The Stock Market

     

 

 

Beta-driven Fantasy

The decade long bull market run, aside from making everyone ridiculously rich, has opened up a new array of competencies. The proliferation of ETFs, for instance, has precipitated a heyday for the ETF Analyst. So, too, blind faith in data has prompted the rise of Psychic Quants… who see the future by modeling the past.

 

Gandalf, quant of Middle-Earth, dispensing sage advice. [PT]

 

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The Strongest Seasonal Stock Market Trend

Readers may already have guessed: when the vibrant colors of the autumn leaves are revealed in all their splendor, the strongest seasonal period of the year begins in the stock market – namely the year-end rally.

 

Will Santa wake up this year? Last year he was clearly missing in action – but that is actually the exception, not the rule [PT]

 

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The Future and the Past

Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 156 requires financial institutions to advise investors to not be idiots. Hence, the disclosure pages of nearly every financial instrument in the U.S. are embedded with the following admission or variant thereof:

 

“Past Performance Is Not Indicative of Future Results”

 

“Buy and hold”… “The market goes always up”… “No-one can time the market”… “Buy the dip” “With what? You said not to sell anything”… “Simple, mortgage the farm…”  The image above shows roughly what happens right after everybody feels the warm & fuzzies due to the fact that the market has been going up without a hitch for quite some time. Once the  conviction that it can only rise further is widespread and firmly embedded in investor psyches (who cares about valuations?), this is often what the next scene looks like… [PT]

 

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Listless Nikkei

On 24 July 2020 the Olympic Summer Games will begin in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Olympic Games and Soccer World Cups are among the largest sporting events in the world.  Do you perhaps also think that these events may affect the performance of local stock markets?

 

Olympic Summer Games 2020 – official logo (left), and a fan-made logo (right) by designer Daren Newman [PT]

 

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Bad Hair Days Are Back

We recently discussed the many divergences between major US indexes, which led us to expect that a downturn in the stock market was close (see The Calm Before the Storm for details). Here is an update of the comparison chart we showed at the time:

 

The divergences between various indexes seem to be resolving as expected.

 

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A Global Pattern

You are no doubt aware of the saying “sell in May and go away”. It is one of the best-known and oldest stock market truisms.

 

Mark Twain’s famous saying about stock market speculation (the other one was “There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate – when he cannot afford it, and when he can”).  From a seasonal perspective he was definitely right about September and October. [PT]

 

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Do You Hear a Bell Ringing?

The sun shines brightest across the North American continent as we enter summer’s dog days.  Cold sweet lemonade is the refreshment of choice at ballparks and swimming holes alike.  Many people drink it after cutting the grass, or whenever else a respite from the heat and some thirst quenching satisfaction is needed.

 

Regardless of whether companies were able to “beat estimates” (which as often happens, were revised lower just before the reporting season started), their actual Q2 results didn’t look very encouraging so far. The manufacturing sector in particular looks a bit frayed around the edges as the saying goes. [PT]

 

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A Pleasant Surprise

You can probably imagine that I am convinced of the merits of seasonality. However, even I was surprised that an investment strategy based on seasonality is apparently leaving numerous far more popular strategies in the dust. And yet, this is exactly what a recent comprehensive scientific study asserts – a study that probably considers a longer time span than most: it examines up to 217 years of market history!

 

A chart of nominal commodity prices since the mid 12th century. A little aside to this: Estimates for some commodity prices date as far back as 3000 BC. The oldest price records permitting construction of a price index are from the time of the Babylonian empire, the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and the Minoan civilization (which blossomed during a time of global warming) from approx. 1840 BC to 1620 BC. One of the most intense periods of nominal commodity price inflation occurred in the roughly 130 years following the death of Emperor Severus Alexander in AD 235 (which marked the beginning of the Roman Empire’s “crisis of the third century”) until the reign of Julian the Apostate from 361 AD to 363 AD. Price information after Diocletian’s attempt to impose price controls in 301 AD (“edict on maximum prices”) is too spotty to permit index construction, but it is known that inflation accelerated even more after the edict failed. Rome’s history of monetary debasement started with Nero’s reign from 54 AD – 68 AD – Nero reduced the silver content of the Denarius by 10% to 90%. By the time Diocletian’s edict was promulgated in 301 AD, the silver content of the Denarius was a mere 0.02%. The worst offender among the third century emperors was Aurelian, who in the five years of his reign from 270 AD to 275 AD reduced the coin’s silver content from 50% to just 5%. Not surprisingly, he  tried his hand at price controls as well (at least he won the wars he funded through debasing the realm’s coinage). It took until the 20th century and the adoption of a “scientific monetary policy” by central planning agencies for prices to increase almost as rapidly and strongly as in the chaotic third century. [PT]

 

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Intra-Market Divergences Galore 

US big cap stocks have rallied to new highs in recent months, but just as in the rally from the low of the February 2018 mini-panic to the September/October 2018 peak, sizable divergences between different indexes have emerged in the process. New highs in the big cap indexes (DJIA, SPX, NDX) are once again not confirmed by small caps (RUT), the broad market (NYA) and a number of sub-sectors (such as the DJTA which is included in the chart below; according to Dow Theory, the DJTA must confirm moves in the DJIA to validate its trend).

 

From the top: weekly charts of DJIA, SPX, NDX, RUT, NYA and DJTA. The recent new highs in the three large cap indexes have not been confirmed by small caps and the broad market. Note also the sizable RSI/price divergence in the DJIA (which is mirrored by SPX and NDX) – this is a sign of faltering momentum that is often seen ahead of trend changes.

 

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Maurice Jackson Interviews Rick Rule

Rick Rule is a renowned investor in junior resource stocks. He is currently working for Sprott USA. Recently Maurice Jackson of Proven and Probable sat down with him for an extensive interview which you can watch below.

 

Rick Rule, legendary resource stock investor

 

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The “Greatest Economy in History” Stumbles

“This is the greatest economy in the history of our country”, Donald Trump opined just a few months ago.

Alas, recently there is growing evidence of an economic slowdown.

 

The Morgan Stanley MSBCI business conditions gauge plummets to its lowest level since 2008, as recent economic data releases ominously persist in disappointing. [PT]

 

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The Ugly End of Globalization

Sometime in the fall of 2018 a lowly gofer at the New York Stock Exchange was sweating  bullets.  He had made an honest mistake.  One that could forever tag him a buffoon.

 

Art Cashin the living hat-stand, going through a succession of DJIA milestone hats. He promised was going to crack a smile for the Dow 27,000 hat photo, alas, it was not to be. [PT]

 

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