Unlike a certain JPMorgan quant, Dennis Gartman has been on a roll lately (perhaps with the exception of his latest bust, when last week he said the Dow could surge as much as 1,000 points higher). As the world-renowned commodity guru said about a month ago, when most of his erudite Wall Street peers were banging the table on “BTFD”, Gartman not only moved to the sidelines but said to expect much more downside from “what is clearly a bear market.” And he was right.
Which of course, has proven problematic for the Gartman-fading algos which have been caught wrongfooted for the past month after years of easy alpha.
And while we don’t know if Gartman’s luck will continue, just to confuse DE Shaw’s 20-year-old math PhD quant geniuses, here is Gartman’s latest controversial take on what happens to the market next: judging by the bloodbath in early trading, Gartman’s luck may have just ran out.
STOCK PRICES HAVE CONTINUED TO FALL as eight of the ten markets comprising our International Index have fallen with the weakness in the US market’s leading the way lower. However, we get the feeling…and it is only a “feeling: and is nothing more than that… that a bounce of some modest magnitude shall develop today, and indeed as we write TGL this morning the Dow futures were trading 75-100 “points” higher.
Alas, by the time TGL was read by most, Dow cash was over 200 points lower. In any case Gartman has prudently learned how to hedge his calls, as the balance of his note reveals:
As we trust we’ve made clear many, many times over the course of the past several months, anything beyond a 7% move to the downside from an interim high is to us evidence that a bear market of some very real consequence is in effect; that the bears are in control and that the trend is down, must as a 7% “bounce” from an interim low is evidence to us that the bear market has run its course and that a new bull market has begun. At -13.7% from the highs made back in late January we’ve very nearly doubled that 7% “benchmark” and we’ve no choice but to trade and/or invest bearishly, selling strength first and buying weakness later. Again… and once again we are treading down a very repetitive path here this morning in making this case, but it must needs be said: This is a bear market in broad, global terms and because it is one can have but one of three possible investment positions: materially/aggressively short of stocks; modestly/tenuously short of stocks or, finally, neutral of them on balance.
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Further, given conversations we’ve had with investors both very large and very small we sense that the public shareholders have not even begun to sell any of the stocks that they’ve accumulated over the course of the past several years. Indeed, the public has been told to take a long-term view and to sit tight and even to consider buying into this current weakness. This is the very same advice that the public was given in ’07 and ’08 as the bear market then was only just in its infancy. They didn’t sell in size until early in ’09 and only as prices were down by 25, 30 and 40%… or more.
As for our retirement account, we went into the market on Friday rather aggressively net short of equities via various derivative positions and right on the opening of the NYSE we added to that position by about half again as much. However, as panic selling evolved late in the day we covered that which we had added to the short side and went home still aggressively net short of equities on balance.
To summarize, Gartman was “aggressively net short” going into the market on Friday, covered, and is still “aggressively net short” even as he now expects a near-term bounce in an overall bear market. Trade accordingly.