111 episodes

Alpha Trader taps into topics and trends offering in-depth analysis of the market from the perspective of a trader. Hosted by former Seeking Alpha VP of Content Aaron Task and Seeking Alpha Managing Editor of News, Stephen Alpher, the show will feature discussions of the latest news and regular guests from among the smartest traders in the market today.

Alpha Trader Seeking Alpha

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 6 Ratings

Alpha Trader taps into topics and trends offering in-depth analysis of the market from the perspective of a trader. Hosted by former Seeking Alpha VP of Content Aaron Task and Seeking Alpha Managing Editor of News, Stephen Alpher, the show will feature discussions of the latest news and regular guests from among the smartest traders in the market today.

    Room to run for stocks, oil, crypto - Ben Laidler joins Alpha Trader

    Room to run for stocks, oil, crypto - Ben Laidler joins Alpha Trader

    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher chatting with Ben Laidler, global market strategist for eToro.

    Among the topics discussed:

    Q3 earnings season has been a big reminder that growth is not dead, says Laidler. He sees upside to his 2022 year-end S&P 500 forecast of 5,050 as markets continue to dramatically underestimate earnings power, and still-low bond yields support perky equity valuations.

    Markets have already priced in three Fed rate hikes next year. Laidler suspects that’s a quicker pace of tightening than what will actually happen, but he reminds that markets often stage a relief rally once the Fed actually commences with rate hikes.

    Laidler is also bullish on commodities, and thinks oil could head into the triple digits. But what about inflation in that scenario? He’s not too concerned, noting how “de-commoditized” Western economies have become.

    Turning to Bitcoin, Laidler is bullish there as well. The next move higher, he expects, will come from far greater institutional adoption. It’s only a trickle at this point, but wider acceptance is inevitable.

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    • 36 min
    Capturing the 5G opportunity - Bruce Liu joins Alpha Trader podcast

    Capturing the 5G opportunity - Bruce Liu joins Alpha Trader podcast

    This episode of Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher speaking with Brue Liu, CEO at Esoterica Capital, and portfolio manager of the Esoterica Thematic ETF Trust (WUGI).

    Among the topics discussed:

    5G technology is much more than just an upgrade from 4G, says Liu. If one thinks of 4G as enabling the mobile internet, 5G will allow the digitization of every aspect of our lives - from streaming to smart homes to smart factories to remote healthcare to self-driving cars. Another difference - if 4G was mostly a U.S. phenomenon, 5G is global.

    The evolution to 5G technology will first be felt in semiconductors as all devices will require upgrades. Among Esoterica’s top ten holdings are Nvidia (NVDA), Xilinx (XLNX), Marvell (MRVL), Qualcomm (QCOM), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM).

    Speaking of the recent crackdown by Beijing on China’s large tech companies, Liu says these regulatory developments have been a long time coming. The country’s leadership has long felt the tech giants have been extraordinary beneficiaries of hyper-growth, and now it’s time to share some of the wealth, says Liu. As recently seen with Meituan (MPNGF), the companies will reach a settlement with the government, agree to changes, pay a fine, and move along.

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    • 39 min
    The value case for Bitcoin and the miners - Mike Alfred joins Alpha Trader

    The value case for Bitcoin and the miners - Mike Alfred joins Alpha Trader

    A special bonus edition of the Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher speaking with Mike Alfred, founding CEO at BrightScope Digital Assets Data, and a board member at Eaglebrook.

    Among the topics discussed:

    Yes it’s nice that the current price action in bitcoin (BTC-USD) is bullish, but Alfred urges focus on the long-term. The size of the network will continue to grow, more institutions are buying in (but haven’t yet publicly announced), even more institutions are going to have to buy in, and there’s no end in sight to federal deficits and central bank money printing. Bitcoin is likely going to seven figures within the next decade, so it doesn’t matter too much whether one buys at $60K or $30K, or anywhere in between.

    Move over FAANG and make room for CHARM. China’s banning of bitcoin mining has led to an even greater opportunity for North America-based miners. This so-called CHARM group: Core Scientific (XPDI), Hut 8 (HUT), Argo Blockchain (ARBK), Riot Blockchain (RIOT), Marathon Digital (MARA) now has a larger opening to scale up and build market share. Alfred notes the miners are the only players who can create their own bitcoin, they’re hodling onto to all the bitcoin they mine, and their cost of capital is rapidly trending towards zero.

    Alfred also owns ethereum (ETH-USD), but says it’s a very modest amount vs. his allocation to bitcoin. He considers ethereum as more of a venture capital play on some possibly interesting utility uses. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is a truly decentralized, organically-growing monetary network that is continually becoming more valuable. If Bitcoin is successful with potentially billions holding and using it, it doesn’t require a whole lot of imagination to see what one of 21M coins might be worth at some point. Could Bitcoin fail? There’s a non-zero chance, says Alfred, but as the network grows, the chance of this happening continues to slide.

    Turning to brokerages, Coinbase’s (COIN) stock has had a modestly rough run of it since its IPO, but the action reminds Alfred of Facebook’s initial rough post-IPO trade. As Bitcoin grows, and crypto grows, a well-run Coinbase figures to scale right alongside, even if it faces competition on fees from any number of peers. Look at Schwab ... It’s doing better than ever, even with $0 commissions.

    After dithering for years, what is the first Bitcoin ETF that the SEC finally approves? It’s a futures-based ETF offered by ProShares which may make for a nice short-term trading vehicle, but is about the last thing any Sats stacker should be interested in. More interesting to Alfred is the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which has begun the work to convert to an ETF. It’s trading at a 15%-18% discount that will disappear once the ETF conversion takes place - a pretty decent return should that happen in the next 6-12 months.

    The train has left the station, says Alfred, speaking of questions about whether the U.S. could somehow ban or halt Bitcoin. There are too many states that have encouraged and are receiving Bitcoin-based investment for any national ban. There is a minor risk, concedes Alfred, that a cabal of powerful governments - think U.S., EU, China, India - get together to severely restrict Bitcoin. Alfred puts the chances at about 1%, but even a move like this would only curtail the size of the network, not kill the crypto.

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    • 1 hr
    The brewing energy crisis - Bob Iaccino joins Alpha Trader

    The brewing energy crisis - Bob Iaccino joins Alpha Trader

    On the two-year anniversary of the Alpha Trader podcast, hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher welcome back to the show, Bob Iaccino, co-founder of The Stock Think Tank.

    Among the topics discussed:

    While the renewable energy movement is a worthy one, the world isn’t yet ready to run on sun and wind. The lack of investment in fossil fuels has the globe on the verge of, if not already in an energy crisis. Some believe oil would need to be in the triple digits to put a sizable dent in the economy and corporate profits, but Iaccino believes this is already happening at $80.

    Iaccino reminds that turning the spigots back on for U.S. shale production isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Even if there were the regulatory appetite to do so (a big if), getting production up and running again requires capital, equipment, labor … all of which are tough to come by at the moment.

    As far as the short term, Iaccino and team believe the price of oil (CL1:COM) is extended. They’ve covered their longs and are waiting for a pullback to reload.

    Turning to stocks, Iaccino is bullish in the medium-term, but expects there will be one more washout in the averages prior to a resumption of the uptrend. He’s a bottom-up stock picker and never owns more than a handful of names. Among his holdings right now: Cognizant Technologies (CTSH), Hormel Foods (HRL), Viacom ([[VIAC]], [[VIACA]]), Ford (F), Salesforce (CRM), and Sprott Physical Gold ETF (PHYS).

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    • 41 min
    Mark Minervini and Dan David join Alpha Trader

    Mark Minervini and Dan David join Alpha Trader

    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher speaking first with Mark Minervini, author of several best-selling books, Trade Like a Stock Market Wizard and Think and Trade Like a Champion, among them, and then with Dan David, the founder of short-focused activist-research outfit, Wolfpack Research.
    Minervini is leading the pack this year in the U.S. Investing Championship in the $1+ money manager category with a whopping 262% gain. Though not a short seller by nature, at least some of Minervini’s gains have come from his decision on September 13 to short the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). What led Minervini to short the market and to remain short was his observation of the weakening technicals beneath the averages - among them, 80% of S&P 500 stocks down 10% or more, and just 38% of Nasdaq names above their 200-day moving averages.
    Minervini made news last week saying that the technicals of the market remind him of the situation prior to the 1987 crash. Those who extrapolate that statement to him predicting a crash, however, are missing the point. What he’s trying to say is that conditions continue to favor a correction in stocks, so he’s staying short. When the technicals improve, he’ll cover and go long.
    Dan David is perhaps best known as a featured protagonist in 2018’s, The China Hustle, a film that documented his work in uncovering fraud in China-based U.S. stock listings. At the root of The China Hustle is that it was legal in China to defraud foreign investors. That remains so today, says David, so bottom line: The financial statements of Chinese companies - from giants Alibaba (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU) all the way down to the smallest of small caps - cannot be trusted. And though David doesn’t trade the Chinese megacaps, he assures that the regulatory crackdown on these players is for real. “Thou shall not be bigger than the state,” he reminds.
    It’s all about control, says David, who isn’t surprised by China’s moves against Bitcoin. A government that doesn’t allow its currency to float or guarantee basic freedoms can hardly be expected to sit aside while citizens keep their money off the books. And on Taiwan, David is certain that China will take over/invade at some point, and that the U.S. will be powerless to stop it. Whatever one thinks of Chairman Xi, says David, he’s a man who does what he says he’ll do … And he’s said as much.
    Turning to active trades, David continues to be profitably short what he considers to be frauds like SGOCO Group (SGOC) and Moxian (MOXC), and a SPAC deal - Skillz (SKLZ) - where he believes the sponsors were too aggressive with their projected numbers.
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    • 1 hr
    Walking between the raindrops - Jeff Kilburg joins Alpha Trader

    Walking between the raindrops - Jeff Kilburg joins Alpha Trader

    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher speaking with Jeff Kilburg, chief investment officer at Sanctuary Wealth.

    Among the topics covered:
    What’s behind the current market jitters? Is it the debt ceiling debate, concern about tighter central bank policy, soaring energy prices, supply chain worries, China Evergrande? Whatever the reason and whatever the resolutions to the above concerns, all roads appear to lead to easier than otherwise Fed policy, and Kilburg remains bullish.

    Two regional Fed presidents resigned earlier this week thanks to trading scandals, and as the podcast was being recorded, Chairman Jay Powell’s odds of serving another term took a dip when Senator Elizabeth Warren declared him a “dangerous man.”. A lot of this stuff is for show, reminds Kilburg, but it’s yet another reason Jay Powell will more or less continue to stand there with a sign saying “buy risk assets.”

    The velocity of the move higher in long-term rates has shaken some, notes Kilburg, but the absolute level of the 10-year yield of about 1.5% remains historically low. As long as the 10-year rate remains range-bound below about 2%, it should be good for tech stocks. Kilburg and team have been buying the dip in areas like cybersecurity and semiconductors. Though a fan of the reflation trade, and an owner of names like 3M (MMM), Boeing (BA), and Masco (MAS), Kilburg did take profits on most energy holdings in mid-September.

    Links of interest:

    Senator Warren: Fed Chair Jay Powell a 'dangerous man'

    Debt ceiling and inflation in focus at Yellen's and Powell's Senate testimony


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    • 40 min

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