Posts

December 30, 2019

Global Market Comments
December 30, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(WILL SYNBIO SAVE OR DESTROY THE WORLD?),
(XLV), (XPH), (XBI), (IMB), (GOOG), (AAPL), (CSCO), (BIIB)

November 1, 2019

Global Market Comments
November 1, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(OCTOBER 30 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(SQ), (CCI), (SPG), (PGE), (BA), (MSFT), (GOOGL), (FB), (AAPL), (IBB), (XLV), (USO), (GM), (VNQ)

October 17, 2019

Global Market Comments
October 17, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(UPDATING THE MAD HEDGE LONG TERM MODEL PORTFOLIO),
(USO), (XLV), (CI), (CELG), (BIIB), (AMGN), (CRSP), (IBM), (PYPL), (SQ), (JPM), (BAC), (EEM), (DXJ), (FCX), (GLD)

October 3, 2019

Global Market Comments
October 3, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(GOOGLE’S MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN QUANTUM COMPUTING),
(GOOGL), (IBM)
(AI AND THE NEW HEALTHCARE),
(XLV), (BMY), (AMGN)

AI and the New Healthcare

The first major industry to be fundamentally disrupted by artificial intelligence will be healthcare, America’s last 19th-century industry.

Major diseases are being cured at such a dramatic pace that if you can survive the next decade, chances are you can live forever.

DNA is the software of life and spending $3 billion to decode it by 2003 was the best investment the U.S. government ever made.

These are the opinions expressed by longtime friend Dr. Ray Kurzweil. These ideas may seem like the ravings of a mad lunatic. However, Kurzweil long ago became used to such criticisms. The funny thing is, his very long-term predictions have a nasty habit of coming true.

For Kurzweil is the head of engineering at Google (GOOG), the co-founder of the Singularity University, and an early AI evangelist.

The outer shell of the human brain, the neocortex, is where we do all of our higher thinking, problem-solving and imagining. It first appeared in our pre-mammalian ancestors some 200 million years ago.

The neocortex enjoyed a sudden growth spurt 2 million years ago for reasons no one understands. Maybe that’s when we came out of the trees. This gave homo sapiens a huge advantage over all other life forms on earth.

The next step in our intellectual evolution will be carried out by AI. By connecting our neocortex to the Internet, we will improve our intelligence by a billion-fold. Imagine everyone you come in contact with is a billion times smarter than they are today.

Ironically, such advances in human bionic connections have been greatly advanced by our recent wars in the Middle East, which created large numbers of quadriplegic veterans desperate for contact with the outside world.

Defense research dollars have poured in to meet this need. Last year, I saw a classified video of a disabled soldier operating a computer just by thinking about keystrokes.

Kurzweil calls such a connection the Singularity, where humans and computers become one. He envisions this taking place on a large scale by the mid-2040s.

We already know how this will affect civilization because the billion-fold improvement in intelligence is already available in our hand in the form of a smartphone. All that is missing is the human/machine connection.

Over the past 1,000 years, human life expectancy has improved fourfold, from 19 to 80. As a result, a raft of new diseases has appeared only in the past century that show up late in life, such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.

The problem with this is that a millennium is but a nanosecond in the course of human evolution. Human T-cells have not had the time to evolve to fend off an attack from a cancer cell, which is why the disease is ravaging the human race today. Cancer rates are up exponentially from the 19th century.

Fortunately, there is a way to speed up the evolutionary process. Microscopic nanobots the size of red blood cells can be designed to go after specific cancers, and then injected in swarms in your bloodstream to attack them.

Such technologies require precise manufacturing at the atomic level and will be available in the early 2030s. I have seen pictures of such nanobots myself under an electron microscope in the scientific literature.

Alternatively, with some diseases, such as diabetes, all we need to do is to reprogram our software (DNA) to produce more insulin. This can be done with monoclonal antibodies, whereby a length of bad DNA is excised and a good one installed.

By the end of 2017, the Food and Drug Administration had approved nearly 100 such molecules to deal with a whole range of genetic diseases. Click here for the list.

Such advances will soon lead to what Kurzweil calls “Longevity Escape Velocity,” where advances in medical research are taking place faster than the natural aging process. Then we will only have to deal with senescence cells, which are internally programmed to turn themselves off at a certain age. Presumably, monoclonal antibodies will be able to turn these back on as well.

Of course, the investment implications of all of this will be prodigious. Perhaps, that’s why the shares of the entire healthcare sector (XLV) and big pharma (XPH) have been on an absolute tear for the past two years.

I believe that technology and healthcare stocks will overwhelmingly be the major outperformers over the next two decades. We are seeing the profits from these revolutionary advances sill into companies such as Pfizer (PFE), Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY), and Merck (MRK).

However, all the healthcare advances in the world are not going to help you if you keep eating cheeseburger for lunch every day. One study I always like to cite took place during WWII when the global food supply shrank dramatically, and everyone was put on a strict mandatory diet. The incidence of every major disease fell by 30%.

At the end of the day, plenty of sleep, healthy eating, and exercise will always remain the greatest life extenders. Kurzweil himself has been an ardent vegetarian for most of his life.

As for me, I rather have a good steak once a month and settle for living only to 120.

Keep renewing those newsletter subscriptions!

 

 

 

The Next Cancer Cure?

May 17, 2019

Global Market Comments
May 17, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(APRIL 15 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(MSFT), (GOOGL), (AAPL), (LMT), (XLV), (EWG), (VIX), (VXX), (BA), (TSLA), (UBER), (LYFT), (ADBE),

(HOW TO HANDLE THE FRIDAY, MAY 17 OPTIONS EXPIRATION), (INTU),

May 15 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A

Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader May 15 Global Strategy Webinar with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!

Q: Where are we with Microsoft (MSFT)?

A: I think Microsoft is really trying to bottom here. It’s only giving up $8 from its recent high, that’s why I went long yesterday, and you can be hyper-conservative and only do the June $110-$115 vertical bull call spread like I did. That will bring in a 13.68% profit in 28 trading days, which these days is pretty good. This morning would have been a great entry point for that spread if you couldn’t get it yesterday.

Q: How will tariffs affect Apple (AAPL) when they hit?

A: The price of your iPhone goes up $140—that calculation has already been done. All of Apple’s iPhones are made in China, something like 220 million a year. There’s no way that can be moved, they need a million people for the production of these phones. It took them 20 years to build that facility and production capacity; it would take them 20 years to move it and it couldn’t be done anywhere else in the world. So, that’s why Apple led the charge on the downside and that’s why it will lead the charge to the upside on any trade war resolution.

Q: How bad is the trade war going to get?

A: The market is betting now by only going down 1,400 Dow points it will be resolved on June 28th in Osaka. If that doesn’t happen it could get a lot worse. It could get down to my down 2,250-point target, and if it continues much beyond that, then we’ll get the whole full 4,500 points and be back at December lows. After that, you’re really looking at a global recession, a global depression, and ultimately nearing 18,000 in Dow, the 2016 low.

Q: Will global trade wars force US Treasuries down to around 2.10% on the ten year?

A: Yes. Again, the question is how bad will it get? If we resolve the trade war in six weeks, treasuries will probably double bottom here at around a 2.33% yield. If we go beyond that, then 2.10% is a chip shot and we go into a real live recession. The truth is no one knows anything, and we really don’t have any influence over what happens.

Q: How will equities digest and increase in European tariffs for cars?

A: It would completely demolish the European economy—especially that of Germany (EWG) which has 50% of its economy dependent on exports (primarily cars) and mostly to the U.S. And if we wipe out our biggest customer, Europe, then that would spill over here very quickly. Anybody who sells to Europe—like all the big Tech companies—would get slaughtered in that situation.

Q: Is it time to buy the Volatility Index (VIX)?

A: It’s too late to buy (VIX) now. I don’t want to touch it until we get down to that $12-$13 handle again because the time decay on this is enormous. Time decay is more than  50% a year, so your timing has to be perfect with trading any (VIX) products, whether it’s the (VXX), the (VIX) futures, the (VIX) options, or so on. There are countless people shorting (VIX) here, and they will short it all the way down to $12 again.

Q: What should I do about Boeing at this point?

A: We went long, got out, took our profit and caught this rally up to $400 a share. Then (BA) gave it up and it broke down. It’s a really tempting long here. Along with Apple, Boeing has the largest value of exports to China of any company. They have orders for hundreds of airlines from China, so they are an easy target, especially if there is a ramp up in the intensity of the trade war. That said, something like a June $270-$300 vertical bull call spread is very tempting, especially with elevated volatility up here, so I’m watching that very closely. We’re looking for the recertification of the 737 MAX bounce which could happen in the next few weeks; if that does happen it should rally at least back up to 380.

Q: Are your moving averages simple or exponential?

A: I just use the simple. I find that the simpler a concept is, the more people can understand it, and the more people buy it; that’s why I always try to keep everything simple and leave the algorithms for the computers.

Q: What stocks are insulated from a US/China trade war?

A: None. When the whole market goes risk off, people sell everything. Remember that an overwhelming portion of the market is now indexed with passive investment funds, so they just go straight risk on/risk off. It makes no difference what the fundamentals are, it makes no difference who has a lot of Chinese business or a little—everyone gets hit and everyone will get boosted when the trade war ends. There is no place to hide except cash, which is why I went 100% cash going into this. People seem to forget that cash has option value and having a lot of cash going into one of these situations is actually worth a lot of money in terms of opportunities.

Q: Do you have any thoughts on Uber’s (UBER) bad performance?

A: Yes, the whole sector was wildly overvalued, but no one knew that until they brought it to market and found out the real supply and demand for the issue. The smartest company of the year has to be Lyft (LYFT), which got a nice valuation by doing their issue first and keeping it small. So, they kind of rained on Uber’s parade; at one point, Uber was down 25% from their IPO price. That’s awful.

Q: Is Trump forcing the Fed to drop rates with all this tariff threat?

A: Yes, and if you remember, Trump really ramped up the attacks on the Fed in December. And my bet is at the first sign the trade talks were in trouble, they wanted to lower rates to offset the hit to the U.S. economy. There was no economic reason to suddenly demand huge interest rate cuts last December other than a falling stock market. The tariffs amount to a $72 billion tax increase on the American consumer, felt mostly at the low end, and that is terrible for the economy in that it reduces purchasing power by exactly that much.

Q: Would you buy the dollar as a safe haven trade?

A: No, I would not. The dollar may actually go down some more, especially with the collapse in our interest rates and European interest rates bottoming at negative levels. The best thing in the world in a high-risk environment like this is cash—don’t try to get clever and buy something you think will outperform. You could be disappointed.

Q: Why is healthcare (XLV) behaving so badly?

A: You don’t want to get into political football ahead of an election. That said, they’re already so cheap that any kind of recovery could very well take healthcare up big, especially on an individual company basis. This is a sector where individual stock selection is crucial.

Q: Would you buy deep in the money calls on PayPal (PYPL)?

A: Yes, I would. Wait for a down day. Today we’re up slightly, but if we have a weak afternoon and a weak opening tomorrow morning, that would be a good time to add more longs in technology. PayPal is absolutely at the top of the list, as are names like Adobe (ADBE) and Alphabet (GOOGL).

Q: Should I be buying LEAPS in this environment?

A: No; a LEAP is a one-year long term deep out-of-the-money call spread. That was a great December bottom trade. The people who bought leaps then made huge fortunes. We’re too high here to consider leaps for the main market unless it’s for something that’s just been bombed out, like a Tesla (TSLA) or a Boeing (BA), where you had big drops—then I would look at LEAPS for the super decimated stocks. But the rest of the market is still too high for thinking about leaps. Wait a couple of months and we may get back to those December lows.

Q: What happened to your May 10th bear market call?

A: Actually, it’s kind of looking good. It’s looking in fact like the market topped on May 2nd. If saner heads prevail, the trade war will end (or at least we’ll get a fake agreement) and the market will go to a new high. If not, then that May 10th target forecast I made two years ago IS the final top.

Q: You’re saying today we’re at a bottom?

A: We’re at a bottom for a short-term trade with a June 21st target. That was the expiration date of the options spreads I did this week. Whether this is the final bottom in the whole down move for a longer term, no one has any idea, even if they try to say differently. This is totally dependent on political developments.

Q: What do you have to say about Lockheed Martin (LMT)?

A: This sector usually does well with a wartime background. Expect that to continue for the foreseeable future. But at a certain point, the defense stocks which have had fantastic runs under Trump will start to discount a democratic win in the next election. If that does happen, defense will get slaughtered. I would be using any future strength to sell out of the whole defense area. Peace could be fatal to this sector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 3, 2019

Global Market Comments
May 3, 2019
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(LAST CHANCE TO ATTEND THE LAS VEGAS MAY 9 GLOBAL STRATEGY LUNCHEON)

(APRIL 3 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(SPY), (LYFT), (TSLA), (TLT), (XLV), (UBER),
 (AAPL), (AMZN), (MSFT), (EDIT), (SGMO), (CLLS)

December 31, 2018

Global Market Comments
December 31, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(WILL SYNBIO SAVE OR DESTROY THE WORLD?),
(XLV), (XPH), (XBI), (IMB), (GOOG), (AAPL), (CSCO), (BIIB)

October 5, 2018

Global Market Comments
October 5, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 17 HOUSTON STRATEGY LUNCHEON INVITATION),
(OCTOBER 3 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A)
(SPY), (VIX), (VXX), (MU), (LRCX), (NVDA), (AAPL), (GOOG), (XLV), (USO), (TLT), (AMD), (LMT), (ACB), (TLRY), (WEED)