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Riled Rosenberg Still Thinks Economy Is Terrible

David Rosenberg
CNBC
David Rosenberg

Know this about David Rosenberg: He still thinks the economy stinks, even if he believes the stock market will rise.

The Gluskin Sheff economist and strategist is miffed that anyone might infer that his bullish statements this week on stocks represent a change in how feels about the economy.

We all know the two views are not incongruous. The market has been rallying for two years on a steady stream of economic news that ranges from miserable to mediocre.

But Rosenberg had been notoriously bearish on both fronts—that is, until he wrote in his daily market analysis on Wednesday that he believes the market rally likely will continue. A subsequent post I filed on the note got him good and riled.

“A careless author writing for a media source decided to take snippets from my report yesterday and lay claim that I have all of a sudden turned outright bullish,” he wrote in a retort Thursday.

“Just to be clear what I said was that the market internals had taken a turn for the better and that should be construed as a near-term positive. My overall view over the fragility of this economic recovery has not changed one iota. But what has changed is that a light-volume equity market rebound from the recent lows has recently been met by a significant revival in turnover activity.”

I’ve gone back over my post, which attracted a nice bit of traffic on this site and spread around the blogosphere rather quickly, and still don’t understand Rosie’s beef. I’m not even sure how he could characterize my use of his words as “snippets,” being that I related extensive direct quotes, including the critical, “This is not about throwing in the towel.”

Because his words received such widespread attention I was not entirely sure Rosenberg was referring specifically to me. But an email from one of his associates Thursday more or less confirmed that I was the target of the Rosie wrath.

Some background: Rosenberg writes a daily newsletter, usually titled “Breakfast With Dave” or “Lunch With Dave” or “Brunch With Dave” or “Seder With Dave” or some similar greeting. It is arguably the most comprehensive daily note in the industry and followed by many, particularly in blog land. Best of all, until recently it had been free (though the folks at Gluskin Sheff have been kind enough to keep me on the distribution list).

Rosenberg is excellent at dissecting the news of the day and how it pertains to investing, but he’s been banging the deflation and market-doom drum for quite a while in the face of one of the most improbable rallies in history. I can imagine he must be getting frustrated.

Whether that has anything to do with a change to pay model for his note, or if it’s just in response to the folks who pay for his other services and object to him giving away his insights, I don’t know.

But I can’t imagine anyone who follows Rosenberg believing that he’s suddenly a slap-happy bull ready to believe that all of the obstacles to a real recovery have suddenly disappeared.

My guess is he may have been a bit more upset about my speculating that the stock market rally is near an end now that a very prominent bear has finally changed his tune.

And I do know that I didn’t get my copy of “Breakfast With Dave” Friday.

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