July 26, 2019

Global Market Comments
July 26, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(FCX), (VIX), (VXX), (UUP), (TLT), (EEM), (ELD), (CEW), (GLD),
(FXA), (FXE), (FXC), (FXY), (FXB), (AMZN),

July 24 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A

Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader July 24 Global Strategy Webinar broadcast from Zermatt, Switzerland with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!

Q: What are your thoughts on the Freeport McMoRan (FCX) long position here?

A: We could take a profit here. We probably have about 50% of the maximum potential profit, but I want to hang on and go to the max on this because we’re so far in the money. Cash always has a premium ahead on any Fed interest rate decision. But long term, I think the stock could double, and with the earnings report now out of the way, we have room to run.

Q: What can you say about semiconductor stocks?

A: Long term we love them, short term they are too high to chase here. I would wait for any kind of pullback and, better yet, pull back from the other side of the next recession. We’re not seeing an improvement in prices or orders so this is strictly a technical/momentum-driven trade right now.

Q: How do you play the Volatility Index (VIX)?

A: There are numerous ways you can do it; you can buy call options on the (VIX), you can buy futures on the (VIX), or you can buy the iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX). We are probably a week away from a nice entry point on the long side here.

Q: Does a languishing U.S. dollar mean emerging market opportunities?

A: It absolutely does. If we really start to get a serious drop in the U.S. dollar (UUP)—like 5-10%—it will be off to the races for commodities, bonds (TLT), emerging stock markets (EEM), emerging bond markets (ELD), emerging currencies (CEW), and gold (GLD). All of your weak dollar plays will be off to the races—that’s why I went straight into bonds, the Aussie (FXA), and copper through Freeport McMoRan (FCX). All of these trades have been profitable.

Q: When should we sell the U.S. dollar?

A: How about now? For any kind of strength in a dollar against the (FXA), (FXE), (FXC) and (FXY), I would be buying any dips on those foreign exchange ETFs. We’re about to enter a six-month – one-year period weakness on the dollar. It could be the easiest trade out there. The only one I would avoid is the British pound (FXB) because of its own special problems with Brexit. You never want to go long the currency of a country that is destroying itself, which is exactly what’s happening with the pound.

Q: Should I start selling pounds?

A: It’s pretty late in the pound game now. We went into Brexit with the pound at $1.65 and got all the way down to $1.20. We’re a little bit above that now at $1.21. If for some reason, you get a surprise pop in the pound, say to $1.25, that’s where I would sell it, but down here, no.

Q: I missed the (FCX) trade—would you get in on the next dip?

A: Yes, we may not get many dips from here because the earnings were out. Today, they were not as bad as expected, and that was keeping a lot of buyers out of the market on (FCX), so any dips you can get, go a dollar out on your strikes and then take it because this thing could double over the medium term. If the trade war with China ends, this thing could make it to the old high of $50.

Q: Is now a good time to refi my home?

A: Yes, because by the time you get the paperwork and approvals and everything else done (that’ll take about 2 months), rates will likely be lower; and in any case you’re looking to refi either a 7/1 ARM or a 15-year fixed, and the rates on those have already dropped quite substantially. I was offered 3.0% for a 15-year fixed loan on my home just the other day.

Q: On trades like (FCX), why not sell short the put spread?

A: It’s really six of one, half dozen of the other. The profit on either one should be about the same. If it isn’t, an options market maker will step in and arbitrage out the difference. That’s something only an algorithm can do these days. I recommend in-the-money call spreads versus shorting sell short vertical bear put credit spreads because for beginners, in-the-money call spreads are much easier to understand.

Q: The Mueller hearings in Congress are today. Is there any potential impact on the market?

A: The market has completely detached itself from Washington—it couldn’t care less about what’s happening there. I don’t think politics have the capacity to affect stock prices. The only possible impact was the prospect of the government shutdown in September. That seems to have been averted in the latest deal between the House and the White House.  

Q: What about Amazon (AMZN)?

A: Like the rest of technology, long term I love it, but short term it’s overdue for a small correction. I’m looking for Amazon to go to $3,000 a share—it’s essentially taking over the world. The antitrust threats will go absolutely nowhere; Congress doesn’t even understand what these companies do, let alone know how to break them up. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Q: I just received an email inviting me to buy a new Bitcoin auto trading system that is guaranteed to make me a millionaire in four months. It is being promoted by Nicole Kidman. Do you think I should try it?

A: I wouldn’t touch this with a ten-foot pole. No, wait. I wouldn’t touch this with a 100-foot pole! Whenever a new type of security comes out, these types of “get rich quick” investment scams come out of the woodwork. Cryptocurrency is no different. Nicole Kidman was probably paid $500,000 to make the pitch by a promotor. Or more likely, Nicole Kidman has nothing to do with these people and they just swiped her picture off the Internet. I hear about these things daily. Follow their plan and you are more likely to get completely wiped out than become a millionaire. There are NO get rich quick schemes. There are only get rich slowly strategies, such as following this newsletter. Click here to see the above-mentioned scam which you should avoid at all cost. Gee, do you think Nicole Kidman would be interested in promoting the Mad Hedge Fund Trader?


Emerging Markets Are Back!

Boy, did we have a great run in emerging markets during the 2000s!

A global commodity boom caused many of these markets to rise tenfold or more.

Go back to the earliest newsletters published by the Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader in 2008, and you will find them chock full of recommendations to buy hard assets, emerging market ETFs, debt, and currencies.

As former colonies, many of these countries still base their economies on production of the precious and base metals, energy, and foodstuffs they once supplied the motherland.

And as a former correspondent for The Economist magazine covering this territory, I knew them well.

Then in 2011, the party abruptly ended, and a vicious five-year bear market ensued.

Oil peaked first, eventually nosediving some 82.5%, from $149 to $26.

Remember Dr. Copper, the only commodity with a PhD in economics? He gave up 57.9%.

And gold, that ultimate store of value for Armageddonists and conspiracy theorists everywhere? It plunged by 48.2%.

There are still a lot of unhappy American gold eagles sitting in bank deposit boxes around the country gathering dust, thanks to those ridiculous theories.

It didn?t help that a raging bull market in developed market government bonds sucked even more money out of these beleaguered countries.

The Emerging market debt ETF (ELD), collapsed by 32%. The emerging market currency ETF (CEW) dropped by 35.5%.

My long-term subscribers can already see where this is going.

The wonderful thing about all of these cross asset class declines is that they have a leveraged effect on each other.

So while the ishares MSCI Emerging Market ETF (EEM) fell by 38.9%, in dollar terms it declined by more than half.

Then a funny thing happened during the second week of January 2016.

Gold took off like a rocket.

It was closely followed by silver, oil copper, palladium, platinum, and iron ore. Only the ags failed to participate.

The bull market was back!

Portfolio managers were given a simple choice.

Should they chase developed market assets trading at all time highs with yields approaching zero. Or should they load up on emerging assets at decade lows with yields approaching 12%?

Yields that high can cover up a lot of mistakes and preserve principal.

If you voted for the latter, you deserve a brass ring.

Here we are some eight months later, and the emerging bull market is alive and well. In fact, it is about to take another substantial new leg upwards.

My money is on emerging market handily beating the major US stock indexes for the rest of 2016.

The reasons for this are many and complex.

For a start, the iShares MSCI Emerging Market ETF (EEM) is still cheap.

It has to rise by 21.6% just to get back up to its 2011 highs. As a laggard play, it is beyond reproach.

In emerging market debt, the positive carry is enormous.

The Wisdom Tree Emerging Market Local Debt Fund (ELD) is yielding 5.46%, some 390 basis points high than the ten year Treasury bond (TLT).

And if you want to go with individual rifle shots in single countries, you can earn as much as 11.90% in Brazil.

The ?lower for longer? philosophy of the Fed just shines a giant great spotlight on this paper.

And guess what happened while you weren?t looking?

Emerging market debt has ?emerged.?

Five years of balance sheet repair means their credit quality has improved.

Local credit markets have grown up too.

Once dominated by huge inflows and outflows from foreign investors, markets are now much more in balance, thanks to the rise of? local institutional investors and pension funds.

The fundamentals of these countries have been steadily improving.

Falling currencies gave them a competitive advantage that allowed? trade surpluses to dramatically improve.

Political stability is improving. During my journalist days, you used to be able to count on one good coup d??tat or revolution in the area a year. No more.

Many business friendly, pro trade governments have come into power, such as in Argentina, India and Peru.

Emerging market GDP growth rates are still double those found in developed markets.

Markets themselves are improving. Spreads for stocks and bonds are now much tighter in emerging markets and liquidity has improved. They are ?roach motel? markets no more, where you can check in, but you can?t check out.

Get this one right, and the cross asset class hockey stick effect we saw on the downside will work just as well on the upside.

In short, there is a lot more to the emerging market dollar than there used to be. It is just a matter of time before financial markets figure this out.
Improving EM Trade Balances EM-DM Growth Differentials ELD EEM CEW $COPPER
Women Carrying Baskets on Their Heads

Looking for the Next Bull Market

The Game Changer in India

So far in 2015 the Indian stock market has handily beaten that of the US, by 10.6% compared to 5.3%.

?The India election result is the biggest development to affect emerging markets over the last 30 years.? That is what retired chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and originator of the ?BRIC? term, Jim O?Neal, told me last week.

Indeed, the stunning news has sent long term country specialists scampering. In my long term strategy lectures I have been titillating listeners for years with predictions that India was about to become the next China.

With half the per capita income of the Middle Kingdom, India was lacking the infrastructure needed to compete in the global marketplace. All that was needed was the trigger.

This is the trigger.

With a new party taking control of the government for the first time in 50 years, the way is now clear to carry out desperately needed sweeping political and economic reforms. At the top of the list is a clean sweep of corruption, long endemic to the subcontinent. I once spent four months traveling around India on the Indian railway system, and the demand for ?bakshish? was ever present.

A reviving and reborn India has massive implications for the global economy, which could see growth accelerate as much at 0.50% a year for the next 30 years. This will be great news for stocks everywhere. It will help offset flagging demand for commodities from China, like coal (KOL), iron ore (BHP), and the base metals (CU).

Demand for oil (USO) grows, as energy starved India is one of the world?s largest importers.

A strengthening Rupee, higher standards of living, and relaxed import duties should give a much needed boost for gold (GLD). India has always been the world?s largest buyer.

The world?s largest democracy certainly delivers the most unusual of elections, a blend of practices from today?.and a thousand years ago. It was carried out over five weeks, and a stunning 541 million voted, out of an eligible 815 million, a turnout of 66.4%. That is far higher than elections seen here in the United States.

Of the 552 members in the Lok Sabha, the lower house (or their House of Representatives), a specific number of seats are reserved for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and women. Gee, I wonder which one of these I would fit in?

Important issues during the campaign included rising prices, the economy, security, and infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water. About 14% of voters cited corruption as the main issue.

Some 12 political parties ran candidates. The winner was Hindu Nationalist Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who led a diverse collection of lesser parties to take an overwhelming majority. For more details on this fascinating election, please click here at

It is still early days for the Bombay stock market, which has already rocketed by a stunning 20% since the election results became obvious last week.

This could be the beginning of a ten-bagger move over coming decades. Managers are hurriedly pawing through stacks of research on the subcontinent they have been ignoring for the past four years, the last time emerging markets peaked.

In the meantime, the action has spilled over into other emerging markets (EEM), their currencies (CEW), and their bonds (ELD), which have all punched through to new highs for the year.

I?ll be knocking out research o specific names when I find them. Until then, use any dip to pick up the Indian ETF?s (INP), (PIN), and (EPI).

PIN 2-23-15

INP 2-23-15

EPI 2-23-15


India Election Results