Tags: Citi | Cookson | Buy | Dollars | Long-Term | Treasurys

Citi’s Cookson: Buy Dollars, Long-Term Treasurys

By Dan Weil   |   Tuesday, 12 Jul 2011 12:02 PM

When the dollar rose inexorably through the early 1980s, the mantra of many traders was “buy dollars, wear diamonds.”

Richard Cookson, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, might agree with that sentiment now – only he recommends purchasing long-term Treasurys as well as the greenback. That’s all as a protection against the European debt crisis, the strategist tells The New York Times.

Greece itself – accounting for about 0.5 percent of world GDP – amounts to a speck on the global financial system. But Cookson’s worry is contagion.

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(Getty Images photo)
“Why it (Greece) is important is what it says about the perilous state of the periphery of Europe in general,” he says.

“It’s much likelier to me that they will default and that will create a chain reaction.” Indeed, Ireland, Portugal and Spain already are in trouble. And speculation is now bubbling that Italy too will face the debt-crisis fire.

To be sure, Cookson missed out on this year’s bull market in U.S. stocks, forecasting a decline, but he’s not alone in his bullish forecast for Treasurys. Traders pushed 10-year yields to the lowest level of the month Monday – 2.93 percent.

“Europe’s scaring people more than anything right now,” Thomas Roth, senior Treasury trader at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, tells Bloomberg.

“The longer it goes with the uncertainty, the more people are just going to throw in the towel, sell stocks and buy Treasurys.”

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When the dollar rose inexorably through the early 1980s, the mantra of many traders was buy dollars, wear diamonds. Richard Cookson, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, might agree with that sentiment now only he recommends purchasing long-term Treasurys as...
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