Hedge fund managers are fuming at new political rhetoric against them and their huge paydays.» Read More
Don't bet against the dollar just yet.
That's the message from a new CNBC survey of top Wall Street strategists.
Strategists on average see the dollar strengthening to 1.064 per euro by June and 1.024 by the end of the year. By the end of 2016, they forecast, the euro will rise back to 1.0320. Similarly, strategists expect the dollar to strengthen against the Japanese yen to 121.43 by June, 124.64 by the end of 2015 and even further to 127.08 by the end of next year.
More than 70 percent of respondents have a negative near-term outlook on emerging markets currencies; 21 percent are somewhat positive and none is extremely positive.
But the dollar has been going the other way for weeks, weakening to a three-month low against other major currencies. Even hated emerging markets currencies like Russia's ruble have gained 26 percent in two months. After plunging to 1.04 in March, the euro has shot back to just under 1.14.
Another market disruption from higher interest rates is virtually certain, according to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
"This is a very tough period to get through," he added about the Fed increasing interest rates. "Normalization is great, but the process of getting there is going to be very rocky."
Wall Street experts who blamed the economic slowdown this year on the brutal winter weather are being left out in the cold.
April's retail numbers called into question the broader narrative that the dismal first-quarter numbers were an anomaly that would not be repeated. The Commerce Department on Wednesday reported sales of $436.8 billion, virtually unchanged from March despite expectations that the economy was about to turn the corner and amid estimates that sales would grow at least a meager 0.2 percent.
The result has been a further dimming in hopes for second-quarter growth. The Federal Reserve's Atlanta branch cut its GDPNow forecast for the second quarter to 0.7 percent, far lower than consensus hopes for a 3.3 percent gain. A subsequent report showing a 0.3 percent decline for import prices in April added to low-growth expectations.
"The continuing weakness of retail sales in April brings into question our working assumption that the soft patch through the winter months was largely due to the unseasonably cold temperatures in the Northeast," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients.
Once an investor darling, Brazil is hardly a consensus target for international cash today.
High inflation, a sluggish economy and a massive corruption scandal at state energy company Petrobras have caused many investors to flee. But others are sticking with the beleaguered South American country.
One example is $193 billion private equity giant Carlyle Group. Co-CEO David Rubenstein thinks Brazil is actually the most appealing market for investment after the U.S., Europe and China, according to remarks made Tuesday at the Global Private Equity Conference in Washington, D.C.
(CNBC.com confirmed that the tweet is an accurate summary of Rubenstein's comments and views.)
Despite numerous Wall Street proclamations that its demise is near, investors refuse to buy into the notion that the bond bull market is dead.
Strategists like to talk about how the 6-year-old equity run is the "most hated bull market ever," but don't talk as much about all the derision hurled at fixed income. The past several years saw multiple predictions of the "Great Rotation" of money from bonds into stocks, but it's turned into arguably the worst market call of the decade.
The year 2015 alone has seen more than $117 billion in investor cash flow into bond-based mutual and exchange-traded funds, according to respective tallies from the Investment Company Institute and TrimTabs. Equity funds have lagged that total significantly, with stock-based ETFs actually losing nearly $30 billion and global equity mutual funds pulling in just $23 billion, a number that includes $22.2 billion in losses to U.S.-based funds.
Some of the Street's biggest names, though, have been declaring the death of bonds—again. Recent sharp upticks in U.S. and German bond yields have fueled the fire.
Warren Buffett called bonds "severely overvalued" last week. Leon Cooperman at Omega Advisors also used the term "overvalued" and Pershing Square's Bill Ackman, in a televised interview, said he doesn't like fixed income as an investment class.
If this all sounds familiar, it should.
Pity David Tepper.
The noted hedge fund manager and richest guy in the hedge industry for three years running, got knocked off his perch in 2014.
Tepper, the head of Appaloosa Management, tumbled all the way to 11th on Institutional Investors Alpha's Rich List, after making a mere $400 million last year, which represented just a 2.2 percent gain for his firm, the worst of anyone in the rankings.
Taking over the top spot this year was Citadel's Ken Griffin, who raked in $1.3 billion in fees and earnings on his capital.
In total, it was a rough year for hedge fund industry honchos. The 25 managers on the list made a mere $11.62 billion, which was only a bit more than half of what last year's group pulled in. Average earnings were only $467 million, tumbling from 2013's lofty $846 million, according to Alpha.
Mom-and-pop investors have crossed an important threshold in how they're putting their money to work.
Over the past 12 months, the group, through registered investment advisors, brokerages and other retail sources, has put more money into exchange-traded funds than mutual funds, according to Broadridge Financial Solutions, an investor communications firm. That has not happened before.
Read MoreWhat's an ETF?
While there's still a huge mismatch in terms of total money under management between the two industries—$2.1 trillion for ETFs, $13.5 trillion in long-term mutual funds, according to the Investment Company Institute—the trend is worth noting for several reasons.
Conventional wisdom had long held that ETFs were more the playground of traders who use the index-tracking funds in part as hedging tools because they are compiled like mutual funds but can be traded like stocks. Mutual funds, conversely, were seen as long-term investments because they are less liquid.
Wall Street is slowly coming to a grips with an economy that offers not breakout growth but more of the same mediocrity that could keep interest rates on hold until the end of the year.
Citigroup economists said Friday they don't expect the Federal Reserve to lift its key policy rate from near zero before the December meeting. The forecast coincides with growing pessimism in the futures market, which only a few months ago had expected tightening to happen in June at the latest but now believes there is virtually zero chance that will happen.
Instead, fed funds futures peg chances of a September increase at 30 percent with a 50 percent chance in October. December indicates more certainty, with a 63 percent probability.
The sharp change comes amid a sputtering economy that grew just 0.2 percent in the first quarter, according to a preliminary estimate this week from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
"A June move remains possible, but now more improbable after the weak GDP report for the first quarter," Citi economist Dana Peterson and others said in a note to clients. Wednesday's Fed Open Market Committee statement, which removed any calendar targets for action, "supports our conjecture that the conditions for lift-off likely will not coalesce until later this year—likely December."
Musicians are giving way to money managers at New York's Lincoln Center on Monday, when Wall Street's top players gather at the annual Sohn Investment Conference.
They'll be doling out their best ideas to a crowd of eager investors who pay top dollar to gain entry to the day-long charity event.
With the S&P 500 advancing an impressive 11 percent from May 5, 2014, the day of last year's event, here's a rundown on the winners and the losers from 2014 (as determined by who outperformed the broader market):
Keith Meister's Corvex Capital has taken a large take in Yum Brands, sources told CNBC.
Corvex is now one of Yum's top five shareholders, purchasing shares early in the first quarter of 2015, according to sources. Meister will offer more details about his investment on Monday at the IRA Sohn Conference.
Meister bought Yum stake earlier in the first quarter, according to the sources.
Shares held their sharp gains.
While Loeb is bullish on the U.S., he noted that Third Point had "invested in more single name shorts this year than in all of 2014 combined," the letter said, referring to bets he made against some companies.
The letter said the firm was "constructive" on the U.S. because of improving economic data and the likelihood of continued low interest rates.
"These factors should create an environment where growth improves and monetary policy stays flexible, which is generally good for equities (higher multiples notwithstanding)," the letter said. "We may follow last year's playbook and ignore the old adage to 'sell in May and go away.'"
A spokesman for Third Point declined to comment. The firm manages about $17.5 billion. Its main fund is up 3.8 percent net of fees through April, according to performance information obtained by CNBC.
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