In this Morning Run BFM podcast episode, Tony Nash justifies his pessimistic outlook of the US political environment on markets and the transition of the Reddit Army into a full-blown populist movement. Will this be a common theme in the US markets? And what does he mean about the 97% correlation between Bitcoin and gun sales?
This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/american-carnage on February 4, 2021.
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WSN: To find out where global markets are heading, we have on the line with us Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Let’s have this little bit of discussion. Will the tussle between the populous investors and institutional shareholders lead to any real structural change in the way Wall Street behaves? Do you think this is going to be a common phenomenon?
TN: I do. I don’t think we’ll see much change politically because the funds themselves are very large donors for politicians. There really isn’t an incentive for politicians and regulators to change things. But the populism that we’ve seen in U.S. politics over the last four to six years or even 10 years, it’s growing into financial markets and people are really angry with Wall Street. They’re really angry with bailouts for funds and for banks.
This type of populist activism and distributing investment are going to continue and it’ll get more aggressive if the government doesn’t respond or if the funds respond aggressively and arrogantly. This could turn into an aggressive political movement. The funds and the regulators have to be really careful here.
PS: You really hit the nail on the head because if you see the backlash, you see the right wing with Ted Cruz, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the left, both asking for investigations and reviews to this. Do you think the US government and the politics of both sides will be able to reconcile and find a solution to regulate, monitor this?
TN: They may have an “investigation.” I think nothing will happen. Again, these funds have deep pockets. They invest a lot of money, either directly or indirectly through shadow organizations and corrupt means. So zero will happen on this. Unless there is dramatic…
You guys have heard of Antifa in Malaysia, right? If Wall Street needs turned into an Antifa-like organization, and had violent protests, then maybe we would see some results. But there is absolutely no way short of violence in the streets that the US government… You will have Ted Cruz, you will have AOC talk about this. But this government will not respond to this because it’s in their interest to defend these funds.
PS: Tony, I’m gobsmacked. In just last month, we had an insurrection and impeachment and inauguration in the space of two weeks. Isn’t that like a big paradigm shift in the politics? Don’t you see any changes there?
TN: Here’s what I learned today and I’ll get to your point in just a second. There is a 97% correlation between the sale of guns and the price of Bitcoin in the U.S.. What does that tell us? It tells us there is an absolute lack of trust in institutions. People can’t trust law enforcement. They can’t trust politics. They can’t trust the central bank. Americans feel like they just can’t trust institutions. So they’re investing in Bitcoin and they’re buying guns. So there is a real frustration among Americans. They just absolutely don’t trust the government.
WSN: That’s an interesting point, Tony. But on the flip side, if I look at Biden’s administration. Let’s talk about his stimulus plans, because originally the target was a $1.9 trillion plan. But I think that’s probably likely to be scaled down, especially with the vaccination rollout. So what do your gut feel in terms of what the figure will be?
TN: The administration, unfortunately, has lost a lot of credibility because they two million or 20 million vaccines over the past week. They’ve come in saying that they had a better plan and then they’ve actually lost 20 million vaccines. This is supposed to be a Covid relief bill with more money for vaccines and more money to address Covid. But they can’t manage the resources they have today. People are really frustrated with that as this stupid $600 they’ve been promising for six months. Nobody even wants it now. People are so frustrated over this whole thing.
So will it be scaled back? Probably. You have Republicans in the Senate especially, who are being really stupid politically by pushing back on this. And you have Democrats who are pushing for stupid spending programs. Again, there is frustration. This is not just in Texas. This is across the country. Americans are so upset with government and so frustrated that they just want something passed and they want the least damage possible. They know it’s going to be a dumb bill. They know there’s going to be pork and they know there’s going to be corruption, but they want the least damage possible done with this.
WSN: But if I look at markets, it doesn’t seem like, you know, that that there’s any negativity or disappointment, right? Yeah. Because we are looking at, you know, the index also NASDAQ closed to an all time high. So are you saying that markets are reflecting this or, you know, there’s just too much optimism in terms of forward earnings?
TN: No, the markets are reflecting a bet on the central bank. They’re betting on the stimulus coming from the bill, passing through consumers and passing through businesses. And they’re betting on the the bailouts for different industries, on a weaker dollar, on a lot of things. That’s what they’re betting on. They’re not betting on earnings or on corporate health.
We suspect that the stimulus won’t be as strong as many had hoped and the central bank won’t be as accommodating as many hope and that there will be a pullback. We think there’s going to be something this quarter in terms of a pullback. But again, nobody is betting on companies or sectors.
WSN: All right. Thank you for your time. That was Tony Nash of Complete Intelligence, giving us his views on where global markets are heading and in particular on the U.S. government.
Some interesting points. Right Philip?
PS: I’m kind of lost for words for that. He really is pushing for this decade implosion of the once vaunted American institution.
WSN: He’s saying that there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with regards to the roll out of the stimulus plan. That it is very, very delayed. And people just like, hurry up, just sign the bill and hand out those 600 U.S. dollar checks. The longer you wait after a while, people just don’t seem to care about it.
But when I look at the markets, I’m somewhat still conflicted because I’m not in total agreement with him. I think markets are pricing in vaccine optimism. And on the back of that, there will be some corporate earnings, especially when you come to the tech companies. So is the whole of America unhappy? Well, we do know from the way the vote, is a very divided nation.