August 7, 2018

Global Market Comments
August 7, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(DIS), (NFLX), (FOX),

August 6, 2018

Global Market Comments
August 6, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(FB), (TWTR), (INTC), (NFLX), (AAPL), (AMZN),

August 2, 2018

Global Market Comments
August 2, 2018
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July 30, 2018

Global Market Comments
July 30, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(MSFT), (AMZN), (FB), (NFLX), (TWTR),

July 2, 2018

Global Market Comments
July 2, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(HOG), (TLT), (ROM), (MU), (NVDA), (LRCX),
(SPY), (AMZN), (NFLX), (EEM), (UUP), (WBA),

June 25, 2018

Global Market Comments
June 25, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(AAPL), (FB), (NFLX), (AMZN), (GE), (WBT),
(SQ), (PANW), (FEYE), (FB), (LRCX), (BABA), (MOMO), (IQ), (BIDU), (AMD), (MSFT), (EDIT), (NTLA), Bitcoin, (FXE), (SPY), (SPX)

June 1, 2018

Global Market Comments
June 1, 2018
Fiat Lux


Featured Trade:
(FB), (AAPL), (NFLX), (GOOGL), (LMT), (ROKU),
(ITB), (PHM), (KBH), (DHI), (AVB), (CPS)

Why Activist Investors Have the Upper Hand

Having been in this market for yonks, ages, and even a coon?s age, I have seen trading strategies come and go.

First, there was the nifty fifty during the 1960?s. Junk bonds had their day in the sun. Then portfolio insurance was all the rage.


While the dollar was weak, international diversification was the flavor of the day. After foreign stocks turned bitter, the IPO mania and the Dotcom bubble of the nineties followed.

Macro trading dominated the new Millennium until the high frequency traders took over.

What is the cutting edge management strategy today?

According to my friend, Anthony Scaramucci, of Skybridge Capital, activist shareholder trading now has the unfair advantage.

Anthony, known as the ?Mooch? to his friends, is so convinced of the merit of this bold, in-your-face approach that he has devoted nearly 40% of his assets to this aggressive posture.

That is no accident.

Have you ever heard the term ?unintended consequences?? Scaramucci argues that The Financial Stability Act of 2010, otherwise known as Dodd-Frank produced that effect with a turbocharger.

The Act brought in a raft of new shareholder rights intended to help Mom & Pop. But activist investors have, so far, been the prime beneficiaries of the reform, using the new regulations to shake down companies for quick profits.

Historic low interest rates are allowing them to leverage up at minimal cost, increasing their firepower.

These include known sharks (once spurned as ?green mailers?) like my former neighbor, Carl Icahn, and his younger, more agile competitor, Bill Ackman.

They can simply buy a small number of shares in a target company and demand a management change, share buy backs, the spinning off of assets, several seats on the board, and even making allegations of criminal activity, which are often unfounded.

A message from Icahn on the voicemail is not something management is eager to hear.

He even shook down Apple (AAPL) last year, with great success, harvesting a near double on the trade.

This is why names like Herbalife (HLF), Netflix (NFLX), and JC Penny?s (JCP) are constantly bombarding the airwaves.

The net result of this is that savvy activist shareholders have effectively replaced the traditional ?buy and hold? strategy as a way to add alpha, or outperformance.

This has enabled activist oriented hedge funds to beat the pants off of traditional macro hedge funds because many historical cross asset relationships they follow have broken down.

Tell me about it!

Suddenly, the world no longer makes sense to them and has apparently gone mad, at the investors? expense. Long/short equity managers, which comprise 43% of the funds out there, are also underperforming for the sixth consecutive year.

The activist managers themselves justify their often harsh actions by arguing that individual shareholders can ride to riches on their coattails. Shaking up management can result in better-run companies, even if it is at the point of a gun.

Activism accelerates evolution, breaks up clubby boards of insiders, and enhances the bottom line. Corporations can be forced to retool and restructure.

How does the individual investor get involved in the new wave of activist investors? The short answer is that they don?t. There are few, if any, such exchange traded funds (ETFs) in existence.

Doing the quantitative screens to generate short lists of potential activist targets, and then listening to the jungle telegraph regarding who is coming into play, are well beyond the resources of your average Joe.

You can try to give your money to the best activist managers. But they are either closed to new investors, or have very high minimum initial investments, often in the $1-$10 million range.

If you are lucky enough to get your dosh in, you will find the talent very expensive. Activist funds are one of the last redoubts of the old 2%/20% management fee and performance bonus structure. And ?hockey stick? bonus schedules are not unheard of.

When I ran my old hedge fund, we made 40% a year like clockwork. I took the first 10%, the limited partners the remaining 30% and they were thrilled to get it.

And you wonder why the small guys feel the market is rigged.

The activist trend won?t last forever. Interest rates will inevitably rise, making the strategy expensive to finance. If the stock market keeps rising, as I expect, then cheap targets will become as scarce as hen?s teeth.

Eventually, gobs of money will pour into the strategy, compressing returns as the Johnny-come-latelys pile in. In the end, trading around activist shareholders will get tossed into the dustbin of history, along with all the other investment fads.

John Thomas with Anthony ScaramucciChecking in With the ?Mooch?

The Bull Market is Alive and Well

It?s fall again, when my most loyal readers are to be found taking transcontinental railroad journeys, crossing the Atlantic in an a first class suite on the Queen Mary 2, or getting the early jump on the Caribbean beaches.

What better time to spend your trading profits than after all the kids have gone back to school, and the summer vacation destination crush has subsided.

It?s an empty nester?s paradise.

Trading in the stock market is reflecting as much, with increasingly narrowing its range since the August 24 flash crash, and trading volumes are subsiding.

Is it really September already?

It?s as if through some weird, Rod Serling type time flip, August became September, and September morphed into August. That?s why we got a rip roaring August followed by a sleepy, boring September.

Welcome to the misplaced summer market.

I say all this, because the longer the market moves sideways, the more investors get nervous and start bailing on their best performing stocks.

The perma bears are always out there in force (it sells more newsletters), and with the memories of the 2008 crash still fresh and painful, the fears of a sudden market meltdown are constant and ever present.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

What we are seeing unfold here is not the PRICE correction that people are used to, but a TIME correction, where the averages move sideways for a while, in this case, some five months.

Eventually, the the moving averages catch up, and it is off to the races once again.

The reality is that there is a far greater risk of an impending market melt up than a melt down. But to understand why, we must delve further into history, and then the fundamentals.

For a start, most investors have not believed in this bull market for a nanosecond from the very beginning. They have been pouring their new cash into the bond market instead.

Now that bonds have given up a third of 2015?s gains in just a few weeks, the fear of God is in them, and dreams of reallocation are dancing in their minds.

Some 95% of active managers are underperforming their benchmark indexes this year, the lowest level since 1997, compared to only 76% in a normal year.

Therefore, this stock market has ?CHASE? written all over it.

Too many managers have only three months left to make their years, lest they spend 2016 driving a taxi for Uber and handing out free bottles of water. The rest of 2015 will be one giant ?beta? (outperformance) chase.

You can?t blame these guys for being scared. My late mentor, Morgan Stanley?s Barton Biggs, taught me that bull markets climb a never-ending wall of worry. And what a wall it has been.

Worry has certainly been in abundance this year, what with China collapsing, ISIL on the loose, Syria exploding, Iraq falling to pieces, the contentious presidential elections looming, oil in free fall, , the worst summer drought in decades, flaccid economic growth, and even a rampaging Donald Trump.

We also have to be concerned that my friend, Fed governor Janet Yellen, is going to unsheathe a giant sword and start hacking away at bond prices, as she has already done with quantitative easing (I?ve been watching Game of Thrones too much).

This will raise interest rates sooner, and by more.

Let me give you a little personal insight here into the thinking of Janet Yellen. It?s all about the jobs. Any hints about rate rises have been head fakes, especially when they come from a small, anti QE Fed minority.

When in doubt, Janet is all about easy money, until proven otherwise. Until then, think lower rates for longer, especially on the heels of a disappointing 173,000 August nonfarm payroll.

So I think we have a nice set up here going into Q4. It could be a Q4 2013 lite--a gain of 5%-10% in a cloud of dust.

The sector leaders will be the usual suspects, big technology names, health care, biotech (IBB), and energy (COP), (OXY). Banks (BAC), (JPM), (KBE) will get a steroid shot from rising interest rates, no matter how gradual.

To add some spice to your portfolio (perhaps at the cost of some sleepless nights), you can dally in some big momentum names, like Tesla (TSLA), Netflix (NFLX), Lennar Husing (LEN), and Facebook (FB).

TLT 9-15-15

TLT 9-15-15

KRE 9-15-15

John ThomasYou Mean it?s September Already?

Heed the Mad Day Trader?s Q2 Forecasts

Mad Day Trader, Jim Parker, thinks that the next three to six months will be a tough time for the financial markets. They won?t crash, but won?t break out to new highs either.

Instead, they will stay confined to technically driven, narrow, low volume ranges that will cause traders to tear their hair out. It will be an environment where it will be tough for anyone to make money. The long only crowd will be particularly challenged. Better to take your summer vacation early this year, and make it a long one.

Jim uses a dozen proprietary short-term technical and momentum indicators to generate buy and sell signals, which he has developed over 40 years of trading in the Chicago futures markets. Last year Jim?s Trade Alerts generated returns for followers well into triple digits. He absolutely nailed the performance of every asset class this year in his Q1 Medium Term Outlook (click here for the link at . Ignore him at your peril.

Parker has been using NASDAQ (QQQ) as his lead contract for 2014. When it rolled over two weeks ago, it broke momentum across asset classes. Look no further than the biotech area, formerly the hottest in the market. It?s dramatic, sudden reversal, along with the losses seen in other speculative names, like Tesla (TSLA), Netflix (NFLX), and Herbalife (HLF), indicate that the easy money is gone.

The big confirming move for this cautious stance has been in the Treasury bond market (TLT). Its failure to break down has amazed many strategists. Instead of the ten-year bond yield exploding to a 3.05% yield as expected, it ran all the way down to 2.58%. This was the tell that the bull markets days were numbered. Bond prices are now threatening to break to new highs, taking yields to 2.50% or lower.

The other clue to the behavior of this years markets has been the Japanese yen. While the yen was plunging, stocks and other risk assets soared. That came to an abrupt halt on the last trading day of 2013. Notice that since then, the major stock indexes have not been able to hold on to any gains whatsoever.

This is because traders borrow, and then sell the Japanese currency, to fund any new positions. A flat lining yen means that risk taking has ceased, and that?s exactly what we have seen so far in 2014.

It won?t always be this bad. A long period digesting the meteoric gains of the past two and five years could be followed by a bang up fourth quarter, much like we saw in 2013. The key to success will be not to lose all your money before then.

Here is Jim?s Q2 forecast for each major asset class:

Stocks ? The leadership of NASDAQ is dead and buried for now. Don?t go back in until it closes above 3,745 and holds it. The same is true for the S&P 500 (SPX), which must surpass 1,880 to buy.

Bonds ? It?s alright to hold them here (TLT). If we break the years high at $109.60, it could race up to $114. At that point get out, as risk will be high.

Foreign Currencies - $139.50 has got to be the top in the Euro (FXE). As long as the yen (FXY) is comatose, he doesn?t want to touch it. You want to buy the Australia dollar (FXA) on a break above $91.50. Until then, it will remain trapped in an $88.50-$91.50 range.

Commodities ? The fireworks are over for now for oil. We need some digestion of the $15 move from $92 before we can revisit the upside. Hands off, until we break above $101.50. Copper (CU) is at the bottom of an extended range. You would be nuts to go short here, unless of course, we slice through $2.95.

Precious Metals ? Gold (GLD), (GDX) is toast. To see the sell off accelerate when geopolitical risk remains high has to be especially disheartening for the bulls. A retest of the $1,265 low, then $1,180 is in the cards. Unless you went short the barbarous relic the day it peaked last week, avoid.

Agricultural ? Jim called the bottom on this one (DBA), (CORN) at the New Year. Since then, the ags have raced to an intermediate high. The Crimea crisis gave it an added boost. His long side targets for soybeans (SOYB) have all been hit.? Nothing to do here, unless the weather suddenly turns bad.

While the Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader and Global Trading Dispatch focus on investment over a one week to six-month time frame, Mad Day Trader will exploit moneymaking opportunities over a ten minute to three-day window. It is ideally suited for day traders, but can also be used by long-term investors to improve market timing for entry and exit points. During normal trading conditions, you should receive two to five market updates and Trade Alerts a day.

As with our existing service, you will receive ticker symbols, entry and exit points, targets, stop losses, and regular real time updates. At the end of each day, a separate short-term model portfolio will be posted on the website.

Jim is a 40-year veteran of the financial markets and has long made a living as an independent trader in the pits at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He has worked his way up from a junior floor runner, to advisor to some of the world?s largest hedge funds. We are lucky to have him on our team and gain access to his experience, knowledge, and expertise.

I have been following his alerts for the past five years, and his market timing has become an important part of the ?unfair advantage? that I provide readers.

A trading service with this degree of success and sophistication normally costs $20,000 a year. As a client of The Mad Hedge Fund Trader, you can purchase Mad Day Trader alone for $699 a quarter, or $2,000 a year. Or you can buy it as a package together with Global Trading Dispatch, which we call Mad Hedge Fund Trader PRO, for $4,000 a year, a 20% discount to the full retail price.

To learn more about The Mad Day Trader, please visit my website at To subscribe, please click here.

If you want to get a pro rata upgrade from your existing Newsletter or Global Trading Dispatch subscription to Mad Hedge Fund Trader Pro, which includes Mad Day Trader, just email Nancy in customer support at

QQQ 3-24-14

SPY 3-24-14

XBI 3-24-14

NFLX 3-24-14

FXY 3-24-14

Jim ParkerIgnore Him at Your Peril