Global Market Comments
April 16, 2020
(MORE LONG-TERM LEAPS TO BUY AT THE BOTTOM),
(TSLA), (CRSP), (MU)
Global Market Comments
April 16, 2020
(MORE LONG-TERM LEAPS TO BUY AT THE BOTTOM),
(TSLA), (CRSP), (MU)
The final bottom in this bear market is fast approaching. It may come in weeks or months. After the cataclysmic meltdown in March, markets are becoming more orderly and tradable. What does this mean for LEAPs?
It means the next bid dip in share prices is the one you want to buy.
Readers have been besieging me with more ideas on long term LEAPS to buy at the next bottom. So, here is another generous serving of red meat.
I am often asked how professional hedge fund traders invest their personal money. They all do the exact same thing. They wait for a market crash like we are seeing now and buy the longest-term LEAPS (Long Term Equity Participation Securities) possible for their favorite names.
The reasons are very simple. The risk on LEAPS is limited. You can’t lose any more than you put in. At the same time, they permit enormous amounts of leverage.
Two years out, the longest maturity available for most LEAPS, allow plenty of time for the world and the markets to get back on an even keel. Recessions, pandemics, hurricanes, oil shocks, interest rate spikes, and political instability all go away within two years and pave the way for dramatic stock market recoveries.
You just put them away and forget about them. Wake me up when it is 2022.
I put together this new portfolio using the following parameters. I set the strike prices just above the all-time highs set in February. I went for the maximum maturity. I used today’s prices. And of course, I picked the names that have the best long-term outlooks based on our own intensive in-house research.
You should only buy LEAPS of the best quality companies with the rosiest growth prospects and rock-solid balance sheets to be certain they will still be around in two years. I’m talking about picking up Cadillacs, Rolls Royces, and even Ferraris at fire-sale prices. Don’t waste your money on speculative low-quality stocks that may never come back.
If you buy LEAPS at these prices and the stocks all go to new highs, then you should earn an average 400% profit from an average stock price increase of only 75%.
That is a staggering return 5.3 times greater than the underlying stock gain. And let’s face it. None of the companies below are going to zero, ever. Now you know why clever hedge fund traders only employ this strategy.
There is a smarter way to execute this portfolio. Put in throw-away crash bids at levels so low they will only get executed on the next cataclysmic 1,000-point down day in the Dow Average.
You can play around with the strike prices all you want. Going farther out of the money increases your returns, but raises your risk as well. Going closer to the money reduces risk and returns, but the gains are still a multiple of the underlying stock.
Buying when everyone else is throwing up on their shoes is always the best policy. That way your return will rise to ten times the move in the underlying stock.
If you are unable or unwilling to trade options, then you will do well buying the underlying shares outright. I expect the list below to rise by 50% or more over the next two years.
Tesla (TSLA) – June 17 2022 $1,080-$1,100 vertical bull call spread at $4.00 delivers a 400% gain with the stock at $1,100, up 51% from the current level. The pandemic is vastly accelerating all trends. One big one is the migration from internal combustion engines to electric power where Tesla has a ten-year and expanding head start. Sales at its new Shanghai factory in the first country to recover from the Coronavirus are blowing away its most optimistic view. The Model Y small SUV at the end of this year is expected to be the company’s biggest-selling model ever.
CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP) – January 15 2021 $85-$90 vertical bull call spread at $1.00 delivers a 400% gain with the stock at $85, up 77% from the current level. It’s shorter-dated than the others, but this was the longest maturity posted on my trading platform. CRISPR Therapeutics is the dominant player in gene-editing technology, which is key to many biotech developments going forward. That includes beating the Coronavirus. The stock is an incredible bargain at this level, off 36% from its all-time high.
Micron Technology (MU) – January 21 2021 $85-$90 vertical bull call spread at $1.00 delivers a 400% gain with the stock at $90, up 96% from the current level. Coming out on the other side of the pandemic, there will be a massive global shortage of the computer chips that Micron Technology makes with already huge profit margins. A total no-brainer and I love visiting their Boise, Idaho headquarters.
To review my last list of Ten Long-Term LEAPS to Buy at the Market Bottom, please click here.
Yup, I Think I See Another Great LEAPS Opportunity
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader February 12 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: What do you think about Facebook (FB) here? We’ve just had a big dip.
A: We got the dip because of a double downgrade in the stock from a couple of brokers, and people are kind of nervous that some sort of antitrust action may be taken against Facebook as we go into the election. I still like the stock long term. You can’t beat the FANGs!
Q: If Bernie Sanders gets the nomination, will that be negative for the market?
A: Absolutely, yes. It seems like after 3 years of a radical president, voters want a radical response. That said, I don’t think Bernie will get the nomination. He is not as popular in California, where we have a primary in a couple of weeks and account for 20% of total delegates. I think more of the moderate candidates will come through in California. That’s where we see if any of the new billionaire outliers like Michael Bloom or Tom Steyer have any traction. My attitude in all of this is to wait for the last guy to get voted off the island—then ask me what’s going to happen in October.
Q: When should we come back in on Tesla (TSLA)?
A: It’s tough with Tesla because although my long-term target is $2,500, watching it go up 500% in seven months on just a small increase in earnings is pretty scary. It’s really more of a cult stock than anything else and I want to wait for a bigger pullback, maybe down to $500, before I get in again. That said, the volatility on the stock is now so high that—with the short interest going from 36% down to 20%—if we get the last of the bears to really give up, then we lose that whole 20% because it all turns into buying; and that could get us easily over $1,000. The announcement of a new $2 billion share offering is a huge positive because it means they can pay off debt and operate with free capital as they don’t pay a dividend.
Q: Is Square (SQ) a good buy on the next 5% drop?
A: I would really wait 10%—you don’t want to chase trades with the market at an all-time high. I would wait for a bigger drop in the main market before I go aggressive on anything.
Q: What about CRISPR Technology (CRSP) after the 120% move?
A: We’ve had a modest pullback—really more of a sideways move— since it peaked a couple of months ago; and again, I think the stock either goes much higher or gets taken over by somebody. That makes it a no-lose trade. The long sideways move we’re having is actually a very bullish indication for the stock.
Q: If Bernie is the candidate and gets elected, would that be negative for the market?
A: It would be extremely negative for the market. Worth at least a 20% downturn. That said, according to all the polling I have seen, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that could not win against Donald Trump—the other 15 candidates would all beat Trump in a 1 to 1 contest. He’s also had one heart attack and might not even be alive in 6 months, so who knows?
Q: I just closed the Boeing (BA) trade to avoid the dividend hit tomorrow. What do you think?
A: I’m probably going to do the same, that way you can avoid the random assignments that will stick you with the dividend and eat up your entire profit on the trade.
Q: When do you update the long-term portfolio?
A: Every six months; and the reason for that is to show you how to rebalance your portfolio. Rebalancing is one of the best free lunches out there. Everyone should be doing it after big moves like we’ve seen. It’s just a question of whether you rebalance every six months or every year. With stocks up so much a big rebalancing is due.
Q: I have held onto Gilead Sciences (GILD) for a long time and am hoping they’ll spend their big cash hoard. What do you think?
A: It’s true, they haven’t been spending their cash hoard. The trouble with these biotech stocks, and why it’s so hard to send out trade alerts on them, is that you’ll get essentially no movement on them for years and then they rise 30% in one day. Gilead actually does have some drugs that may work on the coronavirus but until they make another acquisition, don’t expect much movement in the stock. It’s a question of how long you are willing to wait until that movement.
Q: Is it time to get back into the iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX)?
A: No, you need to maintain discipline here, not chase the last trade that worked. It’s crucial to only buy the bottoms and sell the tops when trading volatility. Otherwise, time decay and contango will kill you. We’re actually close to the middle of the range in the (VXX) so if we see another revisit to the lows, which we could get in the next week, then you want to buy it. No middle-of-range trades in this kind of market, you’re either trading at one extreme or the other.
Q: Could you please explain how the Fed involvement in the overnight repo market affects the general market?
A: The overnight repo market intervention was a form of backdoor quantitative easing, and as we all know quantitative easing makes stocks go up hugely. So even though the Fed said this wasn’t quantitative easing, they were in fact expanding their balance sheet to facilitate liquidity in the bond market because government borrowing has gotten so extreme that the public markets weren’t big enough to handle all the debt; that’s why they stepped into the repo market. But the market said this is simply more QE and took stocks up 10% since they said it wasn’t QE.
Q: What about Cisco Systems (CSCO)?
A: It’s probably a decent buy down here, very tempting. And it hasn’t participated in the FANG rally, so yes, I would give that one a really hard look. The current dip on earnings is probably a good entry point.
Q: Should we buy the Volatility Index (VIX) on dips?
A: Yes. At bottoms would be better, like the $12 handle.
Q: When is the best time to exit Boeing?
A: In the next 15 minutes. They go ex-dividend tomorrow and if you get assigned on those short calls then you are liable for the dividend—that will eat up your whole profit on the trade.
Q: Do you like Fire Eye (FEYE)?
A: Yes. Hacking is one of the few permanent growth industries out there and there are only a half dozen listed companies that are cutting edge on security software.
Q: What are your thoughts on the timing of the next recession?
A: Clearly the recession has been pushed back a year by the 2019 round of QE, and stock prices are getting so high now that even the Fed has to be concerned. Moreover, economic growth is slowing. In fact, the economy has been growing at a substantially slower rate since Trump became president, and 100% of all the economic growth we have now is borrowed. If the government were running a balanced budget now, our growth would be zero. So, certainly QE has pushed off the recession—whether it’s a one-year event or a 2-year event, we’ll see. The answer, however, is that it will come out of nowhere and hit you when you least expect it, as recessions tend to do.
Q: Would you buy gold (GLD) rather than staying in cash?
A: I would buy some gold here, and I would do deep in the money call spreads like I have been doing. I’ve been running the numbers every day waiting for a good entry point. We’re now at a sort of in between point here on call spreads because it’s 7 days to the next February expiration and about 27 days to the March one after that, so it’s not a good entry point this week. Next week will look more interesting because you’ll start getting accelerated time decay for March working for you.
Q: When are you going to have lunch in Texas or Oklahoma?
A: Nothing planned currently. Because of my long-term energy views (USO), I have to bring a bodyguard whenever I visit these states. Or I hold the events at a Marine Corps Club, which is the same thing.
Q: Would you use the dip here to buy Lyft (LYFT)? It’s down 10%.
A: No, it’s a horrible business. It’s one of those companies masquerading as a tech stock but it isn’t. They’re dependent on ultra-low wages for the drivers who are essentially netting $5 an hour driving after they cover all their car costs. Moreover, treating them as part-time temporary workers has just been made illegal in California, so it’s very bad news for the stocks—stay away from (LYFT) and (UBER) too.
Q: Is the Fed going to cut interest rates based on the coronavirus?
A: No, interest rates are low enough—too low given the rising levels of the stock market. Even at the current rate, low-interest rates are creating a bubble which will come back to bite us one day.
Q: Household debt exceeded $14 trillion for the first time—is this a warning sign?
A: It is absolutely a warning sign because it means the consumer is closer to running out of money. Consumers make up 70% of the economy, so when 70% of the economy runs out of money, it leads to a certain recession. We saw it happen in ‘08 and we’ll see it happen again.
Good Luck and Good Trading
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Occasionally, I discover a piece of research from one of my other Mad Hedge publications that is so important that I send it out to everyone immediately.
Today piece from the Mad Hedge Biotech & Health Care Letter is one of the instances. It makes the case and provides the numbers as to why Biotech & Health Care will be one of two dominant sector to follow for the next decade. It also is a key plank in my argument for a return of a new Golden Age and a second “Roaring Twenties.”
Here it is.
Biotech investors, take note: 2019 was a great year for the industry, but the best is yet to come.
In the final three months of 2019, the biotech sector grew by 32% — notably outpacing the pharmaceutical industry, which only recorded a 9.5% gain.
However, the biotechnology sector is estimated to grow substantially in 2020, and reach over $775 billion in revenue by 2024 as more and more treatments for previously incurable diseases get discovered.
Looking at all the progress in the biotechnology space, this could even be the year we’d finally discover the cure to many life-threatening and debilitating conditions like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
With all these technological advancements, two revolutionary tools have been overhauling the entire biotechnology and healthcare industry from the ground up: precision medicine and CRISPR. Actually, the impressive growth of the biotechnology industry has been largely attributed to the excitement generated by the gene-editing sector.
While the majority of companies concentrating on the human genome are still in the research phase, the growth of this industry is undeniable.
Here’s tangible proof.
Just 20 years ago, reading all the DNA of a single person cost approximately $3 billion. Now, this price is down to only $1,000. In the future, this number will go even lower at $100. There are now gigantic factories in China sequencing DNA for companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe.
This is just one example of how the biotechnology industry has grown by leaps and bounds. It’s also the reason behind the surge of CRISPR shares.
In effect, the specialists in this niche, including Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), Bluebird Bio (BLUE), and Editas Medicine (EDIT), are amplifying their efforts in 2020.
Among the specialist companies, CRISPR Therapeutics is considered as one of the frontrunners — if not the top stock. This is because compared to its rivals, which are still in preclinical phases of development, CRISPR Therapeutics’ already has two drugs going through Phase 1 trials: CTX001 and CTX110.
The promising results of the company’s research resulted in a 113% rise in shares last year, with the bulk of the surge starting in October. In fact, CRISPR Therapeutics’ performance had been so impressive that its market cap reached $3.4 billion.
CTX001 is created to target patients suffering from genetic blood disorders, specifically sickle-cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia.
Meanwhile, CTX110 is a CAR-T treatment. The process involves the extraction of immune cells from the patient. These are then retrained and later re-introduced to the human body.
CRISPR Therapeutics’ CAR-T treatment is anticipated to be offered at a cheaper price compared to the other CAR-T therapies.
Both Novartis (NVS) and Gilead Sciences (GILD) are pursuing the same treatment. However, the cost of the therapy from the latter two is expected to reach as much as $475,000 for every patient annually.
Apart from CTX001 and CTX110, CRISPR Therapeutics has two more immunology candidates, currently dubbed CTX120 and CTX130.
If both phase trials succeed, these will bring massive home runs for CRISPR Therapeutics, especially since the cancer immunology market is expected to reach $127 billion by 2026. Over the next 10 years, this niche is estimated to reach $25 trillion in sales.
Among the gene-editing treatments under development today, CRISPR is projected to grow tenfold in the number of applications and potentially curing 89% of disease-causing genetic variations by 2026.
Taking this pace into consideration, the valuation for this market is expected to grow from $551 million in 2017 to reach roughly $3.1 billion by 2023 and $6 billion by 2025.
Meanwhile, precision medicine as a whole is estimated to show a significant jump from $48.6 billion in 2018 to $84.6 billion by 2024. In 2028, this market is expected to rake in $216 billion.
Hence, further success with CTX001 and CTX110 along with additional treatments in the drug pipeline would all but guarantee that Crispr Therapeutics could beat the market again in 2020.
Global Market Comments
December 20, 2019
(DECEMBER 18 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(BA), (CRSP), (BABA), (GLD), (PANW), (VIX), (VXX)
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader December 18 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: What is the status of Boeing (BA) and when should I buy it?
A: Their 737 production was shut down because they literally ran out of space to park completed planes. They have something like 400 of them now sitting around on tarmacs all around northern Washington state. This is the worst-case scenario so it is a very tempting place to buy; I would do something like a February 2020 $250-$270 vertical bull call spread, make 10% in a month, and be conservative. If it weren’t year-end, and I didn’t already have my year in the bag, I would probably buy Boeing right here.
Q: Do you recommend CRISPR (CRSP) therapeutics as a buy?
A: Yes, but on a dip. I always hate buying stocks after they doubled. At some point in 2020, we will see correction in biotech stocks, and then you want to load the boat again. Here, I’m buying nothing.
Q: Is Palo Alto Networks (PANW) a buy at these levels?
A: Yes, it’s already had its correction—it’s one of the few stocks that are buyable at these levels. But I would do something like a call spread, which is limited risk. As far as a pairs trade with Palo Alto vs Nvidia…I would not touch that with a ten-foot pole, because you can’t know the internal nature of two companies like that well enough to buy one and sell short the other against it. You could really get destroyed on that pairs trade, so don’t make that mistake.
Q: Do you think the US dollar (UUP) will head higher or lower next year?
A: It will go a lot lower, as the chickens from all the government borrowing come home to roost. More borrowing brings a lower dollar, which brings lower everything in the US; all US dollar-denominated assets will get hurt, and this may be what eventually kills off the bull market in stocks. Start buying the Euro (FXE) on dips.
Q: What do you think about Boris Johnson winning the UK election?
A: It is a disaster and will lead to the end of Great Britain. Scotland will go independent, Northern Ireland will join the Republic of Ireland, and even Wales may break off and form its own country. So, England will be reduced to a tiny rump of a country with a much lower standard of living. It may take 10 years to happen, but that’s where it’s going.
Q: Does the recent positive housing data mean we aren’t having a recession in 2020?
A: Yes, in fact the market has been backing out of a 2020 recession for the last three months; and the leading sector in the recovery has been housing, caused partly by extremely low-interest rates but also partly by millions of new millennials pouring into the housing market for the first time. Finally, my basement is empty. That explains why the entry-level and middle level of the market are strong, and the high end is still decreasing in price.
Q: Back in August, the global economy looked to be stalling, yet it was a great time to buy stocks.
A: That is exactly when to buy stocks—when the economy is terrible. If you get used to buying on the bad news and selling on the good news you will do very well as a trader. Most people do the opposite—people were dumping stocks in August. And that of course was when we went with one of our rare 100% longs. By the way, this happens every August, which is why I take my vacations in July.
Q: Do you see a global slowdown during the melt-up?
A: Well, the economy is still slowing down. It never stopped slowing down—we’re probably looking at a 1.5% GDP this quarter. However, in liquidity-driven markets, you don’t look at fundamentals; you look at the amount of cash that is available to buy equities, that’s why you buy equities. That said, if we ever do get a real economic recovery, you might actually have stocks going down because a price-earnings multiple of 20X is not an ideal place to buy stocks.
Q: What do you prefer for a Volatility Index (VIX) trade?
A: An option on the iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) is one. Go long dates, like a year, and deep out-of-the-money, like the $18 strike price, to minimize the hot from Time decay. If your (VIX) goes back up to $25 the (VXX) will soar to $27 and you will make a fortune.
However, if you have the facility to trade futures, then options on the futures in the VIX is how most professionals will trade that.
Q: Should we be worried about the Repo crisis as we approach the end of the quarter?
A: Absolutely, you should be worried—the Fed might have to come through with another round of quantitative easing in order to prevent a surprise overnight pop in interest rates to 5%. That’s what happened last quarter; it could certainly happen again. The basic problem is that the structure of the US debt markets aren’t built to handle the volume of borrowing that’s coming through from the US government, so with debt at an all-time high, we’re kind of in new territory here in terms of whether or not markets can actually handle that amount of borrowing. Total government borrowing next year will probably be $1.75 trillion dollars.
Q: What do you make of gold (GLD) at these levels?
A: Cheap but getting cheaper. You want to buy it the day the stock market peaks out in Q1 2020.
Q: Are Chinese equities a buy after the phase one trade deal?
A: Yes, and Alibaba (BABA) is probably your first pick in the Chinese area. During the whole trade war, the Chinese took significant action to stimulate their economy in order to offset the drag on trade. That stimulus is still out there, so we could see a reacceleration in the economy now that the trade war is no longer worsening.
Global Market Comments
October 17, 2019
(UPDATING THE MAD HEDGE LONG TERM MODEL PORTFOLIO),
(USO), (XLV), (CI), (CELG), (BIIB), (AMGN), (CRSP), (IBM), (PYPL), (SQ), (JPM), (BAC), (EEM), (DXJ), (FCX), (GLD)
Global Market Comments
March 27, 2019
(JUMP ON THE VERTEX BANDWAGON),
(MAD HEDGE FUND TRADER CELEBRATES ITS 11-YEAR ANNIVERSARY)
The biotech industry has at least 500 stocks listed on the market today. These companies range from huge biotech firms with several blockbuster drugs to humble money-losing startups still on the lookout for their first big break.
Among these companies, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX) presents a compelling case that could attract investors.
Recent developments on Vertex’s triple-combination treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF) have been predicted to spur the company’s revenues this year in a major way. If the results of the studies turn out successful, then Vertex is on the verge of becoming the sole treatment provider to at least 90% of the people suffering from this severe genetic condition. That’s a nice monopoly to have.
While the recent developments have yet to aggressively show its effect in Vertex stock, the company has already recorded an impressive 160% growth since 2017 and this is anticipated to go higher in the years to come.
At present, the annual revenue of Vertex is recorded as $3 billion, while major competitors like Pfizer has $53.4 billion, Bristol-Myers Squibb has $22.6 billion, and Novartis has $51 billion. In order words, there is plenty of room to grow.
Just how far can Vertex shares go?
Let’s take a look at previous reports on the company. Its December 2018 financial report reveals that its earnings per share jumped by 113% year-over-year to $1.3. Its quarterly revenues increased by 40% and reached $869.44 million — a gigantic 39.7% leap from the $622.63 million it achieved during the same period in the previous year.
While the March 2019 EPS for this company is anticipated to go down to $0.68 compared to the $0.76 recorded the same period last year, its 2020 EPS is projected to get a 49.46% boost. With that estimate, Vertex is expected to reach its long-term annual earnings growth rate of 53.86%.
How can investors be sure that Vertex continues with its remarkable progress?
The company’s moves in the past months have been quite promising. A major factor that could guarantee its success is its dominance in the CF market. At the moment, Vertex has three approved CF drugs available in the market: Kalydeco, Orkambi, and Symdeko.
Of these three, two are already considered as blockbuster products while Symdeko is poised to hit the $1 billion yearly sales mark this year.
Another promising reason to invest in Vertex is its move to expand the addressable CF market it currently covers. If the company succeeds in cornering the market for treating younger patients, then its target population will increase from 39,000 to 44,000.
Vertex is also working towards gaining approval for a triple-drug combo this year. The biotech company projects an additional 24,000 patients globally to benefit from this triple-drug regimen.
Should all these plans fall into place, Vertex would see a 75% expansion on its addressable CF market in the years to come.
Although CF has been the focus of Vertex in the previous years, the company also intends to widen its scope and plans to conduct early-stage clinical studies for at least two new diseases this year.
This move would prove to be beneficial in the long-term considering the decision of AbbVie Inc (ABBV) to join the triple-drug CF race. So far, AbbVie has a long way to go before it can catch up with Vertex’s progress in this arena especially since the latter practically has a monopoly as it alone offers the drugs that can treat the underlying causes of CF.
Vertex’s collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP) on gene-editing treatments, which aim to treat rare blood disorders beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease, is yet another promising development for the company.
All in all, Vertex is a good biotech stock to invest in today. However, its plans are not foolproof.
There remains the risk that its pipeline candidates fail at clinical trials or that the company loses its bids for regulatory approvals. Nonetheless, it’s a promising stock to add to your portfolio especially since the company has more than doubled its stock in the past two years.
High risk, high gain. Welcome to the world of biotech stocks.
Global Market Comments
January 25, 2019
(JANUARY 9 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(TSLA), (EDIT), (NTLA), (CRSP), (SJB), (TLT), (FXB), (GLD),
(THE PRICE OF STARDOM AT DAVOS)