John Mauldin Speaks: This week I am really delighted to be able to give you a condensed version of Gary Shilling’s latest INSIGHT newsletter for your Outside the Box. Each month I really look forward to getting Gary’s latest thoughts on the economy and investing. Last year in his forecast issue he suggested 13 investment ideas, all of which were profitable by the end of the year.
It is not unusual for Gary to give us over 75 charts and tables in his monthly letters along with his commentary, which makes his thinking unusually clear and accessible. Gary was among the first to point out the problems with the subprime market and predict the housing and credit crises. His track record in this decade has been quite good. I want to thank Gary and his associate Fred Rossi for allowing us to view this smaller version of his latest letter.
If you are interested in his letter, his web site is down being re-designed, but you can write for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to subscribe (for $275), you can call 888-346-7444. Tell them that you read about it in Outside the Box and you will get the full 2010 forecast with price targets, but an extra issue with his 2011 forecast (of course, that one will not come out until the end of the year. Gary is good but not that good!) I trust you are enjoying your week. And enjoy this week’s Outside the Box….
John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box
2010 Investment Strategies: Six Areas To Buy, 11 Areas To Sell
(excerpted from the January 2010 edition of A. Gary Shilling’s INSIGHT)
Our investment strategies for 2010 follow from our forecast of continued economic weakness and deflation, as discussed earlier in this report and in previous Insights, especially our Dec. 2009 edition. We see the 2010 investment climate dominated by weak economic growth here and abroad, led by U.S. consumer retrenchment. More government fiscal stimulus and continuing Fed policy ease are likely in this setting. So is low inflation or deflation.
INVESTMENTS TO BUY
1. Buy Treasury Bonds. Long-term Insight readers know we started recommending long Treasury bonds back in 1981 when we forecast secular and huge declines in inflation and interest rates. So we declared back then that “we’re entering the bond rally of a lifetime.” The yield on 30-year Treasurys was 14.7% and our eventual target was 3%. Last year, yields blew through 3% to reach 2.6% at year’s end, so in our Jan. 2009 Insight we declared “mission accomplished” and removed Treasury bonds from our recommended list.
But then Treasurys sold off, pushing the yield on the 30-year bond to 4.7% at the end of 2009. So we’ve reactivated the strategy with our forecast of a return in yields to 3.0% or lower. Treasurys will continue to be a safe haven in a troubled world and benefit from deflation as well as their three sterling features. They are the best credits in the world. They are highly liquid. And they generally can’t be called by the Treasury, and calls limit price appreciation when interest rates fall.
A decline in yields from 4.7% at present to 3.0% may not sound like much, but the bond price would appreciate over 34%. If it occurs over two years, then two years’ worth of interest is collected, and the total return on the 30-year Treasury would be 44%. On a 30-year zero-coupon Treasury, which pays no interest but is issued at a discount, the total return would be about 64% — most attractive! Recall that in 2008 when 30-year Treasurys rallied from 4.5% to 2.7%, their total return for the year was 42%..
Treasury bonds way outperformed equities in the 1980s and 1990s in what was the longest and strongest stock bull market on record. The superiority of Treasurys has been even more so since then. Chart 1, our all-time favorite graph, shows the results from investing $100 in a 25-year zero-coupon Treasury bond at its yield high (and price low) in October 1981, and rolling it into another 25-year Treasury annually to maintain that 25year maturity. In November 2009, that $100 was worth $16,972 with a compound annual return of 20.1%. In contrast, $100 invested in the S&P 500 at its low in July 1982 was worth $2,099 in November for an 11.8% annual return including dividend reinvestment. So Treasurys outperformed stocks by 8.1 times!
….read more HERE (scroll down to the first chart and continue)