Archive for 2008

Bicentennial VIX Parade

Adam Warner, at Daily Options Report, on the VIX.  

Bicentennial VIX Parade

 


One rather ugly week after expiration, we see financial stocks going to zero, commodities going to the moon, and the VIX hovering around the low, but wildly important 19.76 level.

OK, it’s not important, just low.

And a see a whole lotta buzzin’ going on about this Bull Market in complacency. So I’d like to take a moment to reiterate something I noted last week.

Option markets anticipate volatility of the underlying product between now and when the options expire. If there is segment of time between now and when the options expire that traders expect the market to be slow, they will lower bids accordingly. This has the effect of lowering statistical volatility readings without lowering the perception of *real* volatility going forward.

Obviously options do not always estimate future stock volatility correctly. In fact they never get it exactly right, it’s an estimate. Surprises happen. But all things being equal, we are not going to be volatile over the next couple weeks. If you see a low VIX, you can call it complacency, or you can say that it’s simply a realistic anticipation of non-activity in a traditionally slow stretch. I am going with the later.

And I am using VIX for simplicity sake, but it’s for every option.

The point is that IF volatility looks low and you are inclined to call that complacency, and then are inclined to use that perception of complacency as a sign to get bearish, be very careful.

Yes, it’s noteworthy that in this time of Fannie and Freddie meltage, there’s no evidence of Fear. But by the same token we have 10 slow calendar days in front of us, so it’s perfectly rational to lower bids ahead of that.

Again, at this particular juncture in time, the VIX futures and options provide a better volatility gauge than the *cash* VIX. And they have barely budged, as the market expects 22+ volatility in September. The fact that there is a premium in the futures is expected, in fact, barring an actual uptick in fear, it happens every time. As I noted last week about the VIX Sep futures, "These are trading markets, and as such will price in the holiday. Right now


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Solars – uptrend continuing?

More on Solar

Courtesy of Allan – recommending long positions in a couple solar stocks, Canadian Solar Inc., CSIQ, and Trina Solar Ltd., TSL. 

A friend of mine [David Gordon] emailed me this weekend and suggested that I take a step back from my charts, remove my trend lines and allow my intuitive powers out, in an attempt to see the charts as what they are, not what I am interpreting them to be. So for much of Sunday I have been occupied with looking at charts without any preconceived bias. The result: The solars look great.


Above is a CSIQ-Daily of price only, you decide.

Below the weekly, does this help?

Finally, let’s throw my trend lines back on:

Next, a simple line chart of another Solar, TSL, with only Triangle signals:

And once again, with my trend lines:

Solars are great trading stocks, they seem to cycle very nicely and provide excellent Intermediate percentage returns. For example, either of these two Solars could return 50% on a modest move back to the top of their respective channels.

I still don’t know if this sector belongs in the Energy complex, the Technology complex, or are their own complex. Doesn’t matter. My trend lines merely represent what my eyes are seeing, without the trend lines. Both these stocks look to be oversold and beginning a rally to overbought…….and that is the Trade.





Swing trading virtual portfolio – the lost week

So, I am on vacation this week. But we still get a new post :) I will try to check in once or twice a day. Probably before opening and at or after close. Enjoy and let’s keep it rolling!

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, membership etc.), please click here

To view the full strategy, please click here

- Optrader





Obama’s Dueling Views

Mish discusses Obama’s view on the economy and his tax proposal, in comparison with McCain’s.  

Obama’s Dueling Views on Economy

Is Obama the liberal’s liberal or something else? In How Obama Reconciles Dueling Views on Economy, the New York Times attempts to portray Obama as some sort of quasi free-market half-conservative "Chicago School" pragmatist in favor of more regulation, handouts, and redistribution of wealth schemes. Is that possible? Let’s take a look.

The United States remains a fabulously prosperous country, relative to almost any other country, at any point in history. Yet Americans seem to realize that something has gone wrong. In recent polls, about 80 percent of respondents say the economy is in bad shape, and almost 70 percent say it’s going to get worse. Together, these answers make for the most downbeat assessment since at least the early 1980s, and underscore that the next president will be inheriting a set of domestic problems as serious as any the country has faced in a long time.

John McCain’s economic vision
, as he has laid it out during the campaign, amounts to a slightly altered version of Republican orthodoxy, with tax cuts at the core. Obama, on the other hand, has more-detailed proposals but a less obvious ideology.

Well before this point on the presidential calendar, it’s usually clear where a candidate fits within the political spectrum of his party. With Obama, there is vast disagreement about just how liberal he is, especially on the economy. My favorite example came in mid-June, shortly after Obama named Jason Furman, a protégé of Robert Rubin, the centrist former Treasury secretary, as his lead economic adviser. Labor leaders recoiled, and John Sweeney, the head of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., worried aloud about “corporate influence on the Democratic Party.” Then, the following week, Kimberley Strassel, a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, wrote a column titled, “

Farewell, New Democrats,” concluding that Obama’s economic policies amounted to the end of Clintonian centrism and a reversion to old liberal ways.

Some of the confusion stems from Obama’s own strategy of presenting himself as a postpartisan figure. A few weeks ago, I joined him on a flight from Orlando to Chicago and began our conversation by asking about his economic approach. He started to answer, but then interrupted himself. “My core economic


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Merck’s Gardasil

Fascinating topic:  pharmaceutical companies, financial interests, and politics.  Might also be interesting to those of us with daughters, who may be thinking about whether to get them vaccinated for HPV.  Courtesy of Deborah at  Wall Street Weather.   

Additional reading:  NY Times article, Drug Makers’ Push Leads to Cancer Vaccines’ Rise.

Merck’s Gardasil: A Risky and Unneeded Vaccine

“Merck lobbied every opinion leader, women’s group, medical society, politicians, and went directly to the people – it created a sense of panic that says you have to have this vaccine now.” - Dr. Diane Harper, professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and a principal investigator on the clinical trial of Gardasil, to The New York Times.

An editorial accompanying a study published online yesterday by The New England Journal of Medicine (“Human Papillomavirus Vaccination – Reasons for Caution”) by Charlotte J. Haug, M.D., Ph.D, questioned the “lack of sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer.” An article on the marketing of Merck’s (MRK) Gardasil vaccine in The New York Times describes how the company managed to get “an obscure killer confined mostly to poor nations to the West’s disease of the moment.” Merck is forecasting sales could top $2 billion this year.

According to the government’s Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “11,892 women in the U.S. were told that they had cervical cancer in 2004, and 3,850 women died from the disease. It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent on the treatment of cervical cancer per year in the U.S.” Scrolling further down the CDC’s web page shows statistical trends that “suggest that cervical cancer incidence and mortality continue to decrease significantly overall." These statistics are from 2004 – two years before the FDA approved Merck’s Gardasil vaccine.

Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. As Merck’s Gardasil Patient Information sheet states: “There are more than 100 HPV types; Gardasil helps protect against 4 types (6, 11, 16, and 18). These 4 types have been selected for Gardasil because they cause approximately 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts.”

Most of the population has contracted the HPV virus but their immune system has been able to combat it on its


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Weekly Wrap-Up

Was that the bottom?

After many disappointments this week actually ended about flat.  We continue to have an inverse relationship between the markets and oil that we discussed last weekend and I gave a play by play instruction book Wednesday on how to manipulate the markets to make Billions using just $50M on the NYMEX that it looks like someone took to heart on Thursday and Friday as oil went up and down 5%, yanking the markets up and down 2% in the process.

Monday was manic as usual, with very nice pre-market gains quickly turning sour.  We fell from 11,665 on Monday morning all the way back to 11,300 on Wednesday and finished the week at 11,628 – not exactly inspiring overall but we held our Aug 4th lows, which were better than our July 28th lows, which were better than our July 15th lows so it's kind of like progress only without the higher highs that indicate a proper recovery.  So it looks as though we may still be consolidating, and that means perhaps another trip to 11,800 and the next time back down we'll be hoping to hold 11,450 as a firm bottom to call it progress.

It's all going to depend on the first two days of this week, if we can race up to 11,800, we have a good chance of breaking up, if we can't get there until Wednesday, we can expect it to be "hump day" and back down we go.  From a data perspective we have July Existing Home Sales, probably not exciting, on Monday, followed by Consumer Confidence, July New Home Sales (blah) and the FOMC minutes on Tuesday.  Nothing there that sounds like we'll be making new highs is there?

[Earnings+cycle.bmp]Our best chance for a big rally is Wednesday's GDP, which may be even higher than the 2.7% projected (thanks to the stimulus checks).  It's very, very, very hard to sell a recession story when the economy is growing at 3%.  If we can couple a better than 2.8% GDP with less than 400,000 jobless claims on Thursday morning AND we're holding 11,800 from Tuesday THEN we may get back over 12,000, that's the best-case scenario for the week.

We get earnings from TMA on Monday evening and Tuesday we see AEO, BIG, CHS, SFD, TUES, BGP and JCG, which will…
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Lost Control of the Game

Mish’s update on Lehman… Courtesy of Mish. 

Lehman, Treasury, Fed Have Lost Control Of The Game

Analyst Richard Bove has stated Lehman CEO Richard Fuld has "lost control of the game." That is something I completely agree with as it should be obvious to all. Bove went on to say "If he doesn’t do something this weekend, as of next week, the game is on." That makes absolutely no sense. Nor does Bove’s price target of $20 per share.

Yes, Lehman has been shopping around for buyers, but buyers have been balking. I talked about Lehman talks collapsing and how poorly Lehman’s preferreds trade in

Ten Financial Entities On The Brink.

Lehman’s Crown Jewel For Sale

Five days ago in a will he, won’t he debate Financial News reported

Lehman Brothers to keep Neuberger Berman unit.

Lehman Brothers is not looking to sell Neuberger Berman, an asset management business, according to analysts who met with Herbert McDade, the bank’s new president and chief operating officer.

So much for that idea.

CNBC is reporting

Lehman May Have Trouble Selling Neuberger Stake.

 

The same way sovereign funds balked over Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld’s terms to sell them a chunk of the firm, some private equity firms are balking over Fuld’s terms to sell them a part of Lehman’s investment management business, which includes the firm’s crown jewel, the Neuberger & Berman asset management unit, sources have told CNBC.

As first reported by CNBC, Fuld, Lehman’s long-time chief executive, is looking to sell a 70 percent stake in the investment management division and have an option to buy it back at a later date. As a carrot to the potential buyer is a warrant to purchase a 20 percent stake in Lehman that could be cashed in when the credit crisis abates and the firm’s stock price recovers.

But potential buyers—which include nearly every major private equity firm—are starting to balk at Lehman’s initial offer, according to Wall Street executives familiar with the matter.

Their problem is the price. Lehman is pricing the investment management division at around $10 billion, meaning a 70 percent stake would cost $7 billion. But the real cost will be much more than that, because asset management firms are only worth something if employees remain with them following such a


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Money Flowing Out

Here’s an excerpt from Brett Steenbarger‘s article at TraderFeed discussing Money Flow.    

Money Flowing Out of Stocks

 

"Recall that dollar volume flow (aka money flow) represents the dollars flowing into or out of a particular stock or market. We look at each transaction in each stock and multiply the transacted price times the volume of that transaction. If the transaction occurred on an uptick, we add it to a cumulative total; if the transaction occurred on a downtick, we subtract it from the cumulative total. That cumulative total at the end of the day is the money that has been flowing into (if the sum is positive) or out of (if the sum is negative) the stock…."

Full article here.





Fannie and Freddie, Collateral Damage

Here’s a couple Bloomberg articles on 1) China’s exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and 2) the exposure (preferred shares) of U.S. banks to Fannie and Freddie.  

Freddie, Fannie Failure Could Be World `Catastrophe,’ Yu Says 

By Kevin Hamlin

Excerpt:   "A failure of U.S. mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be a catastrophe for the global financial system, said Yu Yongding, a former adviser to China’s central bank.

“If the U.S. government allows Fannie and Freddie to fail and international investors are not compensated adequately, the consequences will be catastrophic,” Yu said in e-mailed answers to questions yesterday. “If it is not the end of the world, it is the end of the current international financial system.”

Freddie and Fannie shares touched 20-year lows yesterday on speculation that a government bailout will leave the stocks worthless. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson won approval from the U.S. Congress last month to pump unlimited amounts of capital into the companies in an emergency.

China’s $376 billion of long-term U.S. agency debt is mostly in Fannie and Freddie assets, according to James McCormack, head of Asian sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings Ltd. in Hong Kong. The Chinese government probably holds the bulk of that amount, according to McCormack.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China yesterday reported a $2.7 billion holding. Bank of China Ltd. may have $20 billion, according to CLSA Ltd., the Hong Kong-based investment banking arm of France’s Credit Agricole SA. CLSA puts the exposure of the six biggest Chinese banks at $30 billion.. .."

More here.

 

 

Fannie, Freddie Preferreds Batter Sovereign, Midwest 

By Mark Pittman and Shannon D. Harrington

Excerpts:  "Midwest Bank Holdings Inc. Chief Investment Officer Don Wiest is wagering U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will rescue him from a failing $67 million stake in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Melrose Park, Illinois-based Midwest and banks from Philadelphia-based Sovereign Bancorp to Frontier Financial Corp. in Everett, Washington, own preferred shares in the beleaguered mortgage-finance companies that have lost more than half their $35 billion value since June 30. Concern that Paulson may step in with a rescue plan that would wipe them out along with common stock investors has sent the securities tumbling.

“I…
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Peaks

Cassandra on Peak Credit and our economic future.  She worries, "some will think that these ruminations border on the insane" but I don’t think so, all appears perfectly sane to me. Cassandra  Courtesy of Cassandra does Tokyo. 

Peak Oil!! Peak Inflation ?!? Peak Credit?? 

Does Peak Credit inevitably follow piqued credit? Well if you’re my age, and you thought so and positioned accordingly, you’d have been bankrupted a very long time ago – possibly as early as the late 1980s. And if you were a glutton for punishment, you’d have been toasted again in 1994, another time in 1998, yet again in 2002, and rubbing one’s nose in it, perhaps every year after that until midsummer two-thousand-and-seven. Dog days indeed for those bearish on the ability of the financial system to manufacture, distribute, and service debt, whether in real or nominal terms, or in relation to any measure of the economy or change in the growth thereof.

Yet as pessimistic on its sustainability (and wrong!!) as one would have been in the past, one should now be as optimistic one’s assessment that this is The Big One, that we’ve smacked head-first into the boundary of the maximum amount of debt that can be assumed by households, corporates and governments in our economy and be reasonably sustained with the fruits of our labour, and investment. Actually, I would posit that we long-ago pierced any reasonably sustainable threshold, and only through sheer inertia and the fortuitiousness of pulling of rabbits-out-of-hats have we lasted this long. But it is the anchoring of popular belief in faith and absent solvency from days long passed combined with the extrapolation a series of non-extrapolatable macro income streams which could cause any sensible human being believe or have believed that the boundary lay somewhere in front of us and not far behind us.

Culpability is not singular. Stern-Stewart, investor short-termism and systemic mono-focus, along with greedy managers replete with agent/principal dilemmas must assume blame on the corporate side. Selfish American Voters repeatedly demanding representatives requite incongruous financial goals with cynically lame and unsustainable fiscal policies, along with a near complete detachment from reality in regards to present consumptive desires in relation to both incomes and longer-term savings requirements are just as at fault as the monetary wrecktitude resulting from an


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Phil's Favorites

Can Trump make real change as president?

 

Can Trump make real change as president?

Courtesy of Sharece Thrower, Vanderbilt University

Based on his erratic behavior during the campaign, many fear what Donald Trump will do in office. Some believe that his strong personality could lead to disastrous policies that could negatively affect health care, nuclear warfare and other aspects of our lives.

As a scholar of presidential power, I’d suggest such concerns are likely overblown. Despite his distinct individuality, Trump faces the same institutional constraints as any other president. In the end, he may be a more predictable president than many would believe.

From individual to the institutional

Political scientists have long been...



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Zero Hedge

Senate Confirms Mattis (Defense) & Kelly (Homeland) On Trump's First Day

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Just hours after President Trump was sworn into office, amid Chuck Schumer's jabs over HUD, the Senate has confirmed retired Marine General James Mattis as defense secretary and retired Marine General John Kelly as homeland security secretary. They were both expected to be confirmed easily, and were, but Democrats promised fights over several other nominees.

Mattis was the first to be confirmed by a vote of 98...



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ValueWalk

Europe Rose Because Of Jurisdictional Competition

By The Foundation for Economic Education. Originally published at ValueWalk.

During the dark ages, nations like China were relatively advanced while Europeans were living in squalid huts.

Governments were forced to adopt better policies because labor and capital had significant ability to cross borders in search of less oppression.

But that began to change several hundred years ago. Europe experienced the enlightenment and industrial revolution while the empires of Asia languished.

What accounts for this dramatic shift?

I’m not going to pretend there’s a single explanation, but part of the answer is that Europe benefited from decentralization and jurisdictional competition. More specifically, governments were forced to adopt better policies because labor and capital had significant ability to cross borders in searc...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Mr. President you want this to hold, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Consumer Confidence of late has continued to move higher, now reaching above the highs hit back in 2007. Long-Term S&P 500 returns are far below historical norms, when confidence is this high. We are not saying that high consumer confidence means the market is at a top!

Below is a look at the Advance/Decline line on a short-term basis.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

Joe Friday Just The Facts; It could be important for support to hold, of this bearish rising wedge above.

...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Oil and Trump: Russians full of optimism in Davos (Reuters)

Twelve months ago, the mood of the Russian delegation at the World Economic Forum in Davos was distinctly gloomy, with oil prices near 12-year lows below $30 per barrel and Western sanctions depressing their economy and financial markets.

The Mortgage Market’s $1 Trillion Pocket of Worry (The Wall Street Journal)

Bonds backed by certain risky single-family mortgages topped $1 trillion for the first time in November, crossing that threshold amid rising warnings for one corner of the housing market.

...



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Chart School

Small Cap Losses Accelerate

Courtesy of Declan.

Small Caps again took the brunt of the selling as Shorts took advantage of yesterday's small rally back to former support (turned resistance) to enter positions. With the 'bull trap' in full effect, the next target down for the index is 1,308. Of supporting technicals, only Stochastics [39,1] is left to break its bullish alignment,


The S&P took a modest loss, but not enough to break it out of its consolidation. Volume was also lighter. With the Russell 2000 on the way down, it's suggesting the S&P will follow suit....

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Members' Corner

How To Poop At Work?

Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.

Once again it's "in the Toilet Thursday" or "Thursday's in the Loo". 

In our last episode, How to Poop On A Date? we were graced with a delicate shituation: what ever to do when your finally back at her place, snuggling in for a little "brown chicken brown cow" and you get hit with "Love Potion #2".

This week in How to Poop At Work? ,what to do when your at a big fancy pants meeting, when out of nowhere, you need to download a brown load?



...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 16th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Digital Currencies

China's Bitcoin Exchanges Suspend Margin Trading

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

China's bitcoin traders who use the most popular bitcoin exchange not only in China, but also the entire world, BTCChina, were met with an unexpected warning on Friday:

Starting from January 12th, 2017, BTCChina has suspended margin loan service. If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service: support@btcc.com.

BTCChina, which commands over 37% of global bitcoin trading...

... wasn't alone.

Fo...



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Mapping The Market

If we try it enough, it will work.

Via Jean-Luc

Brownback wants Trump to emulate what he did in Kansas because it worked so well:

Sam Brownback Calls on Donald Trump to Mimic His Kansas Tax Plan

By RICHARD RUBIN and  WILL CONNORS

Sam Brownback, the Kansas governor whose tax cuts brought him political turmoil, recurring budget holes and sparse evidence of economic success, has a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Do what I did.

In 2013, Mr. Brownback set out to create a lean, business-friendly government in his state that other Republicans could replicate. He now faces a $350 million deficit when the Kansas legislature convenes in January and projections of a larger one in 2018. The state’s economy is flat and his party is fractured...

...

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Biotech

The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene

 

 

 

Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com

...

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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Las Vegas Conference!

 

Come join us for the Phil's Stock World's Conference in Las Vegas!

Date:  Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 and Monday Feb 13, 2017.            

Beginning Time:  8:00 am Sunday morning

Location: Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas

Notes

Caesar's has tentatively offered us rooms for $189 on Saturday night and $129 for Sunday night. However, we have to sign the contract ASAP. We need at least 10 people to pay me via Paypal or we may lose the best rate for the rooms. (Once we are guaranteed ten attendees, I will put up instructions to call the hotel for individual rooms.)

The more people who sign up,...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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