Global Market Comments
May 14, 2021
(MAY 12 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(FCX), (QQQ), (JWN), (DAL), (MSFT), (PLTR), (V), (MA), (AXP), (UUP), (FXA), (SPWR), (FSLR), (TSLA), (ARKK), (CLX), (NIO), (EPEV), (SOX), (VIX), (USO), (XLE)
Global Market Comments
February 19, 2021
(FEBRUARY 17 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(USO), (XLE), (AMZN), (SPY), (RIOT), (T), (ZM), (ROKU), (TSLA), (NVDA) (TMQ) (TLRY), (ACB), (KO), (XLF), (AAPL) (REMX), (GLD), (SLV), (CPER)
Global Market Comments
April 21, 2020
I spent the day trying to charter a 500,000-tonne oil tanker.
If I had found one, I could have bought oil at the close of the market today at negative -$37.78 a barrel and then immediately resold it for June delivery for $21, generating an instant $57.78 a barrel profit. At 7.33 barrels a metric ton that gives me a $211 million profit. All I have to do is keep the oil for a month. Big hedge funds are doing this right now.
When I toured Australia in February, I warned investors that crude would fall from $80 to $10 by 2030, which many called extreme. I warned them to get out of all energy investments immediately, as I have done with you for the past several years. It is an industry that is going the way of the buggy whip maker.
Instead, we saw a move from $80 to negative -$37 in two months. They must think I’m some kind of idiot, clueless about the functioning of this important commodity market, despite having invested and worked in the industry for five years.
Of course, the wild prices are a product of the futures market, where financial derivatives outnumber the underlying physical market by 100 to one. Anyone who buys here today has to take delivery by 2:30 EST on Tuesday. With all the world’s storage and shipping already committed that is impossible. You literally can’t give oil away right now.
All transportation use of oil has virtually ceased. Most airlines are grounded, no ships are sailing, and nobody is driving anymore. Of the world’s potential daily oil supply, we have crashed from 100 million b/d to 65 b/d in two months. It is a move unprecedented in history.
Throwing gasoline on the fire are 16 supertankers which sailed from Saudi Arabia but for which there are no buyers.
This panic is happening in the face of Cushing, Oklahoma’s storage capacity which is now at 61 million barrels and could be at its limit of 78 million barrels in a couple of weeks. Then where does the Texas tea go?
Since June futures are still trading at $21, I believe this carnage is due to the future expiration and should pass in a few days. But unless more storage shows up out of the blue, or the industry shuts in production of 35 million b/d, the Armageddon in the futures market will become a monthly affair.
All eyes are now on the United States Oil Fund (USO), which liquidated all its May oil contracts two weeks ago to avoid precisely this kind of debacle. All longs were rolled forward to June contracts, which expire on May 19, and into July.
(USO) now owns one-third of all June oil contracts. Some $1.5 billion poured into the (USO) last week, which then immediately dropped in value by half.
I know this sounds insane, but if you bought the (USO) at the Monday close of $3.75 and it returns to the $5.00 where it was trading last Thursday and oil was trading at $25 you should be able to make a quick 33% on your money in a few days.
I wouldn’t let this trade grow hair on it. I’ll be selling on the first rally. That’s why I’m only going with a 5% position instead of the usual 10%. Now is not the time to get greedy in the oil market.
Eventually, supply and demand will come into balance from a combination of production cuts and demand increases from a recovering global economy. Best guess is that happens in July or August at the earliest. OPEC has already cut production by 10 million barrels a day for two months and 8 million b/d for the rest of the year. After that, oil could trade back as high as $40 a barrel.
If oil stays this low for too long, the geopolitical implications are immense. There will be a second Russian Revolution, which depends on crude sales for 70% of total government revenues.
Saudi Arabia will go up in flames and the royal family will flee to Geneva, Switzerland where their money is, leaving 34 million citizens to perish. What population did the country support before the post-war oil industry took off in 1950? About 4 million. I remember Saudi Arabia in the 1960s and it was not a pleasant place. People walked barefoot on 150-degree sands.
But I diverge.
At some point, another trade of the century on the long side of oil is out there. But the price of being early is high.
A “BUY” Signal?
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader February 26 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: There’s been a moderation of new coronavirus cases in China. Is this what the market needs to find a bottom?
A: Absolutely it is; of course, the next risk is that cases keep increasing overseas. The final bottom will come when overseas cases start to disappear, and that could be a month or two off.
Q: How low will interest rates go after the coronavirus?
A: Well, interest rates already hit new all-time lows before the virus became a stock market problem. The virus is just giving it a turbocharger. Our initial target of 1.32% for the ten-year US Treasury bond was surpassed yesterday, and we think it could eventually hit 1.00% this year.
Q: What is the best way to know when to buy the dip?
A: When the Volatility Index (VIX) starts to drop. If you can get the volatility index down to the mid-teens and stay there, then the market will stabilize and start to rise fairly sharply. A lot of the really high-quality stocks in the market, like United Airlines (UAL), Walt Disney (DIS), Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), have really been crushed by this selloff. So those are the names people are going to look at for quality at a discount. That’s going to be your new investment theme, buying quality at a discount.
Q: Do recent events mean that Boeing (BA) is headed down to 200?
A: I wouldn’t say $200, but $280 is certainly doable. And if you get to $280, then the $240/$250 call spread all of a sudden looks incredibly attractive.
Q: What does a Bernie Sanders presidency mean for the market?
A: Well, if he became president, we could be looking at like a 50-80% selloff—at least a repeat of the ‘09 crash. However, I doubt he will get elected, or if elected, he won’t have control of congress, so nothing substantial will get done.
Q: Is this the beginning of Chinese (FXI) bank failures that will cause an economic crisis in mainland China?
A: It could be, but the actual fact is that the Chinese government is doing everything they can to rescue troubled banks and companies of all types with short term emergency loans. It’s part of their QE emergency rescue package.
Q: Can you explain what lower energy prices mean for the global economy?
A: Well, if you’re an oil consumer (USO), it’s fantastic news because the price of gas is going down. If you’re an oil producer (XLE), like for people in the Middle East, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, it’s terrible news. And if you’re involved anywhere in the oil industry, or own energy stocks or MLPs, you’re looking at something like another great recession. I have been hugely negative on energy for years. I’ve seen telling people to sell short coal (KOL). It’s having a “going out of business” sale.
Q: Should I aggressively short Tesla (TSLA) here? Surely, they couldn’t go up anymore.
A: Actually, they could go up a lot more. I would just stay away from Tesla and watch in amazement—there’s no play here, long or short. It suffices to say that Tesla stock has generated the biggest short-selling losses in market history. I think we’re up to about $15 billion now in short losses. Much smarter people than us have lost fortunes trying in that game.
Q: Was that an Amazon trade or a Google trade?
A: I sent out both Amazon and an Apple trade alert this morning. You should have separate trade alerts for each one.
Q: Are chips a long term buy at today’s level?
A: Yes, but companies like NVIDIA (NVDA), Micron Technology (MU), and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) may be better long-term buys if you wait a couple of weeks and we test the new lows that we’ve been talking about. Chips are the canary in the coal mine for the global economy, and we have not gotten an all-clear on the sector yet. If you’re really anxious to get into the sector, buy a half of a position here and another half 10% down, which might be later this week.
Q: When will Foxconn reopen, the big iPhone factory in China?
A: Probably in the next week or so. Workers are steadily moving back; some factories are saying they have anywhere from 60-80% of workers returning, so that’s positive news.
Q: Are bank stocks a sell because of lower interest rates?
A: Yes, absolutely. If you think the 10-year treasury is running to a 1.00% yield as I do, the banks will get absolutely slaughtered, and we hate the sector anyway on a long-term basis.
Q: What about future Fed rate cuts?
A: Futures markets are now pricing in possibly three more rate cuts this year after discounting no more rate cuts only a few weeks ago. So yes, we could get more interest rates. I think the government is going to pull all the stops out here to head off a corona-induced recession.
Q: Once your options expire, is it still affected by after-hours trading?
A: If you read the fine print on an options contract, they don’t actually expire until midnight on a Saturday night after options expiration day, even though the stock market stops trading on a Friday. I’ve never heard of a Saturday exercise, but you may have to get a batch of lawyers involved if you ever try that.
Q: What’s the worst-case scenario for this correction?
A: Everything goes down to their 200-day moving averages, including Indexes and individual stocks. You’re talking about Apple dropping to $243 and Microsoft (MSFT) to $144, and NASDAQ (QQQ) to 8,387. That could tale the Dow Average (INDU) to maybe 24,000, giving up all the 2019 gains.
Good Luck and Good Trading
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
January 6, 2019
2020 Annual Asset Class Review
A Global Vision
FOR PAID SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
(SPX), (QQQQ), (XLF), (XLE), (XLY),
(TLT), (TBT), (JNK), (PHB), (HYG), (PCY), (MUB), (HCP)
(FXE), (EUO), (FXC), (FXA), (YCS), (FXY), (CYB)
(FCX), (VALE), (AMLP), (USO), (UNG),
(GLD), (GDX), (SLV), (ITB), (LEN), (KBH), (PHM)
Global Market Comments
September 6, 2019
(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)
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.
Global Market Comments
September 3, 2019
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or VISIBILITY IS POOR),
(SPY), (TLT), (FXB), (WMT), (USO), (XLE)
I have a pretty good view from my home on a mountaintop in San Francisco.
To the west, I can see through the Golden Gate Bridge all the way out to the Farallon Islands 20 miles off the coast. To the south, there is Stanford’s Hoover Tower and all of Silicon Valley. In the winter I can look east and see the snow-covered High Sierras 200 miles away.
However, during last year’s wildfires, I couldn’t see a thing. Visibility ended at 100 yards, the cars parked outside were covered in ash, and I could barely breathe. We were all confined indoors.
I kind of feel that’s the way the stock market is right now. You can’t see a thing, so it’s better to stay indoors.
Not only are market gyrations subject to unpredictable and random, out-of-the-blue influences. The old playbook about cross market correlations and how asset classes respond at different points of the economic cycle doesn’t work either.
The good news is that August is over, the second worth trading month of the year. The bad news? September is the WORST trading month of the year!
So, what does a trader do on the first day of the worst investment month of the year?
That’s what I’ll be doing, waiting for the next cataclysmic collapse to buy or the next euphoric bubble to sell short. Until then, I’ll be sitting tight. Just running my existing long/short trading book, I’ll be up 3.4% by the September 20 option expiration date in 15 trading days.
There is one BIG positive for the economy that no one is talking about. The home ATM is open for business, and open like it’s never been open before.
The thirty-year fixed rate mortgage rate is now at 3.56%, 10 basis points over a decade low and 20 basis points above an all-time low (see the chart below). There are currently $9.4 trillion of outstanding home mortgages in the US. Some $5 trillion is in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loans, some 90% of which have interest rates higher than the current market.
If just ten million of these mortgages refinance obtaining an average of $4,560 in annual savings each, that will amount to a de facto tax cut of $456 billion per year, not an inconsequential amount. And Goldman Sachs thinks we could be in for as much as 37 million refis. It could be enough to offset the negative impact of the trade war.
As for the past week, it seemed like a disaster a day.
Trump ordered all US companies out of China. Like you can reverse 40 years’ worth of trillions of dollars of investment with a Tweet. If they did, an iPhone would cost $10,000 and your low-end laptop $15,000. An escalation of the trade war is the last thing your 401k wanted to hear. Kiss that early retirement goodbye.
Oil crashed (USO) on trade war escalation, with the industry now seeing a recession as a sure thing. Russian cheating on quotas is pouring the fat on the fire creating a massive supply glut in the face of shrinking demand. Take a long nap before considering any energy investment (XLE). The long-term charts show they are all going to zero.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspended Parliament, prompting a free fall in the pound. It’s to keep Parliament from blocking his hard Brexit, where it would certainly loose by a landslide. It’s all up to the Queen now, the monarch, not the rock group.
The yield inversion is deepening, with the US Treasury selling two-year notes today at a 1.56% yield, with ten-year yield closing at 1.45%. And that’s with the Treasury selling a total of a gob smacking $113 billion worth of bonds last week, which should have driven rates UP! US ten-year TIPS now showing negative interest rates.
Company stock buy backs are fading. That’s a big deal as corporations retiring their own shares have been the biggest buyers in the market for the past two years. As if you needed another reason for downside risk.
US 15% tariffs hit on Sunday, and the Chinese paused in retaliation. Christmas is about to get more expensive. Many large retailers won’t make it until the new year. Keep selling short Macy’s (M) on rallies.
Bond yields hit new lows, at 1.44% for ten-year US Treasury bonds. The next stop is zero. Fixed income markets are saying that a recession is imminent. “Inversion” will be the world of the year for 2019. Go refi that home if you can get a banker on the phone!
There is no way out of the next recession, says hedge fund titan Ray Dalio. With global rates below zero, you can’t cut to stimulate business. You can’t do any more quantitative easing either, as the world is already glutted with paper. This is the trap Japan has been caught in for the last 30 years. It is all sobering food for thought.
US growth slowed with the second reading of the Q2 GDP marked down from 2.1% to 2.0%. The downturn has continued since the economy peaked 18 months ago. Q3 will be much worse when the trade war and earnings downgrades hit big time. And then there’s the soaring deficit. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
US Consumer Sentiment took a dive from 98.4 to 89.8 in August. Has the spending boom just peaked? If so, we’re all toast. The “tariff cliff” is already taking its toll.
The Mad Hedge Trader Alert Service has posted its best month in two years. Some 22 or the last 23 round trips, or 95.6%, have been profitable, generating one of the biggest performance jumps in our 12-year history.
My Global Trading Dispatch has hit a new all-time high of 334.48% and my year-to-date shot up to +34.35%. My ten-year average annualized profit bobbed up to +34.30%.
I raked in an envious 16.01% in August. All of you people who just subscribed in June and July are looking like geniuses. My staff and I have been working to the point of exhaustion, but it’s worth it if I can print these kinds of numbers.
As long as the Volatility Index (VIX) stays above $20, deep in-the-money options spreads are offering free money. I am now 60% invested, 40% long big tech and 20% short Walmart (WMT) and the Russell 2000, with 20% in cash. It rarely gets this easy.
The coming week will be all about jobs, jobs, jobs.
Monday, September 2, markets were closed for the US Labor Day.
Today, Tuesday, September 3 at 10:00 AM, the August ISM Purchasing Manager’s Index is out.
On Wednesday, September 4, at 2:00 PM, the Fed Beige Book for July is published.
On Thursday, September 5 at 8:30 AM EST, the Weekly Jobless Claims are printed. At 10:30, we learn the ADP Report for private hiring.
On Friday, September 6 at 8:30 AM, the August Nonfarm Payroll Report is printed.
The Baker Hughes Rig Count follows at 2:00 PM.
As for me, I’ll be filling out the paperwork for my own home refi. JP Morgan Chase Bank (JPM) is offering the best deals, in my case a 30-year fixed rate no-cash-out jumbo loan for only 3.4%. Now where did I put that tax return?
Good luck and good trading.
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader