Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader June 12Global Strategy Webinar with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!
Q: Do you think Tesla (TSLA) will survive?
A: Not only do I think it will survive, but it’ll go up 10 times from the current level. That’s why we urged people to buy the stock at $180. Tesla is so far ahead of the competition, it is incredible. They will sell 400,000 cars this year. The number two electric car competitor will sell only 25,000. They have a ten-year head start in the technology and they are increasing that lead every day. Battery costs will drop another 90% over the next decade eventually making these cars incredibly cheap. Increase sales by ten times and double profit margins and eventually, you get to a $1 trillion company.
Q: Beyond Meat (BYND)—the veggie burger stock—just crashed 25% after JP Morgan downgraded the stock. Are you a buyer here?
A: Absolutely not; veggie burgers are not my area of expertise. Although there will be a large long-term market here potentially worth $140 billion, short term, the profits in no way justify the current stock price which exists only for lack of anything else going on in the market. You don’t get rich buying stocks at 37 times company sales.
Q: Are you worried about antitrust fears destroying the Tech stocks?
A: No, it really comes down to a choice: would you rather American or Chinese companies dominate technology? If we break up all our big tech companies, the only large ones left will be Chinese. It’s in the national interest to keep these companies going. If you did break up any of the FANGS, you’d be creating a ton of value. Amazon (AMZN) is probably worth double if it were broken up into four different pieces. Amazon Web Services alone, their cloud business, will probably be worth $1 trillion as a stand-alone company in five years. The same is true with Apple (AAPL) or Google (GOOG). So, that’s not a big threat overhanging the market.
Q: Is it time to buy Salesforce (CRM)?
A: Yes, you want to be picking up any cloud company you can on any kind of sizeable selloff, and although this isn’t a sizeable selloff, Salesforce is the dominant player in cloud plays; you just want to keep buying this all day long. We get back into it every chance we can.
Q: Do you think the proposed merger of United Technologies (UT) and Raytheon (RTN) will lower the business quality of United Tech’s aerospace business?
A: No, these are almost perfectly complementary companies. One is strong in aerospace while the other is weak, and vice versa with defense. You mesh the two together, you get big economies of scale. The resulting layoffs from the merger will show an increase in overall profitability.
Q: I had the Disney (DIS) shares put to me at $114 a share; would you buy these?
A: Disney stock is going to go up ahead of the summer blockbuster season, so the puts are going to expire being worthless. Sell the puts you have and then go short even more to make back your money. Go naked short a small non-leveraged amount Disney $114 puts, and that should bring in a nice return in an otherwise dead market. Make sure you wait for another selloff in the market to do that.
Q: What role does global warming play in your bullish hypothesis for the 2020s?
A: If people start to actually address global warming, it will be hugely positive for the global economy. It would demand the creation of a plethora of industries around the world, such as solar and other alternative energy industries. When I originally made my “Golden Age” forecast years ago, it was based on the demographics, not global warming; but now that you mention it, any kind of increase in government spending is positive for the global economy, even if it’s borrowed. Spending to avert global warming could be the turbocharger.
Q: Why not go long in the United States Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) into the Fed interest rate cuts?
A: I would, but only on a larger pullback. The problem is that at a 2.06% ten-year Treasury yield, three of the next five quarter-point cuts are already priced into the market. Ideally, if you can get down to $126 in the (TLT), that would be a sweet spot. I have a feeling we’re not going to pull back that far—if you can pull back five points from the recent high at $133, that would be a good point at which to be long in the (TLT).
Q: Extreme weather is driving energy demand to its highest peak since 2010...is there a play here in some energy companies that I’m missing?
A: No, if we’re going into recession and there’s a global supply glut of oil, you don’t want to be anywhere near the energy space whatsoever; and the charts we just went through—Halliburton (HAL) and so on—amply demonstrate that fact. The only play here in oil is on the short side. When US production is in the process of ramping up from 5 million (2005) to $12.3 million (now), to 17 million barrels a day (by 2024) you don’t want to have any exposure to the price of oil whatsoever.
Q: What about China’s FANGS—Alibaba (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU). What do you think of them?
A: I wanted to start buying these on extreme selloff days in anticipation of a trade deal that happens sometime next year. You actually did get rallies without a deal in these things showing that they have finally bottomed down. So yes, I want to be a player in the Chinese FANGS in expectation of a trade deal in the future sometime, but not soon.
Q: Silver (SLV) seems weaker than gold. What’s your view on this?
A: Silver is always the high beta play. It usually moves 1.5-2.5 times faster than gold, so not only do you get bigger rallies in silver, you get bigger selloffs also. The industrial case for silver basically disappeared when we went to digital cameras twenty years ago.
Q: Does this extended trade war mean the end for emerging markets (EEM)?
A: Yes, for the time being. Emerging markets are one of the biggest victims of trade wars. They are more dependent on trade than any of the major economies, so as long as we have a trade war that’s getting worse, we want to avoid emerging markets like the plague.
Q: We just got a huge rebound in the market out of dovish Fed comments. Is this delivering the way for a more dovish message for the rest of the year?
A: Yes, the market is discounting five interest rate cuts through next year; so far, the Fed has delivered none of them. If they delayed that cutting strategy at all, even for a month, it could lead to a 10% selloff in the stock market very quickly and that in and of itself will bring more Fed interest rate cuts. So, it is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The bottom line is that we’re looking at an ultra-low interest rate world for the foreseeable future.
Good Luck and Good Trading.
John Thomas CEO & Publisher The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/john-thomas-6.png387291Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-06-14 02:02:482019-07-17 10:25:01June 12 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A
This is one of those markets where you should have followed your mother’s advice and become a doctor.
I was shocked, amazed, and gobsmacked when the Q1 GDP came in at a red hot 3.2%. The economy had every reason to slow down during the first three months of 2019 with the government shutdown, trade war, and terrible winter. Many estimates were below 1%.
I took solace in the news by doing what I do best: I shot out four Trade Alerts within the hour.
Of course, the stock market knew this already, rising almost every day this year. Both the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ (QQQ) ground up to new all-time highs last week. The Dow Average will be the last to fall.
Did stock really just get another leg up, or this the greatest “Sell the news” of all time. Nevertheless, we have to trade the market we have, not the one we want or expect, so I quickly dove back in with new positions in both my portfolios.
One has to ask the question of how strong the economy really would have been without the above self-induced drags. 4%, 5%, yikes!
However, digging into the numbers, there is far less than meets the eye with the 3.2% figure. Exports accounted for a full 1% of this. That is unlikely to continue with Europe in free fall. A sharp growth in inventories generated another 0.7%, meaning companies making stuff that no one is buying. This is growth that has been pulled forward from future quarters.
Strip out these one-off anomalies and you get a core GDP that is growing at only 1.5%, lower than the previous quarter.
What is driving the recent rally is that corporate earnings are coming in stronger than expected. Back in December, analysts panicked and excessively cut forecasts.
With half of the companies already reporting, it now looks like the quarter will come in a couple of points higher than lower. That may be worth a rally of a few more percentage points higher for a few more weeks, but not much more than that.
So will the Fed raise rates now? A normal Fed certainly would in the face of such a hot GDP number. But nothing is normal anymore. The Fed canceled all four rate hikes for 2019 because the stock market was crashing. Now it’s booming. Does that put autumn rate hikes back on the table, or sooner?
Microsoft (MSFT) knocked it out of the park with great earnings and a massive 47% increase in cloud growth. The stock looks hell-bent to hit $140, and Mad Hedge followers who bought the stock close to $100 are making a killing. (MSFT) is now the third company to join the $1 trillion club.
And it’s not that the economy is without major weak spots. US Existing Home Sales dove in March by 5.9%, to an annualized 5.41 million units. Where is the falling mortgage rate boost here? Keep avoiding the sick man of the US economy. Car sales are also rolling over like the Bismarck, unless they’re electric.
Trump ended all Iran oil export waivers and the oil industry absolutely loved it with Texas tea soaring to new 2019 highs at $67 a barrel. Previously, the administration had been exempting eight major countries from the Iran sanctions. More disruption all the time. The US absolutely DOES NOT need an oil shock right now, unless you’re Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX), or Occidental Petroleum (OXY).
NASDAQ hit a new all-time high. Unfortunately, it’s all short covering and company share buybacks with no new money actually entering the market. How high is high? Tech would have to quadruple from here to hit the 2000 Dotcom Bubble top in valuation terms.
Tesla lost $700 million in Q1, and the stock collapsed to a new two-year low. It’s all because the EV subsidy dropped by half since January. Look for a profit rebound in quarters two and three. Capital raise anyone? Tesla junk bonds now yielding 8.51% if you’re looking for an income play. After a very long wait, a decent entry point is finally opening up on the long side.
The Mad Hedge Fund Trader blasted through to a new all-time high, up 16.02% year to date, as we took profits on the last of our technology long positions. I then added new long positions in (DIS), (FCX), and (INTU) on the hot GDP print, but only on a three-week view.
I had cut both Global Trading Dispatch and the Mad Hedge Technology Letter services down to 100% cash positions and waited for markets to tell us what to do next. And so they did.
I dove in with an extremely rare and opportunistic long in the bond market (TLT) and grabbed a quickie 14.61% profit on only three days.
April is now positive +0.60%. My 2019 year to date return gained to +16.02%, boosting my trailing one-year to +21.17%.
My nine and a half year shot up to +316.16%.The average annualized return appreciated to +33.87%. I am now 80% in cash with Global Trading Dispatch and 90% cash in the Mad Hedge Tech Letter.
The coming week will see another jobs trifecta.
On Monday, April 29 at 10:00 AM, we get March Consumer Spending. Alphabet (GOOGL) and Western Digital (WDC) report.
On Tuesday, April 30, 10:00 AM EST, we obtain a new Case Shiller CoreLogic National Home Price Index. Apple (AAPL), MacDonald’s (MCD), and General Electric (GE) report.
On Wednesday, May 1 at 2:00 PM, we get an FOMC statement. QUALCOMM (QCOM) and Square (SQ) report. The ADP Private Employment Report is released at 8:15 AM.
On Thursday, May 2 at 8:30 AM, the Weekly Jobless Claims are produced. Gilead Sciences (GILD) and Dow Chemical (DOW) report.
On Friday, May 3 at 8:30 AM, we get the April Nonfarm Payroll Report. Adidas reports, and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A) reports on Saturday.
As for me, to show you how low my life has sunk, I spent my only free time this weekend watching Avengers: Endgame. It has already become the top movie opening in history which is why I sent out another Trade Alert last week to buy Walt Disney (DIS).
I supposed that now we have all become the dumb extension to our computers, the only entertainment we should expect is computer-generated graphics with only human voice-overs.
Good luck and good trading.
John Thomas CEO & Publisher The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/avengers.png272485Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-04-29 01:06:452019-07-09 03:53:45The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or Another Leg Up for the Market
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader April 17 Global Strategy Webinar with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!
Q: What will the market do after the Muller report is out?
A: Absolutely nothing—this has been a total nonmarket event from the very beginning. Even if Trump gets impeached, Pence will continue with the same kinds of policies.
Q: If we are so close to the peak, when do we go short?
A: It’s simple: markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain liquid. Those shorts are expensive. As long as global excess liquidity continues pouring into the U.S., you’ll not want to short anything. I think what we’ll see is a market that slowly grinds upward until it’s extremely overbought.
Q: China (FXI) is showing some economic strength. Will this last?
A: Probably, yes. China was first to stimulate their economy and to stimulate it the most. The delayed effect is kicking in now. If we do get a resolution of the trade war, you want to buy China, not the U.S.
Q: Are commodities expected to be strong?
A: Yes, China stimulating their economy and they are the world’s largest consumer commodities.
Q: When is the ProShares Short Russell 2000 ETF (RWM) actionable?
A: Probably very soon. You really do see the double top forming in the Russell 2000 (IWM), and if we don’t get any movement in the next day or two, it will also start to roll over. The Russell 2000 is the canary in the coal mine for the main market. Even if the main market continues to grind up on small volume the (IWM) will go nowhere.
Q: Why do you recommend buying the iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXXB) instead of the Volatility Index (VIX)?
A: The VIX doesn’t have an actual ETF behind it, so you have to buy either options on the futures or a derivative ETF. The (VXXB), which has recently been renamed, is an actual ETF which does have a huge amount of time decay built into it, so it’s easier for people to trade. You don’t need an option for futures qualification on your brokerage account to buy the (VXXB) which most people don’t have—it’s just a straight ETF.
Q: So much of the market cap is based on revenues outside the U.S., or GDP making things look more expensive than they actually are. What are your thoughts on this?
A: That is true; the U.S. GDP is somewhat out of date and we as stock traders don’t buy the GDP, we buy individual stocks. Mad Hedge Fund Trader in particular only focuses on the 5% or so—stocks that are absolutely leading the market—and the rest of the 95% is absolutely irrelevant. That 95% is what makes up most of the GDP. A lot of people have actually been caught in the GDP trap this year, expecting a terrible GDP number in Q1 and staying out of the market because of that when, in fact, their individual stocks have been going up 50%. So, that’s something to be careful of.
Q: Is it time to jump into Qualcomm (QCOM)?
A: Probably, yes, on the dip. It’s already had a nice 46% pop so it’s a little late now. The battle with Apple (AAPL) was overhanging that stock for years.
Q: Will Trump next slap tariffs on German autos and what will that do to American shares? Should I buy General Motors (GM)?
A: Absolutely not; if we do slap tariffs on German autos, Europe will retaliate against every U.S. carmaker and that would be disastrous for us. We already know that trade wars are bad news for stocks. Industry-specific trade wars are pure poison. So, you don't want to buy the U.S. car industry on a European trade war. In fact, you don’t want to buy anything. The European trade war might be the cause of the summer correction. Destroying the economies of your largest customers is always bad for business.
Q: How much debt can the global economy keep taking on before a crash?
A: Apparently, it’s a lot more with interest rates at these ridiculously low levels. We’re in uncharted territory now. We really don't know how much more it can take, but we know it’s more because interest rates are so low. With every new borrowing, the global economy is making itself increasingly sensitive to any interest rate increases. This is a policy you should enact only at bear market bottoms, not bull market tops. It is borrowing economic growth from futures year which we may not have.
Q: Is the worst over for Tesla (TSLA) or do you think car sales will get worse?
A: I think car sales will get better, but it may take several months to see the actual production numbers. In the meantime, the burden of proof is on Tesla. Any other surprises on that stock could see us break to a new 2 year low—that's why I don’t want to touch it. They’ve lately been adopting policies that one normally associates with imminent recessions, like closing most of their store and getting rid of customer support staff.
Q: Is 2019 a “sell in May and go away” type year?
A: It’s really looking like a great “Sell in May” is setting up. What’s helping is that we’ve gone up in a straight line practically every day this year. Also, in the first 4 months of the year, your allocations for equities are done. We have about 6 months of dead territory to cover from May onward— narrow trading ranges or severe drops. That, by the way, is also the perfect environment for deep-in-the-money put spreads, which we plan to be setting up soon.
Q: Is it time to buy Freeport McMoRan (FCX) in to play both oil and copper?
A: Yes. They’re both being driven by the same thing: China demand. China is the world’s largest new buyer of both of these resources. But you’re late in the cycle, so use dips and choose your entry points cautiously. (FCX) is not an oil play. It is only a copper (COPX) and gold (GLD) play.
Q: Are you still against Bitcoin?
A: There are simply too many better trading and investment options to focus on than Bitcoin. Bitcoin is like buying a lottery ticket—you’re 10 times more likely to get struck by lightning than you are to win.
Q: Are there any LEAPS put to buy right now?
A: You never buy a Long-Term Equity Appreciation Securities (LEAPS) at market tops. You only buy these long-term bull option plays at really severe market selloffs like we had in November/December. Otherwise, you’ll get your head handed to you.
Q: What is your outlook on U.S. dollar and gold?
A: U.S. dollar should be decreasing on its lower interest rates but everyone else is lowering their rates faster than us, so that's why it’s staying high. Eventually, I expect it to go down but not yet. Gold will be weak as long as we’re on a global “RISK ON” environment, which could last another month.
Q: Is Netflix (NFLX) a buy here, after the earnings report?
A: Yes, but don't buy on the pop, buy on the dip. They have a huge head start over rivals Amazon (AMZN) and Walt Disney (DIS) and the overall market is growing fast enough to accommodate everyone.
Q: Will wages keep going up in 2019?
A: Yes, but technology is destroying jobs faster than inflation can raise wages so they won’t increase much—pennies rather than dollars.
Q: How about buying a big pullback?
A: If we get one, it would be in the spring or summer. I would buy a big pullback as long as the U.S. is hyper-stimulating its economy and flooding the world with excess liquidity. You wouldn't want to bet against that. We may not see the beginning of the true bear market for another year. Any pullbacks before that will just be corrections in a broader bull market.
Good Luck and Good Trading John Thomas CEO & Publisher Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/John-on-Deck-Overlooking-Alps-e1470435995343.jpg328400Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-04-23 01:06:542019-04-22 23:24:34April 17 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A
Netflix came out with earnings yesterday and revealed guidance that many industry analysts were dreading.
It appears that Netflix’s relative subscriber growth rate has reached the high-water mark for now.
Competition is rapidly encroaching Netflix’s moat.
In a letter to shareholders, management opined revealing that they do not “anticipate these new entrants will materially affect our growth.”
I am quite bothered by this statement because one would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to believe that Disney (DIS) or Apple’s (AAPL) new products will not take away meaningful eyeballs from Netflix.
These companies are all competing in the same sphere – digital entertainment.
Papering over the cracks with wishy washy rhetoric was not something I was doing backflips over.
Netflix’s management knew this earnings report had nothing to do with results because everyone wanted to reassess how bad the new entrants would make life for Netflix.
Disney has the content to inflict major damage to Netflix’s business model.
The mere existence of Disney as a rival weakens Netflix’s narrative substantially in two ways.
First, Disney’s entrance into the online streaming game means Netflix will not have a chance to raise subscription prices for the short to medium term.
The last price hike was done in the nick of time and even though management mentioned it followed through “as expected,” losing this financial lever gives Netflix less ammunition going forward and caps EPS growth potential.
Second, another dispiriting factor is the premium for retaining and acquiring original content will skyrocket with more firms jockeying for the same finite amount of actors, producers, directors, and writers.
This particular premium cannot be quantified but firms might try to bid up the cost of certain talent just so the other guy has to foot a bigger bill, this is done in professional sports all the time.
Firms might even take actors off the table with exclusive contracts just to frustrate the supply of content generators.
Uncertainty perpetuates with the future cost of content unable to be baked into the casserole yet, and represents severe downside risk to a stock which trots out an expensive PE ratio of 133.
Growth, growth, and more growth – that is what Netflix has groomed investors to obsess on with the caveat of major strings attached.
This model is highly effective in a vacuum when there are no other players that can erode market share.
Delivering on growth justifies heavy cash burn, and to Netflix’s credit, they have fully delivered in spades.
The strings attached come in the form of steep losses in order to create top of the line content.
Planning to revise down annual cash flow from $3 billion to $3.5 billion in 2019 will serve as a litmus test to whether investors are ready to shoulder the extra losses in the near term.
I found it compelling that Disney Plus will debut at $6.99 per month – add that to the price of Netflix’s standard package of $12.99 and you get a shade under $20.
Disney hopes to dictate spending habits by psychologically grouping Disney and Netflix for both at under $20.
The result of breaching the $20 threshold might push customers into ditching Netflix and sticking with the $6.99 Disney subscription.
Then there is the thorny issue of Netflix’s growth – the quality and trajectory of it.
The firm issued poor guidance for next quarter projecting total paid net adds of 5.0m, representing -8% YOY with only 300,000 adds in the US and 4.7m for the international segment.
Alarm bells should be sounding in the halls when the most lucrative segment is estimated to decelerate by 8% YOY.
Domestic subscriptions deliver higher margins bumping up the average revenue per user (ARPU).
Contrast this with Netflix’s basic Indian package costing $7.27 or 500 rupees and a mobile package of $3.63 or 250 rupees.
In my opinion, domestically decelerating in the high single digits does not justify the additional annual cash burn of half a billion dollars even if you accumulate millions of more Indian adds at lower price points.
This leads me to surmise that the quality of growth is beginning to slip, and Netflix appears to be running into the same type of quagmire Facebook (FB) is facing.
These models are grappling with stagnating or slowing North American growth and an emerging market solution isn’t the panacea.
The Netflix Indian packages are actually considered expensive by local standards meaning that Netflix’s won’t be able to crowbar in price hikes like they did in America.
On the positive side, Netflix did beat Q1 estimates with paid net adds up 9.6 million with 1.74m in the US and 7.86m internationally, up 16% YOY.
Netflix was able to reach revenue of $4.5B, a company record mostly due to the $2 price hike during the quarter in America.
The letter to shareholders simplifies Netflix’s tactics to investors explaining, “For 20 years, we’ve had the same strategy: when we please our members, they watch more and we grow more.”
What this letter doesn’t tell you is that Disney and the looming battle with Netflix will reshape the online streaming landscape.
In simple economics, an increase of supply caps demand, and don’t get sidetracked by the smoke and mirrors, Disney and Netflix are absolutely fighting for the same eyeballs no matter how much Netflix plays this down.
To highlight an example of how these two are directly competing against each other – let’s take the cast of Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Joey, and Phoebe – in the hit series Friends.
Netflix acquired the broadcasting rights from Warner Bros, who owns Disney, and it was the most popular show on Netflix.
Warner Bros, knowing that Disney were on the verge of rolling out an online streaming product, renewed Netflix for 2019 at $80 million.
Not only were they hand feeding the enemy in broad daylight, but they handicapped their new products as it is about to debut.
Whoever made that decision must go into the hall of shame of boneheaded online content decisions.
Once 2020 rolls around, Disney will finally be able to slap Friends on Disney Plus where it belongs, and the streaming wars will heat up to a fever pitch.
Ultimately, when Netflix brushes off reality proclaiming that if they please viewers with the same strategy, then everything will be hunky-dory, then I would say they are being disingenuous.
The online streaming industry has started to become more complex by the minute and the “same strategy” that worked wonders in a vacuum before must evolve with the times.
At $360, I would short Netflix in the short to medium term until they prove the headwinds are a blip.
If it goes up to $400, it’s a screaming short because accelerating cash burn, poor guidance, decelerating domestic net adds, and a jolt of new competition aren’t the catalysts that will take shares above the heavenly lands of $400, let alone $450.
Netflix is still a fantastic company though – I’m an avid viewer.
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/multimedia.png822972Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-04-18 01:06:482019-07-10 21:49:49Netflix's Worst Nightmare