One Man’s Opinion: A Young Foreigner’s First Impressions Of America

By Simon Black

Last weekend while I was in Denver, I had the opportunity to speak with a young man from the Netherlands who was attending our charity event.

It was his first trip to the United States, and I’m always interested to hear people’s first impressions.

He told me he was really overwhelmed with the size and scale of everything. China is about the only other country in the world that does everything as big as the US.

He also told me he couldn’t get over how much stuff there is to buy in the US… and how easy it is.

He’s absolutely right. The US is an amazing place for a number of reasons; it’s modern, generally safe, and boasts a high standard of living.

And, yes, as a consumer, it’s one of the best places in the world.


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ETFs On The Cutline – Updated Through 12/08/2017

Below please find the latest High Volume ETFs Cutline report, which shows how far above or below their respective long-term trend lines (39 week SMA) my currently tracked ETFs are positioned.

This report covers the HV ETF Master List from Thursday’s StatSheet and includes 366 High Volume ETFs ETFs, defined as those with an average daily volume of more than $5 million, of which currently 250 (last week 258) are hovering in bullish territory. The yellow line separates those ETFs that are positioned above their trend line (%M/A) from those that have dropped below it.

Take a look:

The HV ETF Master Cutline Report                               

In case you are not familiar with some of the terminology used in the reports, please read the Glossary of Terms.

If you missed the original post about the Cutline approach, you can read it here.

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ETF Tracker Newsletter For December 8, 2017

ETF Tracker StatSheet



[Chart courtesy of]

  1. Moving the markets

The headline report about the latest jobs numbers showing an improvement in November, 228k created vs. 200k expected, was enough to power the major indexes higher with both the Dow and S&P 500 ending the week in record territory. The tech sector closed down for the second week in a row.

Never mind that Consumer Confidence tumbled for the second month in a row. Never mind that wage growth disappointed and never mind that the bulk of the job growth took place in minimum-paying jobs.  And yes, in case you were wondering, waiters and bartenders did hit a new all-time high of 11.783 million in November.

None of that was relevant as we’re back to the “any news is good news” scenario. Of course, our ETF space benefited as we saw all green numbers with only one exception. Heading the winners were the Emerging Markets (SCHE) with +1.03%, followed by Financials (XLF) with +0.61% and MidCaps (SCHM) with +0.59%. Not participating in this rally were Semiconductors (SMH), which gave back -0.46%.

Interest rates rose modestly with the yield on the 10-year bond adding 1 basis point to close the week at 2.38%, while the more volatile high-yield sector (HYG) held steady. Gold slipped again and lost -2.5% over the past 5 trading days, which was its biggest drop in 7 months. The US Dollar (UUP) added +0.16% and had its first 5-day win streak since March.


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Weekly StatSheet For The ETF Tracker Newsletter – Updated Through 12/07/2017

ETF Data updated through Thursday, December 7, 2017

Methodology/Use of this StatSheet:

  1. From the universe of over 1,800 ETFs, I have selected only those with a trading volume of over $5 million per day (HV ETFs), so that liquidity and a small bid/ask spread are assured.
  2. Trend Tracking Indexes (TTIs)

Buy or Sell decisions for Domestic and International ETFs (section 1 and 2), are made based on the respective TTI and its position either above or below its long-term M/A (Moving Average). A crossing of the trend line from below accompanied by some staying power above constitutes a “Buy” signal. Conversely, a clear break below the line constitutes a “Sell” signal. Additionally, I use a 7.5% trailing stop loss on all positions in these categories to control downside risk.

  1. All other investment arenas do not have a TTI and should be traded based on the position of the individual ETF relative to its own respective trend line (%M/A). That’s why those signals are referred to as a “Selective Buy.” In other words, if an ETF crosses its own trendline to the upside, a “Buy” signal is generated. Since these areas tend to be more volatile, I recommend a wider trailing sell stop of 7.5% -10% depending on your risk tolerance.

If you are unfamiliar with some of the terminology, please see Glossary of Terms and new subscriber information in section 9.


  1. DOMESTIC EQUITY ETFs: BUY — since 4/4/2016

Click on chart to enlarge

Our main directional indicator, the Domestic Trend Tracking Index (TTI-green line in the above chart) is positioned above its long-term trend line (red) by +3.39% after having generated a new Domestic Buy signal effective 4/4/2016 as posted.


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Snapping The Losing Streak; Tech Sector Finally Rebounds

[Chart courtesy of]

  1. Moving the markets

The major indexes managed to recover in sync for a change with the S&P 500 snapping its 4-day losing streak. Wall Street was continuing to focus on the progress of the tax legislation while looking with much anticipation towards Friday’s jobs report. Apparently, the possibility of a government shutdown did not affect markets, as discussions to keep things running were/are going on in full force.

Today’s favorite color in ETF space was “green” for a change with only the Dividend ETF (SCHD) ending down with a modest -0.06%. Leading to the upside were Transportations (IYT) with +1.35% followed by Semiconductors (SMH +0.98%) and US SmallCaps (SCHA +0.80%).

Interest rates moved higher with the yield on the 10-year bond adding 4 basis points to close at 2.37%. Suffering from that increase was the 20-year bond (TLT), the price of which slipped -0.78%; its first losing session after 4 days of gains. Crude oil rose but gold got clobbered again and dropped below the $1,250 level. The US dollar (UUP) liked the rise in rates and rallied for the 4th straight day by adding +0.21% and conquering its 50-day M/A.


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Nasdaq Pumps And Energy Dumps

[Chart courtesy of] 

  1. Moving the markets

It was a tug-of-war between bulls and bears with the major indexes vacillating back and forth above and below their respective unchanged lines. In the end, only the Nasdaq managed to show a green number, although the S&P scored a close second. The Energy sector as a whole looked frail with XLE losing -1.30%, but Crude Oil was the real weakling of the day and got spanked at the tune of -2.86%.

In ETF space, we again had more losers than winners. On the upside, we saw Aerospace & Defense (ITA) logging in a gain of +0.85% while Semiconductors (SMH) finally ended up in the green by adding a modest +0.23%. Giving back some of its YTD gains were Emerging Markets (SCHE) with -1.17% and International SmallCaps (SCHC) with -0.72%.

Interest rates dropped slightly after their recent push higher with the 10-Year bond yield losing 3 basis points to close at 2.33%. That allowed the 20-year bond (TLT) to rally +0.35% to close above its recent high at a level last seen in September. Gold stayed just about even, but the US Dollar (UUP) rallied for the 3rd straight day by adding +0.25% to kiss its 50-day M/A.


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