Gross Says Global Selloff Shows Failure of Central Bank Efforts

What's Behind the Global Selloff in Equities?
  • Dow's 3 percent plunge opens opportunities from liquidations
  • Market's deleveraging is behind `Wile E. Coyote' style selloff

The rout in global markets is being triggered by investors seeking to reduce leverage as central bank efforts to prop up economies have little effect, according to Janus Capital Group Inc.’s Bill Gross.

“Markets sense this lack of growth potential and observe recessions beginning in major emerging-market economies,” Gross, who manages the $1.3 billion Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund, wrote in an e-mail. The markets are attempting to balance value at risk “on a daily basis reducing risk but lowering prices.”

U.S. stock markets were down more than 3 percent on Wednesday and off by more than 11 percent this year, hurt by falling oil prices and a rush to havens such as U.S. Treasuries.

“Is it over?” Gross wrote. “Seems to be approaching a temporary bottom in oil,” stocks and high-yield bonds.

Coyote Symbolism

Gross last month urged investors to “de-risk” their portfolios as the Wile E. Coyote moment nears, a reference to the cartoon character whose schemes to catch the fleet-footed Road Runner bird inevitably backfire, often ending with a plunge over a cliff.

“Wile E. Coyote -- symbolic of markets -- observes that he/she is levered for more favorable outcomes and begins to delever along with hedge/risk oriented managers,” Gross wrote on Wednesday.

He said a few “safe arbitrage” situations are emerging as sellers liquidate to raise cash. Examples include Precision Castparts Corp. and SABMiller Plc, he said. The Mexican peso may be the “most attractive long shot,” according to Gross.

“It doesn’t deserve to be in the company of Brazil,” Gross said of the Mexican currency.

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