$SQQQ as a hedge proved to be a winner

Over the past two weeks the market has been quite choppy, especially intraday, but overall it has continued to hold. In fact, the Nasdaq has gained 4.4% and the S&P500 1.1% while the Dow was basically flat at -0.2%.

The difference in performance can be explained by the stocks which compose these indices, with the Nasdaq obviously being packed with many technology stocks which have been outperforming most indices. To give a couple of examples, one of the technology ETF $XLK is up 5.1% this past two weeks, and the so called FAANG stocks are all above 4% with $NFLX up 9.4%.

The relative lack of technology stocks in the European indices, which are dragged down by many bank stocks ($XLF), is the main reason why the European stock markets have been laggards. The financial sector was already suffering from the dovish monetary policies of various areas of the world, with negative interest rates in Japan and Europe for example. The pandemic has only increased their pain as money printing continued everywhere, including the US.

Some say that March 23rd is when the markets bottomed: since then the 3 main US indices have recovered a lot of the previous losses due to the pandemic crisis with a gain ranging between 27 and 31%, while the European stock market has only rebounded by 14%. When they say that it is a market of stocks rather than a stock market, what they mean is that you have to pick the right indices if you want to invest in ETFs, or the right stocks if you want to have more chances of beating the market.

Here are my top 3 winners for these past two weeks:

$SQQQ +6.96% (this is a hedge)

$AMAT +5.07%

$BMY +4.51%

The earnings seasons is not over but its pace is certainly slowing down with a lot fewer companies reporting earnings next week: the one I will be watching most closely is $BABA on Friday.

If you want to see which stocks, ETFs and currencies I own in my eToro portfolio, please follow this link.

Have a great weekend everybody and invest responsibly !

Featured stock of the month: #Verizon $VZ

Verizon (ticker: $VZ ) has been a great investment for me so far, I have owned it for about 2 years now. It is one of the value stocks which offers both a solid dividend (>4%) and capital appreciation.

It is considered a 5G play and its deal with $DIS related to Disney+ has helped it soar.

Verizon is a mega cap, with a market value of 240B $. It currently trades at 58.13$ and it was trading at about 48$ when I bought it. This means a 20+% capital appreciation which outperformed the SP500 by 15 percentage points over the same period. And then you have to add the dividend, which was about 5% at the start of my investment and is now 4.28%. American stocks typically pay dividends out on a quarterly basis which gives you the option of re-investing more frequently than, say, most European stocks which pay a dividend on a yearly basis.

In terms of valuation, the stock is actually quite pricey at the moment and the projected total return over the next 5 years, including dividend, is of 41%. There are plenty of better valued stocks out there which offer a greater growth potential (even >100%), like $AMZN and $TSLA, but you probably want to combine more aggressive plays with other less volatile investments in order to stabilise your portfolio. In 2008, when the market was down 38.5%, Verizon was “only” down 21%. So far in 2020 Verizon is down 7% compared to a 15% fall of the SP500.

The stock has had a steep recover from the late March lows and is now trading above the 5 and the 50 moving average, with the 200 moving average within grasp.

VZ TA

It reports earnings for Q1 of 2020 on Friday the 24th of April. Consensus estimates are EPS of $1.22 and revenue of $32.37B.

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