THE MARKET PRACTITIONER & ANALYST MUST READ LIST

When it comes to market practitioners there is a small list of people I absolutely never miss.  In my opinion, the following analysts or money managers have established themselves as the very best thinkers in our business.  Most importantly, however, they have established themselves as being multidimensional.  They not only understand the markets in which they practice, but they understand the dynamics that influence these markets and have developed a well-rounded and systematic process in understanding and analyzing these markets.  A great market thinker does not only understand one market or sector.  They establish themselves as having a unique understanding of all markets with the understanding that all markets are intertwined and being an “expert” in one segment of the market without a vast knowledge of the others is futile.  The following is my market practitioner & analyst must read list:

James Montier – Montier is one of the newest members of the GMO analyst team.  The former Societe Generale analyst is one of the great market thinkers of our time.  Montier has done much of the preeminent work on market psychology and value investing over the course of the last 20 years.  He has a unique understanding as to how markets are influenced by human psychology and few do a better job of connecting the dots than Montier does.  He blogs on occasion at http://behaviouralinvesting.blogspot.com/ and does regular research for GMO.  You can find his resource page here.

John Hussman – John Hussman is a Stanford PhD and the founder of The Hussman Funds. He has differentiated himself from the rest of the mutual fund industry by displaying a keen understanding of risk adjusted returns.  And his actual returns show it.  Although his funds have underperformed in recent years, Mr. Hussman has displayed an impressive outperformance since inception – and inception involved starting an equity mutual fund at one of the very most inopportune moments in the history of investing (near the peak of the Nasdaq bubble).  Mr. Hussman’s weekly letter is chock full of educational nuggets.  It’s an absolute must read and can be found weekly at his website.

Jeff Gundlach – Jeff Gundlach has established himself as one of a handful of the truly great bond investors in the world today.  I always tell people if I could draft one person to start a new firm with it would be a fixed income guy.  They’re generally more patient, rational and detail oriented.  Gundlach certainly fits the mold.  His funds are consistently in the top 1% of their class and he has proven over the long-term that he is the true bond king.  His work can be found at his new firm’s website, DoubleLine Capital.

Jan Hatzius – Love his firm or hate it, the Goldman Sachs Chief Economist is probably the very best analyst at any of the big banks.  Hatzius is one of the few analysts who has established himself as having a keen understanding of the monetary system and the way that government policy can be implemented in a manner that helps achieve private sector prosperity.  He is one of the few who consistently uses Wynne Godley’s work, appreciates Hyman Minsky and mixes in a deep understanding of the more mainstream economic thinkers.  Hatzius isn’t just an economic geek, however.  He has proven that he understands how the business cycle relates to markets and provides invaluable research to the clients of Goldman Sachs.

Michael Mauboussin – Mauboussin is likely the preeminent Wall Street analyst with regards to market psychology.  The Chief Investment Strategist at Legg Mason has been one of the leaders in the evolving field of behavioral finance.  From a tactical perspective, his work is absolutely vital in understanding the markets and the ways that psychology impacts them.  Strategically, Mauboussin’s work is crucial in formulating a game plan for tackling the investment world.  You can see his research and work at his website.  http://www.michaelmauboussin.com/

Niels Jensen – Jensen is likely the only one on the list who not a household name, but he should be.  The former Goldman Sachs trader now runs his own firm Absolute Return Partners out of London and pens the must read monthly newsletter under the same name.  His work can be found at the Absolute Return site.

Jeremy Grantham – Grantham is the only true legend on the list.  He is the founder of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO) and well known for making some of the great macro calls of our lifetime.  Grantham is most famous for being one of the great bubble spotters of this era.  He correctly called both the Nikkei bubble as well as the Nasdaq bubble.  His macro work has earned him a reputation as one of the legends of the industry.  His work can be found at the GMO site.

* I’ve had many requests for broader reading lists so I hope to get around to that when I have some time.  In addition, I hope readers will add to this list.  I am sure there are people I’ve missed or good analysts and managers I am not aware of.

 

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Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services.

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Comments

  1. Speaking of bubble spotters – your call on the silver bubble comes on the 1 year anniversary of the flash crash. And just a few years outside of your housing bubble call and market crash call in 2008.

    When do we add you to the list?

    Personally, I’d like to thank you for keeping this site free. It’s been such a great learning platform for me.

  2. I second LVG on that, thanks for the work you do on this site and for the excellent discussions that seem to happen daily. Truly enlightening.

  3. Lacy Hunt and Van Hoisington put out tremendous quarterly newsletters… they are a must read IMO

  4. I’ve been wondering who you read and been meaning to ask that for a while. How about economists? This particular post is about market practitioners and analysts but I mainly follow your web site to help me get a better understanding of the macroeconomic scene. Are there any particular economic blogs that you check on a regular basis to get insights on the really big picture? I admire your prodigious work. Hope you’re earning a good living and manage to find time for other activities – all work and no play…………….

  5. I’ll follow up with a list one of these days. It’s really gratifying that people are finding the site so helpful. Of course there is a selfish component to what I do here, but the site was founded out of frustration in 2008 and it was always my goal to try to get a better message out into the investment world. I am glad that even a few people are either learning or benefiting from it all.

  6. TPC – thanks for the great list and your continued work on this excellent site.

    I would add Albert Edwards & Dylan Grice to the above list as well for people w/ SocGen access, although I understand if their focus on macro excludes them from this “market practitioners” group.

    Andy Xie, former MS APAC chief economist, is also on my list. He clearly is not a student of MMT but I find his AsiaPAC insights and commentary very valuable.

    http://blog.english.caing.com/andyxie

  7. A true hidden gem to most, Gerard Minack from MS is outstanding if you have access.

  8. Grantham has lost a lot of credibility with his near-religious belief in the global warming meme, which he has morphed into his Malthusian attitude that we are running out of everything (and which may end up being one of the epic ringing of the bells of the top of a mania ever).

  9. It looks like TPC is going to be right about QE2 also! Have you seen what oil is doing today? Here comes the corrections in the commodities like you called…

  10. Steve, agreed. Still, GMO is one of the best. They aren’t stock perma bulls or perma bears.

  11. I would be surprised if the markets catch onto what Cullen has been saying about QE. I don’t think most people understand it still. But that would be epic if he not only got the operational aspects of it correct, but also got the market aspect right. Let’s see how it all plays out.

  12. Cullen,

    Thank you ever so much. I’ve learned more than you can imagine, but more than that I’ve learned that my inner thoughts and suspicions had validity that could be compiled into a ‘natural’ theory.

    There was a time when economics was boring and I cared not for it. I guess if you live long enough you can learn anything. Please keep it coming.

  13. dreman’s early book on contrarian investing is a classic. he is not that active now, but you have to respect a guy who argued for contrarian analysis at a time when this was itself contrarian.

  14. Cullen, can you update your trading algorithm on the site? I see you talk about it every once in a while and the timing of the calls is always good so I think it would be great if readers could be updated with the calls. Thanks.

  15. I would like to echo those thanking you for the time and energy you put into this site…and not charging for access.

    Heck…if you did sports and hunting/fishing updates…this would almost be the perfect site!

  16. I agree with those above, other than Jan Hatzius. I find him to be an opportunist when it comes to opinions. I feel like he’s more winging it than truly understanding it. Not that that’s uncommon.

    Here are a couple from from my list not covered already (like Hoisington & Hunt, or Xie), in case anyone cares what I think:

    Gary Shilling. Love him or hate him, his macro calls are often well thought out, and often correct. I think he does macro pretty well, with the emphasis on longer-term.

    James Chanos. Opinions always backed up by deep facts. May not always be right, but always does his homework, always has thought out reasons.

    Niall Fergusson. Yes, a story teller, true. But a good story teller. Anyone who gets me thinking – in particular about huge macro issues – I listen to.

    Simon Johnson. Has inspired several insights over the years.

    John Mauldin. Yes, I know. But I figure what he’s thinking is close to what the “average” investor is thinking, so I read it for that reason. Market sentiment matters.

    David Roche, Independent Strategy Ltd. Rarely makes the media circuit, but every time I’ve seen him, it’s been spot on stuff.

    Satyajit Das. I think this guy’s a genius at understanding risk.

    John Taylor. An alternative view from an FX practitioner.

    Felix Zulauf. An alternative view from one of the most intelligent gold bugs out there. Similar story with Kyle Bass.

    Bob Janjuah. Fresher than Roubini’s doom shtick, saucier than Rosenberg’s.

    Michael Pettis. Because nobody uncovers China’s dark secrets better.

    Marc Faber. Oh sure, you don’t listen to him … right. The guy nobody “serious” wants to admit they listen to. Even if you disagree with him, his video hit numbers tell the true story.

    I have dozens of other less well know names on my short list, but I’ll leave it here.

  17. Great list from Cullen and adds from Oroboros. I am enamored with “Das” when he speak, but can’t locate anything from him on a consistent basis. Let me know if you’ve found his writing outlet.

    Just a couple more honorary mentiones to add to the list of greats:
    Howard Marks (oaktree.com)
    Jason Goepfert (sentimenttrader.com)
    Vitaliy Katsenelson (ContrarianEdge.com)
    Barry Ritholtz (ritholtz.com)
    Doug Kass (with a grain of salt)
    Jeff Saut (raymond james)
    Van Hoisington (hoisingtonmgt.com)

  18. Cullen, fantastic blog your running ! I consider it much more valuable than all the broker research
    I receive everyday.

    How about Rosenberg, Barry Ritzholt, Teun Draaisma (ex MS), Christopher Wood/ Russel Napier (CLSA),
    Bob Janjuah, Richard Koo, Jeff Saut, Seth Klarman, Albert Edwards ???

    Pls let me know what u think. Thnx

  19. I like them all. Thanks Jaron. The guys on this list are people I would say are tier 1 on my list. By that I mean that I try to read everything they publish….Thanks again.

  20. Can you please link to this in your “Resources” section for easy future reference? Thank you.

  21. Steve, I don’t think there has been any “lost credibility” at all. The temp is rising — it’s caused in large part by CO2. Can we do anything about it? The jury is “out” on that. I hope the jury room is not in a flood plain. There is no evidence that we can actually do anything about it as far as I can find. What Grantham is pointing out relentlessly, is that there are opportunities out there for smart people to make money if they can come up with ideas, product, projects, or other things that can be of value in our situation. There is a huge opportunity because most everyone is sitting on his or her proverbial butt, especially those that could make a difference. Here are some folks that are NOT doing that: http://www.hnuenergy.com/about.html

  22. Kass: just out of interest, why the grain of salt?

    He’s a little too cautious overall and his gratuitous top-calling is sometimes irksome, but the analysis is always cogent. Aside from which, he’s nailed the last few market lows like an Olympic shot.

  23. Thanks, I look forward to listening. Besides his cameos in “Inside Job”, he pops up periodically on the Disciplined Investors (Horowitz) podcasts. He was on recently to speak about the situation in Europe and the markets in general. Well worth a listen if you missed it.

  24. Kass, much like Rosenberg is usually spot on when it comes to identifying fundamental arguments for market moves. Kass is primarily a short-seller and thus tends to be on the wrong side of an upwardly biased market most of the time.

    My own personal biases makes me latch on to their views a bit to tightly. Sometimes being right in the end can still be painful if your views vary too greatly from the consensus.
    I guess I often find myself making the wrong investment decisions for the right reasons.

  25. Cullen,

    Thanks for the list!

    Yeah, this is great site, thanks for your efforts.

    I popped over to Calculated Risk, and remembered why I left. Good writing, useless comments.

  26. I really wonder if these people really understand anything at all. I sometimes think that they are simply wired personality wise that makes them a great fit for the market situation they work in at any certain time frame in history.

    Let’s look at Bill Gross record as of late, is he a Bond King or just been Lucky that his personality and fate placed him in the right places at the right time in the past?

    I use to think Warren Buffet was a market genius until I started to really read about and understand his Shtick of Insurance marketing to the wealthy.

    I think those with a more macro view on markets will do better in the long run.

  27. Of all of the names mentioned in this thread, the only one I was totally unfamiliar with was Michael Mauboussin. That was a big miss that I will fix, because the behavioral component of economic analysis is what is so difficult to account for. MMT really works for monetary analysis, but the behavioral component is what makes it difficult to make MMT work for investment decisions.

    It looks like the end of QE2 is going to be deflationary, based on the last few days in the markets. TPC’s good calls have me thinking that he has a behavioral equation plugged into his algorithm, because seeing the turning points in market sentiment are a key.

  28. Thank you, Steveo! I had no idea that was his platform….

    Maybe the answer is an one child family…

  29. ***ATTENTION ALL NAYSAYERS,
    ANYONE WHO DECIDES TO COME ON THE WEBSITE AND MAKE SPURIOUS CLAIMS ABOUT HOW MMT IS “STUPID” AND CLAIM THAT MR. ROCHE’S ANALYSIS IS BAD NEEDS TO DO THE FOLLOWING
    1.GO BACK AND READ THE SILVER BUBBLE CALL…
    2.RECONSIDER YOUR CLAIMS, AND THEN POST

  30. Fishing is a great hobby.

    I miss saltwater flyfishing the New Jersey Coast – striped bass, blues, weakies. But I have since replaced that passion with spearfishing in the Mediterranean. It forces me to stay in shape too.

  31. There are dozens of smart people in this business, because money attracts brains. But so what?

    1. The only time to buy is low and the only time to sell is high. How many investors who follow advice from others do THAT on a consistent basis? Who believes any of these (usually contradictory) smart people when they make a call at what turns out to be the bottom or the top?
    2. Most of the REALLY smart investors keep their mouths shut, or at least establish their position before they talk. It’d be great to know what Ray Dalio is thinking real time (rather than Barron’s annual roundtable time), but even if I did know that…see #3:
    3. Many of these folks work on a capital scale and with dozens of subordinate traders so that they can hedge those bold calls with speed and in ways we can only dream of. GMO is (rightly) very highly regarded. Who of us individual investors can invest with them? Zip, zero, nada. When Grantham says buy forests, he doesn’t mean buy an ETF. He means he is holding a huge stake in private equity long, long term. (And as he so humbly admits, Grantham has been very, very wrong at times, to the point of almost costing him his business: how many of us would have the guts to take those hits in order to achieve eventually such respect?)

    The search for the “right” wisdom only leads to no wisdom.

  32. Barry Ritholtz – You can have him. During the Bush years, every 16 minutes he ran a story about the jobless recovery. Under Obama, not a peep. I don’t care about someone’s politics if they have something ineteresting to say, but Barry is a hypocrite and has nothing to say that is actionable.

    I suggest adding Jim Rickards to the list. On May 3rd Barry is quoted as saying Rickards is “the dumbest and asinine”.

    Rickards has class. Ritholtz has zero, nada.

  33. I have been trying to push Cullen in that synthesis direction as well.

    But I have to say that the site is great and Cullen is very patient with naysayers (to which I belong 50% of time).

    And with regard to calling market action (as opposed to discussing economic theories), the site is a non-discussionable top! Congratlations Cullen!

    InvestorX

  34. I was striper fishing just off of Sandy Hook yesterday! I dedicate the fish tacos I had last night to you, Misthos.

    Cullen thank you again for this awesome resource.

  35. I’ve read too many stories about guys spearfishing off the coast of CA and running into Great Whites. I don’t have the stone to confront that, but a lot of people still do it. Looks like a blast. I stick to the boat :-)

  36. Being a San Diegan – I made fish tacos with some sea bass the other night. It was the first time I had done it. As good as anything I’ve had in the restaurants around here and trust me I’ve tried them all. So easy I couldn’t believe what I’d been wasting my time with in restaurants all these years….Of course, I fried them which is kind of like cheating, but those are always the best ones anyway…..

  37. Different Chris – Thanks, and enjoy that Striped Bass Spring Run – must be in full swing now! I’m in Greece (yup – rumors of leaving the Euro – that country) so not many large fish from land (don’t have a boat here) to catch. Spearfishing is great though – no worries of sharks here.

    Cullen – I’m glad you enjoy your new sport. It’s a different world out there on the water.

  38. There’s a good reason why old men tend to migrate to fishing….I understand it now. What a great sport. Enjoy Greece. Despite the economic troubles it’s still one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been….

  39. James Montier undoubtedly deserves to be on top of the list – apart from whatever you can find online on him, he has written a couple of tomes which are classics and must-reads on investor psychology / behavioral investing.

  40. Except that Jan Hatzius thinks QE and QEn have a positive impact on the economy.