John Gilbert CIO of General Re New England Asset Management in the recent December issue of Reflections blasted the Fed for their role in the biggest mess of the financial system that he has seen. He calls Twitter todays lottery winner and vaguely states emerging markets vulnerabilities when the Fed begins to taper. He compares Cisco (of 1999) and Twitter (of today) and the outcomes of irrational exuberance over a long period of time. There are great accompanying charts and the full PDF can be found below. I included a few excerpts that I found interesting.
”Lest one think it does not affect the U.S. and other developed market countries, recall the Asian crisis chronology. Thailand devalued its currency in the summer of 1997 and few outside of Thailand cared. But contracting Asian demand reduced demand for oil, and Russia (whose exports are 80% oil) defaulted in August of 1998. Risk spreads widened, and five weeks later, Long Term Capital Management was insolvent.”
“It would seem fair if Twitter were to share. The company’s initial public offering was a staggering success, of course. Priced at $26, the stock closed its first day of trading at $45 per share. The company was thus endowed with a market capitalization of $25 billion. The company has no earnings, but who cares. Adding back non-cash charges to produce earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, then adding back the financial value of non-cash employee compensation, the company can be regarded as profitable. Such a number for 2013 may approximate $50 million or so. The company is valued at 500 times such results, which exclude expenses that do have economic value. Correctly accounted, the company makes not a dime. But who cares when circumspection is the investment equivalent of tuberculosis.”
”This is a major component of the downside to the Fed’s program. They have created a systemic risk in the world financial system for which they take little or no responsibility, because that which happens outside the U.S. is not their assignment. But as custodians of the reserve currency, it ends up that way.”