Mike O’Rourke, BTIG’s Chief Market Strategist, is so intense about the markets that he has a Bloomberg terminal in his house, but he insists his popularity is for another reason.
“People like that I’m keepin’ it real,” he says.
O’Rourke’s nightly “Bedtime With BTIG” is the latest must-read email for traders.
He sends the newsletter, filled with what he says is, “my take on what we’re all seeing” to about 5,000 clients every night from Sunday through Thursday and it quickly ends up in inboxes all over Wall Street.
Barely a minute into our interview, O’Rourke starts talking markets. He talks really fast and starts telling me, “Greece is solvable. Right now there’s a crisis of confidence in the Eurozone leadership.” The consortium making political decisions have had months to lay out a game plan for Greece and they’ve only backtracked, he says.
O’Rourke, 36, is a Managing Director and the Chief Market Strategist at the client-only brokerage, BTIG. Every day, he talks to clients about minute-to-minute market movements and BTIG’s analysis, translating everything into English for them and, he says, “separating the noise from the actual movement.”
When worried investors ask O’Rourke about a Greek default’s causing problems in the US equity markets, he tells them to remember “it’s only 2% of Europe’s GDP. It’s like one state having issues. The problems can definitely be addressed. Greece’s GDP ratio to Europe’s is somewhere between Michigan’s and Ohio’s ratio to the rest of the US.”
Of course his opinions get him into disagreements with clients and readers, but he loves it when people tell him he’s wrong.
“I actually like to hear the other side of the argument,” he says. It helps him decide “what’s the tipping point that makes one argument stronger.”
What’s happening in Greece is just one of the “catalysts” O’Rourke watches all day.
Right now, he’s watching 10 year Treasury Bond yields. They’ve moved up to 4% recently, which has some investors thinking bonds are more attractive than equity. O’Rourke says a 4% yield is still too low. He’d like to see yields north of 5% before he favours bonds.
The jobs data is the most important market indicator, he says. He’s looking for it to drop below 400,000 jobless claims per week. “When it drops below that, it means the jobs market is repairing itself.” (Right now it’s at 460,000.)
He also brings up an interesting point about mutual fund inflows, something else he’s obsessing over. For the past three years, he says, mutual funds have seen outflows every month. But since this summer, the only month mutual funds saw outflows was January.
“All the money is moving into bond funds,” he says.
He’s animated and passionate throughout our conversation and it’s clear that’s why people are into O’Rourke.
“I think people just want someone they get along with and they can talk to [casually about the markets].”
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