Tags: Kass | market | bear | bull

Doug Kass: 'My Market View Remains Negative'

By    |   Friday, 06 March 2015 08:40 AM

Star hedge fund manager Doug Kass, president of Seabreeze Partners Management, has been bearish on stocks for some time, and the S&P 500's rise to yet another record high last Wednesday wasn't enough to change his mind.

"My market view remains negative, and I am positioned defensively," he writes on his blog. "Thus far, the market is indifferent to what I have seen as a deterioration in the macroeconomic trends and to rising geopolitical threats."

Traders and investors have pushed stocks higher, "despite a material decline in corporate profit expectations (caused by lower oil prices, a stronger U.S. dollar and slowing global growth)."

Analysts predict profits will fall 4.9 percent in the current quarter, according to Bloomberg. That compares to a 3.7 percent increase in the fourth quarter for the 485 S&P 500 companies that reported as of Friday, according to FactSet.

In addition, "sentiment is elevated, as the bull market in complacency has hit a new high, and many of the most important valuation methodologies are seriously stretched, including Shiller’s CAPE," Kass explains.

He was referring to Robert Shiller's cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratio, which exceeds all periods except 1929, 2000 and 2007. These dates preceded crashes.

"The confluence of the aforementioned fundamental, sentiment and valuation issues can potentially be considered the Golden Triangle of the Bear Case," Kass writes.

"Bear markets are borne out of optimism, good news and good feelings."

So if an end to the six-year market rally is coming, what would trigger it?

"We think the bull market end-game is either inflation hurting bonds, EPS [earnings per share] recession wounding stocks, or speculative excess," Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says in a commentary obtained by MarketWatch.

As for inflation, so far it is nowhere to be seen. Consumer prices slid 0.1 percent in the year through January.

In what might be a sign of speculative excess, the S&P 500 had a price-earnings ratio of 18.95 as of Feb. 27, up from 17.87 a year earlier, according to Birinyi Associates.

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Star hedge fund manager Doug Kass, president of Seabreeze Partners Management, has been bearish on stocks for some time, and the S&P 500's rise to yet another record high last Wednesday wasn't enough to change his mind.
Kass, market, bear, bull
341
2015-40-06
Friday, 06 March 2015 08:40 AM
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