Turn Tide, Turn! (TLT,LVNTA,SPY)

Turn Tide, Turn! (TLT,LVNTA,SPY) We file these reports on a strict weekly deadline. No matter what happens, we’ve committed ourselves to arriving at your inbox on time, week in, week out, every Thursday by noon. And, of course, it’s tough nuts to us if we have to offer a trade in the midst of a major market selloff. Lord knows how tough it is to read markets while a storm of volatility is crashing down upon us, just like that which appears to be at our doorstep. We have a few options available when this happens, to be sure. We can refocus on a calmer quarter of the investment world and attempt a trade where no one is looking, so to speak, and, indeed, that has proven an effective strategy on several occasions. The commodities, as a group, have been surprisingly stable during this week’s five percent NASDAQ selloff, and could provide us with a safe harbor trade, if needed. Or we could hedge ourselves with a bet on just about anything that offered limited upside or loss potential. A short term spread in either direction would accomplish that. But we’re going to undertake something a little less conventional at…

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Investor, There’s a Bug in Your Olive Oil (CGNX,BOTZ,TGT,LVNTA,QQQ)

Investor, There’s a Bug in Your Olive Oil (CGNX,BOTZ,TGT,LVNTA,QQQ)   In what might be considered a perfectly apropos metaphor for the state of investing these days, the Kansas City Star yesterday reported that Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Olive Trees’, painted in 1885 directly before the artist took his own life, has been hiding a secret for better than 125 years. Curators at the city’s Nelson-Atkins Museum report finding a grasshopper that was lodged in the paint all those years without anyone noticing, attributing it to the simple vicissitudes of painting outdoors.   The Bug in the Oil   And we wonder if, after the ‘suicide’ of the current bull run, this stock market’s ‘grasshopper’ will be so easily identified.   For we’re no doubt headed toward a structural event in the financial world.  And though many will point to their favorite bugbear as being responsible for the calamity-to-come, we believe that the larger cycles of human history – and particularly those related to finance and economics – make it all too predictable. No geniuses here.  Just keen observation.   The market cycle is essentially one of arrogance and humility.  It follows the larger course of human events and can therefore be…

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When Liberty’s the Target… (LVNTA,TGT)

When Liberty’s the Target… (LVNTA,TGT)   We’ve discussed the ‘winnowing’ process that occurs at market tops at various times over the last several years, explaining that in its final stages, a bull market will experience a drastic thinning of breadth, where only the biggest names, the market ‘stars’, as it were, garner all the attention and buying.   And that attention is sufficient to thrust the indexes straight upward in an asymptotic kaboom!, before, of course, the whole thing implodes and a general bear market ensues.   During those discussions, we also took the time to mention one stock in particular, Facebook Inc. (NYSE:FB), naming it the ‘poster child’ of the current bull market and the ultimate symbol of both the corporate and market reality in which we reside.   Facebook (which we’ve also dubbed ‘the world’s biggest time waster’) is an integral part of the statist security machinery that now profiles everyone with impunity and sells that information at a premium to both governments and retailers. According to our measure of things, that winnowing process is now entering what might be termed an ‘intermediate’ stage, with stocks like Apple, Facebook and Google, et al. attracting as much attention for…

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