March 19, 5:00 pm EST

We’ve seen the verbal and Twitter shots taken by Trump at the tech giants since he’s been in office.  And the threats have slowly been materializing as policy.

We get this today …


With this in mind, we’ve talked quite a bit about the domestic leveling of the playing field. The tech giants (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Twitter …) are on the regulatory path to being held to a similar standard that their “old economy” competitors are held to.  They may have to pay for real estate (i.e. bandwidth). They may be scrutinized more heavily for anti-competitive practices.  And they may be liable for content on their site, regardless of who created it.

The latter was the subject of the Trump tweet today.  And he was asked about it in a press conference.  He said we “have to do something about it.”  He called the discrimination and bias “collusion” from the tech giants.

The regulation is coming. And depending on the degree, at best, it changes the business models of these “disrupters.” At worse, it could destroy them.  Imagine, Facebook and Twitter being held liable for things their customers are saying on their platforms.  That’s endless compliance to ward of business killing liabilities.

As compliance costs go UP for these companies.  The cost goes UP for consumers. The model is changed.

On a related note, remember, last September the S&P 500 reshuffled the big tech giants.  Among the changes, they moved Facebook, Google and Twitter out of the tech sector and in to the telecom sector (re-named the “Communications” sector”).

Here’s what that sector ETF looks like since …

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

March 5, 5:00 pm EST

There’s a lot of excitement about the building IPO docket for the year.  Let’s take a look of the lay of the land …

There is said to be more than 220 companies planning to go public in 2019.

On Friday, Lyft filed an S1 with the SEC (a prospectus like document) in preparation for an IPO.  This will be the first Silicon Valley darling to go public this year.

Lyft is the second largest ride-sharing company — owns about a third of the U.S. market, with Uber owning the rest.  Uber is expected to go public this year.  The other big ones coming:  Airbnb, WeWork and Palantir.

We’ve clearly had a boom cycle in Silicon Valley over the past decade.  But are these IPOs coming late the party?

Remember, we have an administration in Washington that has tightened the regulatory screws on the dominant publicly-traded tech giants (Facebook, Amazon, Google).  The regulatory tailwinds (or lack thereof) that they enjoyed along the path of their disruptive growth, have now turned into headwinds.  And the stocks have all been hit, as a result.

Keep in mind, the private market valuations were pumped-up in these IPO candidates when public equity markets were offering little optimism about future returns.  With that, pension money was flowing into the coffers of Silicon Valley private equity firms.  And private equity fund managers were throwing money at things — and companies have been burning through that money, ramping staff, buying fancy offices and inundating us with blitz advertising campaigns.

Safe to say there has been an overhyping of the term “disrupters.”  In many cases, we’re looking at startups trying to underprice and outspend (with our pension money) in a traditional business, without having the hurdle of making money (maybe ever).  Not surprisingly, there have been market share wins.

But public companies tend to be held to a standard: profitability.  We’ll see how they do with the shifting market environment (i.e. late cycle Silicon Valley).

Lyft will be an early indicator.  Its last private investment valued the company at $15.1 billion.  For that, in their filing, they revealed a company doing a little over $2 billion in revenue, while losing almost a billion dollars last year.  Revenue growth has been slowing, losses have been widening as the private equity investors attempt to cash out in the public markets.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

March 4, 5:00 pm EST

Stocks sold off sharply this morning, before bouncing nicely from the lows.   The range on the day was the third largest of the year.

The question:  Was the selling today technically-driven or was there a catalyst that introduced new risk into the market (i.e. something bigger)?

Let’s take a look at the chart …

With this sharp V-shaped recovery of the past two months, we have stocks testing these highs, and failing today.

But the failure of this level (for the moment) shouldn’t be too surprising.  Following a runup of 20%, for some this is a reasonable technical area to sell some/ to take profit.

But is there more to the sell-off this morning?

We did get an announcement that the Congressional Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation into the Trump administration.  It includes document requests from 80 people/entities tied to the administration.  They will be looking at obstruction of justice, public corruption and abuse of power (the latter of which, might be the most subjective and, therefore, threatening).

After all of the allegations and political mudslinging surrounding Trump, could this pose the biggest risk to the Trump administration and policymaking yet?  Possibly.

Congress has a unchallengeable investigatory and subpoena power.  They can dig as deeply and broadly as the want, and create as much havoc as they want, which means this may dominate what happens on Capitol Hill until the 2020 election.

Now, with all of this said, if we look at the market reaction today, as a proxy for how the market is digesting this — we did not see across the board selling.  That’s good.  If we look inside the U.S. stock market, most active stocks were a mix of up and down on the day (including up days Apple, Facebook, Baba and Amazon).  That’s good.  And foreign stocks were less impacted by the early swing in U.S. stocks.  That’s good. The emerging market futures index MXEF actually finished at the New York close UP from Friday’s close.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

February 22, 5:00 pm EST

As the anticipation has grown on a structural reform agreement between the U.S. and China, we’ve talked about what might be the leading indicators that China will make the necessary concessions to get something done.

Remember, by the end of last year, much economic data in China was running at or worse the 2009 levels (the depths of the global economic crisis).  Clearly, they are in trouble.  As for Chinese stocks, an ugly bear market of was triggered in early 2018 when Trump’s rhetoric turned into action.  He slapped tariffs on washing machines and solar panels (a signal of bark and bite).

But as we know, by December the spiraling data in China also began taking a big toll on global markets.  With this, we’ve had responses from global central banks, including in China.

Now, Chinese stocks have been important to watch, for clues on: 1) are they doing enough to stimulate the struggling economy, and 2) (more importantly) are they taking serious steps to get to an agreement on trade with the U.S.?

With the above in mind, Chinese stocks bottomed on January 4th. That was when China and the United States announced they would hold trade talks in Beijing that following week.  That announcement represented the re-opening of trade talks, and the potential of an end to the trade war – which was a welcomed relief signal.

Chinese stocks have since represented an important signal in the recovery in global stocks.  On that note, the Shanghai Composite is now up 15% from the January 4th bottom. So, the signal has been good.  And as you can see in the chart below, we’re trading through the 200 day moving average (the purple line).

Another spot we’ve been watching in my Pro Perspective notes has been China’s currency.

China’s currency (the yuan) ends the week near its strongest levels since July.  This is China’s attempt to show the Trump administration that they are willing to make concessions on the all-important currency (the tool that has driven the massive trade disparity and wealth transfer of the past three decades).

As we head into the weekend, we have these two “leading indicators” supporting what has been maybe the most optimistic tone we’ve heard yet on an agreement.  It was announced this afternoon that the head Chinese trade negotiator would be extending his trip to Washington through the weekend.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

February 14, 5:00 pm EST

A big miss on retail sales this morning sent stocks sharply lower, initially.

This type of reaction presents a perfect opportunity to add at cheaper levels.  Remember, this is old data, from December (delayed due to the government shutdown).  And we know what was going on in December.  Stocks were hammered.  The government was heading toward a shutdown (which happened toward the end of the month).  And the Fed raised rates right into it.  It was a sentiment storm.

What is significantly correlated to sentiment?  Retail sales.

Here’s a look at the dip in both …



The number this morning has already triggered downgrades in fourth quarter growth estimates.

The good news:  This will also further drive down expectations for Q1 growth.

I say good news, because these sentiment driven indicators have a long history of short-term swings, and can bounce back very quickly.  Remember, since December, we now have a near full retracement in stocks, a Fed on hold (and a  more acommodative global central bank stance), and a somewhat more optimistic geopolitical outlook.

So, we’re setting up for positive surprises in the economic data for Q1.  Positive surprises are fuel for stocks.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

February 13, 5:00 pm EST

Over the past couple of days we’ve looked at some key technical levels for stocks, as we continue this V-shaped recovery from the deep decline of December.

We now sit just a percent and a half off of the December 3rd highs. And today, we get a break and a close above the 200-day moving average in the S&P 500.

So, with all of the doom and gloom scenarios we heard as we entered 2019, a month later and we’ve nearly fully recovered the losses of December.  And with expectations on earnings  and growth all ratcheted down now for the year, we have a lot of fuel for much higher stocks.

As U.S. stocks go, so do global stocks.  We looked at the chart on Japanese stocks yesterday.  We did indeed get a big technical break overnight of the correction downtrend that started in October of last year.

So, today we have this chart … 

With much of the concern on global growth directed squarely in China, this chart of Chinese stocks is signaling that perhaps Chinese growth is bottoming, and maybe because a U.S./China deal is coming.  

In this chart above, you can see this bear market in Chinese stocks last year was started in January.  That was when Trump rhetoric on a China trade war turned into action.  He slapped tariffs on washing machines and solar panels (a signal of bark and bite).  Now we have a bottom, as of last month, and a big technical break of the downtrend, arguably leading the patterns we’re seeing in U.S. and Japanese stocks.  For how you can play it:  Here are some ETFs that track Chinese stocks.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

February 12, 5:00 pm EST

Yesterday we talked about the big trend break in the S&P 500 and the big 200-day moving average hurdle, above.  Today we closed right on that 200-day moving average.

Here’s an update of the chart …



With this momentum, the chart tonight to watch is in Japan.  Here’s a look at Japanese stocks.  

As you can see, U.S. stocks have broken the downtrend of the past quarter, but Japanese stocks have yet to follow.  The Nikkei remains 15% off of the highs of October.  But with the strength in U.S. stocks today, we may get the breakout in Japanese stocks tonight, ahead of Japanese Q4 GDP (which is due tomorrow night). These are some ETFs that track the Nikkei. We own DBJP in my Forbes Billionaire’s Portfolio, an ETF that tracks the dollar-denominated Nikkei.  

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

February 9, 5:00 pm EST

It’s a fairly light data week this week.  And we’re in the final stretch of Q4 earnings season, which has been good, despite a bad stock market for the quarter.

As for stocks, after a very huge bounce back in January, February has been flat.

But we’re working on this chart … 

As you can see, the S&P 500 has broken out of the downtrend that started October 3rd, but has failed (thus far) at the 200-day moving average (the purple line).  That 2,742 level is a key area to overcome for a return back to the levels of December 3.  That would complete this V-shaped recovery (about 3.5% higher than current levels).

Mnuchin and Lighthizer are in China this week.  So we’ll get more information on the U.S./China trade front.  However, it now looks like the March 1 trade truce deadline will be pushed back.  And maybe the whole thing culminates with a meeting between Trump and Xi at Mar-A-Lago next month.

Perhaps a good signal, after the holiday week in China for the Lunar New Year, Chinese stocks opened the week strong.  The index that tracks smaller cap stocks and higher risk tech names jumped 3.5%, for the biggest two day gain since early October.  Broad stocks in China are now up 9% from the January lows.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

February 5, 5:00 pm EST

We’ve now heard from about half of the S&P 500 companies on Q4 earnings.  And about 70% of those companies have beat Wall Street’s earnings estimates.

We’ve heard from the banks, early on, which broadly painted the picture of a healthy economy.  And now we’ve heard from the dominant tech giants/ disrupters of the past decade.

Facebook beat.  Amazon beat.  Google beat.

But times are changing.

Remember, the regulatory screws have tightened on the tech giants over the past year.  It was a matter of when the market would finally price OUT the idea that these industry killers would be left unchallenged, to become monopolies.

With that in mind, back in early October, when market risks were building (from China, to interest rates, to Italy, to Saudi Arabia), we looked at this big and vulnerable trendline in Amazon.


Here’s the chart on Amazon now …

The break of that line gave way to a 30% plunge in what was the biggest company in the world.

Bottom line:  Amazon, Facebook and Google have entered into regulatory purgatory — after being largely left alone for the past decade to nearly destroy industries with little-to-no regulatory oversight.  Costs are going UP and will keep going up..

With all of this said, the stocks of these tech giants might take a breather, but given their scale and maturity, more regulation actually strengthens their moat.  There will never be a competitor to Facebook emerging from a dorm room or garage. The compliance costs will be too high.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.

January 29, 5:00 pm EST

Today let’s take a look at the recent moves the U.S. administration has made against Venezuela, and what that means for oil prices.

It was August of 2017, when Trump first stepped up pressure on Venezuela.  Venezuela is (and has been) in a humanitarian, political and economic crisis–led by what the U.S. administration has officially called a dictator. Trump slapped sanctions on the Venezuelan President back in 2017 (freezing his U.S assets) and was said to be considering broad oil sanctions. That finally came yesterday (seventeen months later).

For a country that relied heavily on oil exports (ninety-five percent of export revenues in Venezuela come from oil), the U.S. will no longer be sending money to Venezuela for oil.

This is a crushing blow for an already suffering country.

What does it mean for oil prices?

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. With oil sanctions, should come supply disruptions for the oil market, which could likely send oil aggressively higher.

Back in 2017, when Trump threatened sanctions, oil broke out of its $40-$55 range, and ultimately traded up to $76.

Today, we’re nearing the top end of that same range.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, coming out of this market correction environment.