Private sucktor
Illustration: Shane Busato

Giving it all she's got

But the all-devouring deleveraging private sector keeps on taking

CNBC held a dynamite interview with David Rosenberg, former Merrill Lynch chief economist and current strategist at Gluskin Sheff, who offered the kind of big picture, 30,000 foot view that I love. We are well into an epic post bubble credit collapse. Deleveraging in the private sector is dramatically overwhelming any fiscal stimulus Obama can throw at it. The $50 trillion US household balance sheet is shrinking at an unprecedented rate. The unemployment rate will easily sail through 10.8 percent to a new high and spill over to a higher foreclosure rate. We’ve had two decades of baby boomers living beyond their means, and it is now time to revert to the mean. The stock market has already priced in an earnings recovery which we won’t see until 2012 at the earliest. Bull markets move in perfect 18 year cycles, and we are only half way through a generational washout in equity ownership that started in 2000. “Buy and Hold” is dead. An S&P 500 trading around a 13 multiple means will be stuck in a 650-950 range for years, and that’s being generous. Rent, don’t own stocks. The one place to be is commodities, because they will be underpinned by the undeniable demand coming from Asia, and have benefited greatly from consolidation. The big “Tell” here is that in last year’s huge sell off , they all bottomed at the previous cycle’s peak prices. It’s nice to hear someone reading from the same sheet of music as I. Too bad Merrill Lynch didn’t listen to David. Wow, do you think I should be selling rallies here at 886?"

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