Global Market Comments
November 1, 2019
(OCTOBER 30 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(SQ), (CCI), (SPG), (PGE), (BA), (MSFT), (GOOGL), (FB), (AAPL), (IBB), (XLV), (USO), (GM), (VNQ)
Global Market Comments
November 1, 2019
(OCTOBER 30 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(SQ), (CCI), (SPG), (PGE), (BA), (MSFT), (GOOGL), (FB), (AAPL), (IBB), (XLV), (USO), (GM), (VNQ)
Global Market Comments
October 28, 2019
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or DON’T FIGHT THE FED),
(BIIB), (IBB), (TSLA), (VIX), (BA), (AMZN), (AAPL), (MSFT), (GM)
Don’t fight the Fed.
That was the overwhelming message of the market last week as it ground up to a new intraday all-time high. The economy may be going to hell in a handbasket. But as long as the Fed keeps lowering interest rates, stocks will go up, kicking and screaming all the way. It’s that simple.
America’s central bank will get its next chance to cut rates on Wednesday at 2:00 PM from the current overnight rate of 2.00%.
The big question is: Will the curse of the Fed continue? For the last two times the Fed lowered interest rates, substantial stock market selloffs ensued, the last one reaching a 7.5% haircut. We will know shortly.
The Mad Hedge Lake Tahoe Conference held last weekend was a blowout success, with a great time had by all. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, with the lake waters calm and crystal clear. A day of market insights were delivered by me and Mad Hedge Technology Letter author Arthur Henry.
The only drawback was that several guests were prevented from going home by mandatory evacuations of several Bay Area cities and the closure of Interstate 80 going back to San Francisco. A handful (including me), had no electric power to return to when they got home.
I’ll share with you the most disturbing chart of the entire day showing the S&P 500 (SPY) has been grinding up to new highs, earnings forecasts have been absolutely falling off a cliff. Clearly, with the Volatility Index (VIX) back down to the lowly $12 handle, this is a market that is cruising for a bruising….someday.
Brexit failed again, taking the quagmire into its fourth year. An EC deal is postponed until January 31, but they’re really not interested at all. British pounds collapsing, creating a new “RISK OFF” leg worldwide. Prime minister Johnson has lost 5 consecutive parliamentary votes, an all-time record. When will he get the message?
US Capital Investment has ground to a halt, with business fixed investment down 1% YOY. No one knows where to put their money, inside the US or not, so they’re doing nothing until it is sorted out. Call me when its over.
Biogen (BIIB) exploded to the upside on its FDA application for its new Alzheimer’s drug. Written off for dead six months ago, the company secretly kept working on Aducanumab until today’s blockbuster announcement. The drug reverses amyloid plaques thought responsible for Alzheimer’s. The stock is up an incredible 38% and has even dragged up the biotech ETF (IBB) 3%. Buy (BIIB) on dips.
Boeing soared on accelerated production timeline for 2020. Good thing I bought it just recently. The stock had been severely oversold on a $45 dive in two days. Buy (BA) on the dips.
The trade war is back in business with the Chinese demanding a total end to tariffs before any big ag buys. The rumors knocked stocks back on their heels. The Middle Kingdom also takes issue with recent Pence comments about basketball. Trump is definitely cornered. The trade war pain has gone global, with Europe taking the biggest hit. Some 40% of Germany’s GDP comes from exports. Growth will be on the skids for the next two years, even if a deal is done tomorrow.
Tesla shocked, bringing in a profit for only the third time in company history, and causing the stock to soar $55. The 100,000-unit production target within yearend looks within reach. Most importantly, they opened up a new supercharger station in Incline Village, Nevada! Tesla is now America’s most valuable car maker, beating (GM). The ideological Exxon-financed shorts have been destroyed once and for all. Buy (TSLA) on dips. There’s a ten bagger in this one.
Amazon put out a gloomy Christmas forecast on the back of a disappointing earnings report, crushing the shares by 7%. Looks like the trade war might cause a recession next year. Q3 revenues were great, up 24% to an eye-popping $70 billion. Good thing I took profits on the last option expiration. Poor Jeff Bezos, the abandoned son of an alcoholic circus clown, dropped $7 billion in net worth on Thursday. Buy (AMZN) on the dips.
The safest stock in the market, Microsoft, says it’s all about the cloud. Azure revenues grew a stunning 59% in Q3. (MSFT) is now up 37% on the year. Keep buying every dip, if we ever get another one.
Apple stock soared to new all-time high, taking the market cap just short of $1.1 trillion. iPhones are now less than 50% of total sales. The company is firing on all cylinders. My target is $200. Buy (AAPL) on dips.
Existing Home Sales dropped, down 2.2% in September to 5.38 million units. It’s shocking given the incredibly low level of interest rates. A shortage of supply?
This was a week for the Mad Hedge Trader Alert Service to stay level at an all-time high. With only one position left in Boeing (BA), not much else was going to happen.
My Global Trading Dispatch reached new pinnacle of +349.47% for the past ten years and my 2019 year-to-date accelerated to +48.42%. The notoriously volatile month of October stands at a blockbuster +11.91%. My ten-year average annualized profit held steady at +35.24%.
With my Mad Hedge Market Timing Index sitting around the neutral 62 level, it is too close to neutral to do anything dramatic.
The coming week is pretty non eventful of the data front. Maybe the stock market will be non-eventful as well.
On Monday, October 28 at 8:30 AM, the September Chicago Fed National Activity Index is published. Alphabet (GOOGL), and AT&T (T) report.
On Tuesday, October 29 at 9:00 AM, we get a new S&P Case Shiller National Home Price Index for August. Amgen (AMGN) and Pfizer (P) report.
On Wednesday, October 30, at 8:30 AM, the first read on US Q3 GDP is announced. At 10:30 AM, EIA Energy Stocks are published. Then at 2:00 PM, we obtain the FOMC interest rate decision. Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) report.
On Thursday, October 31 at 8:30 AM, Weekly Jobless Claims are out. US Steel (X) reports.
On Friday, November 1 at 8:30 AM, the October Nonfarm Payroll Report is released. AbbVie (ABBV) and ExxonMobile (XOM) report.
The Baker Hughes Rig Count follows at 2:00 PM.
As for me, I’ll be driving back home from Lake Tahoe. I wonder if I’ll make it.
Good luck and good trading.
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
October 23, 2019
(BIOGEN’S HUGE DISCOVERY),
(BIIB), (IBB), (NOVN), (ROG),
(PLEASE USE MY FREE DATABASE SEARCH)
It is the sort of development that most Biotech investors only dream about. It also shows what’s possible in biotech investing, which is occurring with increasing frequency.
Biogen shares (BIIB) have exploded to the upside on its FDA application for its new Alzheimer’s drug. Written off for dead six months ago, the company secretly kept working on Aducanumab until today’s blockbuster announcement.
The drug reverses amyloid plaques thought responsible for Alzheimer’s. This could eventually cure tens of millions of Alzheimer’s sufferers and maybe even myself someday. The stock is up an incredible 40% today and has even dragged up the biotech ETF (IBB) an impressive 3%.
Way back in March, we saw a huge flop for Biogen (BIIB) as the biotech company supposedly shut down research for Alzheimer’s treatment: aducanumab (BIIB037) on the failure of a stage 3 trial. This announcement was a curveball for its shareholders as the drug was touted as a potential groundbreaking miracle treatment with sales pegged at the tens of billions.
Biogen has for some time made Alzheimer’s experiments the epicenter of their new drug pipeline. It also offers a multiple sclerosis treatment called Tecfidera.
Generic competition has been hot on its heels and shareholders can expect a number of patent challenges in the next few years. This would undoubtedly lead to a fall in sales soon especially with the recent crackdown on the skyrocketing prices of meds.
To combat these looming challenges, Biogen has shifted its focus on Spinraza which has been beating expectations since its release three years ago. Set to exceed the $2 billion in sales mark, this spinal muscular atrophy drug has been dominating the rare disease market for quite some time.
This reign might not last long though as Novartis AG (NOVN) and Roche Holding AG (ROG) are gunning to release their own version of the drug by 2020 or 2021. This means Biogen would once again see another blockbuster drug go flat.
How does Biogen plan to deal with the backlash?
If history is any indication, then investors can expect Biogen to start looking into acquiring medium-size biopharma firms as soon as possible. Since the company closed 2018 with $3.5 billion in cash along with $5.3 billion in its free cash flow, a buyout is a viable solution at the moment. However, the biotech giant can only afford one.
The medium-sized biopharma firms speculated to be under consideration include ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company, and Alder Biopharmaceuticals. However, Neurocrania Biosciences and Sage Therapeutics are said to be potential frontrunners for a Biogen takeover.
While a lot of investors would understandably be wary of another risk from Biogen, Neurocrania and Sage could be promising targets for the biopharma giant.
Neurocrania has been raking in huge profits from their blockbuster tardive dyskinesia drug Ingrezza since gaining FDA approval in 2017. In fact, annual sales of this product has reached $410 million in 2018.
Aside from their success with Ingrezza, Neurocrine has taken the first step towards gene therapy via their collaboration with Voyager Therapeutics. Just this month, Neurocrine has invested $165 million to commence the process of coming up with a treatment drug for Parkinson’s disease.
Another good option is Sage as the company also focuses on neurology, which means their goals could align with Biogen’s. The recent approval of Zulresso makes Sage the first company to provide treatment for severe postpartum depression.
While the Alzheimer’s debacle can be overwhelming, Biogen’s fundamentals remain attractive. In terms of revenue estimates, the company is anticipated to report a 2.2% increase this year or up to $13.75 billion. Meanwhile, growth for earnings per share is projected to be at 9.4% or up to $28.67 from its current EPS of $21.58.
Global Market Comments
June 8, 2018
(LAST CHANCE TO ATTEND THE TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2018,
NEW ORLEANS, LA, GLOBAL STRATEGY LUNCHEON),
(JUNE 6 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(TLT), (TTT), (TBT), (AMLP), (IBB),
(SPY), (SDS), (SH), (GS), (BAC)
One has to be truly impressed with the selloff in biotech and health care stocks over the past year.
Since May, there were signs that life was returning to this beleaguered sector. Then Mylan decided to raise the prices of it’s EpiPen by 400% and it was back to the penalty box.
Let?s gouge poor small children who may die horrible deaths if they can?t afford our product. That sounds like a great marketing and PR strategy. NOT!
Once the top performing sectors of 2015, they went from heroes to goats so fast, it made your head spin.
What I called ?The ATM Effect? kicked in big time.
That?s when frightened investors run for the sidelines and sell their best stocks to raise cash. After all, no one wants to sell other stocks for a loss and admit defeat, at least in front of their clients.
It?s not that the companies themselves were without blood on their hands. Valuations were getting, to use the polite term, ?stretched? after a torrid five-year run.
Gilead Sciences (GILD) soaring from $18 to $125?
Celgene (CELG) rocketing from $20 to $142?
It has been a performance for the ages.
If a financial advisor wasn?t in health care, chances are that he is driving for Uber in a bad neighborhood by now.
Then there was The Tweet That Ate Wall Street.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made clear in a broadcast on September 21, 2015 that the health care industry would be target number one in her new administration.
Her move was triggered by an overnight 5000% price hike for a specialty HIV drug by a minor player in the industry.
Among the reforms she would implement are:
1) Give the government power to negotiate drug purchases with the industry collectively.
2) Allow Medicare to import drugs from abroad to encourage price competition (which I already do with my annual trips to Switzerland).
3) Ban drug companies from using government grants to pay for sales and advertising.
4) Set an out of pocket limit for drugs bought through Obamacare at $250 a month, thus ending customers? blank checks.
5) Set a 20% of revenue minimum which companies must spend on research and development.
She certainly got our attention.
Competition in the drug industry? Yikes! Not what the shareholders had in mind.
Raise your hand if you think Americans aren?t paying enough for their prescription drugs.
Yes, I thought so.
Drug company CEOs aren?t helping their case by flying to press conferences to complain about the proposals in brand new $65 million Cessna G-5?s.
And that Mylan CEO, Heather Bresch? She took home $18 million last year, and she?s just a kid.
Here?s the key issue for health care and biotech for investors. It all about politics.
Even if Hillary does get elected, the government is likely to remain gridlocked for another 4-8 years. The Democrats will almost certainly retake the Senate in 2016, thanks to a highly favorable calendar, and keep it for at least two years.
But the heavily gerrymandered House is another story.
With the current districting map, the Democrats would have to win 57% of the national vote for them to regain a majority in both houses.
That is a feat even Barack Obama could not pull off in 2008, when a perfect storm in favor of his party blew in.
A Hillary appointed liberal Supreme Court could bring an end to gerrymandering, but that is a multiyear process. Texas hasn?t had a legal districting map since 2000.
Even with Democratic control of congress, Hillary won?t get everything she wants.
Remember, Obamacare passed by one vote only after a year of cantankerous infighting, and then, only when a member changed parties (Pennsylvanian Arlen Spector).
That means few, if any, Clinton proposals will ever make it into law. If they do, they will be severely watered down and subject to the usual horse-trading and quid pro quos.
Beyond what she can accomplish through executive order, her election may be largely symbolic.
Therefore, the biotech and health care stocks are a screaming ?BUY? at these levels, provided you ignore Mylan (MYL), now the poster boy for corporate greed.
It?s a political call I can only make after spending years in the White House and a half century following presidential elections.
It?s easy to understand why these stocks were so popular, and are found brimming to overflowing in client portfolios and personal 401ks and IRAs.
We are just entering a Golden Age for biotech and health care.
Profit growth for many firms is exceeding 20% a year. Hyper accelerating biotechnology is rapidly bringing to market dozens of billion dollar earning drugs that were, until recently, considered in the realm of science fiction.
And we have only just gotten started. Cures for cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, AIDS, and dementia? You can take your pick.
Most biotech and health care stocks have given up all of their 2015 gains. Here is a chance to hoover up the fastest growing companies in the US at 2014 prices.
If you missed biotech and health care the first time around, you?ve just been given a second chance at the brass ring.
Here?s a list of five top quality names to get your feet wet:
Gilead Sciences (GILD) ? Has the world?s top hepatitis cure, which it sells for $80,000 per treatment. For a full report, see the next piece below.
Celgene (CELG) ? A biotech firm that specializes in cancer cures (thalidomide) and inflammatory diseases. It also produces Ritalin for the treatment of ADHD.
Allergan (AGN) ? Has the world?s third largest low cost generic drug business. In addition, it has built a major portfolio of drug therapies through more than two dozen acquisitions over the last decade.
Regeneron (REGN) ? Already has a great anti-inflammatory drug, and is about to market a blockbuster anti cholesterol drug that will substantially reduce heart disease.
HCA Holdings (HCA) ? Is the world?s largest operator of for profit health care facilities in the world.
If you want a lower risk, more diversified play in the area, you can buy the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV). Please note that a basket of stocks is going to deliver a fraction of the volatility of single stocks.
Therefore, we have to be more aggressive with our positioning to make any money, picking call option strikes that are closer to the money.
Johnson and Johnson (JJ) is the largest holding in the (XLV), with a 12.8% weighting, while Gilead Sciences (GILD) is the fourth, with a 5.1% share. For a list of the largest components of this ETF, please click: https://www.spdrs.com/product/fund.seam?ticker=XLV.
The other classic play in this area is the Biotech iShares ETF (IBB) issued by BlackRock (click their link: https://www.ishares.com/us/products/239699/ishares-nasdaq-biotechnology-etf ).
Their largest holding is Biogen (BIIB), followed by Gilead Sciences (GILD), Celgene (CELG), Amgen (AMGN), and Regeneron Pharmaceutical (REGN).
I?ll be shooting out Trade Alerts on biotech and health care names as soon as I think the coast is clear.
Until then, enjoy the ride!
It was known as the ?Tweet that sank Wall Street.?
When presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attacked the drug industry last summer, the entire pharmaceutical and health care industries were taken out to the woodshed and beaten like the proverbial red headed stepchild (my apologies in advance to red heads).
One of the principal victims was cancer drug maker Celgene (CELG), which dropped some 24.6% from top to bottom.
Never mind that Clinton is unlikely to get what she wants, even if she wins the election.
For that, you need a congress in your pocket, a probability that is at least 5-9 years away.
That is, unless Donald Trump continues his campaign for the Republican nomination.
However, in this nervous, twitchy, gun shy trading environment, it is shoot first and ask questions latter. So Celgene shares sank, whether it was warranted or not.
Celgene is really all about one drug, Revlimid, a blood cancer treatment that accounts for 75% of its sales. Last year, the company sold $7.6 billion worth of this complex molecule.
To wean itself off of its overdependence on a single drug it has embarked on a number of aggressive initiatives.
Since the spring of 2012, it has increased the use of its Abrazane drug to treat late stage pancreatic cancer, the disease that killed Steve Jobs. It has won regulatory approval for the psoriasis drug Otezla.
It has also pursued the mergers and acquisitions road to growth, picking up some two-dozen small drug makers in recent years. The $7.2 billion purchase of Receptos was a big one, which manufactures Ozanimod, a drug used to treat ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis.
Celgene also picked up Juno Therapeutics for $1 billion a few months ago, a maker of innovative cellular immunotherapies.
If this ambitious strategy works, Celgene?s net earnings should continue to grow at a 25% annual rate for the next five years. That means the shares should triple by 2020.
This is why the company?s shares command a lofty multiple of 18 times 2016 earnings, the higher end of the range for this industry.
So the next time Hillary opens her mouth, use the dip in (CELG) shares to load the boat. It would also be helpful if stock investors shift their focus from value back to growth.
Long-term readers of this letter have prospered mightily from my addiction to biotech stocks in recent years, one of the most reliably top performing sectors in the stock market.
But have we visited the well one time too many times? Is biotech turning into a bubble that will eventually deliver the same grievous outcome of other past bubbles?
Still, one has to ask the question. No less a figure than Federal Reserve governor Janet Yellen has indicated that she thought valuations in the biotech sector were getting ?substantially stretched.? The Fed doesn?t single out stocks for commentary very often.
Biotech certainly has been a money-spinner for followers of my top performing Trade Alert service, which delivered a 30.5% profit in 2014.
Readers made three round trips in hepatitis C drug developer Gilead Sciences (GILD) in the past four months, adding 5.77% to the value of their portfolios. I believe the company?s blockbuster drug will become the most profitable in history. So do a lot of others.
Longer-term investors bought the Biotech iShares ETF (IBB) on my advice, which gained an impressive 45% last year, and is still rising.
However, biotech has long been a hedge fund favorite.
That means many shareholders are only dating these stocks and are not married to them. The hot money regularly flows in and out, giving the sector more than double the volatility of the main market. A 10% correction in any other stock is worth at least 25% in biotech.
This also makes biotech stocks great to buy on a dip. My last foray into (GILD) occurred after cautious guidance took the shares down a heart stopping 10% in a single day.
This is a great example of how unusually sensitive biotech stocks are to headline risk. I?ve ridden stocks to tremendous heights, watching them pour billions into a single treatment, only to see them crash and burn on failed stage three trials.
That is just the nature of their business. It?s all about all or nothing bets.
It?s just a matter of time before one of the major companies gets stuck with a hickey like this, flushing billions down the drain. That could herald a generalized sector selloff that could last months, or even years.
Biotech is a high-risk sector that should only be held within a well diversified portfolio. You may notice that in the Mad Hedge Fund Trader?s model trading portfolio I never have more than 10% in biotech at any given time. I figure I could handle a total blow up and lose the whole 10% and still stay in business.
When I speak at conferences, strategy luncheons and on TV, I tell listeners of my lazy man?s guide to long-term investment. Only follow three sectors, technology, biotech and energy, and ignore the other 97. You?ll save yourself a lot of time reading pointless research.
Biotech currently accounts for a mere 1% of US GDP. It is on its way to 20%, about where technology is today. That means that a disproportionately large share of earnings growth will spring from biotech over the coming decades.
One way to protect yourself is to stick with the big caps, which are undervalued relative to the sector, and are expected to haul in 20% earnings growth this year.
Many smaller companies prices are assuming a total certainty of the success of their drugs. The reality is that this only happens about half the time.
If you do go with small caps, I would take a venture capital approach. Buy a dozen with the expectation that many will go under, a couple do OK, and one goes through the roof. Never put all your eggs in one basket.
It also helps that you have someone with a scientific background making your picks, like me. Because drug companies promise such amazing results, like curing cancer, the sector has always been prone to hype and over promotion. I never met I biotech CEO who didn?t believe his company was about to deliver the next panacea, taking his shares up tenfold.
One plus for biotech is that it has unusually strong patent protection, which usually extends out 20 years for new products. There are not a lot of Chinese companies that can imitate their drugs.
That means earnings can be predicted far into the future, and are largely immune from the economic cycle. If you?re sick, you want to get cured regardless of whether the GDP is growing or shrinking, or whether interest rates are low or high.
Make sure that your investments have plenty of new developments in the pipeline. Expiring patents on past winners with no replacements can spell certain death for a stock price.
Publicly listed drug companies are now venturing into research fields that were only science fiction when I was in the lab 45 years go. ?Gene editing? whereby genes can be repaired, edited and then turned on and off at will, is now becoming a burgeoning new science.
It promises to cure the whole range of human maladies, including heart disease, cancer, obesity and a whole range of degenerative diseases (including some of mine).
Expect to hear a lot more about TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases) and CRISPR (clustered regular interspaced short palindromic repeats). You heard it here first.
What is truly fascinating is that hybrid computer science/biochemical scientists are now taking algorithms developed y the National Security Agency hackers and using them to decode human DNA. (I hope I?m not speaking too much out of school here.)
Gene editing is the natural outcome of the discovery of recombinant DNA technology developed during the 1970?s by Paul Berg, Herbert Boyer, and Stanley Cohen, all early heroes of mine.
Since none were the equity participants of private companies, the initial rewards for the breakthrough were minimal. I remember that one received a new surfboard for his efforts.
Berg went on to found Genentech (GENE) in 1977 and got rich. If I hadn?t gone into the stock market, that is almost certainly where I would have ended up.
How things have changed.
The short answer here is that biotech does have further to run. A lot further.
The rate of innovation of biotechnology is accelerating so fast that it will continue to spew out fantastic investment opportunities for the rest of your lives. So expect to receive many more Trade Alerts in this area in the years to come.
But it is definitely an ?E? ticket ride. So fasten your seatbelt on your path to riches.
As for me, I?m thrilled that I got to live so long to see this stuff happen. At times, it was a close run race.
?Give us all your money,? said the largest of the three men who snuck up behind me at the entrance to the Orlando Marriott World Hotel. It was 1:30 AM, pitch dark, and the area was abandoned.
I had my wallet out to pay the taxi driver, brimming with $5,000 in cash, my winnings at the blackjack tables at the just completed SALT conference in Las Vegas. He took off like a shot, and I was left standing there, alone.
I turned around, put my wallet in my back pocket, took off my horn rimmed glasses and said, in my most intimidating, ?I?m going to kick your ass? manner possible, ?Trying this on a Marine with post traumatic stress is a really bad idea.? The three would be muggers backed up as fast as they could and disappeared into the swamps.
It?s all about attitude.
I mentioned the incident to the hotel staff while checking in. They were horrified, apologized profusely, and gave me a triple upgrade to the presidential suite with a $100 room service credit.
Welcome to Orlando!
I was making a 24 hour pit stop in the Sunshine State to give the good news about where the financial markets will be in 2030 to a conference of top performing independent investment advisors. After knocking their socks off, I felt I had just made several lifetime friends.
I even got to trade war stories with a fellow Dessert Storm pilot who flew OV-10 twin tailed Broncos. Once, in Kuwait I was with a Marine ground unit that came under fire. The NCO said, ?Don?t worry, the Broncos are inbound.? When I heard the BRRRRRR of its M60 machine guns, it sounded like music to my ears. I thanked him for his service, and saving my ass.
This being the heart of the Deep South and the former confederacy, I was questioned about my California politics. I told my audience they had a choice. They could listen to Fox News all day, read the conspiracy theories in the Drudge Report, and live in a permanent state of anger.
Or they could work with a guy with inside access like me, gain insights into the administrations actual thinking, and learn what they are really going to do. I hand out ticker symbols too. I suggested that the latter generated a better investment return for clients, and most agreed.
The reality is that most of the country agrees on 99% of everything I told them. It is only the media (better ratings), fundraisers (more money), and politicians (more votes) who are driving us to our corners, and the internet gives everybody flame thrower.
I also get the opportunity to influence the course of events in my own small way. The White House Staff, The Treasury Secretary, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Secretary of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of the CIA don?t spend time with me because I wear nice Italian suits and tell funny jokes.
You can almost count on one hand the number of people around who have been refining a global economic and political view for nearly half a century.
I also said I really loved their key lime pie and pecan pralines.
It was one of those non-stop days. After a scant four hours of sleep I was up at 7:00 AM for breakfast, delivered a 90 minute keynote speech at 8:00, and followed that up with a Global Strategy Luncheon with some of my oldest most loyal and newly enriched readers.
One made more than the 68% last year following my Trade Alerts. Then I hauled my lunch guests back into the conference to listen to me participate in a panel discussion.
I ended the day meeting with my own national staff in my greatly upsized suite, who flew in from around the country. Mad Day Trader Jim Parker was happy to flee Chicago for a day. Nancy of operations was there as fresh faced as always, as was Doug the Web developer, who we are now calling ?the lumberjack,? since he has a beard and lives in the middle of nowhere in remote Vermont.
We devised a series of new groundbreaking products, which you will be hearing about shortly. Such is life on the cutting edge of online financial education. Oh, and prices are going up too, as befits our industry beating performance.
I caught an early dinner with an old hedge fund buddy from Tampa, discussing the current state of the world. Then it was back to the hotel for an extended drinking session with the staff, who are indispensable in helping me run my global media empire.
No rest for the wicked.
By the way, I am writing all this to you from first class seat 2C on Virgin America flight VX 305, nonstop from Orlando to San Francisco. It is a perfect day, and we have just crossed the vast expanse of the ?Big Muddy,? Mark Twain?s home waters, known to you all as the Mississippi River.
I mentioned to the pilot that with my frequent flier points and platinum status the crew should have lined up and saluted when I came on board. They laughed. Then I asked if he noticed the old Strategic Air Command B-52 bomber at the airport entrance.
He said he did, and that he had worked on the birds as a senior tech in the old days, charged with arming the nuclear warheads on the cruise missiles. He was amazed when I told him the Germans designed the Stratofortress during WWII so they could bomb New York.
They never built it, but the Americans did when they found the plans at the end of the war. Out of the original fleet of 500, 75 still fly, and the Air Force intends to keep flying them until 2050, when they will be 100 years old. No kidding. A lot of Air Force pilots still say it was the best plane ever designed.
Got to love Boeing Aircraft (BA). Made in the USA.
I recounted my own stories of flying on nuclear armed missions from Anderson Air Force Base on Guam in the Pacific to North Korea, only to turn around ten minutes before we entered their air space.
We did this every Monday-Thursday, dropped conventional 500 pound bombs at a Western Australian missile range on Fridays, and took the weekends off to drink beer on pristine Tauragi beech, mindful of the armed Japanese soldiers still lurking in the jungle nearby. This was 1973.
There were no windows for the ten-hour flight. Even the front windshield carried removable steel blast shields. Good thing they always carried a spare coffee maker.
The message to the Kim Il-sung regime was clear. Be nice, or we fly the extra ten minutes. President Teddy Roosevelt (I met his oldest daughter Alice, no kidding, again!), wisely called this ?walking softly, but carrying a big stick.? Well, maybe not so softly.
The flight out was uneventful. I noticed that the older passenger next to me was wearing an $8,000 Brioni jacket identical to mine, so I complimented him on his taste in clothing. He turned out to be the head of the Neurology Department at the University of Arizona Medical School, so we spent three hours discussing the ins and outs of Obamacare. It turned a long flight into a short flight.
Bottom line? It?s going to work, give the health care industry a long overdue shake up, unleash free market competition, and improve the quality of care for all, while reducing the costs. But it may take a decade to work out the kinks. Expect a lot of disruption until then.
I added that it was also creating the investment opportunity of the decade. He said ?Oh?? and I gave him a handful of ticker symbols Gilead Sciences (GILD), the iShares Biotech ETF (IBB), Pfizer (PFE), and HCA Holdings (HCA). These doctors, so smart, yet so useless when it comes to managing their own money.
I asked if these views were controversial in ultra red state Arizona, and he said ?yes.? But at a certain point, people of all political persuasions just want the facts so they can get on with their lives. So true, so true.
We then talked about what a great guy Barry Goldwater was (another bomber pilot, B-25?s), and how his political career was ended by an unfair Johnson smear campaign (the little girl counting down the petals of a flower until a hydrogen bomb went off in the background).
Some things never change.
As is my way, I then convinced him to give me a complete physical while remaining in my seat. Was hiking 2,000 miles a year in the mountains with a 60 pound pack killing me? Was it doing more damage to my poor aging body than it was worth?
He gave me the once over. At 45 beats a minute, I had the resting heart rate of a teenaged Olympic athlete. My blood pressure at 110/70 was fabulous. Even the big toe that I froze in a high altitude blizzard last winter and was still black would get better (?That toenail really looks like it wants to come off?) (the other first class passengers are now looking over curiously). The knees would get better over my summer break. He said whatever I was doing, I should keep doing it.
It looks like I will be around for a while.
The passenger in the other seat next to me was a stunning 6?1? blonde from Atlanta. After Stacy read my website through the onboard Wi-Fi, she handed me her business card with her cell number scratched on the back.
I?m not the player I was in decades past, but it is still nice to get this kind of attention when you are Social Security age. Now I know why they call them Southern Belles.
We just crossed the snow covered High Sierras and have begun our descent into San Francisco. It?s time to fold up my laptop and fasten my seatbelt.
I?m sorry, this is turning into a bit of a ramble, but it is a long flight. This is my life, a never-ending series of utterly fascinating conversations about everything with everybody. It seems there is now a shapely brunette in the seat behind me who also wants my business card.
See you at my weekly Global Strategy webinar on Wednesday.