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  • Archive for the 'Stock Market' Category

    Stocks may pull back, but will break new high

    Posted by Frugal on 12th March 2013

    As I have said last year, stocks will be going up. It’s not going to be a triple top formation on S&P500 as some technicians are saying. It will be a solid new high. In general however, the volatility of the market will still be big, meaning that occasionally, the pullback can be as much as 10% if not more. I look forward to those pullbacks to increase my stake.

    I believe the housing bear market that started in 2007 is still with us despite the recent big increase of 10% to 25% in various local markets. Yes, I just bought 4 homes, but that’s going to be just a trade. Economy will continue to be tepid, due to state/city government cut back and international bond market instability. I don’t know what all these talks on QE ending this year are about. As I see it, Fed won’t be raising interest rate nor ending QE this year, possibly the entire 2014. The earliest that I can see is early 2015, and it will be baby steps. I think no more than 3 steps will be applied before the end of 2016. Eventually bond market vigilantes will be back, and Fed will lose the control of the interest rates (if not already).

    Posted in Stock Market | Comments Off

    Fiscal Cliff? Don’t sell due to the headline news

    Posted by Frugal on 28th November 2012

    As a general rule of thumb, whatever news that is in the headline news is not new anymore (for stock trading). In the USA especially, the traditional media all seems to flock to the same topic, taking the same side of the issues mostly. News in the US drives the emotion of the crowd, but smart capital knows better.

    The stock market probably hit a tradable low point already less than 2 weeks ago. I will be a gradual buyer here and scale in. The fiscal talk may continue to linger at the headline through December, creating more volatility throughout. However, I expect an okay-to-good first quarter next year. Two to three years out from now, I expect the stock market to break the high point since rising from 2009 low, while at the same time, the bond markets may trade lower. Mortgage yields may bottom this year or next year. Once it starts to rise, it will no longer serve the housing market by lowering monthly cost.

    The world economy sucks right now, but US will be the last domino to fall. It will fall nevertheless, but not just yet. The stocks will always reach the high and low points without the headline news people knowing. If it’s in the headline news everywhere, you can be sure NOT to bet on it (but the opposite trade is not guaranteed until it reaches the max swing).

    Best luck trading.

    Frugal at

    Posted in Stock Market | Comments Off

    QE3 rally

    Posted by Frugal on 11th September 2012

    Markets are already expecting a QE3 for tomorrow, and I believe that Bernanke will deliver, sending S&P 500 to new high. Despite that markets are overbought, with $VIX index at a very low level, I think we will get the QE3 nevertheless.

    All the people who are expecting Euro problem to continue are probably right, but being right doesn’t make you money. I’m holding my core positions at this point, and hesitate to chase this market further with VIX being so low. September/October is typically a season of higher volatility. Expect violent swings in both ways. Buying both calls & puts (or volatility) will be a good play.

    My portfolio has gone up by 11.7% in the last 30 days. Risky assets are back into play.

    Posted in Stock Market | Comments Off

    Dividend cuts in energy royalty companies

    Posted by Frugal on 15th June 2012

    Anticipating the slowdown in economy, I’ve stayed away most of the energy-related companies, including these high dividend companies. High dividends are good only if they last, and with natural gas price falling to an extremely depressed level, ERF announced a 50% cut in its monthly dividend a couple of days ago.

    With this announcement out, and possibly other related companies (PGH, PWE, PVX, etc) to follow, I think it’s worth to take a look at them now. The summer/fall is seasonally bad for stocks, so you don’t want to get too aggressive, but stay patient.

    High dividends (or high potential return) always equal to high risks. This is one of the very few golden rules in investing. Tread carefully.

    Posted in Stock Market | Comments Off

    (ex-)Goldman Sachs screwed up MF Global

    Posted by Frugal on 1st November 2011

    It’s (ex-)Goldman Sachs again. No surprise. The former head of Goldman Sachs ran MF Global into bankruptcy, and was almost going to pocket 12 million dollar “severance” package. What a way to finish!

    Actually, I highly suspect that Corzine is that stupid to buy up European debts using a leverage of more than 40-to-1. I suggest investigators to look into the counter-party of whom selling the European debts to MF Global. Maybe Corzine was to lead MF Global to pay up what Goldman Sachs bought previously (while leaving Morgan Stanley to burn and drop).

    And the story doesn’t stop there. As with all futures market, there is no equivalent of FDIC nor SIPC insurance. MF Global even dared to use clients’ money of some 600 millions to mop up their mess. That is a serious crime. People should go to jail for this, but I doubt that would happen. And that was done under the helm of ex-Goldman.

    After 3 years since 2008 financial crisis, nothing is learned, and nobody went to jail. Occupy Wallstreet will only get bigger.

    The article at New York Times has the best coverage in my opinion. You do need to create a guest account to read it.

    Where is the Volcker’s Rule? Yeah, and Goldman Sachs became a bank in the shortest amount of time ever in 2008, and still borrowing from Fed for nothing, trading the money from the subsidy by taxpayers into oblivion. If Federal Reserve didn’t save Goldman Sachs, it would be dead by now.

    Frugal at

    Posted in Stock Market | Comments Off

    Amazon lives off sales tax revenue?

    Posted by Frugal on 8th March 2011

    I have watched AMZN rose 4 fold from 40s, but I still hesitate to buy into it today. My biggest problem with AMZN has always been with its sales tax advantage.

    The pricing of goods at AMZN is extremely (anti-)competitive. It actually changes real-time against ongoing sales at various stores. The moment that there is a sale at Target or Walmart for a particular item, Amazon will lower its price correspondingly. I have observed this phenomenon through my past shopping experiences on HD camcorders, camera, etc. Sounds like a good deal at Amazon?! NO, unfortunately. The price that they lowers to always ranges from about a tiny saving of 3% to actually spending more by 3% after adding shipping. This is after considering the no-sales-tax “benefit”. Am I going to save just $5 to $10 on a $350 to $500 item, just to fatten Amazon’s employees and shareholders wallet, and short-change my local state/city government? I’m sure that many people would, but I won’t.

    Therefore, I’m not surprised at all hearing that Amazon will cut ties and move out of states that threaten to recover the sales tax. The fact of matter is that when you look at the financial income statements at Amazon (for example 2010), you will see that if Amazon starts to pay a 8% sales tax out of its revenues, there is absolutely no profits left. Instead of 1.15 billion profit, it would be 1.38 billion loss. Please note that taking out 8% sales tax from the revenue is obviously not the right approach. But if the pricing is 8% higher, consumers may choose not to transact at all. Likewise, if the cost is 8% higher for Amazon, Amazon may choose not to sell the goods at all. The end result is likely to be a lot less profitable sales and shrinking revenue.

    I would like to see a fair playing ground for all companies versus the internet-only companies. And I am an advocate of a federal sales tax for a reduction in income tax. In this age, there is no longer any boundaries between states, and having different sales tax rate across states simply don’t work anymore. A flat sales tax to replace all income tax would encourage savings instead of spending. A fixed percentage of the collected sales tax should go to the local state, and each state can further impose different income tax structure to supplement any necessary shortfalls.

    Although the day for a flat national sales tax may never come, I hesitate to buy the stock of a company that simply lives on sales tax. I think internet business is good for certain products, but not all. Making the market to be free from all anti-competitive practices would give consumers the best stores & final prices.

    Posted in Stock Market | 1 Comment »

    US debt on track to $20 trillion in 2014

    Posted by Frugal on 29th December 2010

    As I stated back in 2009 that US debt would be $13.5 trillion by the end of 2010, it is now $13.9 trillion today. Here is a plot based on US treasury data for total debt:

    Notice the gradual increasingly slope with shortening timeframe. This is a typical behavior of a super-exponetial function that is destined to “collapse” in the future. The debt obviously won’t collapse due to payback, but possibly “collapse” through massive inflation or repudiation. This is the chart that any US citizens should keep an eye on. If the chart continues its own pattern of increasing slope with shortening timeframe for slope change. Then one definitely be prepared.

    To put 20 trillion debt increase for perspective, the entire global stock market valued at $49.1 trillion in March 2010. When USA run out of other people’s money to use, the only way left is obviously to simply print more (as if USA hasn’t done it yet through two rounds of quantitative easing).

    I’m not changing my current projection for a US debt/currency blow-up in 2016/2017, unless the above debt chart changes its super-exponential pattern, and/or that the time has gone beyond 2022 without any problems. Let’s see if Tea Party & Ron Paul who just took the helm of Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee can effect a direction change in the coming years.

    Posted in Bonds, Stock Market | 11 Comments »

    Surprising resolution of mortgage paper fraud coming?

    Posted by Frugal on 10th October 2010

    There is a serious mortgage paper fraud bubbling to the surface. I was aware of this several years ago, but I was not aware of the magnitude. It is so serious that I think it can easily turn the whole world up side down (for the second time, I guess).

    Some background first. The US bankers and Wallstreet or more properly called “fraudsters” first selling all the worthless “mortgage-back” securities back by phantom 100% financing loans from 2005 to 2007, cheating the entire world out of savings. They turned the world up side down with the financial crisis, and then had Paulson from Goldman Sachs being the US treasurer at that time, saving their ass with taxpayers’ money, transforming or rather downloaded all the worthless mortgage paper onto Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG. Of course, everyone thought that was a great mission accomplished.

    Now, when they try to foreclose homes, but lawyers demand to see the promissory notes, they find out, “Damn, where is that piece of crap?” Imagining all the homes that cannot be foreclosed on, due to missing documentations for the promissory notes? All the mortgage-back securities now will be truly back by NOTHING!

    Here is what I will venture to guess the potential outcomes.
    1. The only way to foreclose these homes will be through non-judicial foreclosures (including California, the home fraud center). Rather than getting nothing for the mortgage paper, it’s far better than getting something for it. Once the avalanche starts rolling, every bank will start scrambling to sell the homes out of the flood gate. Home prices will fall by another 20% in the coming 2/3 years. Or at the minimum, the shadow inventory of the homes on bank’s balance sheet will dramatically rise.

    2. If this is not resolved through Congress passing a new law, back-patching the shoddy works by bankers, and the news start to spread around the whole world, US dollar will drop to a new dramatic low. Imagine another 3 trillions loss (out of 11 trillion) on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac backed debts, all USA government owned? By the way, if this event unfolds, stock markets will panic first, but later will reverse to break 52 weeks high. Bonds will plummet for sure. Real estate will go into extended nuclear winter.

    3. New laws get passed through Congress to save the bankers’ ass. Congress initially side with home squatters in the name of protecting voters, until all the law-abiding citizens take the street, demanding fairness. Then Congress realizes that it’s too late to stop the revolution by the majority of the law-abiding citizens, turning to lawless resolutions everywhere.

    Just some crazy ideas. But certainly less insane than what has been going on in US real estate markets. And all of the rotten apples (Wallstreet bankers, home speculators, and all the mortgage “consultants”) are still in there unbelievably.

    Posted in Real Estate, Stock Market | 2 Comments »

    Ironies yet to be: Bernanke on Time Magazine

    Posted by Frugal on 17th December 2009

    Helicopter Bernanke has been chosen as the Person of the Year 2009. That is just ridiculous in my personal opinion.

    For someone along with Greenspan created the single biggest housing bubble (in size) in human history so far, bailing out all the guilty parties and mopping up all the mistakes with even greater mistakes through printing of more free money, he is “coined” as the savior of the economy from another great depression. A country does not attain prosperity through devaluing its own currency. Such acts when the confidence game is up will be met with great consequence. I have no doubts that history in the future will not have kind words for Bernanke, nor Greenspan (whose reputation has already been turning thru this financial crisis).

    Aren’t you glad that banks are paying back all the TARP money? I guess all of them are hopeful eternally, and wishing that all the option ARM and alt-A borrowers will be paying back more when they start to reset to 25-year amortization schedule, starting now until the end of 2011. I think banks are very likely to negotiate all the option ARM mortgages back to 30 years or longer if possible. However, the biggest problem is that once the mortgages are re-negotiated, the mortgage payment will NO LONGER be less than the prevailing rent. Furthermore, who is going to pay down more principal towards a property that is already 10% to 20% under-water? I expect that the two factors combined will cause significant portion of the borrowers to simply walk away, or become home squatters to take advantage of one year of free rent through foreclosure process.

    So when the hands of banks are tight, and they will tighten even more on the new loans. Some will probably go under and join the weekly FDIC’s Friday parade, and some may come back and ask for government money again. Ha, except that for the second time when they want to dip the “honey pot” again, the money will not be available because American and politicians will be so upset and simply shut down the institutions. If they are able to sustain without asking for more money, you can be sure that lending in economy will take a dive, driving USA onto the same Japanese-style deflationary track. But don’t worry, our beloved Helicopter Bernanke will come in his helicopter in a hurry, bombing free money from the sky at the fastest speed. It is likely that in the not-too-distant future, we will see a more volatile stock market, dropping at first due to the resurgence of financial crisis, and then zoom back up and onto new highs (higher than 2007) due to out-right devaluation of US dollar.

    By the end of 2010, US fiscal deficit will probably end at 13.5 trillion dollars or more. The speed that it will increase will be exponentially faster until it collapses. Before US goes full speed on this exponential debt curve, there may be still a chance of stopping before the point of no return. But such opportunity does not exist as long as Bernanke is still in office as Federal Reserve chairman. I guess Greenspan will be remembered as the Bubble Man, while Bernanke may be remembered as the Bubble-death Man, who would blow up the final bubble in $US and US bonds, without any further ability for US to attract/wield global capital.

    Posted in Stock Market | 2 Comments »

    Hindenburg omen sounded again for stock markets

    Posted by Frugal on 20th June 2008

    Hindenburg omen is one of the rare stock market crash signals. The fact that it is rare makes it even more significant. A rare signal or event in the Shannon’s information theories (the backbone of the modern day digital communications) is considered to contain higher amount of information. And this information from Hindenberg’s omen is obviously not a good news.

    I have written about Hindenburg omen (H.O.) before on my site at in 2006. Although in 2006 H.O. signal did generate a 7% declines out of the stock market, it was by no means a “stock market crash”. The current Hindenburg omen was triggered on June 6th 2008, and has been confirmed by subsequent repeated H.O. signals. The previous confirmed H.O. was in October of 2007, and stock markets definitely had a serious correction afterwards. The success rate for H.O. is only about 25%, or 1 crash in every 4 signals, and it will last for about 120 days during which it could crash. But if you could avoid those mini-crash period as a buy & hold investor, you obviously will do so much better.

    If you study the details of H.O. signal, it indicates an unhealthy stock market advance, with both new 52-week highs and new 52-week lows among different companies going on simultaneously in the stock market. The resolution for an unhealthy stock market is often a substantial decline (if it happens). It’s obvious that in the current state of stock market, the financial companies are breaking new lows, while energy stocks are breaking new highs. Isn’t that a bit scary with the crude oil advance stopped at $140? What’s going to propel the general stock market indexes higher, when crude oil is knocked out by the fear of a slowdown in global growth?

    With stock market technicians that I follow, Frank Barbera, Bill Cara, Jack Chen, Bob Hoye, and John Hussman all jumping into the bearish camp, I am fearful that a decline is just about anytime.

    You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry …. Unfortunately, I am guessing that Bernanke Santa Claus will not be able to save this one.

    Best luck.

    Frugal at

    Posted in Stock Market | 4 Comments »