(Bloomberg News) Nassim Taleb, author of "The Black Swan," said the "first thing" investors should avoid is U.S. Treasuries and the second is the dollar.
Taleb, a principal at Universa Investments LP whose 2007 bestselling book argued that history is littered with rare events that can't be predicted by trends, also said he would rather hold euros than dollars, even as the region's sovereign- debt crisis persists. "Euros have Germany, the dollar has nothing," he said at a conference in Moscow.
Taleb made similar comments at the same forum last year, saying "every single human being" should bet Treasuries will decline because of the policies of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and President Barack Obama. Bernanke has pledged to inject dollars into the U.S. financial system and cut borrowing costs by buying $2.3 trillion of Treasuries and other assets, a tactic known as quantitative easing.
"As skeptical as I am about Europe, I prefer it by far to the United States," said Taleb at the conference, hosted by Troika Dialog, Russia's oldest investment bank.
The U.S. is just like Greece, only without the International Monetary Fund to enforce discipline, Taleb said today. Greece came close to defaulting on its sovereign debt last year before receiving a bailout from the European Union.
"We have a very dire situation in the United States, and every day that goes by it gets worse," Taleb said. "Every day that goes by, we're spending money. We're increasing that cumulative debt."
Treasury Yields Climb
Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose one basis point to 3.49% by 12:39 p.m. in London, the highest since Dec. 15. The U.S. government has said it would sell $72 billion of notes and bonds next week.
Yields have climbed since the announcement of the second phase of the Fed's bond-buying program on Nov. 3. The return on the 10-year note has risen 0.92 percentage point, or 92 basis points, according to Bloomberg generic data, while the yield on two-year Treasuries has more than doubled, adding 35 basis points to 0.68% over the same period.
The dollar climbed against 10 of the 16 other major currencies tracked by Bloomberg today, including the euro and the New Zealand dollar, amid speculation reports this week will point to an acceleration in U.S. economic growth.