And Then Godot Arrived

The tragicomedy play “Waiting For Godot” by Samuel Beckett of the 1950’s cemented into the collective consciousness (what we may now refer to as “meme”) that moment where one waits for something or someone to arrive, that was assured with certainty, for whatever the reasoning – yet never does. Hence creating the enduring, applicable “Waiting for Godot” (WFG) moniker.

On an aside: my favorite adaptation of this same theme is “Waiting For Guffman” by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy of “Spinal Tap” fame, “Best In Show” and others.

The reason why this moniker fits so many situations is because we as humans will give every reason known to man (and then some) as to why we should wait, rather than act. Why?

Because it’s easier to believe in the stories we’ll tell ourselves that facilitate more waiting than doing. It’s procrastination’s dark side. i.e., Where the “proactive” part of doing something – is to do nothing but to sit, wait and hope. Remember that thing about “hope” not being a strategy?

Now to be clear, there are times where one needs to “wait and see” as that other timeless adage reminds us.

But the application of WFG in dealing with things is far more prevalent and applied far too many times in different aspects of both life and business.

Usually it ends in much the same manner: either in disappointment, or worse – disaster.

When looking at the current state of “the markets” many are, once again, applying the WFG strategy rather, than a wait and see type.

The issue here is that “Godot” has made an appearance nearly every-time the so-called “smart crowd” predicted the opposite. Let me illustrate just a few:

Remember in days of yore, you know, circa 2017 when then Chair of the Fed, Ms. Yellen gave us the most detailed assumptions that not only would reducing the balance sheet be like “watching paint dry” and other insights such as, expecting there wouldn’t be no new financial crisis in “our lifetimes?”

A funny thing happened In January of 2018 as the now Chair, Mr. Powell stepped to the platform to receive the hand-off of the bag baton from Ms. Yellen. With an almost immediacy as Mr. Powell implemented her “watching paint dry” schedule for normalization someone named “Godot” made an appearance also.

It’s been one financial (e.g., “market”) crisis after another ever since.

All through 2018 it appeared that “Godot” would make an appearance every-time this same so-called “smart crowd” would profess he was no longer even on the “invite list.”

But “Godot” has proved he has his own set of criteria for appearances. “Hoping” he’ll not show seems to have just the same effect as “hoping” he will.

Again, remember that whole “hope” thing and strategy?

Now there are a lot, and I do mean just that, a lot of people looking at the current state of the “market” with its now “never before seen in human history” highs as some form of nullification that those which either have been predicting, or at the least, contemplating the rationale for an imminent market sell-off in extreme measures are the ones still waiting.

To that I say: Au contraire mon ami. Au contraire…

For those with a memory on par with that of a goldfish i.e., the mainstream business/financial media et al. May I remind you that it was only six and a half months ago that everyone, including the entirety of the so-called “smart crowd” which were absolutely shocked (shocked!) to see how such a seemingly innocuous term as “autopilot” could turn their “market” ride into near immediate “crash alert” status.

Maybe someone should’ve checked the passenger manifest for anyone named “Godot.” But that’s just me.

Only after the Fed immediately and vociferously announced that they would not only “pause” everything with near immediacy. But, they would reverse all prior stances – halt the normalization process almost in its tracks (e.g. September) and would signal not just one, but multiple rate cuts for the remaining year and into 2020 did the “markets” reverse.

And it was only June!

So now to stave-off any further surprise appearances of Mr. Godot, the Fed has not only signaled at its June meeting a July rate cut, but just to make the case crystal clear, Mr. Powell at his Humphrey/Hawkins appearances before congress delivered text and speech in no uncertain terms (terms that the “market” keys off of that is) that’ll be the case.

The resulting “market” action proved this point for those that still question it. And for those that may: Here’s said proof in “picture” form as they say in The Valley. To wit:

(Chart Source)

So now here we are with U.S. “markets” at extreme heights, an employment report that surprised in much the same manner to the upside – and the Fed is going to embark on what?

Can you say: all credibility lost?

Hint, you don’t have to say it. Just look at the above “picture” again. It says the equivalent of the all words in a library, never mind some thousand.

Will “Godot” make another appearance? No one knows for sure, but the odds are clearly in that favor. After-all, what has been solved when it comes to tariffs, trade, ___________(fill in the blank)?

The only thing, so far, that is a known known is that the world is going to get one extremely “dovish” central banker to replace another. e.g. Christine Lagarde to replace Mario Draghi at the ECB. So a return to the “printing presses for all” seems now to be all but secured with the now Fed pivot and more.

All I can say to that is remember “Godot.” For it seems he has a way of showing up just when everyone least expects him. Or said differently: remember 2018 for possible clues.

Then again, he does seem to not want to visit one aspect of these markets known as cryptos. Just ask any recent HODL (hold on for dear life) club member. Because isn’t 10K a lot lower than 14K? But then again…

Hope springs eternal, right? I mean, all I keep hearing is “winter’s over.”

I wonder how “Godot” views it?

© 2019 Mark St.Cyr