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Monday’s 2.4% drop in the SP500 was a punch to the gut for investor’s account but when put into perspective of “worst days” for the index since its inception, it was nothing but an average day at the office.

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One of the first adage’s I learned from one of my TA mentors was “from false breaks come big moves”. It’s supposed to be a catchy phrase about the potential for big moves in the opposite direction when price breaks out of an area of previous resistance (which now becomes support), moves higher and then reverses back below that prior resistance / (what has now become) support line.  A good example of this occurred in US stocks last year as depicted in the SP500 index chart below.

As you can see price broke eventually above the blue horizontal prior high level. Moved higher for a few weeks then reversed course and fell back below the prior breakout level. What came next, we all know, was our ~20% decline in stock prices that ended on Christmas eve last year.

 With the TrumpTrade volatility dominating the markets of late, it is interesting to see the SP500 has fully recovered and moved back above last Sep 2018’s high (see below). But what is more interesting is to note the SP500’s price ended last week right back on the breakout level. If further volatility is ahead, it could be expected we see the SP500, once again have a second failed breakout.

Of course nothing works 100% of the time, but the “from false breakouts” adage should still be front and center with investors at this time in case the markets want to repeat last year’s false breakout sharp decline.    

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I have written many times about the appeal of investments that are breaking out from a consolidative base. Often times, depending upon whether there is a pattern formed within that consolidation, it can provide a target price for that breakout move. Keep in mind, targets best used solely as a way for investors to calculate and manage risk, definitely not a guarantee. But, if they eventually meet their target, many times it is not the end of the move … it could be just the beginning. It all depends upon price structure at that time.

Recycling the bitcoin chart GBTC from my April 10th follow-up blog post, the breakout from the consolidative base led to a quick 40+% gain, peaking just slightly above its target, T1. Initial breakout targets also provide information about where the next level of consolidation is likely to occur, if the target is achieved. Back to the GBTC chart, right on queue it did exactly as expected after acheiving its initial target, it began to consolidate and has been doing so for 3 weeks. That consolidation has allowed the froth to unwind and allow those that wanted to sell, the opportunity. What I never talk about with breakout opportunities is the possibility the initial breakout being the start of a much bigger move. Something that would extend much further than just the first upside target. In the case of GBTC, this seems like a real possibility. During the recent consolidation after reaching its intiail upside target, GBTC has formed another bullish pattern which points to an even larger upside target, T2, if the pattern should confirm. Confirmation, of course, is validated through a gap or strong move above the pattern’s neckline (green horizontal line) with volume that is significantly greater than its current average. A back-test and hold of the neckline after breakout would be welcomed and provide investors who missed out, an excellent, low risk chance to enter a position and get involved in round 2 of what looks to be a continued bitcoin run


 

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Long term readers know my distaste for buying IPO’s. It’s only because historically those that initially buy an IPO will only make money if they trade it. 99% of investors don’t know how to trade so it usually ends up badly because IPO’s are all about hyping a known company, drawing in the dumb money so the smart money (the initial investors and the bankers bringing them public) can get out.  This is why you typically see a ramp up when a company initially goes public and then the stock price comes crashing back to reality. Not always  …. but most of the time and the reason to make money on IPO’s, you need trade rather than buy and be a part of the crash.

The better strategy is to wait until the stock price falls back to earth and then buy, assuming it is a company worth my investment capital. The recent IPO, LYFT is a good example of what occurs. The major difference between LYFT and most other IPO’s is LYFT never got the initial buying boost as it peaked on first day of being public and has fallen almost 40% from peak to trough since. This is a rare occurrence for IPO’s but make sense when you consider how over capitalized the company is. Its long-term prospects may be good but a company making no money, has competition everywhere and a market capitalization of more than $20B is, shall I say it, overvalued.

As a for-profit investor it doesn’t mean the stock should be ignored, especially if it presents a price dislocation and is setting up for a potential directional change to the upside like it currently is. Taking a look at the shorter term, 2-hour chart of LYFT below, you can see it has formed an inverse head and shoulder reversal pattern during its recent sideways consolidation. This is a constructive setup if it breaks, holds and confirms above its neckline as it presents an upside target near April 11ths highs, a 15%+ gain.

 While I really like this setup as the risk to reward is excellent and as such took a few shares in my trading account early before any breakout occurred, I do want to warn potential followers the company announces earnings next week on 5/7/19. As a general rule I prefer not to hold shares into earnings but will under 2 conditions 1) if I have enough cushion in my entry price to give a high probability of a profit on the investment if poor earnings cause the stock to fall and I get stopped out and 2) if my position size is small enough to ensure a small and contained loss if earnings should cause the stock to fall. Either way its all about risk management.

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If we can add another 3 months of economic growth, the US expansion from the 2009 financial crisis bottom will exceed the longest in history. What makes this most interesting is that while it will likely turn out to be the longest expansion, it is on target to also be the weakest in history (annualized GDP)

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As a basic human need, investing in love seems like it would have great possibilities. No matter your age, gender or preferences everyone, at some point or another in their life (sometimes more than once) is “available’ and looking for love.  Technological advances make it so much easier now to meet people and avoid the “bar scene”. Match.com, MTCH, is one of those that seems to have caught hold … well, at least the stock has.

Since its IPO in late 2015, MTCH is up more than 300%. As you can see in its chart below, it peaked in Sept of last year, fell more than 40% and has sense come roaring back. Most recent price action has seen the stock breakout from a cup and handle pattern, pointing to a much higher price target above.

It would not be unexpected if MTCH were to back-test the breakout level (rim of the cup) before resuming its climb higher. Those that missed the breakout can look for a great, low risk entry if this were to occur as the risk could be $2 or less with an upside of more than $20, provide a fantastic 10:1 reward to risk opportunity.

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As hard as this is to believe, twinkies don’t have an almost perpetual shelf life like the movie Wall-E lead us to believe. Nor would they be safe as a food source after going through a nuclear holocaust as rumor would have. Instead, as their makers of the “Gold Bar” promise, they are only good for 45 days after manufacture. Some readers might not even be aware (or care) that after the original owner (Hostess) went bankrupt, they were resurrected and found there way back to American grocery shelves back in 2013. As all good capitalists, their new owner took the brand public back in 2015 under the ticker of TWNK. Makes sense.

Fast forward to today and while TWNK has not garnered a lot of love from the investment community since going public again, it is currently setting itself up for a nice move higher. As you can see in the chart below, RSI momentum is in the bullish zone, holding above 50 and unwinding a short-term overbought condition. Price is currently consolidating after a strong move higher, above bullishly aligned moving averages (50 above the 200. The two most recent spikes in volume were large green bars indicating institutional buying. Notice also, price has not filled the gap created from last August. From a pattern standpoint, TWNK has taken on the look of a bull flag which provides an upside target, T1, of 15% back near the highs of April of last year.

Investors who struggle to find reward to risk setups greater than the preferred target of 3, TWNK provides a ratio in excess of 5.Preferring chocolate and not a fan of the vanilla twinkie middle filling, I will pass on this and wait for a buy(t) of HOHO in case they ever bring it public.

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Here's the theory behind the magazine cover indicator. By the time a something’s success or failure reaches the cover page of a major publication, it is so well known that it is fully known by everyone and those who want to capitalize financially have already done so. For example, once all the good news is out and a company makes the cover of business week, the stock is destined to underperform. The reverse holds for negative stories. It doesn’t have to just be about businesses, it can be about social themes too … remember the 2007-08 housing boom.

An academic study by three finance professors at the University of Richmond put the magazine cover story indicator to the test -- specifically as it focuses on coverage of individual companies. The professors culled headlines from stories in Business Week, Fortune, and Forbes for a 20-year period to examine whether positive cover stories are associated with superior future performance and negative stories are associated with inferior future performance. "Superior" and "inferior" were determined in comparison with an index or another company in the same industry and of the same size.

Here's what the professors found. The research supported the use of magazine cover stories as a contrarian indicator. The most negatively portrayed companies managed to beat the market by an average of 12.4%, whereas the outperformance of the media darlings fell to just 4.2%. The conclusion? Positive stories generally indicate that the stock's price performance has topped out. Negative stories often come right at the time of a turnaround.

The study confirms that it is better to bet against journalists than alongside them. It would be easy to jump to the self-congratulatory conclusion that journalists are incompetent. But that conclusion misses the point. Journalists aren't writing cover stories to make investors money. They are writing cover stories to sell magazines. And "hot topics" sell. But it also means that when a company or financial trend is featured on a magazine cover, the chances are that the trend is already widely known, and universally accepted.

With that in mind, this weeks Business Week cover should raise some eyebrows….

Just because the Government’s measured “version” of inflation, CPI, has been in stall speed for years, doesn’t meant it will always be. Additionally, and most importantly, not everything tracks the inflation rate. Health care is a great example as it has been rising almost 2x the annual “measured” inflation rate. For a what that means over time, take a look, and try not to laugh, at the hospital bill below for what it cost to have a baby in 1958. I think the total bill would be less than the cost than the charge of 2 ibuprofen in today’s medical reality (those that have had a recent surgery can attest to what I say)

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Strongly trending markets don’t care about P/E ratios, inverted yield curves, the Presidents latest tweet or most everything else for that matter. Which is why it pays to watch price movement only and put everything else on "ignore". The semiconductor index, SMH, has always been my canary in the coal mine. It tends to lead stocks both up and down which is why it is a critical reticle into the US stock market and investors willingness towards risk. If its price is in an uptrend, risk is on and investors should be long stocks, very long. Of course, the opposite is also true. With that in mind let’s take a look at a price of SMH and see what it may be telling us.

After falling, like the rest of the market to its Dec 24th lows, price rallied impulsively higher, with only a few small, minor pullbacks before testing the prior high (resistance/overhead supply) made in June of last year (red horizontal line). After pulling back 4 days, price resumed its move higher eventually gapping above that prior level of resistance on high volume (~40% greater than average daily volume). The gap was the first sign and when confirmed with high volume let us know institutions (almost $1B traded on that breakout day) were buying. I don’t need to repeat it but higher probability profitable investments come in the direction of the current trend and when institutions are accumulating. Both of which the current chart of SMH is signaling. For those already in this ETF, the good news is you now have a very clear, simple and well-defined exit plan. If price in the short term cannot hold above the recent breakout, that would be an ominously bearish signal warning it’s time to take profits and watch from the sidelines.

Sure, the market is richly valued, sure it is overbought on virtually every level but the semis are telling us buyers are in control. Don’t fight the trend.

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Global bond yielding less than zero (yes, that means lenders are paying the Government to let them hold their paper) now exceed 8 Trillion dollars. In total, there are 18 countries with negative bond yields ... in the 10th year of one of the largest global economic expansions no less.

Central banks only tool left in their toolbox in an attempt to counter slow or negative growth is to stimulate the economy by lowering interest rates. At some point all that want to borrow have done so and keeping rates so low harm only those who require bond income (retirees). With this going on since the 2008-09 crash and not having the desired effect one has to wonder why continue and then immediately brings to mind this quote

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results – Albert Einstein

You need to look no further than the chart above to the reason why I am a firm believer Europe is winning the race …… to the bottom and the next economic crisis will begin from that region of the world.

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