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Having studied economics and being in finance for over two decades, I have learned that only one thing is certain – that almost nothing is certain. As we endeavor to come up with our best analysis of the world around us, the opportunities and risks, we have to try to overcome a myriad of issues including our own ignorance, biases and emotions. What follows are my attempts to overcome those obstacles. Welcome to my view.

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Oil Demand Scenarios

Saudi Arabia’s Risky Oil Strategy

At the recent OPEC meeting, Saudi Arabia decided to double down on their strategy to pump as much oil as they can in the short run. What is being missed here is who their real target is. While shale drillers get all the attention from Americentric investors, the reality is there is a lot more at play here. As I demonstrated a few weeks ago, deep water drillers and Canadian oil […]

New Normal Global Growth

Janet Yellen, OPEC and the “New Normal”

I know that this weekend most folks are shopping, buying Christmas trees and wondering how they ate so much on Thanksgiving. But this weekend is also the lead up to the most important month in finance and economics in years. We are about to enter a month that is typically good for the stock market, but this time might not be. We have a pivotal OPEC meeting on December 4th […]

XLE

Will Saudi Arabia Surprise us Again?

In 2015 we saw a lot of stocks get annihilated as market leadership narrowed. Hedge fund darlings were flipped from running higher to getting pummeled. Biotech stocks got pilloried and Hillaried. Energy names were the big story though, as most fell in share price, many were crushed and some went to zero. As measured by the SPDR Select Energy ETF (XLE) the industry is down over 30% from its high. Interestingly, the 50 […]

Energy Reaching Max Pain

Today the price of WTI crude oil rose 3.19%. Normally that would be a hugely bullish sign for oil, however, last week the price dropped 8%. With driving season well behind us and existing wells still pumping out oil, it will take two things to happen before oil prices rise and hold at a higher range. The first thing is on the way. The second, the Saudi’s control when that […]

Stampedes of the Momentum Traders

Over the course of this year I saw something in markets that early on I couldn’t explain. I suspected that there was something different with market structure that was dangerous but I didn’t know exactly what. I now mostly know what is going on. Starting back in the 2nd quarter I started using a phrase, the “networked traders” to describe what was happening with certain stocks. It started in energy as […]

Tom Matt Boomer's Rock

Janet and The Feds Get Their Cover

Since spring, people have been obsessing about whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year. While I don’t think gradually raising rates to 1% over a year or so is a big deal, markets treat it like is monumental. For the record, I think Janet and The Feds have been looking for cover to raise interest rates all year. With this past week’s very good – […]

Triple Top

Observing a Topping Process

For about a year now I’ve been talking about the broad market being in a topping process. Here’s another chart that speaks to the same issue: We’ve had a brief discussion about whether we are at the end of a secular bear market or the beginning of a secular bull market. Well, the answer will be found in the next big correction. If we have in fact started a new […]

The potential impact of war

War is not something that we want to think about, but it is a reality in the world. Since peaking in severity with World War II, there have been a series of wars, for the most part with decreasing severity. Since 2010 however, a new trend has started to emerge. Whether it is a blip or a harbinger of a larger conflict, the sort of which we have not seen since […]

Asymmetric gains coming in 2016 in energy rebound

I do not mean to hype, however, I believe we are looking straight into the face of an asymmetric profit opportunity. This is the type of buy low, reduced risk chance to generate real wealth that only comes around about once per decade. Soon, oil and gas prices will reverse course. When that happens, the companies that survived this oil and gas crash will be operating in an environment with […]

Quarterly Letter

In autumn of 2011, I wrote in MarketWatch’s “Next Great Investment Columnist” competition, that one thing was going to change everything for America. That one thing was the development of our own natural gas and oil reserves. My analysis landed me a spot on MarketWatch.com of the Wall Street Journal network in November of 2011. A few weeks later, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs made public their research that agreed with mine. Read the rest here (with […]

End of Quarter Thoughts – Q3 2015

The middle two quarters of the year were rough for me. Not only did I get into energy after it had declined 30-50% which was just in time to see it drop another 30-50%, but my hedges for what has happened August and September, expired in June. Arrrghhh. Being right isn’t always good enough, sometimes, timing does matter. Luckily, most of my energy investments are stock, so the calendar is […]

Using the bear market for future gains

This week I finally declared “The Bear Market has Begun” on MarketWatch. If you are sitting 25% to 50% cash as I suggested repeatedly earlier this year, even with haircuts on the energy stocks we’ve accumulated, you are sitting in a good position to buy great companies at panic pricing in the not too distant future. As we accumulate, remember, it’s not about catching the bottoms, it’s about investing below the […]

Vacation is over

On “bucket Monday” I left for the east with a friend and my dog. Much like my trip to Seattle and Portland in June, and my drive through the heartland to Texas in July, I saw a lot of good things economically. In Ohio, I visited Cleveland for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Brewers vs Indians game. The downtown area has come a long way since I started […]

It’s just a correction

This week in our forum, one of our more astute investors posed the question whether we were in for a bear market or just a correction. He summarized that I have been of the belief that I thought we were still in a secular bear market. I think I surprised him when I said I wasn’t so sure anymore. Here’s my response:

Wait for it!

The markets continued their sell-off today with the Dow cracking 17,000. Be patient on buying though, we are not even at a full 10% correction yet. Most of you should still be at around 25% or more in cash. Very soon that dry powder will come in handy.

Oil and Natural Gas Crushed Again

Today market sold off more broadly as the Fed’s July meetings were released (15 minutes early ooops) and it is a mixed message – go figure.  On the one hand they say we are getting closer to the conditions needed to raise rates, which supports my thesis that they are looking for a reason to get off the zero bound in September. On the other hand they say we need […]

Correction Moving on Up

Over the past year we have seen a massive crash in energy stocks, followed by choppy slow moving corrections in small and midsize companies. The correction is now coming to large caps. How bad will it get? Hard to know, a lot is up to Janet and the Feds. The big news this week was of course China lowering its peg to the dollar by 3.5% in two increments. By tomorrow, […]

Short Sellers and Big Money

For the past 18 months we know that Family Offices, Institutions, Foundations and some other very wealthy investors have been slowly selling into the stock market strength as small late to the party investors and mutual funds bought their shares. I have written about this MarketWatch. Barron’s has also written about this shift to cash and short-term treasuries by the very wealthy. I have told folks to have 25% to […]

The Stealth Correction and Opportunity

Because people often compare their portfolio results to the S&P 500, they often do not get a full appreciation of what is going on in the market. As Rick and I have been talking about, there is a stealth correction happening in many stocks, and an outright bear market in the energy space.  The 52 week lows are overwhelming the 52 week highs, despite the S&P 500 chopping along its […]

Christmas Tree

The Easiest Investments I Have Ever Made

I hope you are following along on MarketWatch.com. In the past few months, I have laid out an argument for being cautious in general on most investing, but to be aggressive on natural gas stocks. Quite frankly, with natural gas stocks down 50%, 60% and even 70% from their multi-year highs, I am beginning to feel like it’s Christmas in July. I am entirely serious when I say that buying […]