Global Market Comments
March 19, 2020
(INVESTING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CORONA VIRUS),
(SPY), (INDU), (FXE), (FXY), (UNG),
(EEM), (USO), (TLT), (TSLA)
Global Market Comments
March 19, 2020
(INVESTING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CORONA VIRUS),
(SPY), (INDU), (FXE), (FXY), (UNG),
(EEM), (USO), (TLT), (TSLA)
The Coronavirus has just set up the investment opportunity of the century.
In a matter of three weeks, stocks have gone from wildly overbought to ridiculously cheap. Price earnings multiples have plunged from 20X to 13X, well below the 15.5X long term historical average. The Dow Average is now 5% lower than when Donald Trump assumed the presidency more than three years ago. The world of investing after Coronavirus is looking pretty good.
I believe that as a result of this meltdown, the global economy is setting up for a new Golden Age reminiscent of the one the United States enjoyed during the 1950s, and which I still remember fondly. In other words, when it comes to investing after Coronavirus, we are on the cusp of a new “Roaring Twenties.”
This is not some pie in the sky prediction.
It simply assumes a continuation of existing trends in demographics, technology, politics, and economics. The implications for your investment portfolio will be huge.
For a start, medical science is about to compress 5-10 years of advancement into a matter of months. The traditional FDA approval process has been dumped in the trash. Any company can bring any medicine, vaccine, or anti-viral they want to the market, government be damned. You and I will benefit enormously, but a few people may die along the way.
What I call “intergenerational arbitrage” will be the principal impetus. The main reason that we are now enduring two “lost decades” of economic growth is that 80 million baby boomers are retiring to be followed by only 65 million “Gen Xer’s”.
When the majority of the population is in retirement mode, it means that there are fewer buyers of real estate, home appliances, and “RISK ON” assets like equities, and more buyers of assisted living facilities, healthcare, and “RISK OFF” assets like bonds.
The net result of this is slower economic growth, higher budget deficits, a weak currency, and registered investment advisors who have distilled their practices down to only municipal bond sales.
Fast forward two years when the reverse happens and the baby boomers are out of the economy, worried about whether their diapers get changed on time or if their favorite flavor of Ensure is in stock at the nursing home.
That is when you have 65 million Gen Xer’s being chased by 85 million of the “millennial” generation trying to buy their assets.
By then, we will not have built new homes in appreciable numbers for 20 years and a severe scarcity of housing hits. Residential real estate prices will soar. Labor shortages will force wage hikes.
The middle-class standard of living will reverse a then 40-year decline. Annual GDP growth will return from the current subdued 2% rate to near the torrid 4% seen during the 1990s.
The stock market rockets in this scenario. And this pandemic has just given us a very low base from which to start, making investing after Coronavirus a promising prospect.
Once the virus is beaten, we could see the same fourfold return we saw from 2009 to 2020. That would take us from The Thursday low of 18,917 to 76,000 in only a few years.
If I’m wrong, it will hit 100,000 instead.
Emerging stock markets (EEM) with much higher growth rates do far better.
This is not just a demographic story. The next ten years should bring a fundamental restructuring of our energy infrastructure as well.
The 100-year supply of natural gas (UNG) we have recently discovered through the new “fracking” technology will finally make it to end users, replacing coal (KOL) and oil (USO), so this sort of energy investing after Coronavirus in particular is looking undoubtedly promising.
Fracking applied to oilfields is also unlocking vast new supplies.
Since 1995, the US Geological Survey estimate of recoverable reserves has ballooned from 150 million barrels to 8 billion. OPEC’s share of global reserves is collapsing.
This is all happening while the use of electric cars is exploding, from zero to 4% of the market over the past decade.
Mileage for the average US car has jumped from 23 to 24.9 miles per gallon in the last couple of years, and the administration is targeting 50 mpg by 2025. Total gasoline consumption is now at a five-year low and collapsing.
Alternative energy technologies will also contribute in an important way in states like California, which will see 100% of total electric power generation come from alternatives by 2030.
I now have an all-electric garage, with a Tesla Model 3 for local errands and a Tesla Model X (TSLA) for longer trips, allowing me to disappear from the gasoline market completely. Millions will follow. Both cars are powered by my rooftop solar system.
The net result of all of this is lower energy prices for everyone.
It will also flip the US from a net importer to an exporter of energy, with hugely positive implications for America’s balance of payments.
Eliminating our largest import and adding an important export is very dollar bullish for the long term.
That sets up a multiyear short for the world’s big energy-consuming currencies, especially the Japanese yen (FXY) and the Euro (FXE). A strong greenback further reinforces the bull case for stocks.
Accelerating technology will bring another continuing positive for investing after Coronavirus.
Of course, it’s great to have new toys to play with on the weekends, send out Facebook photos to the family, and edit your own home videos. But at the enterprise level, this is enabling speedy improvements in productivity that are filtering down to every business in the US, lower costs everywhere.
This is why corporate earnings have been outperforming the economy as a whole by a large margin.
Profit margins are at an all-time high.
Living near booming Silicon Valley, I can tell you that there are thousands of new technologies and business models that you have never heard of under development.
When the winners emerge, they will have a big cross-leveraged effect on the economy.
New healthcare breakthroughs, which are also being spearheaded in the San Francisco Bay area, will make serious disease a thing of the past.
This is because the Golden State thumbed its nose at the federal government 18 years ago when the stem cell research ban was implemented.
It raised $3 billion through a bond issue to fund its own research, even though it couldn’t afford it.
I tell my kids they will never be afflicted by my maladies. When they get cancer in 20 years, they will just go down to Wal-Mart and buy a bottle of cancer pills for $5, and it will be gone by Friday.
What is this worth to the global economy? Oh, about $2 trillion a year, or 4% of GDP. Who is overwhelmingly in the driver’s seat on these innovations? The USA.
There is a political element to the new Golden Age as well. Gridlock in Washington can’t last forever. Eventually, one side or another will prevail with a clear majority.
This will allow the government to push through needed long-term structural reforms, the solution of which everyone agrees on now but nobody wants to be blamed for.
That means raising the retirement age from 66 to 70 where it belongs and means-testing recipients. Billionaires don’t need the maximum $45,480 Social Security benefit. Nor do I.
The ending of our foreign wars and the elimination of extravagant unneeded weapons systems cut defense spending from $755 billion a year to $400 billion, or back to the 2000, pre-9/11 level. Guess what happens when we cut defense spending? So does everyone else.
I can tell you from personal experience that staying friendly with someone is far cheaper than blowing them up.
A Pax Americana would ensue.
That means China will have to defend its own oil supply, instead of relying on us to do it for them for free. That’s why they have recently bought a second used aircraft carrier. The Middle East is now their headache, not ours.
The national debt then comes under control, and we don’t end up like Greece.
The long-awaited Treasury bond (TLT) crash never happens.
The reality is that the global economy will soon spin off profits faster than it can find places to invest them, so the money ends up in bonds instead.
Sure, this is all very long-term, over the horizon stuff. You can expect the financial markets to start discounting a few years hence, even though the main drivers won’t kick in for another decade.
But some individual industries and companies will start to discount this rosy scenario now.
Perhaps this is what the nonstop rally in stocks since 2009 has been trying to tell us.
Needless to say, investing after Coronavirus runs it’s course will be a welcome change for both individual investors and the economy as a whole.
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
October 31, 2019
(WELCOME TO THE LAND OF ZEROS),
(TLT), (VIX), (GLD), (SLV), (FXY),
(A NOTE ON OPTIONS CALLED AWAY), (BA)
Jay Powell really showed his hand today with the press conference following his 25-basis point interest rate cut.
The Fed’s medium-term target rate is now zero. Take a 1.75% inflation rate, subtract a 1.75% overnight rate and you end up with a real interest rate of zero. The fact that we have real economic growth also at zero (1.75% GDP – 1.75% inflation) makes this easier to understand.
That means there will be no more interest rate cuts by the Fed for at least six more months. All interest rate risks are to the downside. There is no chance whatsoever of the Fed raising rates in the foreseeable future with a growth rate of 1.75%. It will also take a substantial fall in the inflation rate to get rates any lower than here.
That may happen if the economy keeps sliding slowly into recession. Net net, this is a positive for all risk assets, but not by much.
I regard every Fed day as a free economics lesson from a renown professor. Over the decades, I have learned to read through the code words, hints, and winks of the eye. It appears that the thickness of the briefcase no longer matters as it did during Greenspan. No one carries around paper anymore during the digital age.
I then have to weed through the hours of commentary that follows by former Fed governors, analysts, and talking heads and figure out who is right or wrong.
In the meantime, the “Curse of the Fed” is not dead yet. The ferocious selloffs that followed the last two Fed rate cuts didn’t start until the day or two after. That’s what the bond market certainly thinks, which rallied hard, a full two points, after the announcement.
All of this provides a road map for traders for the coming months.
The Santa Claus rally will start after the next dip sometime in November. Buy the dip and ride it until yearend. The Mad Hedge Market Timing Index at 75, the bond market (TLT), the Volatility Index (VIX) and the prices of gold (GLD), silver (SLV), and the Japanese yen (FXY) are all shouting this should happen sometime soon.
I hope this helps.
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
August 12, 2019
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, or
(CYB), (FXE), (TLT), (FXY), (COPX), (USO),
(GLD), (VIX), (FXB), (IWM0, (DIS), (CRB), (FB)
(A COW BASED ECONOMICS LESSON)
So, this is what the best trading week looks like.
Investors panicked. The hot money fled in droves. Predictions of escalating trade wars, recessions, and depressions abounded.
The bottom line for followers of the Mad Hedge Fund Trader? We picked up 4.4% on the week, as may make as much next week.
A number of trading nostrums were re-proven once again. That which can’t continue, won’t. When too many people gather on one side of the canoe, it will capsize. If you execute a trade and then throw up on your shoes, you know it will be a good one. I could go on and on.
The week also highlighted another trend. That is the market has become a one-trick pony. The focus of the market is overwhelmingly on technology, the only sector that can promise double digit growth for years to come. And it’s not just technology, but a handful of large cap companies. Investing has become a matter of technology on, or technology off.
This is always how bull markets end, be it the Nifty 50 of the early 1970s, Japanese stocks of the late 1980s, or the Dotcom Bubble of the 1990s.
It was a week that ran off fast forward every day.
China retaliated against the US in the trade war and stocks dove 900 points intraday. The Middle Kingdom imposed a total ban on all US agricultural imports and took the Yuan (CYB) down to a decade low to offset tariffs.
All financial markets and asset classes are now flashing recession and bear market warnings. The Mad Hedge Market Timing Index fell from 70 to 22, the steepest drop in recent memory. The US dollar dropped sharply against the Euro (FXE) and the Japanese yen (FXY). Oil (USO) went into free fall. Copper (COPX) collapsed to a new low for the year.
The New York Fed lowered its Q3 GDP growth to a lowly 1.56%, with the Atlanta Fed pegging 1.9%. Payrolls, orders, import/export prices, and trade are shrinking across the board, all accelerated by the ramp up in the trade war. Manufacturing and retailing are going down the toilet. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
The German economy (EWG) is in free fall, as most analysts expect a negative -0.1% GDP figure for Q2. The fatherland is on the brink of a recession which will certainly spill into the US. That Mercedes Benz AMG S class you’ve been eyeing is about to go on sale. Great Britain (FXB) is already there, with a Brexit-induced negative -0.2% for the quarter.
Some 50% of S&P 500 dividends now yield more than US Treasury bonds. At some point, that makes equities a screaming “BUY” in this yield-starved world, but not quite yet. Is TINA (there is no alternative to stocks) dead, or is she just on vacation?
Ten-year US Treasury bonds (TLT) hit 1.61%, down an incredible 50 basis point in three weeks. Zero rates are within range by next year. The problem is that if the US goes into the next recession at zero interest rates, there is no way to get out. A decades-long Japanese style Great Depression could ensue.
Bond giant PIMCO too says zero interest rates are coming to the US. Too bad they are six months late from my call. It’s all a matter of the US coming into line with the rest of the world. The global cash and profit glut has nowhere else to go but the US. Much of the buying is coming from abroad.
Gold (GLD) hit a six-year high, as a rolling stock market panics drive investors into “RISK OFF” trades and downside hedges. While high interest rates are the enemy of the barbarous relic, low rates are its best friend and negative rates are even better. We are rapidly approaching century lows on a global basis.
Do your Christmas shopping early this year, except do it at the jewelry store and for your portfolio. Above $1,500 an ounce gold is beating stocks this year and the old all-time high of $1,927 is in the cards.
As I expected, August is proving to be the best short selling opportunity of the year. Not only can we make money in falling markets, elevated volatility means we can get into long side plays at spectacularly low levels as well.
With the Volatility Index (VIX) over $20, it is almost impossible to lose money on option spreads. The trick was to get positions off while markets were falling so fast.
The week started out with a rude awakening, my short in the US Treasury Bond Fund rising 1 ½ points at the opening. I covered that for a tear-jerking 3.26% loss, my biggest of the year. But I also knew that making money had suddenly become like falling off a log.
I fortuitously covered all of my short positions in the S&P 500 (SPY) and the Russell 2000 (IWM) right when the Dow average was plumbing depths 2,000-2,200 points lower than the highs of only two weeks ago. Then I went aggressively long technology with very short dated August plays in Walt Disney (DIS), Salesforce (CRM), and Facebook (FB).
My Global Trading Dispatch has hit a new all-time high of 324.78% and my year-to-date shot up to +24.68%. My ten-year average annualized profit bobbed up to +33.60%.
I coined a blockbuster 6.31% so far in August. In a mere three weeks I shot out 12 Trade Alerts, 11 of which made money, bringing in a 10% profit net of the one-bond loss. All of you people who just subscribed in June and July are looking like geniuses.
The coming week will be a snore on the data front. Believe it or not, it could be quiet.
On Monday, August 12 at 11:00 AM EST, the Consumer Inflation Expectations for July are released.
On Tuesday, August 13 at 8:30 AM US Core Inflation for July is published.
On Wednesday, August 14, at 10:30 the IEA Crude Oil Stocks are announced for the previous week.
On Thursday, August 15 at 8:30 AM EST, the Weekly Jobless Claims are printed. At 9:15 we learn July Industrial Production.
On Friday, August 16 at 8:30 AM, the July Housing Starts are out.
The Baker Hughes Rig Count follows at 2:00 PM.
As for me, I’ll be headed to the Land’s End Music Festival in San Francisco this weekend and listen to many of the local rock groups. Hopefully, I will be able to unwind from the stress and volatility of the week.
Good luck and good trading.
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Global Market Comments
August 9, 2019
(AUGUST 7 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(SPY), (XLK), (GLD), (DIS), (TLT),
(FXA), (FXY), (VIX), (VXX), (UNG), (USO)