Mr Gundlach's star status, his supreme self-confidence and a strong track record stretching back to his earlier career inside TCW, made him an obvious heir to the "bond king," Bill Gross, even before the Pimco founder hit a period of poor returns and negative headlines this year.
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DoubleLine's assets under management pale next to the $1.9tn at Pimco, and Mr Gundlach's Total Return Fund and his smaller but more comparable DoubleLine Core Fixed Income fund add up to $36bn versus the $223bn in Mr Gross's flagship fund. But where Pimco called the bond market all wrong at the start of the year, when the overwhelming consensus was for 10-year Treasury yields to march upwards from 3 per cent, Mr Gundlach reckoned on weak economic growth and weak housing and a slide in yields. Today, they are below 2.5 per cent.
"If you Google 'Interest rates will fall in 2014' what pops up is a whole bunch of articles that say bond prices will fall in 2014 because yields will rise. It picks up the search in a convoluted way. There's only a couple that actually specifically answer that request and one of them is 'Gundlach says interest rates will fall in the first half of 2014.' But I thought it was one of the easiest calls."
Even after a 4 per cent print for second-quarter GDP (inflated, he says, by inventory stocking), he believes forecasters and equity market investors will eventually be disabused of the idea that the US economy is reaching "escape velocity."
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They cling to the idea now, he says, "and then all of a sudden they won't. It's kind of like punching a pumpkin. It's the same thing, the same thing, the same thing and then all of a sudden it all caves in. I would still be surprised to see full-year 2014 GDP exceed 2 per cent."
That does not mean that DoubleLine is not positioning itself to capitalise on economic growth of sorts, at least in the area of mortgages, where the US government is trying to persuade private capital to fund loans without needing guarantees from federal agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mr Gundlach is close to signing a deal with a mortgage originator, who will offer loans that do not qualify for those guarantees and which can therefore be bundled into securities with a higher yield, which DoubleLine will place in its hedge fund.
"I think that people who are looking for the catalyst for the next mortgage meltdown are fighting the last war," Mr Gundlach said, dismissing the notion that private-label mortgages would be subprime by another name. "I think the chance of that is really almost infinitesimal."
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No, the next crisis will be something else, he says. Something on that list. Something that requires 2020 vision.
—By Stephen Foley, the Financial Times