OSE: Time to increase the equity weights again

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 I asked whether it was time to tank up or run away, as we were breaching negative signals in Technical Analysis (TA). Now we're seeing interesting things happening again, so it is time for an update.

But first of all, the prerequisite disclaimer: I would never recommend using TA as the only foundation for decisionmaking. But it still is a nice addition to the rest of the tools in the portfolio , and I do believe it can provide information , in particular in terms of being a proxy for market psychology.

I made a reference to expecting it to be the smart move for the younger part of the population (with excess cash) to invest in the equity markets in my former blog post. Lets look at some charts for this.

The past couple of days has been very interesting with a breakout of a negative trend tunnel in RSI 14 and RSI 21, as well as closing over the 45 day moving average yesterday (45dMA: 222.39 vs Close: 223.58). The next solid resistance isn't seen untill the fibonnaci retractment point around 265-270, granted we have some resistance also around 235.

The 200 day moving average is 303.55 and we have 255 day MA at 337.27. A move back to 305 from 223.58 signifies a 36.4 percent increase from today. At the same time there seems to be increasing reasons to believe there is a limited downside. I believe we saw the bottom for this round with the lowest close 188.23 on 21st of November 2008 and an intra low the day before of 180.4. The close of 188.23 is as such 15.8 percent down from today's levels (or inverse, we've increased 18.8 percent since that close).

That said, I do believe we'll see continuing horizontal movement for a while more. But in order to reduce the risk of a bad entry point I prefer spreading my purchases over a longer time horizon, and I do believe

  1. The OSE is attractively priced from a longer term horizon
  2. Investors should have an overweight on OBX (25 most traded shares)
  3. A smaller part of the portfolio should be placed in some high risk shares that have taken excessive hits during the financial crisis
  4. Primary Capital Certificates are a nice defensive contribution to the portfolio with a high dividend yield (e.g. MORG with 11.5 percent div yield (20 NOK over 173 NOK close, note personal bias towards this bank))

That said, in many ways I hope that we don't see a too steep growth over the next couple of months, as that will signify a high probability of the upturn being a bear-market rally.. What I would like to see is a reduced volatility with high volumes (we've seen a volume increase over the past few weeks) established in the 215-225 range. The important thing is getting a higher ratio of investors to traders in the market (long-term capital). And there is indeed quite a lot of money sitting on the sidelines waiting to get in.

And with that rant I want to wish people a nice weekend and good investing!

When others are frightened, you should be greedy

It has been a while since I updated this blog, or for that matter did any authoring on any of the other sites that wasn't promoted by technical bug fixes or feature enhancement, and in all fairness little as such. Well, it is never too late to change, so hopefully I'll get back to posting more regularly again.

The financial markets are more interesting to follow than ever before in my history of dealing with them, with an extraordinary volatility and moving at a speed that is worthy of the internet age. We've witnessed a black swan event that has gotten most quants to question the assumption of normal distribution of return (about time), which will re-write financial theory as most know it.

I wrote in my post The fall and decline of USA and the USD, Feb, 2008 that

And being competitive internationally is something the US of A has neglected for quite some time. If we e.g. look at the the automaker industry and agriculture; the political reign has been dominated by protectionism and neglected modernization, supported by, to mention one factor, strong lobbying from worker's unions.

If we look at today's situation; where USA has a net negative savings rate (being indebted on average), China has a savings rate above 50%. Politicians are already trying to bring the savings rate down and support consumption rather than savings, in order to offset negative consumption growth from the US. And we are indeed seeing a slightly higher effort in savings, if only it had happened 15 years ago.

My short term targets for the USD were obviously wrong, as I didn't take into account the importance of USD as a safe heaven. But it does give a sense of Schadenfreude , or sense of pleasure on others behalf, to see that at least some of what I pointed out as an issue with USA actually turned out to have this effect. And longer term I'm still bearish the dollar using much of the same arguments to back it up.

The situation highlights the importance of information gathering from multiple sources and across fields of expertise. Today's markets are as much driven by psychology (fear) than it is by objective fundamental analysis of the firms.

For many it is also a question of philosophy (tried reading Being and Nothingness by Sartre, about existentialism? ). In times like these, fortunes are lost and fortunes are gained. I intend to use this time to do the latter, build a foundation for the rest of my life.

The troubled population is people about to go into, or that already is on their pension with a degree of 401k-like investment or other form of contribution based pension plan or a high degree of the pension savings in financial assets. Or even pension holders with a high degree of cash/liquidity at hand that due to the time horizon consideration will (and should) remain in such moneymarket instruments. But why is the latter group affected? Even if we exclude the alternative cost that the younger part can gain in such a situation, we see a situation with low interest rates in the moneymarket. Combined with an expectancy of a high inflation to come, a situation where debt is profitable. But this group has spent their life paying down the debt, and often find themselves with a religious wish to avoid having it in the first place.

For the younger part of the population the situation is more promising. I have no issue recommending a young individual with money to set aside for saving (p.s. I wouldn't recommend this for saving for a house in 5 years) to start a savings plan to buy into a mutual fund ( preferably index funds, there are plenty of nice Exchange Traded Funds for this), especially in the Norwegian markets. The important thing is that there should be a balance in the weights of the different asset classes, but this is a good time to increase the weight on equities and bonds (retail clients can get exposure to this through money-market funds).

As Warren Buffet has stated (paraphrased); When others are frightened, you should be greedy.

OSE: Time to tank up, or to run away?

The equity markets are more volatile than they have been in a while, and only risky capital should be used to increase exposure at this time, but is now the proper time to tank up and wait for an upswing, or should one run towards bonds or bank placements for a while more?

Amongst others the norwegian branch of the Icelandic bank Glitnir offers 6.5 pct nominal interest, and 7 pct nominal interest if willing to bind the capital untill 03.06.2009. This is money covered by the norwegian bank savings fund, so considered close to risk free up till the limit of rougly 400,000 USD per person per bank, that is, if spreading across two banks the limit is 800,000 et cetera. So considereing risk free rate at around 7 pct, and a risk premium of 8-10 percent, one has to expect at least 16-20 pct gains on alternative placements to want to enter.

If we look a bit at the development of the Oslo Stock Exchange (click image for larger size):

OSEBX.I closed at 435.73 today, after what can only be characterized as a couple of hopeless months, bringing us back to march 2007, if looking for another day with close at this level. As such this is well below the 200 day moving average of 461.71, but with a potential support level if trying to make a trend out of the turns in late january and early march of this year
The interesting thing is that norwegian companies still shows some promising earnings potential, so these levels, in theory, should offer some nice P/E ratios for people looking to invest. The obvious question is the investment horizon; One should not invest anything in equities if not willing to stay in the market for at least 5 years, and it is the volatility in the market that over time should pay off.

US shares closing higher with financial and healthcare stocks climbing the most should help tomorrow at least. Falling oil price taking away some pressure from the US market and worse than expected US pending home sales could not stop today’s recovery. SP500 closing the day 1.7 % higher. DJIA up 1.35% with Bank of America the best performing blue chip up 9.30%. Nasdaq100 up 2.40 %.

In the after-market Alcoa (AA) just posted better-than expected 2Q EPS of 66C vs analyst estimates at 65C and at the time of writing the futures are pushing upwards, which should at least make tomorrow an interesting day.