41 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

    • Investing
    • 4.5, 38 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.

    The second-half outlook - Brad McMillan talks with Alpha Trader

    The second-half outlook - Brad McMillan talks with Alpha Trader

    This week's Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher talking about the second-half outlook with Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network.
    Prior to the chat with McMillan, Task and Alpher talk about recent market action. Among the items - a bull run that appears to be getting its legs again, and a pickup in dealmaking. Of the bull run, Task notes that an equal-weighted S&P 500 is down 9% since June 8. The move higher in the headline indices of late is getting even more focused on big-cap tech.
    Of dealmaking, the hosts are interested to see Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway ([[BRK.A]], [[BRK.B]]) finally putting some of their $137B to work with the $9.7B cash purchase of the natural gas transmission assets of Dominion Energy (D). There was also Monday's $2.65B purchase of Postmates by Uber (UBER), with Task pointing out that this is an all-stock deal. At least Uber thinks its currency is of pretty fancy value right here.
    It's hardly surprising that the key to McMillan's outlook rests with what happens with the pandemic. For now, his base case is that we get Covid-19 under control and the economic recovery continues (even if at a slower pace than current). In that case, we're pretty much back to normal by early next year.
    That doesn't necessarily mean McMillan's a big bull on the stock market at current levels. Instead, he sees stocks as pretty expensive even if earnings come back, and expects the S&P 500 to end the year about where it stands right now.
    There's plenty more, including McMillan's take on the wild swings in jobs numbers we've seen, whether or not we get another stimulus package, and what he considers to be the most underrated economic statistic.

    • 26 min
    The Fed goes too far - Danielle DiMartino Booth joins Alpha Trader

    The Fed goes too far - Danielle DiMartino Booth joins Alpha Trader

    This week's Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher talking with Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO & Chief Strategist at Quill Intelligence, and a former advisor to the president of the Dallas Fed.
    The Fed is "winning" (for the moment), says Booth, but that doesn't mean she approves of the central bank's massive interventions into the markets. Booth wasn't surprised by Jay Powell's quick action as markets disintegrated earlier this year, but what did take her back was the Fed's move to buy junk bonds, and the fancy accounting and legal footwork needed to do so.
    If all one cares about is the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq, it's all looking wonderful. But underneath the surface, says Booth, there are millions of homes and cars that need to be foreclosed upon, millions of rental tenants who can't pay, and tens of thousands of businesses that are bankrupt. The Fed has bought time, but the underlying issues remain.
    Booth isn't arguing that the Fed should have done nothing, but instead that they went too far. Businesses are still bankrupt, only now they're going to head into bankruptcy with far more debt than if markets had been allowed to clear a bit more.
    The discussion then moves to homebuilding ([[ITB]], [[XHB]]), where the outlook at the moment is rosy thanks to "people of means" leaving the cities for the burbs. For the rest, though, there are nearly 9M mortgages in forbearance and levels of delinquencies way higher than anything during the global financial crisis. Banks can't do a whole lot about it right now, but they know a good percentage of these properties are going to be hitting the market. While home searches, mortgage applications, and pre-qualifications might be going through the roof, deal closings for all but the most pristine of borrowers will be a different story. Prices need to come down.

    • 33 min
    A market destined to go higher - Jim Bianco joins Alpha Trader

    A market destined to go higher - Jim Bianco joins Alpha Trader

    This week's Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher speaking with Jim Bianco, president of Bianco research.
    Prior to the chat with Bianco, Task and Alpher note that equities continue to march higher (or at least hold their ground) in the face of a batch of disquieting headlines pointing to a renewed surge in COVID-19 infections. Task wonders if the so-called "second wave" and the upcoming election might keep the market in a trading range for a few months.
    Jim Bianco wasn't too surprised by the bounce from the March lows, particularly given the Fed's unprecedented efforts to support markets. The size of the equity bounce and the Fed's doubling down on what was already massive action took him by surprise though. And last week, Bianco made news by fully embracing this bull move.
    Not making enough news last week, says Bianco, was the fancy legal footwork the Fed had to go through to enable its program to purchase individual corporate bonds. To Bianco, it shows the central bank will stop at nothing to support markets - including the purchase of stocks should the need arise.
    As to where this ends, Bianco wonders if it ever will, noting nothing was ever really wound down from the post-global financial crisis interventions. How far have we come? Quantitative easing (QE) was thought of as completely radical when it was announced nearly a decade ago, but today it's considered par for the course, and in use by major central banks across the globe.
    Finally, Bianco suggests the result to all this will be rising inflation in 2021 and beyond. Interestingly, this doesn't make him a gold (or crypto) bug. The hope of bulls in both assets - that they're a hedge against monetary disrupt - hasn't played out. Thanks to ETFs, gold (XAUUSD) has been financialized, he says. And thanks to the need to at some point shift crypto to dollars, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is financialized as well. The result: The fortunes of both are at least somewhat dependent on the financial markets. He reminds that both gold and Bitcoin crumbled alongside stocks in the March meltdown, and both recovered as equities recovered.

    • 34 min
    The pullback and the outlook going forward - Avi Gilburt and Marc Chandler join Alpha Trader

    The pullback and the outlook going forward - Avi Gilburt and Marc Chandler join Alpha Trader

    This week's Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher chatting first with Avi Gilburt, founder of ElliottWaveTrader.net and author of The Market Pinball Wizard serviceon Seeking Alpha. After that, the hosts talk with Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Banncokburn Global Forex, and a longtime Seeking Alpha contributor.
    Gilburt wasn't too surprised by last week's pullback, but the key question is what type of correction are we in. By his calculation, if the S&P 500 (SP500) can hold above the 2,890 region, another higher high may be in store in which the market could challenge its all-time high in the 3,300 area (the S&P closed at 3,066 on Monday). Following that though, Gilburt would expect a much larger pullback. One way or another, says Gilburt, a far more sizable slide in stocks is likely coming this year.
    Bulls can take heart though - that's a short-term forecast from Gilburt. Longer-term Gilburt continues to have a minimum 4,000 target for the S&P 500, with a chance of as much as 6,000 before the bull market from 2009 ends.
    There's plenty more, including Gilburt's basic explanation of how Elliott Wave analysis works, and how it can apply to any asset class that reflects "mass sentiment," with gold (XAUUSD:CUR) coming up for discussion.
    Last week's market correction was long overdue, says Chandler, and he notes the pullback was reflected in the currency markets as well, where bull move favorites like the aussie, the Mexican peso, and the Scandinavian currencies also took big hits.
    For those trying to lay Thursday's plunge at the feet of the Fed and its gloomy outlook published the day before, Chandler isn't buying it. He notes that the central bank's forecast - gloomy as it may have been - was actually somewhat stronger than most had been expecting. The Fed Funds futures contracts, says Chandler, didn't really react. The December 2021 contract two weeks ago was implying a negative yield, and today its implying positive, meaning it's seeing a brighter economic outlook.
    Going forward, Chandler expects markets (and risk assets in general) to struggle a bit more, but past that the enormous liquidity being made available by both monetary and fiscal authorities should again kick in. He reminds it's not just the U.S. - the ECB this week is about to make available to European banks 3-year loans at negative 100 basis points! And the EU in the next few days might be approving a €750B stimulus package.

    • 38 min
    Hedge in May and go away? Jack Bouroudjian talks with Alpha Trader

    Hedge in May and go away? Jack Bouroudjian talks with Alpha Trader

    This week's Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher talking with Jack Bouroudjian, chief economist, co-founder and director of the Universal Compute Exchange, and chairman of the Global Smart Commodity Group.
    Prior to chatting with Bouroudjian, Task and Alpher discuss this remarkable rally which has sent the Nasdaq to a new all-time high and brought the S&P 500 back to green for the year. Stan Druckenmiller less than one month ago said the risk-reward was the worst he'd ever seen. Following an 11% rally in the S&P 500 since, he was back on the airwaves yesterday morning pronouncing himself "humbled" by the market.
    Druckenmiller's bearishness a few weeks back was shared by other great investors like Sam Zell and David Tepper. If you missed this rally, you're in good company.
    Items arguing for a continued rally include a widening yield curve (the 10-year Treasury yield was up 25 basis points last week), and a broadening of stocks participating - financials, industrials, and cyclicals have joined the move in the last few weeks. Items arguing for a reversal include rising speculative fervor - Seeking Alpha colleague Nathanial Baker says FOMO - fear of missing out - has been replaced with POMO - panic of missing out. There's also the issue of the coronavirus, and whether the reopening of the economy might lead to a resurgence.
    Asked for his thoughts on this rally, Bouroudjian reminds that the Fed in the space of a couple of weeks put in place more stimulus than it ever did during the many months of the global financial crisis. Similar action is happening in Europe via the ECB. Despite scary headlines in March and April, says Bouroudjian, in his mind there was always an optimism that the lockdowns would be short-lived. For now, that's looking like the case.
    As for the economy going forward, Bouroudjian does worry about employment returning to previous levels. Companies have been forced to become more efficient, and that means doing the same amount of work with fewer workers. Without COVID-19, it may have taken 3-5 years for the work-from-home trend to fully take hold. Instead it's taken 3-5 months.
    Perusing Friday's surprising jobs report (2.5M jobs added vs. expectations for a loss of 8M jobs), Bouroudjian isn't so shocked. The early months out of a recession, he says, are the easy ones for job gains. Going forward, Bouroudjian expects far softer employment adds thanks to the productivity gains afforded by work-from-home.
    Turning back to stocks, Bouroudjian calls himself a reluctant long, noting either the economy needs to get a whole lot better in coming months, or the stock market will take a hit. Not going so far as to sell in May and go away, he suggests hedging in May and going away.

    • 33 min
    The coming comeback of active investing - David Trainer talks with Alpha Trader

    The coming comeback of active investing - David Trainer talks with Alpha Trader

    This week's Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher talking with David Trainer, CEO of independent research firm New Constructs, and the author of Value Investing 2.0, a newsletter available on Seeking Alpha's Marketplace service.
    While Trainer doesn't see a ton of upside to the averages after their big rally from the March bottom, more important to him is what might be a topping out in the passive investing trend.
    That doesn't necessarily mean a bear market if he's right. Instead, it could be the averages and passive investing - dominated more and more every day by a very small handful of names - might suffer relative to the rest of the investing universe, i.e. a comeback for active investing and value names.
    As the name of his service makes clear, Trainer is a value investor, and all that money flowing into FAANG + Microsoft is leaving a lot of stocks to choose from. Among some recent picks is Southwest Airlines (LUV). It's a best-in-class operator, says Trainer, and those types of companies tend to pick up market share during crises, and we're surely in one now. Another super-important point for Trainer: Never assume executives care about you. As for Southwest, Trainer is pleased that management is explicitly compensated for creating shareholder value.
    An industry facing maybe an even larger existential crisis than airlines is shopping malls, and Trainer is a fan of Simon Property Group (SPG). Yes, the retail apocalypse is real, but some malls will survive and thrive, and Simon - like Southwest, best-in-class in its sector - is going to the player owning a high proportion of those survivors.
    Finally, there's D.R. Horton (DHI). When Trainer picked the stock at $41 per share (it's at $55 at publication of this podcast), the valuation suggested profits wouldn't get back to 2013 levels for ten years. In Trainer's mind, there's tons of growth opportunity for the company - particularly in DHI's mid-market area of housing - but even without that growth, the stock would be a buy.

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

Charles k 77 ,

Great insights

Great podcast and great guests. My biggest issue is that the show is recorded on a Friday and then posted Monday or Tuesday. In a fast moving news cycle it makes it much less relevant. Can you please post the same day of recording?

shlomo1295 ,

Worst sound quality ever

Hands down, of all the podcasts I subscribe to, the sound quality is consistently the worst, often it’s not even listenable. It’s a shame because the content is generally good. Get it together guys.

Peligro83 ,

Sleeper show - Not in a bad way

Alpha Trader may not be the most dynamic podcast available, but it is thoughtful in its presentation and depth. They present knowledgeable, credible conversations with industry analysts that are entertaining and instructional.

Hopefully they’ll continue upgrade the sound quality, but they’re finding ways to get experts on the line - cell phone call interruptions and all.

Worth thirty minutes out of you week to help you stay informed, and maybe get out of your normal box.

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