Frank Barbera's Blog

Senior Portfolio Manager
frank [dot] barbera [at] financialsense [dot] com ()

With more than thirty years following capital markets, Frank Barbera has served as the CIO for a boutique L.A. based wealth management firm, served as co-portfolio manager and strategist for two mutual funds, managed two hedge funds, and managed the capital market investments for a large Los Angeles-based family office. With many years of experience in bonds, equities and commodities, over time his focus has shifted toward rules-based, “Absolute Return” oriented investment programs. Within this absolute return space, the focus has been on the twin goals of satisfying total returns, while at the same time maintaining high levels of risk-mitigation. These programs are highly tactical, liquid alternative strategies that can help investors reduce the psychological stress that can develop during prolonged periods of downside market risk.

After working at Financial News Network in the mid-1980s and then following up with a ten year career on business television (as the market analyst for “The Business Channel”), Barbera started managing money in 2000 after correctly predicting the NASDAQ top above 5000 in March 2000. Shortly thereafter, Barbera joined a hedge fund in Santa Monica which was a satellite of Bel Air Capital in Century City, which itself was closely aligned with Goldman Sachs in New York. Paired up with a legendary senior trader, Barbera helped co-manage the fund successfully which sold-short technology stocks during the tech bust of 1999-2002. During that same time, Barbera consulted with a very large Los Angeles-based family office, which he eventually joined full-time. At the family office he managed a hedge fund very successfully over nearly a decade with no significant down years while also helping to guide that organization's capital market strategy.

Later on, Barbera exited the hedge fund space and returned to his early roots by joining Sierra Investment Management and a former mentor (from Bateman Eichler Hill Richards), Dave Wright. Between 2010 and 2015, Barbera helped Sierra launch two mutual funds, and build a sales team that was able to raise over $1.5 billion in assets in the first three years. The first fund, the Sierra Core Retirement Fund, was tactical and employed sophisticated risk mitigation techniques. Over that same period of time, Mr. Barbera penned a long series of weekly articles on FinancialSense.com, which focused on many of the gross financial excesses of that period and highlighted the GSE and Sub-Prime Mortgage/Banking crisis.

Early on in his career, in 2003, Barbera was featured in the popular book published by the New York Institute for Finance entitled “Master Traders: Strategies for Superior Returns from Today’s Top Traders” for his work on sector rotation strategies. From 1994 to 2014, Barbera edited the bi-monthly newsletter, “The Gold Stock Technician” which focused on the technical outlook for gold and silver mining stocks and metals markets with unique work on mining stocks. For a number of years, Barbera was a regular guest on CNBC with Bill Griffith, Ron Insana and Susan Herrera and has been widely quoted in the financial press including Fox Business News, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Money Magazine, The Washington Post, the New York Times and Barron’s. Mr. Barbera has also been a frequent guest speaker at investment conferences across the United States speaking on global macro-economics and the outlook for capital markets.

Meet the New High-Tech Dow Index: The Creatures of Confidence

Mar 25 – Taking a look at this very volatile index, we note that it recently made a peak in February and then fell 22% over 14 days into March. If the Creatures of Confidence and the other indices break below...

Could Gold Be Getting Ready For A Run To New Highs?

Feb 9 – For gold there is a lot of resistance in the low $1900 area, between $1900 and $1920, but we believe there is a good chance this resistance will soon be tested and that in the weeks and months ahead, Gold will once again break out to...

Equities Topping – Breakdown Ahead?

By Frank Barbera – With the S&P 500 at 2464, it continues to hover within 1% of a new all-time high. Yet, internally, the market is deteriorating with more and more stocks moving below their 50-day and 200-day moving averages...

2017 Bull Market:Testing the Boundaries of History, Has TIME Run Out?

By Frank Barbera – It has now been 438 weeks since the March 6, 2009 lows where the NASDAQ has not seen a bear market. That would rank this stretch as the 2nd longest bull run ever. What is most interesting for investors right now is to overlay the current historically...

Get Ready for Risk Off

By Frank Barbera – The composite price action of both markets seems to be pointing to an over-arching conclusion that, at this juncture, we could be seeing a broad distribution pattern tracing out, and that often happens at major tops...

Gold Mining Stocks – Back up the Truck?

By Frank Barbera – Over the last few years, Gold Mining stocks have carried investors on quite a ride. This observer first started watching the Gold Stock Index back in 1978, when mining stocks were the only game in town. Back then...

Could Recent FANG Weakness Be Signaling the End of the Bull Run?

By Frank Barbera – Other warning flags can be found in the realm of technical analysis where sentiment readings are among the most bullish values seen in a number of years. These suggest that there is room now for a contrary stance where excess positive sentiment...

Lowering Beta

With the S&P closing lower on Tuesday, "the market" is now down five of the last six days, and has struggled to form a sustainable short term low. This is the kind of tape action I feared several weeks ago when I wrote the column, "Rolling Defensive" and expressed the idea of bringing down beta (i.e. volatility levels) in the portfolio.

Seventh Inning Stretch

With the major league baseball series now in the championship playoffs, and the World Series dead ahead, this week seemed like a good time for a stock market article with a baseball theme. Of course, baseball games can often last close to three hours, so fans of the sport have to be relatively patient in watching a game, as there is a reasonable investment in time. Just the other day, the Yankee/Angel game went into extra innings extending to 13 innings. What a marathon that was!

Early Stage Top Out Parade

In each cycle, the sequence of events where tops and bottoms are concerned rarely, in fact, never unfolds the same way. Yet in each cycle there is always a certain method to the madness, and where tops are concerned the slow, elongated process is the norm. It is the drawn out nature of tops that actually make them so hard to spot because tops and the act of ‘topping’ is always a process, usually described by the collective market action over a period of weeks and months, not days.

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