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Weekly Market Recap Oct 14, 2018

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Wednesday and Thursday finally brought some fireworks to a very complacent market.   The S&P 500 had not had a 1% move in 74 days until Wednesday’s drawdown.

Rising yields were nailed as the culprit but months of rallying eventually require some sort of shake out – whatever the catalyst.  Wednesday’s sell off was the worst day for the S&P 500 since February and the worst for the NASDAQ since June 2016.

The market losses are “a reaction from investors finally realizing we are in a higher interest-rate environment, and given the elevated level of stocks, market participants were likely looking for a reason to sell,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management. “Higher interest rates typically bring on tighter financial conditions which could dampen growth going forward and equity markets are reacting to that.”

Yields on the 10 year fell back to their “breakout” level late in the week.

The Chinese market’s “reversal” was stunted by the selling in U.S. markets – now back to new recent lows.

It was such a rough week even gold got a bid as a “safe haven”.

This selloff in housing stocks continues unabated. Rising mortgage rates and high prices seem to be working together to hurt the sector.

One would think the selling would knock off some of the most speculative stocks but “market leader” Tilray (TLRY) held in amazingly well.

For the week the S&P 500 fell 4.1% while the NASDAQ sunk 3.7%.

Economic news was not market moving.

Here is the 5 day weekly “intraday” chart of the S&P 500 … via Jill Mislinski.

The week ahead…

Markets look quite oversold short term and the start of earnings season may turn attention back to underlying fundamentals.  The bears have constantly been crushed during this bull market run so let’s see if this is yet another case of that.   Retail sales will also be reported.

Third quarter earnings will be a major driver as companies report over the coming weeks. According to FactSet, analysts are looking for earnings growth of about 19% and sales growth of 7%.

Index charts:

Short term: Amazingly both the S&P 500 and NASDAQ closed right on their 200 day moving averages to close out the week.  Obviously both charts now have some damage to them after months of unrelenting rallying.

This Russell 2000 had been the worst performer going into this selloff, and obviously looks poor.  It couldn’t even rally Friday like the other indexes.  That said it’s extremely oversold short term.

The NYSE McClellan Oscillator tipped into the rarely seen -90 range Thursday which usually portends some sort of near term bounce.   Last time we saw this sort of extreme reading was February.

Long term: Finally something to sweat about?  The NASDAQ hit the bottom of it’s channel for the first time since 2016!

Charts of interest / Big Movers:

Tuesday, Affimed (AFMD) sank 24% after the biotech drug developer put two clinical trials on hold following the death of a study participant.

Wednesday, Imperva (IMPV) soared 28% after it announced it would be acquired by private-equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC in a deal valued at $2.1 billion.

The LONG rumored bankruptcy of Sears Holdings (SHLD) finally seems afoot.  The stock skidded 17% Wednesday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the troubled retailer has hired M-III Partners LLC to prepare a bankruptcy filing.  This was confirmed late Sunday.

The Chapter 11 filing to reorganize debts of the parent of Sears, Roebuck and Co and Kmart Corp follows a decade of revenue declines, hundreds of store closures, and years of deals by billionaire Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert in an attempt to turn around the company he bought in 2004.  Shares in Illinois based Sears closed at about 41 cents on Friday, down from over $100 in the years after hedge fund star Lampert, once hailed as another Warren Buffett, merged it with discount store Kmart in a $11 billion deal in 2005.

“Pot” themed traders now seem to be looking at Pyxus (PYX) as the next Tilray – note the performance (and explosion of volume) in a terrible week overall!  Again a very highly speculative space – this is a tobacco company with “cannabis plans” announced February.  This reminds one of cryptocurrencies and all the crazy trends of the decades before.  That said, short term speculators can still make money until the music stops playing.

Have a great week and we’ll see you back here Sunday!



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Strategies & Ideas

Jonathan Tepper Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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Jonathan Tepper
Jonathan Tepper

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Jonathan Tepper is co-author of “The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition.” He is chairman of Variant Perception, a macroeconomic research group catering to asset managers and co-founded Demotix, a citizen-journalism photo newswire.

Tepper notes — Google and Facebook control over 70% of all search and linkage within the internet. Their algorithms are biased and guide users to go where they want them to go. Most need Google or Facebook to login to certain websites. So on a platform as vast as the internet, where is the competition?

There’s a lot of smart, wealthy, entrepreneurial focused people around the world – why are they not fighting back? There is virtually no interest by people in Silicon Valley to get into the search engine game. Any small competitor that tries to insert themselves into the industry gets bought out by their larger sized competitors. Jonathan encourages capitalism and companies becoming monopolies because of organic growth. Unfortunately, this is rarely how companies grow. Monopolies are usually formed due to political advantages and strong economic footholds. Jonathan describes the economy right now as “fake capitalism.”

What will it take to overturn a Google or Facebook or Amazon? Will they be dominating for the next 30 years? The central point of evolution is competition – the struggle for survival. In a perfect world, companies with the best and strongest traits would survive while the old and fat companies would die off rather than continue to thrive because of crony capitalism. Only time will tell if these mammoth sized companies will continue to push boundaries and prosper or if a younger more creative company will overthrow them.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Technology monopolies
  • Capitalism
  • Airline monopolies
  • Anti trust laws
  • Federal Reserve
  • The banking system
  • Fake capitalism
  • The Antitrust Paradox
  • Patents

“Economic freedom is essentially a per-requisite to political freedom.” – Jonathan Tepper

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Weekly Market Recap Dec 09, 2018

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Bears are certainly showing the type of strength we haven’t seen in a long time.   A week ago at this time futures were surging on news of a “truce” for 90 days between China and the U.S. in their trade spat.  But the charts were still not saying lovely things despite a major rally the week prior.   And by Tuesday, darkness had descended back on the indexes, with another gut punch Friday.    A lot of emphasis was put on a long term Treasury yield dropping below a shorter term Treasury.

On Monday, the yield on five year government debt slid below the yield on three year debt, a phenomenon which has preceded previous recessions, and a sign that investors are more confident about current than future economic growth as the Federal Reserve raises rates.

The “two year” vs the “ten year” Treasury yield a lot of people like to watch and that hit its narrowest spread in 11 years.

There is no rush to be involved heavily in this market until this volatility sorts itself.    The obvious near term “upside drivers” now would be (a) a real trade peace between U.S. and China and (b) the market’s favorite thing – an easier Fed; in this case that would entail signals to the market that the rate hikes forecast for 2019 are no longer in the cards.   The latter is ALREADY being floated out to the investing community as the Fed has become a lackey for the market the past 20 years.

It’s always helpful to watch what major sectors are “strong” – in this case the type of sectors that institutional money flees into – utilities and consumer staples are holding up.

Meanwhile “growthy” areas like tech and industrials are sagging.

This whole move down was started by a spike in yields such as the 10 year – even with a big retreat this past week, the market did not respond positively.

This week was almost the exact opposite of the week prior with ~5% moves in the indexes either way week to week!  Now that’s some good ole volatility.  This week it was downward with the S&P 500 sinking 4.6% and the NASDAQ 4.9%.

On the economic front, ISM Services still came in a very healthy 60.7.  Readings over 60 aren’t too common; anything over 50 signals expansion.  Of course the market is a forward looking indicator.

As to the November employment data, the Labor Department estimated a gain of 155,000 vs expectations closer to 190,000.  The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, as expected. Average hourly earnings grew 6 cents per hour from October, or 0.2%, just shy of expectations, and grew by 3.1% year-over-year, their highest rate since 2009.

Here is the 5 day weekly “intraday” chart of the S&P 500 … via Jill Mislinski.

The week ahead…

Fun fact – there have been 57 1% moves in the S&P 500 in 2018 vs the very strange year of 2017 where the snoozer market only offered up 8 such days!  In terms of 2% moves, there were 0 in 2017, while there have been 16 in 2018.

The last Fed meeting comes the week after this (Dec 18-19) and one would expect more “leaks” about how 2019 is going to be more dovish than people expect.

Other than waiting for the leaks, watching the “flattening” yield curve will preoccupy the minds of many.

Index charts:

Short term: The S&P 500 spent exactly 1 session over our trend line (and the 200 day moving average) before getting crushed.  NASDAQ didn’t even try to go above the 200 day.  Looking at recent lows now becomes important – if those break, it would not be a positive.

The Russell 2000 still looks putrid.  It is now facing lows of February!

The NYSE McClellan Oscillator spent much of last week in the black actually – but for now this is not an indicator we are going to focus on a ton as the charts are saying negative things for now.

Long term: The NASDAQ is the chart that interests me as it has such a well defined channel.  Last week we said “So it appears 7500 is a good number to watch as a rally up and through that level would signal the index getting back in a channel it has been in for years!”

That didn’t happen – in fact the index got within a few points of 7500 – then was soundly rejected.  This is why charts are fun to evaluate.

Charts of interest / Big Movers:

Another rough week in brick & mortar retail:

Thursday, Children’s Place (PLCE) plunged 13%, hitting 13-month lows, after the retailer cut its earnings and margin outlook for the full year.

Friday Big Lots (BIG) traded down 23.1%, after a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss.

Also Friday, Ulta Beauty (ULTA) slumped more than 13%, after a Thursday evening earnings release that predicted weaker holiday sales that analysts hoped.

Altria announced it would take a 45% ownership stake in the cannabis firm Cronos Group (CRON).

Have a great week and we’ll see you back here Sunday!



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Follow the Opportunity with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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Michael Covel
Michael Covel

Subscribe to Trend Following Radio on iTunes

Trust but verify. Do you listen to media, teachers, etc. and blindly trust the information given? When listening to information or insight it is ok to trust, but you must verify. The vast majority of people choose to never second guess the source.

Michael’s first aha moment with looking outside the box was discovering the turtle story. There were a few things that caught his interest about the story–the trading experiment was seemingly repeatable, that systematic kind of trading was teachable and doable for anyone, and many of those involved in the experiment had moved on and made fortunes. Discovering trend following through the turtles led to many other avenues for Michael, including this podcast. Michael shares some of those insights learned over the years, including what he has learned during the evolution of this podcast.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Turtle story
  • Bayesian mindset
  • Going with the flow
  • Open to new opportunities
  • Trend following philosophy
  • Holy grails

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