Reasons To Be Cautious Ahead of Trump’s Feb. 28 Speech?

Reasons To Be Cautious Ahead of Trump’s Feb. 28 Speech?

Subscribers to Tematica Investing received this commentary on Monday, Feb. 27 with specific instructions pertaining the Tematica Select List.

If you’ve missed our weekly Monday missive that is the Monday Morning Kickoff, we’d encourage you to pursue it later today as it offers both context and perspective on last week, including much talk about the Fed, and sets the stage for this week. We’ve got a lot of data coming at us, more corporate earnings that prominently feature our Cash-strapped Consumer and Fattening of the Population investing themes. There are a number of events and conferences as well, and before too long we’ll have some thoughts on this week’s Mobile World Congress, an event that meshes very well with our Connected Society, Disruptive Technology and Cashless Consumption investing themes. We expect to see a number of announcements ranging from new smartphone models, connected as well as autonomous vehicle developments, voice digital assistant initiatives, drones, and payment systems to name a few. We’ll be watching these with regard to a number of positions on the Tematica Select List,

As Mobile World Congress gets underway, however, we have another event that should capture investor attention. After presenting what’s called a “skinny budget” today, (which we view as the “opening bid budget”) tomorrow night, President Trump will be speaking to a joint session of Congress. Typically this is referred to as the State of the Union Address, but it’s not called that for a newly elected president. Trump has already shared that he will be talking about health care reform – “We’re going to be speaking very specifically about a very complicated subject…I think we have something that is really going to be excellent.”

As we’ve said before, we’re optimistic and hopeful, but thus far it seems Republicans have yet to find common ground on which to move forward on this. In addition to healthcare reform, investors, including us, will be listening for more details on Trump’s fiscal policies. The issue is speeches such as this tend to be lacking in specifics, and we would be rather surprised to see Trump deviate from that tradition.  Moreover, we’ve already seen the Treasury Secretary push out the timetable for a tax report to late summer, and Trump himself suggested that we are not likely to see his tax reform proposal until after the healthcare reform has been addressed.

As we shared in this morning’s Monday Morning Kickoff, with the S&P 500 trading at 18x expected earnings, it looks like the stock market is out over its ski tips. Two drivers of the market rally over the coming months have been the improving, but not stellar economic data and the hope that President Trump’s policies will jumpstart the economy. We’ve been saying for some time that the soonest we’d likely get any meaningful impact from Trump’s policies would be the back half of 2017. That’s been our perspective, but as we know from time to time, the stock market can get ahead of itself, and we see this as one of those times. The stock market’s move reflects expectations for an accelerating economy – it’s the only way to get the “E” that is earnings growing enough to make the market’s current valuation more palatable.

One of the common mistakes we see with investors is they almost always only focus on the upside to be had, without keeping an eye on the downside risks. If Trump is successful when it comes to the domestic economy, and we’d love nothing more than to see acceleration here, earnings will likely grow materially.

One of the potential risks we see this week is the market being disappointed by the lack of details that Trump will share tomorrow night, which might be read as a push out in timing relative to what the stock market expects. As we said on last week’s Cocktail Investing podcast, resetting expectations is a lot like children that open presents on Christmas morning to find something other than what they expected — it’s far from a harmonious event and more like one that is met with mental daggers, confusion, and second guessing. In short, not a fun time at all.

Again, our thought is better to be safe than sorry given where the market currently sits. Some investors may want to utilize stop losses across positions like Universal Display (OLED), CSX Corp. (CSX), Skyworks Solutions (SWKS), Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and others that have been robust performers thus far in 2017 in order to preserve gains should the stock market get its post-Trump speech jiggy on. More aggressive investors may wish to utilize inverse ETFs, such as ProShares Short S&P500 ETF (SH), ProShares Short Dow30 ETF (DOG), or ProShares Short QQQ (PSQ), while traders implement call options on those inverse ETFs or employ the use of select puts.



Entering Choppy Waters as Earnings Velocity Picks Up

Entering Choppy Waters as Earnings Velocity Picks Up

Actions from this post

Ratings changes included in this dated post

  • Maintain DOG, SH, RWM as “BUY”: We expect the volatility of the markets to once again be upon us, not just because the S&P Short Range Oscillator closed yesterday at 9.2 percent (compared to just 3.9 percent a week ago), but because that Oscillator is now back to 2x overbought levels. We continue to rate DOG, SH and RWM inverse ETFs Buy at current levels.
  • ADDING DIS MAY $105 CALLS: We are adding Disney (DIS) May $105 calls(DIS160520C00105000) that closed last night at $1.57 to the Tematica Pro Select List. We would buy these calls up to $1.85 and to minimize potential downside we are setting a stop loss at $1.15.
  • ADDING XLY MAY $80 CALLS: We are also adding Consumer Discretionary SPDR ETF (XLY) May $80 calls (XLY160520C00080000) that closed last night at $1.24 to the Tematica Pro Select List. We would be comfortable adding to the position up to $1.50; to manage downside risk, we are setting a stop loss at $1.00.
  • CONTINUE TO HOLD PCAR SHORT CALL: Data supporting our short call in Paccar (PCAR) shares continues to mount, but a key determinant of whether or not we scale into the position will be found in quarterly results from heavy truck retailer Rush Enterprises (RUSHA) due this morning.

Earnings season kicks into high gear this week. Despite the headline print of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has climbed just over 1 percent over the last week given the moves in the 30 stocks that comprise the index, we’re seeing choppy waters emerge following March quarter results from Netflix (NFLX), IBM (IBM) and Intel (INTC). Intel in particular shared it will cut 11 percent of its workforce as it shifts focus from PCs to other markets including data centers and the Internet of Things. To us here at Tematica, that means Intel is finally catching up with what is driving the Connected Society. 

Intel is not alone in announcing layoffs — also this week Nordstrom (JWN) shared it will cut 400 jobs at its corporate headquarters, which raises questions over spending habits of more well off consumers. To us, it means consumers are turning elsewhere to shop —another confirming datapoint of not just our Cashstrapped Consumer thematic, but also the Connected Society — and we continue to see Amazon (AMZN) as a primary beneficiary (see more on this below). We’ve also started to see more ratings downgrades on the likes of Boeing (BA), Bloomin Brands (BLMN), Intel, Badger Meter (BMI), Spirit Airlines (SAVE) and Toll Brothers (TOL) to name a few.

In short, we expect the volatility of the markets to once again be upon us, not just because the S&P Short Range Oscillator closed yesterday at 9.2 percent —compared to 3.9 percent just a week ago — but because that Oscillator is now back to 2x overbought levels.

To us this means, continuing to hold onto our heeding positions that are our inverse ETFs — ProShares Short Dow30 ETF (DOG), ProShares Short S&P 500 (DOG) and ProShares Short Russell2000 (RWM) — as well as our more defensive positions in Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) and iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT).

Adding Disney Calls and Another Call Trade on the House of Mouse, Marvel, Lucas

Despite the growing gloom, there are still bull markets to be had with companies poised to benefit. One of those is easily found in our Content is King investing theme and in yesterday’s Tematica Investing we added shares of content and merchandising champ Disney (DIS) to the Tematica Select List. If you missed it, you can read it here, but in a nutshell Disney has several powerful catalysts that have started to kick in thus far in 2016 with several more coming over the next several quarters. The more well known ones are found on the upcoming slate of Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar movies that range from Captain America, Dr. Strange, Star Wars and Finding Dory. Those films will drive merchandizing and other key content platforms, such as gaming and music to name a few. Disney has also adopted surge pricing at its existing theme parks and in June it will open its largest park in China dubbed Shanghai China.

From our perspective these layered catalysts kick in over the next few months, and while we see DIS shares as a core holding for our Content is King investing theme, we see each catalyst adding to the share price.

In order to capture greater returns, we’re adding the DIS May $105 calls(DIS160520C00105000) that closed last night at $1.57 to the Tematica Pro Select List. We are comfortable buying these calls up to $1.85; to limit downside in the position, we are setting a stop loss at $1.15.

Adding a Multi-Thematic ETF Call

Also in yesterday’s Tematica Investing we shared another way to invest and capture the upside we see in DIS shares — through the Consumer Discretionary SPDR ETF (XLY), which counts DIS shares as its third largest holding behind (AMZN) and Home Depot (HD). In addition to meaningful upside to be had with DIS shares, we see Amazon benefitting from the continued shift to online and mobile shopping that is a key tenant of our Connected Society investing theme, while Home Depot is a natural beneficiary of the spring season. Other key holdings of XLY include Comcast (CMSCA), McDonald’s (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX) and each of these are potential candidates in our Connected Society, Fattening of the Population and Affordable Luxury/Guilty Pleasure investing themes, respectively.

Given the upside to be had at Disney and these other core holdings, we are adding the XLY May $80 calls (XLY160520C00080000) that closed last night at $1.24 to the Tematica Pro Select List. We would be comfortable adding to the position up to $1.50; to manage downside risk, we are setting a stop loss at $1.00. 

Rush Enterprises to Give Direction on Paccar Short

Along with the market melt up, we’ve witnessed the short in heavy truck company Paccar (PCAR) move against us these last several days despite weak fundamentals. The most notable was the disappointing March Industrial Production reading, which marked the 6th month of contrition out of the last 7 months. In the below chart, we see the historically tight correlation between the year over year change in Industrial Production has diverged in 2016, but as we have seen time and time again, at some point fundamentals catch up with a climbing stock price.

We see the weakening fundamentals for Paccar that include lackluster economic activity, falling heavy truck orders and weak guidance from Paccar competitor Navistar (NAV) all weighing on Paccar’s March quarter performance and current quarter outlook.


We will get further insight into the tone of the heavy truck market and Paccar’s prospects this morning when Rush Enterprises (RUSHA), a retailer of commercial vehicles and related services, which includes a network of commercial vehicle dealerships, reports its March quarter earnings. In the company’s 2015 10-K filing with the SEC, Rush notes that “We are dependent upon PACCAR for the supply of Peterbilt trucks and parts, the sale of which generates the majority of our revenues.” As such, we see Rush’s results as a guiding hand for what Paccar will likely say when it reports its March quarter results next Tuesday (April 28).

After analyzing Rush’s quarterly results and digesting comments on its related earnings conference call, we will assess the prospects of adding to our Paccar short position and/or revisiting a put position in PCAR shares. Should we make any such additions to the Tematica Select List we will issue a special alert detailing the specifics of our actions.

Recap of Action Items from this Week

  • Continue to Hold inverse ETF’s DOG, SH and RWM, as well as defensive ETF TLT.
  • Adding DIS May $105 calls (DIS160520C00105000) up to $1.85 with a stop loss at $1.15.
  • Adding XLY May $80 calls (XLY160520C00080000) up to $1.50 with a stop loss at $1.00.
  • Continue to Hold short position in PCAR