Weekly Market Review
What an interesting week. I feel like I need Dramamine to deal with all the quick ups and downs in the market. We don't believe that yesterday was anything more than an oversold rally that will not last. Today's activity kind of confirms that. We used the up day yesterday to get even more conservative and we are in a great position today across the board – we have a ton of Treasuries, Gold, Swiss Francs, and Cash. The news channels still like to talk about the S&P downgrade. Besides fodder for Fox and MSNBC to argue about whose fault that was, this has very little meaning for the financial markets. Treasury Bonds have rallied nicely since the downgrade, which is great for us as we own a bunch of them. Kudos to our Chief System Analyst Murray Ruggiero for calling that a downgrade would actually be good for Treasuries. Murray has made some great calls (he told me in March 2008 that the Dow would go to 7200) and this was one of them. The real news is what is going on in Europe. You also need to focus on what is going on in bank stocks and CDS and what Treasury Bonds are telling you. Stocks like Bank of America and Citi are trading like it is 2008 again. Also, if the world was in good shape would you really loan the U.S. Government money for 30 years at 3.5%? I wouldn't. As I write this the S&P 500 is around 1137 (with all the volatility we have had it could be quite different by the time you read this). We have some very strong support, so strong it will act like a magnet, in the 1050 area (that is a decline of about 7.5% or so from here). This is where we closed at the end of August 2010 so a move to list level would be a complete retracement of QE2. We are so close it is hard to see a scenario where we don't test that level. We should hold 1050, but if we don't, below that there are a number of areas of support down to 990. If we break below 990 then it is conceivable that we test the 2008 lows. If we do hit the 2008 lows this could end up being the buying opportunity of the century as corporate earnings are still not that bad. We are prepared for this scenario but we will also change on a dime if markets improve. I have long been writing about how I believed that we haven't heard the last of the European crisis but what I did not expect was the ferocity of the downturn we would experience. While I have no evidence of this I have to believe that institutional investors have learned a lot from 2008. In 2008 investors tried to pick the lows and provided support under some of the downturns we saw (not including those massive down 700 point days when TARP wasn't passed and Lehman went under). They ended up getting their heads handed to them and so I think that bargain hunters are now more gun-shy than ever before (high frequency trading probably doesn't help much either). That allows these declines to build momentum when there is no floor underneath. I still believe Europe will get worse before it gets better. The ECB seems to be pretty desperate and when policy makers get desperate I get scared. Here is the bottom line. We are at a point of great risk and we have done tremendous technical damage to the market. Our strategies are now in about as protective positions as they can be and we are prepared to get more protective if we need to, but we are also prepared to come back into the market if my thesis above is wrong. Remember, because we move based on verification, not prediction, we are ready to turn around if market dynamics turn around. There are some people who read this note who are not clients of TWM, I would strongly suggest that you get into some sort of protective position (that does not mean 100% gold or 100% 30 yr Treasuries as they will be volatile, it also does not mean annuities, the only one who gets rich with an annuity is the salesman). Below is our recommended allocation for 401k plans held outside of TWM:
23% High Yield Corporate Bonds (if available)
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