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Weekly Wrap Up

Another week, another 5% gain – isn’t the stock market easy?

We’ve gained 1,400 points in 4 weeks from our March 9th low of 6,600 – pretty impressive on the whole - but we have suffered a serious decrease in upward momentum since March 23rd, when we finished at 7,775.  That’s 1,175 points in 10 sessions followed by just 225 over the next 9.  It’s a little hard to reconcile this very toppy sort of action with the "bull market" mania that has swept the media this past week.  We’ve been bracing ourselves for a slap of cold water all week that never really came although this weekend the WSJ ran this nasty unemployment graph along with an article titled: "Time to Brace for Trouple as Profits Debacle Starts" which reminds us why we went into the weekend 55% bearish.

In last weekend’s post I warned: "Don’t forget I was looking for something like a 5% pullback and "all" we got was 2.5% so far" and it only took minutes out of the gate on Monday morning to give us the rest of that 5%.  I reposted our target levels on Monday morning of Dow 7,636, S&P 805, Nas 1,525, NYSE 5,075 and Russell 420, which were well tested Monday and Tuesday until we got a proper breakout on Wednesday morning

I was actually more optimistic on Monday than I am today as Monday our plan was we were hoping to hold our pullback levels and form a base we could build off.  The problem was the way we did rally made no sense – we didn’t climb a wall of worry – we climbed a wall of ACTUAL bad news that gave us brand new reasons to worry.  While the difference may sound subtle – it’s actually a big deal!  As a UBS economist I quoted in Monday’s post said:  "he housing market isn’t about to start booming, but the intensity of the pain will probably recede."  This is the result of our abusive relationship with the markets as they declined over 50% in 6 months – the mere absence of pain is treated as pleasure.

We had 4 new trade ideas from the Weekend Reading post in HIG, ING, FXE and BLK with all but HIG solidly performing already.  As with most of our stock entries, we have been hedging with puts and calls sold against to insulate us from another downturn – just in case…   Monday we got our usual reload of FAS at our $5 buy point – that made a quick 40% and selling the naked FAS $5 puts for $1 went well too as they finished up the week at .43 (up 57%).  Timing was everything as we were in and out of DIA put sales all week and my 9:56 comment on Monday morning of "Good time to buy back FAZ $20 puts for $3 (40% gain) unless you REALLY did want to possibly own them" turned out to be great non-greedy advice along the lines of taking profits early and often as FAZ fell from $24 to $16 over the next 5 days.

Monday was a busy, busy morning as we also sold X $19 puts for $1.10 (now .25) and we picked C $2.50 for .49 (now .60) with the goal of covering with the June $4s, which peaked at .35 on Thursday but we’re hoping to do better.   Some things are easy to do in the market, like picking GM $3 calls for .29 ahead of Obama’s speech on Monday morning, those gave back a very quick .43 but finished the week at 0.07 – another example of how greed kills!  That was it for our day as we didn’t like the action into the afternoon and we didn’t think too much of the stick save that took us right back to our target levels at the close.

The picture on the right summed up our view of Tuesday, much as the elevator picture neatly covered Monday’s action.  We expected to head up but – so what?  Still, I had the worst pick of the week looking at the FAZ Oct $24s at $11 for downside protection.  They already dropped in half to $5.80.  From a scaling in standpoint it’s not bad as you can roll down to the Oct $10s at $9.20 (+$3.40) and double down there for a net entry of ($11 + $3.40 + $9.20)/2 =$11.80, which is not much less than what we were going to spend on the $24s in the first place.  The practical upshot of this is, for example – had we put $5,000 into FAS at $5 and covered with $2,200 (2 contracts) of the FAZ October $24 puts then the FAS would now be worth $7,200 and the FAZ puts would have dropped to $1,160.  That’s a total of $8,360 from a start of $7,200 – not too bad for a week’s work.  

As that point, we rebalance our play by doing the roll and DD of FAZ which costs $2,520, dropping FAS to 650 shares ($4,680) and putting us in with the 4 FAZ Oct $10s at $9.20 ($3,680), perhaps a little more bearish than we want to be so perhaps not sell so many FAS.  Rather than sell the 350 FAS calls for $7.20, we could have covered 1/2 the FAS calls with 5 May $7 calls at $1.75 ($875) to take some off the table.  If FAS goes down on Monday, then we’re well positioned but, if it heads higher, we can buy back the calls or layer on some longer calls – lots of flexibility if you keep a general balance…  We’ll follow up from this position next week to see how it plays out over time.

Tuesday morning the big news was Russia’s energy minister supporting "coordinated actions" with OPEC, causing me to predict "That should give a nice pop to the OIH and XLE and XLF ought to retest $8.50, which will be a major pass/fail for the morning rally."  Clearly we passed with a very quick test of $8.50 in the morning and never looked back but we did also expect the planned protest of the G20 to hold everything in check until the next morning – it really pays to keep up with these events (see poster we also used in Monday’s post).  Generally Tuesday was a watch and wait day, we did a fun spread on the DIA puts and calls that were expiring that day which were huge winners but we simply didn’t like the day’s move and flipped 60% bearish in our 3:15 Alert, just a few points shy of the high of the day and catching the top of a 200-point drop into the next morning’s open.

So thanks to punctual protests for providing us with a promising premise (don’t you just love alliteration?) and, in Wednesday morning’s post, I laid out my concerns about the overall global economy – especially after getting hit with ADP’s 742,000 lost jobs report.   Since that panic gave us the retest of our lows we were looking for, we were able to flip back to bullish almost right out of the gate in our 9:42 Alert to members, using 7,550 as our target level to stay bullish – a level we never came back to once we crossed it and we hit the Buy List in full force after patiently waiting for two weeks.

Amazingly we got another whack at FAS at 10 am, both the stock at $5 and selling the naked $4 puts for $1 and I did call the FAZ trade dead in that same comment so really you could have done much better than our above example if you were able to day-trade the positions rather than just stick them out for the longer term, an unfortunate fact in this very choppy market.  At the close of that comment, with the Dow at 7,548 and challenging our target I said to members: "To a large extent I see this as just the bear attack we expected as Obama headed to Europe.  Really nothing much has changed and much ado is being made about nothing so I’m pretty comfortable taking a bullish chance down here as we have near and clearly defined failure points."

That put us in a frisky buying mood and we jumped on CAT and X right away (10:29) as we quickly moved over our watch levels from the week before (listed above).  We did a fun momentum play on FAZ that put us in the vertical of the March $17.50s and $19s for free, currently up .42 but remaining nice, cheap additional protection for our financial longs since they still could triple from here.  TXT was added at $6.28 and an ABX spread we took is right on schedule as we played for the pullback and already have a better than 50% gain on the callers.  I closed that day’s comments with a warning for our bears that was right on the money: "Be careful bears – We are in a very good spot for FASB and the G20 to both make nice noises and then the 650,000 jobs lost in the morning can be spun as a good thing because it’s much better than that silly old ADP report and we could gap up 100 easy."

Thursday moring we did, in fact, gap up 140 points and kept going from there.  I warned that the pattern had the hallmarks of a "False Break" as the volume wasn’t really supporting the move but we were determined to go with the flow as our levels haven’t misled us in weeks.  As I said in that morning post: "Let’s enjoy our market roller coaster today but let’s remember the harsh reality behind those jobs numbers.  People are losing their jobs, they can’t pay their mortgage, they get foreclosed on, they leave the community and there is less business so companies cut back and more people lose their jobs…  It’s the leaking pipe in the basement and we still haven’t done anything to fix the actual source of the problem.  At best, you can argue that more stimulus from the G20 and a change in mark to market regulations is like going to Home Depot and buying a pipe wrench – we’re still a long way from actually stopping the leak!"

So a lot of fundamental concerns on our part but I did the math and we ended up with an 8,218 target for this leg of the move.  Anything below that will keep us fairly unimpressed (and cautious!).  The downside levels we looked to hold were: Dow 7,900, S&P 833, Nasdaq 1,580, NYSE 5,225 and Russell 444 – all of which did quite well Thursday and Friday.  It’s also important to keep in mind our EU watch levels of FTSE 4,000, DAX 4,250 and CAC 2,900 for tomorrow morning but only the FTSE seems in danger of failing so far.  We did go into the weekend with our FXP calls (ultra short China) – just in case ($23s are $1.50, now $1.55)! 

We did the usual messing around with DIA – too many in and outs to mention – as well as FAZ as looked for nice entry points to play a turn.  AUY was taken as a hedged entry at $6.88/7.44 and AA looks good at net hedged at $5.95/6.93 but we’ll see what happens on Tuesday (earnings).  ZION turned out to be a good play hedged at $8.50/$8.75 and we were too conservative on M with a net hedged entry at $7.11/8.06 (so far).  Things were looking so good in financial land that we even picked up a hedged play on UYG at $1.88/2.04 and it’s been a while since we bothered with them but this is better than 50% in 45 days if they hold $3 so how could we resist?  QID $45s are disappointing so far at $2.10 (now $1.52) but you have to take some sort of protection against all those bull plays.  DOW was yet another bull play at $9.82 (now $11), which we hedged to a very conservative net $6.95/7.98.

I made another very well-timed call to flip bearish at 2:59 on Thursday and that saved us the bother of being annoyed by yet another almost 100-point drop into the next day.  That did not stop us from grabbing hedged entries on GE, TXT and CAL 20 minutes later as I picked over our watch list looking for ones that haven’t gotten away yet.   

As I mentioned in Friday’s Morning Post, David Fry totally nailed our mood on the market by saying: "Is this rally based on good economic data; earnings news; the G-20; more regulation; higher taxes; more debt and bailouts? Hell no! This is about the FASB caving to political pressure to allow financial institutions to mark their toxic waste to a model fantasy. It’s plain for all to see so please put the BS aside.  Now, I’m just a technician (no doubt with an attitude) and my job is to follow the dictates of the tape as best as I see it. Therefore, we’re long but, like I said yesterday, holding our nose all the way."

We’re holding our noses too but we did finish the week 55% bearish and worried that may not be enough (but also worrying it may be too much, hence – 55% bearish).  We did add OIH puts as that run-up seemed a little much but we took a positive BTU hedge at 10:21, mainly because the premiums were so good though.  We also got a good deal on a very long HOV spread and DNDN and MGM made for fun plays which were perfect for messing around with on a choppy day.  After being short on gold since initiating our March 21st spread (see "Spinning Straw Trades Into Gold"), we were finally ready to pick up a bull leg as GLD touched $88 but it’s a very cautious entry so far.

Friday afternoon we went with additional hedged plays on COF, STX, TOL as we dipped but held our 7,900 target just after 1pm but that was it for the day.  We didn’t think much of the low volume rally and went well covered into the weekend.   There hasn’t been any real market-moving news so far this weekend so a lot is going to depend on what sort of mood Asia is in this weekend and what the FTSE does with that 4,000 mark about 12 hours from now. 

Japan should be happy as the dollar is nice and strong this weekend, perhaps we’ll see 100 Yen to the Dollar again, something we have only very briefly spiked down to since last October.  The Nikkei fell from 12,000 to 7,000 as the dollar dropped 15% to the Yen so there’s good reason for them to sustain some euphoria IN THEORY and we should be fairly disappointed with them if they don’t as they’re not even back to 9,000 yet.

As I mentioned during the week, we had a 50% rally in the Dow from Nov 11th 1929 (about 3 months into the crash) through April 12th, 1930 AFTER which the market fell back from 300 to 42 on July 7th 1932 so 27 months of pure hell following a relief rally JUST LIKE OURS!  I don’t think this is 1930, I don’t think we’re heading into a depression but I certainly don’t think everything is all better this easily.

So let’s have fun but continue to be careful out there – just in case…

 

 


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  1. RMM

    Phil: you said. lets comment about my Mutual Fund sitaution on the weekend, are you ready ?

  2. craigzooka

    Damn Phil, you spit out another post while I was typing this one so If you see it twice, I am really sorry.
    I am in the midle of my first trade and am just looking for confirmation that I have understood the principles in the K1 project section. 
     
    The trade is in Aflac, AFL. 
    I realize that you reccomend writing the covered calls against LEAPS, but I wanted to start building a position in the stock since at the time it was at $18.39 and it pays a $1.12 in dividends.  So I bought 500 shares and wrote 5 April 20 calls against it.  The April calls are currently in the money by $1.06 and are trading for $2.22.  This means that they have $1.16 of premium left.  I would prefer not to be called away so here are what I think my options are (no pun intended!)
    (1) Roll them out one month to the may $21 at $3.00 giving me a net credit of $.78
    (2) Wait closer to expiration and hope AFL drops so I don’t get called away.
     
    I am still new at this, but according to what I have read I think option (1) is the right play. 
     
    What is your guys opinion?

  3. dalef13

    Craig – right idea.  Another suggestion would be to wait a few more days to burn off some of that premium and then determine the right roll (out or up and out).  Odds of your stock getting called away are low but monitor the ex-dividend date for the stock.  Your odds of getting called away increase as this date approaches.  Traders will weigh the remaining premium in the option versus the amount of dividend to decide if it is profitable to exercise and call you away.  There are only 9 trading days left until expiration so if the stock is sideways or down you will see a nice reduction in premium making your roll more profitable. 

  4. craigzooka

    Thanks dalef13, thats what I was thinking but its always nice to get confiration.

  5. ramana

    Good Morning Phil & all

  6. ramana

    Asia Markets :    Monday, April 06, 2009
    (The following is from WSJ; please cross check with other sources to confirm.)   

    Nikkei Average*                                      8857.93    108.09    1.24%
    Hang Seng*                                          14995.95    450.26    3.10%
    China: DJ Shanghai* *                            281.21       -1.13    -0.40%
    Seoul Composite*                                 1297.85      14.10     1.10%
    Bombay Sensex                                  10534.87     186.04     1.80%
    Baltic Dry Index                                      1506.00      -32.00    -2.17%

    *at Close
    ** Markets closed today

  7. ramana

    Asian Markets Rally to 6-Month High, Yen Slides

    (Markets in Thailand, China and the Philippines are closed for holidays. )

    Asian shares climbed to a six-month high Monday, as hopes that the global economic downturn is nearing its bottom spur demand for riskier assets while hitting the yen and safe-haven government bonds. North Korea’s launch of a rocket on Sunday had little market impact, given that the action had been expected and is seen having limited economic implications.

    Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.2 percent to a three-month closing high, as hopes grew that the worst may be over for the U.S. economy and exporters gained on a weaker yen.

    South Korea’s KOSPI closed of its highs, up 1.1 percent, as investors shrugged off North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket, with gains led by technology and banking issues.

    Australian stocks rose 0.6 percent, adding to last week’s gains, amid optimism that a slump in the global economy could end soon, with banks pacing gains and offsetting falls in resources firms.

    Hong Kong shares jumped 3.1 percent, with property stocks in the limelight on signs of an early recovery in a sector which has been among the worst hit by recession.

    Singapore’s Straits Times Index climbed 1.4 percent. Banking shares were leading the advance

    Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex closed at 10551.47, up 202.64 points Indian markets consolidated Monday and ended off lows as buying support emerged at lower levels. Capital goods, metals and auto stocks were the most sought after.

  8. ramana

    Euro Shares Rise, Led by Cyclicals

    European shares rose on Monday morning, tracking strong gains in Asia and a late rally in the United States on Friday, as optimism for economic recovery grew, sending commodities stocks higher.

    The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1.6 percent at 783.97 points at the start of a week shortened by the Good Friday holiday. The index has risen 21 percent since hitting a record low of March 9, and is now down just 5.8 percent for 2009.

    Banks were among early gainers. Banco Santander, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Societe Generale and UniCredit rose between 1.4 and 3.6 percent. HSBC rose 4.6 percent after its massive rights issue received a robust response from investors.

    Insurers Legal & General, Prudential, Swiss Re and Zurich Financial rose between 3.2 and 6.1 percent.

    Oil stocks rose, with crude rising more than 90 cents to more than $53 a barrel. ENI, BP and Statoil rose between 0.9 and 2 percent.

    Most miners rose, as copper prices hit five-month highs. Anglo American, Antofagasta and Xstrata were up between 2.1 and 6.8 percent.
    But Rio Tinto was down 2.3 percent on reports it is planning an $8 billion rights issue.

    Pharmaceuticals were among the few losers, with GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis down between 1 and 1.2 percent.

    Citigroup said in a note that cyclicals were rallying but cautioned against overoptimism.

    Swedish construction group Skanska rose 3.9 percent, despite reporting reduced activity for the first quarter. Improved sentiment on the outlook for the global and UK economy lifted property companies, with Land Securities and British Land up 8.6 and 6.9 percent respectively.

    Also, Asian shares climbed to a six-month high on Monday.
    Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC-40 were up between 1.4 and 1.8 percent.

  9. ramana

    Oil Rises Toward $53 on Global Economy Optimism

    Oil prices rose toward $53 per barrel on Monday, buoyed by expectations that rich nations’ efforts to stimulate their economies may help end the global downturn sooner than expected. Japan said it planned to spend at least $100 billion more to help its economy survive the global crisis, as investors seized on signs that markets may have bottomed to buy stocks and commodities.

    US light, sweet crude [ 52.98    0.47  (+0.9%)] for May delivery was up. The contract ended 13 cents lower to settle at $52.51 on Friday, as a bounce in Wall Street countered an earlier slide set off by gloomy jobs data.
    London Brent crude [ 53.74    0.27  (+0.5%)] rose.

    "The pixie dust that President Obama and the G20 sprinkled on markets last week is still working its magic," said Christopher Bellew, oil broker at Bache Commodities in London.

    Oil rose nearly 11 percent last month and snapped two straight quarters of double-digit decline to rally 9.5 percent in the first quarter, thanks to a rally in global stock markets and OPEC’s production cuts.


    Yen Falls Broadly, Dollar Rises Above 101 Yen

    The yen fell broadly on Monday, as investors took on perceived riskier assets on growing hopes that a global economic downturn may have hit bottom. The dollar rose above 101 yen, the highest in almost six months, while the euro also extended gains against the Japanese currency to levels seen last October.

    The dollar [101.17    0.88  (+0.88%)    ] was up against the yen, slightly below a nearly six-month high of 101.43 yen. A move above 101.00 yen was technically significant as it was a 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of its decline from a peak in 2007 to its 13-year low in January.

    The euro [ 136.88    1.62  (+1.2%)   ] hit a high of 137.43 yen before receding to be up on the day versus the Japanese currency.

    The dollar also lost ground against other major currencies as risk appetite improved.

    The euro [ 1.3523    0.004  (+0.3%)   ] gained versus the dollar. The common currency briefly pared some gains after European Central Bank Executive Board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said currency markets were prone to overshooting or undershooting, and as a result, intervention by authorities may sometimes be appropriate.

    The euro was earlier supported by a confidential report quoted by the Financial Times that said struggling European Union countries in central and eastern Europe should switch to the euro even without full euro zone membership.

    Traders said a recovery in emerging market assets, buoyed by G20 steps to help developing economies last week, added to investors’ appetite for riskier and higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars.

    Sterling [ 1.4909    0.0069  (+0.46%)   ] rose above $1.4900 to its highest in two months, driven by gains against the yen.
    The pound [  150.85    2.01  (+1.35%)   ] also rose above 150 yen.

    The New Zealand [ 60.03    1.27  (+2.16%)    ] jumped more than 2 percent at one stage to a five-month high above 60 yen. The Australian dollar [ 72.49    0.78  (+1.09%)    ] gained to a six-month peak of 72.87 yen, according to Reuters data.

    Gold dips below $880/oz, ETF eases

    In a sign appetite for risk is increasing, gold prices fell more than 2 percent on Monday, slipping towards a two-and-half-month low, and stock markets rose. 

    Gold stood at $877.90 an ounce by 10:59 p.m. EDT, down 1.6 percent from New York’s notional close of $892.50. It fell to as low as $876.55, the lowest since January 29.

    The world’s largest gold-backed ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, said its holdings were largely unchanged at 1,127.37 metric tons by April 3, a whisker down from a record 1,127.44 metric tons first reached on March 29. In contrast, silver holdings rose. The world’s largest silver-backed exchange-traded fund, the iShares Silver Trust, said its holdings rose 119.55 metric tons or 1.4 percent from the previous day to a record 8,413.01 metric tons as of April 3.

  10. Phil

    Good morning!

    Mutual Fund/RMM – I think the point of saying we can discuss it over the weekend, when I have time, is ruined by waiting until 8pm on Sunday to bring it up…

    AFL/Craig – First of all, you need to intend those puns when they work…  You are 1/2 right as 1 is the right play but you should also wait as you would be rolling out of great protection and also giving up the one absolute in the market and that’s that the $1.16 of premium your caller has now WILL be worth zero on 4/17.  Keep that in mind – you have a net entry of, say $17 and now you have a net position of $21.05 – $2.22 or $18.83 so you are up by 10% and you have 12% downside protecion.  If you roll to the May $21s now, you don’t change your net spread so you have no additional downside protection as you are increasing the value of the caller.  Meanwhile, if you let that $1.16 of premium run out, that’s a 6% gain on your $18.83 spread in 9 trading days.  So yes, your GOAL is to roll him to the May $21s but what you need to keep your eye on is that .78 credit for the roll.  If things go well, that amount should improve as things move forward, if they start to go the wrong way on you (your credit decreases) then you may need to consider taking action but that is only likely to happen if AFL is heading up, not down.

    And what Dalef says!

    Futures are looking less bright at the moment. 

  11. bcfla

     phil
    thoughts on option repair..    
    unwisely, I had april 83 put on spy…(these were somehting involved with before i started the service with you)…I was fine, that is until last 10 minutes on friday. I bought more on friday as well
    i am still learning about your various repair strategies and would your thoughts on this…btw, I do NOt intend on buying the spy shares – it was a spec trade only.
    Should i roll these and if so, should it be the DIA instead
    thanks

  12. matt1966

    Happy Monday!
     
    Nice premarket pullback!  I’m now at par on my SKF after averaging down at close on Friday.  See.. not so crazy after all. ;-)

  13. Monday Market Madness | Understanding The Stock Market

    [...] season is here and, as I mentioned in the Weekend Wrap-Up the WSJ is running an article titled: “Time to Brace for Trouble as Profits Debacle [...]

  14. Phil

    test

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