Rosenberg on the “Great Rotation” Myth

Many have said that the influx of money into bonds in recent years means a “Great Rotation” could occur — in which money pours back into stocks as investors’ risk appetites increase — and give stocks a big boost. But in a recent client note, Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg says that thinking is way off base.

“Our own empirical research points to little more than a marginal statistically significant relationship between the general public’s appetite for risk and the eventual move in the equity market (in some cycles, the correlation is inverse so for the ‘rotation-asistas’ among us — this could be a classic case of beware what you wish for),” Rosenberg wrote, according to Business Insider (via The Financial Post). “After all, did the lack of retail investor participation this cycle prevent the S&P 500 from rebounding 120% from its depressed lows (as it did three times in the 1930s)?”

Rosenberg said that what has been very correlated with the market’s rise is the increase of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. But that, he says, isn’t the path to long-term success. “Money printing creates illusory wealth and buys time, but if it was truly the answer to a deleveraging cycle, Zimbabwe would be a member of the G10,” he wrote. He says bullish investors should be bullish because they expect earnings or multiples to increase — not because they expect a Great Rotation.