Opinion (172)

Admin

2020 Concensus Predictions

The Iran conflict notwithstanding, Mr. Market will do it's best to reassure you that everything will be fine.  Only time will tell but I personally, would not want to enter any new positions here unless you're a daytrader.  Not at 20x forward earnings already baked in.  Watch the next plank of earning reports.  Hedge if you are long any name...........except gold that is.  I have a target of $1700 in a wave five count before a correction.

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Admin

The idea that we are late in the economic and financial-market cycle is one that even most Wall Street bulls won’t dispute.

 

After all, when the economic expansion surpasses a decade to become the longest ever and the S&P 500 has delivered a compounded return of nearly 18% a year since March 2009, how can the cycle not be considered pretty mature?

Yet it’s not quite that simple. Huge parts of the economy have run out of sync, at separate speeds. Some indicators have a decidedly “good as it gets” look, others retain a mid-cycle profile — and a few even resemble early parts of a recovery than the end. Friday’s unexpectedly strong November job gain above 200,000 reflects this debate, suggesting we are not at “full employment” even this deep into an expansion.

And the market itself has stalled and retrenched several times along the way, keeping risk appetites tethered and purging or preventing excesses.

In the “late-cycle” category we find several broad, trending data readings: Unemploym

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Admin
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Admin

Yield Curve Inversion We're All Watching

Whether you're watching CNBC, Twitter or another news outlet, you're hearing a great deal of talk about the odds increasing that the Fed will drop rates soon.  Everyone's cheering it on..........yet no one's talking about recession possibilities.  Don't say 'recession' on live tv!  Keep that notion out of your head!  At least I believe that's what Trump is thinking as he warms up for his 2020 campaign.  He wants the market "up, up, up".  A strong stock market with plenty of green and profits in your pocket.  If it fails after 2020, so be it.  At least he'll have his re-election and be further away from any prosecutorial attacks for four more years.  If he loses, blame it all on the Democrats!

In the meantime our yield curve continues to invert, or decay if you see it that way; implying a rough road ahead for the U.S. as China and European countries slowing low and behold, the U.S. having a "global market", the U.S. looks to be slowing as well.  Shocker!

Now the US housing market is slo

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Admin

Bull Trap?

The bulls are back. $SPX up nearly 8% in January and nearly 14% off of the December lows. What slowing global growth? What reduced earnings expectations? Trade wars? Who cares. It’ll all sort itself out, all that matters was the Fed caving in spectacular fashion laying the foundation for the big bull case. The central bank 2 step is back: Dovish + dovish = nothing but higher prices. The lows are in, what else can I buy? This pretty much sums up current sentiment.

And so goes the familiar script during emerging bear markets, a general sense of relief that the lows are in and a return of optimism and greed after an aggressive counter rally following an initial scary drop. Long forgotten are the December lows after a torrent consecutive 6 weeks of higher prices.

While indeed a renewed fully dovish Fed may be all that’s needed to keep 2019 bullish (after all this playbook has worked for the past 10 years) there is evidence that this rally may turn out to be a big fat bull trap.

And it’s no

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Admin

With the SPX up ~8% in just the last month, increasingly nervous investors who still vividly recall the freefall days of December 2018, are wondering what will stop the unrelenting rally according to JPMorgan's Adam Crisafulli who writes this morning that while there are always risks, none of the (known) ones seem particularly threatening at the moment.

Still, according to the JPM strategist, investors should be wary about chasing the SPX above 16x (i.e. above ~2750) but the index is more likely to touch 16.5x (>2800) than it is to hit 15x (<2600) based on everything known right now.

With that modestly bullish bias in mind, Crisafulli lists 14 things that can go wrong and send stocks sliding once more.

  1. TSYs and the USD fail to ratify the Fed optimism – at some point the TSY curve needs to steepen and the USD has to weaken in order to confirm the dovish takeaways from the recent Fed decision.  If TSY yields fall across the board (or even worse, if the curve flattens) and/or the USD sta

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Admin

U.S. stocks experienced their third straight week of gains, with the S&P 500 Index rising 2.6% and gaining more than 10% since Christmas Day.1 Investors were encouraged by comments from the Federal Reserve indicating a less aggressive policy stance and a sense that trade issues may be improving. Strong outflows from stock funds have also been an important contrarian indicator that investor capitulation had reached a limit. Several market areas were standout performers last week, including industrials, retail sectors, technology and energy, which was helped by a 7.5% climb in oil prices.1 A near -term consolidation is possible, given the strong climb over the last few weeks, but a return to December’s lows seems unlikely.

 

1. The Fed should remain data dependent, which should be good for stocks. Fed comments in October seemed to indicate it would continue to raise rates and sell off its balance sheet for the foreseeable future. But Fed Chair Jerome Powell walked back those comments in

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Admin

Macro And Credit - Buckling

Watching with interest the slowly grind higher in US interest rates with some weakening signs coming from US economic data such as the US trade deficit in goods getting spanked with orders for larger domestic appliances and other durable goods falling by a cool 3.7% from the month before, led by a hard drop in vehicle demand, when it came to choosing our title analogy for this week's conversation we reminded ourselves of "buckling" being a mathematical instability that leads to a failure mode. When a structure is subjected to compressive stress, buckling may occur. Buckling is characterized by a sudden sideways deflection of a structural member. This may occur even though the stresses that develop in the structure are well below those needed to cause failure of the material of which the structure is composed. As an applied load is increased (US interest rate hikes) on a member, such as a column, it will ultimately become large enough to cause the member to become unstable and it is sai

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Admin

There is no shortage of cognitive biases out there that can trip up our brains.

By the last count, there are 188 types of these fallible mental shortcuts in existence, and they constantly impede our ability to make the best decisions about our careers, our relationships, and for building wealth over time.

Biases That Plague Investors

In today’s infographic from StocksToTrade, we dive deeper into five of these cognitive biases – specifically the ones that really seem to throw investors and traders for a loop.

Next time you are about to make a major investing decision, make sure you double-check this list!

cognitive-biases-trading.png
Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

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Admin

Will Credit Cause A Slowdown

Saxo Bank thinks a slowdown in credit growth is bad news

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IF THERE is a consensus at the moment, it is that the global economy is finally managing a synchronised recovery. The purchasing managers' index for global manufacturing is at its highest level for six years; copper, the metal often seen as the most sensitive to global conditions, is up by a quarter since May

20170916_woc638_0.png?width=450But Steen Jakobsen of Saxo Bank thinks this strength will not last. His leading indicator is a measure of the change in private sector credit growth. This peaked at the turn of the year and is now heading down sharply. Indeed the change in trend is the most negative since the financial crisis (see chart). Since this indicator leads the economy by 9-12 months, that suggests a significant economic slowdown either late this year or early  in 2018. He says that

This call for a significant slowdown coincides with several facts: the ECB’s QE programme will conclude by end-2017 and will at best be scaled down by €10 billion per

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Admin

Market Complexity Could Trigger the Next Crash

Complex systems are all around us.

By one definition, a complex system is any system that features a large number of interacting components (agents, processes, etc.) whose aggregate activity is nonlinear (not derivable from the summations of the activity of individual components) and typically exhibits hierarchical self-organization under selective pressures.

In today’s infographic from Meraglim we use accumulating snow and an impending avalanche as an example of a complex system – but really, such systems can be found everywhere. Weather is another complex system, and ebb and flow of populations is another example.

Markets are Complex Systems

Just like in the avalanche example, where various factors at the top of a mountain (accumulating volumes of snow, weather, temperature, geology, gravity, etc.) make up a complex system that is difficult to predict, markets are similarly complex.

In fact, markets meet all the properties of complex systems, as outlined by scientists:

1. Diverse
Sys

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Admin

Well, here it comes—September. It’s widely considered the worst month of the year for equities for good reason since it has historically seen the worst performance. Per Ryan Detrick, Senior Market Strategist, “September is the banana peel month, as some of the largest dips tend to take place during this month. Although the economy is still quite strong, this doesn’t mean some usual September volatility is out of the question—in fact, we’d be surprised it volatility didn’t pick up given how calm things have been this year.”

With the Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan, and the European Central Bank all set to announce interest rate decisions this month, and the S&P 500 Index up on a total return basis nine consecutive months as of the end of July, the stage is set for some fireworks in September.

Here’s some data to consider as September approaches:

• Since 1928, no month sports a lower average return than September, with the S&P 500 down 1.0% on average. February and May are the only other

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Admin

Watch The Potential Double Tops

Doubles Tops are forming in two key ETFs, the Semiconductor SPDR (XSD) and the Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY), and chartists should watch these important groups for clues on broad market direction in the coming week or two. First, let's talk about the Double Top. These patterns form with two peaks near the same level and an intermittent trough that marks support. A break below support confirms the pattern and targets a move based on the height of the pattern. 

Achtung! A Double Top is just a POTENTIAL Double Top until confirmed with a break below the intermittent low. In other words, the trend is still up as long as support holds. Furthermore, Double Tops are bearish reversal patterns and trend continuations are more likely that trend reversals. 

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The chart above shows a potential Double Top brewing in XSD over the last three months or so. Because this is an ETF with dozens of moving parts (components), I am marking a support zone using the mid May low and the June low. A close belo

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Admin
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“Low volatility could be ‘the quiet before the storm,’” Nobel laureate Robert Shiller told CNBC last week, adding: “I lie awake worrying.” Over the past 20 years, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has closed below 10 on only 21 days, 13 of which have been in the past two months. The current streak of 270-plus days without a 5% drawdown in any of the major U.S. indices is the longest since 1996. Meanwhile, U.S. equity values continue to diverge from earnings — Schiller’s Cyclically Adjusted PE Ratio (CAPE) has only been higher two times in market history: 1929 and 2000.

Yet, despite the many bulls claiming low volatility is historically normal, and therefore not a warning sign, evidence is beginning to mount that U.S. equity markets may be near a volatility-driven tipping point. With the market consolidated (WILTW June 29, 2017) and buoyed by the lowest interest rates in 5,000 years, investors have taken on more and riskier leverage in search of yield. Compounding the risk, much of t

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Admin

How Big Oil Will Die

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It’s 2025, and 800,000 tons of used high strength steel is coming up for auction.

The steel made up the Keystone XL pipeline, finally completed in 2019, two years after the project launched with great fanfare after approval by the Trump administration. The pipeline was built at a cost of about $7 billion, bringing oil from the Canadian tar sands to the US, with a pit stop in the town of Baker, Montana, to pick up US crude from the Bakken formation. At its peak, it carried over 500,000 barrels a day for processing at refineries in Texas and Louisiana.

But in 2025, no one wants the oil.

The Keystone XL will go down as the world’s last great fossil fuels infrastructure project. TransCanada, the pipeline’s operator, charged about $10 per barrel for the transportation services, which means the pipeline extension earned about $5 million per day, or $1.8 billion per year. But after shutting down less than four years into its expected 40 year operational life, it never paid back its costs.

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Admin

Are Investors Getting Too Bulled Up?

Ran across this post and found it interesting although anything that's only been around 7-1/2 years is truly untested but only time will tell.  All eyes are on Congress for a break in taxes for the wealthy, as well as 'stumbles' from our leader and chief, Mr. Trump.  Between the Russia investigation and foreign relations (yikes!) the tension is building, or at least being applied by the left.  Will they reach the proportions where firms hit the 'sell' button? I have to say that September is coming -  the worst month for the market thanks to Mutual Fund profit taking at end of fiscal year.  Anything is possible.  Enjoy the ride.  From LyonsShare:

Sentiment indicators can be useful tools for investors, mainly on a contrarian basis. That is, generally when readings get overly bullish, it may signal a lack of remaining buyers in the market and vulnerability to a decline in prices. Conversely, when sentiment is extremely bearish, it is often a sign that selling has been overdone and prices

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Admin

The FANG Fantasy

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With the “FANG” trade getting long in the tooth, so to speak, Wall Street analysts are now scrambling to formulate new acronyms to accommodate the most robust names in Big Tech today. FAANG, FAAA, FAAMG and now FANTASY have been brought forward adding companies like Microsoft, Tesla and Nvidia to the original FANG Fab-Four of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

As market warning signs so, they don’t get better than this. Widely accepted market acronyms don’t evolve gracefully. They pop. Remember the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and NINJA loans – (No income, no job)?

What most investors miss is that universally understood and enthusiastically embraced acronyms reflect peak sentiment. They are a market narrative boiled down to its most simplistic and easiest to grasp form. Repeated over and over and appearing everywhere, they are cognitive ease at its best. Like pieces of sea glass, all of the rough edges have been worn away over time and everyone can hold them.

In my book

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Admin

Finding High Quality Companies 'Today'

We are having a hard time finding high-quality companies at attractive valuations.

For us, this is not an academic frustration. We are constantly looking for new stocks by running stock screens, endlessly reading (blogs, research, magazines, newspapers), looking at holdings of investors we respect, talking to our large network of professional investors, attending conferences, scouring through ideas published on value investor networks, and finally, looking with frustration at our large (and growing) watch list of companies we’d like to buy at a significant margin of safety. The median stock on our watch list has to decline by about 35-40% to be an attractive buy.

But maybe we’re too subjective. Instead of just asking you to take our word for it, in this letter we’ll show you a few charts that not only demonstrate our point but also show the magnitude of the stock market’s overvaluation and, more importantly, put it into historical context.

Each chart examines stock market valuation fro

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