Last week was another good one for US stock markets, in fact US equities had their best August since 2000 and it was the best monthly performance since February. That took the S&P 500 to another record close past the 2,000 level while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq also remained strong.

This week will start off slow with US Labour Day on Monday but things will pick up later in the week with a number of central bank meetings and important events. Events will include interest rate decisions from the Reserve Bank of Australia (Tuesday), Bank of Canada (Wednesday) and Bank of England and European Central Bank (both on Thursday). On Friday, traders will be eagerly anticipating the latest US non-farm payrolls number with analysts currently expecting an increase of 216,000 jobs.

Here are some trade ideas for the upcoming week:

This Week’s Trading Picks


Packaging Corporation of America $PKG – Long

In the world of the Internet and e-commerce, cardboard packaging solutions are in high demand and Packaging Corp prides itself on being able to cover all bases from packaging ‘watermelons’ to the ‘kitchen sink’.

The stock is attractive to value investors right now after a recent dip and currently trades at 12 times forward earnings with a PEG ratio of 0.70. Current ratio is healthy at 1.50 and the company pays a steady dividend of 2.35%.

There was also news today that the company’s Longview mill has been certified to the highest levels of sustainable forestry certifications. On a conservative DCF estimate the stock gives traders a 40% margin of safety.

this week's trading picks PKG



GBPUSD moved between the first support and first resistance nicely on Friday, giving pivot traders some healthy opportunities as the currency moved higher for the first time in 8 weeks.

In fact, the British pound managed to diverge from global trends on Friday as every other major currency, when put against the US dollar, lost ground. This points to more strength ahead for the currency pair and traders should be looking for opportunities to buy this week. A more hawkish view from the BOE could be the most likely catalyst for fresh gains.

this week's trading picks GBPUSD

Small Cap Growth

inTest Corp – $INTT

inTest Corp is a small cap (total market capitalisation of just $50 million) semiconductor that has shown impressive growth so far this year, returning investors over 17% since January. The company pays no dividend and is not without risk, but does look cheap with a PE of 14.69, PEG of 0.98 and current ratio of  6.60. The stock also boasts a high percentage of insider ownership at just over 10%.

this week's trading picks INTT

Trend regression

Cypress Semiconductor Corporation $CY – Long

One of the trading systems detailed in my course (number 20) looks to buy stocks just as they break out into new multi-week trends. This week’s signal is for Cypress Semiconductor Corporation, a semiconductor company with a wide portfolio.

Cypress has a market cap of $1.76 billion and trades at 16 times forward earnings.

this weeks trading picks cypress cy

Short sellers

Choice Hotels International Inc – $CHH

Choice Hotels International franchises more than 6,300 hotels incorporating such reliable brands as Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites and Sleep Inn. That equates to more than 500,000 rooms across the US and 35 other countries.

However, one look at the chart shows how the stock has surged this quarter and the stock is looking lofty at these high prices. The daily RSI reading points to an overbought level of 82 and the PEG ratio has moved past the expensive level of 3 (now 3.08).

Not only does the stock look pricey, there has also been a high level of insider selling recently. According to, there has been a 67% negative change in insider ownership over the last 6 months.

this week's trading picks CHH Choice Hotels

Disclosure: I am long PKG.
Additional disclaimer: Please be aware of the usual risks to trading in financial instruments. Please remember the importance of doing your own research and understand the cost to trade including trading commissions and the bid:ask spread.



Cheapest stock markets in the world

Sources:, Datastream, Hargreaves Lansdown

How this was created

With US stock markets at all time highs, traders and investors are becoming nervous about the steepening valuation of US equities.

Everybody is talking about volatility and volume right now and both of these conditions suggest that a significant market correction could be near.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has long been an indicator of fear in the markets right now it continues to trade at some of the lowest levels in it’s history. In fact, the VIX is trading under 11, and has only been this low on a handful of occasions. And as Kerry Prazak points out, the stock market has pulled back significantly nearly every time the VIX drops this low.

But the VIX isn’t the only indicator that suggests a correction is imminent. The Shiller CAPE ratio is also significantly overvalued with a reading of 25.6, 57.6% above it’s median and the third highest in 100 years.

Furthermore, the total market cap to US GDP ratio (a favourite of Warren Buffett) is overvalued at 122%, suggesting future annual returns of just 1.3% on the US stock market.

Market cap vs gdp


With US stocks so expensive right now, the question remains: Where else can traders look for profits? Well there are places in the world that are still cheap.

5 Cheapest stock markets in the world


It may not be all that surprising that the Russian stock market is one of the cheapest in the world right now. Geopolitical turmoil and conflict in Crimea has seen investors flee equities and the Russian stock market now trades at a PE ratio of 5.30 with a price to book ratio of 0.71 (the lowest of the 34 developed nations analysed).

Despite the volatility, there are signs of peace and notable investors (Jim Rogers included) have expressed renewed optimism in the former Communist state.


Like Russia, it is no surprise to learn that the Greek stock market is cheap. It is in fact the cheapest of all 34 countries studied with a PE ratio of just 3.40 while the cyclically adjusted PE is 6.08. Contrarian investors with a strong stomach should be able to find some value there.


A better place for investors could well be China and with a PE ratio of 6.30, the Chinese market is the third cheapest of all 34 nations, behind only Russia and Greece.

Investors have bailed out of China in recent months as the economy slows down but could be due for a rebound. The Chinese central bank have plenty of tools available to combat the slowdown and that could lead to a good performance from Chinese shares.


The Japanese Nikkei gained almost 40% in 2013, but the stock market is still cheap when compared to other nations and is 60% below its 1990 all time high.

Japan suffers from an ageing population but the aggressive monetary policy put in place by the Bank of Japan is injecting renewed life into the economy and depreciating the value of the Japanese yen.

With a PE ratio of 13.90 and price to book ratio of 1.32, Japan is cheaper than most other developed markets.

Japanese Nikkei chart

Source: Yahoo Finance


Turkey is another stock market that is cheap right now. The Turkish equity market has a PE ratio of 9.90 making it the fourth cheapest behind Greece, Russia and China.

Riots and violence has clearly put investors off the country and the Turkish Lira has also taken a beating.

However, Turkey’s current account deficit of -7.90% is dangerously high and suggests there could be further problems ahead.

Fluctuations Jesse Livermore

Click to buy!

Last November, at a price of $80 a share, I wrote an article for Seeking Alpha saying 3D Systems (DDD) had entered an extremely overbought state which could only end in a significant share price correction.

Although the share price proceeded to fall around 13% after I made the claim, 3D Systems ended up going higher by another $17 before the bubble finally popped.

Since then, 3D Systems has lost nearly 50%, hitting a low of $44.80 in April of this year.

Now that the sharp price fall has taken place, there is very little value left for shorts, and the next direction for DDD shares is likely to be up following a potential short squeeze.

Last week’s Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology Conference highlighted some of the reasons why 3D Systems could still be the stock of the future.


For me, the potential partnerships that DDD alluded to in last week’s conference form the most exciting part of the story.

3D Systems spoke of opportunities in food printing with Hershey (HSY).

In mobile, 3D Systems is working with Intel (INTC), whose mobile 3-D printing chip, RealSense, has just been launched.

While, potential agreements with Google (GOOG, GOOGL) could be even more exciting.

It’s also possible that a tipping point for 3D printing products could be reached within a couple of years. A scenario that could see 3D printing products in the average American household.

Time to buy 3D Systems? Technical outlook

While the future will no doubt be good for 3-D printing, technical outlook forms a big part of any analysis on 3D Systems too, principally because the market has been subject to such intense speculation.

Today, 3D Systems trades almost 50% lower, and short sellers (unless unreservedly greedy) will almost certainly be closing out their positions at these prices.

$56.64 is the level to watch, and a break of this would surely see all remaining shorts exit their trades.

time to buy 3D Systems price chart

Click here to read the full article on Seeking Alpha

If you want to be successful at investing or trading you need to find your own way. I don’t see much point subscribing to any of these stock picking services or ‘Guru’ picks.

(Unless of course they are used to educate yourself as to how to find good trades.)

That being said, one of my favourite investors is Jim Rogers and it’s always good to hear him talk.

If you don’t know Jim I wrote a bit of a profile on him a while back. Suffice to say, Jim is a legend on Wall Street and not just for setting up the Quantum Fund with George Soros.

Video from London Real

The video below comes from one of my favourite online podcasts, London Real, and is about an hour long if you fast forward through some of the advertising at the beginning.

Jim is always happy to talk about where he is invested and it’s good to hear his thoughts on markets.

As a longer term investor, Jim’s views on markets change very slowly. He has been bullish on commodities (particularly agriculture) for years now and he is likely to be bullish for a long time yet.

He sees markets moving in cycles and believes that most cycles take 20, 30 years to play out.

He’s bullish on Asia, particularly China but also recommends Singapore and Japan in the video. He also recommends North Korea and would put all of his money into the country if he was allowed (which he isn’t).

How to play China like Jim Rogers

Jim has been bullish on China for more than 30 years and continues to be positive on the country. He picks his moments though, and after some time on the sidelines, he’s recently started to buy up a few more Chinese stocks.

Jim says that the way he is playing China is to follow the government. The Chinese government are spending lots of money this year ($2.45 trillion to be precise) and the best way to profit is to follow where the money’s going.

According to Rogers, anyone can see where the money’s going so it’s just a case of finding strong companies that may benefit and putting some money in. Railroads, water, defence and tourism. These are all areas that will see big government spending over the next couple of years as China seeks to improve infrastructure, tackle the nation’s water problem and beef up it’s national security.

play china like jim rogers chinese investment

Investment ideas

So with that information in mind, how can investors benefit? What about these ideas?

Anhui Conch Cement Co. and Sany Heavy Industry Co. are two construction-related companies that could benefit from increased government spending on infrastructure.

China Easter Airlines Corp. is China’s second-largest airline carrier set to benefit from the boom in Chinese tourism.

Jiangxi Copper Co. could do well as China rolls out national power grids mostly made from copper.

China Green Agriculture Inc. might prosper with the country’s increasing food demands.

China Water Industry Group Ltd. may be the answer to the nation’s dramatic water problems.

Can you think of any Chinese stocks that could benefit from more government spending? Please comment below.


US stock markets fell yesterday indicating a new stock market warning with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping -0.25% while the Nasdaq sank -0.28% and the S&P 500 fell -0.11%. The fall comes after four days of rallies took global markets to a record value of $63.8 trillion and saw the S&P 500 hit another new high at 1911.91.

The elevated position of most stock markets appears to be reaching new heights now and it would be no surprise to see a significant period of weakness come in over the next few days and weeks. Most notably, volatility levels and other market indicators are suggesting that a market top may be near. Volatile price action in the last hour of trading yesterday may also indicate a shift in trader sentiment.

VIX hits lowest since 2013

The CBOE Volatility Index, known as the VIX, dropped to the lowest level since March 2013 on Monday and has stayed under 15 for the last 16 of 28 trading days. The VIX now trades at a historically low level of just 11.68 and this has caused traders to load up on VIX call options according to research from Bloomberg. In fact, VIX calls have reached their highest levels since 2008 as traders anticipate a spring back in volatility over the next couple of weeks.

As you can see from the chart, the VIX does not usually stay at such low levels for long so volatility could well ramp up soon.

stock market warning vix index

Source: Yahoo! Finance

High levels of bullish sentiment and significant deviation from market average

As well as the significant drop in volatility levels, StreetTalkLive report that bullish sentiment among investors as reached high levels and such levels have been consistent with previous market peaks.

stock market warning investor sentiment

StreetTalkLive also show how the stock market has gotten ahead of itself and diverged from the 36 month average significantly. This has been another good indicator of market tops in the past as shown in the below chart.

stock market warning market deviation

Caution from John Hussman

Further indication of Hedge fund manager John Hussman reports that the fund’s measure of current market conditions present “overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes [that] match only a handful of prior historical instances including 1929, 1972, 1987, 2000, and 2007”. Hussman goes on to suggest that the fund expects 10 year S&P 500 total returns of just 2.3% annually from current prices.


A number of important market indicators have reached extreme levels and this is likely a precursor to a rise in market volatility over the next couple of weeks that could lead to a significant market correction of 10-20% or more. Traders should use extra caution at this time and refrain from entering any new positions until the overbought condition has cleared.

I have been trading stocks and shares for at least 6 years now so these tips for share trading come from direct experience in the markets.
For me, stocks are the best instruments to trade. There are so many of them that there is always an opportunity to be found.

14 tips for share trading

Stick to what you know

My number one tip for successful share trading is to stick to what you know as that way you will always come out ahead. Your interests and passions can often lead you to know more about an industry than the average Wall Street trader does. If you stick to the companies you know a lot about, industries that you are interested in, then you’ll be able to foresee changes more quickly.

Never follow tips

When I say never follow tips I don’t mean stop reading this list. I mean you should never, ever follow a tip to buy a stock from your broker or man in the street. (At least not without doing your due diligence first at least).

There’s several reasons for this. First, your broker has a conflict of interest. She wants you to buy the stock so that she can get a commission so she doesn’t really care if the stock goes up or down. Also, if she was actually a good share trader she’d be doing that instead of stockbroking.

Second, if you get a tip from someone else, you have no idea what their intentions are. That person may have bought the stock at much lower levels, or they may have already hedged it with another short trade. They probably haven’t told you about their exit strategy either.

Volume can indicate direction

It’s not always the case but volume often shows direction and this is particularly true for smaller cap stocks with less liquidity. Basically, when a stock moves up and this is accompanied by an unusual increase in volume it shows that investors know something and they’re bullish.

Take a look at this stock as an example. $EXH provides equipment to oil producers and as you can see the stock moved up strongly in August 2013 accompanied by very high volume. In fact, volume surged from an average of just 2-3 million shares traded a day to $15m shares. The strong volume indicated investors were bullish and this turned out to be a good buy signal.

tips for share trading EXH example

Use money management

This tip could easily be number one but you should probably know about it by now. In order to profit from stock market moves, it’s important to work out how much money you are going to risk and this is best done in a scientific way. That way, you can develop your own system and never put too much capital in any one trade.

Stocks do not always trend

There’s a couple of interesting points to note about stocks. First is that they don’t always trend. In fact some stocks never trend at all.

You see, every stock has it’s own personality, some are high risk, some are defensive, some are speculative and some are high growth. Peter Lynch does a great job talking about the different personalities of stocks in One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market. Working out the personality of a stock is great way to set up your money management.

The second point is that stocks often move aggressively, which means you need to be invested at the right time in order to capture the gain. Stocks frequently jump on the open or rally 10-20% in one day and then do nothing for the rest of the month or even year.

Shorting stocks requires extra care

Plenty of stocks lose money and several go to zero. However, backtesting shows that shorting stocks is a very difficult thing to do. From countless tests that I have performed shorting shares, I have found no real method that gives results anything better than break-even.

Most of your gains will come from a handful of shares

Traders and investors who have been around for a while all seem to say the same thing when it comes to share trading returns. That is, that most of your profits come from just a handful of shares. That’s why it’s important to have a good portfolio of attractive stocks. Capturing those ten and twenty baggers, the one’s that go up 100%, 200%, 1000%, are the ones that really help a portfolio grow. The rest of the portfolio usually just hovers around break-even.

Don’t fight the tape

Even if you do the hard work and find a great stock, you should never become too tied down to it. Even George Soros will change his mind if the trade is not going his way. There’s no more point trying to fight the market. If you have a stock that is going down when you think it should go up, you should cut your losses and look for a better opportunity.

Shorter term timeframes are more risky

Trading commissions and the spread (difference between bid and ask price of a stock), mean that short term trading is more difficult. Short term trading is also dominated by algorithms and high frequency trading. Fundamental factors like valuations need much longer periods in order to come into effect. Weekly and monthly timeframes are easier to trade.

Smooth curves

Another thing I have found over the years is that the smoother a stock comes down, the smoother it goes up. I tend to stay away from volatile, erratic stocks and look for those that trade in smooth trends with little noise. Those stocks where most of the candlesticks have very short wicks.

A stock can always go higher

Most of the profits from a share portfolio can come from just one or two stocks so it makes sense that those big winners will have hit multiple new highs on their way. For example, a stock like Coca-Cola will have made tens of thousands of new highs through it’s history. The conclusion is that a stock can always go higher and for the same reason, it can always go lower.

Test your stock-picking on historical data

It’s true that a stock can always go higher but does that necessarily mean you should buy any stock that makes a new high?

Not likely. A better way is to get hold of historical stock market data and test your strategies on the data. That’s the only real way of finding out what worked in the past and therefore, what is likely to work in the future.

Don’t hold too many 

Going back to the first of these 14 tips for share trading tip, when you buy a stock, buy something that you know a lot about. That means holding a small enough portfolio so you can understand what is going on, not holding an unmanageable bag of 30, 40 stocks.

Put in the work

Look at the financial ratios and the balance sheet. Read up what people are saying about it on Seeking Alpha, read the annual report and listen to the company’s most recent conference call. Read as many books as you can about trading and seek out the latest journals If you put in a bit of work at the beginning, you’ll be able to pick a winner and will have less work to do in the long run.

I hope you enjoyed these tips for share trading. For more tips, advice, and secrets, make sure to check out my new book which is on Amazon and discounted for a limited period of time:

link for my book how to beat wall street

US stock markets reversed losses on Monday after ISM non-manufacturing numbers came out and Billionaire investor Warren Buffett spoke enthusiastically about the state of American business. A contraction in Chinese manufacturing, and continuing violence in Ukraine, caused markets to open lower but stock markets were not in the red for too long and managed to finish the session up by around 0.10%.

There were plenty of stocks in the green yesterday and Apple shares gained around 1.4%, taking the stock past the $600 mark for the first time since 2012. The company is now higher by around 15% since the company reported earnings a few weeks ago and over 50% higher than it’s April 2013 low.

Is Apple stock still a good buy?

Clearly, Apple at $380 was excellent value and I spoke at the time that the plunge from $700 was a tremendous opportunity. Buying into such a quality company at such cheap prices has meant that those brave enough to invest will now be looking at 50+% gains without having to endure any pain at all.

Is Apple stock still a good buy chart

Now that the stock is up to $600 again, a potential investment is likely to be more risky and buying now could lead to some losses in the short term. Longer term, however, I continue to see Apple as one of the best large cap stocks available, and for many of the same reasons that I discussed in my article for Seeking Alpha here.

Most importantly, the reasons for buying Apple stock then, still apply today. Notably, the financial conditions still indicate excellent value.

PE is cheap at 14.36 and PEG is still below 1 at 0.96. Price to sales is still reasonable, and the recent strong earnings results mean that Apple has managed to grow EPS at an average of 42% over the last 5 years. These are strong numbers and make a good case for still investing in the company.

DCF valuation

Another way of looking at the stock is to do a DCF (discount cash forecast) valuation.

Currently, Apple operates with a trailing twelve month EPS of $41.85 while EPS is expected to grow at 14.99% over the next 5 years.
If we use a more conservative measure of 10% over the next 5 years, falling to 3% thereafter (in line with inflation) and assume a discount rate of 11%, we get a DCF valuation of $718.64.

That means Apple at $600, trades at a 20% discount to the DCF measure, using a conservative estimate for growth.

Is apple stock still a good buy DCF

Based on the evidence, Apple still looks like a great investment even though the stock is now up past the $600 mark.

Notwithstanding escalation in Eastern Europe, this week’s economic calendar is relatively quiet with just US retail sales (Thursday), and University of Michigan confidence (Friday) taking centre stage. On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand meet and are expected to raise rates a quarter percent to 2.75%. For forex traders I think there is more value in selling NZD short just before the meeting. With the global economy still fragile and most central banks still in easing mode there is a chance that NZ bankers will wait another month before raising.

Getting back to stocks and there’s more earnings announcements out this week. My earnings stock picks include 3 stocks, all with PEG less than 1.

Earnings stock picks

Inter Parfums Inc ($IPAR)

Inter Parfums Inc release earnings on Tuesday so long positions should be entered well before the announcement. IPAR looks to be nicely undervalued and it would be no surprise to see it advance on its earnings this week. Indeed IPAR has beaten guidance on each of the 4 last occassions. Stop can be placed at $32.90.

earnings stock picks IPAR

Dresser-Rand Group Inc ($DRC)

Later on in the week DRC will report earnings. The company is, again, nicely valued with PE of 20.6, PEG 0.98 and current ratio of 1.90. Barclays have an upper price target on the stock of $77 and I can see it advancing from its current price of $58.

earnings stock picks DRC

Ebix Inc ($EBIX)

Ebix may be one of the most hated stocks in the S&P1500 but for this week I like it. Financials look good and the company could kick on if earnings come in near or above expectations. EPS has been growing at over 35% for the last 5 years. They’re released on Friday and could cause a nice surprise.

earnings stock picks EBIXTrades should be entered well in advance of the earnings announcement.



Tomorrow’s stock picks are based on price action patterns as I’ve found that short-term trading opportunities are much more easily found using technical analysis over fundamentals. For a good book on technical analysis see John Murphy’s encyclopaedic Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets: A Comprehensive Guide to Trading Methods and Applications (New York Institute of Finance)

It’s expensive, but then again it could be the only technical analysis book you’ll ever need.

In terms of next week, stock markets should be strong again, helped by the most recent non-farm payrolls print of +175,000 jobs.

Tomorrow’s stock picks:

Nathan’s Famous Inc ($NATH)

Descending triangles are nice, bread and butter, price action patterns. Basically, as two trend lines converge in a triangle they form an apex point, whereby the market has nowhere to go but to break out in either direction.

Nathan’s has reached that point and looks poised for an upward breakout next week. A stop can be place directly below the market at $48.50.

Tomorrow's stock picks NATH

Ares Capital Corporation ($ARCC)

The second of tomorrow’s stock picks is Ares. The company is in a nice upward trend and has found support along the bottom of the channel. Looks like the stock will move back up towards the top. Stop can be placed just below, at $17.60.

Tomorrow's stock picks ARCC

Bon-Ton Stores Inc ($BONT)

Another channel pattern. Bon-Ton Stores has hit a double bottom and looks to be on the up. Stops can be placed at $10 and we can look for a move toward $14.50.

Tomorrow's stock picks BONT

Learn how to pick stocks and discover trading system ideas:

link for my book how to beat wall street

Best stocks to watch this week

Traders have their work cut out for them this week and significant volatility could be in store. Not only will we see interest rate decisions from the ECB, BOE, RBA and Bank of Canada, traders will also be watching US non farm payrolls on Friday.

However, all that could be overshadowed by events in Eastern Europe, which have escalated significantly over the weekend.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed Russian forces to the Crimean peninsula and war is an increasingly terrifying prospect. Just as in 2008, when Russia came to blows with Georgia, stocks could drop early next week and oil could surge. Natural gas could also go higher if Russia choose to close off any pipelines.

As a result, the best stocks to watch this week will be based on those companies reporting earnings, this should help insulate us from stock market volatility.

Carmike Cinemas Inc (CKEC)

Carmike ($CKEC) are a solid company and were one of my better picks of 2013. I like the look of their financials. PEG is good at 0.47, current ratio 2.50 and PE is just 5.67. ROE is an impressive 51.1% and EPS for the past 5 years is 21.2%. Technically, the stock is already advanced but earnings could give the stock a boost. Stop should be kept tight.

Carmike cinemas best stocks to watch this week

HCI Group Inc (HCI)

HCI have been doing well with the property recovery in the States and they should report another good quarter on Tuesday. The financial stats are good; low PE and HCI have been growing EPS at nearly 60% for the past 5 years. Stop can be placed at $43.

HCI best stocks to watch this week

Air Transport Services Group (ATSG)

ATSG makes the list of best stocks to watch this week, it’s looking cheap after dropping 25% so far in 2014 already. They report earnings on Wednesday and going by other airline services ATSG could do well. Stop can be placed at $5.80 to limit downside.

ATSG best stocks to watch this week