Media Appearances

First take: Did Alibaba IPO mark a top for stocks?
USA Today
Friday, September 26, 2014

"People waited in line to buy Alibaba because they think CEO Jack Ma is the smartest man in the world," says Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro. "Hey, everybody -- the guy you think is the smartest man in the world thinks it's a good time to sell stocks. And you want to buy? Really?"

Still, Luskin doesn't think the Alibaba-all-the-time storyline caused a market top. Instead, he says the booming-BABA narrative "signaled that a correction was long overdue." ...Luskin, for one, doesn't think Alibaba marks a major top, the one that leads to a full-fledged bear-market drop of 20% or more.

S&P 500 notches first-ever close above 1900
USA Today
Friday, May 23, 2014

Big round numbers like 1900 are often tough to barrel through easily..

Don Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro, says the recent market weakness is history.

"Round numbers are meaningless, but it's meaningful to make all-time highs," says Luskin. "The winter correction is over. Spring has sprung. It's going to be a very good year. The sector rotation out of growth stocks that had everyone scared in April is over, and in fact has reversed itself. "

Russia sees 'serious capital flight,' economy slows
USA Today
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fallout from the sanctions -- and from Russia's destabilization of Ukraine -- could be far-reaching. The worst-case economic scenarios are fairly awful, says Donald Luskin, chief investment officer for Trend Macrolytics.

"We think the feasible worst-case is a war of strong trade sanctions, depriving Russia and Europe of mutual trade," he says. "That would hit both sides hard -- Russia, because if derives 12.3% of GDP from exports to Europe, and Europe because it sources a significant share of its natural gas from Russia."

S&P 500's new high: Street parties like it's 2013
USA Today
Friday, February 28, 2014

"To have only a 6% correction is a great sign of strength," says Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro. "It is telling us that U.S. stocks might have been tired but didn't want to go down. They just took a little nap."

..."The economy is not sprinting, but it's finally back on its feet," Luskin says.

Wall Street grapples with Fed power shift, policy
USA Today
Thursday, January 30, 2014

Now that Bernanke has tapered twice in succession and in equal $10 billion increments, it could reduce Yellen's flexibility if circumstances change, warns Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics.

"Bernanke has handed Yellen a fait accompli, an established policy trend that will be difficult for her to contradict," he told clients.

Irish exports lift as euro zone exits recession
Irish Times
Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lorcan Roche Kelly, chief Europe strategist at TrendMacro, a US fund advisory firm, said the euro-area GDP numbers were at odds with ECB lending data, which showed continuing reductions in credit to small and medium- sized companies.

Without increasing credit to this critical sector, any return to vigorous growth was nearly impossible.

Spanish yields and the ECB's austerity defence
Financial Times
Monday, May 6, 2013

Now we come to what happened at last week's ECB announcement and presser. Most of the subsequent commentary focused on the main refinancing rate cut, the hint of a negative deposit rate, and the commitment to spur lending to small- and medium-sized companies.

But our pal Lorcan Roche Kelly of TrendMacro emphasised something different in his latest note:

  • Most critically, in his speech at the press conference, ECB President Mario Draghi also gave the longest forward commitment yet to the continuation of weekly fixed-rate full-allotment refinancing operations by the ECB: they will now continue until July 2014. As forward guidance goes, this is a pale shadow of the Fed's policies, but it is a major step for the ECB.
  • This move is not exactly another long-term refinancing operation (LTRO). Rather, it is a long-term commitment by the ECB to provide limitless liquidity every week, on a short-term basis.
  • It is roughly analogous to a 15-month LTRO that banks can access on a weekly basis.
  • It renders meaningless much of the free option given by the 3-year LTROs. The two 3-year LTRO operations only extend for five and seven months, respectively, beyond the new commitment from the ECB.
  • This may well lead to increased early repayments of the current outstanding 3-year LTROs. For banks the upside to remaining in the operations has been largely removed today.As the terms are fixed until July 2014 at the earliest, banks can now be assured of funding when they need it in the short to medium term, without being forced to access it immediately -- as happened in the 3-year LTROs.

Draghi's recent comments are being mainly interpreted as a double-down on austerity. That's not wrong and it remains unfortunate, but there are several complicating factors that are nonetheless worth remembering.

One is simply that Draghi probably needs to keep reiterating the importance of budget constraints for internal political reasons (giving himself cover at the Bundesbank).

Another is that Draghi has long been more concerned with structural changes in labour markets and economies than in broad-based austerity for its own sake, as Lorcan notes. Draghi is generally against tax hikes, for instance, and would prefer spending cuts. Of course, this particular nuance isn't exactly comforting given the brutal choices faced by the countries on the periphery.

You Should Be Worried If The ECB Just Cuts Rates Tomorrow
Business Insider
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In a note put out yesterday, Lorcan Roche Kelly of Trend Macrolytics has a slightly contrarian take on what the ECB should do tomorrow. First of all, he does think there will be a rate cut, whereas previously he was skeptical.

BUT, he argues that a rate cut isn't the right tool for the job, and won't accomplish anything because of how broken everything is. Instead, the ECB needs to open up new channels to extend credit to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, especially in the periphery where traditional monetary policy channels are impaired.

For a broad example of what the ECB could do that would actually be effective, he writes:

It may be that these moves are enough to prompt action from the ECB -- such as increasing collateral eligibility of SME credits, or so-called "structural operations" through the national central banks. If they were, then that would certainly be much more positive for the euro area than a rate cut.

Bottom line:

As usual with the ECB, this Thursday the rate announcement is made 45 minutes before the press conference starts. An announcement of a rate cut is a likely signal that the ECB is going to do nothing more. Conversely, no rate cut announcement should not necessarily be viewed as a time to sell. The data -- especially the inflation data -- demands a reaction from the ECB. If it -- correctly -- chooses not to use the interest rate tool, then anything else it chooses will have more of the "big bang" properties that can give the ongoing rally new legs. On the other hand, if the ECB does nothing at all, we will have the seen the top in the peripheral debt rally, at least until the ECB finally responds.

Fear of run on Europe's banks
Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Analyst Lorcan Roche Kelly, of Trend Macrolytics, said Mr Dijsselbloem's comments risked discouraging investment in Europe.

''Any reason anyone should leave more than EUR 100,000 in a euro area bank after [his] comments? Any at all?'' he tweeted.

Explaining ELA
The Wall Street Journal
Thursday, March 21, 2013

The European Central Bank Thursday...announced that if Cyprus didn't finally iron out a deal with international creditors by Monday, then the ECB would cut off emergency funding to the country's banks.

"This is a hard deadline of Monday evening on the continued existence of the Cypriot banking system as we know it," said Lorcan Roche Kelly, chief Europe strategist at research firm Trend Macro in Ireland. "While it was never likely that it would survive intact, the ECB has this morning forced the issue."

Of credible threats and plans
Financial Times
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This is all being played out against the threat of ELA being cut from Monday. ...It's worth noting that quite a few of the people we talked to this morning didn't see it that way and expected an eventual fudge. But others we respect, such as Lorcan Roche Kelly at Trend Macro, see this as a very hard line -- why else would the ECB have mentioned Monday, 25 March 2013 in their release.

The Shocker from Cyprus: A Roundup of Analysts' Reactions
The Wall Street Journal
Sunday, March 17, 2013

TREND MACRO, Lorcan Roche Kelly: "Reports on depositors being in the firing line have been circulating for weeks, and so it is not a surprise that the bail-in has been announced. However, the risks -- beyond upsetting Cypriot depositors -- are unknown. The rather bold assumption on the part of the Europeans is that this will have little effect. They may well be right. There have been rumors of a depositor bail-in for weeks and there have been no signs of flight. The ECB has promised to back-stop any disruption -- that is a promise that we can rely on. However, the risk is that depositors outside Cyprus will take fright and start to leave their banks. The euro has no single treasury backing it. Therefore, more than any other currency it has to rely on trust to maintain its value. With this deal, the euro area is testing the trust of both the markets and ordinary depositors. It seems likely that it will pass the test, but the judgement is out of its hands. Bank deposit flight can be [handled]. Trust in the currency cannot so easily be restored."

Success for Ireland in Bond Market
The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The government hopes that the 10-year issue and another long-term offering later this year will make it eligible for help from the ECB's still-untested program of bond purchases, known as Outright Monetary Transactions, which would in turn help push its borrowing costs lower. "If there is some clarification forthcoming from the ECB as to whether Ireland has reached the bar required to qualify for OMT, then Ireland should be home and hosed on exiting the bailout program this year," said Lorcan Roche Kelly, chief European strategist at research firm TrendMacro.

Here's The Best Explanation We've Seen About The Emergency, Late-Night Plan To Restructure Irish Bailout Debt
Business Insider
Thursday, February 7, 2013

There's a debate in Ireland happening tonight designed to help reduce the massive debt burden the country is still facing since the collapse of the country's banks in the financial crisis... Lorcan Roche Kelly of Trend Macrolytics has emailed us a fantastic explainer of what's going on in Ireland. This is the clearest explanation we've seen yet, and we're very grateful for Lorcan's clarity on this. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @lorcanrk.

In the wake of the collapse of the Irish property market, two of the worst Irish banks -- Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society -- were nationalized and turned into a new institution called Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) with the intention of working the institution down over a number of years.

The new institution had funding needs of over EUR 30 billion that were met by the government -- as owner of the institution -- writing a debt instrument called a Promissory Note. This note was repoed through the Irish Central Bank through a mechanism called Extraordinary Liquidity Assistance (ELA). Under ECB rules, ELA is outside normal ECB lending and is done at a national central bank level with ECB oversight.

The terms of the Promissory notes require payment at the end of each March of EUR 3.1 billion from current spending.

The current government -- elected in 2011 -- promised to reform the Promissory notes to end the arrangement requiring EUR 3.1 bn annual payments.

In the approach to to next payment -- due in 8 weeks the government has promised not to make the payment.

Two weeks ago a government proposal to exchange the prom notes with longer term debt on the Irish Central Bank balance sheet was rejected by the ECB.

Today's developments are the government trying to skin the cat another way. First, they are ending IBRC. After the passage of the legislation currently in front of the Dáil, it will no longer exist.

The IBRC assets will be moved to NAMA (Ireland's bad bank). The prom note will be replaced at the Irish Central Bank with NAMA issued bonds that are covered by a government guarantee.

The NAMA bonds will be structured like normal bonds -- only requiring annual interest payments until the end of their term -- and so will lead to reduced current expenditure in the short term.

However, this deal still has to be given the ok from the ECB who have oversight of the Irish Central Bank. They may make their decision tomorrow, if so it will be announced by Mario Draghi at the ECB press conference at 1:30 GMT.

ECB Said to Be Ready for New Honohan Pitch on Anglo
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The government and Honohan need to find a way to restructure the notes in a way that leaves the net impact on the money supply at zero. Otherwise Ireland's central bank could be accused of printing money, a policy opposed by the ECB.

A central bank commitment to hold Irish government bonds for 15 years "in this case would be for fiscal policy reasons, which makes it monetary financing, which is a no-no," said Lorcan Roche Kelly, chief Europe strategist at Trend Macrolytics LLC.

Why The Euro Is On Such A Wild Surge Today
Business Insider
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We chatted with analyst Lorcan Roche Kelly of Trend Macrolytics to get his take.

Well the big picture is that the ECB is the only central bank that's acting relatively "tight" right now. The Fed will be on hold for awhile. Japan is doing new easing. The Bank of England is likely to do more under Mark Carney. You get the picture.

...The LTRO paydown will cause the ECB balance sheet to shrink (!) next week. A shrinking balance sheet is rare in this day and age, but as Roche Kelly notes this shouldn't really be characterized as a tightening, since the ECB's policy stance remains the same. If banks need money, it's no more expensive than it was before, so there shouldn't be any real-world economic constraint by this balance sheet shrinkage.