Paul Tudor Jones Interview on Bloomberg: "Choppier Market" Ahead ~ market folly

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Paul Tudor Jones Interview on Bloomberg: "Choppier Market" Ahead

Paul Tudor Jones of macro hedge fund Tudor Investment Corp recently sat down with Bloomberg to talk about the macro picture, the Federal Reserve, and more.

Jones said that, "But I think the reality is it's clear low interest rates hurts savers and help borrowers. I think what the Fed is doing and the reason why they won't raise interest rates now, I think it's kind of acknowledging to me a much larger macro issue, which is if you think about the last 50, 60 years, there's is a perfect negative correlation between the interest income paid by the Federal government and interest rates. So the higher the share of GDP that's paid in interest income by the Federal government, typically that correlates high interest rates also. So what the Fed is doing is recognizing there is a tail risk with low interest rates. There's a tail risk with zero. We seem to run perpetual deficits at minus two, minus percent."

When asked what QE4 would do, he replied, "Again, I think it's a really interesting time in the market. It's if you kind of just look at financial conditions index, if you look at where global growth is going, this is typically historically associated, been associated with the Fed lowering interest rates, some type of interest rate relief. And that's always typically been good for stock markets. And yet now we have a central bank that I think for the first time is actually -- is managing towards the credit side of the equation, as opposed to the economic side of the equation.     And by that I mean they're looking at the balance sheet. They're uncomfortable with the size of it. That's why they want to get rates away from zero. I think they're concerned about the expanding global debt-to-GDP. And I think they're trying to probably insert back into the equation the fact that interest rates can rise and that people need to manage their balance sheets accordingly, particularly the federal government."

Jones was then questioned as to why they haven't already raised rates.  He said:

"I think they had their opportunity last spring. They probably missed it. They're trying to catch up. And again, all you have got to do think about at zero rates it encourages this nonstop borrowing from the federal governments because of the fact that interest income as a percentage of GDP is at one of the lowest levels in the past 34 years because rates are at zero. It encourages bad behavior by a variety of different stakeholders, not the least of which is our federal government.

Well, again, I think the Federal Reserve Board is managing for the balance sheet, as opposed to local economic conditions. Every time we've had this kind of set of macro variables, a huge bear market in commodities, slowing global growth, you have typically seen the Fed respond with an easing. I think of '98 in particular. And normally it would be a great time to own stocks.     Now I think for the first time since Volcker, probably, you see the Fed managing, in my mind, they're managing for the balance sheet to take out the tail risk associated, and associated with expanding debt virtually globally, and not to mention our federal debt. And I don't know if they necessarily say that avowedly, but to me it makes the most sense."

When asked if he thinks this points to a bear market, Jones said it points to a choppier market. He went on to add, "Again, the BOJ seems to be a reluctant easer, their balance sheet constrained, ECB, everyone expects them to go, but it will be an incremental step because I think they're, to a certain extent, balance sheet constrained and uncomfortable with it. So normally where you would be seeing a lot of interest rate relief globally, it's different this time. And I think that's one reason why the markets are going to be much choppier going forward."

Tudor Jones then ended the interview by noting that, "I think it's challenging times. There are a lot of crosscurrents. Again, it would be really easy to be super bullish on equities, given what the response function should be, but it's not going to happen."

Embedded below is the video of Jones' appearance on Bloomberg:

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