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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