This Week in Barrons – 4-27-2014
“We Mustn’t Panic – We Mustn’t Panic – ARGH!!!!”…Chicken Run (the movie)
Everyday I get the simple pleasure of seeing CNBC parade cheerleaders across my TV screen knowing that not one of them:
- Forecast the housing bubble,
- Forecast the credit bubble,
- Forecast the great 2008 crash,
- But are quite content telling me how wonderful things are and how everything’s coming up roses.
What I find even more interesting, is that the people that DID predict these bubbles are viewed as being ‘off limits’ to the network. You see, in 1983 (before CNBC), 90% of all of our news was delivered by 50 companies. By the year 2000, just 8 companies controlled 90% of the major media, and by mid-2012 it was down to 6. These six companies are: Disney, GE, NewsCorp, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Together these 6 companies own over 90% of everything we read, watch and listen to. I understand that the purpose of CNBC is not to inform and educate, but rather to make stocks look attractive at all times, to make the economy appear fine, and to deliver more revenue to advertisers. The good news is that people are waking up to CNBC’s agenda, as their viewership has plunged dramatically for the past several years.
Unlike CNBC, some of the brightest investing minds on the planet all seem to agree that we're on a rocket ride to oblivion. People like: Jim Rogers, Richard Russell, Victor Sperandio, James Turk, Grant Williams, Peter Schiff, Egon von Greyerz, Jean-Marie Eveillard, and dozens of others running trillion dollar pension and market funds have declared the system – defunct. These people receive no acknowledgment or airplay.
As the old adage suggests: ‘Somebody's gotta be wrong. Who’s it gonna be?’ Is it the folks at CNBC, that didn't see the housing – credit – or mortgage bubbles, and see no inflation, and only see great earnings? Or is it the professionals from the trenches that have made fortunes understanding reality? My money is on the professionals.
As I'm typing this, tensions are really beginning to escalate in the Ukraine. The U.S. wants to bring Russia to its knees using our central bank monopoly on global credit and banking, while at the same time putting on a show of military force. Some outlets think that this is just a smoke screen to purposely drag Russia into a prolonged war, because that will lead us out of our economic paralysis. I truly hope that isn’t the case. The issue with this particular altercation is that we’re not dealing with sand dwelling nomads in caves. We're dealing with Russia – a country larger than ours, and equally equipped with nuclear weapons. Do we really want to put the decision of ‘pushing the button’ in the hands of a ‘stressed-out’ War General with a death wish?
I'm of the opinion that if we end up going to war over this – it’s as a result of our criminal banksters. It won’t be because we are in a position of power, or our desire to take over Russia. It will be because the ‘powers that be’ understand that our systems are all horribly broken, cannot be repaired by any conventional means, and need a war to blame it on. That way instead of the criminal banksters saying: "I’m sorry for our money printing and our trillions of dollars in derivatives", they can say: "I’m sorry, we were fixing things, and then the U.S. got us into a war that led us into bankruptcy.”
I think the overall message here is that the most brilliant investors of all time say the monetary system is broken, and needs to be reset. Assuming a war with Russia can be avoided, the result will be a strong alliance between Russia, China, Brazil, and India. Some seem to think that China won't try and crush the U.S. economically because we buy all of their stuff. Honestly, that WAS true until our economy got to the point where:
- The average family does not have $2,000 to get through an emergency,
- Before student debt topped a trillion dollars,
- Before wages stagnated for 15 years while inflation roared, and
- Before entry level jobs went from $15/hr. to minimum wage.
In late May, I expect to hear of a huge energy deal between Russia and the China. I expect a broad expansion of ‘free trade’ in gold backed Yuan between Brazil, Russia, India and China. Factually, Japan is working closely with Russia to develop the gas fields on the northern islands. Also, Russia has a plan in place to forgive billions in North Korean war debt in return for safe passage of a gas line through the country to South Korea and the fees it will generate for North Korea. These nations and others are working around the U.S.’s petro dollar fiasco. It very much reminds of boiling a frog – it’s a slow process but death is none-the-less eminent.
Many of the things that keep the biggest and brightest of the investing world concerned don’t make it to your local news. With 90% of Americans only having a half-dozen news outlets – we are all incredibly vulnerable. I continue to remember the scene from the movie Chicken Run – where the head chicken says three times: “We mustn’t panic. We mustn’t panic. We mustn’t panic.” And then proceeds to run around like the proverbial ‘chicken with her head cut off.’ Factually: almost 70% of the companies that have reported earnings thus far – (if not for buying back their own stock) – would have missed their projections on both the top and bottom lines. That is an unheard of percentage and one where ‘panic’ may be the word of the day.
Once again the market has come to one of those crossroads where everything points to a decline.
- The crisis in the Ukraine could easily balloon into something truly ugly.
- The earnings reports coming out of corporations are poor. Now, I realize that the markets move because of the FED and the carry trade, but it’s becoming more and more difficult for the analysts to convince people to buy stocks that are trading at over 100 times forward earnings. After all – didn’t we see that movie in 1999?
- Lastly, the market is back within spitting distance of its all-time highs, and that's a pretty hefty bar to leap over when you're attempting it with no volume, and lousy earnings.
So if nothing happens in the Ukraine (between now and Monday morning), do the animal spirits come in on Monday and push us higher? It is indeed possible. But realize that right now, instead of several hundred stocks moving higher, the market has become increasingly narrow. Therefore, on market ‘up days’ only a very few stocks are currently dragging the entire market indexes higher. Corporate ‘Insiders’ are still selling at a furious pace. And, the housing numbers out last week were just horrific.
But again I warn you; I’ve seen this movie before. The FED has pulled a rabbit out its hat many times. So, even though we are once again perched for a slide, we could see our FED use the 50-day moving average on the S&P for support, and just trade us sideways as they attempt yet another in a long string of pushes for glory.
Another issue to consider is the old adage: “Sell in May and go away." While it sounds like a gag, it is not. The market traditionally does its best work between September and April, and often its worst work in the summer. The FED could just run out of bullets for this summer, and let things drift for a couple months.
And then what about the FED's tapering? All it would take is for Lady Yellen to say they've decided to halt the taper process, and we would set a new high that same day. If Lady Yellen came out and said that they had replaced the QE program with something else to jam money into the system and keep rates low, we would see DOW 18K by year-end.
For now, I would use the ‘technicals’ as your guide. The XLF (the banking ETF) has already dipped below its 50-day moving average, which is bad. Markets can’t go anywhere without the financial sector, so if the XLF can’t get back above 21.90 – be careful. Secondly, while the 50-day on the S&P (SPY) isn't as important as it was years ago, it's still a psychological level and if we fail that, it could cause more selling.
With the trouble in the Ukraine, energy has responded well for me. I have listed many of my favorites below. But overall, we're in a touchy area where caution is warranted.
TLT continues to be the magic elixir that the market badly needs. TLT is a ‘bond market’ ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) that when the market goes up – trades sideways, and when the market goes down – trades nicely higher. Mannkind Pharmaceuticals (MNKD) remains in our portfolio paying 2% per week on it’s covered call options. That is to say: you can purchase a share of MNKD for $6.20 today – and sell the $6.50 call options paying you 13 cents per week. The energy sector continues to ramp higher, and I’ve listed some of my ‘lower priced’ holdings in the sector below. I continue to believe that the precious metal miners are a very under-valued sector – and therefore continue to play the DUST / NUGT combination. I like TLT, Gold and energy – and am awaiting a pullback on the NASDAQ.
My current short-term holds are:
- MNKD – in @ $6.35 – (currently $6.20 – w/ 2+% per week yield on the $6.50 covered call option),
- TLT – in @ $106.22 – (currently $111.99),
- USO (Oil) – in @ $37.19 - (currently $36.61),
- BXE (Oil) – in @ $9.11 – (currently $9.47),
- FPP (Oil) – in @ $5.32 – (currently $5.48),
- HK (Energy) – in @ $5.25 – (currently $5.43),
- LSCC (Tech) – in @ $7.85 – (currently $8.73),
- LSG (Gold) – in @ $0.78 – (currently $0.79),
- NGLS (Nat Gas) – in @ 60.11 – (currently $58.30),
- PFIE (Energy) – in @ $4.47 – (currently $4.53),
- POZN (Pharma.) – in @ $8.68 – (currently $9.13),
- PTIE (Pain Tmt.) – in @ $5.34 – (currently $5.70),
- RFMD (Tech) – in @ $7.96 – (currently $7.99),
- SIL (Silver) – in at 24.51 - (currently 12.54) – no stop,
- GLD (ETF for Gold) – in at 158.28, (currently 125.67) – no stop ($1,304 per physical ounce), AND
- SLV (ETF for Silver) – in at 28.3 (currently 18.98) – no stop ($19.77 per physical ounce).
To follow me on Twitter and get my daily thoughts and trades – my handle is: taylorpamm.
Please be safe out there!
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