All the usual suspects got slammed today – cruise lines, $RCL; airlines $ALK and coal $CNX, all down about 6% from the open.#MarketTiming #SectorTrading #StocksToShort #10KTrade3https://t.co/9esxOUS3u9 pic.twitter.com/DPqxZuuDbe
— The God of Trading (@TheGodOfTrading) October 27, 2020
I have already outlined the obvious stock sectors that are no-brainers for shorting largely because Covid-19 has put them either out of business for the immediate future or has severely hampered profit prospects for this year.
The most obvious are the cruise companies – NCLH, CCL, RCL – since it’s going to be a long time before they can pack a liner with either customers and crews. And now several of the key destinations have so enjoyed being tourist free there is talk they are not even going to allow the ships to dock and disgorge passengers like they were doing before the pandemic.
Next on the list movie theaters – AMC, CNK – since even if they open with social distancing they will at reduced audience capacity. Can they make profits on half a house or less?
It’s the same in the airline sector – AAL, UAL, DAL, LUV – less flights, less passengers, more trouble with the virus every hour of the day. Throw with BA too. No need to buy passenger planes when there are so few passengers and you have a fleet of excess airliners in storage.
I always have coal stocks – BTU, ARCH, SXC, CNX – on the short list because the coal sector always a short. It is not the fuel of the future and is becoming more and more not the fuel of the present.
Now I’m going to add banks as short prospects — JPM, GS, BAC, C, WFC – largely because they have lagged the rally from the March low for too long. That spells trouble not only for the sector but for the market as a whole. If the economy is going to tank and take the stock market with it (any day, week, or month now), it’ll probably, seriously, start the drop in the banks.
I’ve included DB on the chart panel below bacause it is a bank but it’s a somewhat separate case. Its price action is news driven since it has been the primary conduit for the money laundering between the Russian Oligarchs and the Trump Organization. Whether it is or is not going to have to pay for those illegal activities bats its stock price around more than banking fundamental alone.
The market sell off may have begun today with the NYMO putting in a high below a high on short-term breadth and the all important NYSI turning down (my key triggers) but with the FED meeting tomorrow, the timing is still a bit of a crap shoot.
The general market has had a dandy little bounce the last two days and may continue to the upside into the holiday weekend.
But sometimes in the endless quest to detect “what happens next” it is not what is happening, but instead it is what is not happening.
Since most stocks in most sectors rally with a rising mass market those that don’t usually get hit the hardest with the market turns.
Since I think all of the market’s rallies now are bounces to be sold until the biggest reward comes when the realization sets in that there is nothing supporting this supposed bull market except the fumes in the Fed’s liquidity tank, I’ve taken a look around to what is not bouncing.
Really took just a glance around.
Didn’t have to look much past the usual suspects, the airlines, cruise ships, theater chains, and coal. Those first three sectors are severely distressed by the pandemic in this the worst of times. Coal is always a short even in the best of times.
Take a look at the two-day charts below to see the lack of bounce these last two days in all of these stocks.
AIRLINES — AAL, ALK, DAL, LUV, UAL, and most importantly, BA. Hope springs eternal in this sector but it does not fly. ALK has canceled 130 flights so far and mothballed 30 airliners. AAL and UAL, in desperation, have said they will fill their flights to capacity while others have said they have eliminated middle seating in an attempt to social distance, but it is doubtful the hordes of passengers they packed in previous to the pandemic will return any time soon. They are going to lose money, maybe on every flight. BA rallied yesterday on news of 737 MAX re-certification tests as if anyone is going to want to order that plane anytime soon, especially since most airlines are in the process of canceling orders (Norwegian Airlines canceled 97 orders today).
CRUISE LINES – CCL, RCL, NCLH. What’s there to say further? Can cheaply offered luxury cancel the memories of being trapped on cruises of contagion and death while the charlatan President of the United States, no less, says he would rather have passengers die there than muck up his Coronavirus positive case counts on shore? And what’s it going to cost to hire crew members for those voyages, if any crew can be hired at all?
THEATER CHAINS – AMC, CNK (which now owns Regal, the largest chain in the US). These movie theaters have a chance to make adjustment to cope with social distancing but still…even for the biggest blockbuster offering it will be irresponsible to operate at more than 50% capacity (if not illegal in some states). How much profit margin is there in half a house?
COAL STOCKS – BTU, ARCH, SXC, CNX. Coal, no matter how many times Trump says he loves it, has no sustainable future. Just compare the stocks in the sector to the solar stocks. On the next leg down, it looks as if BTU particularly may once again wipe out shareholder equity with yet another bankruptcy filing.
It’s going to take some market timing to pick the entries for when these stocks break down again. For me that’s watching what NYMO and NYSI, as my prime measures of mass-market psychology, are doing, but I assume anyone capable to shorting has their own indicators to rely on.
Regardless, when the time comes, I’m looking to take the slide down in what has now become the USA’s continued botched-coronavirus-response carnival.
I thought it strange this last week when the cruise-stocks had a bounce because, according to the news, NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) reported it was cutting crew, cutting expenses and had enough cash to last a year before going completely broke.
That lifted the entire sector?! Are investors paying any attention to this stuff?
At the moment, this sector, as everyone knows, as been in the pandemic news a lot. It is down 60% or so in the last three months.
Passengers and crew were trapped with a lethal virus in quarters nearly as tight as prisons and meat packing plants. There was the “celebrated” moment when President Trump stopped a Carnival Cruise liner from disembarking and made its passengers sit in a ship off San Francisco because he thought infection and death numbers would go up and hurt his his re-election chances.
Early on it was not known what the full implications of that was but now we know.
The Trump Administration, on orders from the boss, was botching the nation’s entire response to on-charging tragedy big time. The cruise companies, maybe more than any other industry, has been truly stuck between the most despicable President ever and the unforgiving deep blue sea. Even Joseph Conrad could not write this sea tale as disastrous as it is.
Right now, the stocks are basing (going sideways) to see what happens next. There is a lot of optimism they can recover once the economy reopens. That hope is so misplaced all I have to say to that is “Good Luck, fellas.”
Two massive problems currently rule the industry’s fortune.
Given all the bad news, customers are going to be a long time coming. Who wants to pay $5,000 to be on a floating death trap? At best, the cruise operators are going to have to give away the trips. At the risk of obvious understatement – let’s just say that will not be good for profits.
But the bigger problem might be who’s going to crew these ships?
Not only were the crews being infected and in some cases dying, but in addition, there are more than 100,000 still trapped on those ships worldwide who can’t get off, who can’t get transportation back to their home ports, who can’t see their families. These are people who have now have been quarantined for two months or more. They have long since realized nobody – not their employers, not the Trump incompetents, not the people they dutiful served — give a damn about them.
So the question arises are these companies ever going to hire any crews again, let alone experienced ones?
What a mess…
So just over that flat ocean horizon bankruptcy and the loss of all shareholder equity looms. Are investors paying any attention to this?
NCLH, CCL, RCL… Cruising to zero.