Money Matters airs today at noon Update November 11, 2018

Money Matters Airs today at noon PST on KVMR FM!  Tune in.

What is next in the markets? What should you do? Do you have a strategy?

Maybe you should call me to sit down and talk about one and if you are over invested, under invested and did you see balances drop a LOT during this last go around?
My cell is (530) 559-1214





The media has been rife with news about the Trump steel tariffs and the opinions run the gamut from full support to outright stern objection. The argument is not so much about whether our steel industries need protection as whole as an argument could be and has been made that China, the target of the tariffs, has been playing unfairly in the arena of free trade. Although most of the media coverage has centered around the specifics of the industry in question, the microscope of analysis should be explaining and detailing how tariffs are thought to work and whether tariffs in general are a useful and efficient remedy to such maladies. Simply put, this particular tariff is an additional tax placed on Chinese steel. Therefore the price of domestic steel would not be reduced.


The obvious reasoning is that by making an import more expensive though tariffs and thereby making American steel more attractive by comparison, our domestic steel industry would benefit.


The first question I would ask is wouldn't a tax credit offered to our steel companies serve the same purpose?


Think of it this way:by installing tariffs on imported steel, the price of domestic steel would not drop in nominal terms. The cost savings to the industries that use steel therefore would not be reduced. These steel consuming industries such as the auto and packaging companies to name a few would see no savings.


Meanwhile the tariff money goes into the coffers of those that initiated the tax, and that means into government coffers.


I have always made the argument that if the governing authorities want to help the bulk of the economy, meaning the consumer, a tax credit would serve the same purpose by giving our industries the needed break in question.


The difference is by allowing domestic steel companies to take a tax credit, they could offer their steel at lower prices to those consuming it. That in turn would mean lower steel prices to those that make the end products which is all the stuff you and I buy that use steel. This would result in a general price reduction in all products that use steel and its related products and that in turn would mean more money in the pockets of American consumers to spend on other items in the economy.


Conversely, when a tariff is used, there is no price reduction in the end product which means the consumer saves nothing. The money which is the tariff tax goes into government coffers and that should be the end of the story but it’s not. It is generally believed the import tariffs actually cause price increases in whatever end product is in question so you get a double whammy and not in your favor dear reader.


One could argue the government would use those additional monies to spend on whatever it spends its money on, but since the consumer is the driving force of all economies, putting that money into the hands of the everyday Joe would not only help a struggling constituency which is all of us, but get into the economy that much quicker.


It’s believed by some, this analyst included, that money in the hands of consumers is more wisely spent with less waste than putting that money into an already bloated bureaucracy known as Uncle Sam.


In each specific case a tariff is implemented, the subsequently higher priced import does make the domestic product more attractive by comparison, but besides stuffing government coffers, the consumer would see no benefit from reduced prices. In fact the consumer would likely see higher prices. Compare this to a tax credit which would have a similar effect on domestic steel demand yet have the additional benefit of lowering prices to the consumer.


That the powers at be wish to help domestic producers and assist in what arguably could be unfair practices is the obvious reasoning. That the money goes into the hands of Washington instead of into the American consumer is the larger issue and something few people are even discussing.



Can we tell a top or bottom of a severe market movement?



Certain analysts and theorists look at patterns on charts and graphs and believe they tell a story as to what may lie ahead on the particular security or market they may be looking at. Many theories and methods are then derived that try and predict where the price of the asset may go to next. The various theories are then usually named and some are widely followed and believed and some are not. This analysts takes the charting theories with a grain of salt but I do believe many at least have some sort of merit that I might find useful.

One chart theory I find useful is a pattern commonly known as a "climax" pattern. This pattern has two uses which are helpful to indicate potential bottoms and tops of price movements in stocks and indexes. Stocks refer to individual company stocks like an Apple, IBM or General Motors issues, all of which are individual companies, and indexes refer to the various markets like the Dow, the NASDAQ or any other investment vehicle that holds a multitude of stocks, bonds or other security. The point here is the climax pattern can apply to a individual security or a group of securities. Although there are no fool proof prognosticators of market direction, the climax pattern has two uses and they can be illustrated by their two names, a “climax bottom" and a "climax top". 


The climax top is supposed to indicate when a stock may be topping out and about ready to change direction to the downside and the climax bottom is supposed to indicate (note the words "supposed to") when a security or index is bottoming out and ready to change direction to the upside.


The theory goes like this: suppose a stock or market has had a sustained rally upwards and an investor wants to know when to "get while the getting is good" and sell out before the stock falls back down. In other words, when might the rally be exhausting itself and the time is near to take some profits before a possible price fall takes it all back. 


The climax part of the moniker says if the price action is mostly one direction but then exhibits wild swings with significant ups and downs of a high percentage compared to its usual degree of price swings, it might be indicating a climax pattern. An example of this would be a stock that climbs from 20 - 40 with daily highs and lows of a buck or two but generally grinds upwards until such a time where the stock swings wildly up and down 3 or 4  bucks but generally goes nowhere over time. The summary of this price action is the stock is experiencing wider than normal highs and lows over a short period of time and is generally stalling out while bouncing wildly. The same would hold true in either direction. If the extended price action had been up, and it starts bouncing wildly it would be a climax top. If the direction had been an extended erosion in price (falling prices over time) its price would stop falling and start bouncing wildly. This price action might be viewed as a possible climax bottom, indicating the fall might be coming to an end.


We don't have to look far for an example of a possible climax event. On February 9th of this year, the Dow had experienced several days of heart-stopping actions falling from a high of 26,616 weeks early and culminated the week with a 1300 point decline. That Friday the Dow had been down over 500 points early on with a intraday high up 500 points and closing with a 300 point gain. These wild intraday swings of nearly 1000 points in total give an excellent of example of what climax believers look for. The Dow may have substantiated the climax theory in the following days as the direction the next week was mostly in the upwards directions. Was the wild Friday a climax bottom? It certainly appeared so in hindsight.

Keep in mind no one can predict market direction with 100% certainty but depending on what theories an analyst might give weight to could at least give some indication at least to that particular analyst to invest accordingly. 


The slew of chart theories are almost endless and it’s up to each investor to determine whether a particular method works for him or her. The climax theory of price action is just one of many. Keep in mind it is not possible to invest in an index directly and that this is not a solicitation to buy or sell any





Strategies for market routs and rallies:

How does an investor preserve gains they have made when markets fall? Knowing how to deal with market falls, fits and spurts is key to preserving capital and saving what you may have made in market rallies.

Since we are all in the market to make more than we had originally, keeping gains when you have them as markets fall is akin to making sure you don’t just give it back when Mr. Market throws a hissy fit.

Since one never knows when the market will fall, by how much and when it will stop, having a strategy of some sorts is a prudent idea.

There are many strategies and most but not all involve selling out either partially on entirely when your trigger points are hit. Trigger points are just mental milestones where you have agreed to get out in some way or another and/or adopt a stance that may not get hit so hard or may even gain when the overall markets fall.

One strategy might be a percentage point where one could agree that once the portfolio has gains, when the gains are lost by 50% (or whatever the point it) you just sell out your account entirely. That’s a simple strategy anyone can implement, although it may not be the best. Let’s say you started with $100K and it gains 20K making your portfolio worth 120K . If the value falls to 110K you sell out.

You could also tie the trigger to an index such as the Dow or Nasdaq or whatever. The percentages could be anything you selected and there is an infinite number of combinations you could adopt. The key here is whatever method you decide on, the reason you are doing it is to retain at least some of the gains you may have made.

Another method could be partially selling out some stocks instead of a complete sell out. One could also convert more and more into cash if the market sells off. As cash increases relative to stocks, the portfolio experiences less and less overall volatility.

An investor could also start swapping out stocks for fixed income investments (bonds or preferred stocks to mention but a few). Fixed income, although no guarantee they will offset market routs, historically they have been regarded as “anti- stock market”, if I could use such a term. An investor could also buy inverse or “contrary” funds. Some call these “Bear funds” which attempt to gear negatively to the market, meaning they may go up when general markets go down.

No matter what method one considers, the point is to not give all your gains back when the market sells off and protect the portfolio from a devastating set back. An experience financial advisor can discuss a variety of protections enabling you to perhaps sleep better at night knowing your money is at least somewhat defensive in posture if things go south.


Keep in mind, investing involves risk in exchange for the possibilities of gains and although there are a variety of methods available to help protect you, there are no guarantees that they will work as planned, If an investor cannot accept any risk, U.S. Government guaranteed savings accounts, bank CD’s and things such as U.S. Treasuries and other debt instruments are available.