We asked our friend Jill Malandrino of TheStreet.com to take a few minutes from her busy schedule to answer some questions about what she’s hearing in her interviews and reporting. Part of that busy schedule, by the way, included hosting our first ever webinar on the MIM yesterday. Jill began her career at a trading desk and not an anchor desk, so she asks the kind of questions professional traders appreciate. Here’s the Q&A:
Are you seeing a consensus of opinion from the people you’ve interviewed about fall? Bearish, bullish, mixed?
Sentiment seems really mixed. Obviously, it’s going to be quiet through the remainder of the week and I don’t think you will see any major move in the market or the Fed until at least Sept. 6 with the employment number.
[pullquote]It’s always a great time to be in finance[/pullquote]Back to school and holiday 2013 will make the retail sector incredibly active with a lot of tradable events, particularly as teen names have sold off sharply and shopper trends finally matter to this group, not brand loyalty. The right trend, inventory control and promo activity is what counts and that makes it exciting.
I also think tech will be a great space to trade as the sector offers value relative to the market, balance sheets are flush with cash and incredibly healthy…this represents some good opportunities for M&A activity (particularly in cloud, data, security). Finally, I like big conglomerates (industrials, particularly, such as aerospace and defense) like UTX, MMM. They have exposure to Europe, which is improving, and emerging markets.
Do any quotes or points of view stand out among those you’ve heard?
[pullquote]Trading along with the trend and tactically picking spots has been the winning strategy.[/pullquote]The 2013 trend can be explained this way: It is what it is until it isn’t anymore. If you tried to pick tops and bottoms, you got crushed. Just look at the shorts. Trading along with the trend and tactically picking spots has been the winning strategy. I have been saying that 2013 will be a fabulous year for stock picking and it certainly has played out that way.
Have any statements or viewpoints surprised you?
[pullquote]I am happy to see the playing field get leveled a bit so everyone can participate.[/pullquote]My biggest surprise—and pleasantly so—is the access to education and trading tools that the retail investor has exposure to. It simply didn’t exist when I started my career in finance 18 years ago.
Do I miss trading in paper and fractions (and using my brain for math)? Sure, but I am happy to see the playing field get leveled a bit so everyone can participate. It is a huge catalyst to what we do at OptionsProfits and, of course, at MrTopStep. Our goal is to bring the institutional experience to retail and educate them along the way.
If you’re allowed to say, being a journalist, if you had investments would you be optimistic about this fall or would you be worried or more prepared than usual for a downturn?
I am restricted from trading but I am excited for Q4. There will be a lot of stock picking opportunities, as I said before. Retail and tech are the sectors I will look at to identify opportunities.
Is this a fun time to be a financial journalist? If so, in what way?
It’s always a great time to be in finance, whether it’s at the trading desk (my background) or morphing to financial journalism. By nature, markets are always evolving—from regulatory issues, to products, to exchanges—and as market participants we have to evolve with them. Every day is something new and most people in finance live for the challenge. You must have a passion for the markets and trading. You have to live for this.