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The Correction: Markets Collapse! Ebola Fears!

publication date: Oct 15, 2014
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author/source: Brian Nelson, CFA

This is why you pay us to do our job. We put you way ahead of the market, while others sat back and did nothing. This is what we talk about when we try to feed your mental model with the right information: "We're not after a 'two-second advantage' on widely disseminated market-moving information. We're trying to get you the right information...even before it becomes information." We take our job seriously, and we sincerely care about you and your wealth. You now know that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 300+ points at the time of this writing.

 

Please consider cancelling your free research provider or your higher-paid investment service provider because they are costing you dearly. Not us. We showed you how to make money on the decline, and we warned about it in advance. Even if you didn't take advantage of our experience, there will be other times in the future when you can.

 

In case you missed the story arc for our cautiousness on the markets, please click here. We've been emailing you and writing about our concerns on the market on www.valuentum.com under the article series, The Correction, for some time now. We're been screaming, "PAY ATTENTION," for weeks now. As you should be well aware of at this point, we removed cyclical exposure to the newsletter portfolios and have reaped the gains of put-option protection. We continue to consider adding back the put-option exposure, but we are waiting for the volatility to calm a bit.

 

The cost of portfolio protection has increased materially following a spike in the VIX, a popular measure of the implied volatility of S&P 500 index options (also called the 'fear index'). The fear gauge is now at the highest levels since mid-2012, though we note that a longer term view of the chart indicates that the markets may still be in "greedy" mode. When markets are greedy, it's time to be cautious, if not fearful, as our good pal the Oracle of Omaha would say. Here's how the VIX looks at the time of this writing.

 

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The equity markets are being rocked today because the Ebola virus continues to spread. We've written a few times here and here about how we thought this would happen, and we warned about the fear that would spread to the stock markets. A second healthcare worker was tested positive for Ebola today, and reports have indicated that the patient flew from Cleveland to Dallas on Frontier Airlines a day before the diagnosis. It is clear that precautions to prevent the spread of the fatal virus have not been implemented effectively by the CDC, and the timing of the flight relative to the latest contraction suggests that it will not be the last Ebola diagnosis in the US, in our view. There were 132 passengers on the flight.

More to come today. Stay tuned. Please be sure to read the articles on the website: www.valuentum.com. We don't like to bombard your email with e-mails, unless we need to pound the table on something (which we've been doing the past few weeks about the impending market swoon).


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