Sunday, October 17, 2010

[Video] Barry Ritholtz: Don't Fight the Fed - but I'm Only 55% Invested

A quick video from Barry Ritholtz of 'The Big Picture' via Yahoo Tech Ticker

"You can't be short a market where the Fed is saying ‘we'll do whatever it takes to hold up every asset class,'" Barry Ritholtz, CEO of Fusion IQ and author of Bailout Nation says in the accompanying clip, taped ahead of Ben Bernanke's Friday morning speech.

But not being short is different than being aggressively long. After moving to 100% cash in May right before the ‘flash crash', Ritholtz is currently "half-in, half-out" of the market: Fusion IQ is currently sitting on about 45% cash and "slowly adding to long positions."

"We have a foot in cash and a foot in the long side," he says. "The market is fairly valued but there are all these problems," i.e. the litany of structural issues facing the economy - and that's before the emergence of foreclosure gate', which could roil the financial system.

On his widely read blog, The Big Picture, Ritholtz has been writing about the tug-of-war between the bearish macro backdrop and the market's rapid ascent since late August.

"This market has had repeated opportunities to roll over, to fall on bad news, to follow other bourses lower, or to take a modest sell off...and turn it into something more dangerous," he writes. "In just about every case, Mr. Market has refused to cooperate with the bears."

To all the "Fed watchers, politicos, policy experts and amateur economic wonks," Ritholtz asks a simple (yet profound) question: Do you want to be right, or do you want to make money?

If your answer is the latter, Ritholtz recommends "what's working", including the ADRs of emerging market stalwarts like Brazil, Chile and Korea; high-dividend paying stocks, notably in telecom; and farm equipment plays like Caterpillar and Deere.

"There's more going on [in the agriculture sector] than just a weak dollar, QE and some softness in the corn harvest," he says.

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