In terms of the stock market, “A vaccine is more important than the stimulus,” said David Kostin, chief equity strategist at Goldman Sachs.
Global Market Comments
October 5, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or IS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?)
(SPY), (INDU), (DIS), (TLT)
Global Market Comments
October 2, 2020
(SEPTEMBER 30 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(NVDA), (AMD), (JPM), (DIS), (GM), (TSLA), (NKLA),
(TLT), (NFLX), (PLTR), (VIX), (PHM), (LEN), (KBH), (FXA), (GLD)
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the September 30 Mad Hedge Fund Trader Global Strategy Webinar broadcast from Silicon Valley, CA with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!
Q: Which is a better buy, NVIDIA (NVDA) or Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)?
A: NVIDIA is clearly the larger, stronger company in the semiconductor area, but AMD has more growth ahead of it. You’re not going to get a ten-bagger from NVIDIA from here, but you might get one from Advanced Micro Devices, especially if a global chip shortage develops once we’re out the other side of the pandemic. So, I vote for (AMD), and did a lot of research on that company last week. You can find the report at www.madhedgefundtrader.com but you have to be logged in to see it.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on the JP Morgan Chase Bank (JPM) spoofing cases, where they had to pay about a billion in fines? Is this a terrible time to invest in banks?
A: No, this is a great time to invest in banks because this is the friendly administration to banks now; the next one will be less than friendly. On the other hand, an awful lot of bad news is already in the price; buying these companies at book value or discount of book like JP Morgan, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. All the bad behavior they’re being fined on now happened many years ago. So yes, I still like banks, but you really have to be careful to buy them on the dip, just in case they stay in a range. If you stay in a range, you’re buying them call spread, you always make money. The bigger drag on share prices will be the Fed ban on bank share buybacks but that may end after Q4.
Q: Is it time to buy Disney (DIS) after they laid off 28,000?
A: This is a company that practically every fund manager in the company wants to have in their portfolio. However, it could be at least a year before they get back to normal capacity in the theme parks, meaning customers packing in shoulder-to-shoulder. So, it could be another wait-for-a-turnaround, buy-on-the dip situation for sure. This company is so well managed that you’re always going to have to pay up to get into the Mouse House. By the way, my dad did business with Disney during the 1950s so we got Disneyland opening day tickets and I got to shake Walt Disney’s hand.
Q: How desperate is General Motors (GM) in buying the fake Tesla (TSLA) company, Nikola (NKLA), who’ve been exposed as giant frauds? Is GM hopeless?
A: Yes, the future is happening too fast for a giant bureaucracy like General Motors to get ahead of the curve. The fact that they’re trying to buy in outside technologies shows how weak their position is, and of course, it’s a great way to get stuck with a loser, as Tesla selling out to anyone. The Detroit companies are all stuck with these multibillion-dollar engine factories so they can’t afford to go electric even if they wanted to. So, I expect all the major Detroit car companies to go under in the next 5 years or so. Electric cars are already beating conventional internal combustion engines on a lifetime cost basis and will soon be beating them, within 3 years, on an up-front cost basis as well.
Q: Will Netflix (NFLX) pass $600 before the year’s end?
A: I’m expecting a monster after-election rally to new all-time highs in the market and Netflix will be one of the leaders, so easy to tack on another hundred bucks to Netflix. That’s one of my targets for a call spread if we can get in at a lower price. And if you really want to be conservative, buy 2-year LEAPS, two-year call options spreads on Netflix, and you’ll get an easy 100% return on those.
Q: Who will win, Trump or Biden?
A: Neither. You will win. I am not a member of any political party as I would never join any club that would stoop to have me as a member. Groucho Marx told me that just before he died in the early 70s. Don’t ask me, ask the polls. Suffice it to say that the London betting polls are 60%-40% in favor of Biden, having just added another 5% for Biden after the debate. My expectation is that Biden picks up another point in the opinion polls in all the battleground states this weekend. So, Biden will be up anywhere from 6-10% in the 6 states that really count.
Q: What will the market impact be?
A: It makes no difference who wins. The mere fact that the election is out of the way is worth a 10% move up in the stock market.
Q: Should we keep the January 2022 (TLT) 140/143 bear put spread?
A: Absolutely, yes. That’ll be a chip shot and we in fact should go in the money on those number sometime next year. A huge cyclical recovery will create an enormous demand for funds and crowding out by the government will crush the bond market.
Q: Do you think it would be better to wait a week or two to lock in refis on home loans?
A: I think we are at the low in interest rates in the refi market. Even if the Fed lowers interest rates, banks aren’t going to lower their lending rates anymore because there’s no money in it for them. It’s also taking anywhere from 2-4 months to close on a loan, as the backlogs are so enormous. If you can even get a loan officer to return a phone call, you’re lucky. So, I wouldn’t be too fancy here trying to pick absolute bottoms; I would just refi now and whatever you get is going to be close to a century low.
Q: Why so few trade alerts?
A: Well, very simple. We only do trade alerts when we see really good sweet spots in the market. There aren’t sweet spots in the market every day; you’re lucky if you get 1 or 2 in a month. Then we tend to pour in and out of the market very quickly with a lot of alerts. There is no law that says you have to have a position every day of the year. That buys the broker’s yacht, not yours. You should only have positions when the risk reward is overwhelmingly in your favor. That is not now when our market timing index is hugging the 50 level. At 50, you actually have the worst possible entry point for new trades, long or short, so I’d rather wait for it to get away from that level before we get aggressive again. We have gone 100% invested multiple times in the last two months and made a ton of money. So, you just have to wait for your turn to get a sweet spot, and then you’ll make a very quick 10% or 15% in the market. Patience is rewarded in this business.
Q: Would you wait for the election because of the high implied volatility?
A: No, I would not wait. The game is to get in at the lowest price before the election. When the implied volatilities drop after the election, the profits you can make on these deep out of the money LEAPs drop by about half. Thank the volatility while it’s here because it’s creating great trading opportunities now, not in two months after the volatility Index (VIX) has collapsed.
Q: What about Zoom (ZM)?
A: As much as Zoom has had a 10-fold return since we recommended it a year ago, it looks like it wants to go higher. The Robinhood traders just love this stock; it’s a stay at home stock, stay at home is lasting a lot longer than anyone thought. Zoom is just coining it on that.
Q: Is the best outcome a Biden presidency and a Republican Senate?
A: No, that is the worst outcome. When you have a global pandemic going on, you don’t want gridlock in Washington. You want a very active Washington, controlled by a single party that can get things done very quickly. That is not now, which is possibly a major reason that we have the highest Covid-19 death rate in the world. It’s because Washington is doing absolutely nothing to stop the virus; the president won’t even wear a mask, so yes, you need one party to control everything so they can push stuff through. If it works, great, and if not then you kick them out of office next time and let the other guys have a try.
Q: Will property markets be up 20% by the end of the year?
A: If you live in a suburb of New York or San Francisco, then yes it will be up that much. For the whole rest of the country, the average is more like 5% gains year on year. In the burbs of these big money-making cities, prices are going absolutely nuts. My neighbor put his house up and it sold in a week for a $1 million over asking. So, the answer to that is yes, hell yes.
Q: Can you explain why the IPO market is suddenly booming now?
A: A lot of these companies like Palantir (PLTR) have been in development for 20 years, and prices are high. On valuation terms, we are at dot com bubble peaks now. That is the very best time to take your company public and get a huge premium for your stock. When the world is baying for paper assets, you print more of them.
Q: What is the best way to play real estate?
A: Buying the single home building companies like Pulte Homes (PHM), Lennar Homes (LEN), and KB Homes (KBH).
Q: What is your Tesla overview in China?
A: Tesla’s already announced that they’re doubling production of the Shanghai factory, from 250,000 units a year to 500,000. They built the last one in 18 months. It would take (GM) like 5 years to build something like that.
Q: Why has gold (GLD) lost its risk-off status?
A: It’s now a quantitative easing asset—like tech stocks, like bitcoin, and the stay at home stocks. It is being driven much more by QE-driven speculators flush with free cash than anyone looking for a flight to safety bid. When this group sells off, gold drops as well. The only risk-off asset right now is cash. That is the only “no risk” trade.
Q: What does reversal in lumber prices tell you?
A: Lumber was another one of those QE assets—it tripled. But you have this monster increase in new home building, huge demand for new homes in the suburbs, huge import duties leveled by the Trump administration on lumber coming from Canada. Also, a lot of people are getting COVID-19 in the lumber mills. So, they’re having huge problems on the production side in lumber, as a result of the pandemic.
Q: Are there any alternative ways to buy the Australian dollar besides (FXA)?
A: You go into the futures market and buy the Australian dollar futures. That is an entirely new regulatory regime so can be a huge headache. It requires you to register with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which is the worst of all the major regulators, but that is an alternative. If you’re an individual and not regulated instead of being a professional money manager, then it’s much easier.
Good Luck and Stay Healthy
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Summit of Mount Rose
“The Fed only knows two speeds; too fast, and too slow,” said Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman to me over lunch one day.
Global Market Comments
October 1, 2020
(HOW TO RELIABLY PICK A WINNING OPTIONS TRADE)
You’ve spent vast amounts of time, money, and effort to become options trading experts. You know the difference between bids and offers, puts and calls, exercise prices, and expiration dates.
And you still can’t make any money.
Where do you apply your newfound expertise? How do you maximize your reward versus your risk?
It is all very simple. Stick to five simple disciplines that I am about to teach you and you will suddenly find that the number of your new trades that are winners takes a quantum leap, and the money will start pouring into your trading account.
It’s really not all that hard to do. So here we go!
1) Know the Macro Picture
If you have a handle on whether the economy is growing or shrinking, you have a major advantage in the options market.
In a growing economy, you only want to employ bullish strategies, like calls, call spreads, and short volatility plays.
In a shrinking economy, you want to executive bearish plays, like puts, put spreads, and long volatility plays.
Remember the only thing that is useful is a view on what the economy is going to do NEXT. The government only publishes historical economic data, which is for the most part useless in predicting what is going to happen in the future.
Remember, the options market is all about discounting what is going to happen next.
And how do you find that out? Well, you could hire your own in-house staff economist. Or, you could rely on economic research from the largest brokerage houses that all have their own economist.
Even the Federal Reserve puts out its own forecasts for economic growth prospects. However, all of these sources have notoriously poor track records. Listening to them and placing bets on their advice CAN get you into a world of trouble.
For the best possible read on the future of the US and the global economy, there is no better place to go than Global Trading Dispatch, published by me, John Thomas, the Mad Hedge Fund Trader.
This is where the largest hedge funds, brokers, and yes, even the US government goes to find our what really is going to happen to the economy.
2) Looking for great industry fundamentals
Do you want to give yourself another edge?
There are over 100 different industries listed on US stock markets. However, only about 5 or 10 are really growing decisively at any particular time. The rest are either going nowhere or are shrinking.
In fact, you can find a handful of sectors that are booming while others are in outright recession.
If you are a major hedge fund, institution, or government, you may want to cover all 100 of those industries. Good luck with that.
If you are a small hedge fund, or an individual working from home, you will want to conserve your time and resources, skip most of US industry, and only focus on a handful.
Some traders take this a step further and only concentrate on a single high growing, volatile industry, like technology or biotech, or a single name, like Neflix (NFLX), Tesla (TSLA), or Amazon (AMZN).
How do you decide which industry to trade?
Brokerage houses pump out more free research than you could ever read in a lifetime. Government reports tend to be stodgy, boring, and out of date. Big hedge funds keep their in-house research confidential (although some of it leaks out to me).
The Mad Hedge Fund Trader solves this problem for you by limiting its scope to a small number of benchmark, pathfinder industries, like technology, banks, energy, consumer cyclicals, biotech, and cybersecurity .
In this way, we gain a handle on what is happening in the economy as a whole, while lining up rifle shots on the best options trades out there.
We want to direct you where the action is, and where we have a good handle on future earnings prospects.
It doesn’t hurt that we live in the edge if Silicon Valley and get invited to test out many technologies before they are made public.
3) The Micro Picture is Ideal
Once you have a handle on the economy and the best industries, it’s time to zero in on the best company to trade in, or the “MICRO” selection.
It’s always great to find a good target to trade in because positions in single companies deliver double or triple the returns compared to stock indexes.
That because the market will pay a far higher implied volatility for a single company than a large basket of companies.
Remember also that you are taking greater risk in trading individual companies. One single stock is subject to far greater even risk than a basket.
If the earnings come through as expected, everything is hunky-dory. If they don’t, the shares can drop by half in a heartbeat. Large indexes buffer this effect.
Of course, there are gobs of market research out there from brokers about individual companies. Some of it is right, some of it is wrong, but all of it is conflicted. Recommendations are either “BUY” or “HOLD”.
Brokers are loath to issue a “SELL” recommendation for a stock because it will eliminate any chance of that firm obtaining new issue business. Who wants to hire a broker to sell new stock with a “SELL” recommendation on their stock?
And brokerage firms don’t make their bread and butter on those piddling little discount commissions you have been paying them. They make it on new issues business. In fact, a new issue can earn as much as $100 million for one firm.
I have been following about 100 companies in the leading market sectors for nearly half a century. Some of the management of these firms have become close friends over the decades. So, I get some really first class information.
When markets rotate to sectors and companies that I already know, I have a huge advantage. Needless to say, this gives me a massive head start when selecting individual names for options Trade Alerts.
4) The Technicals Line Up
I have never been a huge fan of technical analysis.
Most technical advice boils down to “if it’s gone up, it will go up more” or “If it’s gone down, it will go down more.”
Over time, the recommendations are accurate 50% of the time or about equal with a coin toss.
However, the shorter the time frame, the more useful technical analysis becomes. If you analyze intraday trading, almost all very short-term movements can be explained in technical terms. This is entirely how day traders make their livings.
It’s a classic case of if enough people believe something, it becomes true, no matter how dubious the underlying facts may be.
So it does behoove us to pay some attention to the charts when executing your trades.
Talk to old-time investors and you will fund that they use fundamentals for long term stock selection and technicals for short term order execution.
Talk to them some more and you find the best fundamentalists sound like technicians, while savvy technicians refer to underlying fundamentals.
Get the technicals right, and you can provide one additional reason for your trade to work.
5) The calendar is favorable
There is one more means of assuring your trades turn into winners.
According to the data in the Stock Trader’s Almanac, $10,000 invested at the beginning of May and sold at the end of October every year since 1950 would be showing a loss today.
Amazingly, $10,000 invested on every November 1 and sold at the end of April would today be worth $702,000, giving you a compound annual return of 7.10%.
Of the 62 years under study, the market was down in 25 May-October periods, but negative in only 13 of the November-April periods, and down only three times in the last 20 years!
There have been just three times when the “good 6 months” have lost more than 10% (1969, 1973 and 2008), but with the “bad six month” time period there have been 11 losing efforts of 10% or more.
Yes, it may be disturbing to learn that we ardent stock market practitioners might in fact be the high priests of a strange set of beliefs. But hey, some people will do anything to outperform the market.
It is important to remember that this cyclicality is not 100% accurate, and you know the one time you bet the ranch, it won’t work.
So there we have it.
Adopt these five simple disciplines and you will find your success rate on trades jumps from a coin toss to 70%, 80%, or even 90%.
In other words, you convert your trading from an endless series of frustrations to a reliable source of income.
If a potential trade meets only four of these five criteria, please do it with your money and not mine. Your chances of making money have just declined.
And I bet a lot of you poor souls execute trades all the time that meet NONE of these criteria.
Get the tailwinds of the economy, your industrial call, your company pick, the technicals, and the calendar working for you, and all of a sudden you’re a trading genius.
It only took me a half a century to pull all this together. Hopefully, you can learn a little bit faster than that.
I hope it all works for you.
This is John Thomas signing off saying good luck and good trading.