Juggling With Knives: Profits, protection and planning for volatility in stocks, bonds, real estate, and real life.
This website is based on my book, Juggling with Knives. Both the book and website are about volatility in everything from stocks and bonds to real estate, and real life topics such as jobs and education.
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I vote for the latter–even though I acknowledge that the VIX, the CBOE S&P Volatility Index (VIX), which is supposed to track expectations for short-term volatility in the market, is behaving very strangely lately. The VIX is supposed to climb along with fear in the market as investors and traders step up to buy options and futures, even at higher prices, in order to hedge risk. But even as stocks have struggled in December the VIX has tumbled. It was down another 5.01% today to just 20.87.
Once a company has put in the time and money to make the Dividend Aristocrats list, the company isn’t likely to squander that investment just because a recession looms. To make the list–and garner a big chunk of cash from conservative dividend investors–a company has had to pay a dividend for a least 25 consecutive years and has had to raise that dividend every year. A company like 3M (MMM), which owns a 64-year record of paying and raising its dividend payout, is as close to a dividend sure thing as exists. Which is why it’s not surprising that AbbVie (ABBV), which owns a 50-year record of paying and raising its dividend, announced that it would raise its dividend in 2023 to $1.48 a quarter with the February 2023 payout. That would bring the annual dividend yield to 3.5% But…
Today I posted my one-hundred-ninety-sixth YouTube video: Trend of the Week Seasonal Trends in Energy. This week’s Trend of the Week: Seasonal Trends in Energy. There’s a predictable pattern in oil and natural gas prices. In late fall, October to November, you can expect a deep dive to begin and carry on through the winter, with a sharp rise in March and early spring. You can see this trend looking at previous years in the United States Oil Fund (NYSEARCA: USO) and the United States Natural Gas Fund, LP (NYSEARCA: UNG). Right now, we’re heading into that dip in energy prices but you should not sell – in fact, you should be adding to these positions. This seasonal fall in energy prices will allow you to get ahead of the spring bounce. Europe’s energy supply is enough to get through the upcoming winter but, in March, as they look toward next year’s supply, they’ll need to start rebuilding inventories in a market strained by the war in Ukraine, cuts in production, and a hostile OPEC. Stateside, the US Energy Information Administration is projecting record production from the Permian Basin of Texas and Oklahoma, as well as record production of natural gas this year. Even though we’re not seeing a whole lot of capital expenditure, they’re uncapping wells and pumping them harder. Look at USO and UNG as ETF oil and natural gas buys For individual stocks I’d look at Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE: PXD), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), and EQUINOR (NYSE: EQNR)–all of which I own in portfolios and have no intention of selling anytime soon.
Selling Tesla tomorrow out of the Volatility Portfolio on China slowdown and trade war uncertainties.
Even before the Biden administration launched a new U.S./China trade war by imposing restrictions on U.S. exports of advanced chip technology, Tesla (TSLA) was facing a sales slowdown in China. Now, with what I regard as the near certainty that Tesla will be one of the choice targets in any Chinese retaliation, I think it’s time to sell Tesla and get out of the way of what looks like a truly nasty tit-for-tat war of sanctions and restrictions. Tomorrow, October 12, I’m selling Tesla out of my Volatility Portfolio with a loss of 63.74% since I added it to the portfolio on November 10, 2021, near what would turn out to be the high before the onset of today’s Bear Market for technology stocks.
Today’s Quick Pick: JO (NYSEARCA: JO) otherwise known as Barclays iPath Bloomberg Coffee Subindex Total Return ETN Series B. As I’ve shown you in the video, I’m growing my own coffee plant to head off the coffee shortages we’re seeing now (first beans projected in 2028; enough for a cup? 2032), and will likely continue to see long-term. Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee but its inventory is projected to drop to about 7 million bags by March, (well below the comfort level of about 9-12 million bags.) A long-lasting drought is to blame for the shortages–and that dicey weather is likely to be with us for quite a while. Meanwhile, global coffee consumption is going up by 1.5% projected this year (2% last year). While JO is volatile since it trades on the commodity price, what interests me about it at the moment is that it’s NOT correlated to anything else like interest rates or inflation (though it definitely contributes to inflation as coffee drinkers well know.) This ETN will continue to go up, even if the market goes down. (JO is a member of my Volatility Portfolio on my subscription JubakAM.com site.)
Wednesday, September 14, President Joe Biden used a visit to the Detroit Auto Show to announce the release of the first $900 million in funding for the buildout of a national network of charging stations for electric vehicles. The funding, part of $7.5 billion in the Infrastructure bill to build out a network of 500,000 charging stations, would go to 35 stations to build charging networks along 53,000 miles of highways. Today, the sector is moving up rapidly with ChargePoint up 8.60% and EVgo up 12.16% as of 2:30 p.m. New York time.
Acres that U.S. farmers were unable to plant have more than tripled from the same period last year as extreme weather wreaks havoc on fields, according to the August report from the Farm Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prevented planting acres–or the acres of insured crops that can’t be planted because of disasters including flooding and drought–stood at 6.4 million. That’s up from 2.1 million in 2021. Prevented planting acres of corn jumped to more than 3 million acres, from 639,000 acres in 2021, according to the USDA. Wheat shot up to more than 1 million acres from nearly 300,000 acres last year. Not surprisingly grain prices have climbed–and so have the prices of commodity funds. The Teucrium Corn Fund ETF (CORN) is up 4.01% today, August 23, as of noon New York time. The ETF is a member of my Volatility Portfolio where it’s down 8.45% since I added it on June 17, 2022. The Teucrium Wheat Fund ETF (WEAT) is up 2.58% as of noon today. That ETF is a member of my Jubak Picks Portfolio. It’s down 27.26% since I added the position on May 25, 2022.
When I added Alibaba (BABA) to my Jubak’s Picks Portfolio on April 29, 2022, and Tencent Holdings (TCEHY) to my Volatility Portfolio on January 3, 2022, I thought two things were about to happen in China. First, I thought that the People’s Bank would unleash enough stimulus to more than compensate for the slowdown in China’s economy. And, second, I thought that we’d seen the end of the regulatory crackdown on China’s big entrepreneurial technology companies. I got both trends wrong.
The long-term case for buying Tesla (TSLA) is easy to make (or easy to argue.) The company has created electric vehicle technology that delivers faster speeds, longer range, and greater efficiency than any of its emerging competitors. The company has done a superlative job of building out its global supply chain so that it has suffered less disruption due to raw material glitches or chip shortages than any of its competitors. The big long-term questions for Tesla are Can it drive costs out of its production system? and How long will it take for competitors to catch up with Tesla’s technology advantage? (Just for the record I come down on the “buy” Tesla side on these questions.) In the short term the buy/sell/hold case for Tesla is more complicated.
Finally, on Friday, August 5, in documents filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission Tesla put dates to the split its 3/1 split