Archive for December, 2014

2014 Sum Up – 2015 Changes

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

If you made only one trade during the past twelve months – – bought SPY,   December 31, 2013, and held until now, you would be ahead 13.4% for 2014.

You would have received 5.82 times  the return of a 10 year Treasury Note ( @ 2.3% ),  and with $500,000  invested your investment would have earned $67,000,  which is 1.25 times the annual median income for USA households ( $53,891 ).  Capitalism at work.

But, there is no guarantee Buy and Hold will work during 2015.  The writer’s 200 day / month end trading strategy had no opportunity to be used during 2014.

Looking forward, all I can say is that the general environment for USA stocks focused on doing business in the USA…couldn’t be better !

I intend to respect the  “Play till May”  proverb unless I see a continuance of the conditions  I see now.  I have already switched my record keeping to a November 1 / October 31 basis with a review April 30.

Also, I intend to invest only half my financial capital in the 200 day / month end SPY timing model…if the opportunity to do  so arises.  Otherwise , I’ll do my best to be long SPY when I believe it makes sense to do so…or be writing SPY – Puts with the hope of earning a premium and obtaining a lower  SPY entry point.

I am really satisfied with the performance of my hand selected portfolio of individual ” smart criteria ” equities which have outperformed SPY from November 3, until today. SPY is up 3.1% while my portfolio is up 5.7%.

Portfolio has varying amounts of BX,  DIS, DFS, CVS, UNH, GLW, SNE, NOC,  LUV, RTN , NOV,  SWHC, DAL, HCA, AAPL,  MU, TWX

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year

Richard Maurice Gore

 

 

 

Privatize the Gain / Nationalize the Pain

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

 

 

December 18, 2014

What the above headline means is that, once again, when Wall Street takes big risks and wins, it will keep the  money.  But when the risk implodes, as it did with AIG and Lehman Brothers,  taxpayers will take the loss via taxpayer funded FDIC guarantees to the ” Too Big to Fail ” banks…..Citicorp, JP Morgan Chase,  Bank of America, Wells Fargo and  Goldman Sacks.

Is this a laugher…or what ?  And, it gets much, much better !.

On Thursday night the Republican controlled House  passed the Omnibus Spending Bill which funds the federal budget  through September 2015.  Next, the bill goes to the Republican controlled Senate where it is expected to pass.

What is at issue is a last minute  amendment inserted in  the Omnibus Bill  which voids the very important” push out ” provision included in Dodd Frank regulatory legislation .

Dodd Frank pushed the riskiest bank derivative bets out from under the protective FDIC umbrella ( held by you ) ,  to new,  non bank  entities which would shoulder the entire risk for any bets made using risk money raised separately  for such specific  purpose. If the inserted ( voiding )  amendment passes the Senate, it will allow the big five banks to make any bet they want knowing the FDIC will guarantee their loss.

The amendment with no hearing, no chance of further modification and no debate was inserted into a major piece of legislation, Omnibus,  by a lame duck House.

The big five ” too big to fail ” banks control 90% of the risky multi trillion dollar derivatives market so there is a lot of bonus money at stake ( if they win their bets ) and a downside only for taxpayers such as you ,  if they lose.  They want to be in this game, but with your skin in it , not theirs !!

It gets better….

It is said that Citicorp’s main Washington lobbyist  wrote the actual language of the amendment ! !!.. and then found someone,   Congressman Kevin Yoder, Republican, Kansas ) to put his name on the amendment and submit it.  Yoder is known to be heavily dependent on political contributions from financial interests.  Ever since his name has emerged tied to this amendment he has become invisible and reportedly  refuses to answer  any  and all questions relating to his motives for  his involvement,  given  this  type of legislation has almost  no relevancy  to the agenda  of the Kansas farming community he represents.

It is being reported that many of his constituents are leaving less than gracious messages on his Facebook page ! It is also being said that he is counting on this blowing over by the time he comes up for re-election.

Bottom line, after reading this blog, it should be causing you to have some anxiety  about the linkage between Wall Street and Washington DC,  and the revolving employment  door between Banks, the Congress and Lobbyists.

What to do?   Make absolutely certain this amendment gets a good airing in the Senate by contacting your Senator and letting him know how you feel about you  guaranteeing Wall Street’s bets!

And, if you need even more motivation to contact your Senator, read the speech given on the Senate floor by Democratic Senator , Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts. Just Google her name and look for  the Huff Post article “The Speech that Could Make Elizabeth Warren the Next President of the United States”  . You will have the option to read or listen to the speech !

Senator Warren comes off as  a bristling REFORM fighter ( ex Harvard Law Professor ). I would love to watch her in a debate with Hillary and then , Jeb. !!

Richard Maurice Gore

 

 

Could Black Gold be the Black Swan ?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

December 11, 2014

Not being part of the soon to be 3 year old  VTI trade, I maneuver in the market  using VTI and / or  SPY strictly as a  buy / sell signal.

For instance, I  had  written ( sold )  twenty plus  SPY 195 December puts which I closed out for pennies on the dollar this past Monday. That was my exposure to SPY.  My actions were saying I would rather own SPY at $195  than at $208, especially because I was being paid a premium to take the lesser risk of accepting delivery of  SPY  at a price  6% less than its 52 week high.

There are two ways I can approach SPY.

#1  Consider available macro data such as the falling price of oil in terms of what it means for SPY and act on my conclusions, or

#2 Wait until December 31 to see whether the month end price of VTI or SPY triggers a signal to sell  my entire ETF and equities portfolios.

If I had a day job, I’d probably follow path #2 relying on back tested history relating to SPY’s month end performance.  But, I’ve been retired since December 31 2006 so I am more of an activist when I believe what I see on the road ahead.  If I can make a case to myself for early action, I’ll lighten up a bit.  I don’t like sitting with accumulating losses.

In my last post I proclaimed that I had no fear of a Black Swan ( outlier ) disrupting the market because I have the Fed on my side with low interest rates almost forcing investors to consider equities.

I still feel the same way, except that it has been pointed out to me that the price of oil and the price of SPY have a history of travelling in the same  direction.  But, the market has been making new highs almost daily for all the reasons I enumerated in previous blogs despite the precipitous drop in the price of oil.  But does that mean  the directional divergence will continue ? !

I do know  that oil represents 8.2% of  SPY’s   value.  So, at some point,  the falling  price of oil must,  at the very  least, represent a head wind for SPY.

And, while lower oil prices are adding money to the USA  consumers purse it is also having a negative  impact on economies less able to withstand the oil price drop ( including Russia which is Europe’s largest trading partner ).  So, what happens to Europe’s ability to purchase from the USA if  it ‘s exports to Russia wither ? And, how does that impact 2015 profits of USA / SPY companies exporting to Europe…especially with the added  barrier of  paying for  imports from the USA with a weaker Euro.

At some point the world’s problems become ours as we shoot for higher highs.  So this has the potential to become more than a head wind.

In terms of my actions in the market, I have almost no  SPY exposure because of the Puts I retired.

Overall.  I am now  a little over 50% invested in the market  and geared to buy and hold or liquidate on December 31.  I like the quality of what I am holding, but, again, I don’t like the feeling of being submerged if I think the dunking could be more than a temporary phenomena !

I am holding   Sector ETFs  and some individual stocks which conform to ” smart ” criteria and depend on USA business rather than exports etc..

The Sector ETFs I’m holding are XLV ( health care ) FBT ( biotech ) IYT ( transportation ) and XLU.  The equities I am holding are TWX, BX, UNH, CVS, DIS,  DFS, RTN, LUV, C, and NOC.

What I am learning is to never say never about owning equities.  My equities have outperformed SPY since November 1.and  I am gaining confidence about how to reduce the specific risk of equities.  But,  SPY should always be a significant piece of my portfolio

 

Richard Maurice Gore

SPY Indexing vs Allocation

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

December 2, 2014

I’ve indicated in previous posts  that ” SPY ”  ( S& P 500 ETF ) is the benchmark against which market professionals., and  gurus  are measured for performance.

Thus far in 2014 ( eleven months )  SPY has appreciated 12.4%.  That is  5.3 times  the 10 year Treasury yield  ( 2.34 % ).

Would you be good with that,  ( 12.4% )  for the entire year ?  Or, would you want more ?  Remember, John Bogle and Warren Buffett  strongly suggest you don’t go any further.  Just “Buy and Hold” for the long run and your returns should set the pace for some very high priced money managers who,  at this very moment , are scrambling from behind in an all out attempt to catch SPY before 2014 draws to a close.

If your answer is  , ” I want more  than 12.4% ” , you may wish to consider each of the following  choices.

# 1 )  Time your  SPY investment by selling SPY when it ends a month below its 200 day moving average and by purchasing SPY when it ends a month above its 200  day moving average.    What could be more simple ! There have been only six round trip  SPY trades  using this methodology since January 4, 2000.  Five of the six  round trips were winners and the only losing trade was for negative 5%.  You would have gained 293.7%  since January 2000 …. a 14 year  average gain of 20.97% per annum versus Buy / Hold,  which would have rewarded you with an average of  7% appreciation per annum. . .   Obviously no guarantee of either of these results going forward…..Or,

# 2 )  ) You can choose to  play both sides of the street and  hedge your bets by trade  timing  half your investment in SPY  and  sitting  with the other  50 percent  through thick and thin as Bogle and Buffett  suggest you do with your entire portfolio.  Or,

#3 )  Maybe you believe you have the time  ,emotions  and  skill to handle more risk . And now, remember,  you are getting into allocation risk  when you begin to slice and dice the S&P 500 and add alternate investments.

With November now in the books,  SPY has appreciated 2.91 % while my combined allocated portfolio appreciated only  1.34% ( My allocated portfolio included SPY,  writing SPY Puts,  Sector  ETFs,  Cash Flow driven equities,  Smart ETFs ( including those which included those based on share Buybacks,  Moats,  Dividends and Momentum  )  The only deployment allocation which beat SPY was my cash flow driven equity selections at 3.85%.  Everything else became a drag on this allocations performance.

I have a great deal of  ground to make up after just one month with five months till May 2015..

SPY and VTI have ended November2014 above their respective 200 day moving averages,  so the ” BUY ” signal for SPY triggered December 30, 2011  continues in effect ,  with the finish line of  three complete years of no trades now in sight.

 

Richard Maurice Gore

,