Bill Gross's latest investment outlook uses "Mother Goose" and other rhymes as a lens for viewing global monetary policy.
Bill Gross, during his reign as chief investment officer of the mutual fund giant Pimco, was known as much for his zany market commentary as for his bond investing abilities.
Now at the much smaller firm Janus Capital Group, Mr. Gross is proving to be as eccentric as ever. Seemingly no topic is off limits — not even domestic abuse among National Football League players.
In his latest investment outlook note, published on Thursday, Mr. Gross uses nursery rhymes as a lens for viewing global monetary policy, and he expounds at length on modern social mores. He also makes an allusion to the N.F.L. and the league’s recent domestic abuse cases.
The letter begins with a quote from the Punch and Judy rhyme in “Mother Goose.”
“Ah, nursery rhymes! Intended for kids no less!” Mr. Gross says. “The above little ditty could serve as a modern day N.F.L. domestic playbook, I suppose, while a century ago it was but one of many ‘lesson plans’ on what not to do when you grow up.”
Mr. Gross, who was nicknamed the bond king, warns in the letter of what he sees as worrisome economic policy. That’s not unusual for a money manager these days.
But Mr. Gross, in his unique rhetorical style, goes so far as to imagine Mario Draghi, the president of European Central Bank, in an aggressive encounter with Angela Merkel, the German leader.
“If European Central Bank President Mario Draghi were the old fashioned ‘Punch,’ he might figuratively be attacking German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her tight monetary and fiscal heritage,” Mr. Gross writes. “‘Take that Judy/Angela!’”
He also pictures Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, in a nursery rhyme context.
“If Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen were the fictional Little Miss Muffet, she would be hoping to eat the ‘curds and whey’ of 2 percent to 3 percent real economic growth while avoiding spiderous increases in future prices,” Mr. Gross writes.
The investor’s point is that today’s bad behavior — whether in a social context or in the world of monetary policy — will eventually be seen for what it is.
“I suspect future generations will be asking current policymakers the same thing that many of us now ask about public smoking, or discrimination against gays, or any other wrong turn in the process of being righted,” he writes.
The Punch and Judy rhyme is a favorite reference.
“Back then, the way comic strips allowed women to get revenge was a metaphorical frying pan in the kitchen,” Mr. Gross writes. “Watch out, Dagwood – here comes Blondie! Today, all of that is frowned upon and so much the better.”