Wall Street Breakfast, Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, is a one-page summary that gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It's designed for easy readability on the site or by email (including on mobile devices), and is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day.
Wall Street Breakfast readership of over 900,000 includes many from the investment-banking and fund-management industries.
Sign up here to receive the Wall Street Breakfast in your inbox every business day: http://seekingalpha.com/account/email_preferences
Chris Ciovacco is the founder and CEO of Ciovacco Capital Management (CCM), an independent money management firm serving individual investors nationwide. The thoroughly researched and backtested CCM Market Model answers these important questions: (1) How much should we allocate to risk assets?, (2) How much should we allocate to conservative assets?, (3) What are the most attractive risk assets?, and (4) What are the most attractive conservative assets?
Chris is an expert in identifying the best ETFs from a wide variety of asset classes, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and precious metals. The CCM Market Model compares over 130 different ETFs to identify the most attractive risk-reward opportunities.
Chris graduated summa cum laude from The Georgia Institute of Technology with a co-operative degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Prior to founding Ciovacco Capital Management in 1999, Mr. Ciovacco worked as a Financial Advisor for Morgan Stanley in Atlanta for five years earning a strong reputation for his independent research and high integrity. While at Georgia Tech, he gained valuable experience working as a co-op for IBM (1985-1990). During his time with Morgan Stanley, Chris received extensive training which included extended stays in NYC at the World Trade Center.
His areas of expertise include technical analysis and market model development. CCM’s popular weekly technical analysis videos on YouTube have been viewed over 700,000 times. Chris’ years of experience and research led to the creation of the thoroughly backtested CCM Market Model, which serves as the foundation for the management of separate accounts for individuals and businesses.
Copy and paste links into your browser:
More About CCM:
CCM Home Page:
Thomas H. Kee Jr., is President and CEO of Stock Traders Daily. The Stock of the Week Strategy offered by Stock Traders Daily may be the best performing strategy on the market since December, 2007 (before the credit crisis), and "The Investment Rate" is arguably the best measure of the underlying economy available anywhere (it is a macroeconomic work). Our reports and analysis are currently offered by Reuters Research to their institutional clients. Economic analysis and forecasting is provided to a variety of institutional and retail clientele through Stock Traders Daily's corporate website. Mr. Kee had worked with Smith Barney, AG Edwards, and Morgan Stanley before founding Stock Traders Daily in January 2000. Stock Traders daily thrived during the Internet Debacle. (http://stocktradersdaily.com/)
Ken McGaha has been managing his own investment portfolios for over 20 years. On July 20, 2012 he launched the Self-Made Millionaire Tracking Portfolio with a portion of his capital as an aid to teach younger members of his extended family how he built his own investment portfolios and maintains them today.
Ken's flagship Self-Made Millionaire Tracking Portfolio had delivered a 18.57% annualized rate of return on capital as of May 16, 2015 against its benchmark objective of 15% annualized.
Self-Made Millionaire was closed to the public in December of 2015 to allow Ken to focus on private analysis work. He is now engaged in independent analysis of private and public companies for individual clients.
David Moenning is Chief Investment Officer at Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor with more than $500 million under management. Sowell emphasizes an MPD (Modern Portfolio Diversification) approach to portfolio design which diversifies client holdings not only across asset classes but also by strategy, manager, and investment methodology. Dave began his investment career in 1980 and has been an independent money manager since 1987. Thus, Dave has been live on the firing line and investing for a living for nearly 30 years.
Have been ranked in or near the top 50 of more than 5000 bloggers and close to the top 100 of nearly 9000 all experts by TipRanks.com . https://www.tipranks.com/bloggers/crunching-numbers?period=quarterly
Focus is mostly on Sirius XM Holdings and income investing,
30 years (through 2000) experience working for basic manufacturing and high tech industries in both the US and Europe. Company sizes ranged from start-ups to Fortune top 10. Experience as manager and/or grunt in fields of financial analysis, revenue forecasting, business planning, budgeting, pricing analysis, compensation planning, contracts, marketing, product management. Have been investing in stocks more than 40 years, options for 30 years and on and off in real estate for 25 years. BS in engineering from Boston U, MBA from Rutgers.
Full-time Investor, and frequent speculator.
Focus on US Stocks and Real Estate.
Degree in Economics and Finance.
Over 35 years of economic analysis and active investing experience. Retired Financial Services CEO (company had $2 Billion in financial assets).
Macroeconomic conditions and cycle progression are the foundation of my investment strategy. I evaluate the macro trend, and then select investments that will benefit from that trend, shifting the mix as the cycle progresses. Earnings growth is the sustainable fuel for investment gains. So, I look to position my portfolio accordingly.
I stay fully invested during the rising tide of a growing economy. I use leverage until the expansion shows signs of constraints and exhaustion. Rising input costs (wages, materials, energy, interest rates) eventually squeeze corporate profits, making growth less feasible. When I see evidence of a coming recession combined with weakness in the market, I exit my equity positions, reduce my real estate holdings, and shift to the safety of cash and treasury bonds. After the market slides deeply, and after the panic reaches headline proportions, I begin to reinvest as I anticipate or see evidence of the market bottom. I successfully avoided the 2001-2002 and the 2008 bear markets, while being fully invested for the bull markets around those declines.
In prior cycles I purchased individual stocks. However, during this bull market I am making heavy use of ETFs (including Sector ETFs). This is much less work, but results in more average returns. I do purchase some individual company stocks when I think the company will perform better than the average in its industry sector. I do not sell short, and rarely use options.
My portfolio is about half market tracking. I also use sector rotation, selected specific companies, modest margin debt, and 3x leveraged ETFs, within the rising cycle trend to magnify and outperform the average trend. I also adjust the size of my market exposure based on market conditions, and historic patterns.
My gross investment asset allocation target is roughly 70% stock, and 30% real estate (rentals). Current Stock Portfolio Mix (Dec 2016): 46% Broad Market Tracking (VTI, SPY, RSP, QQQ, VB...),16% Homebuilders and related, 14% Consumer Discretionary (VCR), 9% Industrials (XLI), 05% Berkshire Hathaway, 10% all other. Margin Debt is about 2% of portfolio value. Total Market Leverage is 1.08x (down from 1.34x in 2014). No bonds, and cash is less than 2% of gross assets. Real Estate is Residential Rentals, mostly near the beach (average LTV is about 40%).
Over the past 35+ years of active investing in stocks and real estate, my investment returns have been significantly above the average return of the S&P 500 (largely due to market timing and leverage). Since October 2007, my Stock portfolio average total return has been about 15% per year, compounded. My Real Estate portfolio average total return has been about 8% per year for the same period. The S&P 500 average total return has been about 7% per year during the same period.
Time management is essential to monitoring a 47 position portfolio. My 1st comment concludes with "Rich-unck:xx hrs"; I uncheck from the article to avoid repetitive comments, nonsense, and (most) arguments. I extend another XX hrs when I respond to a question or comment...I also respond to all PMs.
BACKGROUND My journey as a self-directed investor (SDI) began in 1973, and resulted in financial independence at age 52, which also allowed me to retire from corporate life the following year (Feb 1995).
I have no special knowledge not attainable by others who also dedicate themselves to the study of the economy, market, and stocks...I could cease all portfolio management today, and place it with a professional manager; however, I enjoy the psychic and financial rewards. Alternatively, I could become a passive investor via mutual funds and/or index ETFs (those works too! ). With few exceptions, As a rule, Rich only discusses his IRA here--it is only a portion of his and Joyce’s investment assets.
INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY If you ‘lived for today’ over the past 5 or 6 decades, you better invest in lottery tickets. The most probable path to a financially secure retirement is the product of an investment program (either active or passive) started when relatively young; living on less than all your after-tax income (saving means delayed gratification); and either self-directed or via professional management, adopting a sensible strategy suitable to age and comfort zone. There is wisdom in flexibility, diversification, and not being life-long wed to any strategy. It is appropriate to take greater risk for greater rewards (sensible growth stocks) when younger, as those are our lowest earnings years combined with our highest expense years--in the years between early investment and retirement, investments in solid growth companies can double 8 times or more.
There is time to adjust allocations to a more conservative strategy when closer to retirement. Never assume you have an information edge over the professionals. Time-in-the-market is your principle advantage. When/if you become interested in dividend stocks, never forget both price return and dividends compound, and price more so.
Financial independence is achieved when one has sufficient confidence his/her lifestyle will not change significantly, regardless of the potential depth or breadth of decline suffered by their portfolio--including a prolonged series of bear markets such as 1929-37. True, the recent 18-month bear market ending mid-2009, was deep--but also too brief to consider its lack of widespread dividend cuts to be as proof a portfolio of dividend-payers won't suffer income losses in a more prolonged decline (i.e., no portfolio is "dividend bulletproof").
The balance of this profile is lengthy, and likely not helpful to passive investors who simply go along for the ride, their portfolios bobbing up and down like flotsam in the ocean; their course always subject to the whims of winds, waves, and trends...THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!
PORTFOLIO GOALS Now in my 70s, it’s no longer appropriate to engage in the growth strategies applied in wealth accumulation. As a more conservative investor, 100% of his portfolio consists of dividend-payers. 95% of positions have investment grade credit ratings (the lone exception is a REIT).This combination, along with having companies in 10 of the 11 S&P GICS sectors (none in Materials at this time) provide a measure of diversification. This IRA portfolio holds no bonds, though bonds and other investments are held elsewhere.
Maximizing total return and wealth preservation are mutually exclusive. A key observation: Having the capacity for risk is not the same as having the tolerance for it!
Rich’s objective is now a ‘smoother-ride’ that levels out the market’s peaks and valleys (limit losses, trim notable excess valuation). That smoother ride in an all-equity portfolio cannot be achieved without active management and continuous monitoring of positions--therefore TIME is an essential input to his portfolio management. Active management does not’ means frequent changes, as it is not unusual for a quarter or more to pass between a trimming or sale (nonetheless, when a company fundamentals change, or a mistake is made, corrective action is taken.)
STRATEGY SINCE 2008 Rich targets both legs of TOTAL RETURN (distributions + price change). His Growth & Income strategy often focuses on VALUE investing tactics applied to dividend-payers. Value investors seek out unpopular, companies most investors are avoiding (i.e., fundamentals have declined but credit rating is strong, BoD has implemented a rational recovery plan, and the dividend not in danger). Value investors seek to be paid to wait for other investors to recognize the stock’s value and assign it a greater share price. In any event, value stock or growth stock, Rich always seeks a ‘margin of safety’--no shares are bought at prices >FV, and his margin of safety is derived from dividends paid, price appreciation, and rising FV over time.
In all cases, value or growth, Rich selects well-established dividend-paying companies having a high-probability of growing earnings (growth of earnings is ESSENTIAL to growth of price and dividends). He tends to be flexible, forward looking, reactive to changing fundamentals, and willing to admit a mistake so action follows.
SDI is not easy, success is not assured, and in recent decades, advice from academics, and investment coaches, almost universally recommend index funds. Those NOT having the prerequisite time and interest are unlikely to develop the requisite skills for stock investing--thus the probability strongly suggests most newbies would be better served by indexing (Ben Graham wrote favorably of indexing). However, when done successfully, self-directed stock investing can offer rich psychic and financial rewards.
CORE PORTFOLIO Presently, +/-30 equities. Core holdings dominate at about 65% of total portfolio positions. Favored are traditional, large- and mid-cap, low-beta, best/near-best in class, institutional-owned, moaty, dividend-paying, value and growth stocks, having investment-grade debt ratings, and representing the consumer staples, healthcare, utilities, and telecom sectors.
OPPORTUNISTIC PORTFOLIO The remaining 15+ positions consist of equally well-known dividend-payers found among widely-owned cyclicals, such as financial, industrials, consumer discretionary, technology, real estate, and energy sectors are sensitive to the economy. In an expanding economy, cyclicals typically grow their earnings (and dividends) faster than do the typically slower-growing core companies. But because the reverse is also true, in a contracting economy, these positions are intended to be heavily trimmed to preserve gains as the economy peaks and shows evidence of decline. Some are susceptible to quite significant price declines when Mr. Market assumes their will suffer reduced earnings, and sometimes dividend-freezes/cuts, in anticipation of those events.
Rich is sometimes fully-invested, but unlike some, observes no such rule. Building a large cash cushion at the front-end of a correction/bear market (-20%) provides the dry powder required to both cushion the market's decline, and also creates the cash required to purchase excellent companies at below FV prices (without having to sell a position he wants to keep!).
TRIMMING POSITIONS When positions in either portfolio become significantly overvalued, they are trimmed by 5-10%, and the proceeds applied to fairly valued companies before the (almost always) temporary gift of over-valuation reverts to the price mean. If the position continues to advance, and absent other information, the position will be trimmed again. Added benefits to selective trimming include (1) serves as a more sensible method of rebalancing (as opposed to automatic--professionals do not use such a meat cleaver); (2) reduces the position's remaining Capital at Risk (which may suggest room for additional shares within an otherwise full position), and (3) provides the necessary dry powder to buy other shares at FV or below.
OTHER INTERESTS As we age, the importance of family grows. Rich has long volunteered in his community; over the years has served with distinction as member/chair of a number of advisory committees. Assisting others on SA is also a source of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Finally, having been blessed by years of excellent investment performance, Joyce and Rich have long been avid world travelers, and have visited over 60 countries over a span of 30 years (his SA avatar reflects the Taj Mahal in his sun glasses). They reside in Michigan--for 9 months of beauty, bliss, and family, and thoroughly enjoy wintering in equally beautiful Naples FL--for 3 months of sunny warmth and relaxation.
Life is good--it's been an unbelievably awesome ride!
Sophocles, a Fulbright scholar and Chartered Financial Analyst, has over 15 years experience in the global financial markets. He manages institutional money based on his personal investment strategy (known as FatAlpha). He spent over 11 years at an award-winning London-based emerging markets hedge fund while was previously employed in the brokerage and investment banking industry. A strong believer in value investing, Sophocles is passionate about the markets and his pursuit of investment alpha. His strategy consists of combining quantitative models with his own qualitative analysis. Sophocles graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a double major in Economics and Finance.
Cited by Barron's as one of the top financial websites to visit on the weekend, Financial Sense (www.financialsense.com) provides educational resources to the broad public audience through a daily podcast, editorials, current news and resource links on salient financial market issues. Begun in 1985 as a local talk radio program, Financial Sense Newshour (www.financialsense.com/financial-sense-newshour) is a weekly webcast with host Jim Puplava and top financial thinkers. Writing staff of Financial Sense includes: Jim Puplava, Chris Puplava, Ryan Puplava, and Cris Sheridan.
I look for a change in sentiment that precedes the change in trend. Moments of "lag" in sentiment can provide superb entry points into special situations at a discount; and obversely, manic enthusiasm can provide an opportunity to go short.
I research the fundamentals, know what I am getting into, and go long or short accordingly. Technical studies of the market are also an active part of my trading. I have invested for 22 years.
Cliff Wachtel, CPA, is currently the Director of Market Research, New Media and Training for Caesartrade.com, a fast growing forex and CFD broker. He covers a variety of topics including global market drivers, forex, currency hedged and diversified income investing, and is currently working on a unique project related to that asset class - MLPs.
He is also the author of The Sensible Guide To Forex, and publisher of thesensibleguidetoforex.com. Both the book and website are uniquely dedicated to providing safer, simpler ways for active traders and passive long term income investors to use forex markets to diversify out of currencies like the USD, EUR, JPY, and others that are being debased by central bank policies, and so hedge currency risk and boost returns.
Since the Great Financial Crisis began in 2007, Cliff was among the first financial writers to focus on stocks that provide steady, high yields currency diversification for insurance against currencies being steadily devalued. Articles focus on both top income stocks for exposure to multiple quality currencies, and safer, simpler less demanding types of longer term forex trades than commonly covered on other forex sites.
He also posts a variety of articles on topics ranging from weekly strategic global market analysis, conservative forex trading, assorted special reports, currency diversified income investing, binary options, and trader training articles via multiple websites. His home sites include: globalmarkets.anyoption.com, thesensibleguidetoforex.com, caesartrade.com, globalmarkets.com, and others. Most can also be found at leading financial websites like seekingalpha.com, businessinsider.com, and forex sites like forexfactory.com and fxstreet.com. His work is regularly translated into numerous languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Turkish and Russian, Arabic, German, and Chinese, often with his express knowledge and permission!
He has appeared in a variety of offline publications including Forex Journal, and John Nyaradi’s book, Super Sectors, in which he was interviewed along with other market experts like Jim Rodgers, Dr.Marc Faber, John Mauldin, Robert Prechter, and Tom Lydon.
Prior to his current positions, he was Chief Analyst at avafx.com, and a 30+ year financial market veteran as investor, trader, writer, analyst and advisor to private clients and institutions. He attended Vassar College and Cornell University, and is a certified public accountant.
He’s married with 5 children and lives in Jerusalem, Israel, where he can follow Asian markets in the early morning, Europe through the workday, and the Americas at night.
M. Kevin Flynn has held the Chartered Financial Analyst designation since 1992. He is the President of Avalon Asset Management Company, a Registered Investment Adviser, and has worked in the investment industry since 1983.
Avalon's MarketWeek, a weekly newsletter written by Mr. Flynn and covering the stock market, economy and individual stocks has been published continuously since April 2007. For subscription information please send an email to email@example.com