What You Need to Know
- The PIMCO co-founder anticipates rising commodity prices, a weaker dollar and that stimulus-driven demand will spark inflation.
- “Three to six to 12 months at 3% to 4% plus inflation will give [Federal Reserve Chairman Powell] pause in terms of his current policy,” Gross says.
- He bought some master limited partnership units last year, attracted by tax advantages and yields of 13% to 14%.
Onetime bond king Bill Gross has been busy in retirement, shorting Treasury bonds, playing chicken with day traders on Reddit and even making a bundle on energy prices.
The Pacific Investment Management Co. co-founder, who runs money for his charitable foundation, shared some of his trades in an interview Tuesday on Bloomberg Television.
Gross said he bet against the 10-year Treasury through the futures market and remains short, anticipating a combination of rising commodity prices, a weaker dollar and stimulus-driven demand will spark inflation.
“Inflation, currently below 2%, is not going to be below 2% in the next few months,” Gross said. “I see a 3% to 4% number ahead of us.”
Treasurys are familiar territory for Gross, 76, who once managed the world’s biggest bond fund.
The other wagers are more esoteric, though consistent with the kind of investing he did after leaving Pimco in 2014 following a feud with his partners.
Running the Janus Unconstrained Fund until retirement in 2019, Gross often sold volatility, seeking to make money on mispriced options. That’s what drew him to the January frenzy in GameStop Corp.
He described selling call options on GameStop, initially at strike prices of $150 and $200, and losing $10 million as retail buying on Robinhood Markets helped drive the stock to almost $400.
Gross refused to fold and said he managed to book a profit of about $10 million after exiting the trade when the shares finally tumbled.
Now he’s back in, selling call options at $250 and $300, meaning he could face losses if the stock, now trading close to $210, surpasses those levels.
“The volatility is super high,” he said. “I think this is a perfect opportunity for options sellers, not buyers.“
10-Year Treasury Views
Gross said he entered his wager against the 10-year Treasury when the yield, now about 1.6%, was about 35 basis points lower.