Archive for September, 2016

CFDs Explained

By: IS | Date posted: 09.21.2016 (1:50 pm)

The next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting will occur in late September 2016. There have been many arguments both for and against an interest rate hike in September. Now, whether the Federal Reserve decides to raise or leave the Fed funds rate, major market indices should be affected. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), Nasdaq-100 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average should react to the Fed’s decision in September. Now, instead of trading options, futures or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), some market participants may want to consider contracts for difference (CFDs). Now, some may be wondering what CFDs are and how these products function.

CFDs Explained in Brief

A CFD is a tradable financial instrument that seeks to mirror its underlying asset’s movements. Now CFD trading is less costly than trading options, futures or ETFs, since CFD investors and traders do not have to own the underlying asset and are not obligated to do so.

CFDs allow market participants to speculate on market prices, regardless of the direction of the underlying asset. For example, if an investor is bullish on the S&P 500 Index, the investor could purchase CFDs tied to the index. Consequently, the investor would benefit from a rise in the S&P 500 Index. Conversely, if an investor is bearish on the S&P 500 Index, the investor could sell short CFDs tied to S&P 500 Index, therefore, the investor would benefit from a fall in market prices. Therefore, risk tolerant investors who understand the product could use CFDs during the next September FOMC policy meeting.

Arguments for Fed Funds Rate Hike

Goldman Sachs’ Chief Economist Jan Hatzius is one of the few economists who believe the Fed will raise interest rates during the FOMC’s September meeting. Jan Hatzius argues that the U.S. economy is adding jobs at a pace that is satisfactory for many members of the FOMC to vote for an interest rate hike in late September. Although the August U.S. Employment Situation report came in weaker than expected, one month’s disappointing numbers does not reflect the overall trend.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman said, “Indeed, in light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation, I believe the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months,” at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming annual summit.

Moreover, Hatzius stated, “Growth in nonfarm payrolls was weaker than consensus estimates at +151k, but above the pace Fed officials typically consider sufficient to hold the unemployment rate steady over time—the so called ‘breakeven rate … we therefore see this report as just enough for a large majority of officials to support a September rate increase. We have therefore raised our subjective odds of a hike this month to 55% from 40%.”

Although the U.S. economy only added 151,000 jobs in August, which was well below consensus estimates, the moving average over the past three months is an average addition of 232,000 jobs. Consequently, the risk of a recession occurring over the short term is low and the Fed could raise rates.

Arguments Against Fed Funds Rate Hike

Conversely, there are economists who believe that the Fed is unlikely to raise rates in September. Canaccord Genuity’s chief market strategist said, “I don’t think they’ll hike in September … the economic cycle is not about duration. The economic cycle is driven by Fed policy, short-term interest rates, which create strength in the long-end of the curve.” With all this chatter regarding interest rates, it’s difficult to discern whose arguments are stronger. Either way, investors should be gearing up for the potential Fed rate hike.

As stated previously, it is expensive for some investors to purchase options and futures on the overall market. Investors who wish to place a trade on whether the market will go up or down could place trades on CFDs related to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 Index or Nasdaq-100.

 

2 New Trades ($TRIP, $TWTR, $AMZN, $NFLX)

By: ispeculatornew | Date posted: 09.19.2016 (3:00 am)

Today I am opening my 18th and 19th trades of the year which will be my last 2 ones for the year (for tech long & short). It’s been a rocky year, my worst on record, hopefully these 2 help start a turnaround. As is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

http://www.intelligentspeculator.net/livetrades

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaEarningsRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
TRIPTripAdvisor Inc61.2972.729.78-27.4819.743.0810.331.4111/3/201610.3618.9-8.13
TWTRTwitter Inc19.11N/A31.44-20.9258.093.056.451.3410/25/20163.35107.43N/A
AMZNAmazon.com Inc778.52191.1347.2613.8820.254.734.891.0210/20/2016229.1325.2N/A
NFLXNetflix Inc99.48304.1989.38-14.923.163.735.631.5310/17/201615.9221.8181.15

And the usual chart that I like to bring up:

Long Tripadvisor (TRIP) & Short Twitter (TWTR)

Being long Tripadvisor has certainly been a difficult position to hold in the past few months but I think it’s getting closer to its bottom. On the other hand, Twitter has been a big story in the past few months. There are some rumours that it will be acquired and that is clearly a risk but the company seems to be determined to find a better way out. The NFL deal has been perceived as a bid win for Twitter and in many ways it is. It got the rights for extremely cheap, was able to deliver a very solid broadcast in the first game, and got a lot of eyeballs. That being said, it remains unclear to me how this fits into the company’s longer term goals, how it will help deliver more visitors to its site or more money. I think the stock gains are clearly unjustified.

 

 

Long Amazon (AMZN) & Short Netflix (NFLX)

I will be writing more in-depth very soon about these two companies but I think one clear opinion is that Amazon is starting to create issues for Netflix, pressure on its growth and while I do remain optimistic about Netflix’s long term future, I think Amazon will put more pressure on NFLX’s margins and at these high valuations, I prefer the upside/downside risk of Amazon in this trade.

 

 

Disclaimer: Prior to opening this trade, I have a long position on $TRIP

Learn Lessons the Current Retired People Learnt the Hard Way

By: IS | Date posted: 09.07.2016 (3:01 pm)

 

 

Learn Lessons the Current Retired People Learnt the Hard Way

There is little room for maneuver as you get older. As retirement looms you may begin to realize that you have not made sufficient preparations. More and more people are continuing to work past retirement age but it is not always an option, certainly with an existing employer. Your Social Security benefits are available at 62 but the figure you will receive is only 75% of what you would receive at the standard retirement age some time during your 67th year. Even then the average monthly figure based on the best 35 earning years you have will go nowhere near providing for comfortable retirement.

There is a bonus of around a further 30% for delaying your benefits until your 70th birthday but that will not be an option for those who have to finish working.

It is worth looking at what retired people are saying about their regrets after finding life difficult once their regular monthly pay check stopped.

  • They retired too early.
  • They were too optimistic
  • They took Social Security benefits too early.
  • They simply didn’t prepare properly then found they were spending too much after they retired

Early

Sometimes people have retired without using logic. N apparently significant fund may actually diminish far more quickly than they expect even if there is no apparent waste.

Optimism

It is important not to take risks with finance in your retirement. Your fund will still earn interest by you have little scope for recovering from a setback. That means your investment strategy has to chance to more conservative products. It means some of your calculations are based on optimistic returns. The recession struck a fatal blow to portfolios that included anything that did not guarantee returns.

Social Security

The temptation to take benefits at 62 is real. If it is out of necessity then they had no real strategy for the future; it was about living for the present. As retirees live longer problems were inevitable.

Preparations and Spending

It is difficult to resist the temptation to spend as soon as you retire. You now have plenty of free time on your hands. It can seem like a permanent holiday and many people spend more money on holiday than during a normal working week. There are obvious consequences for doing that.

Easy Answers?

Frankly there is no easy answer for people who have not prepared for their retirement beyond looking for ways to earn money and that means part time or even returning to full time employment. That is not always possible for health and practical reasons. Even when it is in the short term there will come a day when they are simply unable to work.

If you are reading this article and starting to worry then so you should worry. Whatever your age you should sit down and start to analyze your finances in detail. The younger you are the more chance you have of saving to create a significant retirement fund. In order to do that you should pay off expensive debt like that on credit cards. You are wasting money paying a high rate of interest on any balances you are carrying forward. You should negotiate a realistic credit loans which in today’s market will be at a much more competitive interest rate. Bad credit Loans are readily available for those in employment with a regular monthly pay check with the debt divided into equal monthly instalments over the term of the loan. At the same time you should prepare a proper budget and even do some research to see if you can save money on some of your regular bills such as utilities, telephone and insurance. There are comparative websites that will do many of the basic research for you.

A budget will not work without self-discipline and that means using a credit card only when you can pay off the transaction in full when the monthly end statement comes in. The incentive for doing this is clear in the stories that retired people have made about the mistakes they made leading up to and in the early years of retirement. After all you do not want to find yourself in the same situation do you?