Daily Briefing – August 17, 2020

Published on
August 17th, 2020
Duration
33 minutes


Daily Briefing – August 17, 2020

Daily Briefing ·
Featuring Jack Farley, Max Wiethe, and Ash Bennington

Published on: August 17th, 2020 • Duration: 33 minutes

Senior editor, Ash Bennington, is joined by editor, Max Wiethe, to talk gold, stocks, housing, and New York. After Ash analyzes the dismal Empire Manufacturing reading, he and Max discuss the NAHB housing number and explore what it means for the future of New York as professionals flee big cities for the safety of the suburbs. Ash and Max then interpret Goldman Sachs' increase of its price target for the S&P 500, which leads into a discussion of the future of U.S. equities more broadly. Lastly, Ash and Max discuss the case for and against precious metals and emphasize understanding both sides of the trade. In the intro, Jack explores dislocations in the U.S. housing market, looks at Berkshire Hathaway's investment in Barrick Gold Corp, and gives a sneak peak for Tuesday and Wednesday for Real Vision's "Precious Metals Week."

Comments

Transcript

  • LB
    Lukas B.
    18 August 2020 @ 14:59
    It's hilarious to me that people quote the "less than 1 MILLION (!) jobless claims" as some sort of positive threshold.
    • RM
      Robert M.
      20 August 2020 @ 21:30
      John Williams' Shadow Stats adjusts UE for the metric change since 1980. I'd like to see more adjustments for change mentioned to see how apples to apples look.
  • BT
    Ben T.
    18 August 2020 @ 14:16
    Max, you’re doing great! Nice to see you being given the exposure and screen time to grow. What is wrong with people these days? One of societies greatest weaknesses is this infatuation with knocking people down. I always find Max intelligent, curious and insightful. Sure he doesn’t have the life experience yet of some of the more senior staff but in many ways that’s not his mandate. He is a confident, enthusiastic interviewer of elder experts in their chosen field and more than capable of asking the right questions and driving good content for viewers. In time, his natural talents along with a career in the front row talking to some of the greatest minds in finance will make his own thoughts all the more valuable and respected. Give the next generation some encouragement. There is a reason the senior team at Real Vision have chosen to back guys such as Max and Jack.
    • AQ
      Andrew Q.
      18 August 2020 @ 23:37
      Elder GenXer here. Well said.
  • JF
    Jack F. | Real Vision
    18 August 2020 @ 17:11
    Hi everyone, I posted a written version of my intro, which has all the charts in greater detail. You can find it on our blog here: https://www.realvision.com/blog/berkshire-buys-barrick/
  • JD
    Jesse D.
    18 August 2020 @ 02:33
    Can either of you confirm/comment on all the doom and gloom being portrayed on NYC.
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      18 August 2020 @ 02:53
      I'm excited to be back as a young person who is fortunate to live in a nice neighborhood with tons of stuff I like. My view might not be the same as everyone else's. If I was a property owner I'd probably be singing a very different tune. Things are VERY different and it depends on what part of town you are in and what you like about the city. I have not been to the outer boroughs since returning so no comments there. I live right by the shopping district in Soho and can tell you things are not good. Tourism is essentially illegal. You have to self quarantine for 14-days from 34 states last I checked and many countries won't even let you travel here. A great stat I heard was about Katz's Deli (they ship nation wide and would highly recommend to anyone who likes a good jewish deli) which was serving over 4000 people a day pre-COVID and is now doing closer to 100-200. Many of the lunch places I used to go to by the office are no longer open. Prices at some of my favorite restaurants have gone up while menus are more compact. I've seen consolidation from restaurants that weren't chains but had sister restaurants where one or two closed and menus were combined with all operations run out of one location. Presumably because of decreased demand and to cut back on staff.
    • GH
      Gloria H.
      18 August 2020 @ 16:37
      I'll complement Max's view by reporting from one of the outer boroughs -- Brooklyn. In my area (keep in mind, Brooklyn is vast with different neighborhoods/demographics), things are slowly coming back. [Some] restaurants are back with take-out/outdoor dining. Unfortunately, I'm seeing a disturbing number of closed storefronts but I'm also seeing signs that new businesses are making plans to open. People are on the street, running errands to grocery stores and other "essential" activities and generally going on about their business but thankfully wearing masks. The transit system is running and people are using it, though not quite in pre-pandemic numbers. I am cautiously optimistic about NYC, if we can keep the numbers from rising.
  • CM
    Christopher M.
    17 August 2020 @ 22:59
    I would have liked to see coverage of the reversal of 10-year treasury real rates. If it persists tomorrow can you guys cover it? Lyn Alden considers these the main driver of gold price up from its trend line corresponding to M2 money supply. They were getting less negative the last week and that reversed big today, now being more negative than they’ve been since August 11: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield Raul said last week he uses TD indicators. These show gold in a bad position on daily and weekly charts but show on the monthly chart that it has one more month of upward momentum. It did spike today, consistent with the reversal of treasury real yields (and with the Buffet news) against its daily and weekly bearish technicals on TD sequential. Also, I can’t find Max or Mike Greene on Twitter. Can you post their handles? Finally, I can only post comments on the web site. If I use the app it says “unable to perform action.” Anyone else have that problem?
    • PB
      PHILLIP B.
      17 August 2020 @ 23:22
      What are "TD" indicators?
    • CM
      Christopher M.
      17 August 2020 @ 23:27
      Tom Demark sequential, used to assess price momentum and signs of the exhaustion and reversal of trends.
    • GH
      Gloria H.
      18 August 2020 @ 16:28
      I don't know if Max is on twitter but Mike's handle is @profplum99
  • TM
    Tyler M.
    17 August 2020 @ 22:58
    It’s frustrating to see Max on so many videos. It’d be one thing if he brought some expertise and experience to the table, and had a solid on camera presence. Unfortunately, that’s no the case. Ash on the other hand is a pleasure to listen to and is full of relevant facts and figures. He provides a master class in how to deliver information and interview guests. Why is Max on so many videos when Rao, Ash, and Ed are so much better at these?
    • CW
      Corey W.
      18 August 2020 @ 00:09
      For 5 months I've watched every video released on RV as a Plus member, so I've seen a fair amount of Max. That said, he does bring experience and expertise. It's not at the level of more senior staff, which typically correlates with length of time in the industry and on the planet. I've repeatedly seen Max indicate when he doesn't know something, was wrong, or is out of his league, and I've also seen him repeatedly ask great questions with a variety of guests, rather than just being a cheerleader or yes person (remember that younger RV interviewer a few months back who answered "awesome" twice to an interviewee's comments, and was roasted in the comments section for doing a poor job? Notice we've never seen him again? ;-)). Max, and some of these younger guys like Jack and Nick, are a younger generation gaining experience and working to attain the caliber of their older peers. That takes time, and it also takes practical applicable experience. I think it's fair and encouraging that RV is giving Max as much time as he gets, and I don't think Max has ever failed horribly on any video. Conversely, I have seen him do some very solid and laudable interviews. Yes, Raoul/Ash/Ed are better, but I also imagine they take holidays around the summer months, have many responsibilities that don't allow them unlimited camera time, and are also happy to provide Max a chance to gain the real-world experience that millenials have such a hard time finding in the crowded job market. It's also nice to get a millenial's take on the industry. I like Max, and hope RV continues with his trajectory. By the time he is Ash's and Ed's age, I think he'll be at their level. I've also read almost all comments for all the videos I've watched, and certainly have seen you more on the critical and pessimistic side (unless there are multiple Tyler M's commenting, which is possible), so perhaps a little empathy and compassion might help you enjoy more of the videos in general?
    • TM
      Tyler M.
      18 August 2020 @ 01:40
      Corey, this is my second comment in probably 4 months. I am here to learn and ultimately make money based on that information. I’m 34, a younger guy, and I don’t find Max to be someone who speaks my language. I pay good money for RV and have gotten a lot from the site overall. I think I’ve given Max a fair shot over dozens of videos.
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      18 August 2020 @ 01:45
      Hi Tyler and Cory, I appreciate both of your comments regarding my style and expertise. I welcome any and all criticism as I'm always trying to be better. I won't be taking a side gig as a PM or investment banker anytime soon so unfortunately I'll I can do is keep learning through osmosis by spending my days reading and talking with our guests on and off camera. The main thing I'd say about the amount you "see me" is due to the role I play across all tiers and more specifically the plus tier. I have been a fill in for Roger and Ed a few times recently on the RVDB but it isn't my usual role. I think Ash and I may be a funky pairing because we both excel more at running interviews than supplying the meat and potatoes that Raoul, Ed, and Roger always bring. To quote Highlander though, "there can only be one" and I think Ash runs RVDB about as well as possible no matter who the guest is. He certainly keeps me in line. I'd add that a lot of the work "the young guys" do are off camera interviews in the form of Expert View where we are edited out of the final piece. Voiceovers are recorded that capture the essence of our questions so you don't have to see our cherubic faces. But we still do the research, book the guest, ask the questions, place charts and make edits. Many of your favorite pieces may secretly be Max, Jack or Drew interviews.
    • RD
      Ross D.
      18 August 2020 @ 04:21
      Very well said Corey, as a millennial I'm glad to see RV giving Max a fair go to become as good as his older peers.
    • TM
      Tyler M.
      18 August 2020 @ 13:47
      Max, thank you for the thoughtful response. You don't need to become an expert (and I don't think people here expect that) -- what's important is having well-thought-out questions and just enough subject-matter understanding to ask crucial follow-up questions. That's what Ash does so well. He's not worried about letting everyone how much he knows or how he feels about something; He knows how to extract that expertise out of guests and ask the right follow-up questions. I want to see you succeed. You can certainly get there. Thank you for being open to feedback.
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      18 August 2020 @ 14:22
      Thanks Tyler!
  • VL
    Victor L.
    18 August 2020 @ 14:19
    Transcript please
  • YB
    Yair B.
    18 August 2020 @ 02:37
    Max's comment on Baffett buying a company and not endorsing gold is just on point! Made me go hmmm.
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      18 August 2020 @ 03:31
      Using todays closing prices for all calculations and total change in shares I came up with this calculation for how much of the banks he sold. $390 million of $GS $2 billion of $WFC $3.5 billion $JPM $275 million $BK $425 million of $PNC $90 million of $MTB $18 million $USB So, approximately $6.7 billion of bank stocks. He bought a little more than $500 million of $GOLD. Less than 10% what he sold in banks. He did sell banks AND buy $GOLD but based on the numbers he didn't sell banks TO buy $GOLD. They just happened on the same 13-F. He also sold... $2 billion of $DAL $1.8 billion of $LUV $525 million of $AAL So, approximately $4.3 billion of airlines. My question is why wasn't the story that he sold airlines to buy gold? And the most obvious answer is that doesn't advance a narrative. I say this is as someone fully long gold. I just don't like headlines that are misleading even if they advance my own beliefs.
    • CM
      Christopher M.
      18 August 2020 @ 05:31
      Max, I think you’re completely correct on the math and your point of how biased one can be when shoving this into a narrative, but I think you’re missing a symbolism here that is real. Check our these quotes from Buffet over the years: https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/did-buffett-just-bet-against-us-berkshire-buys-barrick-gold-dumps-goldman Buffet didn’t just dismiss gold on economic and mathematical terms. He dismissed it on symbolic terms. Buying gold was betting on the growth of fear. In principle anyone can sell airlines and buy gold or vice versa. But airlines don’t have the same symbolic relationship with gold that the dollar has. The dollar literally came into its own as a global reserve through the outright banning of private possession of gold, and private possession of gold was legalized just at the moment where the last tie of the dollar to gold was cut loose. The main period where gold was illegal were the main decades where the US had negative interest rates. The dollar‘s history is one of violent suppression of gold possession to be able to force people into buying worthless treasuries to finance the US debt meanwhile carving out its global reserve status and letting gold free only when it had achieved its superior position. There is no such story between airlines and gold or between airlines and the dollar. That Buffet is betting on long-term trouble in the banks and is buying a gold miner after decades of dismissing not only the economics of gold but also its symbolic association with fear indicates to me that Buffet has very much shifted his view on the medium- or long-term status of the dollar and considers fear about the dollar and about banks justified.
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      18 August 2020 @ 14:10
      @Christopher M, He's sitting on $120 billion of cash and treasuries. He sold indirect exposure to the dollar in the form of banks to gain direct exposure in the form of cash. I don't see that as implying a strong view on dollar collapse. The 13-F showed net selling so he didn't go take all that money and put it in to something else that has potential for capital appreciation. It's sitting in the the asset you say he is bearish on. If he keeps buying more miners or gains direct exposure by buying physical my views might change, but until then I think the actions of Berkshire say more about Barrick, interest rates/banks, or the potential for a risk-off event than Buffett's view on the dollar or gold.
  • KP
    Kaushal P.
    18 August 2020 @ 03:21
    Good job Max. I think this will be interesting times for sure but in general the Meltup theory seems to be the consensus now. For me personally, Goldman Sachs publishing a note is a good contrarian indicator. I remember when they published a similar note about market going down to 2600 when it was near 3000.
    • JS
      Jon S.
      18 August 2020 @ 12:30
      They also posted a note at 3300 saying market was going to go back to 2800 approx... These notes are not always contrarian by itself. However, I agree with you this time this note might a healthy correction. What worries me is what happens after this correction.
  • KK
    Kyle K.
    18 August 2020 @ 11:25
    Max, I think you are doing great!
  • DO
    DIOGO O.
    18 August 2020 @ 11:05
    Excelente interview! Thanks guys!! One suggestion for other interview: RUSSEL NAPIER !!!! You guys MUST BRING HIM IN!! After I saw his podcast with Grant Willians, amazing He makes the case for the coming of Inflation, please, GET THE MAN ON RELA VISION! URGENTLY!!! Cheers!!
  • FL
    Fabrizio L.
    18 August 2020 @ 07:54
    its interesting to hear the views of Junior people, it's a different perspective, not very thought provoking in this case.
    • RW
      Richard W.
      18 August 2020 @ 10:36
      A somewhat conceited comment. Also everyone’s view is part of the picture so I fundamentally disagree
  • SS
    Sheldon S.
    17 August 2020 @ 23:34
    I get a growing feeling of negativity from you guys. Try to interview some positive people, please.
    • RM
      Robert M.
      18 August 2020 @ 00:12
      They have generally been cautious during 2020. Their boss, Raoul, is still calling for a liquidation.
    • ab
      alfred b.
      18 August 2020 @ 08:28
      For what reason? To feel better? We are all looking for investment indicators, not cuddles. True news, whatever it is, is most helpful to us as an investment community.
  • CM
    Cory M.
    17 August 2020 @ 23:40
    Max's comment about the Democrats being inconsistent with themselves sounded like a Republican talking point, and then he spent the remainder of the time talking about being balanced. Max's Libertarian or Republican bias leaks out every once in a while like that. Ash, on the other hand, maintains a consistent balance. Jack's comment about housing boom versus foreclosures was the biggest takeaway from this one.
    • ab
      alfred b.
      18 August 2020 @ 08:27
      Max's comment about being all in on PM was a takeway. Young lad who studies the investment space not kneejerking to Robin Hood momentum..
  • DD
    David D.
    18 August 2020 @ 02:10
    Max offers little. Like the guy, will skip his contributions.
    • ab
      alfred b.
      18 August 2020 @ 08:23
      Ironic. Your comment offers little.
  • AB
    Alastair B.
    18 August 2020 @ 05:03
    I’ve been putting 20% of my paycheque into bullion for 18 years.... until this summer. Max has a good point about the traditional buyers slowing down and the speculators stepping up. I just can’t stomach buying more at $1,500+, I’d rather buy more crypto instead.
    • JS
      Jon S.
      18 August 2020 @ 06:12
      That was consistent! Thank you for letting all of us know
    • JS
      Jon S.
      18 August 2020 @ 06:12
      Physical gold?
  • ly
    lena y.
    18 August 2020 @ 03:50
    Max its a pleasure to see you in RVDB! You bring a flesh air to the show!
  • WB
    William B.
    17 August 2020 @ 22:39
    I don't understand downplaying Buffet's gold mining purchase. He generally believes stocks are overvalued and his only purchase is a play on gold.
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      17 August 2020 @ 22:58
      Berkshire Hathaway buying $500 million of one gold stock is not Warren Buffett publicly saying his fundamental view on gold has changed. When Buffett makes buys and big calls there are billions being put to work. I’d speculate it wasn’t even his call. He does have employees and he is not a dictator who requires every purchase to go through him. I think that is a distinction from Warren taking some of that massive cash pile and buying Gold. Which is what you may think happened if you saw the enthusiasm on social media.
    • bW
      brendan W.
      17 August 2020 @ 23:58
      The purchase is significant. And one has to have a positive view on gold and the ability of a miner to generate cash flows off of it in order to buy $GOLD. The comparison to $MO is not accurate. If one has a negative view on Altria to continually raise cigarette prices in the face of declining volumes then one cannot buy the stock; this is regardless of one's views of cigarettes' detriments to health or society. Therefore $BRK buying Barrick is significant regarding its view on gold's potential to continue to rise or at a minimum stay at these levels especially in the same quarter when there was a significant reduction on bank holdings.
    • CM
      Christopher M.
      18 August 2020 @ 00:09
      Max, I thought your comment pointing out this is stock in a company and not gold was spot on. However, it still strikes me as of monumental significance that he ditched 62% of JP Morgan and all of Goldman Sachs to buy a gold miner. I don’t think Buffet is a 3-month guy. He seems to deal with time horizons of years. So this means to me that Buffet sees years of bad news for banks and flight into gold. That lines up well with the intro today about delinquencies and foreclosures. That Buffet is making this trade suggest to me that he doesn’t see a V-shaped recovery. Actually it suggests to me that Buffet and Raul see eye to eye on the transition of hope to insolvency as a huge 18-month+ macro trade.
    • RM
      Robert M.
      18 August 2020 @ 00:26
      It may not be Warren's call, but sure it was discussed. And the fact that they bought into an operating company vs GLD shows Warren's interest in owning companies and not outright commodities. Having read all his annual reports going back to the 60s, one topic that stands out is inflation. Warren (as we all should) has a keen dislike for inflation and its destruction of financial assets. And while $500 million may not sound material to Berkshire, the total gold market cap is small. So it is difficult to invest billions without materially affecting pricing. My guess is that Warren approved this investment, but may not have initiated the idea, as a hedge for inflation that many see coming from all this government printing. What we are seeing with money supplies around the world has never occurred with major industrialized nations in Warren's lifetime, with the closest being Weimar Germany and France after WW1. Bet Warren and Charlie are giving this a lot of thought in structuring their future investments. And with inflation, with insurance companies, future payouts will rise as costs rise, so keeping premiums growing in the business will be critical to profitability for Berkshire.
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      18 August 2020 @ 03:36
      Using todays closing prices for all calculations and total change in shares I came up with this calculation for how much of the banks he sold... $390 million of $GS $2 billion of $WFC $3.5 billion $JPM $275 million $BK $425 million of $PNC $90 million of $MTB $18 million $USB So, approximately $6.7 billion of bank stocks. He bought a little more than $500 million of $GOLD. Less than 10% what he sold in banks. He did sell banks AND buy $GOLD but based on the numbers he didn't sell banks TO buy $GOLD. They just happened on the same 13-F. He also sold... $2 billion of $DAL $1.8 billion of $LUV $525 million of $AAL So, approximately $4.3 billion of airlines. My question is why wasn't the story that he sold airlines to buy gold? And the most obvious answer is that doesn't advance a narrative. I say this is as someone fully long gold. I don't like headlines that are misleading even if they advance my own beliefs.
  • WM
    William M.
    18 August 2020 @ 02:37
    Well done Max .. Great to see you stepping up to prime time.
  • JS
    Jon S.
    18 August 2020 @ 01:38
    Give max for days and chances he is the next RV generation and he is top of the top. A lot of other older guest like the one of millenial investment last week is far behind Max. Max great job ask them to give you time for more screen time with Bloomberg terminal etc and you will nail your analysis even more. Max you are the diamond of RV. Cheers and keep it on!
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      18 August 2020 @ 01:50
      I swear Jon is not my Mom
    • JS
      Jon S.
      18 August 2020 @ 02:01
      I hereby confirm I am not his mother. I am very objective. Max is good (full stop). Give him 10 years more and he will blow up our minds with his insights. I would like to have Max in te he plataform discuss about where he sees value.
  • JS
    Jon S.
    18 August 2020 @ 01:59
    Ash are you eating a yogurth on minute 20 approximately?
  • KR
    Kevin R.
    18 August 2020 @ 00:12
    I believe gold and silver are in a once in a life time move - depending on the future actions of the world leaders - gold could go up to 20,000 per once - it may take 10 years but that's ok too - because it is good long term play.
    • RM
      Robert M.
      18 August 2020 @ 00:16
      Agree. With worldwide money printing, hard to not see it rising higher.
  • TC
    Timothy C.
    17 August 2020 @ 23:43
    Homebuilders index is a red herring (imho). Drill down... 1. There is a serious disconnect between delinquencies and foreclosures. This is likely due to forbearance which is distorting the market. 2. Copper? supply is down, demand is down more. That is a negative trend. 3. Lumber is currently a supply chain issue. 4. Declining interest rates are inflating housing assets. Spending more $ for the same asset because your payment is the same does not change the underlying asset. It actually makes that asset more expensive in many ways. 5. Home builders are excited and trying to take advantage of this because their fundamental costs haven't changed, yet the price of the products they produce are increasing due to declining interest rates. 6. Let's play out how that ends when forbearance ends. The two forces will meet and depending on when that happens, the quadratic will play out and someone won't have a seat at the table.
    • RM
      Robert M.
      18 August 2020 @ 00:10
      WSJ had an excellent article on HD and LOW today. Looked like foot traffic peaked in May and is downtrended in almost every state in June. On home improvement, see this as a one quarter to two quarter burst that pulls demand forward and makes for difficult comparisons in 2021. HD CEO made an interesting comment in article about how they are closely monitoring inventories, which I read as keeping things tight as they don't know how long this burst will last. Refreshing to hear him say that the rush did surprise them. On homes, I am tracking several Southern markets on Zillow while helping a daughter buy a home in Atlanta. One of the things I have noticed is that some expensive homes moved quickly in May and June with the lockdown. But now, almost every home I am tracking in Atlanta is cutting prices. Seeing the same thing happen in the Charleston SC market. 3rd and 4th quarter will be telling on how the restart is working for housing. Forbearance as mentioned in the video may turn out to be a bigger deal than priced today as unemployment numbers stay above 9 to 10%.
  • RM
    Robert M.
    18 August 2020 @ 00:02
    Major brokerage houses are trend followers, they are not good at forecasting the future. Probably closed to 100% in never calling a major downturn. And their bias is to the positive. As far as irrational exuberance, this is a more difficult one to determine. Financial advisors says their wealthy clients have a lot of cash on the sidelines. But then the Robinhooders are buying anything with momentum hoping for an easy buck. So part of the market does have irrational exuberance and is balanced by the wealthy who are more cautious about current prices.
  • MS
    Michiel S.
    17 August 2020 @ 23:25
    Hi Gents, has Roger left? Regards, Michiel
    • CM
      Christopher M.
      17 August 2020 @ 23:28
      Ed said last week that he would be back this Wednesday, I think, while Ed is on vacation this week.
    • MW
      Max W. | Real Vision
      17 August 2020 @ 23:28
      Roger will be back on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • MS
    Michiel S.
    17 August 2020 @ 23:25
    Hi Gents, has Roger left? Regards, Michiel
  • ER
    Ernesto R.
    17 August 2020 @ 23:11
    great show guys thanks for the info
  • JH
    Jacqueline H.
    17 August 2020 @ 22:34
    Ash, thank you for asking about evidence, rather than feelings.