Posts

October 21, 2019

Global Market Comments
October 21, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or THE FORK IN THE ROAD),
(SPY), (TLT), (WMT), (GM), (FXI), (NFLX)

The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or The Fork in the Road

I usually don’t pay attention to technical analysis. It is the last refuge of the inexperienced and the uneducated.

However, I don’t ignore it either.

And that sets of a quandary for investors today. For on the one hand, the economic data couldn’t be worse, pointing to a certain trade war-induced recession sometime in 2020.

On the other hand, look at the chart for the S&P 500 (SPY) below and you can see that stocks have been in a clear uptrend for 2 ½ months. Another few weeks, and we might see a breakout to new all-time highs. Or, we might get a false breakout driven by algorithms only and then collapse to new 2019 lows.

Welcome to my world.

While my recent track record may say otherwise, I actually don’t know what markets are going to do every day of every week. And when I don’t know what to do, I do nothing. That’s especially easy to do now with my Mad Hedge Market Timing Index at a dead on neutral position of 50.

Of course, the elevated level of share prices could be the result of ultra-low interest rates and a complete lack of viable alternatives. At 11.9% dividend yield, US stock are among the highest yielding financial instruments in the world. At this year’s 15% capital gain and they are especially compelling, particularly to the many foreigners earning negative interest rates.

In the meantime, I wait for the markets to tell me what to do. I’m basically looking for a higher high to sell into, or a lower low to buy.

The IMF Downgraded Global Growth, from 3.2% to 3% and trade gets the blame. At 2.5% growth, many major economies will be in recessions. Risks are to the downside. More than 90% of the Global Economy is Slowing. It’s the worst forecast since 2008.

Bank earnings were mixed, with JP Morgan taking the lead with record revenues and credit card revenues the big winners. Goldman Sachs (GS) looks awful due to failing mergers and acquisitions. Wells Fargo is worse. Trading revenues are the drag.

Retail Sales dove off a surprising 0.3% in September when a 0.3% jump was expected. The individual shopper has been the sole support of the economy this year and when they bail the stock market will hate it.

A Brexit deal is finally on the table, but will Parliament vote for it? I doubt it. If they do, it will be a huge “RISK ON” development. This just could be like Trump announcing another China trade deal. If Brexit lives, Scotland will almost certainly vote to leave the United Kingdom and join Europe.

US Housing Starts fell in September from a 12-year high, down 9.4% to 1.256 million units. The mid-Atlantic gets the blame. Land and labor shortages are a problem.

The GM Strike (GM) is settled and the union probably will vote for it. The strike has definitely been a drag on the US economy. Part of the deal involved closing three old high cost US plants. It’s tough to vote against economic reality.

China’s Economy (FXI) slowed to a 6% growth rate as the trade war drags on business there. That’s a 30-year low. Export demand for US products is plunging. Almost every economic indicator is in decline. Not only is China one of America’s largest customers, it is also Europe’s. The data definitely put the kibosh on the week’s rally.

Netflix
soared on an earnings beat, soaring 9%. It looks like it is too early to write off the inventor of movie streaming. I guess a 20-year head start still counts for something. But I am staying away anyway.

I hate to be boring, but my Mad Hedge Trader Alert Service has scored yet another new all-time high. In fact, I have hit new highs almost every day for the last three months. Worse yet, my thesaurus is running out of metaphors for “new high.”

My Global Trading Dispatch reached new pinnacle of +349.64% for the past ten years and my 2019 year-to-date accelerated to +49.50%. The notoriously volatile month of October stands at a blockbuster +12.08%. My ten-year average annualized profit clawed its way up to +35.56%. If I make any more than this, no one will believe it, a frequent problem during my hedge fund days.

Some 28 out of the last 29 trade alerts have made money, a success rate of a stunning 96.55%! Under promise and over deliver, that is 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, and doing research for 12.

With my Mad Hedge Market Timing Index sitting around the neutral 50 level, there was very little to do this week but take profits on existing positions. Nothing like watching the money roll in. It’s like having a rich uncle write you a check once a month.

All I am left with after the October 18 option expiration is 80% cash and short positions in Wal-Mart (WMT) and the S&P 500 (SPY).

The coming week is pretty non-eventful of the data front. Maybe the stock market will be non-eventful as well.

On Monday, October 21 at 2:00 PM, the US monthly Budget Statement for September comes out, most likely showing a horrific $200 billion deficit.

On Tuesday, October 22 at 10:00 AM, Existing Home Sales are out for September.

On Wednesday, October 23 at 10:30 AM, EIA Energy Stocks are published.

On Thursday, October 24 at 8:30 AM, US Durable Goods are out. Weekly jobless claims are out at the same time.

On Friday, October 25 at 10:00 AM, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment is announced. The Baker Hughes Rig Count follows at 2:00 PM.

As for me, I’ll be driving up to Lake Tahoe to start organizing my October 25-26 conference, briefly stopping at Vacaville for breakfast at Mel’s Drive In and a top up charge for my Tesla Model X to make the climb over Donner Pass. First on the list is to unload there my five cases of vintage wine so it can adjust to the altitude.

Oh, and I haven’t had time for a haircut since I left for Australia four months ago. My kids are starting to call me a hippie.

The Mad Hedge Lake Tahoe Conference begins that night. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Good luck and good trading.

John Thomas
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 14, 2019

Global Market Comments
October 14, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or UNICORNS AND CANDY CANE)
(AAPL), (FDX), (SPY), (IWM), (USO), (WMT), (AAPL), (GOOGL),
(X), (JPM), (WFC), (C), (BAC)

The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or Unicorns and Candy Cane

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 of 94%! 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Surprises that Would Destroy This Market

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 OilThe 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 ReturnsSteep 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?

October 7, 2019

Global Market Comments
October 7, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or WILL HE OR WON’T HE?)
(INDU), (USO), (TM), (SCHW), (AMTD), (ETFC), (SPY), (IWM), (USO), (WMT), (AAPL), (GOOGL), (SPY), (C)

The Market Outlook for the Week Ahead, or Will He, or Won’t He?

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 of 96.29%! 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 6, 2019

Global Market Comments
September 6, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(SEPTEMBER 4 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(INDU), (FXY), (FXB), (USO), (XLE), (TLT), (TBT),
(FB), (AMZN), (MSFT), (DIS), (WMT), (IWM), (TSLA), (ROKU), (UBER), (LYFT), (SLV), (SIL)

September 4 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A

Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader September 4 Global Strategy Webinar broadcast from Silicon Valley with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!

 

Q: If Trump figures out the trade war will lose him the election; will he stop it?

A: Yes, and that is a risk that hovers over all short positions in the market at all times these days because stocks will soar (INDU) when the trade war ends. We now have 18 months of share appreciation that has been frustrated or deferred by the dispute with China. The problem is that the US economy is already sliding into recession and it may already be too late to turn it around.

Q: Do you see the British pound (FXB) dropping more on the Brexit turmoil? Do you think the UK will stay in the EU?

A: If the UK ends Brexit through an election, then the pound should recover from $1.19 all the way back up to $1.65 where it was before Brexit happened four years ago. If that does happen, it will be one of the biggest trades of the year anywhere in the world, going long the British pound. This is how I always anticipated it would end. I was in England for the Brexit vote and I was convinced that if they held the election the next day, it would have lost. The only reason it won was because nobody thought it would— a lot like our own 2016 election. That brings Britain back into the EEC, saves Europe, and has a positive impact on markets globally. So, this is a big deal. Not to do so would be economic suicide for Britain, and I think wiser heads will prevail.

Q: Do you think it’s a good idea for Saudi ARAMCO to go public in Japan as reports suggest?

A: When the Arabs want to get out of the oil business (USO), (XLE), you want to also. That’s what the sale of ARAMCO is all about. They’re going to get a $1 trillion or more valuation, raising $100 billion in cash. And guess who the biggest investors in alternative energy in California are? It’s Saudi Arabia. They see no future in oil, nor should you. This is why we’ve been negative on the sector all year. By the way, bankruptcies by frackers in the U.S. are at an all-time high, another indicator that low oil prices can’t be tolerated by the US industry for long.

Q: Is it time to buy the ProShares Ultra Short 20 year Plus Treasury Bond Fund (TBT)?

A: No, not yet; I think we’re going to break 1.33% — the all-time low yield for the (TLT) will probably be somewhere just below 1.00%. We probably won’t go to absolute zero because we still have a growing economy. The countries that already have negative interest rates have shrinking economies or are already in recession, like Germany or Great Britain can justify zero rates.

Q: Are you going to run all your existing positions into expiration?

A: I’m going to try to—it’s only 12 days to expiration, and we get to keep the full profit if we do. As long as the market is dead in the middle here, there are no other positions to put on, no extreme low to buy into or extreme high to sell into. It’s a question of letting this sort of nowhere-trend play out, but also there’s nothing else to buy, so there is no need to raise cash. So, we’re 60% invested now and we’re going to try running as many of those into expiration as we can. Looks like all the long technology positions are safe (FB), (AMZN), (MSFT), (DIS). The only thing we’re pressing here are the shorts in Walmart (WMT) and Russell 2000 (IWM).

Q: Do you think it’s a good idea for Tesla (TSLA) to build another Gigafactory in Shanghai, China during a trade war? Will this blow up in Elon’s face?

A: I don’t think so because the Chinese are desperate for the Tesla technology and they just gave Tesla an exemption on import duties on all parts that need to go there to build the cars. So, that’s a very positive development for Tesla and I believe the stock is up about $10 since that news came out.

Q: Will Roku (ROKU) ever pull back? Would you buy it up here?

A: No, we recommended this thing last year at $40; it’s now up to $165, and up here it’s just wildly overbought, in chase territory. Of course, the reason that’s happening is that the big concern last year was Amazon wiping out Roku, yet they ultimately ended up partnering with Roku, and that’s worth about a 400% gain in the stock. You know the second you get into this, it’s over. There are just too many better fish to fry in the technology area.

Q: What happens if our existing Russell 2000 (IWM) September 2019 $153-$156 in-the-money vertical BEAR PUT spread Russell 2000 position closes between $156 and $153?

A: You lose money. You will get the Russell 2000 shares put to you, or sold to you at $153.00, which means you now own them, and you’ll get a big margin call from your broker for owning the extra shares. If ever it looks like we’re getting close to the strike price going into expiration, I come out precisely because of that risk. You don’t want random chance dictating whether you’re going to make money in your position or not going into expiration. If you’re worried about that, I would get out now and you can still come out with a nice profit. Or, you can always wait for another down day tomorrow.

Q: Is it time to get super aggressive shorting Lyft (LYFT) or Uber (UBER) when they openly admit that they won’t make a profit anytime in the near future?

A: The time to short Uber (UBER) and Lyft was at the IPO when the shares became available to sell. Down here I don’t really want to do very much. It’s late in the game and Uber’s down about one third from its IPO price. We begged people to stay away from this. It’s another example where they waited for the company to go ex-growth before it went public, but it didn’t leave anything for the public. It was a very badly mishandled IPO—it’s now at $31 against a $45 IPO price and was at a new all-time low just 2 days ago. You knew when they offered the drivers shares, the thing was in trouble. Sometime this will be a buy, but not yet. Go take a long nap first.

Q: Is the fact that rich people are hoarding cash a good indicator that a recession is approaching?

A: Yes, absolutely. Bonds yielding 1.45% is also an indication that the wealthy are hoarding cash from other investment and parking it in US treasury bonds. I went to the Pebble Beach Concourse d’ Elegance vintage car show a few weeks ago and all of the $10 million plus cars didn’t sell, only those priced below $100,000. That is always a good indicator that the wealthy are bailing ahead of a recession. If you can’t get a premium price for your vintage Ferrari, trouble is coming.

Q: Argentina just implemented currency controls; is this the start of a rolling currency crisis among emerging nations?

A: No, I believe the problems are unique to Argentina. They’ve adopted what is known as Modern Momentary Theory—i.e. borrowing and printing money like crazy. Unfortunately, this is unsustainable and results in a devalued currency, general instability, and the eventual hanging of their leaders from the nearest lamppost. This is exactly the same monetary policy that the Trump administration has been pursuing since he came into office. Eventually, it will lead to tears, ours, not his.

Q: Is the new all-electric Porsche Taycan a threat to Tesla?

A: No, it’s not. Their cheapest car is $150,000 and it gets one third less range than Tesla does. It’s really aimed at Porsche fanatics, and I doubt they will get outside their core market. In the meantime, Tesla has taken over the middle part of the electric market with the Model 3 at $37,000 a car. That’s where the money is, and Porsche will never get there.

Q: How will the US pull out of recession if the interest rates are at or below zero?

A: It won’t—that’s what a lot of economists are concerned about these days. With interest rates below zero, the Fed has lost its primary means to stimulate the economy. The only thing left to do is use creative means like feeding the economy with currency, which Europe has been doing for 10 years, and Japan for 30, with no results. That’s another reason to not allow rates to get back to zero—so we have tools to use when we go into a recession 12-24 months from now.

Q: What’s the best way to buy silver?

A: The ETF iShares Silver Trust (SLV) and, if you want to be aggressive, the silver miners with the Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL).

Q: Have global central banks ruined the western economic system as we know it for future generations?

A: They may have—mostly by printing too much money in the last 10 years in order to get us out of recession. This hasn’t really worked for Europe or Japan, mind you, though who knows how much worse off they would be if they hadn’t. What it did do here is head off a Great Depression. If we go back to money printing in a big way, however, and it doesn’t work, we will not have prevented a Great Depression so much as pushed it back 10 or 15 years. That’s the great debate ongoing among economists, and it will eventually be settled by the marketplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 3, 2019

Global Market Comments
September 3, 2019
Fiat Lux

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