By Bryan Rich

October 15, 5:00 pm EST

On Friday we talked about the opportunity presented by this recent dip in the broad stock market.

We’re beginning to see more clearly today the rotation out of tech and into value.  That is translating into a continued slide in the Nasdaq, while the Dow is rising.

Now, even though this looks like a re-pricing of the high-flying tech stocks, as we often see the “baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.”  In this case, because the big tech giants have been so widely held, when they crack, everything has cracked.  That’s an opportunity to buy broader stocks on sale. And stocks are indeed cheap.

Take a look at historic valuations (P/E on the S&P 500) …

 

From a valuation perspective, Wall Street is estimating stocks on next year’s estimated earnings to be as cheap as we’ve seen only two times in the past 26 years.

You can see where stocks were valued on the S&P going into 2012.  Stocks finished up 16% that year.  The other year was 1995 (a P/E of 14.89). Stocks finished that year up 37.6%.

Still, many have continued to harp on valuation, always pointing to the long run average P/E on stocks, which is around 16.  That’s a long history.  If we look back at the past twenty years, the average valuation is MUCH, MUCH higher. It’s 23 times earnings!

If we take Wall Street’s estimate on S&P 500 earnings of $176 and multiply it by 23, we get and S&P at 4,048.  That’s 47% higher than Friday’s close.

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By Bryan Rich

October 12, 5:00 pm EST

The S&P 500 has declined more than 5% (from peak to trough) on four different occasions this year.  That’s despite an economy that is heating up, finally escaping the slow growth rut of the past decade.

So, should you be fearful when these declines occur, or should you be greedy?

During market declines – with the constant barrage of market analysis and opinion on financial television, in newspapers, or through the Internet – it’s easy to get sucked into drama played out in the media.

And that tends to make many investors fearful.

But while the fearful start running out of the store when stocks go on sale, the best billionaire investors in the world, start running IN.

The fact is, the best investors in the world see declines in the U.S. stock market as an exciting opportunity.  And so should you.

Most average investors in stocks are NOT leveraged. And with that, they should have no concern about U.S. stock market declines, other than saying to themselves, “what a gift,” and asking themselves these questions: “Do I have cash I can put to work at these cheaper prices? And, where should I put that cash to work?”

Billionaire Ray Dalio, the founder of the biggest hedge fund in the world, has said what we think is the most simple yet important fact ever said about investing.

“There are few sure things in investing … that betas rise over time relative to cash is one of them.”  

In plain English, he’s saying that major asset classes, over time, will rise (stocks, bonds, real estate). The value of these core assets will grow faster than the value of cash.

That comes with one simple assumption. The world, over time, will improve, will grow and will be a better and more efficient place to live than it was before. If that assumption turned out to be wrong, we have a lot more to worry about than the value of our stock portfolio.

With that said, as an average investor that is 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.

This is the very simple philosophy Dalio follows, and is the core of how he makes money and how he has become one of the best, and richest, investors alive.

Billionaires Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn, two of the great activist investors, lick their chops when broad markets sell off on fear and uncertainty.

Ackman says he gets to buy stakes in high quality businesses at a discount when broad markets decline for non-fundamental reasons.  Icahn says he hopes a stock he owns goes lower so he can buy more.

What about the great Warren Buffett?  What does he think about market declines?  He has famously attributed his long-term investing success to “being greedy when others are fearful.”

Bottom line:  Declines in the broad market are times to take out your shopping list.

If you need help with your shopping list, join me in my Billionaire’s Portfolio. We follow the world’s bests billionaire investors into their favorite stocks.  Click here to learn more.

By Bryan Rich

October 11, 5:00 pm EST

Yesterday we talked about the repricing of the tech giants as the catalyst for the slide in global stocks.  That slide continued today. 

But the brunt of the punishment is back on the Dow, which was down another 2%.  At the lows today, that takes us back to flat on the year for the DJIA … up 1% for the S&P 500.  And the Nasdaq, at the lows today, was up just 4.8% on the year.

As they say, stocks go up in an escalator and down in an elevator.

Interestingly, in this slippery slide for stocks, money has NOT been piling into bonds.  This is the flight to safety trade we’ve seen throughout the post-financial crisis era.  It doesn’t seem to be happening this time.  The 10-year yield remains in sniffing distance of 3.25% (closing today at 3.14%).

So, where is the money going?  Gold.

Gold is on the move — the top performer in global markets today.  And it looks like it’s just getting started.  As I said last week, “the set up for a bounce in gold here looks ripe. The level to watch will be 1,214.”

 

You can see in the chart, the 1214 level gave way today, and we had a break of the downtrend of the past six months.

Now, when we discussed gold last week, we were talking about the potential for China to perhaps try a few shenanigans over the next month, in order to influence the outcome of the November elections.

Here’s an excerpt from that October 3rd note:  “China remains the holdout on making a deal with Trump on trade. And it looks likely that they are holding out to see what the November elections look like.

Will Trump retain a Republican led Congress? I suspect we may see China do what it can to influence that outcome. As we know, the Republicans will be promoting the economy as we get closer to voting day.

What can China do to rock that boat?

They can sell Treasuries, in an attempt to ignite a sharper climb in rates. And a fast move in rates (at these levels) has a way of shaking confidence in equity markets–which has a way of shaking confidence in the economy.

I suspect we may be seeing precisely this above scenario play out.

If you haven’t joined my Billionaire’s Portfolio, where I hand select a 20-stock portfolio of the best billionaire owned and influenced stocks, you can join me here.

By Bryan Rich

October 10, 5:00 pm EST

Yesterday we talked about the risks surrounding markets (Italy, Interest Rates, China), and said these risks are likely serving as a catalyst to start the correction in tech stocks
And we looked at this chart on Amazon as the key one to watch. 

Here’s what the chart looks like today …

This big trendline broke today, a line that represents the more than doubling of Amazon in a little more than one year’s time.  This is a company that went from a valuation of $500 billion to $1 trillion in a year.

So we get this big technical break, and Amazon is now down 14% from the highs.

Again, as we’ve discussed here in my daily note many times, at a trillion dollar valuation, the market was pricing Amazon like a monopoly that would go unchecked, and allowed to destroy any and all industries in its path.

But Trump has made it clear that he’s not going to let it happen.  Amazon, Facebook and Google have all been subject to Trump threats to rein them in through regulation — to level the playing field for their competition.  And if there’s one thing we know about Trump, as the President: he will follow through on threats, and he likes a good fight.

With that, the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) trade, after being UP as much as 50% this year (as an equal weighted group), isfinally breaking down.  And that is creating some shock waves in broader markets.

So, is this the beginning of a bigger global meltdown or will it ultimately be a repricing of the tech giants.  I think the latter.

Remember, the tech heavy Nasdaq, for much of the year, performed with near impunity from any geopolitical turmoil.  As trade rhetoric heightened, the Dow would suffer, while the Nasdaq continued to climb.  At one point this summer, the Nasdaq was up double-digits on the year, while the Dow was down.

So this is more likely a rebalancing (the rotation from tech giants to value stocks).

As we go into third quarter earnings, we continue to run at 20% earnings growth on the year.  The P/E for stocks remains low, in a low/accommodative interest rate environment (yes, 3.2% 10-year yield remains low relative to history).  And the economy is hot, with low and stable inflation.

If you haven’t joined my Billionaire’s Portfolio, where I hand select a 20-stock portfolio of the best billionaire owned and influenced stocks, you can join me here.

By Bryan Rich

October 9, 5:00 pm EST

There are always plenty of risks surrounding markets.  Still, stocks tend to be pretty good at “climbing the wall of worry.”

But we’ve now had some swings since the beginning of the month.  Have stocks hit the wall at the recent record highs?  Have the growing geopolitical risks begun to finally outweigh the fundamental strength in the economy and the stock market?

Not likely.  More likely, these risks have served as a catalyst for a correction.  In this case, a correction in tech stocks.

And it has been driven by one of the highest flyers:  Amazon.

At the highs of last month, Amazon had jumped 112% in a little less than 12 months.  That’s over $500 billion in market cap gains for Amazon since September of last year.  Just that increase in valuation alone is bigger than all but four stocks in the world.

So, as we’ve been discussing in this daily note for quite some time, the regulatory screws have been tightening on big tech.  And Amazon is in the crosshairs.  Meanwhile, it has been priced as if the developing monopoly would go unchecked.  As I’ve said, “not a good bet.”

Now that “monopoly premium” seems to finally be deflating.

After crossing the trillion-dollar valuation threshold (which was the dead top in the stock), Amazon has now had an official 10% correction.  

This big trendline in Amazon will be key to watch.

If you haven’t joined my Billionaire’s Portfolio, where I hand select a 20-stock portfolio of the best billionaire owned and influenced stocks, you can join me here.

By Bryan Rich

October 8, 5:00 pm EST

China was on holiday last week (Golden Week).  So today, with China back to work, we saw the response in Chinese markets, for the first time, to the spike in global bond yields (and the slide in global stocks).

Chinese stocks fell by 3.7%.  The yuan slid back to the 21-month lows.  And the PBOC stepped in with the fourth cut of the year to its reserve ratio.

Now, China has been running sub-7% growth since late 2015.  And in China, that’s recession like economic activity.  The Chinese government’s sensitivity to this level of growth is clear through the behavior of the central bank’s use of RRR cuts and the currency (the yuan).   Cutting the required reserves for banks is a way to stimulate the economy – to promote lending.  Weakening the currency is a way to stimulate exports.

You can see in the chart below, that has been the path for both (the currency and the RRR) since late 2015.

You can also see in the chart, a period where the yuan strengthened sharply.  What gives?

That was China’s response to the Trump election.  The Chinese ran the currency back UP, in hopes of pacifying Trump and staying above the trade dispute fray.  It didn’t work.  As we know, they have found themselves at the center of Trump’s trade offensive.  As such, they have dug in, and returned to weakening the yuan — the best way they know, to defend/drive growth in their economy (i.e. undercut the world on price).  The USD/CNY rate here will probably become the most important market to watch in the coming days and weeks.  A return to 7 yuan per dollar would be the weakest level of the Chinese currency since 2008, pre-Lehman.  That will cause some geopolitical fireworks.

Attention loyal readers:  The Billionaire’s Portfolio is my premium advisory service.  And I’d like to invite you to join today, as we are beginning what I think will be a tremendous run for value stocks into the end of the year.  It’s a great deal for the money. Just click here to subscribe, and get immediate access to my full portfolio of billionaire-owned stocks. When you join, you’ll get immediate access to every recommendation–past, present and future–in the portfolio. And I’ll deliver my in-depth notes on our portfolio and the bigger picture every week, directly to your inbox.

By Bryan Rich

October 5, 5:00 pm EST

We ended the week with the jobs report today.  The headline payroll number itself is less important. It’s been plenty good for the past seven years, and has averaged over 200,000 new jobs over the past twelve months.

Remember, the missing piece in this report, that has NOT confirmed a hot job market, has been wage growth.  Throughout much of the post-Great Recession environment, despite the low headline unemployment number that central banks were able to manufacture, workers had little leverage in the job market to maximize potential, much less command higher wages.  That means mid-level managers were happy to have a job and keep it, and college graduates were (have been) relegated to a career as a barista.  That’s not a sign of a hot economy.

That said, wage growth has been on the move, but slowly.  Today’s report of the September average weekly hourly wages was up 2.8% (compared to last year this time).  Here’s what the history of that number looks like:

So wages are on the rise, but not fast.  And that explains why inflation is on the rise, but not fast.

That should comfort those who think the interest rate market is about to run away.  Remember, the Fed hiked by another 25 basis points last month, and contrary to what we’ve seen throughout the Fed’s three-year tightening cycle, the bond markets are finally beginning to price some of it in.

For perspective, the Fed went by another 25 basis points in September, and the 10-year yield has since risen by 20 basis points.

As you can see in the chart, we’ve had 200 basis points of Fed tightening since December of 2015.  But the 10-year yield, since the Fed began “normalizing” policy three years ago, has risen less than half of that (<100 basis).  It’s far from a runaway train in the market-determined interest rate market.

As I said yesterday, the move in rates is a growth story, not a crisis (or end of growth) story.  With the optimism of economic momentum supported by fiscal stimulus and structural reform, the interest rate market is finally pricing OUT the risks of slow growth forever and post-Great Recession crises.

By Bryan Rich

October 4, 5:00 pm EST

 The move in rates continued to spook markets today.  The 10-year yield traded as high as 3.23%.
Now, despite the dramatic tone you’ll find on CNBC when stocks go down, a 10-year yield at 3.23% isn’t a crisis.  And a stock market that is down 1% from all-time highs isn’t a crisis or even a “sell-off.”

For perspective, the Fed has now moved 8 times off of zero.  The leaves the benchmark (short term) rate set by the Fed at 2-2.25%, still well below long-term average rates.  And that leaves the market determined (longer term) interest rate, just below 3.25%, still well below the long-term average.  With that, rates are still low.  In fact, if we took the record low in the 10-year yield, set in July of 2016, and applied the Fed’s 200 basis points of hikes, we would have a 10-year of 3.34%.  We are still south of that.  I would argue at current levels, the interest rate market is finally pricing in sustainable economic recovery (pricing out risks of another post-economic crisis shock/slump).

Now, when rates are on the move, people immediately start talking about debt service.  On that note, consumers and companies are in as good a financial position as they’ve been in a very long time (record high household net worth, record profits) .  Household debt service ratios are at record lows.

Bottom line, the move in rates is a growth story, not a crisis story.  We have 3%+ economic growth, with low inflation and solid employment.  We may have finally returned to the level of trust and confidence in the economy that fuels “animal spirits.”

Attention loyal readers:  The Billionaire’s Portfolio is my premium advisory service.  And I’d like to invite you to join today, as we are beginning what I think will be a tremendous run for value stocks into the end of the year.  It’s a great deal for the money. Just click here to subscribe, and get immediate access to my full portfolio of billionaire-owned stocks. When you join, you’ll get immediate access to every recommendation–past, present and future–in the portfolio. And I’ll deliver my in-depth notes on our portfolio and the bigger picture every week, directly to your inbox.

By Bryan Rich

October 3, 5:00 pm EST

China remains the hold-out on making a deal with Trump on trade.  And itlooks likely that they are holding out to see what the November elections look like.

Will Trump retain a Republican led Congress? I suspect we may see China do what they can to influence that outcome.

As we know, the Republicans will be promoting the economy as we get closer to voting day. 

What can China do to rock that boat?

They can sell Treasuries, in an attempt to ignite a sharper climb in rates. And a fast move in rates (at these levels) has a way of shaking confidence in equity markets – which has a way of shaking confidence in the economy.

As we’ve discussed, the economy can withstand a 10-year yield in the low 3s.  But what has spooked market this year (namely stocks) is the fear that a 3% 10-year could quickly turn into a 4% 10-year.

We may have seen a taste of it today.  We had a run from 3.08% to 3.18%.  That’s the highest level since 2011.  And stocks came off of the highs.

If China was the culprit, or if China chooses to dump some Treasuries over the next month, in attempt to stir up some instability in markets, we should see them move that money elsewhere.  The likely recipient of that capital would be gold.

It wasn’t evident with the behavior gold today.  Gold had a big dayyesterday, but backed off today, even as rates ran.  But as you can see in the chart below, the set up for a bounce in gold here looks ripe.  The level to watch will be 1214. 

Attention loyal readers:  The Billionaire’s Portfolio is my premium advisory service.  And I’d like to invite you to join today, as we are beginning what I think will be a tremendous run for value stocks into the end of the year.  It’s a great deal for the money. Just click here to subscribe, and get immediate access to my full portfolio of billionaire-owned stocks. When you join, you’ll get immediate access to every recommendation–past, present and future–in the portfolio. And I’ll deliver my in-depth notes on our portfolio and the bigger picture every week, directly to your inbox.

By Bryan Rich

October 2, 5:00 pm EST

Italy’s face-off with the EU is ramping up, following their announcement last week of plans to increase their deficit spending.

Why does it matter?

This is another round of populist push-back against policies that have stifled economic recovery and threatened sovereignty over the past decade.  We’ve seen it play out in Greece, in the UK, and in the U.S. 2016 election.

With risk rising of a shakeout in Europe, you can see in the chart above, money is moving out of Italian government bonds and into German government bonds.  This sends Italian yields UP and German yields DOWN — on what is already a 300 basis points spread between the two 10 year borrowing rates.  A continuation of this puts pressure on Italian solvency.

But this will all likely end favorably for Italy and for the broader European economy.  Because as Italy pushes back on austerity, we’ll likely to see the EU make concessions on fiscal constraints, that will open the door for fiscal stimulus across Europe.

The policymakers know very well that the health of the “monetary union” is the lynchpin in Europe.  If it’s pulled (by an exit of a constituent member), the European Union will crash and fracture.  That’s why the ECB stepped in back in 2012 to prevent debt defaults in Italy and Spain.  And that’s why EU officials have made concessions throughout, on aid to keep Greece alive.

Italy’s resistance will come with a lot of draconian threats and warnings (from EU officials, as we’ve already seen), but in the end Italy may be the catalyst to unlock growth in Europe.

Trump has laid out the playbook for economic stagnation.  It’s aggressive fiscal stimulus.  Europe should follow that lead.

Attention loyal readers:  The Billionaire’s Portfolio is my premium advisory service.  And I’d like to invite you to join today, as we are beginning what I think will be a tremendous run for value stocks into the end of the year.  It’s a great deal for the money. Just click here to subscribe, and get immediate access to my full portfolio of billionaire-owned stocks. When you join, you’ll get immediate access to every recommendation–past, present and future–in the portfolio. And I’ll deliver my in-depth notes on our portfolio and the bigger picture every week, directly to your inbox.