August 12, 2019

Global Market Comments
August 12, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(CYB), (FXE), (TLT), (FXY), (COPX), (USO),
(GLD), (VIX), (FXB), (IWM0, (DIS), (CRB), (FB)

August 9, 2019

Global Market Comments
August 9, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(SPY), (XLK), (GLD), (DIS), (TLT),
 (FXA), (FXY), (VIX), (VXX), (UNG), (USO)

August 7 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A

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July 30, 2019

Global Market Comments
July 30, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(GLD), (GDX), (PALL), (PPLT),

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?


July 15, 2019

Global Market Comments
July 15, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(INDU), (SPY), (TLT), (GLD), (FXA), (USO)


June 17, 2019

Global Market Comments
June 17, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(SPY), (TLT), (GLD), (TSLA)

Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or the Scary Thing About the Markets

There’s one big scary thing about the markets right now. As I mentioned last week, the major indexes are sitting on a precipice of a right shoulder of a ‘Head and Shoulders” top.

Traders are expecting a trade war settlement and a Fed interest rate cut in July. While the economy in no way needs a rate cut, stock markets desperately do. In fact, they need another dose of steroids just to remain level. It reminds me of a certain recent California governor (I’ll be back).

If we get them, markets will grind up a few percentage points to a new all-time high. If we don’t, the top is in, possibly for this entire economic cycle, and a 25% swan dive is in the cards.

It’s what traders call “Asymmetric risk.” If we get the bull case, you make sofa change. If we don’t, you lose dollars. It’s what I call picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. But in the 11th year of a bull market, that’s all you get. The truly disturbing part of this is that this setup is happening with valuation close to a historic high at a 17.5X price earnings multiple.

We’ll get a better read on Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST when the Fed announces its decision on interest rates. The post meeting statement will be more crucial than usual. What’s in a word, Shakespeare might have asked? If the Fed drops the word “Patient”, then a July interest rate cut is a sure thing. The algos reading the release at the speed of light will be the first to know.

It was initially off to the races last Monday when the one-week trade war with Mexico came to an end and some immigration issues were settled.

The tariffs are off, even though the Mexicans say the terms were already agreed to months ago.

There is no big ag buy either. The economy is still sliding into a recession, and the bond market has already discounted three of the next five quarter point rate cuts.

US exports are in free fall, with Long Beach, America’s busiest port, seeing seven straight months of declines in shipping volumes. They were off 19.5% in May alone. Recession indicator no. 199.

Buy bonds (TLT), gold (GLD), and short the US dollar (UUP), says my old friend, hedge fund legend Paul Tudor Jones. He is certainly reading the writing on the wall. The legendary trading billionaire believes that plunging interest rate cuts are going to dominate the scenery for the rest of 2019.

Tanker attacks sent oil soaring. After 50 years of waiting, it finally happened, torpedo attacks against two tankers in the Straits of Hormuz bound for China. Oil rocketed 4%, then gave up the rally, and stocks are amazingly up on the day.

Go figure. A decade ago, this would have been a down 1,000-point day for stocks and Texas tea would have soared to $100. Clearly, tensions in the Middle East are ratcheting up, but with the US now the swing oil producer, why bother?

With US oil production climbing to 17 million barrels a day by 2024, up from 5 million b/d in 2005, the Middle East can blow itself up and nobody cares. The US by then will have created an entire Saudi Arabia’s worth of new oil production over a 20-year period. US troops there are defending China’s oil supply, not ours.

The US budget deficit soared by 38.7% YOY, to $739 billion. It’s the fastest growth in government borrowing since WWII. Much of today’s economic growth in on credit and this can only end in tears. Enjoy the good times while they last.

Major semiconductor maker Broadcom (AVGO) disappointed hugely on earnings, tanking the market, and the stock plunged a heartbreaking 12%. The trade war gets the entire blame.  It turns out that Broadcom’s biggest customer is the ill-fated Huawei whose CFO is now sitting in a Canadian jail awaiting extradition to the US. Other semiconductor stocks especially got slammed. The canary in the coal mine just died.

China’s industrial production hit a 17 year low, and yes, it’s because of the trade war, trade war, trade war. When your biggest customers come down with the Asian flu, you at the very least catch a severe cold. Start shopping for Robitussin.

Global Trading Dispatch closed the week up 15.38% year-to-date and is down by -0.34% so far in June. That’s show business. You work your guts out trying to understand this market and it turns out to be for free. Or worse yet, you get a bill without an amount due. This is something that regular salary earners don’t understand.

My nine and a half year profit appreciated to +315.52%, pennies short of a new all-time high. I think I’ll be flatlining at a high for a while to create a base from which I can jump to new highs. The average annualized return ticked up to +33.21%. With the trade war with China raging, I am now 100% in cash with Global Trading Dispatch and 100% cash in the Mad Hedge Tech Letter.

My twin bets on Tesla (TSLA) worked out very nicely and I took profits on both. It was an option play whereby I expected that (TSLA) shares would not fall below $150 or rise above $240 by the June 21 option expiration.

Several followers have seen good success using every Tesla dip below $200 to go naked short August $100 or $125 Tesla puts in small quantities for a decent amount of change.

The long view here is to wait for some kind of summer meltdown and then go long into a year-end rally as 2020 election-related turbochargers start to hit the market.

The coming week will be all about waiting for the Fed to jump. We also get some important updates on housing data.

On Monday, June 17 at 8:30 AM EST the Empire State Manufacturing Index is out.

On Tuesday, June 18, 8:30 AM EST, the May Housing Starts are released.

On Wednesday, June 19 at 2:00 PM EST, the Federal Reserve decision on interest rates is announced. Vital is whether the word “Patient” remains in their statement.

On Thursday, June 20 at 8:30 AM, the Weekly Jobless Claims are printed. We also get the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index.

On Friday, June 21 at 10:00 AM, we learn May Existing Home Sales. The Baker Hughes Rig Count follows at 2:00 PM.

As for me, by the time you read this, I will be winging my way somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. It’s a 14-hour flight from California to New Zealand, and the plane carries two crews.

It’s a genuine four movie flight. I’ll take off on Sunday and don’t arrive until Tuesday because I’ll be crossing the International Dateline. When I arrive, I’ll feel like death warmed over. It’s all in the name of research and finding that next great trading idea.

Good luck and good trading.

John Thomas
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader






June 4, 2019

Global Market Comments
June 4, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(TLT), (TBT), (USO), (GLD), (GS), (SPY)