In a world without the contrarian beacon that was Dennis Gartman, the head of the world’s largest hedge fund has valiantly stepped in to take his place.
Recall that during Davos 2018, Ray Dalio infamously told his CNBC interviewers on Jan 23 that “if you’re holding cash you’re going to feel pretty stupid.” Well, not only did the cash holder not feel stupid when just two weeks later the S&P suffered its first correction since the crisis, but by the end of 2018, cash ended up being the best performing asset of the year with stocks plunging in the 4th quarter.
Then, in a surreal repeat, exactly two years later Ray bizarrely double down, and once again speaking in Davos, told CNBC on Jan 21 of 2020 that “cash is trash.” Almost exactly one month later the market started a plunge that would quickly turn into the biggest and fastest market crash since the financial crisis.
In retrospect, one almost wonders if Dalio is now the editor of The Gartman Report, his every call meant to be faded with reckless abandon.
We may soon find out, because it now appears that the famous creator of workplace “principles” is tripling down on his recos, and in a tweet this morning the billionaire investor tweeted words of encouragement as markets crashed, saying “look for the opportunities” but only after protecting against “the risk of ruin”, and yet protecting the risk of ruin usually involves holding on to substantial amounts of cash, so… which is it?
Periods of turbulence provide both large risks and large opportunities, so after you make sure that you and your people are safe from the risk of ruin, look for the opportunities. It is because at such times most people pay the most attention to the risks than the opportunities. pic.twitter.com/gvkv4LLNJc
— Ray Dalio (@RayDalio) March 9, 2020
The tweet followed an even more bizarre tweet from Sunday in which Dalio cited a “work principle” according to which “if you’re not worried, you need to worry – and if you’re worried, you don’t need to worry” and which no matter how deeply one contemplates the zen imagery or the inherent philosophy in this principle, it simply makes absolutely no sense.
I urge you to consider this principle now as It pertains to your handling of the Coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/fXDzYYGJuY
— Ray Dalio (@RayDalio) March 7, 2020
Perhaps to protect Dalio from the humiliation of destroying the portfolios of mom and pop investors who place the Bridgewater founder on some investing pedestal, the former master of the universe, ex-Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein himself now retired, diluted today’s bullishit [sic] also urged investors to “expect a quick recovery when the health threat recedes.”
Fear can take mkt lower, but expect quick recovery when health threat recedes. Esp in US, underlying economy strong, banks well-capped, system not too leveraged. Unlike ‘08, will avoid systemic damage that cud take years to work thru. Obviously, not ignoring tragic human toll….
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) March 9, 2020
It wasn’t clear if Lloyd missed the actual news from the weekend, and that the latest market crash had nothing to do with the coronavirus and everything to do with the carnage in the energy sector as oil plunged to levels that indicate not a global recession but depression.
In any case, we will reserve judgment on the proper course of action until we learn if it is also Gartman’s recommendation to buy stocks in dollar terms. If we indeed have a trifecta… well, we suggest you panic.