Featured Notes

The ET Election Index – April 2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

Today we introduce the Epsilon Theory Election Index, a service intended to help you spot when you are being told how to think about the upcoming election, and to help you make up your own damn mind about it.

In this edition we introduce the key terms of our analysis and show you how the early days of the Democratic primary season are playing out.

In short? Whatever polls are saying, the narrative from the media appears to be that progressive is in, and Biden ain’t it.

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Wage Growth, Groucho Marx Edition

By Ben Hunt | May 7, 2019 | 3

Wage stagnation in 2016 was actually much worse than you were told. Did this make a difference in the Midwestern states that swung the election, in that actual labor conditions were worse than everyone thought they were? I think yes.

Wage growth in 2018 was actually much better than you were told. Did this make a difference in the current Fed/Wall Street/White House narrative that inflation is dead and the easy money punchbowl can be maintained without consequence? I think yes.

For a few days, we’re making this ET Professional note available to everyone to review. We think the ET Pro service is something that every portfolio allocation, wealth management and active investment team can find useful, particularly for risk management.

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Starry Eyes and Starry Skies

By Rusty Guinn | April 29, 2019 | 8

The student loan crisis is a Big Deal. And it is only a part of a Bigger Deal: the Myth of College.

This issue will be front-and-center in the upcoming elections. We will all be handed our very own ‘Yay, College’ signs to raise high. More often than not, we will be asked to raise them in service of market-distorting policies which will make our problems worse.

You don’t hate education, innovation, progress, equality and merit-based reward systems…do you?

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This is Water

By Ben Hunt | April 17, 2019 | 16

Time to add a fourth shift in the Zeitgeist: capitalist productivity, now 200+ years old, is becoming capitalist financialization.

Wall Street gets something to sell, management gets stock-based comp, the Fed gets a (very) grateful Wall Street, and the White House gets re-election.

What do YOU get out of financialization? You get to hold up a card that says “Yay, capitalism!”.

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Most Recent Notes

The Weekend Zeitgeist – 5.4.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 4, 2019 | 6 Comments
Posted:

It’s the Weekend Zeitgeist, in which we consider a going-forward rule for infrastructure editorials, a different kind of Valley Girl, an emerging Get Out of Dodge narrative, and SEO as a service.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.3.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
Posted:

It’s the Friday Zeitgeist, in which people who will never buy a company learn how to do it, Powell delivers a belly-rub and takes away a child’s cookie jar simultaneously, Swiss francs climb the Zeitgeist ladder, a local bank makes it up on volume, and we all declare together that an OK faux-hamburger is more than just a faux-hamburger.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.2.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
Posted:

Content placement by asset managers is like the elaborate red pouch of the male frigate bird. It is SO wasteful and extravagant that – in an economically perverse way – it demonstrates your evolutionary fitness. 

Ditto for why the sell-side still cares about II ratings and “who’s the ax?” and all that stuff that hasn’t mattered for 20 years.

It’s plumage.

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In the Trenches: Less Is More

By Peter Cecchini | May 2, 2019 | 1 Comment
Posted: ,

At some point, all Fed Chairs learn that their primary function is just to wave their hands. Jay Powell has learned this sooner than most.

ET contributor Pete Cecchini goes way off the Wall Street reservation with this: the bullish narrative for U.S. equity risk makes sense only if one accepts a narrative that the Fed will proactively move to prevent a U.S. slowdown before it happens.

Don’t believe it.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.1.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 1, 2019 | 1 Comment
Posted:

Berkshire Hathaway’s financing for Occidental is in the Zeitgeist today.

What is shadow banking? THIS.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it. Hey, this is Uncle Warren’s true face, and I’m a fan of authenticity in all its forms and ways. But if you think poorly of a guy like, say, Ken Griffin because you think Citadel was “bailed out by the US taxpayer”, and you don’t think EXACTLY the same about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway … then you’ve been played.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.30.2019

By Rusty Guinn | April 30, 2019 | 1 Comment
Posted:

It’s the Tuesday Zeitgeist, in which we explore how you could go with this (or you could go with that), the power of AS, my respect for you, IPOs aplenty and the trade/rotation of choice.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.29.2019

By Ben Hunt | April 29, 2019 | 5 Comments
Posted:

Our lead article today is about Uber (driving-as-a-service) and Amazon (shopping-as-a-service). It’s the triumph of on-demand everything, that makes both production and consumption an experience.

What do you get out experiential consumption and production?

You get to hold up a card that says, “Yay, swineherding!”

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The Zeitgeist Weekend Edition – 4.27.2019

By Rusty Guinn | April 27, 2019 | 2 Comments
Posted:

It’s the Weekend Zeitgeist, which means we leave the world of finance behind us to delve into bipartisan distrust of government, local opinion writers’ opinions on packaging materials, Yoopers, F-35 sales to completely trustworthy foreign partners, Fiat Features and the worst thing I ever saw.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.26.2019

By Ben Hunt | April 26, 2019 | 2 Comments
Posted:

Yeah, we’re at that point in the cycle where you will be told about all the wonderful opportunities provided by levered private REITS. 

For your IRA.

Because of all this craaaazy volatility in the stock market.

That and the President’s Cheif Economic Advisur tells us why “Dow 36,000” is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Notes from the Diamond #7: Hittin ‘Em Where They Ain’t (Part 2)

By David Salem | April 25, 2019 | 18 Comments
Posted: ,

ET contributor David Salem is back with five core tenets for achieving 5+% real returns over the next few decades.

It’s all a must-read, but I’m gonna highlight #4: “Favor equity investments in companies employing or serving primarily people with abundance as distinct from scarcity mindsets.”

This is the foundation for behavioral economics on a macro scale.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.25.2019

By Ben Hunt | April 25, 2019 | 5 Comments
Posted:

What is the only true superpower? The power to name things.

We name Milken and Boesky as junk-bond kings. We name their actions as a spree. We name their outcomes as devastation. We name their instrument as debt.

Today we name it balance sheet expansion.

Every man a king!

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The Zeitgeist – 4.24.2019

By Ben Hunt | April 24, 2019 | 3 Comments
Posted:

Say what you will about @jack, but he understands the necessary and sufficient condition for being a successful CEO today: create a Wall Street-supported non-GAAP narrative to describe your company’s financial results.

Tired: MAUs
Wired: mDAUs

All this, plus Russell Wilson continues surfing the Zeitgeist like no one else.

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ET Live! – 4.24.2019

By Rusty Guinn | April 24, 2019 | Comments Off on ET Live! – 4.24.2019
Posted:

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The Zeitgeist – 4.23.2019

By Ben Hunt | April 23, 2019 | 3 Comments
Posted:

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is back, baby! Just needed a little narrative happy face of “respect for global debt goals” and “promotion of green growth”. That plus multi-billion dollar non-recourse loans at 2% for a high-speed rail to nowhere.

Plus more on Walmart robots, ESG, and of course Free College!

Just another day of you can’t make it up, fresh from the ET Zeitgeist.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.22.2019

By Rusty Guinn | April 22, 2019 | 2 Comments
Posted:

The Monday Zeitgeist today is about companies actually being allowed to go bankrupt, the usual DB/CBK chatter, money flow cartoons, great moments in bad metagame, and a decent little personal finance column.

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The Zeitgeist Weekend Edition – 4.20.2019

By Rusty Guinn | April 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
Posted:

This Weekend Edition is a bit of a downer, but the Zeitgeist is what it is. And the non-financial markets Zeitgeist right now? It’s all about poverty, the spirit of poverty and how people transform our concerns about both into political power.

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The Funnel

By Demonetized | April 19, 2019 | 2 Comments
Posted:

We know what fiat news is: the presentation of opinion as fact. We also know what fiat news looks like: pop on over to Vox and skim a few stories.

But how does fiat news WORK?

New from ET contributor Demonetized, a clear-eyed look at wolf traps and sales funnels.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.19.2019

By Ben Hunt | April 19, 2019 | 2 Comments
Posted:

What Herman Cain would bring to the Fed, what Socrates brings to the MMT debate, what Pinterest and Zoom bring to the IPO market, and what work European PMs bring home when the markets are closed.

All in a day’s work for a Good Friday Zeitgeist.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.18.2019

By Ben Hunt | April 18, 2019 | 4 Comments
Posted:

Turns out that we may not be on the precipice of a global recession after all, that AOC may be pretty good at this politics game, and that parasitic companies enjoy Insane Clown Posse more than most. Also, Bob Pisani reveals CNBC’s noble mission.

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This is Water

By Ben Hunt | April 17, 2019 | 16 Comments
Posted:

Time to add a fourth shift in the Zeitgeist: capitalist productivity, now 200+ years old, is becoming capitalist financialization.

Wall Street gets something to sell, management gets stock-based comp, the Fed gets a (very) grateful Wall Street, and the White House gets re-election.

What do YOU get out of financialization? You get to hold up a card that says “Yay, capitalism!”.

Read more