This may not be a good market for investors but its a fine one for traders. Over the past months we have maintained a cautious tone with the expectation of a potential April top for US equities. While we don’t expect anything dramatic in terms of a sell-off, the selling could be substantial at times as the markets begin to flush out newbie momentum investors or those who need a refresher course in market risk.
As for this being a fine time for nimble traders, this has been the case especially in the Nasdaq and small cap sectors as identified by symbols QQQ and IWM, both of which have rolled over and are leading on the downside. We’ve been able (so far) to capitalize on the the weakness by trading the SQQQ and the TZA as both markets appear to be in a “two steps down and one step up” mode.
Eventually this period will pass and fear will be reinstated as a common investor emotion which will probably lead to a strong second half of 2014. At present, we see no signs of recession and weak markets within growing economies can happen but they’re typically shallower and briefer than recession based bear markets. So, assuming the markets remain with a downward bias into the Summer, this will likely lead to an excellent entry point later this year.
Notice the divergence between the stodgy S&P 500 and the NASDAQ and IWM. This kind of behavior leads me to suspect that the outpeformance in the small caps may potentially be over which is one why we’re expecting to lean heavily on Mid Caps when we eventually move to fully invested.
So far we have avoided shorting the SPY via inverse exchanged traded funds, we’re respecting the market strength.
We continue to opportunistically trade the SQQQ, the inverse QQQ ETF as this market shows a bearish trend. I’d expect to sell the SQQQ in the event the QQQ revisits $84.
We are trading the TZA which is an inverse exchange traded fund that mirrors the IWM which is a proxy for the small cap stock market. We expect to sell the TZA if the IWM moves below $111.
To sum it up: For the time being, this is not a market for investors but for traders. This too shall pass.
Long TZA and SQQQ
RMHI and OP clients are very well positioned in light of the falling stock prices in the US and abroad, especially in emerging markets (EM).
As mentioned previously we thought risk could happen fast once the new year was upon us but even I’m surprised by the ripple effects of the FOMC’s taper decisions. We had not anticipated that it would throw the emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, China and Asia, India, Turkey, New Zealand) into turmoil. Turkey, New Zealand, India and Brazil all have central banks that are raising interest rates sharply to stabilize their currencies, which will penalize their growth longer term. If we add a slowing growth rate in China, it only compounds the problems. This is a very bearish environment for EM stocks.
At the start of the year the consensus was that interest rates would rise. We took the other side of that argument thinking that the consensus would be wrong…and were they ever. Who would have thought as recently as 10 days ago that not only were rates not going to rise but that the EM banks would be tightening credit and with investors fleeing stocks and turning to Treasury bonds we’d have a full scale rally in Treasury Bonds?
As it stands as of today 1/29/2014 our largest 5 holdings are:
1. Direxion ETF Emerging Markets 3x Bear symbol “EDZ”: This exchange traded fund or ETF will rise in price if the Ishares Emerging Markets Index “EEM” falls. My thought was that the EDZ would be a much better hedge against any residual stock positions we retain since the emerging markets is facing a real threat while the US is merely experiencing slowing growth. In other words I felt there was a better chance the EDZ could rise sharply than a US based inverse ETF.
2. Pimco Municipal Income Fund “PMF”: stable and wonderfully boring in a volatile world with a locked in 7% tax free yield based on our purchase prices.
3. Nuveen Enhanced Municipal Fund “NEV: see above for PMF
4. Blackrock Municipal Income Trust “BFK”: see PMF and EIV
5. Direxion 20+ Year Treasury Bull 3x: “TMF” This is a leverage ETF we bought a few weeks ago when we started to see an emerging rally in 20 and 30 year Treasuries which was based on the extreme negative sentiment regarding bonds at the end of the year. So far, so good. With the worlds economies slowing and markets retreating T-bonds are a logical place for investors who want a safe haven.
Long all positions mentioned.
Be careful out there,
Advisers who tell their clients to remain fully invested in stocks, hell or high water is offering systemically dangerous advice. @Jesse_Livermore
We couldn’t agree more!
But we live and work in Lyons Colorado, so “high water” is a poorly timed phrase.