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投资理财

五大事件影响未来市场

Duff McDonald 2011年07月13日

希腊债务危机不应该令人感到惊讶,但市场的反应却截然相反。我们清楚希腊将发生什么,事情真的发生时,我们只能说“我早就告诉过你会这样。”

    为什么希腊债务濒临违约似乎让这么多的投资者措手不及?从上周日开始的过去两周,股票六次涨跌,让人以为人们并没有预料到这种情况。事实是,他们早有预料。即便希腊确实违约,我们也应该对此早有心理准备。但是“市场”,无论它是谁,似乎不能一次记住太多事情。

    如果耐克(NKE)收入好于预期更,这一天希腊的事情似乎就被抛在了脑后。过后人们又重新记起这回事来。难道只有我看到了这种趋势的荒谬性吗?季度报告来来去去,而希腊是不会偿还这些债务的。那么恐慌的欧洲国家元首能否将清算推迟就真的变得无所谓了。金融学教授们总是告诉我这就是市场定价的方式。我再也不相信这种说法了。我在想是不是全球投资者都不了解情况。

    的确,我知道成为专业投资者并始终专注于股市行情是非常困难的。你怎么知道何时有重要的需要知道的事情,比如是谁杀害了凯西‧安东尼(美国近期一桩杀害幼童案的受害者——译注)?另外,夏日炎炎,沙滩在向你招手。但是,这并不意味着“市场”有权不知道纷至沓来的重大事件。希腊近期的债务危机只是其中最近的一个例子。2010年11月第二轮量化宽松政策(QE2)的启动则是另一个。美联储(the Federal Reserve)事实上早就释放了该政策的信号弹,但是人们仍然反应得就像当天早上才宣布似的。

    现在就来看看有哪些坏消息。我询问投资顾问公司Coburn Ventures颇有见地的专家之一皮普•科伯恩,在他看来投资者在作出微观决策时是否会意识到宏观的大趋势。他简短地回答:不会。“我认为根本的问题是‘投资者’还停留在谋生阶段,很少去观察(集体)自身的规律,相反却被日常的琐事缠身。”他说。“无论如何,我都看不到任何这种现状即将结束的迹象,除非突然间60%或更多的市场参与者严肃地对待投资事业,而不是不经任何深入思考、随意地选择投资项目。”

    好吧,让我来替他们完成这项工作吧。我将寻找几位富有洞察力的人士做客这周的专栏,这些人认同欧洲将重演希腊债务危机。请不要误解,我说的不是正在迫近、让整个欧洲都惊恐不安的某个主权国家的债务违约。这个目标太显而易见了。是葡萄牙、意大利还是西班牙?相反,我将讨论一些不可避免的事情,人们出于某些原因还没有充分考虑它们。好吧,也许他们并非不可避免,或者说我们将讨论的第四种情况其实已经发生了。但是,难道我们不需要去了解这种可能性吗?为了让市场在最近这段时间不至于一提到这些事情就立即崩溃,我们能不能讨论一下以下这些事情?

    1. 美国一大型银行将需要重新注资。头号候选:美国银行(Bank of America)。机构风险分析公司(Institutional Risk Analytics)的负责人克里斯托弗•惠伦,同时也是一位一贯尖锐的分析师,推荐了这一条。本周美国银行达成85亿美元(140亿带附带条款)抵押贷款和解协议将使这一消息变得非常可能。银行投资者是否会感到意外呢?毫无疑问,他们会的。

    2. 美国市政债券危机:最近大多新闻媒体都花大篇幅报道了明星分析师梅瑞狄斯-惠特尼的远见,她在美国的市政债危机尚未发生前就预测了美国将出现市政债券违约额过高的现象。她仍然认为,美国州级和地方财政状况将带来一场危机。许多更显赫的人物也认同这一观点:沃伦•巴菲特就曾预测过类似的事情。那些认为类似希腊民众对政府的愤怒不会出现在美国的人,你们有没有注意到最近收集垃圾的次数已经由每周两次变成了一次。也许住在曼哈顿的市政分析师太多,以至于没人知道垃圾车的工作时间表。【我说的就是你,亚历山德拉.莱贝撒尔(证券公司 Lebenthal & Co高管——译注)】请不要告诉我在此之前你没有注意到这一点。

    3. 中国的经济引擎将产生反效果,没人能够置身事外。供职于《格兰特利率观察家》杂志(Grant's Interest Rate Observer)的詹姆斯•格兰特希望提醒所有人,中国的银行处于非常危险的状态。中国的情况你了解吧。中国的银行贷款数额增长过快,其中部分贷款还投向了政府部门,同时银行的不良贷款率畸高。杂志的分析师伊万•洛伦兹一针见血地指出:“亚洲所谓的国家固定资产投资发展模式总是会导致债务大规模配置不当以及定价错误。20世纪70年代苏联和20世纪90年代的韩国都曾发生过这种情况。这种模式一开始运转不错,然后就会开始出现问题,最后崩盘。”

    4. 中国知识产权获取方式难以为继。谈到中国,科技智囊集团战略通讯社(Strategic News Service)的马克•安德森指出,中国从其他国家获得知识产权的30年历程将难以为继。还记得针对谷歌(Google)、瞻博网络(Juniper Networks)、摩根士丹利 (MS) (Morgan Stanley)以及 Adobe (ADBE) 的极光攻击行动(the Aurora attack)吗?显然,这仅仅是在安德森最近一次会议上出现的内容,英特尔 (INTC) (Intel) 也是一个目标。请忘记中国的廉价劳动力吧。

    5. 美国债务上限问题。最后我们不要忘记还有美国债务上限问题。我知道,这个问题在华盛顿已经成为一个党派之争,尽管我不能理解是出于什么原因维护国家信用评级这一神圣的职责会成为一个党派问题。共和党就这个问题向总统发难显示出他们除了关注自己短期的民意指标之外严重无知。(可悲的是,这种无知与整体上不关注大局投资者何其相似乃尔。不愿退一步思索一下整体的形势难道是人类的本性吗?长官们,债务上限确实不是一个党派问题。)摩根大通固定收益主管马特•赞姆斯四月给美国财长盖特纳写信称,如果我们都放任自流,我们将失去外国投资者,我们长期珍视的零风险评级将面临降级、引发货币市场资金大逃亡、利率上升,最终危及经济。因此,没什么大不了的,真的。让我们回来评价一下福克斯新闻网(Fox News)的原话。那才是真正重要的。

    始终要抱有积极的态度,朋友们。我只是想把事情摊开来说。

    Why did Greece's brush with default seem to catch so many investors off guard? With stocks ping-ponging six ways from Sunday over the past two weeks, you'd think people hadn't seen this coming. Except that they did. Even if the country did default, we should have been ready for it. But the "market"—whoever that is—can't seem to keep more than one thing in its head at once.

    If Nike (NKE) reports better than expected earnings, it seems to forget about Greece for a day. And then it remembers. Am I the only one who sees the ridiculousness of this tendency? Quarterly reports come and go, but Greece will never repay these debts. So it really doesn't matter if the panicked European heads of state put off their day of reckoning or not. My finance professors always told me the market "priced" things like this in. I don't buy it anymore. I'm starting to think that global investors are clueless.

    Yes, I know it's hard to be a professional investor and to keep your eyes on the ball. How can you when there are important things to know, like who killed Caylee Anthony? Plus, it's summer, and the beach beckons. But that doesn't mean the "market" has any right to be ignorant of events that are barreling down the pike toward it. Greece's near default is only the latest example of such. The kick-off of QE2 in November 2010 was another. The Federal Reserve practically sent up smoke signals on that one and people still responded as if had only been announced that morning.

    Here's the bad news. I asked Pip Coburn of Coburn Ventures, one of the more insightful thinkers out there, whether he thought investors would ever wake up to the larger patterns around their own micro decisions. Short answer: No. "I think the root issue is that 'investors' live in survival mode and rarely work to observe (en masse) their own patterns and are instead sucked into the stuff of the day," he says. "I don't see that ending whatsoever unless suddenly 60% or more of market participants decide to pursue investing seriously as opposed to just randomly voting without increasing levels of thought."

    So fine, I'll do their job for them. For this week's column, I set out to find a few insightful folks who think they see another Greece coming on. No, I don't mean a looming default by a sovereign nation that has all of Europe scared. That one is almost too obvious. It's Portugal. I mean Italy. Or maybe Spain? Instead, I'm talking about a handful of inevitables that people have yet to fully process, for one reason or another. Okay, so maybe they're not inevitable, or, in the case of #4, they're already happening. But can we not agree to be aware of the possibilities? Can we discuss these things so that markets don't faint at the very mention of them sometime down the road?

    1. A major U.S. bank will need to be recapitalized. Candidate numero uno: Bank of America (BAC). Christopher Whalen, the always-pointed analyst in charge of Institutional Risk Analytics, offered this one. This week's $8.5 billion mortgage settlement ($14 billion with add-ons) makes that even more likely. Will bank investors be surprised? Of course they will.

    2. A municipal debt crisis in the U.S. There has been much ink spilled of late over the fact that star analyst Meredith Whitney predicted a rash of municipal defaults and they haven't happened yet. She still maintains that the state of state and local finances are a looming crisis. She's in good company: Warren Buffett has predicted similar things. And anyone who thinks we're not about to see some Greek-style anger at public officials in this country hasn't noticed that their garbage only gets picked up one day a week these days instead of two. Perhaps too many municipal analysts live in Manhattan to even know about garbage truck schedules. (I'm talking to you, Alexandra Lebenthal.) Please do not tell me you didn't see this one coming when it happens.

    3. The Chinese economic engine is going to have a backfire, and we'll all feel it. The inimitable James Grant, of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, would like to remind us all that the state of Chinese banks is a perilous one. You know, that whole thing about growing their loan books too quickly, having directed lending, some to government itself, and an abnormally high percentage of non-performing loans? Evan Lorenz, an analyst at Grant's, puts it succinctly: "The so-called Asian development model of state-directed fixed asset investment always leads to massive misallocation and mispriced debt. We've seen this before—in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and South Korea in the 1990s. It works well until it doesn't, and then it crashes."

    4. Speaking of China, Mark Anderson of Strategic News Service says that the 30-year effort by the Chinese of "obtaining" intellectual property from other nations is coming to a head. Remember the Aurora attack on Google (GOOG), Juniper Networks, Morgan Stanley (MS), and Adobe (ADBE)? Apparently, and this just emerged at Anderson's latest conference, Intel (INTC) was a target too. Forget low-cost Chinese labor.

    5. Lest we forget, there's the whole debt ceiling issue. I know this has gone all partisan in Washington, although for what reason, I cannot comprehend, as the sanctity of the nation's credit rating should be a bipartisan issue. Republicans daring the President to a game of chicken over this show a profound lack of awareness beyond their own short-term poll numbers. (Which, sadly, is a corollary to the whole investors not paying attention to the big picture issue. Is it just human nature not to step back and think about context? It's just not a partisan issue, folks.) Matt Zames, head of fixed income at JP Morgan, wrote to Tim Geithner in April that if we blow this one, we're going to lose foreign investors, risk a downgrade of our long-cherished risk-free rating, trigger a run on money market funds, raise interest rates, and imperil the economy. So no big deal, really. Let's get back to scoring soundbites on Fox News. That's what really matters.

    Always optimistic here, people. Just want to get it all out on the table.

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