TRANSCRIPT: A Bittersweet Farewell: Marc’s Final Episode of Oxford Club Radio

Announcer: It’s time for Marc Lichtenfeld’s Oxford Club Radio, the hardest-hitting half hour about you and your money. And now, here’s Marc Lichtenfeld.

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Marc Lichtenfeld: Welcome to Marc Lichtenfeld’s Oxford Club Radio. I’m Marc Lichtenfeld. Glad you’re with us. We have a tremendous show today. Coming up in a little bit we’re going to talk with Chris Gaffney, he’s the president of EverBank World Markets. We’re going to talk interest rates and what it means for commodities. We’re also going to check in with Alex Green, The Oxford Club’s Chief Investment Strategist, about the overall market and see what he sees for the rest of the year.

As always, if you want to get in touch with me, go to OxfordClubRadio.com, click on “contact” and you can shoot me an email or you can just leave your comments in the section underneath. You can follow me on Twitter @stocksnboxing.

 

Before we get to Chris Gaffney, who is waiting for us, we’ll get to him in just a minute, I do want to let you know we have a very big announcement about Oxford Club Radio. I’ll talk a little bit more about that later on in the show, but I do want to just mention right up front that this is the final episode of Oxford Club Radio. So it’s been four years, over 200 shows and we’re very grateful for all of you for listening and all the great guests we’ve had and, again, I’ll get into that more later on in the show, but I did want to tell you right up front this is the final one.

So with that being said, let’s bring on our first guest today. Chris Gaffney is the president of EverBank World Markets. Chris, thanks so much for joining us. And as everybody who listens to the show knows, EverBank has been a sponsor for four years. So I just want to thank you and EverBank for making this show possible.

Chris Gaffney: You bet. We really enjoy being part of Oxford Club Radio and have enjoyed listening over the years to the shows. So congrats on a great run.

Marc Lichtenfeld: Thanks very much. So I did want to get you on because we’re expecting a rate hike on Wednesday from the Fed and wanted to get yours and EverBank’s take on where rates are headed. Is this going to be a one- or two-time thing, or is this something we’re going to see a lot more rate hikes going forward, if you could look into your crystal ball for us?

Chris Gaffney: I’ll preface this by telling you that my crystal ball is as cloudy as anybody’s, but we do think that the markets have obviously prepared for the higher U.S. rates and really three rate increases in 2017. That’s what the Fed members have been preparing us for. The jobs report for February certainly looks as if that rate hike is pretty much in the books now. Really we have to look as an investor forward to see where rates are headed and really the pace of interest rate increases from this point forward.

The U.S. economy stumbled a bit out of the gate in 2017. We’re seeing GDP growth may be slow, but the data now is looking like the Fed’s set on at least two more rate hikes in 2017 after March and that those interest rates will continue to be increased.

Marc Lichtenfeld: So the stock market doesn’t really seem to be having a problem with this prognosis. What about what’s happening in commodities? Are they reacting at all?

Chris Gaffney: Yeah. The commodities market, again, they’ve been prepared for a rate hike. We’ve seen, especially on the precious metals side, the specter of higher interest rates weigh on the precious metals. Gold has been trading right around the $1,200 mark and continues to flirt with that level.

Really, it’s a push/pull situation with commodities. First of all, commodities are mostly traded on supply and demand. While interest rates and alternative investments certainly weigh on commodity investments, it’s mostly about supply and demand. So when we look at the price of commodities other than precious metals, you really have to see where the demand’s going to be and where supply is.

Right now we’re seeing an abundance of supply in the oil market. That’s pushing oil prices down. We’re seeing demand questions about global growth. These are all short-term questions.

I think longer term, if you look at especially global growth and the emergence of middle classes in China and India and general growth ticking higher globally out of Europe, out of Asia and here in the U.S., it paints a positive picture medium to long run for the commodities. I think there’s going to be some trouble in trying to get any kind of a sustained rally out of the commodities here in the short term.

Marc Lichtenfeld: We’re talking with Chris Gaffney, president of EverBank World Markets. How about the political situation, both in the U.S. and in Europe?  Do those factors tend to weigh on the commodities and, if so, any particular commodities that are affected more than the others?

Chris Gaffney: Great question. Yeah, we’ve got some real questions about what’s going to go on in Europe especially. We’ve had our own questions about what this administration here in the U.S. is going to do.

I’ll start with the U.S., I guess. The question here is all about infrastructure spending. We’ve been told that there’s going to be a massive infrastructure spending program. That would boost commodity prices, obviously, especially with copper or some of the industrial metals and those types of commodities that are needed for that infrastructure.

Over in Europe, you’ve got a little different story. You’ve got a political situation in Europe that there’s questions about the elections in France, the elections in the Netherlands and which party will be in control. There’s some real protectionist type parties – Le Pen especially in France, and there’s questions. That uncertainty on the elections would benefit precious metals because the precious metals are seen as an uncertainty hedge. So gold, silver. Those commodities would be a way to protect one’s investment portfolio against some of the uncertainty on the elections over in Europe right now.

Marc Lichtenfeld: All right. We’re up against the clock and we still have to get Alex Green in here. So, Chris, we’ll leave it there. Thank you again for all the support over the past four years. It’s been great working with you guys as always and look forward to seeing you at the Investment U conference later this week.

Chris Gaffney: Absolutely, Marc. Enjoyed being on the show and say hi to Alex for me.

Marc Lichtenfeld: Will do. That’s Chris Gaffney, President of EverBank World Markets. When we come back, Alex Green, Chief Investment Strategist with The Oxford Club. This is Oxford Club Radio. Stay with us.

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 Announcer: And now back to Marc Lichtenfeld’s Oxford Club Radio.

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 Marc Lichtenfeld: Welcome back to the final episode of Oxford Club Radio. I’m Marc Lichtenfeld. Our guest is the Chief Investment Strategist of The Oxford Club, Alex Green. Alex, welcome. Thank you so much and I can’t think of a more fitting guest to have on our final show than you. So thanks very much for joining us.

Alex Green: Oh, I’m honored. Thank you, Marc. As always.

Marc Lichtenfeld: I also figured this way I can just blame you for the show. They say everything was going great and we had Alex on and they pulled the plug. So I don’t know what he said, but that’s my strategy here.

No, but seriously I did want to have you on as our last guest because you are the Chief Investment Strategist of The Oxford Club and want to hear your thoughts on the market. It feels like such an unusual market in that we have valuations are high, there’s a lot of pro-growth proposals and potential policies coming down the line.

On the other hand, we have a President and a government that seems to be extremely unpredictable yet the market is showing extremely low volatility. What do you make of the market?  When you’re looking at things every day, it’s more confusing than I’ve ever seen it for me personally. What are your thoughts on what you’re seeing every day?

Alex Green: Well it is a confusing time in part because there’s parts of Trump’s economic agenda which are pro-growth and part I think he’s really blinkered about international trade, for instance. The idea that you’re going to put tariffs on imports coming into the country and that there’s not going to be some kind of retaliatory measures against U.S. exports on the other side is just wishful thinking. So that, for instance, is something that I’m disappointed in.

But let me just say that for anyone who wonders whether government policies really have much effect on economic growth and corporate profits, the answer’s a resounding yes and what the market is saying is despite whatever you may not like about what Trump says or does or who he is, the idea that he is going to take the world’s most uncompetitive corporates tax rate and slash it and simplify the tax code and reduce burdens and regulations on business and create other pro-growth policies, the market is clearly standing up and applauding.

Now, some people say, “Well looks like the market’s gotten ahead of itself because the tax cut plan is not even on the table and the deregulation hasn’t happened.”  Whatever. But the market is a discounting mechanism. It’s only looking out six to nine months or so, which is about as far as you can see into the foreseeable future. They’re thinking that that’s going to be a positive effect on economic growth and a positive effect on corporate profits and ultimately share prices follow earnings. So whether they’re right or wrong investors right now are seeing higher earnings ahead and that’s why the stock market’s in a pronounced up trend.

Marc Lichtenfeld: I know that you have several different services. One focuses on momentum, but the other focus is on value. Does the high valuation of the market concern you at all?

Alex Green: Well one thing you have to understand, obviously people talk about how the S&P 500 is trading at say 18 times prospective earnings, which seems rich, but you have to realize that one of the reasons the valuations look stretched is because energy stocks are trading at 30 and 40 times earnings because those earnings are going to take a big jump.

A year ago or 13 months ago oil bottomed out at about $25.00 a barrel and even though it’s hit the skids here recently, it’s still almost twice as high. So those are profits which are very much tied to commodity prices are going to take a huge jump in the months ahead, even if oil stays right around $50.00 a barrel.

So that’s skewing the PE of the S&P 500 a little bit, but when you look at the fact that we have low interest rates, low inflation, low energy prices and rising corporate profits because remember, we just came out of an earnings recession. We had actually three consecutive quarters of negative corporate profit growth and that’s turned around now.

So there’s two ways of looking at the current expansion and the current Bull market. One, if you’re a Bear that the valuations are too high and the expansion has gone on so long it’s inevitable that the market’s going to turn with the economy in the months ahead, but another way of looking at it is ordinarily when we have very severe recessions as we did in the late 70s and early 80s, for instance, you have a stronger economic recovery and a strong stock market.

Well we haven’t had a strong economic recovery in that we’ve had an average of 2% economic growth for the last eight years, which is much weaker than average. So it could be, if the Bulls are right, that economic growth is just about to kick into gear. From that perspective, even though we’re eight years into this expansion, it could be that things are beginning to really heat up again. So that’s the optimist point of view. I can’t tell you whether the optimists or the pessimists are right, but there is a very good possibility that if Trump gets his way and if we have these pro-business measures passed into law that we’ll see a better economy and higher corporate profits and ultimately higher share prices.

Marc Lichtenfeld: We’re talking with Alex Green. He’s the Chief Investment Strategist for The Oxford Club. So where are you seeing value?  I assume energy is one of those places, as you mentioned earnings are about to jump. Is there any other sectors that you think are reasonably priced or even better than reasonably priced?

Alex Green: Well, the thing is even if the market itself is pricey, we can always find pockets of value. I don’t really so much look at sectors as I look at individual companies. Of course what a value investor does is he realizes that stock prices are more than just electronic blips that bounce up and down every day and a share price is a fractional interest in an ongoing business and all the great and value vestors from Benjamin Graham to Warren Buffet are looking for healthy companies that are experiencing expanding sales, higher profit growth, high returns on equity, they’re well-managed, they’re product innovators and they’re selling at a discount to what the earnings are likely to be.

Now if you’re correct that the earnings are going to come in better than expected, then the value buyer is going to be rewarded, but what every value buyer has to be aware of is what’s called the value trap, which if you think a stock is a bargain at 20 and it goes to 15 and you say it’s a bigger bargain and if it goes to 10 it’s a bigger bargain still and 5, oh, what a bargain.

You can’t think that way. You have to make a reasonable conclusion to what the company’s worth and check the market to see what as a reference to see what the stock is trading for and then use our trademark sales strategy of if the stock trends up you run a trailing stop behind it to protect your profit and if your scenario doesn’t play out you have to cut your losses early. Never let a small loss become an unacceptable loss and get out of it and wait to make sure that your analysis is correct.

Marc Lichtenfeld: So no saying if you liked it at 50 you’ll love it at 20.

Alex Green: If you liked it at 50 you shouldn’t be owning it at 20.

Marc Lichtenfeld: All right. We’re up against the clock so we have to leave it there, but I just want to thank you for your many appearances on the show over the past several years and the great work that you do for The Oxford Club. So it’s been great having you on the show.

Alex Green: Well listen, Marc, you’ve done a fabulous job with this whole show yourself. You’ve educated people. You’ve pointed out opportunities. You’ve cited risks and you’ve helped a lot of people so I’m sorry to see the show folding, but I know we’ll be hearing more from you in your investment letter and your books and at your conference appearances. So I’m glad I’ll still be hearing your point of view for many months to come.

Marc Lichtenfeld: Absolutely. I’ll see you this week at the Investment U Conference.

Alex Green: Looking forward to it, Marc.

Marc Lichtenfeld. That’s Alex Green, Chief Investment Strategist with The Oxford Club. When we come back, we’re going to wrap up the four years of Oxford Club Radio. This is Oxford Club Radio. I’m Marc Lichtenfeld. Stay with us.

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 Announcer: And now back to Marc Lichtenfeld’s Oxford Club Radio.

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Marc Lichtenfeld: Welcome back to Oxford Club Radio. I’m Marc Lichtenfeld. This is the final segment on the final show of Oxford Club Radio. We’ve been on the air since May 6, 2013. Over 200 shows. I’d love to hear from some of you what some of your favorite moments of the show have been. Please, if you want to share them, go to Oxford Radio Club.com. You can either click on Contact, shoot me an email or you can leave your comments under this episode.

I’m asked all the time, “Well who were some of your favorite interviews?”  There’s certainly not any one I can point to. I love having all The Oxford Club editors on, Alex Green, Dave Fessler, Matt Carr, Steve McDonald, Adam Sharp, Andrew Gordon, Karim Rahemtulla. I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody. I apologize.

But I was making a list this week of some of my favorite moments from the show, favorite guests. We had JR Richard who was an all-star pitcher for the Houston Astros back in the 70s and would have been a Hall of Famer if he hadn’t suffered a stroke. Had an amazing story. He became homeless and is now back and he’s been helped out and wrote a book and he’s doing fine now, but it was an amazing story going from being a well-paid professional baseball player to homeless to back on his feet.

Donald Foyle, who played center for the Golden State Warriors for many years, a big champion of financial literacy, particularly for professional athletes and told us an amazing story about he bought his first car. I think it was a Jeep. And drove it to practice in his first season. The parking lot was filled with Rolls Royce’s and Bentleys and Mercedes and people were laughing about him, laughing at his Jeep and he said, “No, you don’t understand. The resell value of this is amazing. It really holds its value.”  They started laughing even harder. He explained, “Don’t forget. I’m a guy who grew up with a donkey for transportation so having this Jeep is pretty special.”  He was just a great guy.

Michael Kimmelman was another really interesting guest. He went to jail on insider trading charges. Just wrote a book. I actually don’t know if it’s out yet. It’s about to come out. It’s called Confessions of a Wall Street Insider. It’s really fascinating.

On the celebrity front we had the late Big Ange from Mob Wives. That interview was a little bit rough. I think we had woken her up that morning and she was supposed to talk about her wine business. It was a little rough interview, but for me as a Mob Wives fan, that was a thrill.

Barry Ritholz who we had on just this month. Sam Polk from Grocery Ships. That was a really fun interview for me because I spring on him right before we went on the air that we had worked together many, many years ago. He wrote a fantastic book called For the Love of Money.

Frank Abignail from the guy behind Catch Me If You Can. That’s who Leonardo DiCaprio played in the movie. Frank Abignail is the famous imposter. He was fascinating. Loved having him on.

Martin Hill who was on Shark Tank and he told us what goes on behind the scenes and what really happens on Shark Tank. So that was really fun.

I loved having Michael Roizen on. He is the chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and just had some really good advice for how to stay healthier. Really practical things. Not life altering things that will completely change everything you do every day, but just some really simple things you can do and some really good information.

Loved having Zak Williams on. He’s the son of the late Robin Williams. Also a financial literacy guy in the prisons and he was fascinating.

Paul Bovi, who used to be in the mutual fund world. Now is a professional gambler and handicapper. Also an Oxford Club Member. So we loved having Paul on.

Tristan Wade, professional poker player. Took us behind the scenes and what it’s like to play professional poker.

Rob Hamwee, who is the CEO of New Mountain Finance. One of the companies I recommend in The Oxford Income Letter.

Bruce Buffer, the UFC cage announcer and manager of Michael Buffer of “Let’s get ready to rumble” fame. Bruce is really the guy that handles Michael’s business and turned Michael from being a really successful ring announcer to being an international superstar.

So those are some of my favorite guests and I would love to hear what some of yours were again. Go to Oxford Club Radio and leave a comment in the comment section underneath this episode.

It’s really been an amazing honor for me to do this show for you every week for the past four years. I’m not going away. I’m not going to be on the air at least not for a little while. As I tell all my colleagues, I’ve never met a microphone or a camera that I haven’t liked. So I will be always looking for ways to be doing some kind of media so you can certainly look for that. I still do things with The Oxford Club. The Market Wake-Up Calls and various other types of presentations. Speaking at conferences. As I mentioned I’ll be at the IU conference this week.

Actually doing a river cruise in May which is going to be fantastic. If any of you ever want to do a river cruise, this is going to be an unbelievable one down the Danube. Go to Oxford Club.com. Click on Events and you can get more information on that. It’s going to be amazing. So I do some public speaking there but I will be looking for ways to get back on the media.

In the meantime you can always read me by going to Wealthy Retirement.com. If you’re not subscribed to Wealthy Retirement, it’s absolutely free. So I’m on there. Stave McDonald is on there. Karim Rahemtulla. It’s a great site for retirement and, of course, the Oxford Income Letter is my monthly newsletter on dividend stocks.

That’s actually how this show got started. The show originally got started being called Get Rich with Dividends, the name of my book of the same name, but got tired of talking about dividend investing every single week. There’s only so much you can say every week about the same topic, especially if I’m not making new recommendations on the air.

So we expanded it. That way we would have more guests and turned it into Oxford Club Radio. So I do want to thank everybody who’s been involved, all the guests that we’ve had, the people I’ve mentioned. Also Kevin Logan who was a gust of mine many times. Alan Nadel. All the guests that we’ve had on over the past four years.

I want to thank Ken Harris from Clear Channel. A very special thank you to Curtis Daniels, who runs the board and just does a fantastic job. I think seeing Curtis every week is one of the things I’m going to miss the most.

I want to thank Julia Guth at The Oxford Club, all of my colleagues. Colleen Hill especially and Alex Moschina, who really helped publicize the show, get the show out there, let you guys know what’s happening with it.

So all the guests, everybody who has been involved with the show and most especially I want to thank all of you for listening these past four years. It has been one of the biggest honors of my career to know that you guys are tuning in and giving me a half hour of your time every week. That means the world to me. So I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support over the last four years.

It has been a tremendous ride. I’ll be back doing something. You can bet on that. Visit me on Wealthy Retirement.com and until we speak again I hope your longs go up and your shorts go down. I’m Marc Lichtenfeld.

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