Latest Schultz Shock: a 'bank holiday'
Commentary: A leading newsletter paints a grim picture of the future
By Peter Brimelow, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The top-performing letter that predicted the Crash of 2008 now predicts a confiscatory Franklin D. Roosevelt-style "bank holiday." But it's surprisingly sanguine about stocks -- in the (very) short term.
The Harry Schultz Letter (HSL) was my pick for Letter of the Year in 2008 because it really did predict what it rightly called a coming "financial tsunami." But its performance in 2008 was still terrible, albeit arguably for technical reasons. ( See Dec. 28, 2008, column.)
Now HSL has bounced back big-time. ( See April 13 column.) Over the year to date through May, it's up a remarkable 81.7% by Hulbert Financial Digest count, compared to 4.1% for the dividend-reinvested Wilshire 5000 Total Stock Market Index.
Of course, simple arithmetic dictates that doesn't make up for 2008 -- over the past 12 months, HSL is still down 48.19% versus negative 32.63% for the total return Wilshire 5000. In fact, the damage inflicted by 2008 was so great that HSL is also under water over the past three years, down an annualized 14.89% against a drop of 8.18% annualized for the total return Wilshire 5000.
Still, over the past five years, the letter has achieved an annualized gain of 9.19%, compared to negative 1.26% annualized for the total return Wilshire 5000. This reflects its success in catching the post-millennium hard-asset bull market that caused me to name it Letter of the Year, for more conventional reasons, in 2005. ( See Dec. 29, 2005, column.)
And over the past 10 years, the letter still shows an annualized gain of 3.65%, against negative 0.86% annualized for the total return Wilshire.
In its current issue, HSL reports rumors that "Some U.S. embassies worldwide are being advised to purchase massive amounts of local currencies; enough to last them a year. Some embassies are being sent enormous amounts of U.S. cash to purchase currencies from those governments, quietly. But not pound sterling. Inside the State Dept., there is a sense of sadness and foreboding that 'something' is about to happen ... within 180 days, but could be 120-150 days."
Yes, yes, it's paranoid. But paranoids have enemies -- and the Crash of 2008 really did happen.
HSL's suspicion: "Another FDR-style 'bank holiday' of indefinite length, perhaps soon, to let the insiders sort out the bank mess, which (despite their rosy propaganda campaign) is getting more out of their control every day. Insiders want to impose new bank rules. Widespread nationalization could result, already underway. It could also lead to a formal U.S. dollar devaluation, as FDR did by revaluing gold (and then confiscating it)."
HSL is still sticking with its 20-year "V" formation forecast, but emphasizes that within the current 10-year downtrend phase there will be rallies that will "last 1-2 years." It attributes its current success to "successfully trading almost daily, especially in commodity stocks (coal/potash/energy/ fertilizer/gold). Take profits constantly and rebuy on mini pullbacks. Prefer non-U.S. dollar companies; many such companies are listed in U.S. & Canada or Australia."
HSL says: "The world is staggering today between stagflation and net deflation right now; it varies widely around globe. Net deflation is a maybe 35% risk, due to toxics and/or deepening depression. Bit more likely, we'll slowly creep up to a dangerous 4.5% inflation on average, medium-term. But the wild card is the currency risk, which has a 50% (?) chance of boiling over and causing literally overnight (i.e. 24 hours) mega inflation in the asset markets."
Nevertheless, in the very short term, HSL's charting leads it to say: "we MAY not get a new bear market decline that many bears are predicting. Likewise, DJIA & S&P500 may build a Head-and Shoulders right shoulder."
HSL's currently recommended allocation:
• 35%-45% Government notes, bills and bonds. (Not U.S.)
• 8%-10% Stocks (non-golds).
• 10%-30% Commodities, via futures, commodity stocks and/or physical assets.
• 35%-45% Gold stocks and bullion.
• 0-5% Bear stock protection via inverse ETFs like ProShares UltraShort QQQ ; ProShares UltraShort Dow30 ("Use to trade/hedge market downturns only.")