Attending My Last Electric Nissan Leaf Rally

Nil Gas

It was a typical fall day in San Francisco, the fog wafting in and out through the Golden Gate Bridge. I took the opportunity to attend a company sponsored rally of Nissan Leaf drivers on the Marina Green. These were the fanatics, the diehards, the truly devoted. These were people who were willing to bet big bucks on an untested, unproven new technology. These were the … [Read more...]

Spoiled for Choice


Boy, am I spoiled for choice on what to do this weekend. On the one hand, I have been invited to join the president on the reviewing stand for Monday’s inauguration in Washington DC. On the other, the Maverick’s World Surf competition near California’s Half Moon Bay is on the same day, which has not been held for three years. I have to admit that it is temping to don my … [Read more...]

January 17, 2013

Global Market Comments January 17, 2013 Fiat Lux Featured Trades: (APRIL 19 CHICAGO STRATEGY LUNCHEON) (MLP’S ARE ON FIRE), (CVRR), (SXCP), (AMJ), (EEP), (KMP), (TLP) (ALL I WANT TO DO IS RETIRE) … [Read more...]

MLP’s Are On Fire


Master Limited Partnerships have been on fire since the beginning of the year. Once the deal on the “Fiscal Cliff” was done, and these instruments’ special tax treatment protected, it was off to the races. These unique and versatile instruments combine the tax benefits of a limited partnership with the liquidity of publicly traded securities. The explosion in demand has … [Read more...]

All I Want to do is Retire

Dollar in Vice

I have always believed that if you don’t have a sense of humor, then you better get the hell out of this business. Below is a link to a YouTube video entitled “All I Want to do is Retire” which covers the decline of the brokerage industry over the last 20 years. The video is currently going viral and sent to me by a subscriber. Watch this during your next coffee break. The run … [Read more...]

January 16, 2013

Global Market Comments January 16, 2013 Fiat Lux Featured Trades: (VIX), (VXX), (AAPL), (SPY), (IWM), (BA), (TLT), (USO), (FXY), (YCS), (FXE), (YCS), (EUO), (GLD), (SLV) … [Read more...]

My 2012 Report Card

2012 Daily Perf.

I’ll give myself a “B” on this one. Sure, with the Trade Alert Service generating a 14.87% net profit for the year, I was able to bring in double the Dow average, and triple what most hedge funds delivered, including some of the biggest ones. But for once, I did not achieve true greatness. I feel that, given the amount of work I did, I should have done much better. I issued … [Read more...]

On Executing Trade Alerts

From time to time I receive an email from a subscriber telling me that they are unable to get executions on trade alerts that are as good as the ones I get. There are several possible reasons for this: 1) Markets move, sometimes quite dramatically so. 2) Your Trade Alert email was hung up on your local provider’s server, getting it to you late. This is a function of your … [Read more...]

The Bull Case for AIG

AIG 1-10-13

I was in a huge hurry last week when I sent out a Trade Alert to buy insurance giant American International Group (AIG), operating from a Chicago hotel suite with a stock market that was flying. Now that I am home, and have single handedly brought Oakland’s crime wave to a juddering halt, I have an opportunity to go into depth on this troubled company. I know it well, as it … [Read more...]

Economist David Hale Says the Action will be in Southeast Asia

David Hale

I have been relying on David Hale as my de facto global macro economist for decades, and I never miss an opportunity to get his updated views. The challenge is in writing down David’s eye popping, out of consensus ideas fast enough, because he spits them out in such a rapid-fire succession. Since David is an independent economic advisor to many of the world's government’s, … [Read more...]

January 7, 2013

Global Market Comments January 7, 2013 Fiat Lux 2013 Annual Asset Class Review FOR PAID SUBSCRIBERS ONLY Featured Trades: (SPX), (QQQQ), (AAPL), (XLF), (BAC), (EEM),(EWZ), (RSX), (PIN), (FXI), (TUR), (EWY), (EWT), (IDX) (TLT), (TBT), (JNK), (PHB), (HYG), (PCY), (MUB), (HCP) (FXE), (EUO), (FXC), (FXA), (YCS), (FXY), (CYB) (FCX), (VALE), (MOO), (DBA), (MOS), (MON), … [Read more...]

2013 Annual Asset Class Review


I am writing this report from a first class sleeping cabin on Amtrak's California Zephyr. We are now pulling away from Chicago's Union Station, leaving its hurried commuters, buskers, panhandlers, and majestic great halls behind. I am headed for Emeryville, California, just across the bay from San Francisco. That gives me only 56 hours to complete this report. I tip my porter, … [Read more...]

Order Execution 101


Given the sudden uptick in trade alerts I have been sending out to my Global Trading Dispatch subscribers, some 60 since August 10, I have been inundated with requests for how to execute these. So I thought I’d take some time today to expound on the basics of order execution 101. There are three basic ways to intelligently get an order into the market: 1) The No Brainer … [Read more...]

Bernanke’s Stake Through Romney’s Heart.


I can just imagine how Ben Bernanke’s announcement of QE3 went down at Mitt Romney’s campaign headquarters in Massachusetts last week. Doors slammed, heads pounded against walls, and hair was torn out. You can almost hear the whoosh of resume’s flying down to conservative think tanks on Washington DC’s “K” street as campaign workers scramble to find post-election employment. … [Read more...]

Oil is Not Looking So Hot.


I received another one of those scratchy cell phone calls from my friend in the West Texas oil patch. You could almost feel the dust coming through the ether. He said that while Ben Bernanke his committed to buying $40 billion a month of mortgage-backed securities as part of QE3, he has not promised to buy a single barrel of oil. This is bad for oil. That means Texas Tea has … [Read more...]

Don’t Miss the Big Show in Silver.


Those transfixed by gold blasting through the $1,750 level have been missing the real action in silver. The white metal has soared 34% to $34 since the beginning of the year, compared to only a 14% move for the barbaric relic, an outperformance of 2.4 to one. I have been a raging bull on the precious metals space since early August. Silver gives you additional diversification … [Read more...]

The 30-Year View on What’s Happening Today.

Bubble Dude

Take a look at the 30 year chart of the S&P 500 below, and it’s clear that the market is approaching a critical juncture. With the closely watched index closing at 1,460 today, we are a mere 140 points from the iron ceiling that has been unassailable for the past 13 years. The chart is a roll call of past disasters for American investors. The 2000 peak was the apex of … [Read more...]

If You Had Any Doubts About Gold …


Since Ben Bernanke’s announcement of QE3 last week, new forecasts for gold have been popping up like acne at a high school prom. They range from the conservative to the absurd, from $1,900 to $55,000. But they all have one thing in common: higher. Before you head down to the local coin store to load up on bags of one ounce American gold eagles, let me go through the simplest of … [Read more...]

Buy What Ben’s Buying.


In view of Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, yesterday:  it is time to reassess one’s investment strategy.  The former Princeton professor didn’t give us QE3, he gave us QE3 with a turbocharger, on steroids, with an extra dose of adrenaline.  He could spend another $1 trillion before all is said and done.  If ever an economic theory was pursued to extremes, this is it. … [Read more...]

QE3 Blows Out Bears.


The big surprise today was not that the Federal Reserve launched QE3, but the extent of it.  For a start, they moved the “low interest rate” target out to mid-2015.  They left the commitment to bond-buying open-ended.  The first-year commitment came in at $480 billion, in-line with previous efforts. Reading the statement from the Open Market Committee, you can’t imagine a … [Read more...]

Raising My Apple Target to $1,600.


Long-term readers of this letter are well aware of my pleadings with them a couple of years ago to buy Apple (AAPL) stock at $250 with a target of $1,000. Certainly, the 200 readers who work for Apple noticed.  That was back when the main concern about the company was that Steve Jobs would die young. In view of the upgrades present in the iPhone 5 announced today, I am going … [Read more...]

My Fed Call.


My Fed Call. Survey traders and investors today, and you will find that 99% believe further quantitative easing via QE3 will be announced on Thursday. Poll vote Fed governors and you get a more realistic 50% probability. I think it is much less than that – and therein lies the trade. I think that markets are getting rather over-expended up here. They have been discounting … [Read more...]

Another Trade Alert Service All-Time High.


Global Trading Dispatch’s Trade Alert Service posted a new all-time high yesterday, clocking a 63.2% return since inception. The 2012 YTD return is now at 23.05%. That takes the average annualized return up to 33.3%, ranking it among the top performing hedge funds in the world. Those happy subscribers who bought my service on May 23 have seen an amazing 25 consecutive … [Read more...]

Buy the Big Dip in Gold.


Look at the charts for the barbarous relic below and you can only come to one possible conclusion. If the Federal Reserve disappoints on Thursday, just a little bit, even by a smidgeon, and does not deliver QE3 and gold sells off big, you should jump in and by the stuff like crazy. All of the charts for gold and the derivative plays are showing major breakouts to the upside. … [Read more...]

The China News is Big.

A Chinese military delegate to the Natio

NOTE TO READERS: There is a short letter today because I spent the entire weekend writing Trade Alerts, which you will receive right at the Monday morning opening. Last Friday, China announced a $150 billion reflationary public works budget designed to arrest the current free fall in the country’s GDP growth rate. The move came totally out of the blue and caught many China … [Read more...]

Quit Singing “Waltzing Matilda” in the Shower. Trade Alert:


Sell Short the Currency Shares Australian Dollar Trust October, 2012 (FXA) $105-$108 call spread at $0.35 or best Opening Trade 9-4-2012 – 2:00 PM EST expiration date: October 19, 2012 Portfolio weighting: 10% = 45 contracts on a net delta adjusted basis This is a bet that the Currency Shares Australian Dollar Trust October, 2012 (FXA) trades at or below $105.35 … [Read more...]

Here Comes the Next Peace Dividend.


When communications between intelligence agencies suddenly spike, as has recently been the case, I sit up and take note. Hey, you don't think I talk to all of those generals because I like their snappy uniforms, do you? The word is that the despotic, authoritarian regime in Syria is on the verge of collapse, and is unlikely to survive more than a few more months. The body … [Read more...]

Case Shiller Data Points to Real Estate Bottom.


Cheers went up from the real estate industry this morning when the Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller data was released. It showed the first year-on-year increases in prices since 2006. Calls went out from real estate agents around the country announcing that the bottom was in and that you better buy now before prices shoot up. Not so fast. Let’s look at the data first. … [Read more...]

How U.S. Job Losses Will End


I was researching comparative Asian wage data the other day and was astounded with what I found. Textile workers earn $2.99 an hour in India (PIN), $1.84 in China (FXI), and $0.49 in Vietnam (VNM). This is an 18-fold increase in labor costs from $0.10 an-hour since Chinese industrialization launched in 1978. This compares to the $8 an hour our much abused illegals get at … [Read more...]

The “Safe” Trade Beats All


I certainly hope you took my advice to load your portfolio with corn and gold and to dump your equities five years ago. What? You didn’t? Then you have almost certainly suffered on the performance front. According to data compiled by my former employer, the Financial Times, corn was the top performing asset class since 2007, bringing in a stunning 146% return. Who knew that … [Read more...]

Reach for Yield With Sovereign Debt


During my recent meeting with the senior portfolio managers of the big Swiss banks, I kept hearing the same word over and over: yield, yield, yield! The search for yield by end investors has become so overwhelming that it now trumps all other considerations. So I am starting a series of major pieces on the world’s best yield plays. Those include emerging market debt, REIT’s, … [Read more...]

Watch Out for the Coming Risk Reversal


It is a fact of life that markets get overstretched. Think of pulling on a rubber band too hard, or loading too many paddlers at one end of a canoe. Whatever the metaphor, the outcome is always unpleasant and sometimes disastrous. Take a look at the charts below and you can see how extended markets have become. Stocks (DIA), (QQQ), (IWM) have reached the top of decade and a … [Read more...]

The Volatility Death Spiral Continues


Mr. Market sometimes speaks in mysterious tongues, and you really have to wonder what he is struggling to tell us by taking the Volatility Index (VIX) down to a subterranean $13 handle on Friday, a new five year low. A number of advisors have been recommending that investors load up on the (VIX) in recent months to give them downside protection from an imminent market crash. … [Read more...]

Get Ready to Buy the Bond Market


The Treasury bond market has just suffered one of the most horrific selloffs in recent memory, taking the yield on ten year paper up from 1.38% to an eye popping 1.83% in weeks, a three month high. Yields have just risen by an amazing 38%. This has dragged the principal Treasury bond ETF (TLT) down from $132 to $120. Those who were pining to get into this safe haven at a … [Read more...]

Time to Pick Up Some Gold


Gold has clearly evolved into a call option on global quantitative easing. Don’t think of it just as the stuff your dentist puts in your teeth or the thing your girlfriends gets you to wrap around her finger anymore. I don’t think that the Federal Reserve will implement QE3 at its September 16-17 meeting, or even next year. This shocking realization will be bad for gold … [Read more...]

The Slippery Slope for Oil


If volatility and lack of direction in the equity market are driving you nuts these days, thank your lucky stars you’re not in the oil market. Only last night, a Japanese supertanker plowed into a US Navy destroyer, causing prices to spike. That’s assuming that you had time to notice while sifting through numerous, contradictory leaks from Israeli intelligence about whether … [Read more...]

Double Up or Bail on Your JC Penny Short?


The stock of the day last Friday was, no doubt, JC Penny (JCP), one of the most heavily shorted stocks in the market, which announced Q2, 2012 earnings. Despite a huge miss, the stock soared by 20% because the losses were not as bad as many expected. This leads to the question of whether traders should double up or bail on the existing short positions. As the dispassionate … [Read more...]

When Bad Becomes Good and Worse is Even Better


Welcome to the “Heads I win, tails you lose” market. The prospect of imminent quantitative easing by the US, Europe, China, and even Japan is supporting asset prices globally. The worse the economic data reports, the greater the likelihood of such action, and the higher prices can rise. In this topsy turvey world, bad becomes good, and worse is even better. The only reason … [Read more...]

The Fed Says No QE3


As I expected, the wildly optimistic expectations for further quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve at yesterday’s Open Market Committee meeting were not matched with substance. All we got was a continuation of existing modest programs and some minor tweaking of language. Bernanke only managed to say that, “further stimulus will be provided as needed.” The Fed left … [Read more...]

Mr. Mario’s Big Bluff


A couple of alleged Tweets, a few rumored phone calls, and what have we got? $2 trillion in new global stock market capitalization in hours. That was the bottom line after the purported communication between the staffs of Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Jean Francois Hollande, and ECB president Mario Draghi. But is the creation of this immense new wealth, which would alone … [Read more...]

Why Ben Bernanke Hates Me


I don’t just think he hates me. He truly despises me. In fact, he does everything he can to put me out of business. Take next week, for example, when the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets, and he will attempt to give my views and me a complete thrashing. I doubt he’ll launch a QE3 because he needs to keep some dry powder as a last resort. But he probably will … [Read more...]

Apple Just Gave You a Gift


Steve Jobs’ creation dropped a real bombshell on the market Tuesday when it announced Q2, 2012 earnings that were rotten to the core. The timing could not have been worse for a market that was on the verge of complete nervous breakdown. Of the 53 brokers who provided research coverage of the Mountain View, California firm, 27 rated it a “buy”, 21 “outperform”, and precisely … [Read more...]

US Earnings Are Headed Down the Drain


Remember the $2 trillion US corporate cash mountain that you have heard so much about? Well, it is finally starting to shrink. Have they started reinvesting profits in America? Are they hiring more people? Did they finally get those tax breaks they were begging for? Have they dramatically increased dividends and share buy backs or returned to acquisitions to boost … [Read more...]

How the Fed Will Trigger the Next Crash


Over the last two months, I have witnessed one of the least convincing rallies in the US stock market in recent memory. Looking at the chart for the S&P 500 below you can clearly see a modest, low conviction, declining volume rally in an ever-narrowing channel. This is further confirmed by the chart of the NYSE advance/decline ratio that is failing at the March support … [Read more...]

This Party is About to End


They are really rocking the market today, with the Dow up nearly 200 points off the back of a non-disastrous Chinese GDP growth figure of 7.7%. However, there is a serious disconnect going on in our markets which suggests to me that our own party may be about to end. Yesterday’s blockbuster weekly jobless claim took applications for unemployment benefits down to a four-year … [Read more...]

Obama’s Unintended Oil Consequences


Back in March, oil broke the $110/barrel level and gasoline was rapidly approaching the $5/gallon level, threatening to derail Obama’s reelection campaign. The administration enlisted Europe to join it in a boycott of Iranian oil in an effort to get the Islamic republic to retreat from is program to develop a nuclear weapon. Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, responded by … [Read more...]

Why I Am Chopping My US GDP Forecast to 1.5%


For the past two years, I have maintained a GDP growth forecast for the US of 2% a year. I have not stuck with this figure because I am stubborn, obstinate, or too lazy to update my analysis of the future of the world’s largest economy. I have kept this number nailed to the mast because it has been right. I have watched other far more august institution with vastly more … [Read more...]

No Fed Action Disappoints QE Bulls


It’s always nice when intelligent people agree with you. That was my feeling after the Federal Reserve gave notice today that it was downgrading its forecast of US economic growth for 2012 from 2.6% to 2.15%. That is a major step down from the 3% and higher predictions they were hanging on to earlier. The news came in the written statement that followed the Fed’s somewhat … [Read more...]

Gold is Making a Comeback


One of my best calls of the year was to plead with readers to avoid gold like the plague, periodically dipping in on the short side only. The barbarous relic has been in a bear market since it peaked at $1,922 an ounce at the end of August last year. Gold shares have fared much worse, with lead stock Barrack Gold (ABX) dropping 36% since then and the gold miners ETF (GDX) … [Read more...]

Greek Conservative Win Sends Shorts Fleeing


The victory of the centrist pro bailout New Democracy Party in the Sunday Greek elections sparked a furious rally in the overnight Asian markets, much of it driven by hedge fund short covering. The socialist, anti-bailout parties went down in flames. As I write this on Sunday night, the Dow futures are trading up 78 points from the Friday close and the Japanese yen is in … [Read more...]

Be Careful What You Wish For


The wild whipsaw movements in the markets on Thursday reminded us once again how dependent they have become on monetary stimulus from central banks. As if we needed reminding. Almost simultaneously, officials from the US, Japan and the UK hinted at a coordinated move at this weekend’s G-20 meeting in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Let’s hope for the sake of global financial … [Read more...]

The Nationalization of the Bond Market


I was as stunned as anyone when the yield on the ten year Treasury bond (TLT), (TBT) plummeted to 1.42% two weeks ago. Predictions that long dated government paper would reach subterranean Japanese levels, considered loony as recently as a few months ago, are now donning the mantle of respectability, and even plausibility. Where will this end? With yields at 1.25%, 1%? … [Read more...]

The Next China Boom


The call was scratchy and barely audible. I was instructed to not mention any names. I should only use the prearranged code words when talking about political parties. You never know when the phones in China are tapped. I was just about to get a heads up that the People’s Bank of China was going to lower interest rates for the first time in four years. Of course, we knew … [Read more...]

Reach for Yield With Master Limited Partnerships


The dramatic collapse in the price of oil is creating a rare opportunity to get into some of the highest yielding paper in the financial markets, master limited partnerships (MLP)’s. These are LP’s that are publicly traded on a securities exchanges. These unique and versatile instruments combine the tax benefits of a limited partnership with the liquidity of publicly traded … [Read more...]

Nonfarm Bombshell Sends Markets Scampering


Say goodbye to 2012. That was the harsh conclusion of the marketplace after the release of the devastating May nonfarm report that forced the Dow to give up its entire year to date performance. The cat was really set among the pigeons this morning when the Department of Labor informed us that only 69,000 jobs were gained in the previous month. The unemployment rate ratcheted … [Read more...]

Are We Probing a Bottom With Housing?


The March Case Shiller Home Price Index is out, showing that the fall in home prices continues unabated, paring -2.6% on a YOY basis. Detroit delivered the biggest drop, down a shocking -4.4%, followed by Chicago (-2.5%), and Atlanta (-0.9%). But 14 out of 20 markets managed increases in prices. The national index is still declining, but at a slower rate. Given that this … [Read more...]

My Tactical View of the Market


The abject failure of the equity indexes to breach even the first line of upside resistance does not bode well for the “RISK ON” trade at all. Only a week ago I predicted that the markets would be challenged to top 1,340 in the (SPX) and $78 for the Russell 2000 (IWM). In fact, we made it up only to 1,335 and $77.90 respectively. To see the melt down resume ahead of the … [Read more...]

Time to Buy JP Morgan


This is far and away the world’s premier banking institution. Estimates of the huge trading losses by the London “whale”, initially pegged at $2 billion, have since skyrocketed to $6 billion. I’ll ignore the Internet rumors that speculate about a $30 billion hickey. As you well know, almost everything on the net is not true, except what you read in my own newsletter. Back in … [Read more...]

What Hot…and Not


My friend, Tom Dorsey of the technical research boutique Dorsey Wright, inundates me daily with a never ending stream of market sensitive data which has been helping me make some of my more successful market calls. For example, when the S & P 500 hundred broke 1,380 in April, he completely nailed the 1,280 bottom in the current move. So, I thought I’d pass on the asset … [Read more...]

Playing at the Deep End With the Euro


I never wanted to join any club that would have me as a member. That is the little nugget of wisdom comedian Groucho Marx imparted to me during his visit to the UCLA campus 40 years ago. It is also what came to mind when I saw the shocking Commitment of Traders Report for Euro futures that came out last Friday. Short positions in the beleaguered European currency soared to … [Read more...]

My Tactical View of the Market


The easy money has been made on the short side this year for a whole range of asset classes. While we will probably see lower lows from here, the risk/reward ratio for taking short positions in (SPX), (IWM), (FXE), (FXY), (GLD), (SLV), (USO), and (CU) are less favorable than they were two months ago. Of course, the ultimate arbiter will be the news play and the economic data … [Read more...]

Why My Boeing Trade Crashed and Burned


This trade was an unmitigated disaster, and hopefully it will be the worst of the year. I’m glad we had one of these because it provides a wonderful opportunity to illustrate everything that can go on with a trade. Every loss is a learning opportunity, and a loss not learned from is an opportunity wasted, and dooms one to repetition. Let me count the ways: 1) I was too … [Read more...]

Facebook Flop Frustrates Ferocious Fans


This had to be one of the greatest change of life weekends in human history, endured by one Mark Zuckerberg. On Friday, he earned $9.2 billion with the flawed Facebook (FB) flotation. On Saturday, he married a Chinese doctor and longtime girlfriend, Pricilla Chan. Then on Monday, oops honey, I lost $1.2 billion. Talk about a rocky start! Never mind that the precise timing was … [Read more...]

A Conversation With Charles Nenner

Volunteers clear the ice on the route of the intended Elfstedento

  I managed to catch my longtime friend, technical analyst, Charles Nenner, on the fly between London appointments yesterday. The must go to guy for big hedge funds, family offices, sovereign wealth funds, and high net worth individuals, says that the global markets are on the verge of completing round one of a major risk off trade, and there is much more to come. A … [Read more...]

Charts Are Breaking Down All Over


They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words, so here are 4,000 words worth. My friends at put together this series of charts establishing beyond any reasonable doubt that the “RISK ON” trade is breaking down across all asset classes. Everything is breaking down, simultaneously and in unison, including the S&P 500 (SPX), Gold (GLD), Silver (SLV), Oil … [Read more...]

Strong Dollar Spells Death for Commodities


Panic is on deck, to use the baseball terminology that my foreign readers are often attempting to decipher. That is the only conclusion one can reach after getting gob smacked by the price action this morning. Copper got spanked for eight cents, oil burned $2, gold shed another $26, and silver puked 70 cents. The tantrum like stock behavior in producing and equipment … [Read more...]

Why is Gold Broken?


Gold bugs are puzzled by the recent collapse in the price of the barbarous relic. Physical demand has been outstripping supplies for some time now and threatens to reach all-time highs. Demand for 100 ounce gold bars by the 1%’ers is as high as it has ever been. Negative real interest rates for almost all Treasury securities also underpin the bull argument for gold. Mine … [Read more...]

Check Out (HDGE) to Limit Downside Exposure


While scouring the markets looking for great ways to participate in the current slide in the equity indexes, I discovered a real gem. The Advisor Shares Active Bear ETF (HDGE) offers a rifle shot at the true garbage in the market, low dividend companies with deteriorating fundamentals. Run by former Bass Brothers associate Brad Lehmansdorf, it includes such well known losers as … [Read more...]

Euro Crash Warns of More to Come


A few years ago on the Old Square in Brussels, a delicious luncheon of moules marinières paired with an excellent white burgundy with some European Central Bank officials ran far longer than expected. They were attempting to convince me of the long term viability of the Euro, to no avail. That seriously delayed my departure from Belgium to Salisbury in the English … [Read more...]

Greece to Germany: Drop Dead!


That is what the head of Greece’s opposition party said this morning in the wake of elections where voters resoundingly rejected austerity in any way, shape, or form. Ditto for France, where the Socialists rode a wave of resentment against the incumbent conservative government. Looks like I will have to pack a red scarf and schedule some time for manning the barricades during … [Read more...]

The Bad Economic Data Deluge


Traders were sucker punched this morning with the release of the April ADP showing that private sector hiring came in at a flaccid 119,000, some 56,000 less than expected. This signals that the Department of Labor weekly jobless claims due out at 5:30 AM EST could be equally grim, and the Friday nonfarm payroll even worse. My sub 100,000 forecast for the latter is looking … [Read more...]

The Hard Numbers Behind Selling in May.


If I had a nickel for every time that I heard the term “Sell in May and go away” this year, I could retire. Oops, I already am retired! In any case, I thought that I would dig out the hard numbers and see how true this old trading adage is. It turns out that it is far more powerful than I imagined. According to the data in the Stock Trader’s Almanac, $10,000 invested at the … [Read more...]

The Bombshells Headed Our Way


This certainly promises to be an interesting week for the markets. On Thursday, we get the Department of Labor’s weekly jobless claims at 8:30 AM EST. If we clock a fourth consecutive week over 380,000, or go even higher, then an exact repeat for last year’s summer slowdown will be in play. So will the 25% drop in equity markets that followed. This will be confirmed by an … [Read more...]

Coffee With the Treasury Secretary


I knew that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was early for our meeting at the San Francisco Mark Hopkins Hotel, as the line of silver Secret Service GM Suburbans was illegally occupying some of the most prime parking places on Nob Hill. I’m glad they changed the color. I was getting tired of the perpetual black. Perhaps it’s an unknown leading economic indicator? As the agent … [Read more...]

No More QE3


That was the judgment of the markets in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s latest economic forecast released today for at least two minutes. The asset classes most dependent on further monetary easing, like gold (GLD), silver (SLV), the Euro (FXE), and the yen (FXY), saw dramatic, sudden selloffs, and then recovered losses almost as fast. Blinked and you missed all the action. … [Read more...]

Why Dr. Copper is Looking Ill


Traders like to refer to the red metal as Dr. Copper because it is the only one that has a PhD in economics. This year it has been proving its credentials as a great predictor of future economic activity once again. Copper has been leading the downside charge for all risk assets since it peaked on February 10. After looking at the latest trade data for the red metal, it is … [Read more...]

The Next Two Weekly Jobless Figures Are Crucial


All eyes will be focused on the weekly jobless claims to be released by the Department of Labor at 8:30 AM EST on Thursday. You may recall that investors did not exactly run the last two weekly reports up the flagpole and salute them, which showed sharp increases in unemployment claims. At this point the bulls are being comfortably complacent, blaming the bad numbers on  … [Read more...]

China’s Coming Demographic Nightmare


Thanks to China's “one child only” policy adopted 30 years ago, and a cultural preference for children who grow up to become family safety nets, there are now 32 million more boys under the age of 20 than girls. Large scale interference with the natural male:female ratio has been tracked with some fascination by demographers for years, and is constantly generating unintended … [Read more...]

Another Alarm Bell


I am a numbers guy. Show me the data and I’ll draw my own conclusions, ignoring conflicted brokerage research, the paid talking heads on TV, and all the politically motivated garbage pumped out by industry sponsored fake research institutes. I am also a glass half full kind of guy, willing to make a positive interpretation when all else is equal. After all, over the very long … [Read more...]

Check Out These Interesting Charts


I ran through a number of charts provided by my friends at, and as a person who has been piling on the shorts for the past two weeks I was greatly encouraged. Almost every single one was pregnant with gloomy implications. This is all happening a mere 12 days before the Great Escape in May commences. Virtually every technical indicator I follow is now flashing … [Read more...]

Checking Out the Dorsey Wright Technical Model


Bill Good is a friend of mine who runs Bill Good Marketing based in Salt Lake City. His is one of the best firms out there that provides data base support for registered investment advisors and high net worth individuals to operate independently. To see his website, please click here at We were chewing the fat the other day about the long term consequences of … [Read more...]

Is France the Next PIIG?


All eyes are now focused on Spain, where last week’s failed bond auction took yields back over 6% for ten year paper, and the pain is clearly not confined to the plain. But longer term focused analysts are wondering if France is really the next big over ripe piece of fruit to fall in Europe. Is France really a PIIG in sheep’s clothing? The structural economic data are not … [Read more...]

China GDP Data Sends Bulls Fleeing


The market hung on tenterhooks all last week, waiting for the Chinese Q1 GDP figure. As recently as Thursday, rumors swept the market that the number could be as high as 9%, well above the consensus figure of 8.4%, taking the Dow up a red hot 181 points. When the flash hit in the afternoon Beijing time confirming 8.1% the equity futures flipped into sell mode. By the time the … [Read more...]

Bidding Up the Market


A few years ago, I went to a charity fund raiser at San Francisco’s priciest jewelry store, Shreve & Co., where the well-heeled men bid for dinner with the local high society beauties, dripping in diamonds and Channel No. 5. Well fueled with champagne, I jumped into a spirited bidding war for one of the Bay Area’s premier hotties. Suffice to say, she has a sports stadium … [Read more...]

Taking profits on Apple


I am getting a lot of emails about how to come out of the $450-$480 Apple bull call spread, which I advised readers to go into on March 2. Now that we are deep in the money, what is the best way to take a profit? Well, the first thing for me is to say congratulations. My expectation that Apple stock would continue grinding up has paid off handsomely. The entire position … [Read more...]

The QE3 Myth


The prospect of a runaway printing press at the Federal Reserve has been the overwhelming factor driving risk assets in 2012.  Being the sober, cautious guy that you all know me to be, I did not join the party. I tell people this is because if I lose all my money I am too old to start over again as an entry level trader at Morgan Stanley. There is the additional complication … [Read more...]

Looking for Shorting Opportunities Among the Homebuilders


As we continue flirting with a final top in equities for the year, I am stepping up my search for the best ways to participate on the downside. At the very top of the list are the homebuilders, one of the top performing sectors since the October, 2011 bottom. The performance of individual names has been absolutely blistering, with Pulte Homes (PHM) clocking a 245% move to the … [Read more...]

Payroll Bombshell Give Market Technicians Heart Attack


I am sitting here on Easter weekend sifting through pages and pages from the various technical programs I follow warning that the roof is about to cave in on the stock market. Friday’s nonfarm payroll bombshell was dropped right at a key, make or break level for the S&P 500 and the Dow Average. Hold here, and we grind to a marginal new high in weeks. Fail, and it is all … [Read more...]

Cross Asset Class Analysis Warned “RISK OFF” Was Coming


Last week saw a dramatic deterioration in the economic data that has been the foundation of the Great Bull Market of 2012. First, we read minutes from a Federal Reserve meeting suggesting that QE3 has been put on a back burner. Then the Department of Labor’s Friday nonfarm payroll report poured gasoline on the fire, coming in at 120,000, versus an expected 210,000. Until … [Read more...]

Has Gold Had It?


With the Federal Reserve signaling yesterday that QE3 is off the table, many traders are now betting that the barbarous relic is about to take a prolonged vacation. Without a dividend or an interest yield in a world desperate for cash flow, the yellow metal suddenly doesn’t have so much to offer. Take away the fear of inflation that our deflationary reality assures, and gold … [Read more...]

If You Sell in May and Go Away, What to do in April?


That is the conundrum facing traders, investors, and individuals as we enter the new quarter. For some hedge fund managers, Q1, 2012 was clearly the quarter from hell. I have been in the market for four decades, long enough to collect an encyclopedia worth of words of wisdom. One of my favorites has always been “Sell in May and Go” away. On close inspection you’ll find there … [Read more...]

Double Dipping on the Yen


You know how I love second helpings, especially when the sushi bar is involved. I especially like unagi, or cooked eel, which is said to be an oriental aphrodisiac. I am going to take advantage of Japan’s fiscal year end book closing on March 30 to reenter my short position of the Japanese yen. This is the one time a year when Japanese corporations suddenly repatriate yen … [Read more...]

Where to Play From the Short Side


This time I am going to start with the fundamental argument first, then follow up with the Trade Alert. We are getting perilously close to a substantial pull back in global risk assets. While this has already started in commodities, the ags, oil, copper, and precious metals, we have yet to see the whites of their eyes in equities. I believe at these levels stocks are the … [Read more...]

The Death of the Mutual Fund


ETF's are much more attractive than mutual fund competitors, with their notoriously bloated expenses and spendthrift marketing costs. You can't miss those glitzy, overproduced, big budget ads on TV for a multitude of mutual fund families. You know, the ones with the senior couple holding hands walking down the beach into the sunset, the raging bulls, etc? You are the sucker who … [Read more...]

Coal’s Hatchet Job on Natural Gas


After my year in the White House Press Corps, I vowed never to return, and took a really long shower, hoping to scrub every last spec of prejudice, self-interest, and institutionalized dishonesty off of my battered carcass. But sometimes I see some maneuvering that is so unprincipled, crooked, and against the national interest that I am unable to restrain my fingers from the … [Read more...]

The Final Word on the Volatility Index


The inside story on the collapse of volatility is now out, and as a result, managers are reviewing the harsh lessons learned and tweaking their strategies. It highlights the dangers of buying securities without reading the prospectus and understanding what is under the hood. As investors piled into stocks in February, they also bought downside protection in the form of the … [Read more...]

Buy Toyota Motors as a Cheap Yen Play


Looking for beneficiaries of the coming collapse of the Japanese yen (FXY), (YCS), Toyota Motors (TM) has to be at the very top of your list. A cheaper domestic currency brings a lower cost of production, high foreign sales proceeds, and wider profit margins all the way around. I am probably the only person in the country who once worked for Toyota, speaks Japanese, and … [Read more...]

Momentum is Building for the Yen Shorts.


I’m hearing from my buddies in Japan that while things are already quite bad in that enchanting country, they are about to get a whole lot worse, and that it is time to start scaling into a major short in the yen. Australia and China have already raised interest rates, to be followed by the US, and eventually Europe. With its economy enfeebled, the prospects of Japan raising … [Read more...]

An Evening With “Government Motors”


Long term readers of this letter are well aware of my antipathy towards General Motors (GM). For decades, the company turned a blind ear to customer complaints about shoddy, uncompetitive products, arcane management practices, entitled dealers, and a totally inward looking view of the world that was rapidly globalizing. It was like watching a close friend kill himself through … [Read more...]

Volatility Melt Down Continues


The market was buzzing today about the continued collapse of volatility and the significance thereof today. Today the chief whipping boy was the double leveraged Velocity Shares 2X Vix ETF (TVIX), which cratered 33% on the day, and down 90% from its October high. This was on a day when the ETF should have gone through the roof, with the Dow down 100 points and a rapidly … [Read more...]