Tags: summer | mr market | discontentment | investors

The Summer of Mr. Market's Discontentment?

The Summer of Mr. Market's Discontentment?
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By    |   Friday, 01 June 2018 05:33 PM

We’re about to head into the summer trading season for the markets.

Seasonally, it’s a time when many brokers flee to the Hamptons or other exotic locale where they get to see many of the same people they work with. So historically, it may be a slow time for the markets—and a welcome break from recent market volatility.

Call me crazy, but I think it’s better to expect the unexpected.

After all, most trading has become automated over the years. Fewer and fewer human beings are needed to man the trading desks in Manhattan and elsewhere.

So, heading into summer, I’d recommend that traders remain cautious. There are plenty of factors out there to explain why, from the on-again/off-again Korea summit to populist elections in Italy, to OPEC and Russia moving to open up the spigot and produce more oil.

Just because summer is historically a slow time for the market doesn’t mean stocks go up. In the 1990’s tech stocks often sold off over the summer, only to rally to new highs by year’s end. Most conventional stocks fared well.

Most analysts view the market as having a binary outcome, in the sense that stocks will either go meaningfully higher or lower from here. For the moment, however, it seems more likely that we’re stuck in a range. That’s based off the fact that stocks have rallied strongly when they’ve closed in on their February lows, but didn’t break lower. At the same time, the broad market has yet to make new highs. That points, at least in my mind, to a sideways trading range for the foreseeable future.

In short, the good news is that the market may drop again, but likely not too much from here. But until we’re on track to setting new highs for the market, it may be a while before we get a clearer picture of where this market is headed.

Not to worry! That just means investors would be best suited this summer towards following a sideways market playbook. Such a playbook focuses on buying out-of-favor and defensive investments, high-yielding dividend plays, and strategically buying into growth names without going overboard.

A combination of those investments should provide excellent returns relative to a flat market and should get most of a rallying market. It may not do well in a falling market, but in that scenario, most things don’t fare too well anyway.

On the defensive side, gold looks attractive right now. A stronger dollar has sent the price of the metal under $1,300. Why is the dollar strengthening? It doesn’t look like it’s doing so for any fundamental reasons, so much as the fact that other currencies are crashing.

In the past month, the Argentinian Peso has collapsed on news that the country is seeking out yet another IMF loan. And the Turkish Lira is dropping on fears of capital controls from the emerging market country. Concerns from Italy have weighed on the Euro. You get the idea.

Since currencies are essentially binary trades, the weakness of one is the strength of another. That’s why the dollar looks strong right now—it’s the best home in a bad neighborhood. Yet inflation expectations are on the rise, which tends to bode well for gold prices as well. Add in the fact that gold had a modest rally during the market selloff, and you have a combination of factors that should work out well for investors in a flat or declining market environment.

The recent market selloff, combined with a flat market for the next few months, has helped boost dividend yields on some quality companies that have competed with low-yielding bonds in the past few years. These include consumer goods names like Phillip Morris (PM), The J.M. Smucker Company (SJM), and also utilities and telecoms like AT&T (T).

Some modest purchases in some of these names, down poorly year-to-date, can provide much better income opportunities than just a few months ago thanks to lower prices and higher yields. There’s nothing exciting about these companies, but the valuations are decent compared to where they’ve been for many of these names in the past few years.

On the growth side of things, there’s still some potential upside there. Many new and promising technologies are being developed all the time. Rather than buy into pricy technology names, however, it may be better to buy call options instead.

With a call option, you’re essentially leasing 100 shares of stock per option up until the expiration date. For a high-flying technology company like Nvidia (NVDA), for instance, rather than pony up $250 per shares, you can control 100 shares for far less than the $25,000 it would cost to buy outright. Buying, say call options targeting a $300 share price by 2020 can provide a better percentage return with less total money at risk.

That’s a strategic way to use options—although if shares falter because markets take another downturn, you could risk losing all your money. The trick with options trading is to take profits reasonably quickly and not overstay your welcome. Otherwise, the time premium works against you.

With a combination of defensive investments, oversold dividend payers, and some selective targeted growth with options, investors can face just about nearly any market challenge that comes their way.

And, since stocks really tend to hit the skids historically in the autumn, it’s a strategy that will prepare you for the worst of a market selloff months while most folks are still thinking about their upcoming summer vacation plans.

As I always like to say to my subscribers every week: Stay safe, and stay solvent!

Andrew Packer is a Senior Financial Editor with Newsmax Media. He currently writes the Insider Hotline investment advisory, serves as investment director for the Financial Braintrust, and writes the monthly newsletter Crisis Point Investor.

© 2021 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

Since stocks really tend to hit the skids historically in the autumn, it’s a strategy that will prepare you for the worst of a market selloff months while most folks are still thinking about their upcoming summer vacation plans.
summer, mr market, discontentment, investors
Friday, 01 June 2018 05:33 PM
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