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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Gross Channels His Inner Michael Jackson

News summary by MFWire's editors

And the wacky random pop culture metaphor utilized by Bill Gross this week is,…

Michael Jackson and his song Man in the Mirror.

In his monthly, hyperkinetic and hyper-media-quoted Investing Outlookcolumn, the founder and co-chief investment officer of Pimco this month penned a somber elegiac piece riffing on the Michael Jackson song, reflecting on his investing chops and his industry's cult of personality.

For example, Gross starts off the column thusly:

Am I a great investor? No, not yet. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway’s “Jake” in The Sun Also Rises, “wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?” But the thinking so and the reality are often miles apart. When looking in the mirror, the average human sees a six-plus or a seven reflection on a scale of one to ten. The big nose or weak chin is masked by brighter eyes or near picture perfect teeth. And when the public is consulted, the vocal compliments as opposed to the near silent/ whispered critiques are taken as a supermajority vote for good looks. So it is with investing, or any career that is exposed to the public eye.

Another interesting line from the column:

There is not a Bond King or a Stock King or an Investor Sovereign alive that can claim title to a throne.

What his point after all of this self reflection?

My point is this: PIMCO’s epoch, Berkshire Hathaway’s epoch, Peter Lynch’s epoch, all occurred or have occurred within an epoch of credit expansion – a period where those that reached for carry, that sold volatility, that tilted towards yield and more credit risk, or that were sheltered either structurally or reputationally from withdrawals and delevering (Buffett) that clipped competitors at just the wrong time – succeeded. Yet all of these epochs were perhaps just that – epochs. What if an epoch changes? What if perpetual credit expansion and its fertilization of asset prices and returns are substantially altered?

And of course, the financial media circus took note, with CNN Money; Barron's; CNBC; Reuters; BusinessInsider; FuturesMag; , and, of course, the Wall Street Journal all taking note. 

Edited by: Tommy Fernandez


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