Global Market Comments
June 24, 2020
(HOW TO HEDGE YOUR CURRENCY RISK),
Global Market Comments
June 24, 2020
(HOW TO HEDGE YOUR CURRENCY RISK),
Global Market Comments
June 15, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or WAITING FOR MY SUGAR CUBE),
(SPY), (INDU), (UUP), (GLD), (TLT), (HTZ), (TSLA)
Global Market Comments
March 24, 2020
(TEN SIGNS THE MARKET IS BOTTOMING),
(FXI), (BRK/A), (BA), (DAL), (SPX),
(INDU), (UUP), (VIX), (VXX), (AAPL)
I spent the morning calling some big hedge fund friends asking what they are looking for to indicate the market may be bottoming. I’ll give you a warning right now. None of the traditional fundamental or technical measures have any validity in this market.
Markets will need to see at least one, and maybe all of these before they launch into a sustainable recovery. The good news is that several have already happened and are flashing green.
1) Watch New Corona Cases in China
The pandemic started in China and it will end in China (FXI). The president of China, Xi Jinping, has already announced that the epidemic is over and that the country is returning to normal. The country is donating thousands of respirators and millions of masks to Europe and poor countries all over the world. China was able to enforce a quarantine far more severe than possible in the West, such as using the army to surround 60 million people for a month. So, the results in the Middle Kingdom may not be immediately transferable to the US.
If we do get an actual fall in the number of cases in China, that could indicate the end is near. To keep track, click here.
2) Watch Corona Cases in Italy
Italy quarantined two weeks before California so we should get an earlier answer there. The numbers are reliable, but we don’t know the true extent of their quarantine. After all, this is Italy. Also, Italy has a much older population than the US (that Mediterranean diet keeps Italians alive forever), so they will naturally suffer a higher death rate. However, a decline in cases there will be proof that a western-style shelter-in-place order will work. To keep track, click here.
3) Watch Corona Cases in California
The Golden State was the first to quarantine ten days ago, so it will be the first American state to see cases top out. On Monday, we were at 1,733 cases and 27 deaths, or one in 1.5 million. However, it is a partial quarantine at best, with maybe half of the 20 million workforce staying home. When our cases top out, which should be the week of April 13, it could be an indication that the epidemic is flagging. To keep track, click here.
4) Watch Washington
Passage of a Corona Economic Recovery Bill could take place as early as Friday and could be worth $2 trillion. Add in the massive stimulus provided by the Federal Reserve, a large multiple of the 2008-2009 efforts, and $10 trillion is about to hit the economy. Warning: don’t be short an economy that is about to be hit with $10 trillion worth of stimulus.
5) Watch the Technicals.
Yes, technicals may be worthless now but someday in the future, they won’t be. The stock market has traded 20% below the 200-day moving average only four times in the last century. The Dow Average (INDU) was 32% below the 200-day moving average at the Monday low. The next rip-your-face off short-covering rally is imminent and may initially target that down 20% level at $21,496, or 18% above the Monday low.
6) Watch for the Big Buy
Value players are back in the market for the first time in six years, the last time the S&P 500 (SPX) traded at a discount to its historical 15.5X earnings multiple and are circling targets like hungry sharks. Watch for Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A) to buy a large part of a trophy property, like a major bank or airline. He’s already stepped up his ownership in Delta Airlines (DAL). I’m sure he’s going over the books of Boeing (BA). Warren might even buy back his own stock at a discount to net asset value, down 31.4% in a month. Any move by Warren will signal confidence to the rest of the markets.
7) Watch the US Dollar
With US overnight interest rates having crashed by 1.5% in recent weeks, the US dollar (UUP) should be the weakest currency in the world. The greenback overnight became a zero-yielding currency. Instead, it has been the strongest, rocketing on a gigantic global flight to safety bid. When the foreign exchange rates return to rationality, the buck should weaken, as it has already started to do after last week’s super spike. A weak dollar will be good for American companies and their stocks.
8) Watch the (VIX)
We now know that the Volatility Index (VIX), (VXX) was artificially boosted last week by hundreds of short players covering positions with gigantic losses and going bust. Now that this is washed out, I expect volatility to decline for the rest of 2020. It has already fallen from $80 to $49 in days. This is a precursor to a strong stock market.
9) Watch the Absolute Value of the Market
There could be a magic number beyond which prices can’t fall anymore. That could be yesterday’s 18,000, 17,000, or 15,000. Some 80% of all US stocks are owned by long term holders who never sell, like pension funds, corporate crossholdings, or individuals who have owned them for decades and don’t want to pay the capital gains tax. When the ownership of that 20% is shifted to the 80%, the market runs out of sellers and stocks can’t fall anymore. That may have already happened. Similarly, a final capitulation selloff of market leaders, like Apple (AAPL) may also be a sign that the bear market is ending. (AAPL) is off 34.40% since February.
10) Watch John Thomas
I am watching all of the above 24/7. So rather than chase down all these data points every day, just watch for my next trade alert. I am confined to my home office for the duration, probably for months, so I have nothing else to do. No trips to Switzerland, the Taj Mahal, or the Great Pyramids of Egypt for me this year. It will just be nose to the grindstone.
Stay Healthy and we’ll back a killing on the back nine.
Let’s say you absolutely love a stock but despise the currency of the country it comes from.
The United States comes to mind. The US Federal Reserve is about to commence with a policy of cutting interest rates that could last a year. That means the greenback is about to become the weakest currency in the world. Look at the ten-year chart below and you’ll see that a major double bottom for the Aussie may be taking place.
Most American technology stocks are likely to gain 30% or more over the next two years. However, it’s entirely possible that the US dollar declines by 30% or more against the Australian (FXA) and Canadian (FXC) dollars during the same period. Making 30% and then losing 30% leaves you with precisely zero profit.
There is a way to avoid this dilemma that would vex Solomon. Simply hedge out your currency risk. I’ll use the example of the Australian dollar as we have recently had a large influx of new subscribers from the land down under.
Let’s say you want to buy AUS$100,000 worth of Apple (AAPL), the world’s most widely owned stock.
Since Apple is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, its shares are denominated in US dollars. When you buy Apple in Australia, your local broker will automatically buy the US dollars for your account to settle this trade in the US, taking out a small commission along the way. You are now long US dollars, thus creating a currency risk.
Getting rid of this currency risk is quite simple. You need to offset your US dollar long with a US dollar short of equal value. Long dollars/short dollars give the Australian investor a currency-neutral position. The US dollar can go to hell in a handbasket and you won’t care.
There are several financial instruments with which you can do this. Buying Invesco Currency Shares Australian Dollar Trust ETF (FXA) is the easiest. This ETF invests 100% of its assets in long Australian dollar/short US dollar futures and overnight cash positions.
I’ll do the math for you on the final hedged position assuming that the Australian dollar is worth 70 US cents.
BUY AUS$100,000 long US dollars X US$0.70 cents/dollar = US$70,000.
US$70,000/$210 per share for Apple = 333 Apple shares
BUY US$70,000/$70 (FXA) price = US$1,000 shares of the (FXA)
Thus, by owning AUS$100,000 worth of Apple shares and 1,000 shares of the (FXA), you have completely removed the currency risk in owning Apple. You have in effect turned Apple into an Australian dollar-denominated stock. Apple can rise, the US dollar will fall, and you will make twice as much money in Australian dollars.
There are a few problems with this precise trade. The liquidity in the (FXA) is not great, especially during US trading hours. Understandably, the bulk of Aussie liquidity takes place during Australian business hours.
There are other instruments with which you can hedge out the currency risk of Apple or any other US dollar-denominated investment.
You can take out your own short dollar position in the futures market. You can ask your bank to create a short position in the US dollar in the cash market. Or, you can simply ask your broker to hedge out your US dollar currency risk for which they will charge you another small commission.
Hedging out currency risk is not only free, the market will pay you to do it. That’s because Australian dollar overnight interest rates at 1.00% are lower than US dollar overnight interest rates at 2.50%. By shorting Aussie against the buck, you get to keep this 1.50% interest differential.
You don’t have to be Australian to want your Apple shares denominated in Australian dollars. In fact, hedge funds do this all day long. They pursue a strategy of keeping their long position in the world’s strongest securities (Apple), and their short positions in the world’s weakest securities (the US dollar). This, by the way, is also the strategy of the Mad Hedge Fund Trader. It’s called “global long/short macro.”
The better ones often make money on both sides of the equation with the longs rising and the shorts falling. You can do the same in your own personal online trading platform.
I should urge a word of caution here. What happens if you hedge out your US dollar risk, and the dollar continues to appreciate? Then you will get none of the gains from that appreciation and will end up losing money in Australian dollars if Apple shares remain unchanged.
In the worst case, if both Apple and the Aussie could go down, this accelerates your losses. So, currency hedging can be a double-edged sword. Yes, this may be irrational given the fundamentals of the Aussie and Apple. But as any experienced long term trader will tell you, “Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain liquid.”
Many thanks to John Maynard Keynes.
Global Market Comments
September 30, 2019
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or INTERESTING TIMES ARE UPON US)
(MO), (PM), (FXB), (SPY), ($INDU), (GS), (MTCH), (USO), (UUP)
“May you live in interesting times.” The question is whether this old Chinese proverb is a blessing or a curse.
Our beleaguered lives have certainly been getting more interesting by the day, if not the hour. Trump has been withholding military aid from foreign leaders to fish for dirt on those who may run against him in 2020. The prospects of the Chinese trade negotiations seem to flip flop by the day.
Prospective IPOs for Saudi ARAMCO and WeWork have been stood up against a wall and shot. The Altria (MO) – Philip Morris (PM) merger went up in smoke. Brexit (FXB) has turned into a runaway roller coaster that has lost its brakes. And that was just last week!
All of this is happening with the major indices (SPY), ($INDU) mere inches away from all-time highs, with valuations at the high end of the decade-old band. A worse risk/reward for initiating new positions I can’t imagine. I think I’ll go take a long nap instead.
There are times to trade and there are times to engage in research and this is definitely time for the latter. That means when it is time to strike, you already have a list of short names on which to execute. The worst time to initiate research is when the Dow is down 1,000 points.
I believe the markets are gridlocked until we get a good look at Q3 corporate earnings. If they are as bad as the macro data is suggesting, markets will tank. If they aren’t, we may see a begrudging slow-motion grind up to new highs.
Our launch of the Mad Hedge Biotech and Healthcare Letter was a huge success. Let me tell you, we have some real blockbusters lined up in our newsletter queue. The Tuesday letter will have a link that will enable you to get in at the $997 a year founders’ price. Otherwise, you can find it in our store now for $1,500 a year. Please click here.
The WeWork IPO is on the Rocks, with the CEO soon to be fired for self-dealing. In any case, the company has minimal added value and will not survive the next recession when the bulk of its tenants walk. Don’t touch this one on pain of death, even down three quarters from its original valuation.
Watch out for October, says Goldman Sachs (GS), which will see a volatility (VIX) spike 25%. Shockingly poor Q3 corporate earnings results could be the trigger with almost every company negatively impacted by the trade war. This could set up our next entry point on the long side.
The Saudi ARAMCO IPO is on the skids in the wake of the mass drone attack. Terrorist attacks on your key infrastructure is not a great selling point for new shareholders. It just underlines the high-risk investing in the area. The world’s largest IPO may get cancelled.
A huge killing was made on the Thomas Cook affair. It looks like short sellers raked in $2.7 billion in profits on the collapse. Some 600,000 mostly British travelers were stranded or had future vacations cancelled.
Thomas Cook never figured out the Internet, were destroyed by the collapse of the pound triggered by Brexit and, horror upon horrors, bought an airline. It’s all great news for surviving European tour operators and discount airlines. Airfares are already rising.
The S&P Case Shiller ticked up in July, showing that the National Home Price Index rising 3.2%. It’s the first positive move in more than a year. It’s got to be super-low interest rates finally kicking in. But the real move up won’t start until SALT deductions come back in 18 months.
That went over like a lead balloon. From the moment Trump started speaking at the United Nations, stocks went into free fall, dropping 450 points from top to bottom. It’s trade war against everyone all the time with his withdrawal from globalization. Oh, and if you want to resist America’s incredible military might, we will crush you. It’s not what traders wanted to hear.
In the meantime, the impeachment moved forward, with younger Democrats forcing Pelosi’s hand. The Ukraine scandal, a Trump effort to have candidate Joe Biden arrested, was the stick that broke the camel’s back. Fortunately, the stock market could care less. Stocks rose 20% during the last impeachment in the 1990s.
US Consumer Confidence dove in September from 133 estimated down to 125.1 as trade war concerns take their toll. It’s one of the first September data points to come out and presages worse to come. News fatigue has to be a factor.
Bitcoin Crashed 15% to a new three-month low, hitting $7,944. Other cryptos fell 20%. All of the explanations were technical as they always are with this bogus asset class.
The Vaping Crisis demoed the Altria-Philip Morris merger. Suddenly, the crown jewels are toxic and about to be made illegal. The Juul CEO has resigned and the company may be about to go down the tubes. One of the largest mergers in history that would have created a $200 billion company has been tossed on the dustbin of history.
In a rare positive data point, New Homes Sales soared 7.1% in August to a 713,000 annualized rate. Median sales prices rise by 2.2% YOY to $328,400. Inventories drop from 5.9 to 5.5 months. The big numbers are happening in the south and west. Historically low-interest rates are kicking in big time.
The FTC Slammed Match Group (MTCH), the owner of Tinder and OK Cupid, for security lapses and scamming their own customers. Apparently, that gorgeous six-foot blond who speaks six languages who want to meet me if I only subscribed doesn’t actually exist. Oh well.
Q2 GDP final read came in at 2.0% with no change from the last report. Coming quarters will almost certainly be worse as the chickens come home to roost from a global trade war. We may already be in a recession and not know it. Inventories are building at a tremendous rate. Certainly, Fortune 500 CEOs think so.
Tesla deliveries may hit new high in Q3, topping 100,000, according to last week’s leak. The stock is back in play. It looks like I am going to get a new entertainment package upgrade too.
The Mad Hedge Trader Alert Service has blasted through to yet another new all-time high. My Global Trading Dispatch reached new apex of 336.07% and my year-to-date accelerated to +39.47%. The tricky and volatile month of September closed out +3.08%. at My ten-year average annualized profit bobbed up to +34.53%.
Some 25 out of the last 27 trade alerts have made money, a success rate of 92.59%. Under-promise and over-deliver, that’s the business I have been in all my life. It works.
I took profits in my short position in oil (USO) earlier in the week, capturing a 12% decline there. That gives me a rare 100% cash position. I’m itching to get back in, but conditions right now are terrible
The coming week is all about the September jobs reports. It seems like we just went through those.
On Monday, September 30 at 9:45 AM, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for September is out.
On Tuesday, October 1 at 10:00 AM, the US Construction Spending for August is published
On Wednesday, October 2, at 8:15 AM, we learn the ADP Private Employment Report is out for September.
On Thursday, October 3 at 8:30 AM, the Weekly Jobless Claims are printed. At 3:00 PM, we get US Vehicle Sales for September.
On Friday, October 4 at 8:30 AM, the September Nonfarm Payroll Report is announced. Last month was a big disappointment so this month could set a new trend.
The Baker Hughes Rig Count is released at 2:00 PM.
As for me, I’ll be camping out with 2,500 Boy Scouts at the Solano Fair Grounds to attend Advance Camp. That’s where scouts have the opportunity to earn any of 50 merit badges in a single day.
I will be teaching the Swimming Merit Badge class. The basic idea is that if you throw a scout in the pool and he doesn’t drown, he passes. Personally, I wanted to take the welding class. The bonus is that we get to ride nearby roller coasters at Six Flags for free.
Good luck and good trading.
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
September 20, 2019
(SEPTEMBER 18 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(TLT), (FDX), (FB), (HYG), (JNK), (EEM), (BABA), (JD), (TBT), (FXE), (UUP), (AMZN), (FB), (DIS), (MSFT), (USO), (INDU),
(THE GREAT TRADING GURU SPEAKS)
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader September 18 Global Strategy Webinar broadcast from Silicon Valley, CA with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!
Q: What would happen to the United States Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) if the Fed does not lower rates?
A: My bet is that it would immediately have a selloff—probably several points—but after that, recession worries will take bond prices up again and yields down. I don’t think we have seen the final lows in interest rates by a long shot. That’s why I bought the (TLT) last week.
Q: Is it good to buy FedEx (FDX) considering the 13% fall today?
A: I use the 3-day rule on these situations. That’s how long it takes for the dust to settle from an earnings shock like this and find the real price. The problem with FedEx is that it’s a great early recession predictor. When the number of delivered packages decreases, it’s always an indicator that the economy as a whole is slowing down, which we know has been happening. It’s one of the most cyclical stocks out there, therefore one of the most dangerous. I wouldn’t bother with FedEx right now. Go take a long nap instead.
Q: Would you be a buyer of Facebook (FB) here, given they seem to have weathered all the recent attacks from Washington?
A: Not here in particular, but I would buy it 20% down when it gets to the bottom edge of its upward channel—it still looks like it’s going crazy. They’re literally renting or buying buildings to hire an additional 50,000 people in San Francisco anticipating huge growth of their business, so that’s a better indicator of the future of Facebook than anything.
Q: Will junk bonds be more in demand now that rates are cratering?
A: Junk bonds (HYG), (JNK) are driven more by the stock market than the bond market, as you can see in the huge rally we just had. Junk bonds are great because their default ratios are usually far below that which the interest rate implies, but you really have to trade them like stocks. Think of them as preferred stocks with really high dividends. When the stock market tops, so will junk bonds. Remember in 2008, junk yields got all the way up to 15% compared to today’s 5.6%.
Q: What will happen to emerging markets (EEM) as rates lower?
A: If lower interest rates bring a weaker US dollar, that would be very positive for emerging markets over the long term and they would be a great buy. However, emerging markets will take the hardest hit if we actually do go into a recession. So, I would pass for now.
Q: What are your thoughts on Alibaba (BABA) and JD.com (JD)?
A: They are great for the long term. However, expect a lot of volatility in the short term. As long as the trade war is going on, these are going to be hard to trade until we get a settlement. (JD) is already up 50% this year but is still down 40% from pre trade war levels. These things will all be up 20-30% when that happens. If you can take the heat until then, they would probably be okay for a long-term portfolio globally diversified.
Q: What do you have to say about the ProShares Ultra Short 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TBT)—the short bond ETF?
A: If you have a position, I’d be selling now. We just had a massive 20%, 4-point rally from $22 to $27 and now would be a good time to take a profit, or at least get out closer to your cost. The zero interest rates story is not over yet.
Q: Would you short the US dollar?
A: I would most likely short it against the euro (FXE), which now has a massive economic stimulus and quantitative easing program coming into play which should be positive for it and negative for the US dollar (UUP). That’s most likely why the euro has stabilized over the last couple of weeks. That said, the dollar has been unexpected high all year despite falling interest rates so I have been avoiding the entire foreign exchange space. I try to stay away from things I don’t understand.
Q: If all our big tech September vertical bull call spreads are in the money, what should we do?
A: You do nothing. They all expire at the Friday close in two trading days. Your broker should automatically use your long call position to cover your short call position and credit your account with the total profit on the following Monday, as well as release the margin for holding that position. After that, we’ll probably wait for another good entry point on all the same names, (AMZN), (FB), (DIS), (MSFT).
Q: If the US fires a cruise missile at Iran, how would the market react?
A: It would selloff pretty big—markets hate wars. And the US wouldn’t send one missile at Iran; it would be more like 100, probably aimed at what little nuclear facilities they have. I doubt that is going to happen. The world has figured out that Trump is a wimp. He talks big but there is never any action or follow through. Inviting the Taliban to Camp David while they were still blowing up our people? Really?
Q: Will the housing market turn on the turbochargers after this dip in rates?
A: It wouldn’t turn on the turbochargers, but it might stabilize the market because money is available now at unprecedentedly low interest rates. However, we still have the loss of the SALT deductions—the state and local taxes and real estate taxes that came in with the Trump tax bill. Since then, real estate has been either unchanged or has fallen on both the East and West coast where the highest priced houses are. It’s the most expensive houses that take the loss of the SALT deduction the hardest. Don’t expect any movement in these markets until the SALT deduction comes back, probably in 16 months.
Q: What catalyst do you think would cause a 10% correction in the next 2-3 months?
A: Trump basically saying “screw you” to the Chinese—a tweet saying he’s going to bring another round of tariff increases. That’s worth a minimum of 2,000 points in the Dow Average (INDU), or about 7% percent. Either that or no move in Fed interest rates—that would also create a big selloff. My guess is that and adverse development in the trade war will be what does it. That’s why my positions are so small now.
Q: We have a big short position in the United States Oil Fund (USO) now. Are you going to run this into expiration until October $18?
A: Even though oil has already collapsed by 10% since we put this position on last Friday, premiums in oil options are still close to record levels. So, it pays us to hang on for the time decay. The world is still massively oversupplied in oil and the Saudis were able to bring half of the lost production back on in a day. Oil will keep falling unless there is another attack and it is unlikely we will see one again on this scale. And, we only have 20 more days to go to capture the full 14.8% profit.
Good luck and good trading.
CEO & Publisher
Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
August 29, 2019
(HOW THE MARKETS WILL PLAY OUT FOR THE REST OF 2019),
(SPY), ($INDU), (USO), (TLT), (UUP), (COPX), (GLD),
(HOW THE MAD HEDGE MARKET TIMING ALGORITHM WORKS)