Daily Gains Letter

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How You Can Profit from Increased Travel in China for Lunar New Year

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 23, 2015

Travel Related StocksIf you have ever been on the New York City subway during the morning or after-work commutes, you’d understand how busy it gets. Surprisingly, it’s still pretty lax compared to rush hour in Hong Kong, Beijing, or Shanghai. And when it comes to Tokyo, well, that’s just a whole other level of busy.

Just a few days ago, we entered the busiest period of the year for travel in China, with the Lunar New Year that began last Thursday, marking the Year of the Goat (a sign of prosperity).

So while China is dealing with a stalling economy and disappointing consumer spending, the current travel period is characterized by the masses going home or visiting family and friends. And that means lots of travel via the roads, rails, and skies.

Chinese Lunar New Year Busy Time for Travel Stocks

This 40-day period in China, commonly referred to as “Chunyun,” will witness tens or even hundreds of millions of people seeking travel arrangements. In all, there will be billions of passenger trips taken.

Roads will be congested with millions of cars in an already-packed road system. Trains, the most popular of the travel options in China, will see millions of riders. And the skies will be filled with thousands of planes, or about 40 million flights, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Add to this the fact that the travel sector in China is massive and expected to continue to grow as the wealth levels rise, especially in the rural areas, and you’ve got an interesting sector for American investors to consider…. Read More

Transportation Stocks to Benefit from China’s Lunar


Three Restaurant Stocks Better Than McDonald’s?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 20, 2015

Restaurant StocksThe restaurant sector, including the fast food outlets, continues to reward investors with a good investment opportunity over the past years. The advance in the eateries has been somewhat overdone, as the stock market appears to be willing to price much higher on these stocks.

McDonald’s No Longer the Top Investment?

McDonalds Corporation (NYSE/MCD) was previously the top investment opportunity in the restaurant sector. Over a decade ago, the company recognized the market trend to healthier meals. In response, McDonald’s undertook a major transformation to its menu offering by expanding its menu to healthier choices, such as wraps and salads, to complement its hamburger and fries beginnings.

McDonalds Corporation Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Yet McDonald’s is no longer the go-to restaurant stock, as the sector has seen a massive influx of new players offering a wide assortment of meals, from Mexican to Asian, to sandwiches and family sit-down meals. The market is extremely competitive. McDonald’s may still be an aggressive investment opportunity for some, but the company will need to turn things around in order to regain its previous glory.

The catalyst for the rise in restaurant stocks has been the economic renewal, jobs creation, and rising home prices. That means many more restaurants than just McDonald’s are seeing profits—and there are three that just might be a better investment opportunity than McDonald’s.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.

One of the hottest restaurant stocks at this time is Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE/CMG), which has a market cap of $21.0 billion. In the past, I have written about how I have been bullish on a stock like this one as a potential investment … Read More


How Tech Growth in 2015 Is Different from 2000 (and Why It Will Last)

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 18, 2015

180215_DL_leongThe last time I saw 5,000 on the NASDAQ was way back in early 2000, prior to the collapse of the technology sector and all of the froth and euphoria on Wall Street. If you were trading back then, you would have recalled the staggering froth and frenzy that drove the technology sector to heights that were simply not sustainable and excessive.

Well, it took more than a decade, but it looks like the technology sector is on a roll again. I have been bullish on technology stocks as the top growth area in my outlook for this year and so far, this is panning out.

NASDAQ Push to 5,000 Much Different Now Than 15 Years Ago

The NASDAQ traded at its highest level since 2000 last Thursday, when the index came within 160 points, or 3.3%, of taking out the 5,000 level. A break above 5,000 would be a big deal for the technology sector.

COMPQ-Nasdaq-composite-INDX

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Of course, the ascent of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL) to nearly $130.00 a share and a staggering market cap of $741 billion is helping the index, providing stock market leadership.

As we near 5,000, there will be talk again of an exhausted and euphoric technology sector akin to 2000, but things are different this time around. The push to 5,000 has taken much longer and has been steadier versus 15 years ago, when everyone was buying without any thought to valuation or the underlying fundamentals.

I vividly remember seeing the big moves everyday and what I thought was the senseless buying of the technology sector. I recall friends taking out loans … Read More


Investor Beware: More Selling Coming to Tech Stocks

By for Daily Gains Letter | May 12, 2014

Beware of More Selling from TechnologyIf you’ve been keeping an eye on your screens and portfolio holdings (or if you’ve just taken a look), you are probably aware of the current selling capitulation towards small-cap stocks and the technology sector.

The bloodletting on Wall Street has been unabated and, in my view, it has been overdone. I’m not ready to jump in yet, but I would be on additional weakness in the stock market.

In a period of selling capitulation in the stock market, there is minimal regard for the quality of the stock. Sellers rush to the exits and dump everything along the way. I witnessed this on the stock markets in 2000 and again in 2008.

Yes, there is clearly a technical red flag on the growth stock market indices like the Russell 2000 and the NASDAQ. The Russell 2000 broke below its 200-day moving average (MA) last Tuesday, but managed to rally a bit on Thursday. If the buying support emerging continues, we could see the index rally back to its 50-day moving average; albeit, the risk is there in the stock market.

Just the fact that the technology group, which comprises many high-momentum Internet and social media stocks, is down more than 20% from its highs is worrisome. But at the same time, this isn’t really a surprise, given the advances made in 2013 and the previous years in the stock market.

Even with the stock market correction, we continue to see ridiculous valuations with the likes of such stocks as Yelp Inc. (NYSE/YELP), Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ/GRPN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ/FB), and Twitter, Inc. (NYSE/TWTR), meaning the bloodletting has not stopped, so … Read More


Top-Yielding Stocks to Combat Low Interest Rates

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 13, 2014

Low Interest RatesFederal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has confirmed what most already knew. The recovery in the U.S. jobs market is far from complete. Yellen noted that the unemployment rate has improved since the Federal Reserve initiated its last round of quantitative easing in late 2012, falling from 8.1% to 6.6%. Curiously, in 2013, the U.S. economy grew just two percent.

That said, against the backdrop of a so-called improving U.S. economy, the numbers of the long-term unemployed and part-time workers are far too high. In fact, 3.6 million Americans, or 35.8% of the country’s unemployed, fall under the “long-term unemployed” umbrella—that is, those who have been out of work for more than 27 weeks. The underemployment rate (which includes those who have part-time jobs but want full-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work) remains stubbornly high at 12.7%.

The improving unemployment numbers come on the heels of two straight months of weak jobs numbers. In January, economists were expecting the U.S. to add 180,000 new jobs to the U.S. economy; instead, just 113,000 new jobs were added. In December, economists were projecting 200,000 new jobs would be added—instead, the number was an anemic 74,000.

For the head of the Federal Reserve, this translates into more money being dumped into the bond market ($65.0 billion per month) and a continuation of artificially low interest rates.

Once again, bad news for Main Street is good news for Wall Street. After Yellen’s speech, the S&P 500, NYSE, and NASDAQ responded by surging higher. Again, the Federal Reserve’s ongoing bond buying program and open-ended artificially low interest rate environment is great … Read More


How to Invest in a Stock Market Correction

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 12, 2014

Stock Market CorrectionHas the stock market rebounded? Some seem to think so. After recording the worst month in more than a year and the first monthly loss since August, some analysts think the worst is behind us and February will be a winner.

What further evidence do the bulls need than to point to the numbers! After falling more than three percent in January, the S&P 500 is up 0.75%; the NYSE is up a little more than 0.50%; the NASDAQ is up roughly 0.75%; and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up around 0.50%. Not a spectacular display of strength—but enough to buoy up some investors.

But the euphoria may be short-lived. While stocks are holding up right now, there are more than enough warning signs (technical, economic, and statistical) that are pointing to a correction.

For starters, February is the second-worst-performing month for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average so far, and it’s the fourth-weakest month for the NASDAQ. Plus, according to historical data, February tends to perform even worse when January is negative. Since 1971, when January ended on a negative, the S&P 500 extended its losses into February 72% of the time—falling an average 2.4%. For the Dow Jones Industrial Average it ends down 65% of the time and 57% of the time the NASDAQ ends down, too.

But the stock markets are only as strong as the stocks that make them—so statistics on their own are a little short-sighted. Every quarter since the beginning of 2013, more and more S&P 500-listed companies are revising their quarterly earnings lower. During the first quarter of 2013, 78% … Read More


Why January Auto Sales Point to Bleak Future for U.S. Economy

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 5, 2014

U.S. EconomyDespite assurances from analysts, economists, and central bankers, the U.S. economy isn’t faring so well—and the markets are finally beginning to see what we’ve been warning about in these pages all last year.

For sustainable growth, the U.S. economy needs to be reporting consistently strong fiscals. But it isn’t. For starters, the key stock indices, a reflection of the U.S. economy, have extended their sharp January losses. The S&P 500 is down 5.6% year-to-date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than seven percent of its value so far this year, the NYSE is down roughly six percent, and the NASDAQ is in the red by four percent.

Every quarter since the beginning of 2013, an increasingly larger number of S&P 500-listed companies have revised their quarterly earnings lower. During the first quarter of 2013, the number stood at 78%. This time around, 81% of S&P 500 companies have revised their first-quarter earnings lower.

Why the big losses? That depends on whom you talk to. The Bank of America, without even a hint of a smirk, blames the much colder-than-expected weather for the weak U.S. economy, meaning the U.S. economy and global markets are performing poorly because of a snow storm…

I suggest the U.S. economy is doing poorly and the U.S. markets are tanking for entirely different reasons. For starters, the U.S. economy needs steady jobs and earnings growth. Instead, the U.S. economy is facing high unemployment and stagnant wages. For the week ended January 25, jobless claims jumped more than forecast to a seasonally adjusted 348,000.

And a record number of Americans rely on food stamps. Interestingly, … Read More


Three Stocks to Profit While Market Struggles with Positive Return

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 4, 2014

Three Stocks to ProfitIf January is any indication of the stock market action in 2014, we’re in for a long year. After a scorching year, the key stock indices are ending the first month of 2014 in the red. As we say goodbye to January, it’s worth noting that the S&P 500, after notching up five-percent in the first month of 2013, gave up three percent of its value during the first month of 2014.

The other indices aren’t faring any better. The NYSE posted a 3.8% gain in January 2013, but lost 3.2% of its value in January 2014. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained six percent in January 2013, but at the close of January 2014, it’s down almost five percent.

But, if you listen to the overly optimistic statisticians, a bad January does not necessarily portend a bad year. Since 1962, in January, the S&P 500 has fallen by more than four percent nine times. But, when that occurs, the S&P 500 is actually up between February and the end of the year—though barely. During those nine years with losing Januarys, the average February–year-end returns tallied 1.08%. (Source: Ratner, J., “A weak January for stocks isn’t as bad as you think,” Financial Post, January 31, 2014.)

Though, there are some statistical anomalies in there that might just be helping the so-called as-goes-January seasonal anomaly, in two of the nine years (1968 and 2009), the S&P 500 reported double-digit gains over the final 11 months of the year. In 1968, the S&P 500 was up 12.1%; in 2009, it was up 35.3%.

In the same time, the S&P 500 saw a … 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


Have These Stocks Already Been Through a Correction?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 28, 2014

Correction Already Under WayIt’s incredible, really, that some investors are surprised that the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NYSE, and S&P 500 are in the red for the year, spooked apparently by weak corporate earnings.

How can this be a surprise? Is it fair to say that 2013 was an irrational momentum play? Has that logic finally caught up to investors? Once again, I enter as evidence 2013’s fourth-quarter earnings—which should not have caught anyone off guard.

The ball got rolling in late 2012, when 78% of S&P 500 companies issued negative earnings-per-share (EPS) guidance for the first quarter of 2013. The negative earnings momentum continued into the second quarter, when 81% of companies on the S&P 500 lowered their earnings guidance.

Against the backdrop of rising key stock indices, a record 83% of all S&P 500 companies waved the white flag, revising their third-quarter earnings guidance.

Still, the S&P 500 climbed higher. And in a desperate bid to help investors avoid the economic iceberg and take profits, a record 88% of reporting S&P 500 companies issued negative fourth-quarter earnings guidance. (Source: “Record high number and percentage of S&P 500 companies issuing negative EPS guidance for Q4,” FactSet, January 2, 2014.)

And here we are in the midst of fourth-quarter earnings season and investors are sending the key stock indices into the red, disappointed, it would seem, with what they were warned was coming.

As we enter the last week of January, the S&P 500 is down 2.5% so far this year. At this same time last year, the S&P 500 was up roughly 2.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 3.5% in … Read More