It’s been an interesting few weeks in the markets, and it seems that most folks agree that they don’t know exactly where to go next. Fundamentals have been skewed for years, and technicals on the charts have become a bit muddled; adding to the fog.
We’re entering more bearish times, which will become messier by Federal Reserve intervention, energy prices (Oil going negative today), and bond prices all re-adjusting as people begin to follow what debt the Fed will be buying.
Add in earnings that now include COVID-19 lockdown time, and things become ever the more unclear. Here’s what we see:
Stocks To Decline Further As Investors Seek Cash & Safe Yields
We have been short Indexes as well as long Volatility for the last month or so (took a trading hiatus for 6 months for work/personal reasons), mostly utilizing inverse-leveraged ETNs & ETFs. The markets were already running on fumes & being propped up by easy-money policies & headlines more-so than any fundamental value, and the “Economy Time-Out” being imposed by most governments has caused a rush for cash, and is starting to weed out the weak from the strong.
This will make value-investments all the more important, as they focus on financial strength, blended with interest offered through Dividend Yields, and the yields’ sustainability. I’ve been analyzing 6000+ companies recently, and the trend is clear that people want safety in companies that are of high value; solid balance sheets, good debt ratings & offering a yield cushion for any future falling. Small caps may offer additional safety, as they will be less likely to move with the market, and move more based on performance. I’ll be posting notes on a new small cap value pick tomorrow.
Earnings Season Is Upon Us, What’s Next?
This earnings season will be particularly interesting, as most companies have not been posting incredible Y-o-Y improvements in their reports as it is, and now they are going to have to face the same obstacles, with a virus stay at home ruling in place. Before we go any further, remember that next earnings season will likely be even more painful…
With already limited wiggle-room, companies now have to account for additional loss of business, which will make even more issues for traders & investors.
New modeling will be forced to be done to account for so many anomalies occurring at once, and algorithms will still be running rampant, which may create additional volatility once things really kick off ($IBM is currently down 1.32% after hours as I type this)…
This may help shorts in the meantime, which are increasing again, and will create great entry points for value stocks in the near-term. The weaker companies will now start to become exposed, making money that has to earn money retreat to tried & true value picks.
How To Navigate Earnings Season For Stocks This Time Around
Numbers as we know with most companies are already manipulated a bit… now we must factor in adjustments being made for things that don’t have much previous data to model around. With such limited sampling, things will become much shakier than usual, again influencing investors into higher value names.
We recommend using your existing stock measurements for the last 1-3 years, and comparing them to the earnings moves of this quarter for themselves, their sector, industry & sub-industry to see if you can potentially draw up any trends. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but this is a time where the basic principles of KISS become even more important (Keep It Simple, Stupid…)
Remember, the trailing proven numbers are much easier to adjust than forward looking estimates… use these items for baseline benchmarks as well in comparison.
Stocks & Sectors We Like
As mentioned prior, most of the current holdings are in securities such as TVIX, SQQQ, SPXS, & RWM for the volatility and shorts portfolio. This also contains a position in Prospect Capital Corp (PSEC), as well as a order for Advanced Emissions Solutions Group (ADES) that has yet to be filled based on a sub-$6 price target (post to be published tomorrow).
The thought behind this is that the high, yet (relatively, due to PSEC’s payout ratio, ADES looks highly sustainable) sustainable yields can provide more cash to take advantage of the continuing downtrends, as well as to set up long-term value positions with leveraged long-ETF positions as well for the rebound.
As far as a sector that we think shows promise as a whole, Materials & Financials seem to have some opportunity for current growth, as well as long-term facing growth. Both are reading in at the lower end of better-valued sectors, with the exception of energy which is still a bit of a gamble. They offer safe yields, solid cash & lower debt, while being some of the underlying bigger players in the near-mid term future as the economy has to kick-start, no matter how it is done.
Tickers Mentioned: TVIX, SQQQ, SPXS, RWM, PSEC, ADES