Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kyle Bass On CNBC Yesterday

Occasionally David Faber has a worthwhile guest on his noontime CNBC program, Strategy Session. Yesterday was one such occasion.

Kyle Bass, a hedge fund manager who scored big by correctly betting against the residential finance boom in its latter years, was on to give his opinions on a variety of market topics.

You can probably find his appearance in a video on the CNBC website. But here, in brief, is what he said.

On municipal defaults, he agrees with Meredith Whitney.

On equity markets, he's swearing off of them, because he believes what we are now seeing is mostly just a result of QE2 and too easy money. He believes it's a global phenomenon which will end very badly. I don't recall his measure of choice, but he mentioned a particular rate which one could watch to discern when the top in equities had been reached, and the fall would begin.

One interesting anecdote he told was being at a conference of alleged observers of credit markets or some such relevant group. He asked how many of the several hundred people in the room in which he was speaking new the weighted average cost of the Greek government's debt? Nobody did. Bass said it was about 4.3%. He expressed shock and amazement at the faulty, shoddy, poor quality of basic analysis by people whose job it was to know that type of data.

The lesson, of course, is that, like the anecdotes he told in the CNBC House of Cards documentary, about Wall Street mortgage finance desks, you can't really trust the so-called experts and analysts to know what they are doing, or to have proper incentives to know it and tell you.

Bass has become recently well-known for being right on US mortgage finance markets. His comments and manner convey a sensible, thorough, reasonable approach to what he does. Very credible.

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