Alpha Trader podcast

Alpha Trader

Seeking Alpha

Alpha Trader taps into topics and trends offering in-depth analysis of the market from the perspective of a trader. Hosted by former Seeking Alpha VP of Content Aaron Task and Seeking Alpha Managing Editor of News, Stephen Alpher, the show will feature discussions of the latest news and regular guests from among the smartest traders in the market today.

108 Episódios

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    The brewing energy crisis - Bob Iaccino joins Alpha Trader


    On the two-year anniversary of the Alpha Trader podcast, hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher welcome back to the show, Bob Iaccino, co-founder of The Stock Think Tank. Among the topics discussed: While the renewable energy movement is a worthy one, the world isn’t yet ready to run on sun and wind. The lack of investment in fossil fuels has the globe on the verge of, if not already in an energy crisis. Some believe oil would need to be in the triple digits to put a sizable dent in the economy and corporate profits, but Iaccino believes this is already happening at $80. Iaccino reminds that turning the spigots back on for U.S. shale production isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Even if there were the regulatory appetite to do so (a big if), getting production up and running again requires capital, equipment, labor … all of which are tough to come by at the moment. As far as the short term, Iaccino and team believe the price of oil (CL1:COM) is extended. They’ve covered their longs and are waiting for a pullback to reload. Turning to stocks, Iaccino is bullish in the medium-term, but expects there will be one more washout in the averages prior to a resumption of the uptrend. He’s a bottom-up stock picker and never owns more than a handful of names. Among his holdings right now: Cognizant Technologies (CTSH), Hormel Foods (HRL), Viacom ([[VIAC]], [[VIACA]]), Ford (F), Salesforce (CRM), and Sprott Physical Gold ETF (PHYS). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Mark Minervini and Dan David join Alpha Trader


    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher speaking first with Mark Minervini, author of several best-selling books, Trade Like a Stock Market Wizard and Think and Trade Like a Champion, among them, and then with Dan David, the founder of short-focused activist-research outfit, Wolfpack Research. Minervini is leading the pack this year in the U.S. Investing Championship in the $1+ money manager category with a whopping 262% gain. Though not a short seller by nature, at least some of Minervini’s gains have come from his decision on September 13 to short the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). What led Minervini to short the market and to remain short was his observation of the weakening technicals beneath the averages - among them, 80% of S&P 500 stocks down 10% or more, and just 38% of Nasdaq names above their 200-day moving averages. Minervini made news last week saying that the technicals of the market remind him of the situation prior to the 1987 crash. Those who extrapolate that statement to him predicting a crash, however, are missing the point. What he’s trying to say is that conditions continue to favor a correction in stocks, so he’s staying short. When the technicals improve, he’ll cover and go long. Dan David is perhaps best known as a featured protagonist in 2018’s, The China Hustle, a film that documented his work in uncovering fraud in China-based U.S. stock listings. At the root of The China Hustle is that it was legal in China to defraud foreign investors. That remains so today, says David, so bottom line: The financial statements of Chinese companies - from giants Alibaba (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU) all the way down to the smallest of small caps - cannot be trusted. And though David doesn’t trade the Chinese megacaps, he assures that the regulatory crackdown on these players is for real. “Thou shall not be bigger than the state,” he reminds. It’s all about control, says David, who isn’t surprised by China’s moves against Bitcoin. A government that doesn’t allow its currency to float or guarantee basic freedoms can hardly be expected to sit aside while citizens keep their money off the books. And on Taiwan, David is certain that China will take over/invade at some point, and that the U.S. will be powerless to stop it. Whatever one thinks of Chairman Xi, says David, he’s a man who does what he says he’ll do … And he’s said as much. Turning to active trades, David continues to be profitably short what he considers to be frauds like SGOCO Group (SGOC) and Moxian (MOXC), and a SPAC deal - Skillz (SKLZ) - where he believes the sponsors were too aggressive with their projected numbers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Walking between the raindrops - Jeff Kilburg joins Alpha Trader


    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher speaking with Jeff Kilburg, chief investment officer at Sanctuary Wealth. Among the topics covered: What’s behind the current market jitters? Is it the debt ceiling debate, concern about tighter central bank policy, soaring energy prices, supply chain worries, China Evergrande? Whatever the reason and whatever the resolutions to the above concerns, all roads appear to lead to easier than otherwise Fed policy, and Kilburg remains bullish. Two regional Fed presidents resigned earlier this week thanks to trading scandals, and as the podcast was being recorded, Chairman Jay Powell’s odds of serving another term took a dip when Senator Elizabeth Warren declared him a “dangerous man.”. A lot of this stuff is for show, reminds Kilburg, but it’s yet another reason Jay Powell will more or less continue to stand there with a sign saying “buy risk assets.” The velocity of the move higher in long-term rates has shaken some, notes Kilburg, but the absolute level of the 10-year yield of about 1.5% remains historically low. As long as the 10-year rate remains range-bound below about 2%, it should be good for tech stocks. Kilburg and team have been buying the dip in areas like cybersecurity and semiconductors. Though a fan of the reflation trade, and an owner of names like 3M (MMM), Boeing (BA), and Masco (MAS), Kilburg did take profits on most energy holdings in mid-September. Links of interest: Senator Warren: Fed Chair Jay Powell a 'dangerous man' Debt ceiling and inflation in focus at Yellen's and Powell's Senate testimony Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Calculating Earnings Distortion - David Trainer joins Alpha Trader


    This week's Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher speaking with David Trainer, CEO of independent research firm New Constructs, and the author of Value Investing 2.0, a newsletter available on Seeking Alpha's Marketplace service. Among the topics covered: The Evergrande story out of China is naturally worth paying attention to, but it's particularly important during these times of stretched market valuations. The question at hand is whether the Chinese government will step in to ease liquidity concerns. This is likely to happen, but there's no guarantee. Trainer explains his proprietary concept of Earnings Distortion, a systematic alpha-generating calculation of a company's true (vs. reported) results. Among Trainer's favorite picks is Disney (DIS), which is weathering the challenge from Netflix (NFLX) very well. Trainer notes Disney generates massive cash flow from multiple channels, while Netflix is burning through billions. Another favorite is Walmart (WMT) - like Disney, generating billions in cash flow, and also like Disney, weathering the challenge from a sexier competitor (in this case Amazon). Links of interest: David Trainer's Value Investing 2.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    'Team transitory' gets a win - Alpha Trader looks at the inflation numbers


    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher discussing the latest macro topics. Technical difficulties kept our guest - RSM Chief Economist Joseph Brusuelas - from the recording, but we were able to speak with him offline and relay some of his thoughts. Among the topics: “Team transitory” got a win with Tuesday morning’s softer-than-expected inflation report, says Brusuelas, but - with the CPI continuing to run at north of 5% - it’s still to early to declare victory. Stocks initially rose on the slow inflation number, but finished the day with losses. Investors may have gotten complacent after what seems like months with no downturn lasting for more than a few hours, but September - so far - has been a return to reality, with the S&P down about 3% in the first couple of weeks of the month. Meanwhile in China, that country’s leadership reminded everyone that they can send a sector down sharply at any point. This week it was the casino sector that drew some comments from Beijing, sending some of those players down double digit percentages. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Bullish on 'new tech' - George Ball joins Alpha Trader


    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher talking with George Ball, chairman of Sanders, Morris, Harris. Among the topics discussed: Stocks are expensive and the bull market is long in the tooth, but the Fed (or at least Chairman Jay Powell) is showing little interest in tightening policy. While fast growth and perky inflation would seemingly argue for the Fed to move, don’t discount that Powell would like to keep his job - tapering and/or higher rates wouldn’t be the best career move. What might upset this equation is the Fed having gotten it wrong on “transitory” inflation. Last week’s “soft” employment report was notable for a 0.6% rise in average hourly earnings - double what was expected. While one could argue that the taper is priced into stock prices, Ball says higher and stickier than expected wage-led inflation certainly isn’t. Nevertheless remaining bullish, Ball prefers “new tech” names that have far greater upside than the FAANG+ players. Among them are MercadoLibre (MELI) and Chegg (CHGG) - both stocks have had astounding gains over the past few years, but the best way to invest, says Ball, is to have the memory span of a goldfish. The market caps of each remain relatively small compared to the market opportunities they have. Bullish on cryptocurrencies, Ball recommends splitting an investment up three ways - one-third in bitcoin (BTC-USD), one-third in ether (ETH-USD), and one-third in Coinbase (COIN). If worried about the competitive threat that Coinbase may face as other exchanges raise funds in IPOs, Ball wouldn’t have issue buying a basket of these players instead of just Coinbase. Ball is also a fan of a recently gone-public small-cap biotech, Sera Prognostics (SERA). The company has a test which can determine if a woman is likely to give birth to a baby prematurely. By being able to identify and treat this condition early, the savings - both from a human and cost standpoint - would be enormous. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Powell pleases at Jackson Hole - Steve Sosnick joins Alpha Trader


    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features host Stephen Alpher talking with Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers (co-host Aaron Task is on vacation this week). Among the topics discussed: “​​Goldilocks is a 68-year-old man in a suit,” or how Jerome Powell’s Jackson Hole keynote address managed to please both equity and fixed-income investors. Ahead of the talk, a number of Fed speakers made clear they were in favor of beginning the taper sooner, rather than later. Powell pushed back against that hawkishness, while still suggesting that tapering isn’t too far off. With more gains in August, the S&P 500 (SP500) is now on a seven-month winning streak. Past history suggests markets will be nicely higher in six months, but Sosnick reminds that so much depends on the timing of the streak - this time around it’s occurring at what may be near the beginning of a Fed tightening cycle. Shorting the VIX at this point in the cycle may be like picking up pennies in front of a steamroller, with upside (of the bet) of a couple of points, but the downside far greater - particularly as we head into what’s typically the seasonally volatile period of September/October. The potential of blockchain technology (decentralized ledger) may be as great as that of the Internet, but that doesn’t mean the price direction of bitcoin (BTC-USD) has to be a one-way street higher. Similar to Cisco - which had a huge run early in the era, but has underperformed for more than two decades despite its importance for Internet usage - bitcoin’s price could languish even as blockchain technology delivers society-changing products. Links of interest: ​​Goldilocks is a 68-year-old man in a suit Blockchain is to the Internet as Bitcoin is to ? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    A bubble in bubble identification - Randy Frederick joins Alpha Trader podcast


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    A buying opportunity in China? KraneShares' (KWEB) Brendan Ahern joins Alpha Trader


    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher talking with Brendan Ahern, chief investment officer at KraneShares, whose flagship fund is the $5B AUM KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF (KWEB). Among the topics covered: Why the fall of Afghanistan - no doubt a serious issue for the Middle East - doesn’t necessarily translate into China getting more aggressive with Taiwan There’s plenty being lost in translation with respect to the regulatory news coming out of China, says Ahern. Much of what we’re seeing - while clunkily handled by Beijing - is no different than much of the regulatory issues faced by the likes of Facebook and Amazon on a regular basis in the U.S. or EU. The result has been a large disconnect between fundamentals (still great) in Chinese Internet players like Alibaba (BABA), Tencent (TCEHY), JD.Com (JD), Meituan (MPNGF), and Pinduoduo (PDD), and the price action (not so great). Links of interest: Why Ray Dalio thinks worries about the China regulatory crackdown are overblown Why George Soros is highly worried about China KWEB’s top holdings Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Markets to move higher, but don't forget downside protection - Scott Bauer joins Alpha Trader


    This week’s Alpha Trader podcast features hosts Aaron Task and Stephen Alpher chatting with Scott Bauer, CEO of Prosper Trading Academy. Among the topics covered: Barring worsening news on the Delta variant or some other unfortunate event, there’s little standing in the way of the market continuing to move higher, says Bauer. That doesn’t mean investors shouldn’t be buying protection, and - thanks to recent low volatility - that protection is relatively cheap at the moment. Recent strong economic growth and inflation prints suggest we’re maybe nearing the end of the zero rate regime sometime in the next year, but Bauer believes the market has discounted as much. More important is how to play stronger inflation, and Bauer - who has been long semiconductors (SMH) through their big run of the past few months - believes there’s plenty more upside to come. Markets don’t always have to make sense, reminds Bauer. U.S. bond yields until recently had been headed sharply lower, but at the same time the dollar was showing plenty of strength. Apparel stocks have been taking off of late, even amid stores about companies extending work-from-home, and chatter about at least some schools continuing with remote learning. And of the dollar (USDOLLAR), Bauer expects it to continue rising - not because its a “bastion of strength” - but because it’s being measured against other currencies like the euro and yen that have even larger flaws. Links of interest: Prosper Trading Academy Micron CFO discusses continuing supply chain shortages as semi stocks pull back Apparel stocks are taking off - why the sector looks appealing Listen to or subscribe to Alpha Trader on these podcast platforms: Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Play Stitcher Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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