Not a Hussman hater, but a skeptic based on a long period of observation, not only of his fund performance, but of his approach and his excuses. He does solid historical data-driven analysis. But he's really just an appendage to his models and he doesn't appear to have a broad enough perspective to manage money reliably.
Fish oil and fish meal prices are firm the last time I checked and oil prices are low and steady. That will flow into Omega's results over the coming 1-2 years as forward selling and hedges expire. Omega will get higher average prices and pay lower fuel costs than currently reflected in results. There is going to be a strong positive impact on cash flow.
Remember, he's been learning on the job. That was long ago, before the two models, post-Depression work, trend-following measures, and all kinds of things he's been bolting on.
Chipotle was way, way ahead of the competition with their fast casual model, but capitalism still works, especially in restaurants and retail. One of the easiest real estate strategies another fast casual chain can follow is to simply open very close to Chipotle prime locations. Chipotle is going to see headwinds from many sources, competition is one of them.
Maybe, maybe not. But Hussman's railing against the central banks let's us know that he has realized, too late, that he didn't understand the power and durability of central bank activities (like QE). I'm sure that underneath it all he's nervous.
Several of us have commented that Hussman's analytical capabilities and tenacity would be a good contribution to a larger investment management team. Not sure the personality would allow him to consider other approaches. In any case, he's an analyst with a commitment to his approach. That's about it.
"I do have money in the fund and almost wish to to put more in as a contrarian bet"
So you'd be timing a market timer.
Yesterday (Tue. April 19, 2016) the S&P500 closed at 2,100 and HSGFX closed at 8.12.
On March 18, 2015 the S&P500 closed at 2,100 and HSGFX closed at 8.94.
Thus, while the market had no net gain except for dividends, HSGFX lost 9.2% of its value.
If you would have simply shorted the market, you'd be down about 2% (dividends). Even accounting for fund expenses - let's call it 2% - a simple short strategy would have the fund down about 4%. But it is down more than twice that! I'll call this "strategy drag". I'm not an options expert, but this additional loss likely represents the cost of purchasing hedges vs. a simple short strategy. For example, Hussman probably eliminates the chance for rapid runaway losses if the market suddenly explodes to the upside by having long stock positions and various short options positions. In fact, a strategy like that could start to show gains if the market advance is rapid and large. However, during a grinding sideways market that just nudges up a bit, the strategy just eats away at assets relentlessly.
Looks like CMG just put in a head and shoulder on the bounce since testing $400. It has now failed to move through the neckline on the right side, meaning it is a bearish continuations head and shoulders. We will test $400 again (and I think it will ultimately fail).
"The current QE bubble has featured a massive expansion in corporate and covenant-lite debt, largely to finance leveraged acquisitions and repurchase of stock. In recent years, the Fed has not simply engineered a temporary euphoria in valuations, but has also profoundly affected the long-term capital structure of U.S. companies by subordinating the claims of stockholders to the claims of bondholders."
He implies that corporate debt levels have gotten very high, but provides no data that the "long-term capital structure of U.S. companies" has changed meaningfully. He blames the Fed for "subordinating" stockholder claims. Um, in the capital structure the common shares are always at the end of the line. That's how it works. Common shares are a residual claim after all other creditors are paid. Oddly, he began by mentioning that new debt was "covenant-lite". But less stringent terms on bond issues are a risk for the *bond investors*, not the equity owners. Those "covenant-lite" terms often allow the company to avoid default during times of stress, giving equity owners breathing room.
He's got this backwards.
Though I think Hussman likes to think of Jeremy Grantham as a kindred spirit, if you read both of them you'll quickly figure out that Grantham uses a much broader approach. Grantham / GMO have also undertaken rigorous analysis of historical bubbles and Grantham isn't afraid of eclectic approaches that are imperfect mathematically, but very helpful when added to the array of tools he uses. Hussman essentially uses one approach, regardless of how many quant sub-models he has.
I remember Grantham has talked about the potential for a real bubble from here - reaching 2-sigma, I think, at about 2,300 on the S&P500. And it could overshoot.
GMO can handle it. I wonder if Hussman's funds can.
Hey, CMG could earn $20/shr in 4-5 years and be growing at about 10%/yr by then. So today's $437 only represents a 22x 4-5 year forward multiple and a 2.2 PEG. I mean, why aren't value investors jumping in! (sarcasm)
clairvoyance? you better hope you can time your future market purchases perfectly to capture those very transient dips to the lowest levels.
Nobody rings a bell at the top.... or the bottom.
And spinning himself as an optimist, because he thinks the market will fall by half. It's the "pessimists" who accept that "the market is doomed to suffer extreme valuations and dismal expected returns forever". Of course, not even his own models indicate that today's market leads to dismal returns "forever". Silly.
Markets may not be fully "efficient", but they're not so easy that a smart guy can simply apply some stats to a handful of historical market measures and go long and hedge the downside (no matter how "dynamically" or sophisticated) and move off of the risk-reward curve meaningfully.
Rates at zero forever implies a depressed economy / secular stagnation forever, which implies lower profit margins over time. Stocks still demand a risk premium and there are plenty of risks over time.
The inflation conspiracy thing is just silly propaganda. There are plenty of private measures the comport with official government statistics. The inflation conspiracy folks just toss together some choice figures and then apply absurd techniques that fool people that don't understand the proper analysis.
Fundamentals always come home to roost. In that, Hussman is "correct". Buffet & Munger, a couple of the best investors in history, often quote Graham "In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine." In other words, fundamentals win in the end. To see the essential truth in this, one must remember that "the market" is made up of individual firms. Over time the valuation of each individual firm will gravitate towards (oscillate around) it's fundamental value. If a firm begins experiences losses and we can see the underlying business is deteriorating, its market value will fall. Over fairly long periods of time, we can see multiples generally expand and contract, but they neither contract towards zero forever nor to they march higher and higher without bound. Thus, the non-fundamental and macro influence is bounded over time. Fundamentals always matter in everything over time.
Indeed Hussman sometimes reflects on the need of long-term buy-and-hold investors to be able to hold during the depths of a severe downturn, noting that too many investors buy high and sell low. He promises to do the hard work for his investors by both hedging them against severe declines when markets are extended and ensuring they aren't out of stocks when the market has tanked. Instead, he panicked at the depths of a generational market decline and his investors suffered.