To paraphrase Daniel Plainview in the film masterpiece There Will Be Blood, “I am a coffee man.”
Some years back I acquired a Swiss coffee machine while visiting friends in Zürich. My day starts with a minimum of two cups of Superautomatika blend, ground to perfection and pressure brewed. Without them, my mind is foggy well into midmorning.
I needed no coffee to be jolted wide-awake yesterday.
The reaction to the combination of Joseph Biden’s victory in the presidential election and Pfizer’s announcement of a 90% success rate in its COVID-19 vaccine trials propelled the stock market upward like a projectile from one of the great battleships of World War II.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 reached all-time intraday highs. Small-cap indexes like the Russell 2000 and the S&P 400 jumped by nearly 6%. Real estate investment trusts — REITs, a favorite target of my Bauman Letter service — soared by as much as 35% in a matter of minutes. Airlines, hotels and other pandemic-sensitive sectors saw massive gains.
On the other hand, the tech sector suffered, led by the so-called work-from-home stocks, such as Zoom (Nasdaq: ZM) and Wayfair (NYSE: W).
So, is this it? Are happy days truly here again?
And more importantly, what should we investors do?
Here are three proposals…
No. 1: Watch Your Entry Points
Remember what happened to renewable energy stocks last week?
The day after the election, many of them endured double-digit declines. It looked like the Senate would remain in Republican hands, eliminating the possibility of a “green new deal.” But the very next day, the same stocks were back up by double digits.
Expect precisely the same pattern this week, only in reverse.
As sure as the sun rises, there will be profit-taking on yesterday’s winners, probably starting by the time you read this.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see yesterday’s big gains cut in half in short order … especially as the media discussion turns to the production and distribution of vaccines, which could take many months.
We often hear that “smart investors don’t follow the herd.” But that’s not strictly true. By all means, follow the herd as it pushes prices up … but keep a prudent distance.
That means: Don’t buy or sell in the middle of these big moves — wait a day for better prices.
No. 2: For the Biggest Gains, Trade Picks and Shovels
In the great California Gold Rush of 1849, very few miners made a lasting fortune. But clear-thinking merchants who sold mining gear and clothing — like Levi Strauss and Co. — sure did. Not every miner found gold, but every miner needed a sturdy pair of jeans.
Approach a potential economic recovery the same way.
Remember that we’re not going back to the way things were pre-pandemic or preelection. We’re going someplace new, and it will be shaped by where we’ve just been.
Personally, I’m most bullish on two sectors that have proved worthy of the future: renewable energy and remote connectivity.
As I’ve shown before in Bauman Daily, solar power is now cheaper than almost every other form of electricity generation.
With or without federal government support, the renewable energy industry will grab an ever greater share of energy revenues. Stock prices will go up … a lot.
But much remains to be done, especially in energy storage. That’s why one of my favorite exchange traded funds (ETFs) at the moment is the Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (NYSE: PBW). Even after last week’s silly sell-off in renewables, it’s up 15% in one week.
And don’t rush to dump your shares in companies like Zoom that took a big hit yesterday, either. Any temporary price weakness in the remote connectivity sector, including work from home and online shopping, is a buying opportunity.
The pandemic isn’t over yet. And it’s clear that many companies have realized that remote working is desirable.
The same is true of housing stocks. They were down yesterday, but I’m convinced that a successful vaccine will bring hesitant buyers back into the market, looking to grab a home while interest rates remain relatively low.
Finally, when it comes to playing the vaccine market, don’t focus only on the developers, like Pfizer. They’ll be under pressure to supply their vaccine at public-interest prices.
Instead, invest in companies that manufacture vaccines. Even if they face pressure to keep prices low, the sheer scale of the task means that their revenues will increase significantly.
One place to find candidates in that segment is the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSE: XBI).
The ETF itself is up nearly 8% in the last week and has a low expense ratio of 0.35%. But remember, you can also go onto any financial website to see what the ETF holds and buy the leading companies yourself.
No. 3: Stay Smart and Tough
Trade with your head, not your heart.
I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s the most important thing to do right now.
Remember, the market is a fickle paramour. It’s happy today, but there are still tough times ahead. Be patient with it … and let’s make some money!
Editor, The Bauman Letter