Right around now, in the no man’s land between the holidays and New Years Eve, we are usually bombarded with several types of year-end articles from nearly every media source out there. Everyone does their top ten list for the year that’s ending, the highlights and lowlights (more of the latter this year) followed by a raft of predictions for the year to come. Nobody does the prediction thing quite like Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners.
In taking a page from Byron Wein of Morgan Stanley fame, Doug Kass has been listing 20 possible outlying events for the coming year for the past 6 years and in ’08, he absolutely killed it. 60% of his 20 predictions for 2008 came to pass, including some of the more far-fetched ones. For these recent prescient calls, Kass made my Bear Hall of Fame.
Yesterday, Kass’s 20 Surpises for 2009 list came out, and while I can’t link to it as it requires a Realmoney Silver subscription (from TheStreet.com), I will share some of his ideas that were the most interesting to me.
At the top, he comes out and predicts that any day now, CNBC will announce that a significant amount of money from the Russian Oligarchy and/ or Russian Mafia has been lost in the Madoff Scandal. I’ve read elsewhere on the web of the possibility that some Columbian Cartel money, through the Fairfield Greenwich Group fund of funds, may have been , err, misplaced by Bernie as well. If either or both of these speculations turn out to be true, I wouldn’t want to be within 50 miles of either the Madoffs or the Noels.
Kass also wrote of the possibility that many infrastructure projects could be delayed or scrapped altogether in emerging markets owing to the precipitous decline in the price of oil. Right on schedule, a story broke soon after that Kuwait was walking away from a $17.5 billion natural gas joint venture with Dow Chemical. If this is a sign of things to come, Kass will have been right on the money.
He also envisions the disbanding of the SEC (taken over by Treasury) as well as a brief tenure for Hillary in the Obama administration.
There’s way more juicy stuff in his list, and for those who work on Wall Street and aren’t reading Kass, here is yet one more great reason to get a yearly subscription and see what you’re missing.
The 10 to 15 minutes or so a week he gets on Kudlow‘s show just aren’t enough for me. Doug was way ahead of the mortgage and credit mess in 2007 and then predicted that the “bank weakness” would eventually mutate into “retailer weakness” in 2008. Even though, as a contrarian, he is characteristically early, it pays to read his missives as he is typically looking 3 to 4 moves ahead of many others playing the same chess game.
Full Disclosure: I am not currently long or short Dow Chemical in personal or client accounts