I have recently received a few complaints from readers that I have become boring.
I have to confess that they are right.
I am not a person who boredom comes to easily.
I???m the guy who climbed the Matterhorn, crossed the Sahara Desert on the back of a camel, and hiked the 200 mile John Muir Trail, and that???s just what I did last summer!
However, I do admit that I have become boring on the trading front.
If I get a request for one thing more than any other, it is for recommendations of stocks that will rise by at least ten times over the next ten years.
Readers want to know the names of shares of companies that they can just buy and forget about, and then retire rich as Croesus a decade down the road.
What could be more reasonable?
I happen to have sent out quite a few of these over the years.
Whenever I attend my global strategy luncheons around the world, someone inevitably thanks me for my effort to cajole them into buying Chinese Internet giant, Baidu (BIDU) at $12. Nothing seemed more questionable at the time (2008). It hit $260 at the end of 2014.
At a recent Mad Hedge Global Strategy Luncheon a guest pressed a one ounce American Gold Eagle into my hand and said thanks for Cheniere Energy (LNG). He bought it at $6 and rode it all the way up to $85.
He then doubled his money by jumping into Apple (AAPL) at $56 (on a split-adjusted basis) and rode the express train to $150, again after my pleading.
Then there was the reader who offered me his mega yacht in the Mediterranean for a week for free.
He bought the liberal conspiracy of all liberal conspiracies, Tesla (TSLA), at my urging at $16. Elon Musk???s bet on a car of the future hit a high of $395 last month last.
It???s not that I have suddenly become averse to dishing out ten-baggers. I have not suddenly grown weary in my old age either, although I confess to finding those erectile dysfunction adds on TV more fascinating by the month.
No, the real problem is that the stock markets are just not offering anything easy right now.
I like to issue Trade Alerts at market sweet spots. Right now the market has only sour, bitter, or excessively salty entry points, with high risks and low returns.
My Mad Hedge Market Timing Index has been stuck close to the 50 level market for more than two months now.
This means that an amalgamation of 30 technical and fundamental indicators are screaming at you to do absolutely nothing.
My experience is that when the market tells you to stay away, you take its advice.
And here is where I give you some great trading tips.
When stock markets are rising and financial assets are generally in ???RISK ON??? mode, you want to own single stocks.
Individual shares have ???betas???, or a propensity to move, that are far greater than indexes.
If an index rises 10%, some of its individual components can move anywhere from 15%-100%.
When stock markets are in correction (down) or consolidation (sideways) mode, the higher betas of stocks work against you. They fall faster than the index.
Therefore, in flat and falling markets you want to trade indexes from the short side, like the S&P 500 big cap index (SPY), the NASDAQ technology index (QQQ), and the Russell 2000 small cap index (IWM).
Your mistakes trading these relatively unvolatile (read boring) instruments earn you less money. But your mistakes cost you less as well.
Therefore, through trading stocks in up markets and indexes in down markets, you create an inbuilt bias in your portfolio that works to your favor.
A classic example of how this works was to see the market reactions to the Q2 corporate earnings announcements in so far in July.
In these risk averse times, winners were rewarded modestly, but losers were taken out to the woodshed and beaten senseless.
When people run for cash, they will often sell whatever has the most profit. Investors were, in effect, raiding the piggy bank.
Of course you can try and be clever and go long stocks in rising markets, and then sell them short in falling ones.
My half-century of experience tells me that this is easier said than done.
While many managers will promise this bit of investing gymnastics, very few can actually deliver.
Most investment professionals are unable to time markets with this precision, let alone individuals.
Needless to say, don???t try this at home.
Which brings us all to the question of what to do now.
At the moment, stocks are offering very low potential returns with very high risks. Sorry, but buying at all time highs is just not my thing, even if it???s only by a few dollars.
What is one of the highest yielding instruments in the world today?
US stocks, with a 2.5% dividend yield in the S&P 500, and 5% if you want to go sector specific.
I have been one of the few strategists since the beginning of the year to nail his colors to the wall that stocks would appreciate to new highs. I just didn???t realize it would happen so fast.
Let me point out one more inconvenient fact.
We should get one more 5% correction in August. If it happens, load the boat.
If it doesn???t, then ask me what to do in September.
Right now sounds like a really good time for a vacation.
Want to know what John Thomas REALLY thinks?
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