Jeffrey Gundlach’s Macro and Market Update

DoubleLine Capital, Released on 3/14/24 (Recorded on 3/12/24)

In his webcast titled “Cave People” in reference to the philosopher Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach on March 12, 2023, briefly reprises his outlook on the federal debt spiral before reviewing other macroeconomic and market topics, including recessionary “storm clouds.” Notably, while the government’s establishment survey has resilient nonfarm payrolls, Mr. Gundlach marshals evidence showing “the rubric that there’s this booming employment economy is contradicted by other areas.”

Among subjects addressed in the webcast, Mr. Gundlach covers:

3:54 – Federal deficit and national debt spiral

8:15 – Massive COVID-19-era monetary stimulus as explanation for the absence (to date) of recession

9:24 – Protracted inversion of the U.S. Treasury yield curve

10:35 – Weakening consumer confidence

11:20 – U-3 unemployment rate exceeding 12-month moving average and nearing 36-month MA

12:36 – Questionable veracity of once-trustworthy economic statistics due to plunging survey response rates

15:32 – Recessionary divergence between cyclical and noncyclical employment

17:06 – Deteriorating hiring plans at small businesses

17:50 – Falling average weekly hours worked in manufacturing. “First they cut the hours, and then they cut the bodies.”

20:16 – Signs of stress among consumers, growing usage of credit cards and a 600-basis point rise to a “punishing” 23% in the average interest rate on credit card debt as forerunners of a future pullback in consumer spending

21:11 – Inflation as gauged by headline and core CPI

23:27 – Housing component of CPI versus the Zillow Rent Index and prospects of lower rents due to a construction boom in multifamily housing

25:11 – Inflation as gauged by headline and core PCE

27:47 – Inflation as gauged by export and import prices

28:18 – Commodity prices signaling weak global growth

29:09 – Review of the Treasury market and a warning regarding narrow credit spreads in high yield corporate bonds

32:58 – Year-to-date performance of the credit sectors of fixed income, including market pricing of future defaults in CCC corporate bonds

36:40 – Still-wide spreads on Agency mortgage-backed securities amid discount prices on these securities

38:01 – AAA spreads compared across non-Agency commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), collateralized loan obligations and corporate bonds

38:31 – Attractive CMBS versus corporate bonds across AAA, A and BBB cohorts, with warnings against index investing in CMBS

39:27 – Emerging markets fixed income, which with the Federal Reserve’s Nov. 1, 2023, pivot “finally joined the risk asset party,” although Mr. Gundlach is awaiting a weaker dollar to support the sector

Jeffrey Gundlach is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of DoubleLine Capital. He is recognized as an expert in bond and fixed income investments. His investment strategies have been featured in leading publications from around the world In 2013, he was named “Money Manager of the Year” by Institutional Investor. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College summa cum laude holding a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy. He attended Yale University as a PhD candidate in Mathematics.

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