The Deals You Could Have Made In The New Year

 

The global financial markets experienced one of their most turbulent starts to a year ever this past January. Asian and European markets entered into bear market territory, while US stocks plunged to multiyear lows. All this while oil prices plumbed 13-year lows amid deepening oversupply concerns.

In retrospect, January 2016 was an opportune time for short-selling. Using the power of hindsight, below we look at five profitable trades that could have made you a lot of money in January.

Shorting WTI Crude

Oil prices sold off at an unprecedented rate in January, plunging nearly 30% in the first three weeks amid signs of a slowing Chinese economy and expectations for a ramp up in Iranian crude production after US-led sanctions were lifted. Short-selling the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark at the start of the month could have made you a lot of money. WTI closed at $36.76 a barrel on January 4. By January 22 it was trading at $26.55 a barrel. You do the math.

Shorting Any Major Stock Index Through ETFs

January was absolute carnage for every major stock index around the world. The Shanghai Composite (China), Nikkei 225 (Japan) and FTSE 100 (London) all entered into bear market territory within the first three weeks of the year. Wall Street’s S&P 500 and Dow Jones also experienced their worst two-week start to a year on record. If you had the foresight to short the markets, any exchange traded fund (ETF) that tracks a major index would have made you a handsome profit.

Buying USD/CAD

Although the North American currency pair lost some steam in the latter half of the month, it put up monstrous gains through the first three weeks. The USD/CAD climbed nearly 5 percent – a whopping 600+ pips between January 1 and January 18 – reaching a 13-year high of 1.4578. As a key energy exporter, Canada has been hit especially hard by the oil price collapse. This has pushed the value of the loonie significantly lower.

Shorting the Nasdaq Biotechnology Sector

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