Same president, same challenges

Seems the market was surprisingly surprised by Obama's win. With that uncertainty out of the way, the market's near-term course should become clearer.

By Bill_Fleckenstein Nov 9, 2012 2:57PM

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference from the White House /Larry Downing/ReutersThough President Barack Obama had been reported leading in virtually all the polls for some time, it would seem that the stock market had not been handicapping him as the winner, given that the market gapped aggressively lower on Wednesday in the wake of his victory. In fact, it took less than two hours for the market to shed just under 3%.


For those folks who had correctly expected this election outcome, you might have been scratching your head at how the market managed to hold together leading up to an election that was likely to result in dividend and capital-gains tax rate hikes, in addition to the fiscal cliff.


Of course, we don't know for sure that we will go over the cliff, as the can may get kicked down the road. But certainly from an economic perspective, there is not much chance that the next couple of years are going to be very different from the last four, i.e., pretty subpar from a gross-domestic-product and job-generation standpoint.


Thus, it will be up to low interest rates to keep some sort of a bid in the equity market.


I know that the hypnotized never lie

Now that the election is over and the market faces the reality of discounting those outcomes, the near-term direction of the market may be clearer and lower.


My recent strategy has been to short S&P futures, which I have done a couple of times for some brief trades. (Given that we have so many crosscurrents, holding any speculative position for very long is difficult and potentially dangerous, and not an advisable strategy for amateur investors to employ. And for the record, for me precious metals are not a speculative position, as that is a sector I have been involved in -- and expect to be involved in -- for some time.)


As regular readers know, I expect at some point the bond market will revolt, and though it is hard to say when, I was somewhat intrigued to hear on Tuesday night that a decent chunk of respondents to exit polls thought rising prices were our No. 1 problem. This is decidedly not what one would expect in the midst of a supposed deflationary period.


I have noted many times that declining prices in certain asset classes (such as real estate, which has stabilized for various price points and locales) is not deflation, so there is no point in rehashing all of that. And in the meantime, now that we have gotten our election out of the way, we can turn our attention to what the new leadership in China looks like, and what sort of stimulus programs its new leaders might have up their sleeves.


And from our à la carte menu, Apple turnover surprise

Speaking of tricks up one's sleeve, I am probably going to shock a few folks, but I decided to buy some near-dated Apple (AAPL) calls early this week (even though, as I said in a recent column, I think Apple's stock price has most likely peaked) after talking to Fred Hickey and reading his newsletter last weekend. (As an aside, if you have not subscribed to The High-Tech Strategist, I cannot recommend it more highly.)


As anyone who has read Hickey's most recent report knows, it is very likely that Apple will have an extremely strong quarter, yet, meanwhile, the stock has been in the penalty box. Thus, this is a bit of a contrary trade, and again, it is not a recommended course for most individual investors. But it will give me a bit of exposure to Apple's upside if the market decides it wants to rally in the wake of the election. The reason I chose to buy the calls, which expire before this column will be posted, is that I can limit my risk to a few dollars while Apple itself can swing wildly.


While it is very important to have conviction in your investment strategies, it is sometimes even more important to be flexible in your thinking. This trade on my part is certainly an example of that, as well as being contrary, given the recent performance of Apple's stock price.


S&P does not support this message

I was curious to see how the 1,400 level would hold on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) following the election, as that appeared to be a floor recently. But the first time the Spooz (S&P futures market) traded down to that level during Wednesday's session, it punched through it to 1,385 before bouncing. Meanwhile, the chart of the Nasdaq ($COMPX) looks even worse, as that index is now not only below its 200-day moving average, but gapped through it on Wednesday.


This sort of action is precisely the reason I was willing to squander only a few dollars on my Apple calls, which were basically a way to participate on the upside should the market have decided to rally in the wake of a victory for Mitt Romney. 


At the time of publication, Bill Fleckenstein did not own or control shares of any company mentioned in this column.

Nov 10, 2012 12:18AM
Of course the next 4 years won't be any different than the last 4 except the national debt will increase another 5 trillion dollars.  Welcome to the new welfare communist country of the USA.
Nov 10, 2012 2:14PM

We have reached the tipping point and there is no road back.  The freeloaders feeding at the government trough now outnumber the producers who have to pay for their "entitlements".

We have sent to Washington to people who do not promote self-reliance and foster an atmosphere of prosperity as Jefferson and the founders envisioned.  Instead, we have sent those who will give away cash and services creating a permanent dependency on an ever growing, ever more despotic government.

I fear for my children and my country.


Nov 10, 2012 7:38AM

And 4 more years of failures and lies...

Only see the United States sinking more into debt, in the next 4 years..

Nov 10, 2012 1:03PM
Blacks who want free handouts, free food, free day care, free day care business, free healthcare, free housing, free college, free cel phones etc
Homosexuals and lesbians who want to be able to get married when they are not molesting children.
Women in the northeast who want free handouts of birth control pills.
Women who want free abortions, paid for by the government.
Union workers who want government backing when their demands on management are harmful to the company operations. 
Schemers who want free money from the government to support their greed.
Bankers, who want free money from the government to bail them out when their greed and incompetence causes them to financially ruin their institutions.

These people have voted into office a guy who hates the US, its history, its founders and all white people.  They have voted into office a guy whose only known associates during his adult life are a racketeer, terrorists, a communists, socialists and a so called preacher who hates the US and all white people.  They voted into office a guy who, in his first term, appointed tax cheats and people who totally lacked competence and experience in any field to which they were assigned. 

The very sad thing is the people who voted for obama and do not fall into those categories.  People who were so naive that the liberal media was able to manipulate them at will.

I have heard on several occasions that the republican loss was due to Tea Party.  The media has taken every opportunity to discredit the Tea Party in the eyes of the republicans and those on the Right.  I hope that no one will be taken in by this deception, created because they know the Tea Party and its agenda are good for the US and the future of the US.
At the moment Tea Party is the only hope for the United States of American. 

Nov 10, 2012 9:33AM
"Same President, Same Challenges", Same Results...........

Nov 10, 2012 9:13AM

 Thing's that make you say H'mmmm!

Keep blaming Bush, and Obama did not make happen what he promised from his 1st campaign! No I did not vote for Obama either time, because I did not feel he could get the job done, and didn't! But this whole fiscal crises is a result of people living beyond there means. If you cannot afford it then don't buy it! I've always lived within my means! No mansion, no big flashy cars etc. Home is paid for, cars are paid for, saved for my retirement  no pension. Let's put the blame where it belongs on the people who brought those big home and other item they could not afford, and then defaulted!    

Nov 10, 2012 2:47PM
I believe we should go off the fiscal cliff. Therefore they will have no choice but to cut the entitlement programs.
Nov 10, 2012 9:39AM
jimisass said;
"I seriously doubt that it was the reelection of President Obama that freaked out the markets so much as the simple fact that 1) we're stuck again with a lame duck congress situation and 2) things in Europe are getting worse not better,"

Ya, "things in Europe" magically got worse in the three days since the election!
Too far down the road to blame Bush.
Don't want to see the truth as it unfolds,
Blame Europe this time around.

Nov 10, 2012 8:24AM
Everything stays the same for the next 2 years...grid lock from a president who doesn't know how to compromise.  After the next 2 years and canidiates run again in congress, the picture could be different...America could be gone forever.
Nov 10, 2012 2:42PM

same pres ,same rhetoric, same outcome, same failure, same pres, same rhetoric, same outcome, same lies, SAME PLUS MORE OF THE SAME!


 thanx 3 milion idiots for not using your most powerfull weapon, the voting one!! now look where the fckk we are, each time you look in the mirror you'll see the reason we're right back where we started, the only difference?? it's gonna get worse!! didn't think that was possible, didn't want to think it


meanwhile major firms are announcing firings/layoffs if this bastard osama was re-elected, NOT SOMETHING THE UNEMPLOYED AND DESPERATE TO GO BACK TO WORK WANT TO HEAR!!!!!

Nov 10, 2012 4:14PM

To put it bluntly, I have paid into the system for 40 yrs. slowly saved a 401k and now for the begining of the silver yrs for me they want to raise capital gains, the only thing I have and a small amount at that so they can continue spending and borrowing rampantly. Why did we keep the same senate, house, and president in? 



Nov 10, 2012 4:32PM

Same president”


Yes “Same president” also same “BS” and failures for our country economy, jobs, and deficits.

Nov 10, 2012 5:12PM
Poor guy, look at the mess he just inherited! Now he has to blame ......himself?
Nov 10, 2012 3:48PM
The Benghazi thing just keeps getting worse for the President. as Woodward says this could be our next Watergate. Plenty of heads to roll.
Nov 10, 2012 3:40PM
The reason we have a poor education system is we cater to the Illegal Hispanic community. This is what puts a strain on our Education System. Another entitlement to those who do not belong here.
Nov 10, 2012 2:57PM
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.

Abe Lincoln

the only way the left sees us succeeding is by taking from one and to give to the other. What they don't understand is, when there is nothing to take anymore. You'll have total chaos. Like Greece.

Nov 10, 2012 11:12AM
Boehner and the GOP already made a huge concession by dropping the Obamacare fight.

Now let's see what Obama is willing to do in response, in order to keep negotiations moving in the right direction. 

Nov 10, 2012 4:26PM

remember the movie Titanic? see if that's not a great metaphor for AMerica today.

(obama is elected) ship hits the iceberg (the democraps, aka welfare pimps, have a majority in house/senate) it starts to take on water (bailouts begin stimulus ) ships taken on more water, this time is faster and faster sinkin' deeper and deeper (800 billion lost on failed 'green' energy bullshiit) she starts to dive deeper beneath the cold Arctic ocean (obama's re-elected) the ship breaks in 2 and she goes down taking' countless lives with her, 'nuff said, I mean that about covers it, does'n't it? depressing isn't it.

welcome to the new normal people, that's what you elected, AGAIN!  damn shame is what it is, damn shame!

Nov 10, 2012 11:28AM
"Seems the market was surprisingly surprised by Obama's win."

Interesting choice of words!

Obviously, they couldn't say Pleasantly, and weren't about to say Alarmingly, so this is what they came up with.
Nov 10, 2012 5:51PM
“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.” 
                                                                                                                Abraham Lincoln


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This column is a synopsis of Bill Fleckenstein's daily column on his website,, which he's been writing on the Internet since 1996. Click here to find Fleckenstein's most recent articles.



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