Global Market Comments
August 31, 2020
Global Market Comments
August 31, 2020
Global Market Comments
August 24, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or ON FIRE EVERYWHERE)
(INDU), (JPM), (GLD), (GDX), (GOLD), (FB),
(TLT), (AAPL), (AMZN), (TSLA)
Global Market Comments
August 17, 2020
(JOIN THE AUGUST 24-26 MAD HEDGE TRADERS & INVESTORS SUMMIT),
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or WELCOME BACK FROM YOUR CRUISE),
(INDU), (TLT), (GLD), (TBT), (FB), (AMZN), (AAPL), (BAC), (JPM)
Global Market Comments
August 14, 2020
(AUGUST 12 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(GLD), (TLT), (TSLA), (AAPL), (FB), (AMZN), (VXX), (VIX), (JPM), (BAC), (GDX), (NUGT), (MRNA), (BRK/B), (SLV), (FCX)
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the August 12 Mad Hedge Fund Trader Global Strategy Webinar broadcast from Lake Tahoe, NV with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!
Q: I just joined your service. Can you explain the logic to your current model trading portfolio?
I always try to balance long positions with short position. That greatly mitigates the risk of an out-of-the-blue crash, like we saw in February. Also, every individual position has a long and short, further reducing volatility. And you never can lose more money than you put up, so your risk is defined. That’s another classic risk control measure.
There is a further four hedge in that the portfolio is spread across all asset classes. So, I am long banks (JPM), (BAC), short US Treasury bonds (TLT), short a basket of big tech stocks (AAPL), (AMZN), (FB) and long gold (GLD). Something is always working where you can take profits. Our proprietary Mad Hedge Market Timing Index is always a big help in judging the best time to enter and exit these asset classes.
That is the short course on hedge fund risk management 101.
Q: Is it a good time to add in gold (GLD) here?
A: Yes, my long-term target for gold is $3,000/oz, possibly higher—it’s very common once you get a breakout from a 7-year bottoming process to get a big move like that. You always go back and retest that breakout level, that’s what’s happening now. I would use this dip to buy gold. You can look at (GLD) itself, the (GDX) gold miners which will give you 4:1 leverage over gold, or any of the 2x or 3x gold leveraged ETFs like (NUGT). There are lots of ways to play gold this time left from over the last bull market in gold ten years ago. So yes, bullish on gold with a temporary pullback in store. This recovery trade, which is buying banks, casinos, hotels, restaurants, weak dollar, weak buy market, weak gold—this is all temporary, this is just a trade. Those will all reverse themselves, probably by September if not sooner. So, if you missed the first round in the gold bull market, there’s certainly another chance to get back in.
Q: Do you think Biden and Harris will crash the stock market if elected?
A: No, since Biden started to run away in the polls, the stock market basically went straight up every day, and I prefer the stock market’s judgment on these things to opinion polls or talking heads. As far as Harris is concerned, she was the most middle of the road conservative pick of the 12 or so people they were looking at for vice president. Certainly, she’s a favorite with Wall Street, and isn’t it interesting they’re looking for the talents of a prosecutor in the White House? Who do you think they have in mind? So yes, that’s a net positive for the market. If anything, a new administration will bring a whole new round of Quantitative Easing and deficit spending, except it will be focused on bailing out Main Street, not Wall Street.
Q: Is the vaccine drug maker Moderna (MRNA) overbought here at 70?
A: Yes, I think to get any more appreciation you need to get an actual result on the many vaccines that are out there.
Q: Will Tesla (TSLA) pass 2,000 by year end?
A: I tend not to think so; Tesla had a once-in-a-lifetime 10-fold increase over a year. That is a very big move to digest, and while I’m saying people should keep their Tesla longs for the long term, short term you want to be selling calls against your long positions to hedge any downside and to take in some extra income.
Q: What caused ten-year US Treasury yields (TLT) to jump 14% yesterday? What will yields do from here?
A: Yields will go up and retest the 95-basis point level we saw a couple of months ago. That means we’re going to have a clear shot at adding shorts, probably for the next several weeks or months.
Q: I got the first TLT trade, but when I added the second one, I had to automatically close out my 175 short position to add the long 175 put position.
A: That is the correct way to do this. And what you end up with is a wider spread with a much larger size. So, you take all three positions we currently have, and you now have a (TLT) August $170-177.5 bear put spread in triple the original size and triple the profit, which expires in 5 trading days. It’s a trade with a very high return over a very short time frame. It’s the kind of trade that’s only available with very high volatilities in the market—at $25 in the (VIX), and you get very high accelerated time decay going into the close. So, it really was a two-week expiration play on the (TLT).
Q: Apple (AAPL) has been able to avoid any major damage in its share price in this trade war. How long can it last?
A: It can last 3 more months, until the election. It’s really quite amazing that the Chinese have not retaliated against Apple in all of these trade wars, and the reason for this is that Apple employs a million people in China, and they make a ton of money out of it. Apple has also managed their relationship with the communist government perfectly. So, that’s why they haven’t been hit. General Motors, other US companies—they could get expropriated. If the US can expropriate TikTok, what’s to stop China from expropriating General Motors, Starbucks, or even Apple for that matter?
Q: How do we know who has a real vaccine and who has a fake one? There’s so much information out there, I have a hard time filtering through what is real.
A: Wait for 100,000 people to try it out first—that’s what my plan is. That will be the safe way to do it. And if that means quarantining another couple of months to make sure you get the real deal, it’s worth the investment. Most industry safety standards, like animal trials, have been ditched by the FDA in order to get Trump a vaccine before the election. Putin is doing the same in Russia.
Q: Why is Warren Buffet buying back shares of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/B) in record amounts? Is it because he sees no good investments?
A: He’d rather buy his own shares at parity or at a small premium than pay record PE multiples for essentially anything else in the market. Because the government rushed in so quickly to support the stock market, there never were any real deals in stocks, they never really got cheap. Yes, it sounds like down 40% in 2 months is cheap, but stocks weren’t, not even close to cheap, on a PE multiple basis. We never got close to the 9 ½X we saw in 2009. Also, if you believe in a recovery play, the ultimate recovery play is Berkshire Hathaway because they own predominantly old-line industrial cash flow stocks, which will lead any real recovery in the economy. So, at this point, Berkshire Hathaway will probably get you a higher return on a 12-month view than say Apple, Facebook or Amazon.
Q: Gold (GLD) vs Silver (SLV)? Which is better? And what about Copper (FCX)?
A: Silver always outperforms gold by at least 2 to 1 in any real economic recovery. Copper prices have risen 30% in 4 months; that is discounting a real economic recovery someday, so I would be buying copper on dips also.
Q: How do we learn more about options?
A: I suggest you go to the “How to Trade” section on our website, and that has links. Every trade alert we send out also has a link to a video that tells you exactly how to do the options part of that trade. And if you don’t want to do options, we also propose ETF and single stocks.
Q: What year end effect on the market do you see from a Biden tax plan on long term capital gains and qualified dividends at the ordinary income rate?
A: Well, if he actually proposes that, there will be a rush to sell assets by the end of the current year so people can take advantage of the very favorable capital gains tax that exist now. However, it’s not known whether that is actually the tax increase he’s proposing; it’s more likely he’ll simply return to the pre-Trump tax rates. However, I do expect him to come up with highly punitive tax rates on any real estate-related investment as a way of getting back at Trump. And that’s like loss carry forwards, steps up in the cost basis, 1031 exchanges—things specific to the real estate industry.
Q: If you think markets are going to come off, why aren’t you more aggressive buying the iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX)?
A: (VXX) has become such a professional market it really has become a day trading vehicle. It’s hard to get customers in and out of this thing fast enough to make them money, as most of my followers are not set up to be day traders. It’s a market where 90% of the professionals are playing from the short side, so when you get moves up, they essentially happen over 1 or 2 days, and then they spend weeks or months bleeding off. It really is a tough trade for a retail trader to do; and it is an area where the insiders in Chicago trade this thing and really do have an in-house advantage that I would rather not try to bet against.
Q: I sold the top on all precious metals positions and started buying back today. Was that the right thing to do?
A: Yes, I have a feeling it is. Start scaling in—if you’re nervous about buying gold here, buy a third of a position now, a third if it’s higher or lower, and a third if it’s higher or lower again. That’s what any pro would do.
Q: Do you see another big economic crisis in 2021?
A: I don’t think so; I think any continued weakness will be hit with massive liquidity from the Fed and more government spending. Now that they found the model to keep the economy going, they’re going to just keep at it, no matter who is in power. Roosevelt kept at it for 5 years to end the Great Depression, until he was bailed out by WWII, so hopefully we don’t have to bail our economy out the same way with WWIII.
Q: What about Bitcoin here?
A: We don’t trade Bitcoin as we think the whole thing is a giant scam. There’s also no value added by anyone. Insiders have a huge advantage, the people who are creating the bitcoin to sell. So, it’s a security with no fundamentals—thus unanalyzable.
Good Luck and Stay Healthy
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
August 11, 2020
(THE SECRET FED PLAN TO BUY GOLD),
(GLD), (GDX), (PALL), (PPLT),
Last week’s confirmation of my old acquaintance, Judy Shelton, to the Fed places a monetary policy once considered impossible solidly on the table. For your see, Judy has long advocated that the US return to the gold standard.
If the American economy moves into the next recession with interest rates already near zero, the markets will take the rates for all interest-bearing securities well into negative numbers. This has already happened in Japan and Germany.
At that point, our central bank’s primary tool for stimulating US businesses will become utterly useless, ineffective, and impotent.
What else is in the tool bag?
How about large-scale purchases of Gold (GLD)? As of last week, the (GLD) became the sixth largest ETF in the world.
You are probably as shocked as I am with this possibility. But there is a rock-solid logic to the plan. As solid as the vault at Fort Knox.
The idea is to create asset price inflation that will spread to the rest of the economy. It already did this with great success from 2009-2014 with quantitative easing, whereby almost every class of debt securities were Hoovered up by the government.
“QE on steroids”, to be implemented only after overnight rates go negative, would involve large scale purchases of not only gold, but stocks, government bonds, and exchange-traded funds as well.
If you think I’ve been smoking California’s largest cash export (it’s not the raisins) you would be in error. I should point out that the Japanese government is already pursuing QE to this extent, at least in terms of equity-type investments and ETFs, and already owns a substantial part of the Japanese stock market.
And, as the history buff that I am, I can tell you that it has been done in the US as well, with tremendous results.
If you thought that president Obama had it rough when he came into office in 2009 with the Great Recession on, it was nothing compared to what Franklin Delano Roosevelt inherited.
The country was in its fourth year of the Great Depression. US GDP had cratered by 43%, consumer prices crashed by 24%, the unemployment rate was 25%, and stock prices vaporized by 90%. Mass starvation loomed.
Drastic measures were called for.
FDR issued Executive Order 6102 banning private ownership of gold, ordering them to sell their holdings to the US Treasury at a lowly $20.67 an ounce.
He then urged congress to pass the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which instantly revalued the government’s holdings at $35.00, an increase of 69.32%. These and other measures caused the value of America’s gold holdings to leap from $4 to $12 billion. That’s a lot of money in 1934 dollars, about $208 billion in today’s money.
Since the US was still on the gold standard back then, this triggered an instant dollar devaluation of more than 50%. The high gold price sucked in massive amounts of the yellow metal from abroad creating, you guessed it, inflation.
The government then borrowed massively against this artificially created wealth to fund the landscape altering infrastructure projects of the New Deal.
During the following three years, the GDP skyrocketed by 48%, inflation eked out a 2% gain, the unemployment rate dropped to 18%, and stocks jumped by 80%. Happy days were here again.
Monetary conditions are remarkably similar today to those that prevailed during the last government gold buying binge.
There has been a de facto currency war underway since 2009. The Fed started when it launched QE, and Japan, Europe, and China have followed. Blue-collar unemployment and underpayment are at a decades high. The need for a national infrastructure program is overwhelming.
However, in the 21st century version of such a gold policy, it is highly unlikely that we would see another gold ownership ban.
Instead, the Fed’s would most likely move into the physical gold market, sitting on the bid for years, much like it recently did in the Treasury bond market for five years. Gold prices would increase by a multiple of current levels.
It would then borrow against its new gold holdings, plus the 4,176 metric tonnes worth $200 billion at today’s market prices already sitting in Fort Knox, to fund a multi trillion-dollar infrastructure spending program.
Heaven knows we need it. Millions of blue-collar jobs would be created, and inflation would come back from the dead.
Yes, this all sounds like a fantasy. But negative interest rates were considered an impossibility only years ago.
The Fed’s move on gold would be only one aspect of a multi-faceted package of desperate last-ditch measures to extend economic growth into the future which I outlined in a previous research piece (click here for “What Happens When QE Fails” by clicking here).
That’s assuming that the gold is still there.
Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin says he saw the gold himself during an inspection that took place during the last solar eclipse over Fort Knox in 2018. The door to the vault at Fort Knox had not been opened since September 23, 1974.
But then Steve Mnuchin says a lot of things. Persistent urban legends and Internet rumors claim that the vault is actually empty or filled with fake steel bars painted gold.
Global Market Comments
August 10, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or GET READY FOR THE REVERSAL)
(INDU), (SPY), (TLT), (DIS), (BAC), (GLD)
Epidemics ebb and flow.
Every spike is followed by a retreat. The cycle continues until everyone has been exposed to the disease….or is dead.
Covid-19 has been on a tear for the last two months, doubling the number of US deaths to 162,000. An interim peak is just around the corner.
What happens when Covid takes a vacation? All existing trends in the financial markets will reverse. The big tech stocks will take a long-needed rest. Bonds will sell off. Gold will retest its recent breakout level at $1927. The US dollar will briefly get off the mat.
That means we are about to see a resurgence of “recovery” stocks, which have been ignored since June due to the declining probability of an economic resurgence as the “V” shaped recovery went out the window. Any break in the disease will bring a rally in this group. Those include hotels, casinos, movie theaters, restaurants, airlines, cruise lines….and banks.
Banks are far and away the quality play here. While other sectors may not see black ink for years, or may not survive at all, banks are making money right now.
Thanks to Dodd-Frank, the banks entered this crisis with less leverage and far stronger balance sheets than in 2008-2009. They will profit from falling bond prices, rising interest rates, waning defaults, and benefit mightily from generous government subsidies from multiple stimulus programs.
Institutions are underweight in banks, yet they are still at two-thirds of their January peak prices when the market leaders are 50% above old all-time highs.
If I am wrong and the next “recovery” rally takes weeks, or even months to start, they will continue to drift sideways. That makes them perfect candidates for short-dated option calls spreads. These make money whether the share goes up, sideways, or down small.
The campaign for a spectacular second-half performance has begun!
The U.S. Economy added jobs at a slower pace. US job growth weakened in July, with only 1.763 million people re-employed around the US as opposed to nearly 5 million in June, higher than estimates. The unemployment rate fell to 10.2% from 11.1% in June. At least 31.3 million people were receiving unemployment checks in mid-July.
Weekly Jobless Claims ticked down. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,186,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The report reflected the 20th straight week that new claims topped 1 million as the pandemic was the catalyst for a slew of firings. This number was the lowest since late March when the country saw an unprecedented explosion in requests for unemployment assistance.
The rehiring trend loses pace, indicating that virus infections slowed the economic recovery. Many states closed parts of their economies again and consumers remained cautious about spending. U.S. firms added just 167,000 jobs in July, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday, far below June’s gain of 4.3 million and May’s increase of 3.3 million. The economy still has 13 million fewer jobs than it did in February.
Congress is still unable to agree on a stimulus bill, with the $600 per week unemployment benefit ending. This is taking place while the virus rages through the mid-west and south. New Corona cases have exploded to 60,000 per day. Republicans want to cut the $600 per week excess benefit to $200, while the Democrats believe the $600 per week should be upheld.
A vaccine could hammer tech stocks, says Goldman Sachs, sparking a sell-off in bonds and rotation out of technology into cyclical stocks. The U.S. election and the evolution of the virus will be key drivers of the market. Approval of a vaccine could challenge market assumptions both about. This also could end with high-quality tech stocks having a massive correction.
Disney’s (DIS) digital subscriber base surged past 100 million. The company’s digital streaming segment was the sole bright spot for the company with Disney+ having 60.5 million paying customers as of Monday – up from 54.5 million on May 4. Disney also announced blockbuster feature Mulan in select markets as a $30 rental. I can’t wait to watch it.
The U.S. economy will recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida revealed that he expects the economy to grow in the third quarter. The health crisis hasn’t yet caused long-term damage to the U.S. economy, he said in an interview with CNBC, but the risks will grow the longer the pandemic lasts.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped to 3.14%. Mortgage rates have fallen faster than ever, and they’ve been remarkably willing to set record low after record low. Risk-adverse investors have been plowing their money into Treasury bonds (TLT) and government guaranteed mortgage backed securities, for safety.
Gold (GLD) to surpass $3,000 per ounce in 18 months, says Bank of America (BAC). Prices for gold futures for December delivery climbed to a record high above $2,000 per ounce. Retailers in malls and dealers in New York City’s Diamond District are swamped by orders due to the pandemic.
When we come out the other side of this, we will be perfectly poised to launch into my new American Golden Age, or the next Roaring Twenties. With interest rates still at zero, oil cheap, there will be no reason not to. The Dow Average will rise by 400% or more in the coming decade. The American coming out the other side of the pandemic will be far more efficient and profitable than the old.
My Global Trading Dispatch has been flatlining for the past two weeks while I have been on vacation. July finished at a red hot 7.93%, delivering a 2020 year to date of 28.63%. That takes my eleven-year average annualizede performance to a new all-time high of 36.05%. My 11-year total return has stretched to 384.54%.
The only number that counts for the market is the number of US Coronavirus cases and deaths, which you can find here.
On Monday, August 10 at 11:00 AM EST, July US Inflation Expectations are published.
On Tuesday, August 11 at 6:00 AM EST, The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for July is released.
On Wednesday, August 12, at 8:30 AM EST, the July US Inflation Rate is out. At 10:30 AM EST, the EIA Cushing Crude Oil Stocks are out.
On Thursday, August 13 at 8:30 AM EST, the Weekly Jobless Claims are published.
On Friday, August 14, at 10:00 AM EST, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment is printed. At 2:00 PM, the Bakers Hughes Rig Count is released.
As for me, I shall be recovering from the multiple cuts and bruises I suffered from my 50-mile hike with the Boy Scouts. Nothing major, that beset multiple other hikers we encountered along the way, for which I provided first aid.
I managed to bring back 16 scouts who finished the entire 50 miles in seven days, accomplishing a vertical climb of 6,300 feet. Only a Marine graduating from boot camp could accomplish such an endurance contest.
It was all worth it. Every morning, I wound up to a view taken from a Christmas calendar. My exertions lost me 20 pounds, thus tripling my wardrobe. And the bears mercifully left us and our food supply alone.
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
July 22, 2020
(MY NEWLY UPDATED LONG-TERM PORTFOLIO),
(PFE), (BMY), (AMGN), (CELG), (CRSP), (FB), (PYPL), (GOOGL), (AAPL), (AMZN), (SQ), (JPM), (BAC), (BABA), (EEM), (FXA), (FCX), (GLD)