the global economy is setting up for a new Golden Age reminiscent of the one the United States enjoyed during the 1950s and which I still remember fondly.
This is not some pie in the sky prediction.
It simply assumes a continuation of existing trends in demographics, technology, politics, and economics. The implications for your investment portfolio will be huge.
What I call “intergenerational arbitrage” will be the principal impetus. The main reason that we are now enduring two “lost decades” of economic growth is that 80 million baby boomers are retiring to be followed by only 65 million “Gen Xer’s”.
When the majority of the population is in retirement mode, it means that there are fewer buyers of real estate, home appliances, and “RISK ON” assets like equities, and more buyers of assisted living facilities, health care, and “RISK OFF” assets like bonds.
The net result of this is slower economic growth, higher budget deficits, a weak currency, and registered investment advisors who have distilled their practices down to only municipal bond sales.
Fast forward six years when the reverse happens and the baby boomers are out of the economy, worried about whether their diapers get changed on time or if their favorite flavor of Ensure is in stock at the nursing home.
That is when you have 65 million Gen Xer’s being chased by 85 million of the “millennial” generation trying to buy their assets.
By then we will not have built new homes in appreciable numbers for 20 years and a severe scarcity of housing hits. Residential real estate prices will soar. Labor shortages will force wage hikes.
The middle-class standard of living will reverse a then 40-year decline. Annual GDP growth will return from the current subdued 2% rate to near the torrid 4% seen during the 1990s.
The stock market rockets in this scenario.
Share prices may rise very gradually for the rest of the teens as long as tepid 2-3% growth persists.
A 5% annual gain takes the Dow to 26,000 by 2020.
After that, we could see the same fourfold return we saw during the Clinton administration, taking the Dow to 100,000 by 2030.
If I’m wrong, it will hit 200,000 instead.
Emerging stock markets (EEM) with much higher growth rates do far better.
This is not just a demographic story. The next 20 years should bring a fundamental restructuring of our energy infrastructure as well.
The 100-year supply of natural gas (UNG) we have recently discovered through the new “fracking” technology will finally make it to end users, replacing coal (KOL) and oil (USO).
Fracking applied to oilfields is also unlocking vast new supplies.
Since 1995, the US Geological Survey estimate of recoverable reserves has ballooned from 150 million barrels to 8 billion. OPEC’s share of global reserves is collapsing.
This is all happening while automobile efficiencies are rapidly improving and the use of public transportation soars.
Mileage for the average US car has jumped from 23 to 24.7 miles per gallon in the last couple of years, and the administration is targeting 50 mpg by 2025. Total gasoline consumption is now at a five-year low.
Alternative energy technologies will also contribute in an important way in states like California, accounting for 30% of total electric power generation by 2020.
I now have an all-electric garage with a Nissan Leaf (NSANY) for local errands and a Tesla Model S-1 (TSLA) for longer trips allowing me to disappear from the gasoline market completely. Millions will follow.
The net result of all of this is lower energy prices for everyone.
It will also flip the US from a net importer to an exporter of energy with hugely positive implications for America’s balance of payments.
Eliminating our largest import and adding an important export is very dollar bullish for the long term.
That sets up a multiyear short for the world’s big energy-consuming currencies especially the Japanese yen (FXY) and the Euro (FXE). A strong greenback further reinforces the bull case for stocks.
Accelerating technology will bring another continuing positive. Of course, it’s great to have new toys to play with on the weekends, send out Facebook photos to the family, and edit your own home videos.
But at the enterprise level, this is enabling speedy improvements in productivity that are filtering down to every business in the US, lower costs everywhere.
This is why corporate earnings have been outperforming the economy as a whole by a large margin.
Profit margins are at an all-time high.
Living near booming Silicon Valley, I can tell you that there are thousands of new technologies and business models that you have never heard of under development.
When the winners emerge, they will have a big cross-leveraged effect on the economy.
New health care breakthroughs will make serious diseases a thing of the past which are also being spearheaded in the San Francisco Bay area.
This is because the Golden State thumbed its nose at the federal government ten years ago when the stem cell research ban was implemented.
It raised $3 billion through a bond issue to fund its own research even though it couldn’t afford it.
I tell my kids they will never be afflicted by my maladies. When they get cancer in 20 years, they will just go down to Wal-Mart and buy a bottle of cancer pills for $5, and it will be gone by Friday.
What is this worth to the global economy? Oh, about $2 trillion a year, or 4% of GDP. Who is overwhelmingly in the driver’s seat on these innovations? The USA.
There is a political element to the new Golden Age as well. Gridlock in Washington can’t last forever. Eventually, one side or another will prevail with a clear majority.
This will allow the government to push through needed long-term structural reforms, the solution of which everyone agrees on now, but nobody wants to be blamed for.
That means raising the retirement age from 66 to 70 where it belongs, and means-testing recipients. Billionaires don’t need the maximum $30,156 annual supplement. Nor do I.
The ending of our foreign wars and the elimination of extravagant unneeded weapons systems cuts defense spending from $800 billion a year to $400 billion, or back to the 2000 pre-9/11 level. Guess what happens when we cut defense spending? So does everyone else.
I can tell you from personal experience that staying friendly with someone is far cheaper than blowing them up.
A Pax Americana would ensue.
That means China will have to defend its own oil supply instead of relying on us to do it for them for free. That’s why they have recently bought a second used aircraft carrier. The Middle East is now their headache.
The national debt then comes under control, and we don’t end up like Greece.
The long-awaited Treasury bond (TLT) crash never happens.
Fed governor Janet Yellen has already told us as much by indicating that the Federal Reserve will soon start to unwind its massive $3.9 trillion in bond holdings.
What have bond prices done?
The reality is that the global economy is already spinning off profits faster than it can find places to invest them, so the money ends up in bonds instead.
Sure, this is all very long-term, over the horizon stuff. You can expect the financial markets to start discounting a few years hence, even though the main drivers won’t kick in for another decade.
But some individual industries and companies will start to discount this rosy scenario now.
Perhaps this is what the nonstop rally in stocks since 2009 has been trying to tell us.
Dow Average 1900-2015
Another American Golden Age is Coming
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/OPEC-Share-of-World-Crude-Oil-Reserves-2010.jpg253504Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2018-12-12 01:06:102018-12-11 18:17:45Standby for the Coming Golden Age of Investment
The Mad Hedge Fund Trader took a much-needed break this week to enjoy turkey with his vast extended family on the pristine shores of Incline Village, Nevada.
The weather was crystal clear, the temperature in the sixties throughout the day, and down into the teens at night. The kids took turns freezing bottles of water outside. To a fire-weary Californian, that’s cool.
During my nighttime snowshoeing on the Tahoe Rim Trail, I am overawed by a pale waning moon setting into the lake. I walked through a heard of elk in the darkness, the snow crunching under my boots. On the way back, I noticed that a mountain lion had been tracking me.
The Trade Alerts went out so fast and furious this year, bringing in my biggest outperformance of my competitors since my service started 11 years ago. As of today, we are up 26% on the year versus a Dow Average (INDU) that has gained exactly zero.
Great managers are not measured by how much they make in rising markets but by how little they lose in falling ones.
I made money during the two market meltdowns this year, at least until this week. That last 1,000-point dive really hurt and breaks all precedent with Thanksgiving weeks past.
I played tech hard from the long side during the first half, then avoided it like the plague in the third quarter.
Short positions in bonds (TLT) continued to be my “rich uncle” trade every month this year. I am currently running a double position there.
I avoided banks, energy, gold, and commodities which performed horribly despite many entreaties to get in.
I avoided the foreign exchange markets such as the Japanese yen (FXY) and the Euro (FXE) because they were largely moribund and there were better fish to dry elsewhere.
The Volatility Index (VIX), (VXX) was a push on the year with both longs and shorts.
My big miss of the year was in biotechnology and health care. I am well familiar with the great long-term bull case for these sectors. But I was afraid that the president would announce mandatory drug price controls the day after I took a position.
I still believe in the year-end rally, although we will be starting from much lower levels than I thought possible. The recent technology crash was really something to behold, with some of the best quality companies like NVIDIA (NVDA), Amazon (AMZN), and Netflix (NFLX) down 30%-60% in weeks. It all looked like a Dotcom Bust Part II.
These are all screaming buys for the long term here. Tech companies are now trading cheaper than toilet paper making ones.
As Wilber Wright, whose biography I am now reading, once said, “Eagles can’t soar to greatness in calm skies.” His picture now adorns every American commercial pilot’s license, including mine.
This is a week when my mother’s seven children, 22 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren suddenly remember that they have a wealthy uncle, cousin, or brother with a mansion at Lake Tahoe.
So, the house is packed, all the sofa beds put to use. We even had to put a toddler to sleep in a bathtub on pillows.
A 28-pound bird made the ultimate sacrifice and was accompanied with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, potato salad, and mince pie. Cooking a turkey here at 6,125 feet can be tricky where water boils only at 198 degrees Fahrenheit. You have to add 15% to the cooking time or you end up with medium-rare meat, not such a great idea with a turkey.
Topping it all was a fine Duckhorn Chardonnay which the White House served at state dinners during a former administration. I’m told the current president doesn’t drink.
I ate an entire pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream last night just to give my digestive system an early warning that some heavy lifting was on its way.
I am the oldest of seven of the most fractious and divided siblings on the planet, so attending these affairs is always a bit of an emotional and physical challenge.
I bet many of my readers are faced with the same dilemma, with mixed red state/blue state families, and they all have my sympathy. Hint: Don’t mention Bitcoin. Your Millennial guests will suddenly develop food poisoning, down 80% in a year.
My family ranges throughout the entire political spectrum, from far-right big oil to far-left pot legalization and transgender rights. For this first time in family history, we all voted for the same candidate in the last election in every one of three generations.
Hillary Clinton. Go figure!
Suffice it to say that we'll be talking a lot about the only two safe subjects there are, sports and the weather. Go Niners! Hurray Giants! Will it snow?
We are all giving thanks that we weren’t roasted alive in a wildfire and prayed for the 1,000 missing who won’t be sitting down for Thanksgiving dinners this year. Most will never be found.
I learned from my brother who runs a trading desk at Goldman Sachs that the industry expects a recession in 2019. (GS) stock has been hammered because the had to refund $600 million in fees that were stolen from the Malaysian government.
Dodd-Frank and Glass Steagall are history, and interest rates are steadily rising like clockwork. Trading volumes are shrinking as the algorithms take over everything. Some 80% of all trading is now thought to be machine-driven.
He finally traded in his Bentley Turbo R for a new black high-performance Tesla Model X with the “ludicrous” mode. I take delivery of mine at the Fremont, CA factory next week. After six decades, sibling rivalry still lives. I cautioned him to keep an ample supply of airline airsick bags in the car. Good thing he got it before the subsidies expired at yearend!
It looks like it’s OK to be rich again.
My born-again Christian sister was appalled at the way the government separated children from parents at the border earlier this year. There are still several hundred lost.
My gay rights activist sister has been marching to protest current government policy on the issue. She was quick to point out that Colorado elected its first gay governor, although I doubt anyone there will notice since they are all stoned in the aftermath of marijuana legalization.
A third sister married to a very pleasant fellow in Big Oil (USO) will be making the long trip from Borneo where he is involved in offshore exploration. This is the guy who escaped from Libya a few years ago by the skin of his teeth.
In the meantime, his industry has been beset by waves of cost-cutting and forced early retirements triggered by the recent oil price crash. He says the US will have to build energy infrastructure for a decade before it can export what it is producing now in oil and natural gas.
So far, the local headhunters haven’t taken a trophy yet. And I mean real headhunters, not the recruiting kind.
Sister no. 4, who made a killing in commodities in Australia and then got out at the top seven years, thanks to a certain newsletter she reads, graced us with a rare visit.
Fortunately, she took my advice and converted all her winnings to greenbacks, thus avoiding the 30% hit the Aussie (FXA) has taken in recent years.
She’s now investing in cash flow positive Reno condos, again, thanks to the same newsletter.
My poor youngest sister, no. 5, took it on the nose in the subprime derivatives market during the 2008 crash. Fortunately, she followed my counsel to hang on to the securities instead of dumping everything at the bottom for pennies.
She is the only member of the family I was not able to convince to sell her house in 2005 to duck the coming real estate collapse because she thought the nirvana would last forever. At least that is what her broker told her.
Thanks to the seven-year-old real estate boom, she is now well above her cost, while serial refi’s have taken her cost of carry down by more than half.
My Arabic speaking nephew in Army Intelligence cashed out of the service and is now attending college on the newly revamped GI Bill.
He is majoring in math and computer science on my recommendation. My dad immensely benefited from the program after WWII, a poor, battle-scarred kid from Brooklyn attending USC. For the first time in 45 years, not a single family member is fighting in a foreign war. No gold stars here, only blue ones. If it can only last!
My oldest son is now in his 10th year as an English language professor at a government university in China. He spends his free time polishing up his Japanese, Russian, Korean, and Kazak, whatever that is.
At night, he trades the markets for his own account. Where do these kids get their interest in foreign languages anyway? Beats me. I was happy with seven.
He is planning on coming home soon. Things have recently gotten very uncomfortable for American residents of the Middle Kingdom.
It’s true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
My second son is now the head of SEO (search engine optimization) at a major Bay Area online company. Hint: you use their services every day. His tales of excess remind me of the most feverish days of the Dotcom boom. He says that technology is moving forward so fast that he can barely keep up.
His big score this year was winning a lottery to get a rent-controlled apartment in a prime San Francisco neighborhood. It’s all of 400 square feet but has a great view and allows dogs, a rarity indeed.
My oldest daughter took time out from her PhD program at the University of California to bear me my first grandchild, a boy. It seems all my kids are late bloomers. We are all looking forward to the first Dr. Thomas someday (we have an oversupply of Captains).
I am looking forward to my annual Scrabble tournament with all, paging my way through old family photo albums between turns. And yes, “Jo” is a word (a 19th century term for a young girl). So is “Qi.” The pinball machine is still broken from last Thanksgiving, or maybe it just has too many quarters stuffed in it.
Before dinner, we engaged in an old family tradition of chopping down some Christmas trees in the nearby Toiyabe National Forest on the Eastern shore of Lake Tahoe.
To keep it all legal I obtained the proper permits from the US Forest Service at $10 a pop.
There are only three more trading weeks left this year before we shut down for the Christmas holidays.
That is if I survive my relatives.
Good luck and good trading! Captain John Thomas CEO & Publisher The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Norman-Rockwell-Thanksgiving.jpg425330Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2018-11-23 01:06:542018-11-21 16:57:26Surviving Thanksgiving