Stanley Druckenmiller is one of the most successful investors of the last few decades. He rose to prominence as George Soros' portfolio manager and outperformed the market averages by a significant degree. With Soros, he is also known as the man who 'broke the Bank of England' by betting on the devaluation of the British pound which yielded more than $1 billion in profits.
Eventually, he launched his own hedge fund, Duquesne Capital which had an average annual performance of 30.6% between 1981 and 2010. His only hiccup was during the dot-com bubble in 1999 and 2000 when he was too early in shorting and then got long at the wrong time as well. Other than that his investing record is immaculate.
Another impressive thing about Druckenmiller is that he combines the best elements of a trader and investor. This is apparent if one takes a look at his portfolio vs his public comments. For instance, he's been pretty bearish about the prospects of the U.S. economy and critical of fiscal and monetary authorities, yet his portfolio has been invested in some of the best-performing stocks of the past decade like Meta
So, it's understandable that markets and investors pay close attention to his thoughts, even if they should be taken with a grain of salt. At CNBC's Delivering Alpha Conference, Druckenmiller said that he 'would be stunned' if the U.S. doesn't fall into a recession sometime in 2023 as a result of Fed policy.
While, the bullish case is a 'soft landing' with earnings growth remaining positive but slowing, while inflation moderates, Druckenmiller is forecasting the opposite. He sees a 'hard landing' that brings more pain than the typical recession.
Typical recessions often see the Fed being able to prematurely ease, but in this case, the Fed is unlikely to have room to maneuver given the inflationary pressures that have built up over the past couple of years, specifically in energy, which has now spread to 'stickier' components.
So far this year, the Federal Reserve has raised rates by 3% from 0% at the start of the year. Currently, futures markets are forecasting another 150 basis points of hikes by the end of the year. Additionally, recent employment data makes it clear that the Fed has more room to hike without worrying that it's going to affect the labor market. And, inflation data is increasing fears that inflation has spread into core CPI which many believe can only be curbed by the Fed crushing demand and engineering a recession.