March 7, 5:00 pm EST
Stocks continue to back off after completing a full recovery of the December declines.
Here’s another look at the chart we observed on Monday, where you can see the big technical area of resistance (three prior highs) — and today we close back on the 200-day moving average (the purple line).
As we discussed on Monday, the failure of this level shouldn’t be too surprising, as a reasonable technical area to take some profits.
As stocks slide back, the media is quick to turn the attention back toward fears of global economic slowdown. What’s the big difference between now and December? The Fed has moved from telegraphing rate hikes to ‘neutral’ and sitting/watching. The PBOC (central bank in China) has done more to stimulate their economy (to incentivize bank lending) and this morning, the ECB has come in with more easy money policies. Both the Fed and ECB were pre-emptive shots.
Like 2016, the response from central banks has been aggressive and coordinated to ward off slowdown and/or a stock market destabilization. That recipe worked well in 2016. I suspect it will work well this year.
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March 27, 4:00 pm EST
The sharp swings continue in stocks, with the bias toward the downside. And as we’ve discussed over the past two weeks, it’s all led by the tech giants. Remember, on Friday we looked at the most important chart in the stock market: the chart of Amazon (as a proxy on the tech giants). Early this afternoon, Amazon was outpacing the S&P 500 to the downside by 4-to-1, and finally the broader market cracked to follow it.
This all continues to look like the market is beginning to price in a world where the tech giants, that have taken dangerously significant market share over the past decade, are on the path of tighter regulation and a leveling of the playing field, which will result in higher costs of doing business. That will change their position of strength and open the door to a resurrection of the competition.
Remember, on the stock slide of this past Friday, the S&P 500 hit the 200-day moving average and bounced sharply. It now looks like we’ll get another test of it, probably a break, and maybe take another peak at the February lows.
Here’s a look at the chart ….
You can see in the chart above the technical significance of these levels. This represents the trend from the oil price induced lows of 2016. And the slope of this trend incorporates the optimism from the Trump election and the outlook on pro-growth policies.
With that significance at play, a breach of this support, at least for a short time, would all play into the scenario that we’ll see more swings in stocks (pain for the bulls) until we get to earnings season, which kicks into gear on April 13. And as we discussed, that should begin the data-driven catalyst for stocks (earnings and growth, fueled by fiscal stimulus).
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January 25, 2017, 1:30pm EST Invest Alongside Billionaires For $297/Qtr
The Dow broke 20,000 today. I want to talk about why it’s a big deal.
As we discussed when we entered the new year, “Trump’s Plan Is A Recipe For Restoring Animal Spirits.” Watch out, it’s coming.
Remember, this (animal spirits) is the element that economists and analysts can’t predict, and can’t quantify. It’s not in the forecasts. This is what has been destroyed over the past decade, driven primarily by the fear of indebtedness (which is typical of a debt crisis) and mistrust of the system. All along the way, throughout the recovery period, and throughout a tripling of the stock market off of the bottom, people have continually been waiting for another shoe to drop. The breaking of this emotional mindset has been underway since the night of the election. And that gives way to a return of animal spirits.
Higher stock prices tend to beget higher stock prices. Trust me, individual investors that haven’t been believers will be calling their financial advisors and logging in to their online brokerage accounts over the coming days. Institutional investors that haven’t been believers, that have been underweight stocks, will be beefing up exposure if they want to compete with their peers (and keep their jobs).
And not only do higher stock prices lead to higher stock prices, but higher stock prices tend to make people feel more confident about the economy, which begets a better economy.
Add to this, the psychological value of Dow 20,000 could finally be a turning point in the divergence of sentiment toward the Trump Presidency. It may serve as a validation marker for those that have been on the fence. And for those in opposition, as I’ve said before, growth solves a lot of problems! When the college grad that’s been relegated to a 10-year career as a barista begins to see signs of opportunity for a better career and a better future, in a stronger economy, the sands of Trump sentiment can shift quickly.
Cleary, Trump entered with a game plan that can pop economic growth. And he’s going 100 miles an hour at executing on that plan. For markets, what he’s doing is creating a sense of certainty for investors. They know what he’s promised, and now they know that he appears to intend on delivering on those promises. And the coordination of growth policies, along with ultra-easy monetary policy (even with tightening in view) serves as risk mitigators for markets. It should limit downside risk, which is what investors care most about. How?
Remember, even at Dow 20,000, stocks are still extremely cheap.
Here’s a review on why …
Reason #1: To return to the long-term trajectory of 8% annualized returns for the S&P 500, the broad stock market would still need to recovery another 48% by the middle of this year. We’re still making up for the lost growth of the past decade. And there’s a lot of ground to make up.
Reason #2: In low-rate environments, the valuation on the broad market tends to run north of 20 times earnings. Adjusting for that multiple, we can see a reasonable path to a 16% return for the year. That’s an S&P 500 earnings estimate of $133.64 times a P/E of 20 equals 2,672 on the S&P 500.
Reason #3: The proposed corporate tax rate cut from 35% to 15% is estimated to drive S&P 500 earnings UP from an estimated $132 per share for next year, to as high as $157. Apply $157 to a 20x P/E and you get 3,140 in the S&P 500. That’s 37% higher.
With this in mind, we are likely entering an incredible era for investing, which will be an opportunity for average investors to make up ground on the meager wealth creation and retirement savings opportunities of the past decade. For help building a high potential portfolio for 2017, follow me in our Billionaire’s Portfolio, where you look over my shoulder as I follow the world’s best investors into their best stocks. Our portfolio more than doubled the return of the S&P 500 in 2016. You can join me here and get positioned for a big 2017.
This past week we’ve talked about the recent public disclosures made about the investments of some of the world’s best investors.
The biggest news was Warren Buffett’s new $1 billion plus stake in Apple.
Apple’s stock price peaked in April of last year (following a 65% rolling 12-month return). Much of that run up was driven by activist efforts of Carl Icahn. Icahn influenced sentiment in the stock, but also influenced value creation for shareholders by pressuring Apple management to buy back stock.
But since peaking last April (2015), Apple shares had lost nearly 34% as of earlier this month. Icahn dumped his stake and made it public in late April.
And then we find this past week that Buffett is now long (he’s in).
So should you follow Buffett? Is it the bottom for Apple? And what makes Apple a classic Buffett stock?
First, Buffett has compounded money at 19.2% annualized over a 50 year period. That’s made him the second wealthiest man in the world.
Buffett loves to buy low. He has a long and successful record of buying when everyone else is selling. Buffett purchased his Apple stake last quarter when Apple was near its 52-week low.
But he famously stays away from technology. Why Apple? For Buffett, Apple is a global, dominant brand. That trumps sector. He loves brand name companies with a loyal customer base, and there is probably no company on the planet with a more loyal customer base then Apple. Plus, one could argue that Apple is a consumer services company (with 700 million credit cards on file, charging customers for movies, songs, apps …).
Generally Buffett pays less than 12 times earnings for a company. Of course there are exceptions, but Apple fits this criterion perfectly with a P/E of 10.
Buffett loves companies that have a high return-on-invested-capital (ROIC) and low debt. Apple has an ROIC of 28%, extremely high. Companies with a high ROIC usually have a “wide moat” or a competitive advantage over the rest of the world. That gives them pricing power to drive wide margins.
Apple really is the classic Buffett stock. And now that Buffett has put his stamp of approval on Apple, we believe the stock has bottomed, especially since it’s so cheap compared to the overall stock market. And he’s not the only billionaire value investor who loves Apple. Billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn also loves Apple. He increased his Apple stake last quarter to 15% of his entire hedge fund, almost $900 million dollars worth.
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