October 24, 5:00 pm EST

As we’ve discussed the past two days, the catalyst for a stock market correction is rarely, if ever, one of the concerns that are “top of mind” in the market.

In this case, a China slowdown has been the target of a market fallout for eight years.  Stocks have gone up.  An implosion of the European Monetary Union has been predicted since 2011.  Stocks have gone up.  Currency and trade wars have been underway throughout the post-Great Recession environment.  Stocks have gone up.  A “hard Brexit” has been going to crush markets and the global economy since 2016.  Stocks have gone up.  A huge spike in inflation and interest rates has been guaranteed to be the punishment, for the decade of “irresponsible” money printing.  Stocks have gone up.

And with these things to obsess about, people have been steadily convincing themselves that a recession was coming (the opposite of what the data tells us) and that earnings were deteriorating or “peaking” (peaking earnings growth at 20% y-o-y is very different than peak earnings).   The recession and exhausting economic momentum stories are non-sense.

Short of a major economic blow-up, things are as good as they’ve been in more than a decade and getting better.  And for people that think another Lehman like moment could be coming (Europe, China, Brexit…), remember, part of the Lehman moment/global credit freeze, was driven by uncertainty about how governments and central banks would respond.  But we now know, very clearly, how they will respond to shocks.  There is no uncertainty.  They will do whatever it takes to maintain stability (re-write rules, whatever it takes), as they have over the past decade (post-Lehman) to avert further systemic shocks.

Still, all of the “what could go wrong” scenarios are what exacerbates the fear, after a decline in stocks gets started.  And in this case, as we’ve discussed, it looks very clear that both this decline, and the correction earlier this year, were triggered by Saudi liquidations (for fear of asset seizures).  And now we have panic-driven selling by uninformed investors.

Remember, most average investors are NOT leveraged.  And with that, they should have no concern about U.S. stock market declines, other than to ask themselves, “do I have cash I can put to work at cheaper prices?”

So with that, let’s take a look at the chart and see where this shake out might stop?  I think we’re close.


The above is the chart of the S&P 500 futures.  And you can see the big trendline that comes in from the 2016 lows.  Remember, in early 2016, the crash in oil prices were threatening the global economy (causing bankruptcies, and threatening sovereign defaults and financial system trouble).  Global central banks responded in coordination with a number of measures (with likely outright buying of oil).  Oil prices turned on a dime the day the Bank of Japan intervened in the yen.  The crisis was averted.

This is a big trendline, and it comes in just 1.4% lower from today’s low.  That would be an 11% correction in the S&P futures.

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February 11, 7:00 pm EST

Two weeks ago there were signals that a correction was underway.  First we had a swing back into positive yield territory for the German 5-year government bond. That was a significant marker for the end of the negative interest rate era and the end of global QE.

And with the outlook for rate normalization formalizing in the market, we should expect stock market growth to be driven from that point by earnings and dividends, and therefore economic growth. And then we had a perfect trigger lining up to set off the correction: earnings from the big tech giants. On script, Google missed. Apple disappointed on guidance, and the broad market sell-off began.

With that, when stocks broke down on February 2nd, we remembered that the stock market has had about a 10% decline on average, about once a year, over the past 70 years.

Then on Monday, the sell-off accelerated, and for a target in the S&P 500 we looked at this chart, which projected a reasonable spot to think we might find a bottom–around 2,560. We hit that on Friday and traded through to the 200-day moving average (2,539)–and we got an aggressive bounce.

Now, I’ve said a decline like this would make stocks cheap–“maybe something closer to 15 times forward earnings.” That sounded crazy two weeks ago. But guess what? We’re pretty darn close. At the lows on Friday, the P/E on earnings forecasted over the next four quarters was 16.2!

But as we know, Wall Street has a long history of underestimating earnings. That’s why about 70% of companies beat on earnings every quarter. And in this case, we’re talking about a huge earnings bump coming in the first quarter from the tax cuts. And Wall Street has barely bumped earnings expectations to incorporate that.

As said earlier this week, when the tax cut was in proposal stages, Citigroup estimated it would add $2 to S&P 500 earnings for every 1 percentage point cut in the tax rate. We’ve gone from 35% to 21%. With that, the forward four-quarter estimate for S&P 500 earnings, before the tax bill (in late November) was around $142.

If we add $28 in tax savings, we get $170. At the lows today in the S&P 500 that puts the P/E on a $170 in S&P 500 forward earnings at 14.8! That’s cheap relative to the long run historical P/E on stocks. And it’s extremely cheap in a world of low rates. And rates are still very low relative to history. And the low-rate environment will continue to motivate investors to seek higher returns in stocks–and pay higher valuations as stocks rebound. With hotter earnings and multiple expansion from here, we could reasonably see a 20%-30% rebound in stocks by year end.

Remember, the psychology always changes when stocks go down. People search for stories to fit the price–for trouble to fit the price. Rather than one of these stories leading to another major fallout, it’s a much higher probability that we are in the early innings of an economic boom, and stocks will be much higher than here in a year’s time.  It’s time to be greedy while others are getting fearful.

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February 5, 7:00 pm EST

We talked last week about the correction underway in stocks. As I said, since 1946, the S&P 500 has had a 10% decline about once a year. And we haven’t had one in a while. Since the November 2016 election, the worst decline in stocks from peak to trough had been only 3.4%.

So we were due. And we’ve gotten it.

Today we’ve seen it accelerate. With the steep slide in stocks today, for a brief moment, the Dow futures were down 11% from the peak of just 7 days ago.

Now, let’s add a little perspective on this …

First, as I’ve said, when you are a hedge fund or trader and you’re leveraged 10, 20, 50, 100 times, then avoiding corrections or trend changes is critical to your survival. Getting it wrong, can mean your portfolio blows up and maybe goes to zero. That’s the mentality the media is speaking to, and frankly much of Wall Street is speaking to, when addressing any market decline.

The bottom line is that 99.9% of investors aren’t leveraged and should have no concern about U.S. stock market declines, other than saying to themselves: “What a gift! Do I have cash I can put to work at these cheaper prices? And, where should I put that cash to work?”  As the great Warren Buffett has said, “be greedy when others are fearful.”

So, for the average investor, dips are an opportunity to buy stocks at a discount. Don’t let the noise distract you.

Remember, we’ve talked about the transition that is underway, with a global economy that now has the potential to officially exit the economic slog of the past decade, driven by pro-growth policies in the U.S. And those economic tailwinds have introduced the likelihood that the world will finally be able to exit central bank life support (i.e. QE). That’s all very positive.

But it has also been the trigger of the correction in stocks–this transition. QE has promoted higher stock prices. Now we get a correction, and a new catalyst (earnings and the growth picture) to justify the next leg of the global economic recovery (and stock bull market).

With that in mind, the fundamentals for stocks are very strong. As stocks tick down, the better valuation on stocks will only be amplified, when we get hot first quarter earnings hitting in a few months (thanks to the big corporate tax cut). For the S&P 500 P/E: We have the “P” going down, and the “E” going up.

How long could this correction last?

Remember when we were discussing the probability of a correction back in November, we looked at this chart …

In September 2014, with no significant one event or catalyst prompting it, the S&P 500 went on a slide. Stocks closed on a record high on Friday, September 19 (2014). On Monday, stocks gapped lower and over the next 18 days fell 10%. But over the following 12 days it all came back–a sharp V-shaped recovery. It was a textbook technical correction–right at 10%, right into the prevailing trend. You can see it in the chart above: the v-shaped move in stocks, and the bounce right off of the big trendline.

What’s happened in the markets the last few days reminds me of that correction. The moves can be fast, and the recovery can be fast, in this (post-crisis) environment. Big institutions have been trading stocks through computer programs for a long time, but the speed at which these algorithms can access markets and information have changed dramatically over the past decade–so has the massive amount of assets deployed through high frequency trading programs. They can remove liquidity very quickly. Combine that with the reduced liquidity in markets that has resulted from the global financial crisis (i.e. the shrinkage of the marketing making community and of hedge fund speculators, and the banning of bank prop trading) and you get markets that can go down very fast. And you get markets that can go up very fast too.

The proliferation of ETFs exacerbates this dynamic. ETFs give average investors access to immediate execution, which turns investors into reactive traders. Selling begets selling. And buying begets buying.

With the above dynamic, we’ve seen a fair share of quick declines and quick recoveries in the post-financial crisis era.

How do things look now?

In the chart above, this big trend line represents the move off of the oil crash lows of 2016. This 2560 area would give us a 10.8% correction in the S&P 500. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got there over a few days, and a recovery began. And I expect to stocks to end the year up double digits (still).

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February 5, 7:00 am EST

We talked this past week about the prospects that a correction was underway in stocks.  Stocks in China, Japan, Germany and the UK were already leading the way.  And with earnings from the big tech giants, I thought any cracks in the armor might give people reason to accelerate the profit taking.

That was the case.  Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) missed on earnings. And Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) disappointed on guidance.  And the global stock markets were a sea of red on Friday.

Now, markets don’t go in a straight line, there are corrections along the way.  Remember, since 1946, the S&P 500 has had a 10% decline about once a year.  And we haven’t had one in a while. Since the election (in November of 2016), the worst decline in stocks from peak to trough has been only 3.4%.  We’ve matched that now.

Now, it should be noted that this decline isn’t driven by a negative turn in fundamentals, rather it’s driven by profit taking, and (more importantly) the increasing likelihood that a higher growth environment will ultimately allow the central banks in Europe and Japan to exit QE — the remaining instruments of life support for a global economy that has been brought back to life by fiscal stimulus.

With that, as I’ve said, it’s fair to expect a correction until the data begins to prove out the benefits of fiscal stimulus (i.e. when we see first quarter corporate earnings and GDP growth – both of which should be very strong).

Now, as they do, the media wrings their hands over a slide in stocks and tries to find a story of trouble to fit the price.  The reality is, most investors should see a decline in the U.S. stock market as an exciting opportunity. The best investors in the world do. If you are not leveraged, dips in stocks (particularly U.S. stocks – the largest economy in the world, with the deepest financial markets) should be bought, because in the simplest terms, over time, the broad stock market has an upward sloping trajectory.

And when better earnings from tax cuts start coming in for Q1, a lower stock market would amplify the impact of a higher denominator in the P/E ratio — that means stocks could become cheap (er) – maybe something closer to 15 times forward earnings, in a world of (still) low rates.

For help building a high potential portfolio, follow me in our Billionaire’s Portfolio subscription service, where you look over my shoulder as I follow the world’s best investors into their best stocks.  Our portfolio of highest conviction, billionaire-owned stocks is up close to 50% over the past two years.  You can join me here and get positioned for a big 2018.

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March 21, 2017, 4:00pm EST                                                                                 Invest Alongside Billionaires For $297/Qtr

Over the past week, I’ve talked about the potential for disruption in what has been very smooth sailing for financial markets (led by stocks).  While the picture has grown increasingly murkier, markets had been pricing in the exact opposite – which makes things even more vulnerable to a shakeout of the weak hands.

With that, it looked like we are indeed working on a correction in stocks. But it’s not just because stocks are down.  It’s because we have some very important technical developments across key markets.  The Trump trend has been broken.

Let’s take a look at the charts …


The above chart is the S&P 500.  We looked at a break in the futures market last week.  Today we get a big break in the cash market.  This trendline represents the nice 45 degree climb in stocks since election night on November 8th. We have a clean break today.

mar 21 yields

Stocks ran up on the prospects that Trumponomics can end the decade long malaise in, not just the U.S. economy, but the global economy too.  With that, the money that has been parked in U.S. Treasuries begins to leave. Moreover, any speculators that were betting the U.S. would follow the world into negative rate territory run for the exit doors.  That sends Treasury bond prices lower and yields higher (as you can see in the chart above).  So today, we also get a break of this “Trump trend” in rates as well (the yellow line). Remember, this is after the Fed’s rate hike last week — rates are moving lower, not higher.

Next up, gold …

mar 21 gold

I talked about gold yesterday — as being the clearest trade (higher) in an increasingly murkier picture for global financial markets.  You can see in the chart above, gold is now knocking on the door of a break in this post-election Trump trend.

Remember, we’ve talked about the buy-the-rumor sell-the-fact phenomenon in markets. The beginning of the Trump trend in stocks started on election night (buying “the rumor” in anticipation of pro-growth policies). The top in stocks came the day following the President’s speech to the joint sessions of Congress (selling “the fact”, entering the “show me” phase).

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