A ‘Full House’ Buy Alert

Posted by Jon Markman - Money & Markets

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Morgan Stanley has issued a “full house” buy alert on international stock markets for the first time since early 2009, effectively calling the bottom of this summer’s equity slump.

The investment bank reportedly told customers that all five of its market-timing signals are flashing a buy signal in sync with panic selling earlier this week that reached capitulation levels. This occurs very rarely, the bank said, and is a condition that typically leads to a V-shaped recovery which delivers a 23% average gain in stock prices over the following 12 months.

It’s interesting that the signal has emerged in sync with my own Tech Trend Trader market assessment model going long for the first time this year on Tuesday.

Graham Secker, Morgan Stanley’s chief European equity strategist, said the selloff over recent weeks is largely driven by emotion and has little to do with the underlying outlook for the world economy.

The trailing dividend yield on stocks — measured by the MSCI Europe index — is currently 2.4 percentage points above the yield on a mix of European government bonds, near its all-time highs of the past century, the bank reported. Such levels usually precede powerful equity rallies, it said.

Morgan Stanley’s bold call has raised eyebrows since the bank caught the exact top of the European equity market in June 2007 using the same timing indicators, on that occasion issuing a “full house” sell alert.



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The big call comes at a treacherous time for global investors as they try to figure out what the heck is really happening in China and prepare for a rate hike campaign in the United States, the first in nine years. That is going to hurt debtors in emerging markets with $4.5 trillion in U.S. dollar liabilities, the bank noted.

These kinds of indicators basically suggest that the risk-reward balance is tilted more toward stocks than bonds, and securities of all types over cash.

Secker added that the bank senses the current mood has echoes of 1998 during the East Asia crisis and the Russian default, when there was a nasty squall in the markets but it proved to be a false alarm for the global economy, in part due to three back-to-back rate cuts by the Fed.

The five timing tools in the MS algorithm are valuation, fundamentals, risk, capitulation, and a combined market indicator. Between them they capture mutual fund flows, market breadth and technical momentum measures such as the rate of change, as well as price-to-earnings ratios, dividend yields and their relationship to bonds.

Morgan Stanley said the best way to invest in the rebound would be through eurozone bank stocks because they will benefit from quantitative easing and loose-money policies by the European Central Bank. You can do this through a single fund, the iShares MSCI Europe Financial Sector (EUFN). The bank also predicted Italy would be the star country over the next two years as it benefits from dramatic reforms. The fund for that is iShares Italy (EWI).

Buona fortuna!

Jon Markman


Jon began his career as editor, investment columnist and investigative reporter at the Los Angeles Times. As news editor, his staffs won Pulitzer Prizes for spot-news reporting in 1992 and 1994.

In 1997, Microsoft recruited Jon to help launch MSN’s finance channel, where he served as Managing Editor. In that capacity, Markman became the co-inventor on two Microsoft patents.

From 2002 to 2005, Jon served as portfolio manager and senior investment strategist at a multi-strategy hedge fund.

Since 2005, Mr. Markman has specialized in helping everyday investors buy tomorrow’s technology superstars BEFORE they skyrocket.

Mr. Markman is the author of five best-selling books, including Reminiscences of a Stock Operator: Annotated Edition; New Day Trader’s Advantage, Swing Trading and Online Investing.

The investment strategy and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any other editor at Weiss Research or the company as a whole.