“When the facts change, I change. What do you do sir?” is a famous quote from the great economist John Maynard Keynes which I keep taped to the top of my monitor and constantly refer to.
The facts certainly changed on Wednesday when the Federal Reserve announced a change in the facts for the ages. Not only did governor Jay Powell announce that there would be no further rate increases in 2019.
He also indicated that the Fed would end its balance sheet unwind much earlier than expected. That has the effect of injecting $2.7 trillion into the US financial system and is the equivalent of two surprise interest rate CUTS.
The shocking move opens the way for stocks to trade up to new all-time high, with or without a China trade deal. Only the resumption of all-out hostilities, like the imposition of new across the board 25% tariffs, would pee on this parade.
As if we didn’t have enough to discount into the market in one shot. I held publication of this letter until Sunday night when we could learn more about the conclusion of the Mueller Report. There was no collusion with Russia and there will be no obstruction of justice prosecution.
However, the report did not end the president’s legal woes as it opened up a dozen new lines of investigation that will go on for years. The market could care less.
At the beginning of the year, I listed my “Five Surprises for 2019”. They were:
*The government shutdown ended and the Fed makes no move to raise interest rates
*The Chinese trade war ends
*The US makes no moves to impeach the Trump, focusing on domestic issues instead
*Britain votes to rejoin Europe
*The Mueller investigation concludes that he has an unpaid parking ticket in NY from 1974 and that’s it
Notice that three of five predictions listed in red have already come true and the remaining two could transpire in coming weeks or months. All of the above are HUGELY risk positive and have triggered a MONSTER Global STOCK RALLY
Make hay while the sun shines because what always follows a higher high? A lower low.
The Fed eased again by cutting short their balance sheet unwind and ending quantitative tightening early. It amounts to two surprise interest rate cuts and is hugely “RISK ON”. New highs in stocks beckon. This is a game changer.
Bonds soared and rates crashed taking ten-year US Treasury bond yields down to an eye-popping 2.42%, still reacting to the Wednesday Fed comments. This is the final nail in the bond bear market as global quantitative easing comes back with a vengeance. German ten years bonds turn negative for the first time since 2016.
Interest rates inverted with short term rates higher than long term ones for the first time since 2008. That means a recession starts in a year and the stock market starts discounting that in three months.
Interest rates are now the big driver and everything else like the economy, valuations, and earnings are meaningless. Foreign interest rates falling faster than ours making US assets the most attractive in the world. BUY EVERYTHING, including stocks AND bonds.
Biogen blew up canceling their phase three trials for the Alzheimer drug Aducanumab. This is the worst-case scenario for a biotech drug and the stock is down a staggering 30%. Some $12 billion in prospective income is down the toilet. Avoid (BIIB) until the dust settles.
Europe fined Google $1.7 billion, in the third major penalty in three years. Clearly, there’s a “not invented here” mentality going on. It’s sofa change to the giant search company. Buy (GOOG) on the dip.
More headaches for Boeing came down the pike. What can go wrong with a company that has grounded its largest selling product? Answer: they get criminally prosecuted. That was the unhappy news that hit Boeing (BA), knocking another $7 off the shares. It can’t get any worse than this, can it? Buy this dip in (BA).
Indonesia canceled a massive 737 order for 49 planes, slapping the stock on the face for $9. Apparently, they are unwilling to wait for the software fix. Buy the dip in (BA).
Oil prices hit a new four-month high at $58 a barrel as OPEC production caps work and Venezuela melts down. At a certain point, high energy prices are going to hurt the economy. Buy (USO) on dips.
The CBOE suspended bitcoin futures due to low volume and weak demand. It could be a fatal blow for the troubled cryptocurrency. Avoid bitcoin and all other cryptos. They’re a Ponzi scheme.
Equity weightings hit a 2 ½ year low as professional institutional money managers sell into the rally. They are overweight long defensive REITs and short European stocks. Watch out for the reversal.
December stock sellers are now March buyers. Expect this to lead to a higher high, then a lower low. Volatility is coiling. Don’t forget to sit down when the music stops playing.
Volatility hits a six-month low with the $12 handle revisited once again down from $30. (VIX) could get back to $9 before this is all over. Avoid (VIX) as the time decay will kill you. Weak factory orders crush the market, down 450 points at the low. Terrible economic data is not new these days. But it ain’t over yet. Buy the dip.
The Mad Hedge Fund Trader was up slightly on the week. That’s fine, given the horrific 450 point meltdown the market suffered on Friday. We might have closed unchanged on the day but for rumors that the Mueller Report would be imminently released.
March is still negative, down -1.54%. My 2019 year to date return retreated to +11.74%, boosting my trailing one-year return back up to +24.86%.
My nine-year return recovered to +311.88%.The average annualized return appreciated to +33.71%. I am now 40% in cash, 40% long and 20% short, and my entire portfolio expires at the April 18 option expiration day in 14 trading days.
The Mad Hedge Technology Letter used the weakness to scale back into positions in Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOGL), and PayPal (PYPL), which are clearly going to new highs.
The coming week will be a big one for data from the real estate industry.
On Monday, March 25, Apple will take another great leap into services, probably announcing a new video streaming service to compete with Netflix and Walt Disney.
On Tuesday, March 26, 9:00 AM EST, we get a new Case Shiller CoreLogic National Home Price index which will almost certainly show a decline.
On Wednesday, March 27 at 8:30 AM, we get new Trade Deficit figures for January which have lately become a big deal.
Thursday, March 28 at 8:30 AM EST, the Weekly Jobless Claims are announced. We also then get another revision for Q4 GDP which will likely come down.
On Friday, March 29 at 10:00 AM, we get February New Home Sales. The Baker-Hughes Rig Count follows at 1:00 PM.
As for me, I’m praying that it stops snowing in the High Sierras long enough for me to get over Donner Pass and spend the spring at Lake Tahoe. We are at 50 feet for the season, the second highest on record.
Good luck and good trading.
John Thomas CEO & Publisher The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/John-Cooling-Down-in-the-Sierra-Snow-e1479862291448.jpg400267Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-03-25 03:06:262019-07-09 04:00:14The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or Game Changer
Due to technical problems, I was unable to read your questions. However, I was able to get a print out after the fact.
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader January 9 Global Strategy Webinar with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader.
Q: Is the bottom in for stocks?
A: It is for six months to a year. A price earnings multiple at 14X seems to be the line in the sand. The Christmas Eve massacre, which took us down to a (SPY) of $230, was the final capitulation bottom of the entire down move. We may try a few more retests of the lows on bad tweets or data points. But from here on, you’re trying to buy the dip. That’s why I cut my vacation short a week and issued eight emergency trade alerts, five for Global Trading Dispatch and three for the tech letter. By the way, I hope you appreciate those trade alerts because I had to call back staff from vacations in four different countries to get them done. But it was worth it. We’ve had the strongest start to a New Year in a decade, up 5.75%. We made back all our Q4 losses in two days!
Q: Is the strong dollar play (UUP) over? Is it time to start buying Euro (FXE) and Yen (FXE)?
A: Yes, it is. The Fed flipping from hawk to dove sounds the death knell for the dollar. With the expansion of the yield spread between the buck and other currencies stopped dead in its tracks, a massive short covering rally will drive the currencies higher. That’s why I bought the Euro on Monday for the first time in more than a year (FXE). The Japanese yen where the biggest shorts has already moved too far, up 8%. That’s where hedge fund typically finance positions because yen yields have been at zero forever.
Q: How about the Aussie (FXA)? Do we have a shot now?
A: I think so. But the bigger driver with Aussie is the trade war with China. That said, I believe that will get resolved soon too unless Trump wants to run for reelection during a recession. The Aussie also has relatively high-interest rates so it should soar.
Q: Is the government shutdown starting to hurt the economy?
A: Yes, it is. Estimates on the damage the shutdown is doing range from 0.5% to 1% a week. That means at a minimum of 20-week shut down cuts 2019 GDP growth by 1%. If your assumption for growth this year is only 2%, that brings us perilously close to a recession. However, with the big stock market rally of the past week investors clearly believe the shutdown will be over in a week. Buy “Wall” stocks.
Q: What’s the biggest risk to the market now?
A: Companies announced great earnings in October and the stocks promptly collapsed. Q4 earnings start in a few weeks, except this time, the earnings will be smaller. The big one, Apple (AAPL) is reporting on January 29 and will be especially exciting since they already announced a major disappointment. If we get a repeat, you could get another meltdown in February just like we saw last year.
Q: Do you still like gold (GLD)?
A: I did in Q4 as a hedge for a collapsing stock market. Now that stocks are on fire again, I think gold and silver (SLV) will take a rest. You’re not going to get a serious move in gold until we see higher inflation and that is a while off.
Q: Is the bear market in commodities over?
A: I think so, with a flattening interest rate picture and a weakening dollar, the entire commodity complex is looking better. That includes copper (FCX), energy (USO), and the ags (SOYB). What do you buy in an expensive market? Cheap stuff, and all of these are at seven-year lows. I think people are ready to give paper assets a rest. All we need now for these to work is inflation. My cleaning lady just asked for a raise so there’s hope.
Q: The semiconductors have just had a good move. Is it time to get in?
A: You want to buy the semis, like Micron Technology (MU), NVIDIA (NVDA), and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) when they’ve just had a BAD move. Market conditions have improved, but not to the extent you want to buy the most volatile stocks in the market. That said, if we get another crushing move in February you might dip your toe in with some semis on capitulation day. If you want to buy semis in this environment, you might have a gambling addiction.
Q: If the Fed has stopped raising rates, are you still bearish on the (TLT) and bullish on the (TBT)?
A: I think what governor Jay Powell’s dovish comments will do is put bonds in a six-month range, say 2.45%-3.0% in yield. All of my future bond alerts will trade around those levels. In the option world, we will be setting up a short strangle, betting that interest rates don’t move out of this range for a while. In that case, our two bond positions will be OK, with the nearest money one expiring in only seven trading days.
Q: Is it too late to get into biotech (BIIB)?
A: No, along with technology, biotech will be one of the two leading sectors in the entire market for the next ten years. However, me being an eternal cheapskate, I want to get in again on a decent dip. This is the industry that will cure cancer over the next decade and that will be worth a trillion dollars in profits.
Q: You’ve kept us out of Tesla (TSLA) for a couple of years. Is it time to go back in?
A: I think I would. If production can ramp up from 7,000 to 10,000 a week, the stock should do the same. The ten-year view for this stock is that it goes from today’s $330 to $2,500. That said, this is a notorious trading stock so it is very important to buy it on a dip. Wait for the next tweet from Elon Musk.
Q: If we enter a bear market in May 2019, what would be the appropriate long-term investments at that time?
A: Nothing beats cash, especially now that you are actually getting paid something decent. You can find cash equivalents now yielding all the way up to 4%. In a bear market, stocks either go down a lot, or a whole lot, so there is nothing worth keeping. The only reason to stay in is to avoid a monster tax bill (my cost on Apple is 25 cents) or you still work for the company.
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/John-Thomas-bear.png402291Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-01-10 01:07:202019-07-09 04:42:55January 9 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A
What if you want to be a little more aggressive with your investment strategy, say twice as aggressive? What if markets don’t deliver any year on year change?
Then you need a little more pizzazz in your portfolio, and some extra leverage to earn your crust of bread and secure your retirement.
It turns out that I have just the solution for you. This would be my “Passive/Aggressive Portfolio”.
I call it passive in that you just purchase these positions and leave them alone and not trade them. I call it aggressive as it involves a basket of 2x leveraged ETF’s issued by ProShares, based Bethesda, MD (click here for their link).
The volatility of this portfolio will be higher. But the returns will be double what you would get with an index fund, and possibly much more. It is a “Do not open until 2035” kind of investment strategy.
Here is the makeup of the portfolio:
(ROM) – ProShares Ultra Technology Fund – The three largest single stock holdings are Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Facebook (FB). It was up 80.95% last year. For more details on the fund, please click here.
(UYG) – ProShares Ultra Financials Fund – The three largest single stock holdings are Wells Fargo (WFC), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), and JP Morgan Chase (JPM). It was up 38.42% last year. For more details on the fund, please click here.
(UCC) – ProShares Ultra Consumer Services Fund – The three largest single stock holdings are Amazon (AMZN), Walt Disney (DIS), and Home Depot (HD). It was up 3.71% last year. For more details on the fund, please click here.
(DIG)- ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas Fund – The three largest single stock holdings are ExxonMobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), and Schlumberger (SLB). It was DOWN 9.20% last year. For more details on the fund, please click here.
(BIB) – ProShares Ultra NASDAQ Biotechnology Fund – The three largest single stock holdings are Amgen (AMGN), Regeneron (REGN), and Gilead Sciences (GILD). It was up 40.49% last year, please click here.
You can play around with the sector mix at your own discretion. Just focus on the fastest growing sectors of the US economy, which the Mad Hedge Fund Trader does on a daily basis.
It is tempting to add more leveraged ETF’s for sectors like gold (UGL), to act as an additional hedge.
There is also the 2X short Treasury bond fund (TBT), which I have been trading in and out of for years, a bet that long-term bonds will go down, interest rates rise.
There are a couple of provisos to mention here.
This is absolutely NOT a portfolio you want to own going into a recession. So, you will need to exercise some kind of market timing, however occasional.
The good news is that I make more money in bear markets than I do in bull markets because the volatility is so high. However, to benefit from this skill set, you have to keep reading the Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader.
There is also a problem with leveraged ETF’s in that management and other fees can be high, dealing spreads wide, and tracking error huge.
This is why I am limiting the portfolio to 2X ETF’s, and avoiding their much more costly and inefficient 3X cousins, which are really only good for intraday trading. The 3X ETF’s are really just a broker enrichment vehicle.
There are also going to be certain days when you might want to just go out and watch a long movie, like Gone With the Wind, with an all ETF portfolio, rather than monitor their performance, no matter how temporary it may be.
A good example was the flash crash, when the complete absence of liquidity drove all of these funds to huge discounts to their asset values.
Check out the long-term charts, and you can see the damage that was wrought by high frequency traders on that cataclysmic day, down -53% in the case of the (ROM). Notice that all of these discounts disappeared within hours. It was really just a function of the pricing mechanism being broken.
I have found the portfolio above quite useful when close friends and family members ask me for stock tips for their retirement funds.
It was perfect for my daughter, who won’t be tapping her teacher’s pension accounts for another 45 years, when I will be long gone. She mentions her blockbuster returns every time I see her, and she has only been in them for five years.
Imagine what technology, financial services, consumer discretionaries, biotechnology, and oil and gas will be worth then? It boggles the mind. My guess is up 100-fold from today’s levels.
You won’t want to put all of your money into a single portfolio like this. But it might be worth carving out 10% of your capital and just leaving it there.
That will certainly be a recommendation for financial advisors besieged with clients complaining about paying high fees for negative returns in a year that is unchanged, or up only 1%-2%. Virtually everyone has them right now.
Adding some spice, and a little leverage to their portfolios might be just the ticket for them.