Gross: Debt Has Consequences

PIMCO’s Bill Gross says Americans are not realizing the impact the country’s debt burden will have, and says stock investors should be looking elsewhere for strong returns.

“The American hegemon knows no limits, it seems, when it comes to spending other people’s money for their own consumption,” Gross writes in his latest Investment Outlook on PIMCO’s web site.Unlike Euroland or the United Kingdom, which appear to have gone on an extreme fiscal diet, the American answer to a bulging waistline is always ‘mañana.’ Debt commission recommendations are tossed in the trashcan, tea party election rhetoric eventually focuses on miniscule and merely symbolic earmarks, and both Democrats and Republicans congratulate each other on their ability to reach a bipartisan agreement for the good of the nation.” (Gross’ emphasis added.)

Gross says the U.S.’ burgeoning debt load will weaken the dollar, hurt American workers’ real wages, and inhibit growth in the future. He also says it will mean very tough times for long-term bond holders.

He says investors should look for “safe spread” bond investments — those that emphasize credit, as opposed to durational risk, including emerging market corporates and sovereigns with higher initial real interest rates and wider credit spreads; floating as opposed to fixed interest obligations; and importantly currency exposure other than the dollar.

As for stocks, Gross says, “If the U.S. must pay an eventual price for mindless deficit spending, then find countries and currencies that appear to have their act under control: Canada, Brazil, and yes even Mexico with its drug related violence.”

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