Bullish or Bearish? Wednesday, Sep 1 2010 

The market this year has had some rough times. The rally which started in March of 2009 topped out in April of 2010 and caused the market to trend lower for the last 5 months. But as mentioned in my last article the market is approaching a moment in time when a solid buying opportunity will emerge.

On the bearish side of the equation we have weak economic growth, stubbornly high unemployment, massive budget deficits, and a weak banking sector. There is also the issue with the Hindenburg Omen, for which a downside move of just a few more percent would make the signal a success.

On the bullish side we have an equities market that seems overvalued from a PE perspective is undervalued based on dividend yield when compared with similar yields on US Treasuries, AAII surveys showing that small investors are bearish, and favorable profit growth in the large cap sector.

The stock market has in many way mirrored the returns of the market in the 70’s where we had whipsawing action sideways for many years until inflation was dealt with by Paul Volker and set the stage for the great bull market in equities that ran until 2000.

Intel’s announcement guiding revenues and gross margins lower in the third quarter may be the harbinger of earnings warnings in the tech sector as companies move to get the bad news out early.

September is a month where earnings and economic worries are likely to provide some stormy weather for the markets but once we move into the fourth quarter the skies should clear for a nice rally into 2011 although we are likely to end the year on the downside.

As mentioned before, there are a number of high quality blue chip stocks with attractive dividend yields that can provided comfort to investors with a steady income stream. Once the weather clears these stocks should lead the market higher as investors look to dividends for safety in these turbulent times.

Disclaimer
Communications are intended solely for informational purposes. Statements made should not be construed as an endorsement, either expressed or implied. This article and the author is not responsible for typographic errors or other inaccuracies in the content. This article may not be reproduced without credit or permission from the author. We believe the information contained herein to be accurate and reliable. However, errors may occasionally occur. Therefore, all information and materials are provided “AS IS” without any warranty of any kind. Past results are not indicative of future results.
PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THERE IS RISK OF LOSS AS WELL AS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GAIN WHEN INVESTING IN THE STOCK, BOND, AND DERIVATIVE MARKETS. WHEN CONSIDERING ANY TYPE OF INVESTMENT, INCLUDING HEDGE FUNDS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VARIOUS RISKS INCLUDING THE FACT THAT SOME PRODUCTS: OFTEN ENGAGE IN LEVERAGING AND OTHER SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT PRACTICES THAT MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF INVESTMENT LOSS, CAN BE ILLIQUID, ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE PERIODIC PRICING OR VALUATION INFORMATION TO INVESTORS, MAY INVOLVE COMPLEX TAX STRUCTURES AND DELAYS IN DISTRIBUTING IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION, ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS AS MUTUAL FUNDS, OFTEN CHARGE HIGH FEES, AND IN MANY CASES THE UNDERLYING INVESTMENTS ARE NOT TRANSPARENT AND ARE KNOWN ONLY TO THE INVESTMENT MANAGER.
Before making any type of investment, one should consult with an investment professional to consider whether the investment is appropriate for the individuals risk profile. This is not intended to be investment advice or a solicitation to purchase any of the securities listed here. I will not be held liable or responsible for any losses or damages, monetary or otherwise that result from the content of this article.

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Four year Presidential Cycle and the Equities market Tuesday, Aug 31 2010 

US equities have had a difficult time since April of this year as fears over a double dip recession, a stubbornly high unemployment rate, and the possibility of slowing corporate profit growth have weighed on the markets. In addition, small investors are pouring money into bond funds sending yields crashing through the floor while equities are being labeled as risky investments.

But one of the great trading cycles is getting ready to flash a contrarian buy signal to the markets.

The four year Presidential Cycle looks for higher returns during the last two years of a Presidential term than the first years. The expectation is that as a President takes office he begins to implement his proposals and investors, hunker down waiting to see the results. During the final two years the President becomes more concerned with his re-election and will ‘prime the pump’ in order to secure re-election.

As we move through the second year of the Presidential Cycle a low is put into place which often leads to a solid rally into the third year.

I would like to bring to everyone’s attention an important article written by Bill Hester of the Hussman Funds entitled Business Cycles, Election Cycles and Potential Risks.

The chart on Election Cycle Returns shows that during year 2 of the Presidential Cycle the first quarter is up on average while the second and third are down leading to a rally in the fourth quarter which lasts into 2011.

So far in 2010 the stock market is following the chart perfect with a move up in the first quarter followed by pullbacks in the second and third quarters of the year.

We may be near a bottom in the equity markets as September is the worst month on average for equities. We are likely to see some continual downside pressure to equities during the September time frame as continued weak economic reports and concerns over third quarter profits will dominate the news flow.

The AAII Investor Sentiment Index last week reached levels which foreshadow the beginning of an upcoming rally in the equity markets.

Yields on corporate bonds and Treasury securities are at extremely low levels on an historical basis while dividend yields on high quality blue chip equities are at very attractive levels. Small investors would do well to begin preparing for the next big rally by having some cash on hand ready to allocate when the next buying opportunity approaches in the coming months.

While the news flow for equities may be negative small investors should look ahead to the light at the end of the tunnel signaling an upcoming rally, one which may catch many market watchers by surprise.

Disclaimer
Communications are intended solely for informational purposes. Statements made should not be construed as an endorsement, either expressed or implied. This article and the author is not responsible for typographic errors or other inaccuracies in the content. This article may not be reproduced without credit or permission from the author. We believe the information contained herein to be accurate and reliable. However, errors may occasionally occur. Therefore, all information and materials are provided “AS IS” without any warranty of any kind. Past results are not indicative of future results.
PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THERE IS RISK OF LOSS AS WELL AS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GAIN WHEN INVESTING IN THE STOCK, BOND, AND DERIVATIVE MARKETS. WHEN CONSIDERING ANY TYPE OF INVESTMENT, INCLUDING HEDGE FUNDS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VARIOUS RISKS INCLUDING THE FACT THAT SOME PRODUCTS: OFTEN ENGAGE IN LEVERAGING AND OTHER SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT PRACTICES THAT MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF INVESTMENT LOSS, CAN BE ILLIQUID, ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE PERIODIC PRICING OR VALUATION INFORMATION TO INVESTORS, MAY INVOLVE COMPLEX TAX STRUCTURES AND DELAYS IN DISTRIBUTING IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION, ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS AS MUTUAL FUNDS, OFTEN CHARGE HIGH FEES, AND IN MANY CASES THE UNDERLYING INVESTMENTS ARE NOT TRANSPARENT AND ARE KNOWN ONLY TO THE INVESTMENT MANAGER.
Before making any type of investment, one should consult with an investment professional to consider whether the investment is appropriate for the individuals risk profile. This is not intended to be investment advice or a solicitation to purchase any of the securities listed here. I will not be held liable or responsible for any losses or damages, monetary or otherwise that result from the content of this article.

2010 Mid year commentary – Investment Thoughts Thursday, Jul 22 2010 

It was my mantra at the beginning of the year that long-term investors should stay in cash and wait for attractive buying opportunities to come along.

Price-earnings ratios are once again becoming attractive. While they may seem high and nowhere near lows that sparked past bull markets investors would be wise to begin putting together lists of favorite stocks and begin monitoring prices in anticipation of putting cash to work.

We may take 6 months to a year to find a bottom but for investors it is better to well prepared in the event a buying opportunity comes along.

At this moment, we are in a stock pickers market and you should act accordingly.

Globally, markets will likely take their cues from the US and investors should proceed with caution.

Until the US government makes a serious effort to reign in spending investors should have money in Gold and Silver as a hedge against currency debasement and loss of purchasing power relative to the world.

Gold should move to new highs later this year but will likely see some sideways to lower trading action in the near term as we move through the historically weak summer period.

Gold stocks are less attractive to me. They should be trading higher based on a higher gold price but there are some factors restraining stock prices.

First, you have rising costs at mines partly related to the depreciation of the dollar. While we point to the USD Index, the truth is over 50% of the Index is made up of the Euro and I believe approximately 90% is European currencies with little or no exposure to Asia and South America.

Second, gold stocks are aggressively acquiring the remaining low hanging fruit in the exploration area, in many cases with stock. The problem with these transactions is the effect of dilution since the acquired assets have zero revenues.

Personally, I am waiting for a bit of a pullback to the 1175-1150 area with an absolute floor at 1065.

Investors in gold equities should slide down the exploration curve, as there appears to be value at the far low end in the prospecting and drilling areas.

Silver is attractive at the current price but given its volatility relative to Gold and the chance for Gold to pull back, Silver may trade lower over the short-term.

In fact, Silver is completing a very rough and ugly head and shoulders pattern leading me to believe that we may see some weakness in the coming weeks and months.

If commodities in general pull back over fears of a slowing economy both Gold and Silver will find any potential gains limited.

Canadian banks are showing value but again prices may get cheaper over the next six months. The TSX looks oversold as do most Canadian banks.

Asian economies look to continue their recovery and growth. A slowdown in the Chinese economy will defuse talk of a large currency appreciation. Non-correlated Asian markets should do well over the second half of the year but I expect problems in the US to overshadow the growth story and mute any potential large gains.

Stock prices in China and Hong Kong should continue to struggle as IPO’s and bond sales are absorbed.

Avoid South American equity markets over the near term as the difficulties facing individual countries may spill over into neighboring countries causing problems. Some of the problems include the reconstruction efforts in Chile, government and trade problems coming out of Argentina, and a Brazilian economy firing on all cylinders.

While the oil spill in the Gulf continues to provide tremendous amounts of speculation on the ultimate size of liability for BP there are some factors to consider.

Did Exxon go out of business after the Valdez spill? No.

Did any of the cigarette companies go out of business after the government settlement? No.

Does BP have attractive assets worldwide? Yes.

Will they survive? Yes.

No doubt, there will be additional regulation, massive fines, and increased scrutiny over oil and gas operations in the Gulf, Alaska, and all over the lower 48 states but the industry will survive and move forward for the future. As a high-risk investment, BP does look attractive under $30 but remember that this is a high-risk investment. The stock could trade lower if the broader market moves lower over the second half of the year.

***Disclosure note: I own BP stock in my personal account. This is not an endorsement to buy or sell nor should it be taken as such.***

The recent decline was due to portfolio window dressing as I noticed that Gold and certain Asian markets where I trade (which are up for the year) held up and saw buying as the US market (which is down) fell as portfolio managers rushed to tweak portfolios ahead of the mid-year reports.

The rally last week in the US was not met with a similar rally in the markets I follow which, in addition to weak volume, leads me to be very cautious.

It is my opinion that we are still in a topping formation and look to see lower markets through the end of the year with the major indices ending up down for the year.

Personally, I am putting together a buy list of stocks with good dividend yields and earning bases and plan on waiting for the right moment to allocate capital.

In the coming weeks and months I will expand more upon the themes touched on during the first and second parts of my commentary.

Disclaimer
Communications are intended solely for informational purposes. Statements made should not be construed as an endorsement, either expressed or implied. This article and the author is not responsible for typographic errors or other inaccuracies in the content. This article may not be reproduced without credit or permission from the author. We believe the information contained herein to be accurate and reliable. However, errors may occasionally occur. Therefore, all information and materials are provided “AS IS” without any warranty of any kind. Past results are not indicative of future results.
PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THERE IS RISK OF LOSS AS WELL AS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GAIN WHEN INVESTING IN THE STOCK, BOND, AND DERIVATIVE MARKETS. WHEN CONSIDERING ANY TYPE OF INVESTMENT, INCLUDING HEDGE FUNDS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VARIOUS RISKS INCLUDING THE FACT THAT SOME PRODUCTS: OFTEN ENGAGE IN LEVERAGING AND OTHER SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT PRACTICES THAT MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF INVESTMENT LOSS, CAN BE ILLIQUID, ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE PERIODIC PRICING OR VALUATION INFORMATION TO INVESTORS, MAY INVOLVE COMPLEX TAX STRUCTURES AND DELAYS IN DISTRIBUTING IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION, ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS AS MUTUAL FUNDS, OFTEN CHARGE HIGH FEES, AND IN MANY CASES THE UNDERLYING INVESTMENTS ARE NOT TRANSPARENT AND ARE KNOWN ONLY TO THE INVESTMENT MANAGER.
Before making any type of investment, one should consult with an investment professional to consider whether the investment is appropriate for the individuals risk profile. This is not intended to be investment advice or a solicitation to purchase any of the securities listed here. I will not be held liable or responsible for any losses or damages, monetary or otherwise that result from the content of this article.