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Recently, we have seen huge volatility and huge moves in the market, which have confused many traders and investors, so in this blog post, I am going to take a step back and look at some weekly charts to give an overview on the market direction for various markets, including stocks, forex, bonds, commodities, etc.

While the first wave of sell-offs were mostly panic-driven, the next wave of decline would likely be driven by fundamentals.

Looking at this strength meter, we can see that the safe haven assets like the USD, Gold, CHF and JPY have performed the best, while commodity-related currencies like the NZD, AUD and CAD have fared poorly.

Here’s a video on how you can use this knowledge in your trading:

 

Daily Trend Analysis

To make things easier, you can also join our free Telegram channel to get a daily summary of trends and trading opportunities.
Click here to join: https://t.me/synapsetrading

 

US Dollar Index (DXY)

Despite the Fed cutting rates to zero, launching QE4, extending the repo program to $1.5 trillion, extending USD swaps to multiple central banks across the globe, and a potential $1-2 trillion fiscal package, actions which should technically weaken the USD have instead caused the USD to surge.

The reason for this is that about half of global trade is denominated in USD, and a lot of corporates and governments take up USD debt. When liquidity dries up, you will see people liquidating all other assets to buy USD, hence the tandem plunge in almost all assets, and rise of USD.

Looking at the chart, the USD has been on the rise since 2008, and as more businesses fold up, and liquidity dries up further, this could very possibly push the USD to new highs.

Thus, we can expect most currencies to be in decline relative to the USD, but to varying degrees.

 

Euro vs. US Dollar (EUR/USD)


The EUR/USD has been in a large uptrend channel for more than 40 years, and now it is hovering at the lower edge of the channel.

If the trendline is unable to hold, we might see prices head down to test the 0.8250 levels.

Currently, Europe seems to be one of the worst-hit regions, and this could cause lasting damage to its economy.

 

British Pound vs. US Dollar (GBP/USD)


The GBP/USD is also showing great weakness, breaking to new lows. It has been on a downtrend since 2008.

In the medium-term, we can expect a test of the most recent support-turned-resistance level of 1.2084, and if that holds, we will likely see a continued slide of this pair.

 

Australian Dollar vs. US Dollar (AUD/USD)

The AUD is one of the weakest currencies in recent times, and after breaking below the lows of 2008, we could see the AUD/USD heading to the next support level at 0.4873.

In the medium-term, we are likely to see a test of the most recent support-turned-resistance level of 0.6113, before it continues lower.

 

NZ Dollar vs. US Dollar (NZD/USD)


The NZD/USD is sightly less bearish than the AUD/USD, but it is also falling fast against the USD, and might be heading to test the next support 0.4905.

Currently, it has found some support at the 0.5596 level, so there might be some medium-term rebound or sideways movement.

 

US Dollar vs. Canadian Dollar (USD/CAD)


The USD/CAD has a huge pattern forming since 2008 that resembles a hybrid between a cup and handle pattern and a double bottom pattern.

Both are bullish patterns, which suggest that in the long-run this currency pair will continue to stay bullish.

In the medium-term, it has run into strong resistance and may take a while to break past that.

 

US Dollar vs. Swiss Franc (USD/CHF)


The USD/CHF has been on a long-term decline, and for the past 8 years or so, has been forming a giant rising wedge, which is a bearish price pattern.

The pattern had a breakout this year, but the USD has surged back to the covid crisis to test the breakout point.

I believe that in the long-term, the downtrend will continue, so I will be looking for good shorting opportunities once the USD demand starts to wane.

 

US Dollar vs. Japanese Yen (USD/JPY)


In 2014, the USD/JPY managed to break above the long-term bearish trend line, but instead of heading up, it went into a sideways movement for the next 5 years.

This pair is tricky to trade because it is rangebound at the moment, and both the bulls and bears are quite balanced.

In the long-run, we will need to see whether it breaks up or down from the consolidation pattern.

 

US Dollar vs. Singapore Dollar (USD/SGD)


Since the Singapore economy is very export-oriented, and perhaps because the SGD gets lumped in with other Asian currencies, it has seen much much weakening since the start of the crisis.

The USD/SGD has soared strongly to the resistance (prior swing high) of close to 1.46, and looks like it will be breaking that to test the next level at 1.5572.


I have taken many swing trades to ride this strong trend, which has been very profitable for me and my students.

Since I live in Singapore (and use SGD currencies), but the bulk of my investments (and warchest) are in USD, I have actually seen a 8-10% ROI on my whole portfolio just due to the gain from the exchange rates.

 

S&P 500 Index (SPX)


The S&P 500 has corrected to around 30-35%, in the steepest drop ever on Wall Street, and it has broken past the previous swing low in 2018.

There is no doubt that it will continue to decline, and various analyst estimates have predicted targets ranging from 1800 (which is the 2016 swing low) to 2200.

This suggests a further decline of 10-30% from current price levels.

Since I have bought in near current levels using about 20-30% of my funds, my maximum portfolio drawdown is only 10%, which is pretty much offset by the forex gains (from the appreciating USD).

So for those wondering if they should liquidate their portfolio now, here is some useful advice:

 

I was expecting a short-medium-term rebound of sorts, before the next wave of selling kicks in.


We started accumulating longs near the low in anticipation of a rebound, but the rebound fizzled out, so we only manged to make a small gain on our positions.


Originally I was expecting a small rebound (correction in price) due to the extreme oversold conditions, but if the bearish sentiment is so strong, it might just drift sideways (correction in time) instead.

If the lows of the 3-bar range are taken out on Monday, then we can expect the downtrend to continue, if not we might see a correction (either in time or in price) play out.

Either way, we are looking for a good opportunity to short, but the precision in timing is important.

US Long-Term Treasury Bonds (TLT)


While bond prices usually spike when interest rates get cut, the TLT had a spike, but it was immediately followed by a plunge, perhaps due to liquidation of bonds for cash.

Technicals-wise, it has broken above a bullish trendline, which could suggest an acceleration of the uptrend in the long-run.

However, with interest rates already at zero, it is hard to see what other catalysts might push it upwards, and we might see short/medium-term cash outflow for liquidity, and long-term outflow into stocks once the market bottoms.

 

Gold (XAU/USD)


Typically, Gold is supposed to act as a hedge against market declines, by having an inverse-correlation with the stock market.

However, this time we saw a sell-down in Gold as well, probably due to liquidation for cash as well.

On the chart, from 2013 to 2019, we saw Gold carve out a sort of double bottom consolidation hybrid pattern, before breaking out and surging up.

While the price action does not look good in the short/medium-term, I think it still looks bullish in the long-term.

 

Crude Oil


Due to a confluence of price wars (increase in supply) and a sharp drop in demand, we have seen the price of Crude oil drop sharply to new lows.

The next major support level is at around $10, but we will probably see some intervention before that.

 

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1

2016 has been a blast, and a very happy new year to everyone! This week’s analysis will be a little heavier, so keep calm and read on. Let’s just dive straight into the market analysis for this week:

 

RECAP OF LAST WEEK’S PREDICTIONS – HOW DID IT GO?

#1: Bullish breakout on EURCAD (D1 chart)

euraudLast week’s analysis; we predicted EURAUD would climb higher.
Source: MetaTrader 4

This week, we saw the EURAUD climb even higher after a mini pullback that didn’t touch the EMA. Those who took entries intra-day would have seen large profits, while those who took longer-term positions would have in-the-money positions. Congratulations to those who took this trade!

thisweekThis week, the EURAUD climbed higher and close with some profit-taking.
Source: MetaTrader 4

The chart still shows that EURAUD is bullish, and it is still wise to hold on to any long positions, adding on if a gentle pullback to the EMA occurs.

 

#2: Bullish breakout on EURCAD (D1 chart)

lastweekLast week, a bullish call was given for the EURCAD.
Source: MetaTrader 4

Traders were advised to enter only intra-day, which meant profit taking was to also be intra-day. Those that followed this advice did well:

eurcadThis week, the EURCAD climbed higher and closed with heavy profit-taking.
Source: MetaTrader 4

Despite the heavy profit taking on Friday, the intra-day traders would have already taken profits. Those who bought near the EMA would also have seen great profits and have at least had partial profit-taking, securing the profits on the position.

 

#3 Wait for pullback to EMA on USDCHF (D1 chart) and buy on a touch of the EMA (with a good bullish bar!)

usdchfLast week’s analysis for USDCHF.
Source: MetaTrader 4

Those who waited for a USDCHF pullback to the EMA saw it, but the pullback was very violent. Here’s how it looks like since last Friday:

chfThe pullback was very violent, and profit-taking from bears was very substantial.
Source: MetaTrader 4

This week, we expect the USDCHF to remain sideways, as traders consolidate what the huge candle (on last friday) would mean for 2017. Don’t expect to have your trades on USDCHF run quickly in one direction; let it consolidate for 3-5 days before deciding again. This will be on my watchlist, but will not be a top priority. Bulls would be looking to buy near 1.01000, so watch out for the price action at this level. 

UPCOMING MARKET OPPORTUNITIES: KEY STOCK MARKET INDICES

S&P500 – Look to buy on bullish bars near the EMA.

spS&P500 as at 31 Dec 2016.
Source: MetaTrader 4

The S&P has travelled upwards rather violently in 2016. After a mild correction to the 20EMA, it is wise to look to buy on bullish bars near the EMA. Profit targets can be near the all-time high, or even further up (2300 and above). However, note the following:

  • Bulls will be hesitant given the uncertainty surrounding the first week of the new year.
  • Bears would try to exert their influence repeatedly, so don’t be alarmed if your long positions get stopped out easily.
  • I would wait for 2-3 bullish signals before being confident of a nice up-move.

 

Bearish on the Hang Seng Index. Short near the EMA with bearish confirmation bars.

hsBears have exerted their influence, and will continue to exert influence unless the bulls suddenly show up for no reason at all.
Source: MetaTrader 4

Bears will be happy to short near the EMA and at any prior resistance. If the Hang Seng index climbs up beyond the EMA, it is unlikely to break above 22300 (near the trendline drawn above). I’ll look to short it in the upcoming days/weeks, if a nice opportunity arises.

 

Watch the ASX closely for a buying opportunity.

asxThe ASX has broken new highs and bulls will continue to buy on every opportunity.
Source: MetaTrader 4

The ASX has had a whirlwind of a 2016, and bulls are pleased that it has broken new highs. I would be looking to enter on pullbacks to the EMA, preferably near the breakout support level of roughly 5550, and ride up for a nice bull trend trade.

UPCOMING MARKET OPPORTUNITIES: FOREX TRADING SPACE

Short AUDUSD, but wait for pullback to EMA + bearish bars for a  higher probability trade.

audusdThe AUDUSD looks bearish and should be unable to hold support at 0.71400.
Source: MetaTrader 4

AUDUSD has seen multiple trendlines broken. The bullish move in early 2016 was broken significantly, and the sideways market that took 6 months to develop also saw its end, causing me to believe the market is transitioning into a bear market. Bears will look to short at every opportunity, which means smart traders will go short, preferably near the EMA, and until bearish signal bars appear. Possible price levels to observe at 0.73000, 0.74000, and 0.75000 (all these present good shorting opportunities). 

 

Sideways on GBPUSD; look for opportunities in both directions.

audusd
The GBPUSD looks sideways and must be traded like how a sideways market should.
Source: MetaTrader 4

GBPUSD has seen a humongous correction (almost 20%) in the past 6 months, and should still trade like a sideways market for some time before traders decide where it should finally end up. Buying low and selling high, though simple as it sounds, is the suitable strategy for such a market context.

 

Short on NZDUSD on every opportunity! (but read the cautionary notes below before you trade)

nzdusd
Good time to short on NZDUSD, but caution is advised.
Source: MetaTrader 4

Classic head and shoulders on NZDUSD, strong bearish bars in recent times, and a breakout from the prior support. A bearish bar near the EMA gives good reason to go short, but I’ll be hesitant and do the following:

  • The year has just started so a sideways market is more probably in the first few days.
  • If you are going short once the market opens on Tuesday, take a small position, use a wide stop, and don’t be afraid to sit through pullbacks and open losses.
  • Add on for every short opportunity you can find (if you are more aggressive).
  • I’ll be more confident if I see 2-3 confirmation bearish bars.

 

LASTLY: UPCOMING NEWS upcomingSome of the upcoming unemployment figures, and the NFP announcement on Friday.
Source: myfxbook.com/forex-economic-calendar 

The first week of 2017 will see 4 unemployment rate announcements. No shocker expected here, because the main market-moving news will be the NFP announcement on 6 January, Friday. Intra-day traders can keep their eyes peeled for the hours surrounding the NFP, which happens at 21:30 hours (Singapore time).

This week is a week with a number of great opportunities. Happy trading, and wishing everyone a great start to the new year!

Cheers!

asJanet Yellen’s actions come into the spotlight once again.
Source: slate.com

 

After a slew of unprecedented events (Trump, Brexit), what has been troubling the world financial markets in recent days? As the FOMC announcement approaches, market participants have all eyes fixed on the almost-certain rate-hike that is coming up on Thursday. You probably have started to see Yellen’s photograph in news articles across all major financial newspapers.

Traditional economics theory teaches us that when interest rates rise, they are deflationary; businesses find it harder to borrow and affects interest-sensitive investment, while home owners find it harder to pay their mortgages. It all seems reasonable on the surface, but what actually goes on behind it?

In an economic climate such as ours today, traditional predictions have fallen very flat. There are Fed officials and scholars (not lay-people) who still insist that QE has no impact on the real economy whatsoever. The average wage-labourer probably doesn’t feel much when interest rates change, nor will he care even if rates drop or rise significantly.

However, as traders, our portfolios are at stake and it will bode us well to study this properly. Several macroeconomic indicators have to be understood and analysed to understand what is likely to happen. I’ve broken it down into 4 components for easy reading. Let’s get going:

INDICATOR #1: Falling GDP?

The body of scholastic material addressing the link between interest rates and GDP is rather depressing. Stephen D. Williamson summarizes this rather aptly:

“There is no work, to my knowledge, that establishes a link from QE to the ultimate goals of the Fed—inflation and real economic activity”-Stephen D. Williamson, St. Louis Fed Vice President

When the cost of borrowing rises, economic activity slows. That has been what the Fed was trying to do when it goes ahead and raises interest rates. They were used as a deflationary tool to keep the economy from expanding too rapidly. What have we seen? I came across this table while researching on this topic:

bank

What we see is that the average rate hike cycle takes 22 months, while a recession normally happens 41 months later. However, it has been 87 months since the last rate hike, eclipsing even the 85 months lag time since the 1994-1995 rate hike.
These are definitely unusual circumstances. While the economy has been chugging along for 7 years despite near-zero interest rates, I don’t see how a rate hike would dramatically change this, especially in the short-term (1-2 years from now). While the economy has been a big topic on Trump’s agenda during the election, the reality is that the economy is still reeling from the damage caused in 2008, and it could take far more than more investments to bring the world back to economic health.

 

INDICATOR #2: Lower Stock Prices?

The US stock market has been breaking new highs and with every new high, another analysts comes out and purports that ‘this is the top’.

 

econDire predictions by an economist.
Source: CNBC

However, before we all go into doom and gloom, let us remember that the bear markets of the last 50 years have had different causes, to be fair, there had to be some sort of trigger. It could be a political issue, such as the 1973-74 oil crisis, and the 1990 bear market caused by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Furthermore, the Fed could be behind a market crash; in 1982, after raising interest rates relentlessly, the U.S market saw some severe bear moves in that period of time.

Sometimes bear markets happen because of bubbles; such as when the 2001 dot-com bubble and 911 terrorist attacks came about. In 2008, we saw a market crash as a result of a tanking housing market spurred by widespread institutional dishonesty.

Let us not be quick to jump to conclusions about a market crash coming. I’ll be watching the S&P and other indices closely over the next few months.

Interestingly, some quip that the “three steps and a stumble” rule would become a reality. It last happened in 2004, but we didn’t see a stock market crash until 4 years later.

“The ‘three steps and a stumble’ rule states that after three consecutive rate hikes (three steps), the stock market would begin to fall rapidly (stumble).”

I don’t quite buy into this idea. Over the past 30 years, there were only nine occasions where we saw 3 rate hikes in a row. Thrice in the 1970s, four times in the 1980s, and twice in the 1990s, and on average, only the 1970s saw a significant decline (approximately 10%) of the stock market in the next year or so.

chartChart of DJIA price changes after 3 rate hikes
Source: MarketWatch.com

More interestingly, the S&P500 looks like it’s ‘toppish’; the bull run seems rather unsustainable, but something seems to be sustaining this euphoria. On a technical basis, it has simply broken out of an expanding wedge on the daily chart.

sp
The S&P500 has broken out of an expanding wedge pattern. It looks rather unsustainable, but it is happening before our eyes.
Source: MetaTrader 4

We’ll have to watch closely how the S&P behaves near the resistance before deciding if it would continue the rally (which is very possible!).

 

INDICATOR #3: Volatile Bond Prices?

There are signs that the market has already adjusted to an interest rate hike. Check out what happened to the 30-yr Treasury Bonds over the past year or so:

30yr

The 30-yr Treasury Bonds have fallen 15% since its last high in July 2016.
Source: MetaTrader 4

The rude correction has shocked many bulls out of the market, and it seems we have entered bearish territory in the bond market. My opinion is that the rate hike has definitely contributed to this, but it seems that the rate hike is a mere response to the macroeconomic conditions of the world. On the technical side, we see a head and shoulders pattern that has broken down (as a result of election fever), and the downtrend has continued somewhat.

yieldsShort-term yields have risen almost as much as long-term yields.
Source: Bloomberg

If you’ve studied finance in university you would immediately recognize that the yield curve has flattened. Check out the table above; 3-month rates have risen as much as 30-year rates! This means 3-month yields have risen more than 100%, while 30-year yields rose about 10% or so. This is a typical response when the Fed tightens monetary policy.  A famous interpretation of the yield curve states that when yield curves get inverted (when short-term bonds yield more than long-term bonds), that’s when the stock market crashes like nobody’s business.

We are still very far off from an inverted yield curve, so a market crash is still some distance away. My guess is that the bond market, as a measure of fear, will be in a state of confusion as there are valid reasons for economic strength as well as economic panic. Volatility in yields is likely to be the norm in the year ahead.

INDICATOR #4: Commodity Prices

Although some pundits claim to be able to predict how interest rates will move commodities, I beg to differ. Oil, for example, is very much output driven (think OPEC), and recently we’ve been having output cuts among producers. As you can see in the image below, when I checked the newsmap yesterday, ‘Oil Surges as More Producers Join Output Cuts’ was the most-read news of the day.


A casual glance at the NewsMap reveals a heightened focus on oil production.
Source: Newsmap.jp

Generally speaking, if you look at the relationship between oil and real interest rates, we see very little correlation even over the very-long-term.

irIt’s hard to come to conclusions about how interest rates have affected commodity prices globally.
Source: cobank.com

More recently, we’ve seen commodity prices tank over the past 5 years despite interest rates remaining almost constant. I just did a simple google search on the price of DBC (the global commodity price ETF) and this is what happened in the past 5 years.

commm
A quick glance shows that commodity prices have fallen for 5 years.
Source: Google finance

To make an investment decision on commodities solely on interest rates isn’t wise. On a technical basis, commodities look like a good buy and I’ll be watching them closely to spot trading opportunities.

UP NEXT: THURSDAY’S RATE DECISION

If you aren’t already riding the bull market in stocks, it doesn’t make sense to enter now. Heroic bulls would want to enter now with a small profit target, and the world will be watching closely how the new year starts. Moreover, you won’t want to have too much exposure during the final FOMC meeting of 2016. Volatility on all other asset classes are expected, and I’ll be trading currencies, perhaps more regularly on an intra-day basis if I can’t find any good longer-term trends to ride on. All eyes will be on Thursday’s Rate Decision and the price action in the aftermath will be worth watching.

RESEARCH SOURCES & REFERENCES

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/15/when-the-fed-raises-rates-heres-what-happens.html
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/18/st-louis-fed-official-no-evidence-qe-boosted-economy.html
https://www.thestreet.com/story/13279476/1/what-happens-when-the-fed-hikes-interest-rates.html
http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/blogs/moneybox/2015/11/23/janet_yellen_responds_to_ralph_nader_s_sexist_letter/495620136-federal-reserve-chair-janet-yellen-testifies-before-the.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2.jpg
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/24/8-things-you-need-to-know-about-bear-markets.html
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/10/economist-harry-dent-says-dow-could-plunge-17000-points.html
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/edson-goulds-three-steps-and-a-tumble-rule
https://www.thebalance.com/inverted-yield-curve-3305856
http://www.cobank.com/Newsroom-Financials/~/media/Files/Searchable%20PDF%20Files/Newsroom%20Financials/Outlook/Outlook%202012/Outlook_10122.pdf

As I was preparing for the year ahead, I came across this interesting read in the news. Goldman Sachs had just released their top trade recommendations for the year 2017 as a response to a Trump win in the recent U.S elections, amid economic and political uncertainty. These trade ideas were birthed by recent developments in the major economies of the world, and I couldn’t help but recall what Goldman said in 2015, about 2016 being a year of economic gloom. Already, the S&P 500 is hovering at 2,200, up 9.4% for the year 2016.

goldmanImage Source: Bloomberg

“Goldman Sachs’ top strategists predict that stocks will once again disappoint next year. Goldman predicts the S&P 500 will go nowhere in the coming year, ending 2016 at 2,100.” – Fortune.com (November 2015)

Analysts can be wrong, and to be fair, very few expected the S&P to hit all-time highs. As traders know, we don’t expect to be right all the time. There were a number of great opportunities for bears to take profits even in the uptrend market we’ve seen this year. With information from 29 Nov 2016, the S&P 500 was about 100 points above what Goldman predicted for the year, and the graphic (a weekly chart of the S&P 500 index) below gives a clearer picture of this.

goldman-predictionImage Source: MetaTrader 4

I often read opinions of the market not because I need them, but because as a trader it is essential that I keep up to date with what the institutions are thinking. In the latest recommendation, Goldman recommended the following: (quoting the titles directly from Bloomberg’s report)

  1. “U.S. Dollar the Winner From Developed Market Populism”
  2. “Bet on Trump Getting More Upset About China’s currency”
  3. “Keep Calm and Carry the Right Emerging Market Currencies”
  4. “Long Emerging Market Stocks with ‘Insulated Exposure to Growth’ “
  5. “The Reflation Trade Has Legs”
  6. “Long European Dividend Growth”

What in the world do these ideas mean? Just in case it sounds too confusing, I have translated them into simpler bite-sized titbits below.

confusedImage Source: freepik.com

HERE ARE THE SIX TRADE IDEAS:

Trade Idea #1: Short the EUR/USD pair and GBP/USD pair

currencyImage Source: CleanFinancial.com

Goldman expects the US Dollar to rise. As such, shorting currency pairs with ‘USD’ at the back would express this adequately. Trump’s economic policies are expected to be growth-inducing. Stuff like great quantities of fiscal stimulus, protectionism (both in terms of foreign products and foreign people, haha) to boost local growth and employment, and not to forget, rising interest rates; all these increase demand for the US Dollar.

Uncertainty in Britain (because of the details of the Brexit process) and “populism in Europe” (another Donald Trump situation in Europe?) should “weigh on the pound and the euro”. Essentially, they mean the currency of Britain and Europe should be less in demand as compared to the US Dollar.

Trade Idea #2: Go long on the USD/CNY pair

globalImage Source: Globalriskinsights.com

China’s current currency regime is a fixed yuan with respect to a basket of other currencies, therefore a strong US Dollar should push the Yuan higher. Kind of the same logic as idea No.1.


Trade Idea #3:
Go long on emerging market currencies, like MXN, NOK and others

Following the U.S. election, a number of the higher-yielding currencies experienced a mini-meltdown. Nothing new; they’re just recommending taking a reversal trade on oversold currencies.

mxnnokHuge run-ups in USDMXN and USDNOK show major selling in emerging market currencies.
Image Source: MetaTrader 4


Trade Idea #4:
 Buy emerging market equities that don’t benefit much from U.S and China’s growth

Quite a straight-forward idea; countries like Brazil and India will probably continue to grow despite America and China’s antics, and they should be seen as safer places to park money.


Trade Idea #5:
 Bet on rising inflation by buying 10-year U.S. TIPS

Growth in the U.S should lead to re-introduction of inflationary pressures. Along with bullish expectations for energy prices, Goldman expects 2017 to be a year of inflation.


Trade Idea #6: 
Bet on rising dividends by buying Euro Stoxx 50 2018 dividend futures

Yes, you can not only bet on inflation, but on dividends rising. The Eurex actually offers futures contracts for people who want to bet on dividends rising. I’ve heard of other strange futures contracts like cheese, freight, gold volatility index futures, crack spread futures, but this is interesting.

In 2011, Goldman Sachs expressed their prediction for 2012 as “Overall, though, a volatile market, with little overall change, what we describe as ‘fat and flat,’ would be our central view for the year as a whole, but with things getting worse before they get better…”

In 2012, Goldman Sachs predicted the end of the gold bull market and an improved economy (as well as a bullish stock market), and accurately so. Well done for them. (check out the bullish move in 2013 in the chart below)

spAnd so Goldman Sachs predicted the bull market of 2013.
Image Source: MetaTrader 4

From an outsider’s point of view, it seems that Goldman could just be very, very good at predicting things. However, a quick google search will reveal that they are also incorrect in their calls at times, and this should humble any aspiring trader.

In my opinion, the end of the gold market of 2013 was a result of simple price action analysis. Statistically speaking, or using probabilistic reasoning, a sideways market was a reasonable prediction.

In the image below of the gold weekly chart, we can clearly see the multiple trend line breaks that 2012 was characterized by, and the subsequent sideways-bearish move in 2013. We are still in a sideways market on a multi-year basis.

bullGold experienced a bearish move after multiple trendline breaks in 2012.
Chart Source: MetaTrader 4

With all this in mind, what then should we be looking out for in 2017? Although trading themes are being churned out by analysts year after year, using simple price action strategies, the average investor can identify a few potential trade strategies to take for the upcoming year.

THREE SIMPLE IDEAS OF MY OWN:

1. U.S. STOCKS – CONTINUE BUYING ON DIPS

As most traders know, when the market is trending strongly, ride the trend until it proves itself otherwise. This simple strategy is what I applied on the USDJPY right after the recent U.S election results. In the chart below, we see 12 distinct buying opportunities spread out over 14 days. By simply riding on a strong uptrend, it is actually not too hard to watch your profits snowball – provided you have the patience to hold your trades.

usdjpy12 buying opportunities spotted on the USDJPY 1-hour chart
Chart Source: MetaTrader 4

On the S&P500, a strong trending bull market means buying on any dips is a profitable strategy. It doesn’t take a lot of analysis to realize that this is a high probability trade. Of course, as with any other trade, stop losses will take me out of the market immediately if the trend quickly reverses.

“What about a Santa Claus Rally?”

Graphic shows average monthly change in Standard and Poor’sChart Source: Stock Trader’s Almanac 2010

The statistics for Nov to Feb rallies in past years is pretty positive. Starting from 1950 to 2009, the average November-January rally brings in 4.2% returns. It seems buying on any dip from now till about February next year would be a statistically sound trade.

 

2. FADING OVERLY DEVALUED CURRENCIES

For those who aren’t aware, fading simply means taking the trade in the opposite direction of the trend. This seems like a contradiction to my previous trade idea, but it isn’t; in the context of clearly trending markets, going with the trend is the reasonable thing to do, and the trend sometimes lasts for much longer than one would expect. However, when the move is very, very quick, huge, and climactic, it has to end quickly as well.

In order to see the speed of the collapse, you can obtain intra-day charts of the USDCHF on that fateful day.

chfThe famous Swiss Franc crash and rebound of 2015.
Chart Source: MetaTrader 4

Returning to the devalued emerging market currencies, it is reasonable to assume that huge moves will come to an end, and a reversal trade (with a clear signal!) would make for a profitable bet.

 

3. PRUDENT ENTRIES IN OIL AND GOLD (WAIT!)

On the commodities front, the markets seem more sideways than trending. In such a case, it is prudent to look to trade near the extremes for a reasonable risk-reward ratio. Here’s the crude oil daily chart, and I’ve drawn two simple lines to aid in visual analysis:

crudeIn the case of crude oil, buying near the channel line makes sense.
Chart Source: MetaTrader 4

It’s hard to say where the crude oil could go. Although Goldman predicts it would pick up modestly, I’d rather wait for a strong bullish setup before making an entry. It’s perfectly fine if you are not comfortable entering the market; wait for clarity. It always comes.

For Gold, I had to zoom out a lot more on the charts to make sense of what was happening. Sure, it’s seen a huge dip recently (as a result of the U.S election), but I’ll wait for more confirmation before deciding what to do.

goldGold price chart from Sep 2013 to Nov 2016
Chart Source: MetaTrader 4

By the time the news reports a huge move in commodities, it’s too late. It’s much more logical to look at the charts yourself, and decide on an entry before the move happens; that’s the only way you can profit from the market.

WHAT ABOUT THE SINGAPORE STOCK MARKET?

The STI has been sideways for a couple of months now. This makes for very difficult trading, as the market changes direction many times within the month. I recommend staying clear of trading it until a clear trend develops.

stiChart Source: Tradingeconomics.com

For dollar-cost-averaging investors, this year would have been a very frustrating one indeed.

Using a simple excel sheet, I calculated what returns the investor would obtain if he had bought in any of the first six months this year, and held it to the current price (in November): (all prices used are closing prices for each month)

returnsBuyers of the Straits Times Index from March 2016 onwards would have seen measly returns.
Source: Yahoo finance (calculations done by author)

If you had bought the STI at the end of January, good for you; you would be up 11% on your investment. If you had bought at end February, you would be up 8.6% on your investment. However, the market situation isn’t good news for those who bought in the subsequent months, as shown in the diagram above. For those of you who need candlestick charts, here you go:

stiThe STI has been in a tight sideways market since July 2016; others may say it started in April 2016.
Chart Source: ChartNexus

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

I’ve shown that the Singapore market has been a tough one to trade in recent months, while opportunities were plentiful in the forex markets. Also, commodities have not asserted themselves in either direction yet, and the effect of a Trump presidency is still weighing heavily investors’ minds.

With that said, as I’ve always asserted, trading decisions are made using simple price action principles and must make logical sense. Goldman Sachs could be correct or wrong, and I could be right or wrong; what matters in the end is that the winning trades make more than the losing trades.

As Soros famously quips:

“It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong.” – George Soros

 

RESEARCH SOURCES & REFERENCES

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-18/here-are-goldman-sachs-top-trade-ideas-for-2017
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-17/goldman-reveals-its-top-trade-recommendations-2017
fortune.com/2015/11/25/goldman-sachs-stock-market-predictions-2016/
http://www.cleanfinancial.com/financial_images/trading/eur_usd_spread_betting_250x250.png
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/dec/22/goldman-sachs-forecast-for-2012
http://www.businessinsider.com/goldmans-2013-forecast-2012-12?IR=T&r=US&IR=T
http://www.investopedia.com/news/goldman-sachs-how-trade-first-year-trump-gs/