Finance

Michael P. Regan is a Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering equities and financial services. He has covered stocks for Bloomberg News as a columnist and editor since 2007. He previously worked for the Associated Press.

I don't know what your favorite style of Bill Gross communications is, but my personal favorite is when he sounds like he just got back from a week of wandering the desert while consulting with a talking coyote that has the voice of Johnny Cash.

And lo and behold, Gross -- a self-described "philosophical nomad disguised in Western clothing, a wondering drifter, masquerading in a suit near a California beach" -- did not disappoint this week. From the Janus Capital official Twitter account came this tweet for the ages: 

Gross: Global yields lowest in 500 years of recorded history. $10 trillion of neg. rate bonds. This is a supernova that will explode one day.

I was really hoping to see Mario Draghi respond with a "delete your account" zinger from the official European Central Bank handle, but so far there's been no response. And you can't blame him, really, because who's got time for a flame war when a supernova's about to explode.  

If you were wondering what the heck a supernova is anyway, Bloomberg News provided this handy definition for everyone who does not have a talking coyote on staff: "A supernova is a star at the end of its life that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass." Hmm, kind of sounds like the last few years in the life of Gross's star career, but we digress. 

How Low Can They Go?
The abundance of negative bond yields is a 'supernova that will explode one day,' according to Janus Capital's Bill Gross
Source: Bloomberg

Anyway, it was hard not to read the rest of the financial news this week without wondering if they make a sunscreen with an SPF number high enough to protect us all from exploding supernovas. Even the headline on the market wrap at the moment reeks of supernova fumes: "Stocks Retreat With Oil as Record-Low Bond Yields Point to Angst.

I mean even George Soros has apparently caught the whiff of supernova smoke, or maybe just the matches being lit to start a bonfire of British pounds in the forex market should Boris With the Good Hair succeed in talking the blokes into a Brexit. Soros, famous for breaking the Bank of England with his huge sterling short in 1992, was reported here and there this week to be back at the helm of his $30 billion family office and taking some "big, bearish bets." 

Currency Swing
Expectations for volatility in the pound are the highest they have been in seven years
Source: Bloomberg

Another character from the Soros soap opera was also in the news this week: Hideo Shiozumi, a 72-year-old "lone wolf" Tokyo fund manager who very well could be running a restaurant if Soros hadn't talked him into picking stocks for him in the 1980s. His fund is beating 98 percent of competitors so far this year, so this profile is worth a read.

While Gross gets the Trade of the Week award, we'll also give Shiozumi a nod for Quote of the Week for his quip that the president of Japanese online fashion retailer Start Today Co. is “very serious despite looking like a musician.” Pretty ironic, considering that Shiozumi turned out for his closeup rocking a sport coat that makes him look as if he shops at the same store as the Jersey Boys.  

Indeed, maybe all of Wall Street's humanity is an exploding supernova, which could be the takeaway from this Hugh Son piece about how we've reached "peak human" and robots are going to steal all our jobs and, apparently, mischieviously snip our neckties. You know I'm a fan of yours, Hugh, but for all our sake I'm hoping you're wrong about this and all the "peak human" talk turns out to be about as accurate as the "peak oil" talk a decade ago. Sure the conventional wells drilled in the Ivy League may be running dry, but Wall Street has barely even begun to frack the state schools. 

Heck, maybe humanity is one giant exploding supernova. That could explain the logic behind two exchange-traded funds that launched this week: one seeking to profit from obesity and another seeking to profit from the warehouses where the millennials will be storing all the Baby Boomers during their twilight years. At least there was also a new ETF that tracks whiskey so, you know, not all the new ideas are gimmicks.  

Anyway, that's all we've got for this week. Have a good weekend. And if you encounter a talking coyote in your journeys, don't get too freaked out: It might just be a talking dog. 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Michael P. Regan in New York at mregan12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Daniel Niemi at dniemi1@bloomberg.net