When commercial pilots fly across the US, they often give each other a heads up about dangerous conditions so other can avoid them. “Chop” is a common one, clear air turbulence that appears on no instruments. Usually, a simple altitude change of a few thousand feet is enough to deal with the problem.
“Chop” is what we traders have had to deal with in the stock market a lot for the past 18 months ever since the trade war with China started. Look at the S&P 500 (SPY) and you see that we have been covering the same ground over and over again, much like trench warfare in WWI. Since April 2018, we have crossed the $270-$290 space no less than six times.
We are just now kissing the upper edge of that band. What happens next depends on your beliefs. If you think the trade war will end in the next month and we don’t go into recession, then the markets will break out to new all-time highs, blasting all the way up to $320. If you don’t, you want to be fading this move, unloading risk, and entertaining short plays.
I’ll let you decide.
As for me, I have been suspicious of this rally since it started the third week of August. It has been led by banks, energy, retailers, and all the other garbage with terrible fundamentals that have been falling for years. In other words, it is pure short covering. There is no net money coming into the market. In the meantime, technology has not fallen, it has ground to a halt awaiting the next flood of capital. It was Apple (AAPL) day in Silicon Valley, with the world’s largest company rolling out a host of new services and upgrades. The new Apple TV Plus streaming service was the focus, coming out with a $5 a month price, easily undercutting Disney Plus (DIS) at $10 and Netflix (NFLX) at $15.
It is an in-between generation year, so we didn’t get anything big. But with 200 million iPhones needing replacement in coming years (AAPL) is still a good long-term hold. All eyes will be on the share buy backs.
The next antitrust assault on big tech arrived, with Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) now in the sights of 49 US states. This will go nowhere as technology has been leading to lower prices, not higher ones. What is the monopoly value of a service that is given away for free? The choice is very simple: let the US continue to dominate tech, or let China take it over.
Job growth is slowing, and the belief that it has peaked for this cycle is growing. Job openings fell 31,000 in August to 7.2 million according to the Department of Labor. The big loss was in wholesale trade, the big gain in information technology. The economy is moving from old to new.
The John Bolton firing, the national security advisor, crushed oil as the chance of a major Middle Eastern war decline, knocking $1.50 off of Texas Tea. That negotiation with the Taliban didn’t go so well, with them blowing up our people while talking with Mike Pompeo. The risk is that Trump’s next national security advisor could be worse. That’s been the trend. The last national security advisor took money from the Russians.
Europe pulled out all the stops (FXE), renewing a stimulus program with massive quantitative easing. Euro interest rates also to be cut. Eventually, a lot of that money will end up back in the US, the only place in the world with decent investment returns. That’s why our stocks are now a few pennies short of a new all-time high.
We saw more of Trump talking up the market ahead of trade talks, with the administration considering half a deal on trade tariffs, while throwing technology under the bus with an intellectual property walkaway. Good for the Midwest, terrible for the west coast.
The bond market meltdown continued, with one of the sharpest collapses in history, down 11 points in a week, The ten-year US Treasury bond yield (TLT) has spiked from 1.44% to 1.90% in a week. Hope you got the rate lock on your refi last Friday. Long bonds had become the most overcrowded trade in a decade. Give it a month to digest, then take another run at the highs in prices, lows in yields.
China (FXI) bought ten shiploads of soybeans (SOYB), hoping for a positive outcome in the October trade talks. Or did they make the purchase to start the trade talks in the first place? Who knows? Price spikes 5%, at last! It’s why stocks are pushing to new all-time highs.
The budget deficit toped $1 trillion in the first 11 months of fiscal 2019, the highest since the financial crisis. Running deficits this big during peace time with 2% economic growth will leave us with no way to get out of the next recession. It’s setting up the most predictable financial crisis in history, the next one. It’s just a matter of time before the chickens come home to roost. By the time Trump leaves office, the national debt will have increased by $4 trillion, or 20%.
The Mad Hedge Trader Alert Service is treading water in this wildly unpredictable month.
My Global Trading Dispatch stands near an all-time high of 334.99% and my year-to-date remains level at +34.85%. My ten-year average annualized profit bobbed up to +34.35%.
I’ll be running my 40% long in technology stocks into the September 20 options expiration because there is nothing else to do. After watching the bond market crater by 11 points, I could no longer restrain myself and stuck my toe in the water with a small long with yields at 1.90%. I may have to sweat a move to a 2.00% yield, but no more. I break even at 2.10%.
The coming week will be one of the biggest of the year, thanks to the Fed.
On Monday, September 16 at 8:30 AM, the New York Empire State Manufacturing Index is out.
On Tuesday, September 17 at 9:15 AM, the US Industrial Production is published.
On Wednesday, September 18, at 8:30 AM, August Building Permits are released. At 2:30 PM, the Federal Reserve announces its interest rate decision. If they don’t cut look out below?
On Thursday, September 19 at 8:30 AM, the Weekly Jobless Claims are printed. At 10:00 AM, Existing Home Sales are printed.
On Friday, September 20 at 8:30 AM, the Baker Hughes Rig Count is released at 2:00 PM.
As for me, my entire weekend is committed to the Boy Scouts, doing assorted public services projects with the kids, timing a mile run for the Physical Fitness merit badge, and cleaning up San Francisco Bay. Hopefully, I will get some time to review my charts. I usually look at 200 a weekend.
Good luck and good trading.
John Thomas CEO & Publisher The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/john-and-daughters.png510383Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-09-16 03:02:012019-10-14 09:49:39The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or Choppy Weather Ahead
So, this is what the best trading week looks like.
Investors panicked. The hot money fled in droves. Predictions of escalating trade wars, recessions, and depressions abounded.
The bottom line for followers of the Mad Hedge Fund Trader? We picked up 4.4% on the week, as may make as much next week.
A number of trading nostrums were re-proven once again. That which can’t continue, won’t. When too many people gather on one side of the canoe, it will capsize. If you execute a trade and then throw up on your shoes, you know it will be a good one. I could go on and on.
The week also highlighted another trend. That is the market has become a one-trick pony. The focus of the market is overwhelmingly on technology, the only sector that can promise double digit growth for years to come. And it’s not just technology, but a handful of large cap companies. Investing has become a matter of technology on, or technology off.
This is always how bull markets end, be it the Nifty 50 of the early 1970s, Japanese stocks of the late 1980s, or the Dotcom Bubble of the 1990s.
It was a week that ran off fast forward every day.
China retaliated against the US in the trade war and stocks dove 900 points intraday. The Middle Kingdom imposed a total ban on all US agricultural imports and took the Yuan (CYB) down to a decade low to offset tariffs.
All financial markets and asset classes are now flashing recession and bear market warnings. The Mad Hedge Market Timing Index fell from 70 to 22, the steepest drop in recent memory. The US dollar dropped sharply against the Euro (FXE) and the Japanese yen (FXY). Oil (USO) went into free fall. Copper (COPX) collapsed to a new low for the year.
The New York Fed lowered its Q3 GDP growth to a lowly 1.56%, with the Atlanta Fed pegging 1.9%. Payrolls, orders, import/export prices, and trade are shrinking across the board, all accelerated by the ramp up in the trade war. Manufacturing and retailing are going down the toilet. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
The German economy (EWG) is in free fall, as most analysts expect a negative -0.1% GDP figure for Q2. The fatherland is on the brink of a recession which will certainly spill into the US. That Mercedes Benz AMG S class you’ve been eyeing is about to go on sale. Great Britain (FXB) is already there, with a Brexit-induced negative -0.2% for the quarter.
Some 50% of S&P 500 dividends now yield more than US Treasury bonds. At some point, that makes equities a screaming “BUY” in this yield-starved world, but not quite yet. Is TINA (there is no alternative to stocks) dead, or is she just on vacation?
Ten-year US Treasury bonds (TLT) hit 1.61%, down an incredible 50 basis point in three weeks. Zero rates are within range by next year. The problem is that if the US goes into the next recession at zero interest rates, there is no way to get out. A decades-long Japanese style Great Depression could ensue.
Bond giant PIMCO too says zero interest rates are coming to the US. Too bad they are six months late from my call. It’s all a matter of the US coming into line with the rest of the world. The global cash and profit glut has nowhere else to go but the US. Much of the buying is coming from abroad.
Gold (GLD) hit a six-year high, as a rolling stock market panics drive investors into “RISK OFF” trades and downside hedges. While high interest rates are the enemy of the barbarous relic, low rates are its best friend and negative rates are even better. We are rapidly approaching century lows on a global basis.
Do your Christmas shopping early this year, except do it at the jewelry store and for your portfolio. Above $1,500 an ounce gold is beating stocks this year and the old all-time high of $1,927 is in the cards.
As I expected, August is proving to be the best short selling opportunity of the year. Not only can we make money in falling markets, elevated volatility means we can get into long side plays at spectacularly low levels as well.
With the Volatility Index (VIX) over $20, it is almost impossible to lose money on option spreads. The trick was to get positions off while markets were falling so fast.
The week started out with a rude awakening, my short in the US Treasury Bond Fund rising 1 ½ points at the opening. I covered that for a tear-jerking 3.26% loss, my biggest of the year. But I also knew that making money had suddenly become like falling off a log.
I fortuitously covered all of my short positions in the S&P 500 (SPY) and the Russell 2000 (IWM) right when the Dow average was plumbing depths 2,000-2,200 points lower than the highs of only two weeks ago. Then I went aggressively long technology with very short dated August plays in Walt Disney (DIS), Salesforce (CRM), and Facebook (FB).
My Global Trading Dispatch has hit a new all-time high of 324.78% and my year-to-date shot up to +24.68%. My ten-year average annualized profit bobbed up to +33.60%.
I coined a blockbuster 6.31% so far in August. In a mere three weeks I shot out 12 Trade Alerts, 11 of which made money, bringing in a 10% profit net of the one-bond loss. All of you people who just subscribed in June and July are looking like geniuses.
The coming week will be a snore on the data front. Believe it or not, it could be quiet.
On Monday, August 12 at 11:00 AM EST, the Consumer Inflation Expectations for July are released.
On Tuesday, August 13 at 8:30 AM US Core Inflation for July is published.
On Wednesday, August 14, at 10:30 the IEA Crude Oil Stocks are announced for the previous week.
On Thursday, August 15 at 8:30 AM EST, the Weekly Jobless Claims are printed. At 9:15 we learn July Industrial Production.
On Friday, August 16 at 8:30 AM, the July Housing Starts are out.
The Baker Hughes Rig Count follows at 2:00 PM.
As for me, I’ll be headed to the Land’s End Music Festival in San Francisco this weekend and listen to many of the local rock groups. Hopefully, I will be able to unwind from the stress and volatility of the week.
Good luck and good trading.
John Thomas CEO & Publisher The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
You Need Special Glasses to Understand This Market
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/john-thomas-3d-glass.png470345Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-08-12 08:04:322019-09-16 10:25:34The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead
Those planning a European vacation this summer just received a big gift from Mario Draghi, the outgoing president of the European Central Bank. His promise to re-accelerate quantitative easing in Europe has sent the Euro crashing and the US dollar soaring.
Over the last two weeks, the Euro (FXE) has fallen by 2.5%. That $1,000 Florence hotel suite now costs only $975. Mille Gracie!
You can blame the political instability in the Home of Caesar, which has not had a functioning government since WWII. The big fear is that the extreme left would form a collation government with the extreme right that could lead to its departure from the European Community and the Euro. Think of it as Bernie Sanders joining Donald Trump!
In fact, Italy has had 62 different governments since WWII. They change administrations like I change luxury cars, about once a year. Welcome to European debt crisis part 27.
I can’t remember the last time markets cared about what happened in Europe. It was probably the first Greek debt crisis in 2011. As a result, German ten-year bunds have cratered from 0.60% to -0.40%. But they care today, big time.
Given the reaction of the global financial markets, you could have been forgiven for thinking that the world had just ended.
US Treasury Bond yields (TLT) saw their biggest plunge in years, off 120 basis points to 2.05%.
Even oil prices collapsed for an entirely separate set of reasons, the price of Texas Tea pared 20% since April on spreading global recession fears.
Saudi Arabia looks like it’s about to abandon the wildly successful OPEC production quotas that have been boosting oil prices for the past year. Iran has withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, responding with an undeclared tanker war in the Persian Gulf, which I flew over myself only a few weeks ago. The geopolitical premium is back with a vengeance.
So if the Italian developments are a canard, why are we REALLY going down?
You’re not going to like the answer.
It turns out that rising inflation, interest rates, oil and commodity prices, the US dollar, US national debt, budget deficits, and stagnant wage growth are a TERRIBLE backdrop for risk in general and stocks specifically. And this is all happening with the major indexes at the top end of recent ranges.
In other words, it was an accident waiting to happen.
Traders are extremely nervous, global uncertainty is high, the seasonals are awful, and Washington is a ticking time bomb. If you were wondering why I was issuing so few Trade Alerts in July, these are the reasons.
This all confirms my expectation that markets could remain stuck in increasingly narrow trading ranges for the next six months until the presidential election begins in earnest.
Which is creating opportunities.
The global race towards zero interest has the US as the principal laggard. So you should keep buying every serious dip in the bond market.
Stocks are still wildly overvalued for the short term, so I’ll keep my low profile there. As for gold (GLD) and the currencies, I keep buying dips there as well.
So watch for those coming Trade Alerts. I’m not dead yet, just resting. The contest here is to make as much money as you can, not to see how many trades you can clock. That is a brokers’ game, not yours.
Waiting for My Shot
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/john-thomas-15.png389489Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-07-31 10:04:572019-08-27 14:39:43Italy’s Big Wake Up Call
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader July 24Global 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?
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/John-with-Hiking-Poles-e1468528643680.jpg354400Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-07-26 08:04:042019-07-26 08:59:41July 24 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A