Paul Price: Maximum Media = Turning Points

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Paul Price: Maximum Media = Turning Points

Paul Price Headshot
During 2014, the headlines of the day rotated from events in Syria, to Russia-Ukraine conflicts, and then to Ebola. Each crisis took either the entire stock market, or certain segments, much lower, as fear of permanent negative effects were stirred up by the press.
None of those serious concerns proved long-lasting in term of market action. Those once dominant topics are rarely mentioned lately. The most persistent story lately has been the enormous plunge in crude oil prices. This isn’t the first time oil has fallen sharply. From February 1990, through February of 1994 crude fell more than 33%. The Feb. 28, 1994, issue of Forbes magazine ran with a cover story titled, “How big oil copes with low oil prices.”

As has happened many times previously, that article appeared at almost the exact bottom of the cycle.

One year after that issue was released, WTI had rebounded by more than 25%. Three years post-publication, crude was up more than 50%. It turned out that, in early 1994, “big oil” didn’t really need to do anything but wait. Two years further down the road saw oil tack on another 20%.

Maximum Media

What is the take-away from all this? Whatever has been dominating the news is unlikely to keep doing so. Most of the time maximum media coverage roughly coincides with the point of maximum pessimism. Crude oil appears to be bouncing back. We may have already seen the final low. If you haven’t gotten fully stocked up on oil-related funds or ETFs don’t waste any more time waiting to be sure oil can’t go lower.

The flip side of that coin is also in play.

Airlines were the industry group benefiting the most from 2014’s plunge in crude prices. The relative strength (RS) of the air transport stocks recently hit its highest level in years.

Media outlets are falling all over themselves letting readers know that low jet fuel prices will boost airline company profits.The relative strength of the air transport group hasn’t been this high in more than eight years. The last two times the industry’s relative strength approached this altitude each preceded very bad times for airline company shareholders.

air transport chart
Transportation-related mutual funds and ETFs have had a great run. Be sure not to overstay your welcome.

Note the huge run-ups in Fidelity’s Select Air Transportation Fund (FSAIX), The SPDR Transportation ETF (XTN) and the iShares Transportation ETF (IYT), all correlated to last year’s drop in oil pricing.

Fidelity Select Air fund
SPDR Transportation etf
ishares transportation average etf

The Bottom Line

Mutual fund investors would be advised to sell, or lighten up on, any transport-related funds or ETFs while they are still hot. Rotating your capital into bargain-priced, oil-related funds will pay off down the line when things get back to normal.

Disclosure: Paul Price owns no airline stocks, funds or ETFs. He is long shares of BWP, CR, DNR, DO, DOV, EMR, ESV, FLR, FLS, HFC, HP, JEC, KMT, SDRL, SLB.


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Paul Price Headshot

Paul Price: Maximum Media = Turning Points

During 2014, the headlines of the day rotated from events in Syria, to Russia-Ukraine conflicts, and then to Ebola. Each crisis took either the entire stock market, or certain segments, much lower, as fear of permanent negative effects were stirred up by the press.
None of those serious concerns proved long-lasting in term of market action. Those once dominant topics are rarely mentioned lately. The most persistent story lately has been the enormous plunge in crude oil prices. This isn’t the first time oil has fallen sharply. From February 1990, through February of 1994 crude fell more than 33%. The Feb. 28, 1994, issue of Forbes magazine ran with a cover story titled, “How big oil copes with low oil prices.”

As has happened many times previously, that article appeared at almost the exact bottom of the cycle.

One year after that issue was released, WTI had rebounded by more than 25%. Three years post-publication, crude was up more than 50%. It turned out that, in early 1994, “big oil” didn’t really need to do anything but wait. Two years further down the road saw oil tack on another 20%.

Maximum Media

What is the take-away from all this? Whatever has been dominating the news is unlikely to keep doing so. Most of the time maximum media coverage roughly coincides with the point of maximum pessimism. Crude oil appears to be bouncing back. We may have already seen the final low. If you haven’t gotten fully stocked up on oil-related funds or ETFs don’t waste any more time waiting to be sure oil can’t go lower.

The flip side of that coin is also in play.

Airlines were the industry group benefiting the most from 2014’s plunge in crude prices. The relative strength (RS) of the air transport stocks recently hit its highest level in years.

Media outlets are falling all over themselves letting readers know that low jet fuel prices will boost airline company profits.The relative strength of the air transport group hasn’t been this high in more than eight years. The last two times the industry’s relative strength approached this altitude each preceded very bad times for airline company shareholders.

air transport chart
Transportation-related mutual funds and ETFs have had a great run. Be sure not to overstay your welcome.

Note the huge run-ups in Fidelity’s Select Air Transportation Fund (FSAIX), The SPDR Transportation ETF (XTN) and the iShares Transportation ETF (IYT), all correlated to last year’s drop in oil pricing.

Fidelity Select Air fund
SPDR Transportation etf
ishares transportation average etf

The Bottom Line

Mutual fund investors would be advised to sell, or lighten up on, any transport-related funds or ETFs while they are still hot. Rotating your capital into bargain-priced, oil-related funds will pay off down the line when things get back to normal.

Disclosure: Paul Price owns no airline stocks, funds or ETFs. He is long shares of BWP, CR, DNR, DO, DOV, EMR, ESV, FLR, FLS, HFC, HP, JEC, KMT, SDRL, SLB.


Sign up for Advisor Access

Receive email updates about best performers, news, CE accredited webcasts and more.

Popular Articles

Download our free report

Find out why $30 trillon is invested in mutual funds.

Why 30 trillion is invested in mutual funds book

Why 30 trillion is invested in mutual funds book

Download our free report

Find out why $30 trillon is invested in mutual funds.

Why 30 trillion is invested in mutual funds book

Download our free report

Find out why $30 trillon is invested in mutual funds.


Read Next