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January 5, 2019 | Trading Desk Notes – January 5th

Victor Adair, author of The Trading Desk Notes, began trading penny mining shares while attending the University of Victoria in 1970. He worked in the mining business in Canada and the Western United States for the next several years and also founded a precious metals trading company in 1974. He became a commodity broker in 1977 and a stock broker in 1978. Between 1977 and his retirement from the brokerage business in 2020 Victor held a number of trading, analytical and senior management roles in Canada and the USA. Victor started writing market analysis in the late 1970’s and became a widely followed currency analyst in 1983. He started doing frequent media interviews in the early 1980’s and started speaking at financial conferences in the 1990’s. He actively trades his own accounts from The Trading Desk on Vancouver Island. His personal website is

The leading US stock indices fell ~20% from early October All Time Highs to the Christmas lows (Dow down ~5,000 pts) but have bounced back about 8% (Dow up ~1,750 pts) as of yesterday’s close. Daily price action has been wild and choppy with 500+ point swings in the Dow seemingly routine. Implied vol levels on the major indices have tripled from their 2017 lows and are the highest they’ve been in over 3 years.

After the Fed raised rates on December 19th (and Powell said that balance sheet reduction was on  “auto-pilot”) the Dow nosedived >2,000 points in 4 consecutive trading sessions.

People like Stan Druckenmiller had been calling for the Fed to stop raising interest rates and to reduce their balance sheet run-off rate because they saw signs that the US economy was already slowing dramatically. David Rosenberg argued that the Fed was tightening right into a recession…that he sees hitting the economy within the next few months.

If Rosenberg is right on his recession call then the bounce we’ve seen since Christmas is just a bear market rally and the market will roll over and make new lows. I’m flat at the moment but I’m looking for the bounce from the Christmas lows to run out of steam…if it does I’ll be looking to get short.

It’s a “new Fed” under Chairman Powell.  With Greenspan, Bernanke and Yellen investors “knew” that the Fed would “ride to the rescue” if the stock market took a tumble…but with Powell they aren’t so sure. His October 3rd “long way from neutral” comment and his December 19th “auto-pilot” comment caused markets to tumble…yet his comment yesterday that the Fed would adjust the pace of the runoff if necessary took the Dow up ~900 points from Thursday’s close…and back above the close on that very important “Fed Day” December 19th.

I was bullish the USD for most of 2018…making the case that the “Stealth strength” of the USD Vs. off-the-run and EM currencies was an “early warning” sign of USD strength before the USDX began to rally in April. Now I’m wondering if the USD may be rolling over. Gold has been trending higher since mid-August when the USDX made an important top (yes, USDX rallied above that August top in November and December…but not by much…and it’s now at 2 month lows ) and a handful of EM currencies have been trending higher for the past few weeks (stealth USD weakness?)  I haven’t taken a position against the USD recently (other than buying gold) but I’m leaning that way now.

The Canadian dollar rallied 1 ½ cents off 18 month lows (7350) this past week as both the US stock market and WTI bounced off their Christmas lows.  CAD has been highly correlated over the last year with important turns in the US stock market and WTI (CAD turned lower with both WTI and US stocks at the beginning of October and tumbled with them into the Christmas lows…and is now bouncing with stocks and WTI.) I’ve been bearish CAD for years and remain that way longer term…but CAD, which has tumbled 12 of the last 13 weeks, may be rallying from a very oversold level.

Gold fell ~$200 (1360 to 1160) from April to August as the USD staged a strong rally. (Speculators turned net short gold futures in August for the first time in over 10 years – obviously asking themselves, “Who needs gold when the USD and the stock market are going up?”) Gold turned higher in August as the USD turned lower and then in December gold rallied $80 as the USD drifted sideways and investors bought gold as a safe haven while stocks tumbled.

My short term trading: I’ve traded the S+P from both the long side and the short side the past couple of weeks and have been lucky enough to make some money. I bought gold around $1240 in mid-December (before the Dec 19th Fed meeting) and sold it for $1285 this week when I thought the stock market tumble had run its course (for now.) I’ve kept my position sizes small through the turn of the year period, and I’m flat at the moment but I’m looking to get more active now that we’re into the New Year. I’ll be looking for opportunities to short USD and US stocks…if they give me signs that they are falling.

PI Financial Corp. is a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. The risk of loss in trading commodity interests can be substantial. You should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. In considering whether to trade or the authorize someone else to trade for you, you should be aware of the following. If you purchase a commodity option you may sustain a total loss of the premium and of all transaction costs. If you purchase or sell a commodity futures contract or sell a commodity option or engage in off-exchange foreign currency trading you may sustain a total loss of the initial margin funds or security deposit and any additional fund that you deposit with your broker to establish or maintain your position. You may be called upon by your broker to deposit a substantial amount of additional margin funds, on short notice, in order to maintain your position. If you do not provide the requested funds within the prescribe time, your position may be liquidated at a loss, and you will be liable for any resulting deficit in your account. Under certain market conditions, you may find it difficult to impossible to liquidate a position. This is intended for distribution in those jurisdictions where PI Financial Corp. is registered as an advisor or a dealer in securities and/or futures and options. Any distribution or dissemination of this in any other jurisdiction is strictly prohibited. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results

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January 5th, 2019

Posted In: Victor Adair Blog

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