I have to tell you that flip-flopping from extreme optimism to extreme pessimism and back is a trader’s dream come true. Volatility is our bread and butter.
Long term followers know that when volatility is low, I struggle to make 1% or 2% a month. When it is high, I make 10% to 20%, as I have for two of the last three months.
That is what the month of October has delivered so far.
To see how well this works, the S&P 500 is dead unchanged so far this month, while the Mad Hedge Fund Trader alert service is up a gangbuster 10% and we are now 70% in cash.
While the market is unchanged in two years, risk has been continuously rising. That’s because year on year earnings growth has fallen from 26% to zero. That means with an unchanged index, stocks are 26% more expensive.
Entire chunks of the market have been in a bear market since 2017, including industrials, autos, energy, and retailers. US Steel (X), which the president’s tariffs were supposed to rescue, has crashed 80% since the beginning of 2018.
The great irony here is that while the Dow Average is just short of an all-time high, all of the good short positions have already been exhausted. In short, there is nothing to do.
So, the wise thing to do here is to use the 1,200-point rally since Thursday to raise cash you can put to work during the next round of disappointment, which always comes. If we do forge to new highs, they will be incremental ones at best. That’s when you let your passive indexing friends pick up the next bar tab, who unintentionally caught the move.
In the meantime, we will be bracing ourselves for the big bank earnings due out this week which are supposed to be dismal at best. JP Morgan (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Citigroup (C) are out on Tuesday and Bank of America (BAC) publishes on Wednesday.
That’s when we find out how much of this move has been about unicorns and candy canes, and how much is real.
Trump demoed his Own trade talks, creating a technology blacklist and banning US pension investment into the Middle Kingdom. He also hints he’ll take a small deal rather than a big one. Great for American farmers but leaves intellectual property and forced joint ventures on the table, throwing the California economy under the bus. I knew it would end this way. It’s very market negative. Without a trade deal, there is no way to avoid a US recession in 2020.
The Inverted Yield Curve is flashing “recession.” The three-month Treasury yield has been above the 10-year bond yield since May, and that always says a downturn is coming. The time to batten down the hatches is now.
US Producer Prices plunged in September, down 0.3%, the worst since January. It’s another recession indicator but also pushes the Fed to lower rates further.
Inflation was Zero in September, with the Consumer Price Index up 1.8% YOY. Slowing economy due to the trade war gets the blame, but I think that accelerating technology gets the bigger blame.
New Job Openings hit an 18-month low, down 123,000 to 7.05 million in August, as employers pull back in anticipation of the coming recession. Trade war gets the blame. The smart people don’t hire ahead of a recession.
FedEx (FDX) is dead money, says a Bernstein analyst, citing failing domestic and international sales. No pulling any punches, he said “The bull thesis has been shredded.” Not what you want to hear from this classic recession leading indicator. Nobody ships anything during a slowdown.
Loss of SALT Deductions cost you $1 trillion, or about 4% per home, according to an analysis by Standard & Poor’s. Quite simply, losing the ability to deduct state and local tax deductions creates a higher after-tax cost of carry that reduces your asset value. If you bought a home in 2017 you lost half of your equity almost immediately. The east and west coast were especially hard hit.
Fed to expand balance sheet to deal with the short-term repo funding crisis, which periodically has been driving overnight interest rates up to an incredible 5%. Massive government borrowing is starting to break the existing financial system. What they’re really doing is trying to head off to the next recession.
The Fed September minutes came out, and traders seem to be expecting more rate cuts than the Fed is. Trade is still the overriding concern. The next meeting is October 29-30. It could all end in tears.
Apple (AAPL) raised iPhone 11 Production by 10%, to 8 million more units, according Asian parts suppliers. Great news for its $1,089 top priced product ahead of the Christmas rush. It turns out that an Apple app is helping Hong Kong protesters manage demonstrations. I’m keeping my long, letting the shares run to a new all-time high. Buy (AAPL) on the dips.
The Mad Hedge Trader Alert Service has blasted through to yet another new all-time high. My Global Trading Dispatch reached new apex of +347.48% and my year-to-date accelerated to +47.24%. The tricky and volatile month of October started out with a roar +9.82%. My ten-year average annualized profit bobbed up to +35.64%.
Some 26 out of the last 27 trade alerts have made money, a success rate of94%! Underpromise and overdeliver, that’s the business I have been in all my life. It works. This is rapidly turning into the best year of the decade for me. It is all the result of me writing three newsletters a day.
I used the recession fear-induced selloff after October 1 to pile on a large aggressive short-dated portfolio which I will run into expiration. I am 60% long with the (SPY), (IWM), (USO), (WMT), (AAPL), and (GOOGL). I am 10% short with one position in the (IWM) giving me a net risk position of 50% long. All of them are working.
The coming week is pretty non-eventful of the data front. Maybe the stock market will be non-eventful as well.
On Monday, October 14, nothing of note is published.
On Tuesday, October 15 at 8:30 AM, the New York Empire State Manufacturing Index is released. JP Morgan (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Citigroup (C) kick off the Q3 earnings season with reports.
On Wednesday, October 16, at 8:30 AM, we learn the September Retail Sales. Bank of America (BAC) and CSX Corp. (CSX) report.
On Thursday, October 17 at 8:30 AM, the Housing Starts for September are out. Morgan Stanley (MS) reports.
On Friday, October 18 at 8:30 AM, the Baker Hughes Rig Count is released at 2:00 PM. Schlumberger (SLB), American Express (AXP), and Coca-Cola (KO) report.
As for me, I’ll be going to Costco to restock the fridge after last week’s two-day voluntary power outage by PG&E. Expecting Armageddon, I finished off all the Jack Daniels and chocolate in the house. We managed to eat all of our frozen burritos, pork chops, steaks, and ice cream in a mere 48 hours. But that’s what happens when you have two teenagers.
Hopefully, it will rain soon for the first time in six months bringing these outages to an end.
Good luck and good trading.
John Thomas CEO & Publisher The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/john-flowers.png375499Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-10-14 04:02:552019-10-14 04:16:36The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or Unicorns and Candy Cane
Note to readers: Sorry for the short letter today but PG&E is about to turn off my electric power to reduce the risk of a wildfire during these high, hot winds from the east.
The Teflon market is back.
Bad news is good news. Good news is good news.
What could be better than that?
However, there are a few issues out there lurking on the horizon that could pee on everyone’s parade.
Risks of an asymmetric outcome right now are huge. Let me call out the roster for you.
1) The China Trade War Escalates – Every day economic advisor Larry Kudlow tells us that the trade talks are progressing nicely, and every day the administration pulls the rug out from under him with new sanctions. The last chance to avoid the next recession is upon us. A trade deal is the rational thing to do. Oops! There’s that “rational” word again.
2) Economic Data Gets Worse – After a great data run into last winter, they are suddenly rolling over. All of the forward-looking data is now 100% terrible.
3) The Fed Doesn’t Cut Interest Rates– This has been the world’s greatest guessing game for the past three years. The Fed has never cut interest rates in the face of a GDP 2.0% growth rate and 3.5% unemployment rate in history. Will it now do it for a third time?
The Fed lives in perpetual fear of the American economy going into the next recession with interest rates near zero! That would leave them powerless to do anything to engineer a revival.
4) Another Geopolitical Crisis – You could always get a surprise on the international front. But the lesson of this bull market is that traders and investors could care less about North Korea, ISIS, Al Qaida, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Russia, Ukraine, or the Chinese expansion in the South China Sea.
Every one of these black swans has been a buying opportunity of the first order, and they will continue to be so. At the end of the day, terrorists don’t impact American corporate earnings, nor do they own stocks.
5) A Recovery in Oil – The next drone attack against Saudi Arabia could send oil really flying. If it recovers too fast and rockets are back to the $100 level, it could start to eat into stock prices.
6) The End of US QE – The Fed’s $4.5 billion quantitative easing policy ended three years ago. Anyone who said QE didn’t work obviously doesn’t own stocks.
7) A New War– If the US gets dragged into a major new ground war in Iran, North Korea, Syria, Iraq or elsewhere, you can kiss this bull market goodbye. Budget deficits would explode, the dollar would collapse, and there would be a massive exodus out of all risk assets, especially stocks.
8) US Corporate Earnings Collapse– With the trade war with China getting worse by the day US corporate earnings, growth is expected to plunge from 26% a year ago now to 0% sometime in 2019. That immediately makes them 26% more expensive. Do you think stocks (SPY) will notice?
9) Another Emerging Market (EEM) Crash– If the greenback resumes its long-term rise as I expect, another emerging market debt crisis is in the cards. Venezuela and Argentina are just the opening scenes.
With US interest rates (TLT) falling slower than those of any other country, how could it go any other way? This is because too many emerging corporations have borrowed in dollars, some $2-trillion worth.
When their local currencies collapse, it has the effect of doubling the principal balance of their loans and doubling the monthly payments, immediately.
This is the problem that is currently taking apart the Brazilian economy right now. It happened in 1998, and it looks like we are seeing a replay.
10) China Goes Into Recession – So far, the Middle Kingdom (FXI) has resorted to devaluing its currency, cutting interest rates, easing bank reserve requirements, and selling big chunks of its US Treasury and Eurobond holdings to reinvigorate its economy.
What if it doesn’t work? Look for a new China scare to hit US stocks and don your hard hat.
11) Inflation Returns – Steep tariff increases on everything Chinese is rapidly feeding into rising US consumer prices. What do you think the Amazon (AMZN) wage hike to $15 means? If McDonald’s (MCD), Walmart (WMT), and Target (TGT) join them, we’re there. This is a stock market preeminently NOT prepared for a return of inflation.
I know you already have trouble sleeping at night. The above should make your insomnia problem much worse.
Try a 10-mile hike with a heavy pack every night in the mountains. It works for me.
Down the Ambien, and full speed ahead!
A Threat to Your Portfolio?
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/10032018-image.png429649MHFTFhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMHFTF2019-10-11 04:02:292019-12-09 13:06:4911 Surprises that Would Destroy This Market
Once again, the markets are playing out like a cheap Saturday afternoon matinee. We are sitting on the edge of our seats wondering if our hero will triumph or perish.
The same can be said about financial markets this week. Will a trade deal finally get inked and prompt the Dow Average to soar 2,000 points? Or will they fail once again, delivering a 2,000-point swan dive?
I vote for the latter, then the former.
Still, I saw this rally coming a mile off as the Trump put option kicked in big time. That’s why I piled on an aggressive 60% long position right at last week’s low. Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. Only the bold are rewarded.
Or as Britain’s SAS would say, “Who dares, wins.”
It takes a lot of cajones to trade a market that hasn’t moved in two years, let alone take in a 55% profit during that time. But you didn’t hire me to sit on my hands, play scared, and catch up on my Shakespeare.
I think markets will eventually hit new all-time highs sometime this year. The game is to see how low you can get in before that happens without getting your head handed to you first.
Last week saw seriously dueling narratives. The economic data couldn’t be worse, pointing firmly towards a recession. But the administration went into full blown “jawbone” mode, talking up the rosy prospects of an imminent China trade deal at every turn.
This was all against a Ukraine scandal that reeled wildly out of control by the day. Is there a country that Trump DIDN’T ask for assistance in his reelection campaign? Now we know why the president was at the United Nations last week.
The September Nonfarm Payroll Report came in at a weakish 136,000, with the Headline Unemployment rate at 3.5%, a new 50-year low.
Average hourly earnings fell. Apparently, it is easy to get a job but impossible to get a pay raise. July and August were revised up by 45,000 jobs.
Healthcare was up by 39,000 and Professional and Business Services 34,000. Manufacturing fell by 2,000 and retail by 11,0000. The U-6 “discouraged worker” long term unemployment rate is at 6.9%.
The US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index collapsed in August from 49.7 to 47.9, triggering a 400-point dive in the Dow average. This is the worst report since 2009. Manufacturing, some 11% of the US economy, is clearly in recession, thanks to the trade war-induced loss of foreign markets. A strong dollar that overprices our goods doesn’t help either.
The Services PMI Hit a three-year low, from 53.1 to 50.4, with almost all economic data points now shouting “recession.” The only question is whether it will be shallow or deep. I vote for the former. Consumer Spending was flat in August. That’s a big problem since the average Joe is now the sole factor driving the economy. Everything else is pulling back. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, edged up 0.1% last month as an increase in outlays on recreational goods and motor vehicles was offset by a decrease in spending at restaurants and hotels.
The Transports, a classic leading sector for the market, have been delivering horrific price action this year giving up all of its gains relative to the S&P 500 since the 2009 crash.
Oil (USO) got crushed on recession fears, down a stunning 19.68% in three weeks. The global supply glut continues. Over production and fading demand is not a great formula for prices.
Toyota Auto Sales (TM) cratered by 16.5% in September, to 169,356 vehicles in another pre-recession indicator. It’s the worst month since January during a normally strong time of the year. The deals out there now are incredible.
Online Brokerage stocks were demolished on the Charles Schwab (SCHW) move to cut brokerage fees to zero. TD Ameritrade (AMTD) followed the next day and was spanked for 23%, and E*TRADE (ETFC) punched for 17. These are cataclysmic one0-day stock moves and signal the end of traditional stock brokerage.
The Mad Hedge Trader Alert Service has blasted through to yet another new all-time high. My Global Trading Dispatch reached new apex of 341.86% and my year-to-date accelerated to +41.72%. The tricky and volatile month of October started out with a roar +5.40%. My ten-year average annualized profit bobbed up to +35.06%.
Some 26 out of the last 27 trade alerts have made money, a success rate of96.29%! Under promise and over deliver, that’s the business I have been in all my life. It works.
I used the recession-induced selloff since October 1 to pile on a large aggressive short dated portfolio. I am 60% long with the (SPY), (IWM), (USO), (WMT), (AAPL), and (GOOGL). I am 20% short with positions in the (SPY) and (C), giving me a net risk position of 40% long.
The coming week is all about the September jobs reports. It seems like we just went through those.
On Monday, October 7 at 9:00 AM, the US Consumer Credit figures for August are out.
On Tuesday, October 8 at 6:00 AM, the NFIB Business Optimism Index is released.
On Wednesday, October 9, at 2:00 PM, we learn the Fed FOMC Minutes from the September meeting.
On Thursday, October 10 at 8:30 AM, the US Inflation Rate is published. US-China trade talks may, or may not resume.
On Friday, October 11 at 8:30 AM, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment for October is announced.
The Baker Hughes Rig Count is released at 2:00 PM.
As for me, I’m still recovering from running a swimming merit badge class for 60 kids last weekend. Some who showed up couldn’t swim, while others arrived with no swim suits, prompting a quick foray into the lost and found.
One kid jumped in and went straight to the bottom, prompting an urgent rescue. Another was floundering after 15 yards. When I pulled him out and sent him to the dressing room, he started crying, saying his dad would be mad. I replied, “Your dad will be madder if you drown.”
I never felt so needed in my life.
Good luck and good trading.
John Thomas CEO & Publisher The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/young-john-thomas.png497499Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-10-07 03:02:222019-10-07 03:46:23The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or Will He, or Won’t He?
(LAST CHANCE TO BUY THE NEW MAD HEDGE BIOTECH AND HEALTH CARE LETTER AT THE FOUNDERS PRICE) (SEPTEMBER 18 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A), (SPY), (VIX), (USO), (ROKU), (TLT), (BA), (INDU), (GM), (FXI), (FB), (SCHW), (IWM), (AMTD)
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.png00Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-10-04 07:06:252019-10-04 07:00:03October 4, 2019