Major Averages Plummet To Start 2021

Quick Update

In a quick update to kick off 2021, I wanted to summarize my correct calls, and what I profited on since beginning to publish these updates. While nobody can predict the future, the major calls I am most proud of since writing these letters are calling the short-term downturn in small-cap stocks, adding emerging market exposure, and hedging or selling the U.S. dollar.

I switched my call on small-caps, specifically the Russell 2000 from a HOLD to a short-term SELL on December 16th. The iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) surged to unprecedented record gains since November 2020, however, I believed then and still believe that the index has overheated by many measurements. Since December 16th, the IWM ETF is largely flat. However, since peaking on December 23rd, the IWM has underperformed ETFs tracking the larger indices and has declined by nearly 3%. While I am still bullish on small-caps in the long run and maintain my STRONG BUY call on the Russell for the long-term, it is contingent on a pullback. I believe that pullback may have begun. I am hoping for a minimum 10% decline before jumping back in for the long-term.

Emerging markets have been some of the best performers in 2020, and I have made some bullish calls on specific regional markets for 2021 as well. I have been touting emerging markets since my first report, but when I switched my focus to specific regions, my calls became even more correct. I called Taiwan (EWT ETF) the best bet for emerging market exposure while avoiding the risks and baked in profits of China on December 3rd. Since then, the EWT ETF which tracks Taiwan has gained over 7% while the MCHI ETF which tracks China has barely gained over 1.4%. The Taiwan ETF has also outperformed the SPY S&P 500 ETF and the IEUR ETF which tracks Europe.

In conjunction with my bullish calls on emerging markets, my bearish calls on the U.S. dollar were also correct. Since I started doing these newsletters about a month ago, I consistently said that the dollar should be hedged or avoided because of the Fed’s policies, the effect of interest rates this low for this long, government stimulus, strengthening of emerging markets, and inflation. I also said that any minor rally the dollar would experience would be fool’s good. Since the dollar briefly pierced the 91-level on December 9th, it has fallen nearly 1.4%. Despite it experiencing another mini-rally and nearly piercing the 91-level again on December 22, I remained steadfast in my bearish outlook of the dollar. Since the open on December 23rd, the U.S. Dollar has declined another 0.77%. I believed it would drop back below 90 before the new year, and here we are to start off 2021, with the dollar at 89.85.

Markets kicked off the first trading day of 2021 with a dud, due to further concerns of COVID-19 cases and the Georgia Senate run-off elections.

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