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Buckle Up for Economic Destruction

Economic Destruction

The S&P 500’s up over 30 percent from the March 22 closing low.  What’s more, it’s only about 18 percent from its February 16 all-time closing high.  Could it be that the market storm’s behind us and only sunny clear skies are ahead?

Why not?  Fed Chair Jay Powell’s manning the monetary levers with gusto.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s assuaging his Wall Street pals.  And an interventionist Congress is hell bent on racking up a $4 trillion deficit.

With all the funny money flowing into financial markets this must be just the time to buy stocks…right?  The answer, no doubt, depends on if you’re feeling lucky.

Carl Icahn – a billionaire – is not feeling lucky.  Hence, he’s not buying stocks.  He thinks they’re overvalued.  And he should know.  The 84 year old has traded every stock market crash since the Great Depression.

Instead of buying stocks, Icahn is hoarding cash, shorting commercial real estate, and preparing for the coronavirus to trigger “some big downdrafts.”  Nonetheless, Icahn knows a government propagated distortion that bends in his favor when he sees one.  According to Bloomberg:

“A wily trader, Icahn spotted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity amid the market gyrations.  On April 20, when it seemed the whole world was selling oil and crude futures fell to an unheard-of minus $40 a barrel, he was buying.

“Because CVR [CVR Energy Inc., one of Icahn’s larger stock holdings] constantly needs oil to supply its two refineries, Icahn realized he could use it to profit from the frenzy.  He said he instructed the Sugar Land, Texas-based company to make space in its storage tanks and put in orders for 1 million to 2 million barrels at negative prices he doesn’t expect ever to see again.”

How exactly oil futures came to touch minus $40 a barrel is quite absurd.  We’ll have more on this in a moment.  But first some context is in order…


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