Global Market Comments
June 8, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or HISTORY IS REPEATING),
(SPY), (INDU), (TLT), (TBT) (TSLA), (DAL), (BA)
Global Market Comments
June 8, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or HISTORY IS REPEATING),
(SPY), (INDU), (TLT), (TBT) (TSLA), (DAL), (BA)
Global Market Comments
May 11, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or THE NEXT GOLDEN AGE HAS ALREADY STARTED)
(TLT), (TBT), (SPY), (INDU), (VIX),
(DAL), (BRK/A), (LUV), (AA), (UAL)
I always get my best ideas when hiking up a steep mountain carrying a heavy backpack.
Yesterday, I was just passing through the 9,000-foot level on the Tahoe Rim Trail when suddenly, the fog lifted and the skies cleared. I was hit with an epiphany.
It was my “AHA” moment.
The next American Golden Age, the next Roaring Twenties, started on March 23.
However, you have to dive deep into investor psychology to reach that astonishing conclusion.
The conundrum of the day is why stocks are trading at a plus 30X multiple two months into a Great Depression. The economic data has been so horrific that the mainstream news has been reporting them.
Some 30 million unemployed on the way to 51 million? Those are Fed numbers, not mine (click here for the link ). Over 52% of small businesses going bankrupt in the next six months? A GDP that is shrinking at an amazing -40% annualized rate?
Yet, we have a Dow Average that has risen a breathtaking 38% in six weeks. The market has essentially dropped 38% and risen 38% over three months, with the Volatility Index (VIX) making a brief visit to the $80 handle.
To understand these massive contradictions, you have to understand what investors think they are buying. They are not hoovering up stocks that are cheap, offer value, or at the bottom of an economic cycle.
Instead, they are investing in a hope, a vision, an expectation that the coming decade will bring a major economic boom. Yes, they are buying my coming American Golden Age.
Only 10% of the value of a stock is reflected in current year earnings, according to Dr. Jeremy Siegal at the Wharton School of Economics (click here to go to the site). The other 90% is in the following nine years. Investors have written off this year’s earnings and are paying up for the following nine.
Long term followers of this newsletter are well aware of my approaching forecast of the next Roaring Twenties (click here for the link).
Except that this time we have a catapult, the pump-priming effects of the pandemic. The government has stepped in with $14 trillion worth of fiscal and monetary stimulus. Creative destruction is taking place at an exponential rate. Companies have to become hyper-efficient overnight or die.
It’s not rocket science. More than 85 million millennials are aging into their peak spending years, buying homes, cars, and all the luxuries of life. Every time this has happened for the past century, US economic growth leaped to 4%.
It happened in the 1920s, the 1960s, the 1990s, and is about to take place in the 2020s. And with each pop in growth, the stock market rises about 400%. Look at your long-term charts and you’ll see I’m dead right.
That takes us from the March 23 Dow Average low at 18,000 up to 72,000 by 2030, except that it’s a low number. Throw in the hyper-acceleration of innovation by the technology and biotech sectors, a Dow 120,000 is within reach.
You may recall that number from my marketing pitches, except that this time it’s happening. In a decade you are going to look like an absolute genius by following the recommendation of the Mad Hedge Fund Trader.
It also means that we may not see market corrections of any more than 10% this year. That would take us down to a Dow Average of 22,500, and an (SPX) of 2,600 in the coming months. That’s where you should jump in and buy with both hands. The only way I would be wrong is if the US epidemic explodes to unimaginable levels, which is not impossible.
Last week, U-6 unemployment rates exploding to a stratospheric 22.8%. The rate was far higher among high school graduates, but only 8% for college grads. Some 20.2 million lost jobs, ten times the previous record, and more than seen during the Great Depression. The BLS (click here) said the true figure was probably 5% higher due to counting anomalies and a huge backlog of data. And this is just the beginning. The good news is that next month, only 10 million jobs will be lost.
NASDAQ (QQQ) turned positive for 2020, and the followers who piled into tech LEAPS at the March bottom are eternally grateful. Tech and biotech are the only places to be. Everywhere else is a waste of time and money. The entire country is turning into a tech economy or going out of business. Buy tech on dips.
Warren Buffet sold all his airline shares, taking a major loss, including Delta (DAL), Southwest (LUV), American (AA) and United (UAL). The Fed’s $50 billion airline bailout blocked him from making a real killing. His Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A) (click here) owned close to 10% of all of them. The complete collapse of tourism and business travel are the issues. He sees no recovery in the foreseeable future. They don’t call him the “Oracle of Omaha” for nothing.
US Auto Sales are down a mind-blowing -48% in April, the worst on record. Only 8.6 million cars were sold in the US against last year’s annual rate of 17 million. Toyota and Honda saw the biggest falls as their ships can’t unload due to lack of storage space.
The US Treasury will borrow $3 Trillion this Quarter to fund the massive bailout programs. Announced programs amount to 20 times the $789 billion 2009 rescue package, which Republicans opposed. I’m increasing my bond shorts. Sell short (TLT) again, even if we don’t get a decent rally. Oh, and Trump is threatening a default too. He doesn’t see the connection.
Bonds crashed on massive issuance, with the Treasury announcing a record 20-year bond floatation. Yields hit a one-month high. With the (TLT) down $18 from its recent high, I am taking profits on my bond shorts. I’ll be selling the next rally….again. This could be my core trade for the next decade.
Consumer Debt soared to $14.3 trillion in Q1, a new all-time high. A lot of people are living on their credit cards right now.
Trump threatens to cancel China trade deal, blaming them for Covid-19, sending stocks into a 400-point dive. The last time he did this, shares plunged 20%. It’s all part of an effort to divert attention from the administration’s disastrous handling of the pandemic. America’s Corona deaths are now 20 times China’s, and they are still an emerging nation. Just what we needed, a renewed trade war on top of a pandemic-caused Great Depression, as if the market needed more uncertainty. Sell rallies in the (SPY)
When we come out on the other side of this, we will be perfectly poised to launch into my new American Golden Age, or the next Roaring Twenties. With interest rates at zero, oil at $0 a barrel, and many stocks down by three quarters, there will be no reason not to. The Dow Average will rise by 400% or more in the coming decade.
My Global Trading Dispatch performance had one of the best weeks in years again, up a gob-smacking +6.46%. We are now only 0.65% short of a new all-time high.
My aggressive short bond positions came in big time on the back of theannounced $3 trillion in new debt issuance in Q2. Short bonds are far and away the better quality trade of buying stocks at these elevated levels.
May is up +6.46%, taking my 2020 YTD return up to 2.59%. That compares to a loss for the Dow Average of -13.43% from the February top. My trailing one-year return exploded to 43.77%. My ten-year average annualized profit returned to +34.14%.
This week, Q1 earnings reports continue, and so far, they are coming in much worse than the most dire forecasts. We also get the monthly payroll data, which should be heart-stopping to say the list.
The only numbers that count for the market are the number of US Coronavirus cases and deaths, which you can find here.
On Monday, May 11 at 10:00 AM, the April US Inflation Expectations are out. Caesar’s Entertainment (CZR) and Marriot International (MAR) report earnings.
On Tuesday, May 12 at 5:00 PM, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for April is released. Toyota Motors (TM) reports earnings.
On Wednesday, May 13 at 9:30 AM, the ever fascinating weekly Cushing Crude Oil Stocks is announced. Cisco Systems (CSCO) reports earnings.
On Thursday, May 14 at 8:30 AM, we get another blockbuster Weekly Jobless Claims. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) reports earnings.
On Friday, May 15 at 7:30, AM the Empire State Manufacturing Index is published. The Baker Hughes Rig Count follows at 2:00 PM.
As for me, I’ll continue my solo circumlocution of the 160 mile Tahoe Rim Trail every afternoon in ten-mile segments. Why solo? Do you know anyone else who wants to hike 160 miles at 10,000 feet in two weeks?
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
May 8, 2020
(MAY 6 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(UNG), (UAL), (DAL), (INDU), (SPY), (SDS),
(P), (BA), (TWTR), (GLD), (TLT), (TBT)
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader May 6 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 broker do you use? The last four bond trades I couldn’t get done.
A: That is purely a function of selling into a falling market. The bond market started to collapse 2 weeks ago. We got into the very beginning of that. We put out seven trade alerts to sell bonds, we’re out of five of them now. And whenever you hit the market with a sell, everyone just automatically drops their bids among the market makers. It’s hard to get an accurate, executable price when a market is falling that fast. The important point is that you were given the right asset class with a ticker symbol and the right direction and that is golden. People who have been with my service for a long time learn how to work around these trade alerts.
Q: Is there any specific catalyst apart from the second wave that will trigger the expected selloff?
A: First of all, if corona deaths go from 2 to 3, 4, 5 thousand a day, that could take us back down to the lows. Also, the market is currently expecting a V-shaped recovery in the economy which is not going to happen. The best we can get is a U-shape and the worst is an L-shape, which is no recovery at all. What if everything opens up and no customers show? This is almost certain to happen in the beginning.
Q: How long will the depression last?
A: Initially, I thought we could get out of this in 3-6 months. As more data comes in and the damage to the economy becomes known, I would say more like 6-9, or even 9-12 months.
Q: In natural gas, the (UNG) chart looks like a bullish breakout. Does it seem like a good trade?
A: No, the energy disaster is far from over. We still have a massive supply/demand gap. And with (UNG), you want to be especially careful because there is an enormous contango—up to 50 or 100% a year—between the spot price and the one-year contract price, which (UNG) owns. Once I saw the spot price of natural gas rise by 40% and the (UNG) fell by 40%. So, you could have a chart on the (UNG) which looks bullish, but the actual spot prices in front month could be bearish. That’s almost certainly what’s going to happen. In fact, a lot of people are predicting negative prices again on the June oil contract futures expiration, which comes in a couple of weeks.
Q: What about LEAPS on United (UAL) and Delta (DAL)?
A: I am withdrawing all of my recommendations for LEAPS on the airlines. When Warren Buffet sells a sector for an enormous loss, I’m not inclined to argue with him. It’s really hard to visualize the airlines coming out of this without a complete government takeover and wipeout of all existing equity investors. Airlines have only enough cash to survive, at best, 6-8 months of zero sales, and when they do start up, they will have more virus-related costs, so I would just rather invest in tech stocks. If you’re in, I would get out even if it means taking a loss. They don’t call him the Oracle of Omaha for nothing.
Q: Any reason not to do bullish LEAPS on a selloff?
A: None at all, that is the best thing you can do. And I’m not doing LEAPS right now, I’m putting out lists of LEAPS to buy on a selloff, but I wouldn’t be buying any right now. You’d be much better off waiting. Firstly, you get a longer expiration, and secondly, you get a much better price if you could buy a LEAP on a 2,000 or 3,000 point selloff in the Dow Average (INDU).
Q: Would you add the 2X ProShares Ultra Short S&P 500 (SDS) position here if you did not get on the original alert?
A: I would, I would just do a single 10% weighting. But don’t expect too much out of it, maybe you’ll get a couple of points. And it’s also a good hedge for any longs you have.
Q: What happens if the second wave in the epidemic is smaller?
A: Second waves are always bigger because they’re starting off with a much larger base. There isn’t a scientist out there expecting a smaller second wave than the first one. So, I wouldn’t be making any investment bets on that.
Q: Pfizer (P) and others seem close to having a vaccine, moving on to human trials. Does that play into your view?
A: No, because no one has a vaccine that works yet. They may be getting tons of P.R. from the administration about potential vaccines, but the actual fact is that these are much more difficult to develop than most people understand. They have been trying to find an AIDS vaccine for 40 years and a cancer vaccine for 100 years. And it takes a year of testing just to see if they work at all. A bad vaccine could kill off a sizeable chunk of the US population. We’ve been taking flu shots for 30 years and they haven’t eliminated the flu because it keeps evolving, and it looks like coronavirus may be one of those. You may get better antivirals for treatment once you get the disease, but a vaccine is a good time off, if ever.
Q: Is this a good time to buy Boeing (BA)?
A: No, it’s too risky. The administration keeps pushing off the approval date for the 737 MAX because the planes are made in a blue state, Washington. The main customers of (BA), the airlines, are all going broke. I would imagine that their 1,000-plane order book has shrunk considerably. Go buy more tech instead, or a hotel or a home builder if you really want to roll the dice.
Q: How can the market actually drop to the lows, taking massive support from the Fed and further injections into account?
A: I don’t think we will get to new lows, I think we may test the lows. And my argument has been that we give half of the recent gains, which would take us down to 21,000 in the Dow and 2400 in the (SPX). But I’ve been waiting for a month for that to happen and it’s not happening, which is why I’ve also developed my sideways scenario. That said, a lot of single stocks will go to new all-time lows, such as in retailers (RTF) and airlines (JETS).
Q: Would you stay in a Twitter (TWTR) LEAP?
A: If you have a profit, I would take it.
Q: What about Walt Disney (DIS)?
A: There are so many things wrong with Disney right now. Even though it’s a great company for the long term, I’m waiting for more of a selloff, at least another $10. It’s actually rallying today on the earnings report. Around the low $90s I would really love to get into LEAPS on this. I think more bad news has to hit the stock for it to get lower.
Q: Are you continuing to play the (TLT)?
A: Absolutely yes, however, we’re at a level now where I want to take a break, let the market digest its recent fall, see if we can get any kind of a rally to sell into. I’ll sell into the next five-point rally.
Q: Any reason not to do calls outright versus spreads on LEAPS?
A: With LEAPS, because you are long and short, you could take a much larger position and therefore get a much bigger profit on a rise in the stock. Outright calls right now are some of the most expensive they’ve ever been. So, you really need to get something like a $10 or $15 rise in the stock just to break even on the premium that you’re paying. Calls are only good if you expect a very immediate short term move up in the stop in a matter of days. LEAPS you can run for two years.
Q: Is gold (GLD) still a buy?
A: Yes, the fundamental argument for gold is stronger than ever. However, it has been tracking one for one with the stock market lately. That’s why I’m staying out of gold—I’d rather wait for a selloff in stocks to take gold down; then I’ll be in there as a buyer.
Q: Should I take profits on what I bought in April and reestablish on a correction?
A: Absolutely. If you have monster profits on a lot of these tech LEAPS you bought in the March/early April lows, then yes, I would take them. I think you will get another shot to buy these cheaper, and by coming out now and coming in later, you get to extend your maturity, which is always good in the LEAPS world.
Q: Would you buy casinos, or is it the same risk as the airlines?
A: I would buy casinos and hotels—they have a greater probability of survival than the airlines and a lot less debt, although they’re going to be losing money for years. I don’t know exactly how the casinos plan on getting out of this.
Q: Should we exit ProShares ultra short 20+ year Treasury Bond Fund (TBT) now?
A: No, that’s more of a longer-term trade. I would hang on to that—you could get from $16 to $20 or $25 in the foreseeable future if our down move in bond continues.
Good Luck and Stay Healthy.
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
April 28, 2020
(EIGHT “REOPENING” STOCKS TO BUY AT THE MARKET BOTTOM)
(UAL), (DAL), (UNP), (CSX), (WYNN), (MGM), (BRK/A), (BA)
With the massive technology rally off the March 23 market bottom, the risk/reward for entering new trades has dramatically shifted.
Back then. I was begging followers to load the boat with the best big tech and biotech & healthcare names with call options and two-year LEAPS (Long Term Equity Participation Securities).
One reader told me he bought Humana (HUM) call options for 70 cents and sold them for a breathtaking $30 for a profit of 4,280%! FedEx showed up with a bottle of single malt Glenfiddich Scotch whiskey the next day.
The times have changed. Many tech stocks are now only a few dollars short of new all-time highs, like Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL), or are at all tie highs, such as Amazon (AMZN), Teledoc (TDOC), and Zoom (ZM).
What a difference 6,000 Dow points make!
As a result, it is far more interesting now to pick up stocks that currently look like potential chapter 11 candidates, but will likely prosper once the American economy starts to reopen. Call it my “Reopening Portfolio.”
You can buy any of the stocks below outright, sit on them, and probably reap a double over the next two years. However, if you are a much more aggressive kind of trader like me, then you might consider LEAPS, where 500%-%1,000% profits are possible.
The advantage of a stock or a two-year LEAPS is that if we get a second Coronavirus wave in the fall, which is highly likely, you can outlast any short term pain and still come out a huge winner.
Some of these names we sold short at the market top and made a killing. It is now time to flip to the other side.
I am often asked how professional hedge fund traders invest their personal money. They all do the exact same thing. They wait for a market crash like we are seeing now and buy the longest-term LEAPS (Long Term Equity Participation Securities) possible for their favorite names.
The reasons are very simple. The risk on LEAPS is limited. You can’t lose any more than you put in. At the same time, they permit enormous amounts of leverage.
Two years out, the longest maturity available for most LEAPS, allow plenty of time for the world and the markets to get back on an even keel. Recessions, pandemics, hurricanes, oil shocks, interest rate spikes, and political instability all go away within two years and pave the way for dramatic stock market recoveries.
You just put them away and forget about them. Wake me up when it is 2022.
I put together this portfolio using the following parameters. I set the strike prices just short of the all-time highs set two weeks ago. I went for the maximum maturity. I used today’s prices. And of course, I picked the names that have the best long-term outlooks.
You should only buy LEAPS of the best quality companies with the rosiest growth prospects and rock-solid balance sheets to be certain they will still be around in two years. I’m talking about picking up Cadillacs, Rolls Royces, and even Ferraris at fire-sale prices. Don’t waste your money on speculative low-quality stocks that may never come back.
If you buy LEAPS at these prices and the stocks all go to new highs, then you should earn an average 131.8% profit from an average stock price increase of only 17.6%.
That is a staggering return 7.7 times greater than the underlying stock gain. And let’s face it. None of the companies below are going to zero, ever. Now you know why hedge fund traders only employ this strategy.
There is a smarter way to execute this portfolio. Put in throw away crash bids at levels so low they will only get executed on the next cataclysmic 1,000-point down day in the Dow Average.
You can play around with the strike prices all you want. Going farther out of the money increases your returns, but raises your risk as well. Going closer to the money reduces risk and returns, but the gains are still a multiple of the underlying stock.
Buying when everyone else is throwing up on their shoes is always the best policy. That way, your return will rise to ten times the move in the underlying stock.
If you are unable or unwilling to trade options, then you will do well buying the underlying shares outright.
United Airlines (UAL) just raised $1 billion in a new equity issue to tide it over hard times. That is just a drop in the bucket for what it needs. It’s hard to imagine the company coming through the crisis without any government involvement. The most likely is for the feds to offer a big chunk of cash in exchange for a minority ownership. Around 35% might work, which is the portion the US Treasury of General Motors (GM) during the 2008-09 crash. Still, if you’re looking for a double in the shares, that just water off a duck’s back.
LEAPS: the January 21 2022 $45-$50 vertical bull call spread at a price of 83 cents delivers a 525% gain with the stock at $50, up 94.5% from the current level.
Delta Airlines (DAL) is Warren Buffet’s favorite airline, although he has been selling lately. All of the arguments above apply for this best run of US Airlines.
LEAPS: January 21 2022 $40-$45 vertical bull call spread at a price of 83 cents delivers a 502% gain with the stock at $45, up 98.8% from the current level.
MGM Resorts (MGM)
Yes, Las Vegas is reopening soon, but it certainly won’t resemble the old Vegas. (MGM) is the dominant hotel owner of the strip, owning the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Aria Resort, and MGM Grand hotels. It also has a China presence.
LEAPS: the January 21 2022 $25-$30 vertical bull call spread at 75 cents delivers 566% gain with the stock at $30, up 95.6% from the current level.
Wynn Hotels (WYNN)
We killed it on the short side with (WYNN), capturing an eye-popping 90% decline. (WYNN) is poised to lead the upturn. It has a major exposure in Macao, where China will lead any economic recovery.
LEAPS: the January 21 2022 $140-$150 vertical bull call spread at 90 cents delivers a 455% gain with the stock at $150, up 81% from the current level.
Union Pacific (UNP)
The reopening of industrial American means a resurgence of railroad traffic. These are not your father’s railroads. Over the last 30 years, they have evolved into highly efficient operators that offer the cheapest way far to over heavy good and bulk commodities, virtually turning into closet high-tech companies. (UNP) had the additional advantage in that as the country’s dominant East/West road, it stands to benefit the most from a recovery in trade with China. That is a likely outcome of any future administration.
LEAPS: the January 21 2022 $180-$185 vertical bull call spread at $1.40 delivers a 257% gain with the stock at $185, up 15.00% from the current level.
CSX Corp. (CSX)
Same arguments here, except that (CSX) wins on North/South trade, especially with Mexico. With a NAFTA 2 new trade agreement in place, this company benefits from an extra turbocharger.
LEAPS: the January 21 2022 $75.00-$77.50 bull call spread at 84 cents delivers a 495% gain with the stock at $77.50, up 16.27% from the current level.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A)
Yes, they make more than sheets these days. Warren Buffet’s flagship holding company is the poster bot for industrial American. The shares are high priced, but after this 32% pullback, you may finally have a chance to get in.
LEAPS: the June 17 2022 $225-$230 vertical bull call spread at $2.61 delivers a 91.5% gain with the stock at $230, up 22.7% from the current level.
Boeing Co. (BA)
This has been the worst falling knife situation in the market for the last two years, cratering from $450 to $85, or down 81%. The decertification of the 737 MAX started the rot, and the grounding of its major airline customers was the coup de grace. This is another company that may require a government bailout and stock ownership, as it is a strategic national value. You may have to wait until the next administration as its Washington State location is currently politically incorrect.
LEAPS: the June 17 2022 $185-$190 bull call spread at $1.25 delivers a 400% gain with the stock at $190, up 47.8% from the current level.
Buy all eight of these and if they all work, your average return will be 411.4%.
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.
I am writing this to you from the first-class cabin of Quantas Airlines on the nonstop flight from Melbourne, Australia to San Francisco, a 14-hour flight. While my flight from the US to the Land Down Under was packed, the return was half empty, great for free upgrades.
It has been a daunting day. I was originally scheduled to transfer on my flight from Perth to Sydney. But my plane there was found to be contaminated with Coronavirus and had to be decontaminated. I quickly rerouted.
I ended up sitting next to a research doctor who worked for San Francisco based-Gilead Sciences (GILD) and was returning from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus. Since all flights from China to the US are now banned, he had to route his return home via Australia.
What he told me was alarming.
The Chinese are wildly understating the spread of the Coronavirus by perhaps 90% to minimize embarrassment to the government, which kept the outbreak secret for a full six months.
Bodies are piling up outside of hospitals faster than they can be buried. Police are going door to door arresting victims and placing them in gigantic quarantine centers. Every covered public space in the city is filled with beds and the roads are empty. Smaller cities and villages have set up barriers to bar outsiders.
He expected it would be many months before the pandemic peaked. It won’t end until the number of deaths hits the tens of thousands in China and at least the hundreds in the US.
The good news is that Gilead Sciences has an antiviral agent it developed for the other Coronaviruses, MERS and SARS, years ago which may be effective against the present epidemic. The company has already sent a planeload of the drug to China for immediate testing, which my new friend escorted.
The world has learned a lot since the West African Ebola outbreak of 2013. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) set up in response to that disease is now leading the charge against Corona.
A lab in Australia was able to isolate the virus in a month. The AIDS virus took ten years. It only required another day to sequence the genome. That has greatly shortened the time for the development of a vaccine and a cure. It will take a year to mass produce enough vaccine to inoculate the world. That will be too late to save the many in China who have already perished.
Needless to say, the impact on the global economy will be immense. As we learned from the trade war, take China out of the equation and many things don’t work anymore.
The country’s GDP growth rate is expected to plunge from 6% to 2% this quarter, and possibly zero. Factories have closed, disrupting supply chains globally. The car industry is most affected, with Hyundai in South Korea already shutting down production for lack of parts.
Travel and tourism shares, like airlines (DAL), casinos (WYNN), and cruise lines (CCL), (RCL) have also been hard hit.
US stocks are taking notice, but slowly. It seems that massive Quantitive Easing by the Federal Reserve is enough to head off even a global pandemic, at least for now. This will not last. We have already seen one 600-point down day and a (VIX) spike to $21. There will be more.
Despite the fact that we may be facing the end of the world, the Mad Hedge Trader Alert Service managed to catapult to new all-time highs.
My long volatility positions I picked up when the Volatility Index (VIX), (VXX) was a lowly $12, brought in a double or a triple for most holders in a mere two weeks.
My Global Trading Dispatch performance rose to a new high at +358.96% for the past ten years. My trailing one-year return rose to +48.59%. We closed out January with a respectable +3.11% profit. My ten-year average annualized profit ground back up to +35.31%.
All eyes will be focused on Corona, the virus, not the beer. The weekly economic data are virtually irrelevant now.
On Monday, February 10 at 1:00 PM, US Consumer Inflation Expectations are out.
On Tuesday, February 11 at 12:00 PM, JOLTS Job Openings for December are released.
On Wednesday, February 12, at 12:00 PM, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies in front of congress.
On Thursday, February 13 at 8:30 AM, Weekly Jobless Claims come out. US Core Inflation for January is published.
On Friday, February 14 at 10:30 AM, Retail Sales for January are printed. The Baker Hughes Rig Count follows at 2:00 PM.
As for me, after my epic voyage home, I’ll be catching up on my sleep, dealing with the 16 hours of jet lag from Western Australia.
Good luck and good trading.
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader