To get a sense of Jeff Gundlach’s mental wellbeing right now, this slide is how he began his presentation at the 2017 Sohn Conference:
It's a painting by the German World War I-era artist Max Beckmann – “a painter with an eye wide-open to the things the world chooses not to see,” Gundlach explained. Then he quoted Beckmann:
I would meander through all the sewers of the world, through all degradation and humiliations, in order to paint. I have to do this. Until the last drop every vision that exists in my being must be purged; then it will be a pleasure for me to be rid of this damned torture.
Of course, Gundlach was meandering his way toward a different sewer: the stock-picking world. “I call it: Portrait of U.S. Long-Only Equity Managers, 2017,” Gundlach said, pointing at the horrifying tableau. Then he quoted Nietzsche. Then he quoted Nietzsche again. Then he explained how a clown named Binky made him drop out of Yale. Altogether, it was about a 7 on the Gundlach scale.
This was all in the service of Gundlach’s Sohn 2017 investment these: long emerging markets, short the S&P 500 (an actively managed index, Gundlach reminded us), and – invoking the “Voice of Binky” – leverage it all once over.
So yeah, Jeff Gundlach wins Sohn 2017.