April 3 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A

Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader April 3 Global Strategy Webinar with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!

Q: I’ve gotten a lot of newsletters but not many trades. Why is that?

A: Perfect trades do not happen every day of the year. They happen a few times a year and they tend to bunch up. Most time in the market is spent waiting for an entry point and then piling on 5 or 10 trades rapidly. We’re letting our profits run and waiting for new trades to open up, so just be patient and we’ll get you more trades than you can chew on.

If you have to ask this question, you are probably overtrading. The goal is to make yourself rich, not your broker. The other newsletters that offer a trade alert every day don’t publish their performance as I do and lose money for their followers hand over fist.

Q: Are we on track for a market peak in May?

A: Yes; if we keep climbing up, eventually hitting new highs this month, then we are setting up perfectly for a pretty sharp pullback around May 10th. That would be a good time to get rid of all your longs and put on some short positions, certainly deep in the money put spreads—we’ll be knocking quite a few of those out in the end of April/beginning of May.

Q: Are you worried about the Russell 2000 (IWM) climb?

A: I’m not. If you look at the chart, every up move has been weak, and every down move has been strong. Looking at the chart, it’s still in a clear downtrend dragging all the other markets, and this is because small-cap stocks do poorly in recessions or market pullbacks.

Q: How severe and how long do you see the coming bear market being?

A: If history repeats itself, then it’s going to be rather shallow. The last move down was only three months long and that stunned a lot of people who were expecting a more extreme pullback. I don’t see conditions in place that indicate a radically deep pullback—25% at most and 6-12 months in duration, which won’t be enough to liquidate your portfolio and justify the costs of getting out now and trying to get back in later. They key thing is that there are no systemic threats to the market other than the exploding levels of government borrowing.

Q: If you had the Tesla (TSLA) April $310-$330 vertical bear put spread, would you keep it?

A: Probably, yes, because you have a $15 cushion against a good news surprise and a lot less at risk. I got out of my Tesla (TSLA) April $300-$320 vertical bear put spread because my safety cushion shrank to only $5 and the risk/reward turned sharply against me.

Q: Should we be buying the Volatility Index (VIX) here for protection?

A: Not yet; we still have enough momentum in the stock market to hit all-time highs. After that, you really want to start looking at the VIX hard, especially if we get down to the $12 level. So good thinking, just not quite yet—as we know in the market, timing is everything.

Q: Are you getting nervous about the short Disney (DIS) calls?

A: I’m always nervous, every day of the year about every position, and yes, I’m watching them. You are paying me to be nervous so you can go play golf. We may take a small hit on the calls if the stock keeps rising, but that will be offset by a bigger gain on the call spread we’re long against.

Q: When is the quarterly option expiration?

A: It was on March 15 and the next one is June 21. This is an off-month expiration coming up on April 18th, and that’s only 12 trading days away.

Q: If you get a hard Brexit (FXB) in the next few weeks, what will happen to the pound?

A:  It’s risen about 10% in the last few weeks on hopes of a Brexit outright failure. If that doesn’t happen, the pound will get absolutely slaughtered.

Q: If China (FXI) is stimulating their economy, will that eventually help the U.S.?

A: Stimulus anywhere in the world always gets back to the U.S. because we’re the world’s largest market. So, yes, it will be positive.

Q: Would you consider trading UK stocks under Brexit fail?

A: Yes, and there is a UK stock ETF, the iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF(EWU) and you’re looking at a 20%-25% rise in the British stock market if they completely give up on Brexit or just have another election.

 Q: What are your thoughts on the China trade war?

A: The Chinese are in no rush to settle; that’s why we keep missing deadline after deadline and all the positive rumors are coming from the U.S. side. It’s looking more like a photo op trade deal than an actual one.

 Q: If we get a top in stocks in May, how far do you expect (SPY) to go?

A: Not far; maybe 5% or 10%, you just have to allow all the recent players who got in to get out again, and if the economy slows to, say, a 1% rate in Q1, that’s not a panicky type market. That’s a 10% correction market and what we’ll probably get. If the economy then improves in Q2 and Q3, then we may go back up again to new highs. We seem to have a three quarter a year stock market and therefore, a three quarter a year stock market. Q1 is always a write off for the economy.

Q: Do you still like Amazon (AMZN)?

A: Absolutely, yes—it’s going to new highs. And it’s also starting to make a move on the food market, cutting prices at Whole Foods, which it owns, for the 3rd time this year. So, it’s moving on several fronts now, including healthcare. There’s at least a double in the company long term from these levels, and a triple if they break the company up.

Q: If you bought the stock in Boeing (BA) instead of the option spread, would you stay long?

A: I would, yes. It’s a great company and there’s an easy 10% move in that stock once they get the 737 MAX back off the ground again which they should do within the month.

Q: What do you think about food stocks with big name brands like Hershey (HSY)?

A: I’ve never really liked the food industry. It’s really a low margin industry. You’re looking at 2% a year earnings growth against the big food companies vs 20% a year growth in tech which is why I stick with tech. My advice is always to focus on the few sectors that are the best 5% of the market and leave the dross for the index funds.

 Q: With the current bullish wave in the market (SPY), what sector/stocks do you think have the most momentum to break out another 10% to 15% gain in the next one to three months?

A: The next 10% to 15% in the market will only happen after we drop 5-10% first. I believe this is the last 5% move of the China trade deal rally and after that, markets will fall or go to sleep for six months.

Q:  Do you expect 2019 to be more like 2018 or 2017? We know you are predicting the (SPX) will hit an all-time high of 3000 in 2019. Do you think it zooms up to a blow-off top in Q2/Q3 and then pulls back in Q4, like 2018?  Or, do you expect a steadier ascent with minor pullbacks along the way (like 2017), closing at or near the year’s highs on Dec 31? This guidance will really help.

A: I think we have made most of the gains for 2019. Only the tag ends are lifted. We have already hit the upside targets for most strategists, and mine is only 7% higher. After that, there is a whole lot of boring ahead of us for 2019 and the (VIX) should drop to $9. After complaining about horrendous market volatility in December, traders will beg for volatility.

Good Luck and Good Trading
John Thomas
CEO & Publisher
Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader