Monday, December 12, 2016

Why Do Unified Republican Governments Always Lead to Crisis?

While I believe the purpose of these types of headlines and tweets are to illicit positive emotions, readers would be well advised to look up the DISASTROUS history of extended periods of unified Republican governments. 

In fact, the ONLY 3 PERIODS of extended unified Republican governments going back to 1900 ALL DIRECTLY led to banking crises....Arguably the 3 worst in US History. To be clear, I am defining 'extended' unified governments as anytime they control the House, Senate and White house for at least 4 years. This does not include short 2 year stints since it's hard to screw things up that quick (FYI there was only 1 period of that anyway, 1953-1955). You can look up the periods yourself here and more detail here.

The list of Unified Republican Government crises include the Panic of 1907The Great Depression, and the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008. Interestingly, the record of extended Republican control of Congress has also only led to crises. There have only been 4 periods of extended Republican control of Congress (3 of which overlap with the periods of full unified control just mentioned). However, the 4th period (I KID YOU NOT) ended in the 2000 DotCom Bust where the Republicans controlled the House and Senate from 1995-2001.

In short, full Republican control has NO history of making America great...let alone AGAIN. Don't feel like checking out that history yourself? Here's what you'll find....
Technically Republicans took control in 1895 but this graph does not start there. And While I mentioned the Panic of 1907......I will just brush off the Panic of 1901. Markets fell over 43% before bottoming after both events. How they were not thrown out until 1911 is anyone's guess.

Then we have the Great Depression fuelled by the unsustainable laissez-faire polices of the roaring 20's.
Only led to the greatest market decline in history and total social devastation.....Is that the type of "Great" we want to make again? 

Oh and then we have the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008
This case meets the minimum for "extended" by getting to 4 years (although technically they almost had 6 full years as only 1 independent tipped the senate democrat in 2001). Again lax regulations created the housing bubble which popped in 2006 and lead to our famous bank failures and financial crisis. (Case Shiller housing price index)

While the Republicans managed to get kicked out of Congress in 2007 the coming disaster was already well in motion by then.

While that wraps up the History of the 3 worst banking crises in American History...or um....I mean the History of the "Unified Republican Government". It would not be complete without completing it with the final piece to the history of the extended Republican control of Congress....which is only complete with the DotCom Bust of 2000.
There we have it folks! The disastrous history which has accompanied EVERY extended Unified Republican Government (or control of congress) since 1900. Think I'm missing a period that didn't end in disaster? Check for yourself. I'm not.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Analyst Price Targets Gone Wrong

So I was recently browsing a report by FactSet which aggregates analyst price target data for stocks. So for fun, I went back to last year's report to see what was said and how things turned out.....Results? Ugly.

First, I looked at their interesting chart which shows the top 10 stocks in the S&P 500 whose price at the start of 2015 was most significantly below its aggregate analyst price target.

The average of these 10 stocks were 45.7% below their price targets. Wow, sounds awesome, why not just make a portfolio of these 10 stocks and roll with it...+47.5% returns here we come! Well, here is how that would have turned out.

No, I did not reverse the signs....they actually were THAT bad! They had the average % return correct.....JUST IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!! Remember folks....the S&P 500 returned +1.4% in 2015, if you equal weighted all 500 stocks it still would have been only -2.2%. It's quite a feat to do this badly.

How about the stocks whose aggregate price targets were most BELOW their starting price in 2015? The stocks they thought would do worst?

Here, on average, they expected these stocks to decline -12.1%. And the results?
Well atleast the average fall was close but what I hope your noticing is how much BETTER these did then those expected to perform best. Not only that but this group actually included 4 stocks that were positive and 6 stocks that performed better than the equal weighted S&P 500.

Lastly, how about just a bottom up look at expected sector returns? What were they saying in 2015?
Ok, so they were expecting 6.8% for the S&P and it returned 1.4% but what about if you want to use this to overweight some sectors? How about if you just equal weight the top 5 sectors (Energy, Materials, Industrials, Telecom & Health Care)? That would give you an expected return of 10.0%. Results?

Terrible, enough said.