Shorting home builders

Home builders have had a very rough run lately. It’s probably not over by a long shot either. Those engaged in the industry generally understood that residential real estate was overbought and inventories would eventually grow very large if building kept on pace. These same builders kept building at the same pace, all the while creating an astronomical number of unsold developed properties in their portfolio.

 

With the credit crisis stifling mortgages and home sales, these builders are in a very risky position with portfolio’s full of unsold homes that are now depreciating in value by the day. Without substantial rate cuts, the housing market will likely not rebound for a few years. This will force many home builders to sell their inventory at a discount and others to declare bankruptcy. It may be a good time to watch ITB (see below chart vs. CFC) and consider shorting it.

builder-recession.png

I’ve charted ITB against CFC because I believe they follow a very similar downward trend without support. CFC is guiding even lower and ITB is likely to follow as the situation worsens throughout 2007. Traders may want to short ITB and go long gold, US treasury bonds or Euros for a potential recession hedge. Good luck!

Euro poised to continue uptrend

 

Euro

Forex traders may want to go long Euro short US dollar and reverse positions on any indication that the trend is over. Stock traders may want to consider adding the FXE ETF to their portfolio as a hedge against the weakening US dollar. Keep an eye on this trend because it will also eventually raise the price of imports, goods and services and potentially increase US exports, too.

The weakening dollar will also likely cause an already established “flight to quality” run to bonds to continue.

Brief: Gold rallies on weak dollar

Today, as the dollar weakened, gold rallied in response by 2%. Traders also speculate that this rally in gold is in response to the anticipated US Federal Reserve rate cut on September 18th. AUY along with other gold miners also rallied in response.

  Gold 9-6-07

The world optimistically waits for the Fed

This morning, with tremendous support from the US futures, European markets and gold, the world optimistically awaits the Federal Reserve’s speech during the conference on housing and monetary policy in Jackson Hole, Wyo. at 10 a.m. EDT.

Currently S&P futures are up about 1%, gold is up about 1.5% and the German DAX is up 1% all in anticipation of good news.

Why is the world optimistic about this? Let me present a few views:

1) President Bush has stated he will expand the government’s role to deal with the subprime mortgage credit crisis.

2) Ben Bernanke is expected to at least give traders and investors clarity about his views on the economy. There is also (somewhat irrational) speculation that Dr. Bernanke will give indications on his Federal funds rate policy decision at this speech.

3) Bond rates indicate traders expect a rate cut in the short term.

4) A lack of volume because of the upcoming holiday makes the US market very volatile.

5) The weakness of the Yen has lent strength to US markets as the carry trade may be winding up again.

All of this is important to consider today. What does it mean?

If the Fed speech gives no clear indication of policy or interest rates we may see market weakness. That market weakness may be exaggerated to the downside because of the low volume. This weakness may be temporary, as President Bush will be speaking around 11AM EDT regarding the subprime mortgage credit crisis. It will be very important to watch bond yields and the Yen today for signals.

Alternatively, if Mr. Bernanke gives the market a high degree of transparency in his speech, and it gives markets the indications it wants to hear about a rate cut, we will absolutely see an unprecedented rally.

My advice? Watch and wait. If you are an experienced trader you may want to trade the speech.

Yen pressure and relief

We see the Japanese Yen (JPY) playing an ever increasingly important role in the American markets during this low volume August trading. As one floor trader has said, “It’s evident that the trade between the Yen and the S&P futures are directly inverse with this lack of activity.”

JPY vs US

This chart illustrates the directly inverse relationship between the Yen’s strength and US market weakness this week. This relationship exists because of the carry trade. It will be important to keep watching this trend until the Federal Reserve speech Friday at 10:00AM, when traders will be paying much more attention to Dr. Bernanke.

Moo Trading Next Week: Gold Oversold

We saw gold drop $14 this week, gold stocks were punished and the market showed a lot of fear and trepidation. With such volatility, you might ask, why do I think gold is good? It’s simple.

That’s right, simplicity. That makes an asset attractive. For the past two years gold has outperformed the S&P 500, Dow Jones and NASDAQ.

If this isn’t enough for you, however, you should note a few very significant facts:

  1. Gold trades in US dollars. That means when the dollar is weak, gold is strong. The dollar has strengthened recently because of a “lack of liquidity”. Liquidity usually refers to US dollars flowing in and out of different equities and other asset classes. When it dries up, that means there are less “dollars” (whether in hard or soft form) in the system. This creates a temporary boost in the value of the dollar and temporary weakness in gold.
  2. India and China are now the world’s largest consumers of gold and their appetites are likely to keep expanding. This creates more demand and pressures the supply, thusly raising prices.
  3. Gold is the world’s oldest asset and is only gaining in popularity and probably the world’s most liquid asset.
  4. Hedge funds bought gold as an appreciable asset, not fully understanding the implicit lack of hedging this creates when other funds mimic the same behavior.  Gold was oversold this week because of investors having to cover their losses in other assets by selling their profitable investments.

Gold is now ready to rebound and it closed today bullishly up $9.70 in to the weekend, indicating investors are willing to stay in their positions. Gold stocks rebounded positively as did the precious metals indices. The overselling that occurred mostly to cover losses is over and the bargain buying has already begun.

The next step is for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates in September (or sooner). Once this happens, the dollar will further weaken because of the increased availability of credit (which is essentially virtual money flooding the system). This weakening dollar and increased availability of credit encourages investors to flock back towards gold, stocks and other oversold assets.

It may just be time to buy some gold ETFs (IAU, GLD), futures or stocks (AUY). Have a Mooriffic weekend!

Japanese Yen vs. Gold

Another interesting chart demonstrating how the carry trade unraveling affects all asset classes, including gold. In the chart below I have JPY (vs US dollar) compared with gold (rather than the reverse in my previous entry). As you can see, JPY and gold have a direct correlation, much more than I expected.

Good luck trading!

The unraveling carry trade

Hedge funds and brokerages typically borrow low interest rate Japanese Yen (JPY) to buy US and European equities. This creates a flood of cheap liquidity boosting the markets. What happens when this situation dries up?

Below you will see a chart of the S&P 500 (blue candlesticks) with the US dollar vs. JPY imposed above (the red line). This illustrates that the weaker the US dollar is vs. JPY, the weaker the US stock market. It is very important to note this trend and watch it closely.

Good luck trading!

Trading the Euro (vs. USD)

It’s important that every investor realize that we are not limited to stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and bonds. There are other asset classes, such as commodities and currencies (forex) that offer profit, too. Trading anything requires consistency and a system to be regularly successful. The same systems that analyse stocks are applicable to intraday trading of foreign exchange futures.

euro1.jpg

Remember that this is a very speculative play that requires sophisticated technical analysis skills and an established system to successfully trade.

The first system is bottom trading a downward trend (note that the EMA is moving downward). That means, if we see the Euro become “oversold” (or if it’s sold on very high volume, and dips below the lower Bollinger band) it is likely due for a technical rebound upwards. Because of the weakness at this point, I only hold the Euro until it peaks the EMA and sell the futures contracts there. This is a bullish sign, but it’s also a point of resistance.

The second system is momentum trading. I trade the upward trend, purchasing futures contracts as it moves above the moving average, which you will notice is establishing an upward trend (notice upper/lower bands). As the Euro crosses below the EMA again and the bands begin to widen indicating increased risk, I sell.

Psychology of trading gold

Gold trades myopically based on fear and greed, generally not taking the larger picture in to consideration (long term: weakening dollar, US economy slowing, inflation growing). As such, opportunities arise to exploit fear and greed to yield a high profit.

As you can see in the image below, gold oversold based on fear this morning that the market would collapse based on credit concerns. I bought here $675.00 because I felt gold, being down about $20 from the day before, was oversold.

gold fear trade

As you can see, it quickly rallied to $686.00, where I sold, because I felt the rally was overdone by traders relieved by the Federal Reserve injecting $19B in liquidity to banks suffering from a lack thereof.

That’s basically how the fear/greed trade works. This is a single trade that can span minutes, hours, days, weeks, even months and years depending on your strategy and outlook.