Archive for January, 2017

Basic Investment Information

By: ispeculatornew | Date posted: 01.31.2017 (2:00 am)

hand holding coins and build coin graph

Investing for one’s retirement is about as important of a task as you can get, especially in an era where company and government pensions are becoming less reliable for various reasons. There are many different ways to plan your retirement and buying a solid etf or income-focused portfolio can go a long way. Another very solid alternative is doing business with a wealth management company that can provide additional investment information that you need. They will often be able to focus on areas that many investors typically fail to focus on such as tax efficiency, reinvestment of income and taking the time to improve the portfolio over time.

Learning More About Investments

 

There is very little to lose when you decide to meet a wealth management company. They will usually offer to go over your current situation both in terms of income, objectives, and assets/liabilities. You do have to keep in mind that they will be trying to find holes (there always are) or things that they can “attack”. But feel free to go over whatever material they do provide and go over it alone over time rather than taking a decision right away.

Speak with the professionals that actually know more about the specific investments that you can make. They’re able to help you make the best decision that you need to make. Destination Wealth Management can be the company to work with when the time comes. You just have to give them a call to find out even more about investments, about your money and about anything else you have.

To learn more, visit www.destinationwm.com

A House of Cards: Can Wall Street Remain Bullish?

By: IS | Date posted: 01.18.2017 (5:00 am)

January 2017 is proving to be a mixed bag for investors. Now that the New Year is well underway, some interesting trends are developing. For starters, the USD is struggling to maintain momentum against the JPY. The greenback was trading 0.3% lower against the JPY, at 115.64. Even the beleaguered EUR made some gains against the greenback as it rallied to $1.0626, before it dropped towards $1.0559. The heavily bearish GBP has also been gaining on the greenback, trading at $1.2167, from $1.2190 earlier.

The US dollar index is currently at 102.72, up 0.67%, or 0.68 points. The index has a 52-week high of 103.82. Simply put, this means that the US dollar is fractionally off its 52-week high, and well above its 52-week low of 91.92. The DXY measures the performance of the greenback against major global currencies including the JPY, EUR, GBP, CHF, CAD and the SEK. The most heavily weighted components of the DXY include the EUR at 57.6% and the JPY at 13.6%. The trading market cycles in January tend to reflect a rebalancing or repositioning of financial portfolios to accommodate the likely changes in the year ahead.

 

What’s Happening on Wall Street and Beyond?

Investors and traders are equally concerned about how high Wall Street markets can rally before correcting. Right now, we are seeing US stocks struggling to maintain their current levels. That the USD has come under fresh assault by leading currencies like the JPY and EUR is not to be taken lightly. Of course, a lot depends on what will happen once President-elect Trump is officially inaugurated on January 20, 2017. Traders remain highly bullish about a Trump presidency, and the massive fiscal stimulus that he has promised. Nonetheless, the mood of the moment is pensive. All major US indices are up, albeit modestly over the past 1 month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 0.88% and is now at 19,929.85, the S&P 500 index is up 0.55% at 2,272.05 and the NASDAQ composite index is up 2.06% at 5,556.80.

All major US indices have defied gravity, especially the Dow Jones which is moving ever-closer towards the critical 20,000 level. Across the pond, the all-share index in the UK – the FTSE 100 – racked up yet another consecutive day of gains. The FTSE 100 tends to perform strongly when the GBP is faltering. At last count, the FTSE 100 was at 7,310.32, up 5.12% over 1 month. The 1-year performance of the FTSE 100 index is extraordinary at +24.50%. The closest performing index is the DAX, with a 1-year return of 18.68%. For speculators, the 1-year performance of European bourses has been unprecedented. The Euro Stocks 50 PR has gained 9.57%, while the CAC 40 is up 13.77%

Factors Driving the USD Lower

Naturally, the positive performance of indices across the board is concerning. Any time an index rallies uncontrollably, the question has to be asked: Is this level fundamentally sound or is it driven by speculation? It is important to watch the performance of crude oil when trading equities. Brent crude oil reversed course and is now trading at $53.64 per barrel, after reaching $55.36 per barrel earlier on in the day. The reason oil prices are plummeting is news out of the latest US Baker Hughes Report that the rig count is increasing. As more WTI crude oil producers enter the fold, they undermine gains made by production cuts with OPEC members.

On Monday, 9 January, oil prices plunged 3.8%, raising concern that inflation expectations should be lowered. This had a negative effect on the USD which rallied on the back of its latest December jobs report. The USD is also being affected by inflation differentials in China. The PPI in China increased to 5.5% year-on-year, up from 3.3%, 2 months ago. This is being fueled by higher commodity prices (crude oil, natural gas, iron ore, copper etcetera) on a worldwide basis. Dollar-denominated commodities like iron ore, crude oil, and the like are negatively affected by a strong USD, and positively impacted by increased demand.

5 Trends to Watch After Trump Takes the Oath of Office

By: IS | Date posted: 01.17.2017 (2:42 pm)

President-elect, Donald Trump will take the oath of office on January 20 and he’ll officially become the president of the United States. In the last few weeks of being the president –elect, his actions and inactions have been moving the markets. However, Trump’s ability to move the market will be amplified exponentially once he takes the oath of office.

The chief reason why president Trump will be a major market mover is that he is opinionated, blunt and he doesn’t have the career politician’s ability to sugarcoat words. If Trump doesn’t like your company, you can be sure to expect some damning tweets that could send your stock spiraling. Boeing already found out the hard way that Trump’s tweet could cause a stock to tank and Amazon’s Jeff Bezo is trying hard to get off Trump’s black book. This article provides insight into 5 trends investors must watch after Trump takes the oath of office.

Broad Equities could have a strong pullback

Equities have rallied strongly in the last nine weeks since Trump became the president-elect. The S&P 500 has gained 6.71% and the Dow Jones Industrials has gained 8.91% as seen in the chart above. The main reason behind the gains in equities is that Wall Street is speculating that Trump’s economic policies such as tax reductions could provide a boost for U.S firms. However, if Trump is unable to effect his proposed economic policies, stocks could give back most of those recent gains in an abrupt pullback.

Healthcare stocks could suffer bigger losses

Trump has been vocal about his plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Opinion is divided on how dismantling Obamacare could affect the average American and it is hard to separate the fact from the sensational noise.  However, we do know that Trump thinks that pharmaceutical companies are enjoying oversized margins and he’ll push for regulation to reduce the price of drugs. More so, we can submit that repealing obamacare could have a negative effect on the stocks of healthcare and insurance companies at least in the short term.

Construction and Defense Stocks might fare better

Trump has also been vocal about his plan to adopt a tougher stance on immigration, chief of which is building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. If Donald Trump continues along the usual lines of riling Mexico, we can reasonably expect the stocks of construction firms to see as boost with the expectation of increased government infrastructural spending in building a wall.

The outlook in emerging Economies will remain gloomy

Investors with exposure to emerging market economies such as Turkey and Mexico can expect to see a weakening in emerging market currencies against the USD in the forex market. The Mexican Peso is already down to all-time lows against the Dollar. We won’t see the end of the decline in the Mexican Peso until Trump makes a final decision on whether or not to build the wall. The Turkish Lira is also down to historical lows against the dollar as macroeconomic concerns continue to make investors uneasy.

The Economy might suffer more risk-off trade

Donald Trump is also very vocal about his distaste for China. He has accused China of manipulating the Yuan in order to undermine the U.S. economy. He has also taken issue with the migration of many American manufacturing jobs to China. However, Trump’s outbursts against China could lead to more risk-off trade in Asia because China is not the only country “stealing” America’s manufacturing jobs.

Nobody knows the specifics of Trump’s foreign policy and it would be interesting to see how he handles China. Nonetheless, investors with exposure to American firms who making or selling their products to China might want to prepare for increased uncertainty going forward.

Final words…

It is hard to predict how the market will react under Trump because Wall Street has defied expectations at practically every turn by going against analysts’ consensus expectations. For instance, Trump’s victory in the election didn’t lead to a stock market crash as analysts had predicted. The performance of the financial markets in the next couple of weeks will provide clues on some trends to watch when Trump officially becomes POTUS.

 

 

Top Assets to Trade in Binary Options Format

By: IS | Date posted: 01.10.2017 (2:39 pm)

 

2017 has arrived, and already investors are reorganizing their financial portfolios to hedge against possible shocks. Several major geopolitical events occurred in 2016, including the Chinese stock market meltdown in January, the Brexit vote in June, and the surprise victory of Donald Trump in November. These critical events reshaped the financial markets. For example, day traders were able to capitalize on the collapse of the Shenzhen composite index and the Shanghai composite index, by shorting Chinese stocks on Wall Street, the LSE and other European bourses.

 

Currency traders cashed in on the melee by shorting the CNY against other top-performing G10 currencies. Within weeks, it became apparent that the Chinese economic growth engine was stuttering. Commodities imports to China were drying up an inventory levels were rising. This had an immediate effect on copper demand, iron ore, and other metals. Countries like Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and India all suffered the fallout from the slowdown in China.

Understanding geopolitical events and trading binary options

The Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016 sent shockwaves through the global community. Nobody expected Britons to vote 52%/48% in favour of a break from the European Union. Net short positions on the GBP were evident with binary trading UK brokerages. The GBP went into freefall, from 1.48 to the greenback down to 1.21. The GBP/USD pair plunged to a 31-year low within short order. Traders cashed in on GBP weakness by shorting the currency against the USD, JPY, EUR, and CAD. For the most part, these speculative assessments of the GBP proved correct. That the FTSE 100 index has been able to rally in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum is notable. However, the reasons for the rally are found in the weakness of the GBP. Analysts calculated that the double-digit percent gain for the FTSE 100 index is only a low single digit gain when valued in USD, not GBP.

 

In other words, the bubble effect that we are seeing taking place on the FTSE 100 index is not a true reflection of the performance of the UK economy. It is a result of the currency cross exchange rates. 75% of companies listed on the FTSE 100 index are based outside of the UK. This means that their repatriated earnings are worth more in GBP, with currency cross exchange rates. For traders, the choice is clear: go long on the FTSE 100 index as long as Brexit uncertainty places pressure on the GBP. The fundamentals of the UK economy appear to be sound, especially manufacturing, and this is going to help mitigate any negative effects on the GBP for the short-term. However, if financial companies start relocating from the City of London to Europe, the GBP will falter and manufacturing will fall below the key 50 level (50+ represents growth and 50 – represents contraction).

 

The Trump effect on trading

Donald Trump is a polarizing figure, but he is the President-elect of the United States of America. His shock victory on November 8, 2016 sent Wall Street markets into the stratosphere. His economic policies include massive fiscal stimulus for infrastructure development. Trump has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, rebuild the American military, rebuild infrastructure, and restore American pride.

He plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to do this, and generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. Trump is seen as pro-business, with his tax cut policies (15% or 20% for corporate taxes) and his anti-regulation approach to the corporate sector. The Dow Jones is trading close to 20,000, the S&P 500 index is rallying, as is the NASDAQ composite index. As long as Wall Street indices are in the black, safe haven commodities like gold are no go options for investors.

However, binary options traders are cashing in on gold price weakness with put options on the precious metal. Gold prospers when a risk-off approach is adopted to equities markets, or when geopolitical shocks rock economy. 2017 presents multiple opportunities to profit big the state to the financial markets. The USD, Dow Jones, and FTSE 100 are clearly bullish, while the GBP, EUR and ZAR are on the bearish side.

2 New Trades ($MSFT, $TZOO, $TRIP, $YELP)

By: ispeculatornew | Date posted: 01.04.2017 (3:00 am)

Today I am opening my trades #3 and #4. 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 ValueBetaEarningsMkt CapRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
EBAYeBay Inc29.6918.8514.389.1-2.253.516.111/25/2017$33,520,000,000.007.11-2.480.74
GOOGAlphabet Inc771.82N/A18.943.1513.624.8N/A1.211/26/2017$546,000,000,000.00#VALUE!18.7314.78
FBFacebook Inc115.0544.9222.0911.1743.824.6418.781.041/25/2017$336,200,000,000.006.449.44#VALUE!
PYPLPayPal Holdings Inc39.4735.0223.0310.3915.244.1511.77N/A1/25/2017$48,220,000,000.007.57#VALUE!#VALUE!

And the usual chart that I like to bring up:

In many ways, this is a bet on a reversal of what happened last year:

 

Long Microsoft (MSFT) & Short Travelzoo (TZOO)

Microsoft has been on quite a tear. Despite significant competition, it has been able to turn around many of its businesses, make smart acquisitions (LNKD) and also build solid cloud-based businesses. I’m a strong believer in what the company has been pulling off. On the other side is TZOO, a company that has been performing at a high level and that was a difficult one to short in 2016. I do think that will come back to earth at some point this year and am willing to get back on this short. I will of course be following this one closely but TZOO mostly depends on email marketing which is a solid business and I think the company has been optimising it carefully but there’s a limit to how much that can be done as it will need to be adding a lot more subscribers and thus driving a lot more new users. That is something I’m not seeing right now making me skeptical of its current valuation.

Long TripAdvisor (TRIP) & Short Yelp (YELP)

I did consider for quite some time going long TRIP vs a short on TWTR and as I’ll soon be writing about, I’m very skeptical of Twitter’s ability to turn things around. That being said, shorting TWTR carries a decent amount of risk (takeover, turnaround, news, etc) and for now I’m judging that YELP is a better short. These are two competing products in many ways but I believe TRIP is growing much faster. The big problem of course is TRIP’s inability to convert those numbers into growth in its financials. Last year was painful as a TRIP longer term owner but I do think TRIP offers much better value and that will be reflected over time. Look at a chart from Google trends that gives insight into their traffic evolution:

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

2 New Trades ($GOOG, $EBAY, $FB, $PYPL)

By: ispeculatornew | Date posted: 01.03.2017 (3:00 am)

Today I am opening my first 2 trades of the year As you can imagine, it will be nice to start from scratch following a not great year of long & short trading in 2016!! 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 ValueBetaEarningsMkt CapRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
EBAYeBay Inc29.6918.8514.389.1-2.253.516.111/25/2017$33,520,000,000.007.11-2.480.74
GOOGAlphabet Inc771.82N/A18.943.1513.624.8N/A1.211/26/2017$546,000,000,000.00#VALUE!18.7314.78
FBFacebook Inc115.0544.9222.0911.1743.824.6418.781.041/25/2017$336,200,000,000.006.449.44#VALUE!
PYPLPayPal Holdings Inc39.4735.0223.0310.3915.244.1511.77N/A1/25/2017$48,220,000,000.007.57#VALUE!#VALUE!

And the usual chart that I like to bring up:

 

Long Alphabet (GOOG) & Short eBay (EBAY)

I think it’s fair to say that times have changed at Google.. uhm.. I mean Alphabet. The company has doubled down on getting its spending under control and I think that was a smart and necessary move. Moonshots make sense and will remain part of Google’s core. I don’t think there are any doubts that some of them, including AI, self-driving, etc will end up having significant commercial applications and I am a believer in those segments of the company. But having no restrictions on the spending makes very little sense in my opinion and the cost-cutting that is happening will bring important benefits to the company. On the other side, I remain highly skeptical of ebay’s place in the online shopping marketplace in a world where Amazon’s dominance continues to increase month after month in almost every measurable way.

Long Facebook (FB) & Short Paypal (PYPL)

Facebook and Paypal are two clearly different companies and while you probably know that I have a deep level of admiration for Facebook’s execution, I also think Paypal is very well positioned and much more difficult to displace than believed by most. That being said, I do think PYPL’s valuation is very difficult to justify when I compare to how much growth Facebook is able to achieve. Yes, both are likely in declining growth periods but I do remain optimistic about Facebook’s position.

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

Closing Last Trade of 2016 (GOOG, EBAY)

By: ispeculatornew | Date posted: 01.02.2017 (3:00 am)

As you can imagine, I’m not too upset about closing the door on 2016 long & short trading. I will be starting off fresh in the coming days but tomorrow morning when the market re-opens, I will be closing off the final trade of the year, which is slightly up:

Long Alphabet (GOOG) & Short eBAY (EBAY)