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September 16, 2019
Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 16, 2019

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 16, 2019

The Weekly Summary

Every so often, investors benefit from a simple gut check. When our stocks are going up, it's nice to verify that the gains are truly justified and there's room for more upside when the market winds blow in the right direction. And when our stocks go down, it's even more important to make sure that it's just the wind and not something fundamentally wrong with the underlying business or our calculations.

That's the kind of week it's been for us. While the S&P 500 kept climbing, the high-growth stocks that dominate our universe took a significant step back after months of outperformance. The Aggressive group dropped 9% and our High Technology portfolio fell 5%, overcoming mild strength elsewhere. Simultaneously, the recent flight to dividend stocks unwound as hints of inflation softened the Fed rate cut outlook, taking our REIT and Healthcare recommendations with it. Caught between the frying pan and the fire, the BMR universe as a whole took a step back to regroup.

We're still up 35% YTD compared to a 21% gain for the market as a whole. The High Technology group is still up a breathtaking 75% YTD. We aren't crying. With that level of outperformance, our stocks have plenty of cushion to absorb a few percentage points worth of reversal. Nonetheless, it's prompted a lot of rechecking throughout our portfolios. You're seeing the first results of that new round of analysis here. So far, we see no reason to change course.

But it's worth reflecting a bit on the change in the market weather. Almost exactly a year ago, warnings from Big Tech companies like Apple and Amazon triggered what eventually became a full-fledged 20% market slide. It took a full 12 months for the S&P 500 to recover its record-breaking nerve and get back to the age-old job of conquering new peaks.

Of course back then interest rates were moving up instead of down. Otherwise, the only thing that's really changed is that investors have now tolerated a full year of volatility, twisted Treasury yields, trade war and flat corporate earnings. The question now is how far their patience will stretch before they need proof of better times ahead.

From what we've seen, it can stretch a long way, especially with other asset classes yielding less than what ambient inflation steals from purchasing power in a typical year. Bonds, cash and gold are safe but don't offer the upside that stocks, despite their risk, offer in the long term. And as a result, we suspect we'll see money keep coming in from the sidelines to keep the stock rally alive, even if it's on a stop-and-start basis until positive catalysts emerge.

The Fed has become one of those catalysts. The next rate policy meeting ends on Wednesday and we're expecting at least a 0.25% cut. From there, we aren't ruling anything out. Odds are good Jay Powell and his fellow central bankers are in a similar position. They're watching the economy and the market. If it looks like the mood needs a little support, they're in a place where they can provide it.

We may need that support in the coming week if Saudi oil distribution remains shut down for long. Drone attacks on a key field have taken 5.7 million barrels a day out of the global supply chain, reducing the amount of petroleum available by 5% . . . roughly what Iran and Iraq pump together. Oil futures are soaring. We're pleased that we've remained bullish on [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] for moments like this. Whatever happens, that fund should be a ray of light until the market mood improves.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know! Let's get to work. It's going to be an interesting week.

Key Market Indicators

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BMR Companies and Commentary

The Big Picture: Short Sellers Take Cover

We discussed the market’s strategic gyrations in recent morning News Flashes but want to highlight a few of the most specific swings in sentiment around the stocks we recommend. After all, when money reverses direction for no clear reason, investors need to look deeper to determine whether the core proposition has shifted or just the market weather.

Only five BMR companies missed our earnings target last quarter. They’re up an average of 5% since releasing their numbers, so clearly there’s no direct correlation between fundamental disappointment and the direction stocks move in response. In fact, the BMR stocks that beat our forecasts actually dropped a little this season in line with the market as a whole.

Likewise, hitting the mark on revenue made no real difference in terms of the direction our stocks have moved this season. And in most cases, guidance for the coming quarterly confession cycle has held up better than usual. Strong stocks are getting stronger, but the highest flyers spent the last month under a cloud all the same.

Part of the pressure on these companies is pure macroeconomic dread. The recession narrative exploded last month as hedge fund algorithms interpreted the inverting yield curve as an automatic contraction signal, triggering liquidation of speculative positions as portfolio managers shifted into more secure postures. Suddenly growth fell from favor, taking many BMR stocks along with it.

A look at [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] reveals what’s going on here. The growth outlook for this company has not changed and unless you assume that the global economy is going over a cliff, management is still on track to turn what we suspect will be 35% revenue growth next year into at least 65% earnings expansion. None of the dozen big Wall Street banks that track the stock have concluded that growth profile has flattened out one bit. If anything, they still tell their clients this stock is worth at least $140.

And yet that math no longer stretches the way it did a week ago when this was indeed a $145 stock. What’s changed is investors’ comfort with paying up to 190X earnings or 19X revenue for a company growing this fast. Again, cash flow shows no sign of deterioration but after the recent selloff this and similar stocks have cooled down dramatically from the “price” end of the price-per-earnings or price-per-sales calculations.

We see this as just another turn in the market weather. When the sentimental pendulum swings back, this company can command at least $145 again and investors who buy the dip will be happy. But in the meantime, BMR subscribers have done extremely well here, so even if this correction continues for weeks or even months, there’s little reason to complain. This was a $58 stock when we added it to our Buy List back in November. It’s still up nearly 90% this year alone.

For now, however, the short sellers will remain in control until they realize they’ve run out of rope. Short interest here has climbed to 11% of the stock, which means that sooner or later those investors need to commit $735 million to cover their positions and take their money. If they can’t do it gradually, they’ll need to do it fast, which raises the prospect of a squeeze if the stock starts moving up this week.

Quite a few of our recommendations are in a similar situation right now. We’d point to aggressive growth stories that have faced fierce headwinds after reporting perfectly reasonable 2Q19 numbers. It’s no coincidence that short sellers have committed to buy 9-11% of each stock, so there’s no reason for us to liquidate our positions here and make their victory any easier.

And then there’s [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY], where short interest has swelled to a huge and unsustainable 15% of the overall company. Institutional investors own 15% of the stock so even small positions like ours can make a difference in whether the shorts get what they need. If we hold on, we’ll see more sudden moves to the upside to balance the pain we’ve absorbed recently . . . and then the stocks will get back to work.

After all, these six stocks are still up an average of 30% YTD, beating the S&P 500 by 10 percentage points. We're the ones in a position of strength, and judging from the wild rebound [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] launched last week, the short sellers should be the ones who are nervous. If you've been looking for a chance to expand your holdings of any of these stocks, now is the time. Remember, if the fundamental picture changes, we'll tell you. And unless that picture changes, it's just the wind blowing against extremely constructive cash flow trends.

NOTE: In our weekly paid subscription Newsletter, we do between 5 and 7 SnapShots and also support regular Research Reports. The last three stocks we recommended are already up 5% apiece. Plus, we have the Weekly High Yield Investor, whereby we discuss the 17 stocks in our High Yield and REIT Portfolios.

And to top it all off, we send News Flashes each day during the week. Got a question about any stock on the market? We'll answer. So if your favorite stock reports earnings or there is significant news, you will hear about it here first. If you want the whole picture, join the thousands of Bull Market Report readers who are making money in the stock market and subscribe here:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

It’s only $249 a year, and later this year we will be raising it to $499 or even $999 a year, it is just THAT valuable. But we will lock you in for life at this lower price. 

Good Investing,

Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

Subscribe HERE:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

Just $249 a year, soon to go up to $499. But you are guaranteed the SAME PRICE forever.

September 9, 2019
Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 9, 2019

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 9, 2019

The Weekly Summary

The week after a market holiday is usually frenetic and this one was no exception, packing at least five days of volatility into an abbreviated calendar. Relief was the strongest note driving the S&P 500 and our stocks up close to 2%, with news that China has agreed to participate in trade negotiations in October cutting through the global clouds.

Closer to home, August job creation numbers were decent . . . a little lower than some hoped, but well within the range that usually reflects an ongoing economic expansion. We're a long way from recession territory even though corporate hiring plans remain on hold while the world waits for the trade war to resolve. In the meantime, any slippage in the job market will strengthen the Federal Reserve's argument to keep lowering interest rates in the absence of inflation.

We're less than 10 days from the next Fed meeting now. If we get the 0.25% cut most investors expect, it probably translates into roughly a 3.5% bump up for the S&P 500. Catch the market mood in the right place and that's going to take stocks back to record levels. It's hard to complain about that.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know!

Key Market Indicators

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BMR Companies and Commentary

The Big Picture: The Sector Map Spins

With earnings stalled across the S&P 500 as a whole for the past nine months, most of the market activity this year is best interpreted as Wall Street’s effort to pivot to match changing investment priorities. Popular growth sectors are currently out of favor as their expansion hits a wall. And with defensive themes already looking rich, there isn’t a lot of “value” around in the traditional sense.

However, a month from now the pendulum can easily swing again, pulling cash away from today’s hot spots and pushing it back into areas of the market that don’t look attractive at all. We’ve seen it play out again and again over the year so far and will undoubtedly see the cycle continue until clear leadership emerges.

Cut through the cycle and one thing is clear. Investors fleeing declining yields in the bond market are hunting replacements for lost income, parking money in dividend-paying stocks instead of rolling it into newly issued Treasury debt. They don’t want to take on a lot of additional risk in the process, so only the safest economic havens have benefited.

Over the last 12 months, the Utilities are up 15%, which is a staggering rally for a sector that rarely moves at all. We haven’t bothered with these stocks for two reasons. First, our more growth-oriented recommendations have done much better. Second, the Utilities don’t actually pay much. Dividends across the sector only added up to 4% a year ago and now that the stocks have rallied they don’t even pay 3% a year. That’s not worth locking in.

Similar logic carries to the Consumer Staples and Real Estate sectors, both of which have rallied 13% over the last 12 months. We love Real Estate because the yields tend to be much higher and a year ago the stocks were deeply depressed. Where are the REIT bears now? We don’t hear them.

Otherwise, it’s been a dull year for the market. Technology has gained ground because that’s where the long-term growth is. Consumer Discretionary stocks have also done well because that’s where Amazon is. And Communications is all about Social Media stocks recovering from a terrible 1H18. Healthcare, Materials, Industrials, Financials and especially Energy have all suffered.

Again, this isn’t about relative growth or value. Healthcare, for example, had a huge 2Q19, with the sector as a whole reporting 9% stronger earnings than what we saw the previous year. That’s usually a catalyst to push the stocks into a rally. This time around, the group went nowhere. The Financials told a similar story.

For the long term, the Financials are also extremely attractive on a pure earnings basis. The big Banks and Insurance carriers are still growing at a healthy 5% rate, but as long as the yield curve is unsettled few investors want to go near the stocks. The sector barely commands a 13X earnings multiple now, half what we see in most other areas of the market. Energy doesn’t look much stronger. They’ll recover, but until they do, we see little point in widening our sector-weight Special Opportunities exposure to either group, no matter how “cheap” they look today. (We’re not fond of that word.)

So what does this mean? If you tried to capture growth this year on a sector level, you’ve been disappointed. Our strategy of selecting the right stocks regardless of sector has paid off a lot better. BMR recommendations have climbed 20% over the past 12 months. And while we're heavy on Technology, that sector as a whole has been no prize. Going all over the market map has given us the freedom to outperform. We're looking forward to more, even if the market as a whole keeps grinding its gears.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know!

NOTE: In our weekly paid subscription Newsletter, we do between 5 and 7 SnapShots and also support regular Research Reports. The last three stocks we recommended are already up 5% apiece. Plus, we have the Weekly High Yield Investor, whereby we discuss the 17 stocks in our High Yield and REIT Portfolios.

And to top it all off, we send News Flashes each day during the week. Got a question about any stock on the market? We'll answer. So if your favorite stock reports earnings or there is significant news, you will hear about it here first. If you want the whole picture, join the thousands of Bull Market Report readers who are making money in the stock market and subscribe here:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

It’s only $249 a year, and later this year we will be raising it to $499 or even $999 a year, it is just THAT valuable. But we will lock you in for life at this lower price. 

Good Investing,

Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

Subscribe HERE:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

Just $249 a year, soon to go up to $499. But you are guaranteed the SAME PRICE forever.

September 3, 2019
Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 3, 2019

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: September 3, 2019

The Weekly Summary

Last week brought a volatile month to a relatively quiet close, with stocks recovering a lot of lost ground in an almost-uninterrupted surge. Evidently concerns about the Treasury yield curve inverting were only a smoke screen for investors who were simply bored with the diplomatic dithering around the trade war and looking for a reason to park their assets. Now that summer is over, Wall Street is ready to get back to work.

Admittedly, the yield curve is still inverted, earnings for S&P 500 companies have gone nowhere for three quarters in a row and the trade war casts as long a shadow over the global economy as ever. However, that's nothing new. The curve flattened out a year ago and tariffs have been in force for roughly the same period of time. Anyone who bought the market then and sold last month has to reckon with the fact that the fundamentals didn't change in the meantime.

The only thing that changed was sentiment. That's why we suspect last month was more a matter of exhaustion than actual dread. After all, the Fed has already relaxed interest rates once and is now only two weeks from what most of us suspect will be another rate cut. The environment is more aggressively weighted to the upside than it has been all year.

We suspect the S&P 500 will recover the 1.6% it is down from July soon. From there, the clock starts ticking before a fresh earnings season gives the market its next real shot at year-over-year traction, earnings growth and ultimately sustainable upside. As far as we're concerned, the party never stopped for our stocks, at least from a fundamental perspective. When the market as a whole gets back in the groove, we're looking forward to what will follow.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! Want a free trial? Let us know!

 

 

Key Market Indicators

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BMR Companies and Commentary

The Big Picture: No Earnings Recession Here

While we’re still eagerly awaiting one more report to wrap up our 2Q19 scorecard, for all practical purposes it’s time to start looking ahead to the cycle that starts six weeks from now. Once again, our outlook is strong even though the broad market has nothing to get excited about lately.

Given the headwinds blowing against Technology and Energy and the broader drag of unsettled trade policy, the S&P 500 is going to have a hard time avoiding a third quarter of year-over-year earnings decline. It’s not about a deteriorating economy. Revenue remains robust. Demand isn’t softening. Only the margins are under pressure.

However, a little pressure on the margins is enough to eliminate any immediate urgency around buying the market as a whole. Those stocks aren’t likely to race ahead of the fundamentals before the companies actually start raising the bottom line. The first realistic window for that happening opens in January, which in market terms is a long time away.

And then there are the stocks we recommend. Compared to what could easily become 3% lower earnings for the S&P 500, the BMR universe is currently tracking 13% growth in the current quarter. That’s more than enough to justify a rally season and even a little urgency to grab the most dynamic companies.

We admit that all of these numbers are just averages. A lot of our companies are coming off big growth spurts so the 3Q19 cycle will reflect some year-over-year declines. Amazon, Twitter and Twilio are currently in that category. They need a rest and have strong enough long-term profiles that we can afford to give it to them.

Others like Apple, Blackstone and Dropbox have already weathered a few quarters of margin pressure but as management pivots the comparisons are getting better. They’re on the edge of getting their growth grooves back. When they do, we’ll be here. Until then, however, the stocks are going to stay in a lower gear.

As usual, Technology is where the extremes are. We see the fastest overall growth in the High Technology portfolio, with its concentration of companies that are following dynamic business models at a much earlier stage than today’s Silicon Valley giants. Their glory years are still ahead, and they’re moving at high speed to make it happen.

Those giants dominate our Stocks For Success list, where we’re expecting only slightly better 3Q19 results than the market as a whole . . . good enough to outperform but not a recipe for a huge rally in the next few months. And then there’s the Aggressive list, where management continues to sacrifice immediate profit in order to capture massive revenue gains while they can.

Then there are the REITs, which are all over the map because of the way Real Estate accounting works to write down property values while passing most of the tangible income back to shareholders. Our recommendations here are tracking up to 340% earnings growth and down to 60% earnings deterioration, along with the full range of results in between. Even if we factor them out as too erratic on a quarter-by-quarter basis, we’re still looking for significant growth throughout our universe.

That’s what it takes to keep BMR stocks moving in the bullish direction even if the market as a whole stalls. All in all, 13% more profit than what these companies delivered last year logically translates into 13% upside for the stocks once investors are back in a buying mood.

The stocks we’ve had throughout the last year still need to gain 10% before hitting their collective peak. Some have soared while others have a lot of ground left to make up, but on a growth-adjusted basis multiples in our universe are much more attractive than ever.

The market as a whole, on the other hand, is clinging to a 4% year-over-year gain even though earnings have declined. That’s almost entirely a factor of more relaxed rate policy. If not for the Fed, there’d be no reason for the S&P 500 to make any headway at all.

Remember, the Fed is our friend as well. Lower interest rates help BMR companies as much as they help everyone else. And the math is clear. Everything else being equal, would you rather be in stocks with historical headroom and positive growth, or those that justify near-record levels with fundamentals that look stagnant at best?

Quarter after quarter, the companies we recommend keep moving forward. We’ve seen that translate into a lot of upside already, but as the fundamentals move up, the stocks inevitably follow. The rest is simply a matter of riding out the market’s mood swings.

NOTE: In our weekly paid subscription Newsletter, we do between 5 and 7 SnapShots and also support regular Research Reports. The last three stocks we recommended are already up 5% apiece. Plus, we have the Weekly High Yield Investor, whereby we discuss the 17 stocks in our High Yield and REIT Portfolios.

And to top it all off, we send News Flashes each day during the week. Got a question about any stock on the market? We'll answer. So if your favorite stock reports earnings or there is significant news, you will hear about it here first. If you want the whole picture, join the thousands of Bull Market Report readers who are making money in the stock market and subscribe here:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

It’s only $249 a year, and later this year we will be raising it to $499 or even $999 a year, it is just THAT valuable. But we will lock you in for life at this lower price. 

Good Investing,

Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

Subscribe HERE:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

Just $249 a year, soon to go up to $499. But you are guaranteed the SAME PRICE forever.

August 26, 2019
Bull Market Report Investor Notes: August 26, 2019

Bull Market Report Investor Notes: August 26, 2019

The Weekly Summary

The market recovery that started when calmer heads prevailed on Monday evaporated on Friday as comforting words from the Federal Reserve were unable to cut through new tariffs from China and tough talk from the White House. As we write this, it's looking like tomorrow will be another down day.

We've seen a lot worse. Admittedly, it's not fun to see what looked like a promising week slip away, leaving the S&P 500 and our recommendations down around 1.5%, with another 1% decline brewing overnight. However, as long as the economy remains relatively robust and corporate earnings hold up, there's no reason to get nervous.

The Fed is still our friend. The next interest rate cut may be only three weeks away. We also doubt that the market has had time to fully appreciate last month's rate cut just three weeks ago. Until that happens, the situation looks no worse than what we faced when summer 2018 came to an end.

Stocks are fairly valued relative to future growth prospects. Taxes are low. Expectations are realistic. And yes, the trade war continues. None of this is new. None of it has changed. The only thing that's changed is that investors and corporate executives alike are getting frustrated with a lack of clear guidance from Washington. Until we get clarity, stocks are stalled at least until the next earnings cycle starts in mid-October. We're willing to wait through a few stormy weeks to reap the rewards ahead.

There’s always a bull market here at The Bull Market Report! This week we're providing two separate "Big Picture" views, one tactical and one that's more strategic. The High Yield Investor reviews two of our most defensive recommendations if you're looking to pivot to the sidelines, but that's for subscribers only. Likewise, updates on our Stocks For Success (up an average of 103% since we started coverage, beating the S&P YTD by 10%) are behind the paywall. Want a free trial? Let us know!

Key Market Indicators

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BMR Companies and Commentary

The Big Picture: Splunk's Acquisition Agitation

While most investors would be happy to see their chosen stocks keep making money forever, others get caught in a mindset where every consideration vanishes but the exit. These are the people who routinely sell Splunk (SPLK: $119, down 5% last week) every time a quarter goes by with no acquisition announcement. As far as they’re concerned, the company only exists to attract a lucrative offer from somebody bigger.

We question that logic because we know how the corporate consolidators actually think. When someone like Microsoft, PayPal or Salesforce.com pays a premium to absorb a smaller rival, valuation usually takes a back seat to strength. Dynamic companies with solid balance sheets, aggressive business plans and the growth trajectories to back them up are naturally more attractive than those facing resistance creating new markets or competing in established ones.

Good companies get taken out at a high price. Every day their management teams negotiate with potential suitors makes them more valuable and sweetens the ultimate offer. In the meantime, shareholders see the progress, giving the stock room to climb on its own. That’s what success looks like. Succeed long enough on your own and you find yourself in the consolidator’s role, buying small companies to bolt their capabilities onto what you already have.

That’s how the buyers keep growing. Splunk is at that stage now, which is in the background of its post-earnings swoon last week. Some people were really hoping that Salesforce.com would take it out. Maybe one of these days management will get an offer they truly can’t refuse.

In the meantime, we like our companies as going concerns. They’re attractive on their own and have a compelling business plan and the resources to achieve their potential. If someone wants to accelerate that glide path by paying a premium above the present value, we won’t complain . . . but if anything, it’s a little disappointing because it takes a great stock off the market. We’d rather have them stick around and keep making money year over year.

Splunk has made BMR subscribers about 45% a year for the last 3.5 years. Accepting a takeout offer, even if it’s in the $150 zone, ends that journey with one last exclamation point.

That said, deal activity is getting more intense and the price tag on each major acquisition is rising. People in the Technology sector in particular see bigger deals ahead. We might not see Splunk get bought out any time soon, but any of our Aggressive positions and most of our smaller High Technology stocks would make some consolidator a tempting prize.

Just look at Roku (ROKU: $138, up 5%). It’s come a long way for us in the last 14 months, but it’s still “only” a $16 billion company. Someone like Apple could pay cash once they get serious enough about controlling the burgeoning Streaming Video market. That day is coming. For now, we’re happy to let the stocks evolve on their own.

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The Bigger Picture: Far From The End Of The World

Wall Street has been an extremely bumpy ride this month, with the S&P 500 down 4% and the BMR universe dropping 3% since the trade war stole the spotlight from the most supportive Federal Reserve meeting in ages. And indications as we write this Sunday evening are for a big drop at the opening Monday. A little shell shock is natural. After all, it isn’t the end-to-end decline that hurts as much as the emotional impact of weeks of reversals and accumulated uncertainty.

We did the math and August is indeed shaping up as 25% more volatile than average, based on the way stocks have been swinging in the hours between the market open and the close. Normally we’d expect to see a 1.3% range from intraday low to the high. This month is tracking above 1.6%, which puts it on the edge of the top quartile in terms of volatility.

In other words, we should expect to see 3-4 months this wild every single year we’re in the market. Last year saw ambient volatility surpass what we’re seeing now in February, October and December. None of them were great months for investors, but they were all survivable. The world did not end.

Of course an uptick in volatility often takes stocks down, but the math at this point is far from apocalyptic. Normally the S&P 500 goes up seven months of the year and drops in the remaining five. The only suspense is which seasons will be the bullish ones and how large the moves will be in both directions.

However, when stocks are moving this fast during a typical day, the odds of a “good” month drop to about 50-50. Again, that’s far from an automatic loss, much less any kind of sell signal. It’s simply an expression of the statistical facts. When stocks are moving fast, volatility spikes. Any sudden lurch to the downside will generate wild intraday swings.

The open question is how long this choppy season lasts and how bad it gets. As a worst-case scenario, we went back to 2007-9, just in case you’re still wondering whether a similar recession is on the immediate horizon. Intraday volatility hit 1.8% in October 2007 when the market was in the earliest stages of deterioration, drifted in slightly elevated territory as the pressure built and then spiked with the Lehman Brothers collapse in September.

After that, it took another eight months for the wild swings to recede to normal levels. All in all, investors needed to hang on for a year and a half. If you’re concerned about a repeat of that cycle, we suggest making sure a combination of dividends and cash reserves will take you through that length of time while waiting for the market to recover from an especially nasty downswing. Bear markets of that scale only happen a few times per century of course and we’re only a decade out from the last one. But for those looking to cover themselves from the worst likely scenario, these are the numbers.

We’re a long way from a repeat of 2008. While it only took 60 days for the S&P 500 to slip into 10% correction territory, the 20% bear market threshold didn’t come for another six months. In most down cycles, that would be close to the end. That time around, volatility got extreme before the healing began.

Corrections happen. Even recessions are a natural part of every long-term investor’s life. But based on the last one, people who stayed liquid and resisted the urge to liquidate doubled their money in the decade that followed.

That’s a decent long-term return for a few months of patience. And of course all of this is purely to quantify the worst downswing in generations. We see no sign of the current shudder turning into anything like that storm.

After all, we expect at least 2-3 months like this in every 12-month period. Wall Street was probably overdue a little rain. Once the clouds clear, stocks still look like the best investments around. The fundamentals aren’t deteriorating precipitously the way they did in 2007. Until they do, it’s just a little sprinkle.

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Amazon (AMZN: $1,750, down 2% -- all returns are for the week) 

Amazon may be up only 16% YTD, but it's been a wild ride. The stock is positioned to pop back into the $1,900-$2,000 range where it traded for most of the summer.

The 2Q19 numbers were mixed, with revenue jumping 20% YoY and 17% from 1Q19 to $63 billion, but EPS of $5.22 fell short of analyst estimates (consensus was $5.57). Management also lowered 3Q19 income to $2.1-$3.1 billion, lower than the $4.4 billion the market had been expecting. The company also posted the lowest quarterly net income in a year, with just $2.6 billion.

However, all of this is being driven by the $800 million the company is spending to upgrade its facilities in an effort to speed up delivery times. Faster delivery means more revenue and net income in the long run, so Amazon is willing to trade some short term pain for long term gain. (What else is new for this company!)

Jeff Bezos pointed out that free one-day delivery is now available to Prime Members on over 10 million items, and “we’re just getting started.” Plus, the company’s high margin Amazon Web Services grew 37% YoY to $8.4 billion. Yes, Microsoft is picking up steam in cloud computing (which we’ll get to in a moment), and that’s why AWS slipped from 41% YoY growth during 1Q19. But 37% is still astounding, and this is still by far the dominant market leader, so it’s worth focusing on the big picture here. Amazon may have lightly stumbled in this earnings call, but that’s only because its eyes are on the long-term prize. Don’t expect this gentle stumble to send the company reeling any time soon.

BMR Take: Amazon just opened its largest-ever campus in India, where the company is committing $5 billion to grow into that burgeoning market. The company is also growing out its Portland Tech hub, not to mention building its famous ‘HQ2’ in Virginia outside of Washington, DC. Plus, AmazonFresh – the company’s grocery delivery business – is expanding into secondary markets at the moment like Houston, Phoenix and Minneapolis. This plays into the faster delivery times initiative that Bezos and company have been laser-focused on. In short, Amazon isn’t done disrupting the world, in fact – to quote Bezos again: “We’re just getting started.”

NOTE: In our weekly paid subscription Newsletter, we do between 5 and 7 SnapShots and also support regular Research Reports. The last three stocks we recommended are already up 5% apiece. Plus, we have the Weekly High Yield Investor, whereby we discuss the 17 stocks in our High Yield and REIT Portfolios.

And to top it all off, we send News Flashes each day during the week. Got a question about any stock on the market? We'll answer. So if your favorite stock reports earnings or there is significant news, you will hear about it here first. If you want the whole picture, join the thousands of Bull Market Report readers who are making money in the stock market and subscribe here:

www.BullMarket.com/subscription

It’s only $249 a year, and later this year we will be raising it to $499 or even $999 a year, it is just THAT valuable. But we will lock you in for life at this lower price. 

Good Investing,

Todd Shaver, Founder and CEO
The Bull Market Report
Since 1998

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March 3, 2016

AllianzGI Equity & Convertible Income Fund (NIE)

NIE has almost always traded at a discount, and that discount has widened to the highest level since 2009. The discount seems to be driven by retail selling, as the fund’s performance, strategy, and outlook haven’t changed at all, and its NAV hasn’t weakened in recent weeks while its stock price has.

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