Howard Marks: None of them ‘know’

“The vast majority of today’s negative-yield bonds are in Europe and Japan. One of the biggest questions surrounds whether negative rates will reach the U.S. This question takes me back to my immediate response to Ian’s suggestion that I write this memo: nobody knows, and certainly not me. When something hasn’t happened in the past, it’s impossible to be sure you know how it’ll end up. Different people will express opinions on this subject with differing degrees of confidence. Yet I remain certain that none of them ‘know.'” –Howard Marks.

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Howard Marks: Uncertainty

“I’m firmly convinced that markets will continue to rise and fall, and I think I know (a) why and (b) what makes these movements more or less imminent. But I’m sure I’ll never know when they’re going to turn up or down, how far they’ll go after they do, how fast they’ll move, when they’ll turn back toward the midpoint, or how far they’ll continue on the opposite side. So there’s a great deal to admit uncertainty about.” —Howard Marks.

Howard Marks: Thankful heart

“The philosopher Cicero said something beautiful. He said, ‘The thankful heart is not only the greatest of all the virtues, but it is the parent of all the other virtues.’ And I think what that means is that people who are lucky should thank their luck, acknowledge it and revel in it. I think it will also make them want to share the fruits of their luck with others.” –Howard Marks. 

Howard Marks: Endemic to all markets

“We don’t consider ourselves good macro-forecasters (or even people who believe in forecasting). So we certainly are in no position to say when the recession or market pullback will start, how bad it will be…or even that there definitely will be one. But we think we’re unlikely to be proved wrong if we say cyclicality is not at an end but rather is endemic to all markets, and that every up leg will be followed by a down leg.”

—Howard Marks.