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Michael A. Gayed, CFA
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Michael A. Gayed, CFA, winner of the 2016 Dow Award and 2015 NAAIM Wagner Award, is chief investment strategist and co-portfolio manager at Pension Partners, LLC., an investment advisor which manages mutual funds and separate accounts according to its ATAC strategies. Prior to this role, Gayed... More
My company:
Pension partners, llc
My blog:
Pension Partners Blog
My book:
Intermarket Analysis and Investing: Integrating Economic, Fundamental, and Technical Trends
  • Week in Review – November 27, 2011 5 comments
    Nov 27, 2011 4:43 PM | about stocks: SPY, IWM, TLT
    “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” – George S. Patton
    I hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving. For me, it was a welcome break from the volatility in markets, which in just two short weeks has resulted in a significant decline in stocks. I noted that following the first week of November, our ATAC (Accelerated Time And Capital) models positioned are clients largely into “risk-off” mode, i.e. mostly out of equities and back into U.S. Treasuries following the October melt-up. It appears that the timing of such a re-allocation was on target given recent volatility in equities. While November tends to be a favorable month for stocks, our models sensed an abrupt deflation scare was coming, and it appears the Italy and now Spain are the source of it.
    I want to stress something which is very important for our clients and prospective clients to understand. Our ATAC models are quantitatively driven and are designed to answer two questions. The first question is whether we should be risk-on (equities) or risk-off (bonds) based purely on price inputs which gauge whether inflation expectations are rising (good for equities/bad for bonds), or falling (the opposite). The second question is how to best maximize time in outperforming ETFs within those asset classes. Risk-off does NOT mean to go into cash, and does not mean no-risk. Quantitative strategies that rotate across equities and cash have been shown to generally underperform buy and hold, while those that rotate across asset classes with low correlation to each other tend to perform considerably better.
    Having said all that, last Friday our models positioned us full risk-off (into bonds) and out of all equity exposure as internals continued to deteriorate. A true feeling of deflation is taking hold, and no amount of Holiday spending can counter that. I have noted that Italy changed everything in terms of the continuation of the Fall Melt-Up, and it appears that my writings timed with ATAC were correct given that equities just had their worst Thanksgiving week since 1932. This occurred while 2 and 5-year Treasuries hit all time record low yields at recent auctions.
    Do not underestimate how much lower yields can go here in the U.S, particularly if Europe is unable to put the fire out in the next few weeks. The world is in danger mode, and that means Treasuries can continue to experience strong demand as the world’s only safe-haven (ignoring Gold for this discussion). And while it is certainly possible that markets can rally on some kind of news or rumor, I don’t believe a sustainable uptrend in equities can occur unless we have the 3 Cs: confidence, competence, and certainty.
    The fundamental problem is magnitude and speed. Italy was never a surprise – the speed at which interest costs rose (overnight) is. Every time worldwide equity markets go down 2%, something like $200 billion gets erased (depending on data sources – the number itself is less important than the general magnitude). Think about this for a moment. In a single day hundreds of billions of dollars can literally evaporate, and yet Europe with its massive debt is unsure about printing money to inflate out of it. Even if they turned the printing presses on at full speed, would it even matter? It seems to me they would need to print just to buy more printing machines in order to counter market movement.
    So we wait and see how this plays out. It appears that U.S. bonds can continue to do well. At the end of the day, even if the Fed does initiate some form of stimulus/QE3, it likely would come in the form of more asset purchases, including the buying up of bonds. Equities would likely rally on this, but so would Treasuries. And again, it remains to be seen if such a program would inspire competence, confidence, and certainty longer term.
    Going forward, I will try to include a list of all my writings for the week (see below) for those interested in my more traditional analysis and interpretation of intermarket relationships. I continue to believe we are headed for a “December to Remember Breakdown” in equities which could result in a repeat of August/September (though admittedly the most recent action of equities is making that prediction come to pass early). With the U.S. dollar rallying strongly, all signs point to the early stages of a panic. Fortunately, our ATAC models have been tested in the worst decade since the Depression, allowing us to tactically navigate through some incredibly rough waters.
    Michael A. Gayed, CFA
    Chief Investment Strategist
    Pension Partners, LLC
    Twitter: @pensionpartners
    YouTube: youtube.com/pensionpartners
    Summary of Writings Published Last Week:
    ATAC Backtested Model Results:
    ATAC - Conservative Model Backtested Results:
    ATAC - Moderate Model Backtested Results:
    ATAC - Aggressive Model Backtested Results:
    This writing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation to buy, or a recommendation regarding any securities transaction, or as an offer to provide advisory or other services by Pension Partners, LLC in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction. The information contained in this writing should not be construed as financial or investment advice on any subject matter. Pension Partners, LLC expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken based on any or all of the information on this writing.
    Stocks: SPY, IWM, TLT
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Comments (5)
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  • Dorky
    , contributor
    Comments (736) | Send Message
    Not bad on such an accurate timing.
    But I would bet against a melt-down from now on.
    I bet this "December to remember" may very likely to be postponed to "1st quarter of 2012 to remember".
    Italy was definitely a game-changer, but that was the past.
    28 Nov 2011, 09:45 AM Reply Like
  • Michael A. Gayed, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (1301) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » One day does not make a trend. Italian yields are as of writing still strongly over 7% - nothing has changed.
    28 Nov 2011, 10:17 AM Reply Like
  • dieuwer
    , contributor
    Comments (2978) | Send Message
    Italy is so November 2011...
    28 Nov 2011, 03:42 PM Reply Like
  • Tas 2010
    , contributor
    Comments (272) | Send Message


    I read with interest your article on the risk premium coming out of oil prices. I would be surprised to see the Iran premium removed anytime soon. No matter how its resolved, their oil will remain a factor to the market. If Israel attacks Iran, oil goes up. If Israel doesn't attack Iran it will leave investors questioning when they will attack. I just don't see Iran playing by any rules that would lead to a significant drop in oil prices.


    I too agree that the price of oil has disconnected from the oil service companies and I too wonder why this is. Forgetting for a moment the "speculation" markets, the actual physical market of stored oil in the USA is the lowest its been in quite some time (for my purposes I ignore releases from the SPR). This too must be resolved. Oil service stocks trading near their 52 week lows while oil itself is the highest price ever at this time of year. In my mind this can only be resolved by a massive collapse in oil demand, however, China imported 26% more oil this October vs last October and, in a rare move, has started to import diesel and other oil products to offset shortages.


    Something is not adding up.
    28 Nov 2011, 09:56 PM Reply Like
  • Michael A. Gayed, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (1301) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I agree - my point in the article is that the stock side of the Oil equations may win out, but you are correct that there is a massive unknown as it comes to Iran.
    29 Nov 2011, 09:42 AM Reply Like
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