Global Market Comments
June 22, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, OR THE FED RIDES AGAIN),
(TLT), (SPY), (TSLA), (IBB), (AMGN), (GILD), (ILMN)
Global Market Comments
June 22, 2020
(MARKET OUTLOOK FOR THE WEEK AHEAD, OR THE FED RIDES AGAIN),
(TLT), (SPY), (TSLA), (IBB), (AMGN), (GILD), (ILMN)
Global Market Comments
April 24, 2020
(APRIL 22 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(SPY), (INDU), (GILD), (NEM), (GOLD), (USO),
(SOYB), (CORN), (SHOP), (PALL), (AMZN)
Naturally, many people are wondering about which stocks to own in light of the coronavirus. The latest development on the race to find a coronavirus cure is a joint effort involving two giant names from the biotechnology industry: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) and Sanofi (SNY).
Taking a page off Gilead Sciences’ (GILD) move to recycle HIV drug Remdisivir and Roche Holding’s (ROG) decision to utilize rheumatoid arthritis Actemra, Sanofi and Regeneron are looking into an existing drug’s ability to offer refuge for patients suffering from COVID-19.
According to a recent announcement, the two companies are looking to test rheumatoid arthritis medication Kevzara on COVID-19 patients.
This drug was initially approved in 2017 and while it failed to reach blockbuster status at the time, Sanofi and Regeneron are preparing to transform it into the next leader in this pandemic race.
It should be noted though that Kevzara is not a coronavirus cure. Rather, the companies are hoping to use this drug to combat the symptoms related to COVID-19.
This is why it’s promising.
When a person gets infected by the novel coronavirus, the immune system is activated and starts attacking the virus to protect the body. As time passes, the immune system goes into overdrive and ends up overreacting, causing additional damage.
Gradually, the immune system starts attacking even the healthy tissue and organs as with the case for some COVID-19 patients.
This means that the coronavirus is causing an accelerated response from the immune system resulting in the patients’ damaged organs starting with the lungs.
This is where Kevzara comes in.
The drug functions as an inhibitor of the protein that triggers the patient’s immune and inflammatory response.
That is, Kevzara can stop the body from attacking itself despite the triggers caused by the coronavirus.
In terms of the specifics of this joint effort, Regeneron will take the lead for the US trials while Sanofi will be in charge of international efforts.
Aside from Kevzara, both Regeneron and Sanofi have been pursuing separate leads on how to deal with the pandemic.
Sanofi has been working in tandem with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), specifically with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), to come up with a coronavirus vaccine.
However, it’s the coronavirus efforts of Regeneron that gained much attention in the past weeks.
In February, Regeneron and the HHS expanded their partnership to come up with potential COVID-19 treatments. So far, the biotechnology giant has decided to work on monoclonal antibodies via its VelocImmune platform.
This avenue is particularly promising since Regeneron has already come up with an antiviral drug to combat Ebola. Its collaboration with HHS has also already resulted in plans to develop a MERS treatment, which is also a type of coronavirus.
According to Regeneron executives, the company will have a coronavirus treatment ready for human testing by August. If all goes well, then it aims to produce 200K prophylactic doses.
Although its innovative coronavirus proposals are exciting, Regeneron remains focused on its older and more dependable money makers particularly the eye drug Eylea.
This strength is in display in Regeneron’s fourth quarter results, which showed better than expected numbers.
For Eylea alone, the company generated an 11% year-over-year growth in sales.
Despite the emergence of new competitors like Novartis’ (NOVN) Beovu, Regeneron’s eye drug remains the leading product in this sector. In fact, Eylea managed to cross $2 billion in global sales just for the year 2019.
As for inflammation-reducer Dupixent, the treatment’s global sales climbed 136% in 2019.
Meanwhile, revenue from its cancer immunotherapy Libtayo soared to over quintuple from the previous period.
Building from the strength of Eylea, Regeneron also announced its successful late-stage clinical study that aimed to expand the indication of the drug to moderately severe to severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR).
If this Eylea expansion pushes through, then Regeneron has yet another blockbuster drug in its hands.
In the past five years, Regeneron has demonstrated a strong EPS growth, growing by 23.74% annually. Given its recent performance and based on forward-looking statements, the company can be expected to report an average of 17.4% growth on its EPS in the next two years.
Amid the panic and confusion caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s crucial to remain objective, especially with the stock market.
Before making a decision, ask yourself this question: “Will this current situation change the 10-year or even the 20-year outlook for the financial sector?”
Despite the paranoia proliferating in the market in the past months, I believe the answer to this question is still a resounding “no.”
For now, it would be wise to treat owning stocks like how to own businesses. It’s important to think about which stocks to own during the coronavirus, but don’t do it just to make a quick buck. Rather, take a look at lasting and stable companies with the capacity to not only grow over the years but also to compound their returns.
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader February 12 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 do you think about Facebook (FB) here? We’ve just had a big dip.
A: We got the dip because of a double downgrade in the stock from a couple of brokers, and people are kind of nervous that some sort of antitrust action may be taken against Facebook as we go into the election. I still like the stock long term. You can’t beat the FANGs!
Q: If Bernie Sanders gets the nomination, will that be negative for the market?
A: Absolutely, yes. It seems like after 3 years of a radical president, voters want a radical response. That said, I don’t think Bernie will get the nomination. He is not as popular in California, where we have a primary in a couple of weeks and account for 20% of total delegates. I think more of the moderate candidates will come through in California. That’s where we see if any of the new billionaire outliers like Michael Bloom or Tom Steyer have any traction. My attitude in all of this is to wait for the last guy to get voted off the island—then ask me what’s going to happen in October.
Q: When should we come back in on Tesla (TSLA)?
A: It’s tough with Tesla because although my long-term target is $2,500, watching it go up 500% in seven months on just a small increase in earnings is pretty scary. It’s really more of a cult stock than anything else and I want to wait for a bigger pullback, maybe down to $500, before I get in again. That said, the volatility on the stock is now so high that—with the short interest going from 36% down to 20%—if we get the last of the bears to really give up, then we lose that whole 20% because it all turns into buying; and that could get us easily over $1,000. The announcement of a new $2 billion share offering is a huge positive because it means they can pay off debt and operate with free capital as they don’t pay a dividend.
Q: Is Square (SQ) a good buy on the next 5% drop?
A: I would really wait 10%—you don’t want to chase trades with the market at an all-time high. I would wait for a bigger drop in the main market before I go aggressive on anything.
Q: What about CRISPR Technology (CRSP) after the 120% move?
A: We’ve had a modest pullback—really more of a sideways move— since it peaked a couple of months ago; and again, I think the stock either goes much higher or gets taken over by somebody. That makes it a no-lose trade. The long sideways move we’re having is actually a very bullish indication for the stock.
Q: If Bernie is the candidate and gets elected, would that be negative for the market?
A: It would be extremely negative for the market. Worth at least a 20% downturn. That said, according to all the polling I have seen, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that could not win against Donald Trump—the other 15 candidates would all beat Trump in a 1 to 1 contest. He’s also had one heart attack and might not even be alive in 6 months, so who knows?
Q: I just closed the Boeing (BA) trade to avoid the dividend hit tomorrow. What do you think?
A: I’m probably going to do the same, that way you can avoid the random assignments that will stick you with the dividend and eat up your entire profit on the trade.
Q: When do you update the long-term portfolio?
A: Every six months; and the reason for that is to show you how to rebalance your portfolio. Rebalancing is one of the best free lunches out there. Everyone should be doing it after big moves like we’ve seen. It’s just a question of whether you rebalance every six months or every year. With stocks up so much a big rebalancing is due.
Q: I have held onto Gilead Sciences (GILD) for a long time and am hoping they’ll spend their big cash hoard. What do you think?
A: It’s true, they haven’t been spending their cash hoard. The trouble with these biotech stocks, and why it’s so hard to send out trade alerts on them, is that you’ll get essentially no movement on them for years and then they rise 30% in one day. Gilead actually does have some drugs that may work on the coronavirus but until they make another acquisition, don’t expect much movement in the stock. It’s a question of how long you are willing to wait until that movement.
Q: Is it time to get back into the iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX)?
A: No, you need to maintain discipline here, not chase the last trade that worked. It’s crucial to only buy the bottoms and sell the tops when trading volatility. Otherwise, time decay and contango will kill you. We’re actually close to the middle of the range in the (VXX) so if we see another revisit to the lows, which we could get in the next week, then you want to buy it. No middle-of-range trades in this kind of market, you’re either trading at one extreme or the other.
Q: Could you please explain how the Fed involvement in the overnight repo market affects the general market?
A: The overnight repo market intervention was a form of backdoor quantitative easing, and as we all know quantitative easing makes stocks go up hugely. So even though the Fed said this wasn’t quantitative easing, they were in fact expanding their balance sheet to facilitate liquidity in the bond market because government borrowing has gotten so extreme that the public markets weren’t big enough to handle all the debt; that’s why they stepped into the repo market. But the market said this is simply more QE and took stocks up 10% since they said it wasn’t QE.
Q: What about Cisco Systems (CSCO)?
A: It’s probably a decent buy down here, very tempting. And it hasn’t participated in the FANG rally, so yes, I would give that one a really hard look. The current dip on earnings is probably a good entry point.
Q: Should we buy the Volatility Index (VIX) on dips?
A: Yes. At bottoms would be better, like the $12 handle.
Q: When is the best time to exit Boeing?
A: In the next 15 minutes. They go ex-dividend tomorrow and if you get assigned on those short calls then you are liable for the dividend—that will eat up your whole profit on the trade.
Q: Do you like Fire Eye (FEYE)?
A: Yes. Hacking is one of the few permanent growth industries out there and there are only a half dozen listed companies that are cutting edge on security software.
Q: What are your thoughts on the timing of the next recession?
A: Clearly the recession has been pushed back a year by the 2019 round of QE, and stock prices are getting so high now that even the Fed has to be concerned. Moreover, economic growth is slowing. In fact, the economy has been growing at a substantially slower rate since Trump became president, and 100% of all the economic growth we have now is borrowed. If the government were running a balanced budget now, our growth would be zero. So, certainly QE has pushed off the recession—whether it’s a one-year event or a 2-year event, we’ll see. The answer, however, is that it will come out of nowhere and hit you when you least expect it, as recessions tend to do.
Q: Would you buy gold (GLD) rather than staying in cash?
A: I would buy some gold here, and I would do deep in the money call spreads like I have been doing. I’ve been running the numbers every day waiting for a good entry point. We’re now at a sort of in between point here on call spreads because it’s 7 days to the next February expiration and about 27 days to the March one after that, so it’s not a good entry point this week. Next week will look more interesting because you’ll start getting accelerated time decay for March working for you.
Q: When are you going to have lunch in Texas or Oklahoma?
A: Nothing planned currently. Because of my long-term energy views (USO), I have to bring a bodyguard whenever I visit these states. Or I hold the events at a Marine Corps Club, which is the same thing.
Q: Would you use the dip here to buy Lyft (LYFT)? It’s down 10%.
A: No, it’s a horrible business. It’s one of those companies masquerading as a tech stock but it isn’t. They’re dependent on ultra-low wages for the drivers who are essentially netting $5 an hour driving after they cover all their car costs. Moreover, treating them as part-time temporary workers has just been made illegal in California, so it’s very bad news for the stocks—stay away from (LYFT) and (UBER) too.
Q: Is the Fed going to cut interest rates based on the coronavirus?
A: No, interest rates are low enough—too low given the rising levels of the stock market. Even at the current rate, low-interest rates are creating a bubble which will come back to bite us one day.
Q: Household debt exceeded $14 trillion for the first time—is this a warning sign?
A: It is absolutely a warning sign because it means the consumer is closer to running out of money. Consumers make up 70% of the economy, so when 70% of the economy runs out of money, it leads to a certain recession. We saw it happen in ‘08 and we’ll see it happen again.
Good Luck and Good Trading
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader
Occasionally, I discover a piece of research from one of my other Mad Hedge publications that is so important that I send it out to everyone immediately.
Today piece from the Mad Hedge Biotech & Health Care Letter is one of the instances. It makes the case and provides the numbers as to why Biotech & Health Care will be one of two dominant sector to follow for the next decade. It also is a key plank in my argument for a return of a new Golden Age and a second “Roaring Twenties.”
Here it is.
Biotech investors, take note: 2019 was a great year for the industry, but the best is yet to come.
In the final three months of 2019, the biotech sector grew by 32% — notably outpacing the pharmaceutical industry, which only recorded a 9.5% gain.
However, the biotechnology sector is estimated to grow substantially in 2020, and reach over $775 billion in revenue by 2024 as more and more treatments for previously incurable diseases get discovered.
Looking at all the progress in the biotechnology space, this could even be the year we’d finally discover the cure to many life-threatening and debilitating conditions like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
With all these technological advancements, two revolutionary tools have been overhauling the entire biotechnology and healthcare industry from the ground up: precision medicine and CRISPR. Actually, the impressive growth of the biotechnology industry has been largely attributed to the excitement generated by the gene-editing sector.
While the majority of companies concentrating on the human genome are still in the research phase, the growth of this industry is undeniable.
Here’s tangible proof.
Just 20 years ago, reading all the DNA of a single person cost approximately $3 billion. Now, this price is down to only $1,000. In the future, this number will go even lower at $100. There are now gigantic factories in China sequencing DNA for companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe.
This is just one example of how the biotechnology industry has grown by leaps and bounds. It’s also the reason behind the surge of CRISPR shares.
In effect, the specialists in this niche, including Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), Bluebird Bio (BLUE), and Editas Medicine (EDIT), are amplifying their efforts in 2020.
Among the specialist companies, CRISPR Therapeutics is considered as one of the frontrunners — if not the top stock. This is because compared to its rivals, which are still in preclinical phases of development, CRISPR Therapeutics’ already has two drugs going through Phase 1 trials: CTX001 and CTX110.
The promising results of the company’s research resulted in a 113% rise in shares last year, with the bulk of the surge starting in October. In fact, CRISPR Therapeutics’ performance had been so impressive that its market cap reached $3.4 billion.
CTX001 is created to target patients suffering from genetic blood disorders, specifically sickle-cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia.
Meanwhile, CTX110 is a CAR-T treatment. The process involves the extraction of immune cells from the patient. These are then retrained and later re-introduced to the human body.
CRISPR Therapeutics’ CAR-T treatment is anticipated to be offered at a cheaper price compared to the other CAR-T therapies.
Both Novartis (NVS) and Gilead Sciences (GILD) are pursuing the same treatment. However, the cost of the therapy from the latter two is expected to reach as much as $475,000 for every patient annually.
Apart from CTX001 and CTX110, CRISPR Therapeutics has two more immunology candidates, currently dubbed CTX120 and CTX130.
If both phase trials succeed, these will bring massive home runs for CRISPR Therapeutics, especially since the cancer immunology market is expected to reach $127 billion by 2026. Over the next 10 years, this niche is estimated to reach $25 trillion in sales.
Among the gene-editing treatments under development today, CRISPR is projected to grow tenfold in the number of applications and potentially curing 89% of disease-causing genetic variations by 2026.
Taking this pace into consideration, the valuation for this market is expected to grow from $551 million in 2017 to reach roughly $3.1 billion by 2023 and $6 billion by 2025.
Meanwhile, precision medicine as a whole is estimated to show a significant jump from $48.6 billion in 2018 to $84.6 billion by 2024. In 2028, this market is expected to rake in $216 billion.
Hence, further success with CTX001 and CTX110 along with additional treatments in the drug pipeline would all but guarantee that Crispr Therapeutics could beat the market again in 2020.
Global Market Comments
May 25, 2018
(FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2018, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS GLOBAL STRATEGY DINNER),
(MAY 23 BIWEEKLY STRATEGY WEBINAR Q&A),
(TLT), (SPY), (TSLA), (EEM), (USO), (NVDA),
(GILD), (GE), (PIN), (GLD), (XOM), (FCX), (VIX)
One has to be truly impressed with the selloff in biotech and health care stocks over the past year.
Since May, there were signs that life was returning to this beleaguered sector. Then Mylan decided to raise the prices of it’s EpiPen by 400% and it was back to the penalty box.
Let?s gouge poor small children who may die horrible deaths if they can?t afford our product. That sounds like a great marketing and PR strategy. NOT!
Once the top performing sectors of 2015, they went from heroes to goats so fast, it made your head spin.
What I called ?The ATM Effect? kicked in big time.
That?s when frightened investors run for the sidelines and sell their best stocks to raise cash. After all, no one wants to sell other stocks for a loss and admit defeat, at least in front of their clients.
It?s not that the companies themselves were without blood on their hands. Valuations were getting, to use the polite term, ?stretched? after a torrid five-year run.
Gilead Sciences (GILD) soaring from $18 to $125?
Celgene (CELG) rocketing from $20 to $142?
It has been a performance for the ages.
If a financial advisor wasn?t in health care, chances are that he is driving for Uber in a bad neighborhood by now.
Then there was The Tweet That Ate Wall Street.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made clear in a broadcast on September 21, 2015 that the health care industry would be target number one in her new administration.
Her move was triggered by an overnight 5000% price hike for a specialty HIV drug by a minor player in the industry.
Among the reforms she would implement are:
1) Give the government power to negotiate drug purchases with the industry collectively.
2) Allow Medicare to import drugs from abroad to encourage price competition (which I already do with my annual trips to Switzerland).
3) Ban drug companies from using government grants to pay for sales and advertising.
4) Set an out of pocket limit for drugs bought through Obamacare at $250 a month, thus ending customers? blank checks.
5) Set a 20% of revenue minimum which companies must spend on research and development.
She certainly got our attention.
Competition in the drug industry? Yikes! Not what the shareholders had in mind.
Raise your hand if you think Americans aren?t paying enough for their prescription drugs.
Yes, I thought so.
Drug company CEOs aren?t helping their case by flying to press conferences to complain about the proposals in brand new $65 million Cessna G-5?s.
And that Mylan CEO, Heather Bresch? She took home $18 million last year, and she?s just a kid.
Here?s the key issue for health care and biotech for investors. It all about politics.
Even if Hillary does get elected, the government is likely to remain gridlocked for another 4-8 years. The Democrats will almost certainly retake the Senate in 2016, thanks to a highly favorable calendar, and keep it for at least two years.
But the heavily gerrymandered House is another story.
With the current districting map, the Democrats would have to win 57% of the national vote for them to regain a majority in both houses.
That is a feat even Barack Obama could not pull off in 2008, when a perfect storm in favor of his party blew in.
A Hillary appointed liberal Supreme Court could bring an end to gerrymandering, but that is a multiyear process. Texas hasn?t had a legal districting map since 2000.
Even with Democratic control of congress, Hillary won?t get everything she wants.
Remember, Obamacare passed by one vote only after a year of cantankerous infighting, and then, only when a member changed parties (Pennsylvanian Arlen Spector).
That means few, if any, Clinton proposals will ever make it into law. If they do, they will be severely watered down and subject to the usual horse-trading and quid pro quos.
Beyond what she can accomplish through executive order, her election may be largely symbolic.
Therefore, the biotech and health care stocks are a screaming ?BUY? at these levels, provided you ignore Mylan (MYL), now the poster boy for corporate greed.
It?s a political call I can only make after spending years in the White House and a half century following presidential elections.
It?s easy to understand why these stocks were so popular, and are found brimming to overflowing in client portfolios and personal 401ks and IRAs.
We are just entering a Golden Age for biotech and health care.
Profit growth for many firms is exceeding 20% a year. Hyper accelerating biotechnology is rapidly bringing to market dozens of billion dollar earning drugs that were, until recently, considered in the realm of science fiction.
And we have only just gotten started. Cures for cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, AIDS, and dementia? You can take your pick.
Most biotech and health care stocks have given up all of their 2015 gains. Here is a chance to hoover up the fastest growing companies in the US at 2014 prices.
If you missed biotech and health care the first time around, you?ve just been given a second chance at the brass ring.
Here?s a list of five top quality names to get your feet wet:
Gilead Sciences (GILD) ? Has the world?s top hepatitis cure, which it sells for $80,000 per treatment. For a full report, see the next piece below.
Celgene (CELG) ? A biotech firm that specializes in cancer cures (thalidomide) and inflammatory diseases. It also produces Ritalin for the treatment of ADHD.
Allergan (AGN) ? Has the world?s third largest low cost generic drug business. In addition, it has built a major portfolio of drug therapies through more than two dozen acquisitions over the last decade.
Regeneron (REGN) ? Already has a great anti-inflammatory drug, and is about to market a blockbuster anti cholesterol drug that will substantially reduce heart disease.
HCA Holdings (HCA) ? Is the world?s largest operator of for profit health care facilities in the world.
If you want a lower risk, more diversified play in the area, you can buy the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV). Please note that a basket of stocks is going to deliver a fraction of the volatility of single stocks.
Therefore, we have to be more aggressive with our positioning to make any money, picking call option strikes that are closer to the money.
Johnson and Johnson (JJ) is the largest holding in the (XLV), with a 12.8% weighting, while Gilead Sciences (GILD) is the fourth, with a 5.1% share. For a list of the largest components of this ETF, please click: https://www.spdrs.com/product/fund.seam?ticker=XLV.
The other classic play in this area is the Biotech iShares ETF (IBB) issued by BlackRock (click their link: https://www.ishares.com/us/products/239699/ishares-nasdaq-biotechnology-etf ).
Their largest holding is Biogen (BIIB), followed by Gilead Sciences (GILD), Celgene (CELG), Amgen (AMGN), and Regeneron Pharmaceutical (REGN).
I?ll be shooting out Trade Alerts on biotech and health care names as soon as I think the coast is clear.
Until then, enjoy the ride!
I am going to continue to use this correction in the stock market as an opportunity to put new names in front of you for inclusion in your investment portfolio.
That way, when the markets turn, you can strike with the speed of a rattlesnake in returning to a ?RISK ON? posture.
Major turnarounds are not the time to engage in deep, fundamental research. It is when you should be pulling the trigger on Trade Alerts, which you have wisely spent time lining up.
This brings me back to my three core sectors for long-term investment, technology, health care, and energy. For a four cyclical play, you can add the financials as an interest rate play.
Which brings me to one of my perennial favorites, Gilead Sciences (GILD). Long-term readers will recall this big momentum name, which I first recommended last December at $75 a share. It hit $125 in June, last week, and could fly as high as $200 in 2016.
Obamacare is proving to by one of the greatest windfalls in the history of the health care industry. More than 45 million new individuals now enjoy government guaranteed payments for health care services for the first time. In addition, millions more are signing up for private insurance.
One of the cleanest shots at this new profit stream is Gilead Sciences. The ticker symbol seems so appropriate for this new Golden Age for the health care industry.
(GILD) is an American biotechnology company that discovers, develops and commercializes treatments for a range of different diseases. The California based firm initially concentrated on antiviral drugs to treat patients infected with HIV, hepatitis B, or influenza.
In 2006, Gilead acquired two companies that were developing drugs to treat patients with pulmonary diseases.
These are all expected to be huge growth areas in the future, and the company has become a favorite of hedge fund traders. Both the shares and the sector have been on fire all year.
Don?t rush out and buy (GILD) today. Rather, I?d wait until the last of the sellers get flushed out in this correction, which will probably not be until well into October.
Take a look at the charts below, and they suggest that the S&P 500 could reach as low as 1,976, or down another 160 handles from here.
That will give us another top to bottom pullback of 12.52%, which certainly qualifies as a healthy correction. This will be the time to load the boat with (GILD).
Keep close tabs on your text message service and email, and I?ll let you know when it is time to lay your cajones on the line once more.
Basking in the glow of the spectacular 22% profit by the Trade Alert Service so far in 2015, I sat down on a rock on a high mountain the other day to try and figure out what happened.
The last time I saw a move this healthy was back in 2013, when I clocked a 68% gain for the year.
During the 1990?s, we saw a perfect trifecta of the Internet going mainstream, cheap graphical user interface enabled personal computers, and an easy to use World Wide Web that conspired to create a Dotcom boom and send risk assets everywhere ballistic.
Sure, the advent of cheap domestic energy unleashed by the fracking and horizontal drilling of natural gas is a game changer of similar magnitude.
But that isn?t enough to suddenly convert every investor from a pessimist to an optimist, a Cassandra to a Pollyanna, or a bear to a bull.
So what else is helping to send stocks ever Northward?
Fortunately, I brought along an abacus with me to my high altitude retreat. So I ran a few numbers.
Approximately 18% of US GDP is derived from the health care industry in some form or another. In Europe they spend only 8%, live longer and certainly eat better food (I spent two months field testing it last summer).
So what happens when America?s Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, brings our spending down to European levels? The savings would amount to 10% of GDP, or $1.6 trillion. That is a handsome amount of change.
Where would all of this money go? The short answer is: to you and me. To be precise, I get half, and you get half, which works out to $800 billion for each of us, per year.
The reality is a little more complicated than that. We are not going to get our new found wealth in unmarked bills stuffed in a duffle bag left at a dead drop in the middle of the night.
Rather, the payoff will come in an indirect form. We will get better quality health care for less money, and more of us will get it, some 48 million to be precise.
Oh, and we get to live longer too.
What are we going to do with this windfall? Buy stocks, and lots of them. At least that?s what the stock market thinks. Hence, the ballistic move in equities. This year could be just as good.
In fact, we will be buying a lot of everything, which is why the auto industry is on fire, real estate is recovering, yet the bond market hasn?t crashed.
This amount of money hitting the financial system over the coming decade could well be the appetizer to an investment ?Golden Age? during the 2020?s.
This is fabulous news for asset owners of all stripes, and pretty good for everyone else as well. Companies with rising share prices are much more likely to hire and expand capital investment than those with falling ones, raising standards of living.
The way this happens is what makes Obamacare so interesting, unlike the purely government sponsored plans now in operation in Europe and Asia. It does this with a heavy reliance on the private sector to unleash free market capitalism on the health care industry for the first time in its history.
At last, they will be thrown into the merciless pit of dog eat dog, cutthroat competition where the rest of us have already been living for quite some time. They will be the losers, and we will be the winners.
I have been studying health care for about 40 years now. I was once destined to become a medical researcher at the Center for Disease in Atlanta. But the Defense Department found out I was pretty good with numbers, and I found myself in a bleak part of Northern Nevada now known as Area 51.
When improving relations with the Soviet Union wound things down there and all the aliens went home, there was nowhere else for me to go but the stock market. Suffice it to say, I still know which end of a test tube to hold up.
Health care is the last 19th century industry that operates in this country (except possibly for coal mining). It is fragmented into local monopolies spread amongst the country?s 3,141 counties.
I haven?t had health insurance myself for seven years. After paying on a Blue Cross of California policy for 20 years, they suddenly cancelled my policy claiming an alleged pre existing condition. My real pre existing condition was that I was a 55-year-old white male, and was not a great risk.
Since I was paying out of pocket for every trip to the doctor, I became an expert on what things cost. The first thing that I learned is that no one in a doctor?s office knows what anything costs. They deliberately don?t know. That way they can feign innocence when you get hit with a whopping big bill.
It was only with the greatest persistence that I was able to chase down the actual dollar cost of tests and procedures. Needless to say, my health care providers considered me a nut case and a pain in the ass and kindly offered a referral to a mental health professional. Some actually refused me care.
This is the land of the $100 plastic hypodermic needle, the $300 paper gown, and the $1,000 saline drip (its salt water). MRI Scans can cost $6,000, or $1,500 at the hospital down the street.
In fact, I?ve had friends show up for procedures at hospitals with a $3 gown they bought on Ebay, but were still forced to use the identical $300 version.
This is why the wealthiest guy in the county is often the one who runs the local hospital, or sells specialized prescribed treatments and procedures, to be reimbursed by the government.
From 1995 to 2012, dermatologists saw a 50% increase in annual incomes to an average $471,000 while most of America saw a steady decline in real take home pay. Oncologists and gastroenterologists did as well. This is especially true in rural parts of the country where there is a chronic shortage of doctors. Competition is anathema to these people.
What broke the health care system in this country is that there was a total absence of cost control, but an unlimited ability to get paid. If you?re having a heart attack, you don?t shop around for the hospital offering the best deal on surgery that week, as we might for a new set of tires (go to Costco) or a new computer.
Being the savvy consumers that we have become, if we don?t like the prices down at the mall we just go online. That?s tough to do with health care.
With insurers or the government picking up the tab whatever the cost, there was no incentive to do so anyway. Doctors excessively ordered tests to protect themselves from lawsuits, thanks to a tort system run amuck.
Drug companies kept inventing new diseases (do any of you male readers suffer from ?low T??). Indulgent lifestyles assured that ever-rising numbers of us got sick, driving prices skyward.
By creating national exchanges selling plain vanilla policies and setting rigorous standards on what they will pay for (?death panels? to opponents), American health care costs are now falling for the first time in history. 2013 saw the first year on year fall on record. This is only the beginning of that $1.6 trillion plunge in costs.
No one really knows what the marginal cost of an MRI scan is. But if you count the capital cost of buying a new $1.4 million machine, deduct the fee the specialist to read the scan, the $60,000 annual salary of the technician to run it, along with maintenance and depreciation, and I bet you get a number a hell of a lot less than $6,000. We are soon going to find out what the marginal cost really is.
This is why opposition to Obamacare has been so violent and vehement five years after it became law. Those who have been feeding off of the gravy train for so long will do anything to protect it. $1.6 trillion buys a lot of lobbyists in Washington DC. < br />
Most opposing Obamacare in the media are being paid to do so. Ask them exact details about exactly why it is so bad and they either mumble some lame ideological explanation or go mute.
States that support Obamacare and set up their own exchanges, like California, New York, and Kentucky, are seeing dramatic reductions in the cost of health care costs and insurance, up to 50% in some cases. Those that oppose it, such as Texas, are not.
The great irony in all of this is that the states opposing Obamacare need it the most. The 13 states of the old southern Confederacy suffer the worst health in the country.
Take three states out of the national averages, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, and the average male life span jumps from 78 to 82. I?m told they eat pure lard down there, not exactly a health food.
So Obamacare is basically a giant federal program that shifts money away from the two coasts toward the South and Midwest, or out of blue states into red ones. This is the same pattern for all large government programs. Why they are against Obamacare one can only imagine, except possibly the name.
I have been pointing out to the administration for years that they have greatly underestimated the long-term impacts of Obamacare on the economy, most of which are positive.
This has led them to unintentionally undersell the program. The impact on the world?s large economy is so enormous that it was impossible to foresee all of the unintended consequences. The only way to find out was to do it.
I?ll give you a couple of examples. Take the ?Obama lied? issue, where the president promised voters they could keep their existing doctors and insurance.
By setting minimal coverage and care standards the government put out of business the ?junk insurance? industry, which provides questionable policies with deductibles of $8,000 or more, low lifetime maximums, and boots you off your coverage as soon as you sneeze.
They had a bad habit of taking in your premium income and disappearing as soon as you made a major claim, with denials at some companies running as high as 50%.
Banning these rip-offs from the industry is all well and good. But nobody knew there were so many such polices, over 5 million. It turns out that no research had been done on this ugly little backwater, as it was purely a private sector enterprise. Then the cancellation letters all went out at once, to the shock and surprise of everyone.
When you are living paycheck to paycheck, about 20% of the country, even $100 a month is too much to spend. Many just don?t like doctors or hospitals and will only sign up after they are seriously ill, probably at the prompting of a social worker. Then they go to the emergency room and don?t pay.
I can tell you from my journalist days that 40% of the population doesn?t read newspapers at all, either the online or hard copy kind. Unless something appears on ESPN or the Golf Channel, they have no clue that it exists. There are those who still can?t operate a computer, as unbelievable as that may seem in the 21st century.
Then there was the website fiasco, the most easily preventable error in the entire rollout. I would bet big money that the former Health and Services Director, Kathleen Sebelius, has never built her own website.
For her, I highly recommend Websites for Dummies (click here for Amazon), which helped me get Mad Hedge Fund Trader off the ground seven years ago.
I was outraged when I heard that the lead contract for the construction of the website was given to a Canadian firm. I raised my hand and said ?Hey, we out here in Silicon Valley know how to build websites too.?
They should have just given the whole thing to Google (GOOG). But that would have raised conflict of interest questions, as founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin were two of Obama?s largest donors.
Corporations will get, thankfully, out of the health care business completely, offloading coverage to Obamacare as fast as they can. Small companies are already doing this in large numbers because workers can get better coverage for less money. This will level the playing field with foreign competitors for the first time in more than half a century, whose own governments cover the health care costs of their employees for free.
Those in the hedge fund, banking and oil industry luxuriating in $30,000 a year formerly tax free Cadillac insurance plans now have to pay ordinary income tax on benefits worth more than $10,000 a year. With most of the tax subsidy gone, there is little reason for employers to continue with these perks.
What is the bottom line for the shareholders in all of this? A substantial reduction in costs that drops straight to the bottom line, creating surging profits and stock prices. That works for me!
All of the above is a major reason why health care has been a major plank in my trading portfolio for the past two years, and may remain so for the next decade.
Followers of my Trade Alert Service cashed in on my long in the Health Care Sector Select SPDR ETF (XLV) and hepatitis drug manufacturer Gilead Sciences (GILD) multiple times. Those who took my advice joyfully watched them run away to the upside.
Expect this to be a recurring theme in my equity coverage. The SPDR S&P Pharmaceutical Index (XPH), Celgene (CELG), Biogen (BIIB), and the SPDR S&P Biotech Index (XBI) are also on the menu and looking tasty.
Every country in the world that has implemented national heath care has been successful. We are the smartest people in the world, so there is no reason we can?t make it work as well, if not better. Only political obstacles stand in the way.
It could well be that the stock markets are the first to see these momentous changes, far ahead of we mere mortals. Such is the wisdom of markets. So far, your investment portfolio agrees.
It will be at least a decade before we can judge the results of Obamacare, it is so vast and complex an undertaking. Up for grabs are individual markets for over 10,000 different treatments and services. It is far too early to call it a failure or a success. In any case, the earliest it can be repealed is 2025, after Hillary Clinton completes her second term as president. So get used to it.
What about my own insurance? I am waiting for my Medicare to kick in, which is only a year off. Until then, they are going to have to come after me with handcuffs and a taser. I bet many other Americans plan on doing the same.
By then, the website should be working and the costs brought in line with reality. Then I?ll buy the cheapest possible policy, the popular ?Bronze? plan, because I never get sick.
Who has time for doctors?
After all, who needs health insurance if they are going to live forever?
I am sitting here at the Lone Eagle Grill in Incline Village, Nevada, enjoying a rare solo lunch. No one is asking me about the future of interest rates, if there is any gold inside Fort Knox or if the aliens really landed at Roswell, New Mexico.
My table overlooks majestic Lake Tahoe, and a brace of mallard ducks has just skidded across the smooth surface for a landing.
My big score last night was coming across a wild bobcat, the first I had ever seen in the Sierras. After cautiously studying me for a minute with his bright yellow glowing eyes, he scampered up the mountain.
My pastrami sandwich is cooked to perfection, and would give Manhattan?s best culinary effort a run for its money. In fact, I have enough food here for two entire meals. Bring on the doggie bag!
After surviving a meat grinder of a January, putting the pedal to the metal in February, and dodging the raindrops of March, the model-trading portfolio of the Mad Hedge Fund Trader has posted a year-to-date gain of 10%.
We have generated profits for followers every month this year, and are now a mere 4.75% short of a new all time performance high.
Mad Day Trader, Jim Parker, and myself have performed like tag team wrestlers, delivering winners for our paid subscribers one right after the other. Some 12 out of my last 14 Trade Alerts have been profitable.
I managed to nail the collapse in the euro (FXE), (EUO) big time, backing that up with profitable long positions in the S&P 500 (SPY), the Russell 2000, and Gilead Sciences (GILD).
When the markets turned jittery, I coined it with short positions in Alcoa (AA), QUALCOM (QCOM) and AT&T (T).
Only a premature long in oil (LINE) and a short in Treasuries (TBT) have scarred my numbers so far this year.
Jim has been on an absolute hot streak in 2015, shaking the Bull Run in biotechs for all it is worth (ZIOP), (THRX), (ZTS) and executing some perfectly times shorts in oil (USO).
This is compared to the miserable performance of the Dow Average, which is up a pitiful +2% during the same period.
The nearly four and a half year return of my Trade Alert service is now at an amazing 162.4%, compared to a far more modest increase for the Dow Average during the same period of only 51%.
That brings my averaged annualized return up to 38.2%. Not bad in this zero interest rate world. It appears better to take on some risk and reach for capital gains and trading profits, than surrender to the paltry fixed income yields out there.
This has been the profit since my groundbreaking trade mentoring service was first launched in 2010. Thousands of followers now earn a full time living solely from my Trade Alerts, a development of which I am immensely proud.
What saved my bacon this month was my instant and accurate decoding of Fed chairman Janet Yellen?s cryptic comments on the future of possible interest rate hikes, or the lack thereof.
We got to eat our ?patience? and have it too.
Wall Street gets so greedy, and takes out so much money for itself, there is now nothing left for the individual investor any more. They literally kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
The Mad Hedge Fund Trader seeks to address this imbalance and level the playing field for the average Joe. Looking at the testimonials that come in every day, I?d say we?ve accomplished that goal.
It has all been a vindication of the trading and investment strategy that I have been preaching to followers for the past seven years.
Quite a few followers were able to move fast enough to cash in on my trading recommendations. To read the plaudits yourself, please go to my testimonials page by clicking here.
Watch this space, because the crack team at Mad Hedge Fund Trader has more new products and services cooking in the oven. You?ll hear about them as soon as they are out of beta testing.
Our business is booming, so I am plowing profits back in to enhance our added value for you.
The coming year promises to deliver a harvest of new trading opportunities. The big driver will be a global synchronized recovery that promises to drive markets into the stratosphere by the end of 2015.
Global Trading Dispatch, my highly innovative and successful trade-mentoring program, earned a net return for readers of 40.17% in 2011, 14.87% in 2012, and 67.45% in 2013, and 30.3% in 2014.
Our flagship product,?Mad Hedge Fund Trader PRO, costs $4,500 a year. It includes?Global Trading Dispatch(my trade alert service and daily newsletter). You get a real-time trading portfolio, an enormous research database and live biweekly strategy webinars. You also get Jim Parker?s?Mad Day Trader?service and?The Opening Bell with Jim Parker.
To subscribe, please go to my website, ?www.madhedgefundtrader.com, click on the ?Memberships? located on the second row of tabs.
By the way, those of you who ran up huge profits with your euro shorts in January and February, and the overnight killing I scored with the Russell 2000 (IWM) this week, you all owe me new testimonials.
Ship em in!
Oh, and buy the way, there is no gold in Fort Knox. That is why Nixon took us off the gold standard in 1973. And the aliens did land at Roswell. Where do you think my iPhone and Tesla came from?