Bill Gross: One of Our U.S. GDPs Has Gone Missing

Some good stuff from Pimco’s Bill Gross in his latest monthly missive. A sample:

[The last fifty years] produced a persistent increase in asset prices vs. nominal GDP that led to an average overall 50-year appreciation advantage of 1.3% annually. That’s another way of saying you would have been far better off investing in paper than factories or machinery or the requisite components of an educated workforce. We, in effect, were hollowing out our productive future at the expense of worthless paper such as subprimes, dotcoms, or in part, blue chip stocks and investment grade/government bonds. Putting a compounding computer to this 1.3% annual outperformance for 50 years, produces a double, and leads to the conclusion that the return from all assets was 100% (or 15 trillion – one year’s GDP) higher than what it theoretically should have been. Financial leverage, in other words, drove the prices of stocks, bonds, homes, and shopping malls to extraordinary valuation levels – at least compared to 1956 – and there could be payback ahead as the leveraging turns into delevering and nominal GDP growth regains the winner’s platform.

…Rage, rage, against this conclusion if you wish, but the six-month rally in risk assets – while still continuously supported by Fed and Treasury policymakers – is likely at its pinnacle. Out, out, brief candle.

Important reading. More here.