Daily Gains Letter

Europe


Looking for a Good Gold Play? Here’s What to Watch For

By for Daily Gains Letter | Sep 8, 2014

Looking for a Good Gold PlayI have not talked about gold for some time, as there has been no reason to get excited about the yellow metal. Yes, it’s shiny, but it doesn’t appear to be sparkling at this time.

After the gold bugs got excited about the opportunities in the precious metal, pushing prices to above $1,300 following the onset of geopolitical issues in both Ukraine and the Middle East, the aftermath has been dull.

As I said back in June, the only reason I would trade gold would be to buy on weakness near $1,200 as the fundamentals, in my view, are irrelevant at this time. Gold still seems to be more of a geopolitical trade. (See “How to Make Quick Profits in Gold at This Time.”)

Look, there’s no big buying from India; China is buying, but it is simply not enough to sway the global supply/demand balance in favor of the yellow precious metal.

Gold Bugs Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Consider the fact that the greenback has been edging higher, with the U.S. dollar index at its highest level in more than a year. This move makes the dollar-denominated gold more expensive for foreigners, who have traditionally been major purchasers. The end result is a letdown in demand for the yellow metal.

In my view, gold is simply a trade on the geopolitical risk, as there’s really no major reason to want to buy at this juncture, given the market’s underlying fundamentals.

The gold bugs clearly don’t want to hear this, but I believe that unless the situation in Ukraine or the Middle East worsens, prices could head lower, towards $1,225 or even … Read More


China a Game-Changer for This U.S. Automaker

By for Daily Gains Letter | Aug 11, 2014

China an Especially Lucrative Move for This AutomakerThe superhighway that Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ/TSLA) is building across the United States appears to be taking shape with consumers and investors.

The maker of the quick-charge electric-battery vehicle has recovered since taking a hit on growth and valuation concerns. The stock is still not cheap, but based on what is developing and its longer-term prospects, a stock like Tesla may be worth a closer look as an investment opportunity.

Back in April, I suggested picking up some shares of Tesla as an investment opportunity at a price tag of $193.00. The stock closed at $253.00 last Wednesday, representing a hefty quick gain of 28%.

Telsa Motors Inc Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Now after reporting a decent quarter, Tesla has been receiving kudos from Wall Street. Brad Erickson at Pacific Crest issued an Outperform rating and assigned a price target of $316.00. This price is high, given the stock is already trading at 80-times (X) its 2015 earnings per share (EPS) and an extremely high price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 5.34. For Internet and social media stocks, the valuation likely wouldn’t be given a second look, but for an automaker, there clearly are some heads shaking.

While I continue to like Tesla as an investment opportunity, I would be more likely to accumulate shares on price weakness than to chase the stock price higher.

In my view, Tesla needs to produce more unit sales of its vehicles in order to reduce the fixed overhead charges per vehicle made, thereby pushing up the operating margins.

We are seeing Tesla vehicle sales steadily rise, but the numbers still pale in comparison to the major automakers, … Read More


The Next Best Move for Investors

By for Daily Gains Letter | Aug 8, 2014

What Investors Need to Do NextIt’s time for some more handholding as we watch the stock market come under some selling pressure. But we’re not surprised, are we? The reality is that the advance of the stock market into its fifth year looks somewhat weary, given that interest rates will be rising in 2015.

Higher interest rates translate into higher bond yields, and that’s not conducive to a higher stock market. The current 10-year bond yield is a mere 2.45%, so it’s not an immediate concern. Yet looking ahead, interest rates will be heading higher, and this could come as soon as the first quarter of 2015, rather than the previous estimate of mid-2015.

The strength of the advance reading of the second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth at an annualized four percent was clearly enough to send some investors to the exits. The fear is that if the upcoming readings are strong, it could signal higher interest rates sooner. Of course, we still have to wait for the third and fourth quarters of 2014 before making a snap judgment on when rates will head higher.

The Federal Reserve has already reduced its monthly bond buying to $25.0 billion, and it’s likely to be eliminated altogether by the Fed’s October meeting. This is a given. Higher interest rates are the issue for the stock market.

In addition, there’s some nervousness towards China and Europe. The reporting of a weaker-than-expected HSBC Services China PMI of 50.0 in July is scaring the stock market. A weaker China is not good for the global economy.

In addition, we also have a potential recession in Russia, which could have … Read More


How to Profit from Russia’s Eventual Demise

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 23, 2014

The "Good" News Coming Out of Russia for InvestorsSimply put, if Russia is held accountable, the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight ML17 in eastern Ukraine could destabilize the situation in the region and filter into the eurozone and Europe. That’s bad news.

When the conflict first surfaced regarding the possible annexation of the Crimea region and the influence of Russia, there were concerns after economic sanctions were levied on Russia. The following vote in Crimea that indicated a desire to leave Ukraine has further raised the geopolitical stakes in the volatile area and intensified the fighting between the pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine.

It’s a mess, and the shooting down of ML17 made the situation much worse. We are seeing increased economic sanctions on Russia, and this will likely impact the eurozone and Eastern Europe. There is also news of a Russian steel company selling some properties in the United States.

Of course, we are also hearing that the rich Russians who count on business in Russia and the global economy are also feeling the economic pinch and are not happy. The problem is that they won’t say anything towards the situation, assumedly due to their fear of President Putin and the Kremlin.

And while Europe is intensifying the pressure on Russia to do something, there’s also a need for the flow of oil and natural gas to continue into the eurozone and Europe, which gets about 40% of its energy needs from Russia.

While the impact on the Russian embargo has yet to be fully felt by the eurozone and Europe, it could worsen if the Ukraine conflict intensifies. In the first quarter, gross domestic product (GDP) growth … Read More


Why This Beaten-Down Stock Is Worth a Closer Look

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 11, 2014

This Beaten-Down Stock Deserves a Closer LookSmall-cap stocks made a sweet rebound in June after the Russell 2000 previously declined below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. The index actually had been down 10% earlier in the year, prior to staging a nice rally, based on my technical analysis.

While the risk with the higher-beta growth and technology stocks continues to be higher than the S&P 500, the weakness has provided a decent trading investment opportunity for the more aggressive speculators looking for above-average risk-to-reward trades.

In my view, there is no better area as an investment opportunity for speculative trades than technology due to the immense upside; but at the same time, the associated risk is also higher due to the downside.

If you are searching for a beaten-down small-cap technology investment opportunity that could return some quick money, take a look at a stock like Extreme Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ/EXTR), which currently sits at a stock price around $4.27 and a market cap of $412 million. The stock traded as high as $8.14 in January, but it has lost nearly half of its value since then, so I see an investment opportunity here.

Extreme Networks Inc Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Some see Extreme Networks as a stay-away stock, but I view it as a contrarian investment opportunity at a time when the stock has been beaten up and tossed around by the stock market. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy money, but I like the trade risk to reward here; there’s more upside potential than downside risk, which makes it a good investment opportunity.

Extreme Networks develops network infrastructure equipment and services that cater to enterprises, data … Read More


How Godzilla’s Box Office Success Could Offer Your Portfolio the Same

By for Daily Gains Letter | May 28, 2014

Portfolio Popping Capital Gains It Could Be with This StockGodzilla (2014) is running wild at the box office, as this classic B-movie remake has delivered a record opening weekend for specialized movie theater operator IMAX Corporation (NYSE/IMAX).

If you have ever had the IMAX experience, you likely agree that Godzilla was probably as life-like as possible through the big-screen format of an IMAX theater, surrounded by about 12,000 watts of mind-blowing sound via a network of more than 40 speakers.

The screening of major Hollywood blockbusters on IMAX screens has been a big winner for the company and an excellent investment opportunity. IMAX has shown such major movies as The Hunger Games series, The Avengers, the newest Batman series, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Yet the appeal of IMAX has not only been its expansion in North America, but its ability to grow rapidly worldwide in places such as Western Europe, Japan, China, and Russia, which makes the stock a good investment opportunity. As of March 31, 2014, there were 840 IMAX theater systems installed in 57 countries worldwide.

The expansion into China is especially intriguing as an investment opportunity. With more than 1.3 billion people and the ongoing debut of Hollywood films in China, the investment opportunity is tremendous. At this time, there are about 150 IMAX theater systems in the country with contracts to open another 400 or so. In fact, if IMAX catches on, we could easily see hundreds more theater systems installed.

Fundamentally, the company reported higher annual revenue growth in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. Revenues are estimated to grow 5.7% to $304.46 million in 2014, followed by 15.2% to $350.64 million in … Read More


Three Variables to Consider Before Investing in Gold

By for Daily Gains Letter | Apr 16, 2014

Three Reasons I Believe Gold Is Only for Traders Right NowWhile there continue to be many gold bugs out there, I’m not one of them—but I do see gold as a trading opportunity.

Given what we have seen so far and looking ahead, I just don’t see gold as a buy-and-hold strategy at this time. Yes, there’s money to be made, but it’s going to be for traders only.

The recent break below $1,300 an ounce and the subsequent rally to the current $1,325 level is an example of such a trade, not a new trend that’s developing on the charts, based on my technical analysis. The chart below shows the potential declines in the metal towards $1,200 and $1,100 an ounce.

Gold Spot Price ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Many gold supporters will counter that China is hoarding gold and India will soon pick up its buying. While I don’t argue against this, I just don’t see the yellow metal retaining its luster at this point unless a war breaks out in Ukraine and Russia intensifies its threat. If this should happen, it would drive Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth lower and could result in the fragile eurozone and European economies retrenching back into a recession that just ended.

I wrote about gold several weeks back as a trading opportunity on dips below $1,300. I continue to hold on to that belief, but longer-term, the yellow metal could fade and fall back towards $1,200 or less.

My thinking is that inflation is nowhere to be seen in the United States, China, or Europe. (In fact, deflation may be more of a concern here.) And unless inflation picks up, the yellow metal isn’t … Read More


Six Ways to Profit from Russia’s Geopolitical Posturing

By for Daily Gains Letter | Apr 11, 2014

Profitable Investment Opportunities for American InvestorsThe situation in Crimea should be closely monitored as it pertains to Europe and the eurozone. Russia is a major trading partner with the eurozone as well, supplying about 40% of the energy requirements in the area. That is why an escalation in Crimea could devastate the region, especially at a time when the economy is finally growing in the eurozone.

I’m carefully watching the stand-off in Crimea and, more importantly, what Russia is doing. Whether it’s simply geopolitical posturing or a plan to enter into Crimea is unclear. The Russians really don’t want a conflict, as it would likely push the country into a recession.

And a recession in Russia would also impact Europe and could drive the region’s economies down. Now, Russia is currently setting up meetings with the United States and United Nations (UN), so there’s some optimism that a peaceful resolution could emerge from the crisis.

The reality is that a healthy Russia also means better times for Eastern Europe, including some of the area’s strongest economic regions, such as Poland.

I view Europe and the eurozone as a potential investment opportunity if the Russia-Ukraine situation is resolved.

The market in Europe and the eurozone is massive and includes more than 800 million people who demand goods and services.

The eurozone’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at a rate of 0.3% in the fourth quarter, according to Eurostat. The eurozone is estimated to report GDP growth of 1.2% this year and 1.5% in 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Of course, these numbers could decline if a conflict surfaces in Ukraine.

A look at … Read More


Why a Soft First Quarter Offers Hope

By for Daily Gains Letter | Apr 3, 2014

Silver LiningThe first quarter, by all accounts, was a dud, especially if you were invested in blue chip stocks as the Dow Jones Industrial Average retracted 0.74% in the quarter.

Yet March also saw some shifting of capital from higher-risk assets into blue chips and large-cap stocks, as the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 underperformed with declines of 2.53% and 0.83%, respectively.

But the muted gains in the first quarter do offer some hope heading forward, especially if the stock market can attract some leadership and if the economic outlook and jobs numbers can improve. For instance, the S&P 500 led the way in the first quarter with a 1.32% advance (or a 5.28% advance on an annualized basis). By comparison, in 2013, the index had already surpassed this level of advance by March.

Given the muted results to date, we could see much better gains in the quarters ahead, but much will depend on several variables that currently cast a cloud over the stock market.

First, the Fed is continuing to cut its quantitative easing and the consensus is that the bond purchases will dwindle to zero by year-end. While this is discounted by the stock market, traders are more concerned about when the Federal Reserve will begin to increase interest rates. The early thoughts are for rates to rise sometime in the first half of 2015.

Yet Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen gave the stock market a lift on Monday after suggesting the central bank would do whatever is necessary to make sure the economic renewal and jobs growth continue unabated. Now, this could imply that the bond buying could continue … Read More


Global Risks Creating Opportunities in This Precious Metal

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 27, 2014

Precious MetalWhile the stock market has been struggling this year, under the radar, gold has been moving higher.

The tense stand-off in Crimea is clearly adding some support to gold, as an outbreak there could drive the precious metal much higher in the short term.

The geopolitical risk also includes the tensions between Israel and Iran in the Middle East.

On the fundamental side, we have China continuing to amass significant positions in physical gold, as the country looks to diversify its massive $3.0 trillion in reserves away from U.S. bonds. Buying in India has stalled, but the country continues to be the world’s largest market for the precious metal.

The one major supportive variable that’s missing is inflation, which is a proven driver of gold prices. The reality is that inflation is benign in the United States, along with much of Europe and Asia.

With gold currently holding just above $1,300 an ounce, the precious metal is at a crux. Stabilization in Crimea would remove some of the risk discounted into the price, but I doubt this will happen in the immediate future, as Russia has set the process to annex Crimea from Ukraine.

We know that the contested move by Russia doesn’t sit well with the United States or the United Nations, yet I really do not see Russia backing away for now. That is unless the economic sanctions put forth on Russia intensify and begin to send the Russian economy into a downward spiral.

But until we see a resolution in the stand-off, I expect gold prices will continue to incorporate some risk discounted into the price.

In … Read More


Global Middle-Class Growth Boosting These Stocks Worldwide

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 24, 2014

Growing Global IncomeThe current drama surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been riveting and indicative of how the superlative growth in travel in the airline sector has encompassed Asia along with the world.

For years now, since the recession hit in 2008, I have been increasingly bullish on the airline sector across the globe, but especially in the emerging markets like China, India, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Helping to drive up the demand for travel in the airline sector has been the upward push in wealth creation in many of these regions, which has given more people the ability to afford air travel.

The industry stats don’t lie. The airline sector is on target for its second straight year of higher profits, according to research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

According to the research, North America continues to be the biggest airline sector market with profits estimated at around $8.6 billion in 2014. Asia-Pacific airlines are entrenched in second place with an estimated $3.7 billion in profits, more than the $3.1 billion predicted for Europe. (Source: “Industry on Track for Second Year of Improving Profits – Rising Fuel Costs Largely Offset by Increased Demand,” International Air Transport Association web site, March 12, 2014.)

Take a look at the Dow Jones U.S. Airlines Index in the chart below. Notice the beautiful uptrend since November 2012 and the bullish golden cross on the chart, based on my technical analysis.

Dow Jones US Airlines Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

To play the airline sector in the United States, I like discount carrier JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ/JBLU). The company was formed in 1998 and currently serves markets in the … Read More


Why Canadian Oil Plays Are More Attractive Than Their U.S. Counterparts Right Now

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 25, 2014

Canadian Oil StocksWhile the U.S. economy is hardly on solid footing, the fact remains that as the world’s biggest and most influential economy, the U.S. doesn’t have to be running optimally to keep the global economy chugging along. Though, it would be nice if the U.S. economy would gain sustainable traction. Until then, we will have to be content with its glacial pace of recovery.

And it is slow. In 2012, gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 2.8% and in 2013, it slowed to just 1.9%. Things are expected to get better over the next two years. U.S. GDP growth is forecast to hit 2.8% in 2014 and an even three percent in 2015.

The rest of the world will be playing catch-up. Well, save for the Chinese economy, which has a 2014 growth forecast of 7.5%. GDP growth in the eurozone picked up 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013—the third quarter of growth since the end of an 18-month recession. (Source: “Eurozone GDP growth gathers speed,” BBC News web site, February 14, 2014.)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that India’s GDP growth will hit 4.6% this year and climb to 5.4% in 2015. Brazil recently revised its 2014 GDP growth rate from 3.8% to 2.5%—which is still higher than analysts’ GDP growth forecasts of 1.79%. (Sources: Mishra, A.R., “IMF says India needs more rate hikes to bring inflation down,” Livemint.com, The Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2014; “Brazil cuts 2014 budget, GDP estimate,” Buenos Aires Herald web site, February 21, 2014.)

For investors who have been waiting for a broadly based global recovery, these are encouraging signs. It also … Read More


Tesla Soon to Be the Biggest U.S. Automaker?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 24, 2014

Tesla Soon to Be the BiggestEvery time I drive my SUV, especially when I have to fill up the tank with premium gas, I quiver and think about downsizing to a smaller gas-efficient vehicle or some sort of hybrid.

I remember back more than a decade ago when Canadian upstart Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ/BLDP) was all the rage on Wall Street, with traders driving up the stock price to above $100.00 in early 2000 on anticipation the company could develop the first hydrogen-powered cell for vehicles. Of course, as my stock analysis indicates, that failed, as Ballard was unable to develop a battery small enough to power the everyday car. The rest is history. Ballard is still hanging around, but it’s a non-factor in the alternative power sector for vehicles, based on my stock analysis.

As many of you already know, my stock analysis favors Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ/TSLA) as the big winner in the alternative power sector for vehicles. In a few short years, Tesla has become the next big technological innovation with its fully electric-powered vehicles. The Tesla vehicles look sharp and sporty and are gaining a wide acceptance based on the sales we are seeing.

I drove by a Tesla charging station the other day, and it looks impressive and innovative. Tesla is aiming to build a “Supercharger” network to cover about 98% of the United States by 2015. The Supercharger network can charge up a Tesla car via the changing of the battery pack and is free if you buy the more powerful battery. The whole process to automatically change the battery takes less than 90 seconds, according to the … Read More


How the Trend Is Changing for Silver

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 12, 2014

Trend Is Changing for SilverOne of the interesting things about investors is how so many become complacent over time. When precious metals like silver were rising steadily, more and more people jumped on the bandwagon. But times have changed.

With few people in the media talking about precious metals, I think it’s a good time to take a look at silver, as 2014 could potentially be a very strong year for the metal.

Obviously, we know that 2013 was a tough year for most of the precious metals, as investors began to believe that economic growth was going to accelerate globally. Over the last couple of months, it is clear that global economic growth is far from certain.

Uncertainty is an important component for the precious metals market, and we have seen silver react much more sharply than the other commodities, both to the upside and the downside.

As people become more uncertain, they look to assets that they believe can help protect their wealth. The emerging markets are getting hit badly, including Turkey hiking rates massively in one day, Argentina and Venezuela having serious issues, the Ukraine experiencing riots, and China now exhibiting signs of a slowdown in economic growth. Considering all of this, it’s no surprise that many people in nations around the world continue to accumulate precious metals, including silver.

An interesting note from last week made by the European Central Bank (ECB) president, Mario Draghi, in his comments following the central bank meeting is the possibility that there could be additional monetary stimulus (money printing) coming shortly.

With economic growth nowhere in sight in Europe, to have yet another central … Read More


How to Profit as Eurozone Repeats 2009 Financial Crisis

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 4, 2014

Profit as Eurozone Repeats 2009When troubles first started in the eurozone years ago, they stemmed from the credit market. The amount of bad loans increased and as a result, banks needed to be bailed out. Greece and Ireland were the first in the eurozone to come under scrutiny, followed by Spain and Portugal; concerns later grew over whether Italy needed a bailout, as well. In 2012 and 2013, we saw a little calm in the eurozone. One of the main factors behind this was the European Central Bank (ECB). It said it will do whatever it takes to save the eurozone. This sent a wave of optimism through the global economy.

Now, we are starting to hear the problems—bad loans—remain in the common currency region…and they’re increasing.

The Bank of Spain’s data showed that bad loans in the country grew to a record-high in November. They stood at 13.08% then, compared to 12.99% just a month earlier. Month-over-month, bad loans in the fourth-biggest eurozone economy grew by 1.5 billion euros. (Source: “CORRECTED-Spain’s bad loans ratio reaches new record high at 13.08 pct in Nov,” Reuters, January 17, 2014.)

This isn’t all for Spain. Recently, after posting a loss in its fourth quarter, the Banco Popular S.A.—the biggest bank in Spain—said that at the end of 2013, 6.8% of all loans at the bank were 90 days overdue. In 2012, this rate was 5.1%. (Source: Neumann, J., “Spanish Banks Still Battling Bad Loans,” Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2014.)

Banks in Italy—the third-biggest economy in the eurozone—are going through something similar. Standard & Poor’s expects bad loans at the Italian banks to increase to 310 … Read More


How to Profit from the Collapse in Emerging Markets

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 30, 2014

Emerging MarketsAfter years of easy money and a failure to secure a well-executed exit plan, it looks as though the emerging markets are getting a taste of the Federal Reserve’s economic tapering. Over the last five years, the emerging markets have benefited from low interest rates and listless growth in developed countries.

But, with the U.S., Japan, and Europe—the three biggest economies globally—all expanding for the first time in four years, the tables are turning and the sheen is beginning to wear on the emerging markets.

In an effort to help kick start the U.S. economy after the financial crisis in 2008, the Federal Reserve enacted it’s overly generous bond buying program (quantitative easing). All told, the Federal Reserve dumped more than $3.0 trillion (and counting) into the markets and has kept interest rates artificially low.

The ultra-low interest rates might have been great for home buyers, but income-starved investors had to look elsewhere to pad their retirement portfolio. Many retail and institutional investors went to the emerging markets, where the interest rates were higher and there was a real opportunity for growth.

In December, the Federal Reserve said it was going to begin tapering its $85.0-billion-per-month quantitative easing strategy to $75.0 billion a month in January. Just yesterday, the Fed announced it will be reducing that number to $65.0 billion a month in February. While the amount is negligible, it signals the eventual end of artificially low interest rates. The cheap money that propped up asset prices in emerging markets, like India, China, and Indonesia, is beginning to crumble.

The Argentinean peso, Indian rupee, South African rand, and Turkish lira … Read More


High Car Loan Delinquencies Suggest Solid 2014 Sales for Automakers?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 17, 2014

High Car Loan Delinquencies Don’t Mean Trouble for AutomakersWe expect American consumers to do a lot in this country; not least of which is to be the nation’s economic engine, after all, 70% of our gross domestic product (GDP) comes from consumer spending.

After years of strong stock market gains, America is still being bogged down with stagnant wages, high unemployment, and near-record-high food stamp usage—not the best formula for a nation that relies on consumers to spend, spend, spend. However, it is also contingent upon us being able to continually pay our bills. It’s the ebb and flow of consumerism.

But that flow is becoming more and more constricted. While banks are more than willing to increase high-interest credit card and loan limits to maxed-out consumers, they’re beginning to fear that this money might never be paid back.

According to the latest quarterly survey, American and Canadian bank managers’ expectations for delinquencies on auto sales loans have hit their highest level since the end of 2012; expectations for delinquencies on credit cards reached a two-year high; and 34% of respondents expect auto sales loan delinquencies to climb in the next six months, while 28% expect delinquencies on credit cards to rise.

Despite these findings, the report also found that consumer borrowing (and spending) shows no signs of slowing down! In fact, 58% of bankers said they expect the average credit card balance to increase over the next six months—only six percent expect balances to go down. On top of that, 44% of polled bankers say they expect the amount of credit extended to consumers to increase—only 14% think it will decrease.

These findings run in step with … Read More


How to Profit When Washington Inevitably Starts Bickering Again

By for Daily Gains Letter | Oct 21, 2013

Washington InevitablyIf you listen to mainstream media, the power struggle in Washington is over. The left and right came together valiantly, raising the debt ceiling and ending the U.S. government shutdown. At least, they temporarily did; they basically just put a glow-in-the-dark “SpongeBob SquarePants” band-aid on a compound fracture.

Washington voted to temporarily fund the government through January 15, 2014, and extend the $16.7-trillion debt ceiling through February 7. Then it starts all over again—and if it’s a repeat of the last three weeks, it isn’t going to be pretty.

The self-inflicted U.S. government shutdown, according to one estimate, took at least $24.0 billion out of the U.S. economy; this is after the Federal Reserve reported modest growth in September. (Source: Johnson, L., “Government Shutdown Cost $24 Billion, Standard & Poor’s Says,” Huffington Post web site, October 16, 2013.)

How the January/February deadlines will impact the U.S. and global economy is anyone’s guess in 2014. Or rather, it depends on who you ask; according to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), the global economy is expected to turn a corner in 2014, thanks to economic improvements in the U.S. and Europe. World growth could accelerate more than four percent in 2014, while U.S. growth will climb to 3.2% in 2014 from 1.5% this year. (Source: Quinn, G., “Global economy set to ‘turn a corner’ in 2014, CIBC’s Shenfeld says,” Financial Post web site, October 17, 2013.)

This, of course, is in sharp contrast to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which said that, as a result of the U.S. government shutdown and slow international expansion, the global economy will grow at … Read More


If History Repeats Itself, It’s Time to Bet Against the Markets

By for Daily Gains Letter | Aug 22, 2013

Time to Bet Against the MarketsAfter a strong July, the S&P 500 is looking like it is in correction mode, trading down more than three percent since the beginning of the month and effectively erasing the last two months’ gains. It’s quite possible that the corrective phase could last until early October—that is, if history, looming economic news, and geopolitical issues have anything to say about it.

And that could present a number of interesting opportunities for investors who like to bet against the stock market.

Since 1940, the stock markets have generally performed the worst in September; that doesn’t just include the U.S., but also Germany, Japan, and the U.K. In fact, for the S&P 500, September has posted the worst monthly returns going all the way back to the 1920s. September is even crueler on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, showing a negative bias going back to 1896.

Historical metrics aside, there is a lot of economic news coming out, and a number of looming global events that could add insult to injury. The Federal Reserve could begin tapering its $85.0-billion-a-month quantitative easing policy sooner than later, especially in light of last Thursday’s encouraging economic news that saw U.S. jobless claims drop to their lowest level in six years.

Negative overarching economic news continues to plague the U.S., but chances are that the Federal Reserve will focus on the positive to justify the pullback—it’s what they do. Since many believe the quantitative easing has been fuelling the U.S. bull market, too much good economic news could put a damper on things. That could translate into a further correction on the S&P 500 and … Read More