4/26/2020 Market Commentary – The Week Ahead

This upcoming week should prove interesting for traders & investors. There is a lot of data to be announced/reported, as well as earnings reports, notably from some of the biggest names in tech (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc…)

Factor in the recent volatility in oil, the speculations coming out of North Korea & the fact that reported numbers now both from the government & individual companies are containing time periods that were impacted from the lock-down & stocks have a lot to work with from a pricing perspective.

Reading Into Stock Earnings This Week

Some of the most prominent names in the Technology Sector will be hosting their earnings calls this week. Looking at the chart, Apple, Microsoft & Amazon appear to be better off than Alphabet. I’m going to be looking at how the impact of Pay-Per-Click revenue & sales etc.. are impacting Alphabet.

Google AdWords provides extra “digital-billboard” space to many small businesses, but with the already increasing Cost-Per-Clicks, a lot of companies are likely to be removing this from their budgeting.

Given the current state of small-business and their consumers, this should be something taken into consideration when trying to assess the strength of small-business & the economy.

I’ll also be keeping an eye on international markets, as well as the Materials, IT & Consumer Staples sectors, as outside of healthcare those had the strongest average improvements in technicals over this past week.

Economic Reports & News For The Week

There’s going to be a lot of numbers being reported this week that will also help guide us as to where we are heading next:

  • Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index
  • Goods Trade Balance
  • Durable Goods Orders ex Defense
  • Consumer Confidence
  • GDP Annualized
  • FED Rates Decision
  • Initial Jobless Claims
  • ISM Manufacturing PMI & Index and more….

I’ll be looking to see how these numbers begin to reveal more of the Corona-virus stats being reported by companies. Markets may give up some excellent deals as folks try to recalculate their positioning & re-balance their holdings according to the data being published.

This will be even more interesting, as it is likely that the more negative the headlines coming out of North Korea are, the more uncertain the market will become, adding to the existing volatility.

Volatility should kick up within the next two weeks, as unless all news & numbers we receive are good, there’s too much muck & ambiguity out there that is/has been recently impacting stock prices.

I am still in my previously mentioned short index, long volatility positions, and will continue adding to my long PSEC & ADES positions, as well as looking closer at UG as it approaches the $12-12.50 range (published in today’s notes here: https://optimizedvalue.xyz/united-guardian-inc-ug-stock-analysis/

I’m still not convinced that stocks have recovered, and I think that the factors above present a lot of opportunity to shake out the prices of over-bought stocks.

This will provide a great hunting ground for building positions in some value & growth names I’ve been looking at recently.

US Equity Futures have opened lower, let’s see how the rest of the week plays out…

4/23/2020 Market Outlook/Review

Looking at this week’s market moves so far, Energy (+7.59) & Materials (+3.66%) are the leading sectors, followed by Industrials (+1.92%) & IT (+1.65%).

Earnings results & oil price issues have caused some of this movement, but it is further reinforcing that people are looking for companies with lower debt, more cash and or better & safer dividends.

The Materials & IT Sectors offer this, as both have similar Debt/Equity Ratios, and where IT has high levels of cash, Materials are offering above average yields at safer Payout Ratios than most other sectors.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I purchased shares of Advances Emissions Systems Inc. (ADES Ticker), a Micro-cap value play that filled on Tuesday at $6/share (+9% so far EOD).

Names like these should continue to thrive under these lockdown conditions, as folks will continue to seek stocks that are value-oriented, and that offer better interest in their yields than other assets are currently offering.

Financials (+.09%), Consumer Discretionary (+.32%) & Real Estate (+.7%) have all performed the worst so far this week. I don’t know that I’m ready to go deep diving into that end of the pool just yet, but will be certainly looking at those companies over the weekend.

Coming up on Friday, I’m not expecting much from tomorrow, unimpressive numbers across the board continue to show the fragility of the market, and today’s morning bump, afternoon pump was certainly reassuring on my short positions.

Seeing things like Tom Hanks typewriter message kids on CNBC after the market closes also doesn’t reassure me that we’re out of the woods just yet…

Expecting to see folks sell off risk into the weekend, especially given the number of companies set to report earnings tomorrow. Let’s see what happens!

*** I have a long position in $ADES, as well as Short positions against the S&P 500, NASDAQ & Russell, & also am Long Volatility, related to the above article***

4/20/20 Stock Market & Investing Report

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