Phil I must say that it was really nice to have a portfolio that was looking very stable in the face of a rough day for the markets. I ended the day up 0.3% which includes another successful day of futures trading. So with a portfolio of mostly cash, a few of our faves like Apple and LL, JO, TOL, DIS, etc., along with a couple of hedges that paid off nicely today, and my futures trades, I never had to break a sweat during that madhouse today. Yes, by George (or Phil), I may be learning this system!
Took profit on QQQ 57 Puts, bot 40 at $0.07, sold 20 for $0.15 and 20 for $0.32. Thank, Phil
Thank you Nantucket. It is hard to be a complete beginner in the market with this complicated, fast moving, and very advanced group. Phil is the Great One, but the membership is absolutely amazing! Had I known this ahead I would probably log in as "awe struck" everyday.
Just closed out my V put for 50% in 24 hours thanks Phil!
Phil thanks. You never cease to amaze me with your thoughtful perspective on a myriad of different issues and challenges. It's kind of an embarrassment of riches since I joined this board a few years back. The ride from Dow 9,000 or was it 8,000? up to Dow 15,000 seems hard to believe. I wish I could have it all over again, except with the capital I have now.
Phil: UNH, hedged stock position, doing great, up over 50 %,
Phil fantastic call on the markets… I owe you BIG…thanks and have a great weekend!
Phil/CL-that play made a quick $500 per contract! Took all of 10 minutes! I want to thank you for helping me not just learn a bit about trading, but giving me some confidence and most of all a rewarding "hobby" to look forward to each day. I have had a few mistakes and losses along the way, but I have had some great wins too and I am now consistently making money trading futures and have even learned to go to sleep while holding a losing position knowing that tomorrow is always another opportunity to win again. So thanks again for your help and patience along the way.
I picked up one of your recommended Gold plays, the July ABX 30s and sold the Feb 35s, which are now mostly intrinsic value. Is it time to roll these to the March 37.50s, or should I wait this spike out?
Phil: I am always able to figure out your trades, including the rational when put in the right context of previous comments, etc. Keep doing what you're doing. It is much appreciated, and invaluable. Your hit rate of successful trades has been very high in my 1.5 months as a member, but even more importantly is your teaching of how to repair and DD positions that haven't gone your way yet. As with most members, we all have our ‘pet' trading interests, and learning how to think about trading is much more important than a specific trade, which could see the conditions behind it change an hour later. This is the classic case, of ‘Teach us to Fish', rather than just giving us a fish once in a while. Thank you!
USO, QQQ- Phil, thanks for these plays. Out of USO for about 65% gain today and just keeping 1/4 QQQ.
By the way thank you Phil for the DNDN idea. 3x till this morning and will 4x my small investment by next OE THANKS !!!!
Phil – great calls this past week, esp. friday and monday. in the old days I would have let Prechter et al scare me into trimming my longs and going short at just the wrong time. your feel for the markets is Tiger-esque. CHK, HOV, BX, TLT and XLF are big winners for me today. My biggest up day in a long time. Thanks!
That was a quick double on the DIA calls. trailing stop in place.
Your board has been fantastic helping the less experienced (includes me) navigate through all the turmoil. The contributions from your members has been well rounded, objective, and extremely helpful. Sans the politics you have built a fantastic community and that is a tribute to you. I thank you and all fellow members for there contributions over the past few days. Fantastic group!
I'd like to wish Phil and everyone else that contributes to this board a very Merry Christmas and happy New Year. The wealth of knowledge on here is incredible, and it has greatly contributed to my understanding of markets, politics, and the world in general. This year was when Phil's teachings all seemed to click in place, and my portfolio's performance shot up, and for that I am very grateful. Thank you!
I took $2 (up 133%) and ran on those USO puts, quite a bit more than the 20 you played in the $25KP. Thank you once again for turning a bad market week into a great personal week. You will be happy to know I am back to cashy and cautious with a few of your favorite longs into the weekend. Thanks to Phil, JRW and all the members who share their knowledge here.
Thanks for all the work you put into this site. I have looked at a few other option advisory or "mentoring" services this year, but no one offers even a fraction of the content or the level of services you provide at PSW!
Phil - Your logic not only makes sense, but it made a lot of premium profit for me over the past 12 months. I have recovered much of the massive equity losses of last year. My Monday play is the sale of long term puts on FXI. Love the premium!
I have been here for 8 yrs, and find it the best service out there. There are more eyes on the market in this forum than anywhere, and opinions abound. So, relax, and let the group help you out.
I am an Economist at Harvard and some of my colleagues and I would like to let you know that we follow your posts on SA, and find your analysis refreshing, rigorous, and acute. Great work! Though many of us (including myself) have our work covered in the Wall St Journal, in many ways your macro commentary is more fearless and accurate than what is generally found in that venerable publication.
Phil: Closed out ZION with 49 % gain!
Being a bear is easy (and I am not convinced we are doing all that well on the whole as an economy), but one cannot fight the trend (didn't Phil say that a while ago)? Just cover, make 5-10-15-20% and move on. It really does add up by chipping away. All I can say is I am back to 2007 levels in my account b'f the crash with this run up and some very nice help on this board….so kudos to us (and me!!)…
Thanks Phil for helping make this a much, much better year this year than last. Your tutelage has been so very helpful. Don't think I can say Thanks enough. And I thanks all the members here who were work hard in helping us all to become better traders, and I would say better people as well. The support many of you offered when we evacuated during the fire this past year helped me immeasurably.
Happy New Years to you all!
Great calls this week!
Thanks, after years of blood and blunders, I have reached a significant milestone – I don't lose money. Net net, I rarely have a losing week, market up, market down. And that I owe to you. Balanced positions. More premium sold than bought. Fundamental criteria applied to good companies, not momentum/ news headlines/ stock du jour/ triangle squeezies. But rather earnings, P/E, dividends, competitive position — the boring stuff that takes study, thought,….and patience. You have been a great teacher, and I have embarassed myself repeatedly day with how slowly I learn.
And it's a funny thing – if you don't lose, the gains start to pile up. The arithmetic is cruel to the downside, and becomes a gift in the other direction. And I'm in this for the long run, having made myself unemployable through a need for diversification. Moreover, what I've learned here has also elided into other areas, including real estate and ex-U.S. investment. Pretty cool. Have a great weekend.
Hey Phil, Your HOV suggestion about 3 months ago basically paid for my Philstockworld subscription for years to come. My average cost is about $1.
Thanks to your teaching and guidance, I was able to make a killing on my /TF shorts. I averaged into 12 shorts at 1252 and got out of 6 at 1242 and 6 more at 1235. Last week I did the same with /CL, though I got out too early and left $2 on the table. Thank you!
Thank God for Phil.
A few months ago (April) I didn´t even know what hedging was, and someone recommended I should check out some of Phil´s plays, especially on the retirement portfolio. When I first started to read it, none of it made a blind bit of sense to me, but I stuck with it and gradually began to work through some of the trades to see how it worked. Now I am putting on 5:1 SPY backspreads combined with bear put spreads, entering and leaving positions after consulting the VIX, and engaging in other esoteric maneuvers that are keeping my portfolio above water.
Phil, i wanted to thank you again for helping me protect future stock allocations at work - finally, i feel like i am owning my own destiny with stocks vs. letting the market dictate what you get – thanks again.
Robert Frank returns to the point he made in Alpha Markets, i.e. that Charles Darwin provides the "true intellectual foundation" for economics. Though the example this time is male elk rather than bull elephant seals, the central point – and it’s one worth giving more thought to – is that "Individual and group interests are almost always in conflict when rewards to individuals depend on relative performance." In these situations, which occur frequently in economic and social relationships, the assumption in neoclassical economic models that the maximization of self-interest is consistent with the maximization of social interest does not hold, and failure to recognize this has " undermined regulatory efforts … causing considerable harm to us all":
Smith’s basic idea was that business owners … have powerful incentives to introduce improved product designs and cost-saving innovations. These moves bolster innovators’ profits in the short term. But rivals respond by adopting the same innovations, and the resulting competition gradually drives down prices and profits. In the end, Smith argued, consumers reap all the gains.
The central theme of Darwin’s narrative was that competition favors traits and behavior according to how they affect the success of individuals, not species or other groups. As in Smith’s account, traits that enhance individual fitness sometimes promote group interests. For example, a mutation for keener eyesight in hawks benefits not only any individual hawk that bears it, but also makes hawks more likely to prosper as a species.
In other cases, however, traits that help individuals are harmful to larger groups. For instance, a mutation for larger antlers served the reproductive interests of an individual male elk, because it helped him prevail in battles … for access to mates. But as this mutation spread, it started an arms race that made life more hazardous for male elk over all. The antlers of male elk can now span five feet or more. And
Obama’s plan to save the housing market (and, with it, the economy) relies on mortgage modifications: Specifically, reducing monthly payments so strapped borrowers can stay in their houses instead of getting foreclosed on.
The Obama program is just a drop in the bucket. About 131,000 mortgages have been modified so far, most on a trial basis (the idea is to test whether borrowers can actually make the new payments before making them permanent). That’s better than nothing, but it’s less than 5% of the 3.5 million foreclosures expected this year.
Mortgage servicers aren’t staffed to modify mortgages…they are staffed to accept payments and/or initiate foreclosure proceedings. Modifying mortgages requires a different skill set, namely underwriting analysis. To modify a mortgage, the servicer has to figure out what payments the borrower can actually afford. So far, they haven’t been in the business of doing this, and it’s hard to turn on a dime. This is why so many homeowners who are interested in modifying their mortgages aren’t getting calls returned.
Some delinquent mortgage owners "self-cure"…so why should the bank give something away for nothing when the problem might go away on its own? Anyone would like to pay less if you offer to let them do so. But if you gently say, sorry, you agreed to these terms and we’re sticking to them, some borrowers will actually eventually do what they promised to do (which is better for the banks).
A $1,000 government payment isn’t enough to compensate servicers for the hassle. A free $1,000 per modified mortgage sounds like a lot, but after one considers the weeks of back-and-forth with the homeowner, the analysis, the paperwork, etc., it isn’t.
If banks modify mortgages, they have to write down the value of the loan. This is a big one. Remember, our bailed-out banks are now telling the world that they’re profitable again. They’re also claiming that their balance sheets have been purged of the godawful loans that they made or bought from 2004-2007. If the banks actually modify a loan, they’ll have to admit to their accountants and the public that it’s not worth
If you’ve been around these markets for a while you generally know by the time the retail investor is piling into a group, chasing huge scores – it’s generally time to run away (at the least) and for the 5% among us who short, begin to think seriously about betting against the small fry. It sounds cold, but this is just the way it tends to work … trust me, I used to be one of these people, so I learned the hard (read: expensive) way. As we read the piece below let us trust in the fact that none of these people were buying in early March, but most likely jumped in when it was "safe" a month or so later.
Contrast the lemmings running into "what’s hot" with what you’ve been reading here – about a month ago I was saying commodities is crowded and I would not want to be exposed highly there. People who heeded that thought process avoided the sand blasting that has gone on for 3 weeks running in this sector. While I do like these emerging markets for the long term, I think they are vulnerable here as well; some are beginning to roll over – Russia has already been in a "technical" bear market (down over 20% from peak). And I am saying the same thing I said in commodities a month ago, now for the latest darling – technology. It is crowded – everyone is hiding there. Beware.
I don’t really talk much bonds but while junk bonds (highest risk) has provided the most juice the past 3-4 months, its basically been a parallel to the stock market. The ‘worst of breed’ has run up the most as green shoots flower across the world. Just as with the green shoots themselves, I find the junk bond love way premature. This economy is stalled and I expect many more companies to suffer – so buying bonds of the worst seems not such a great intermediate term strategy. I’d be more interested
For me, trading is not a hobby, not a game of chance not some intellectual odyssey filled with clashing egos and chest pounding pissing contests. No, for me, trading is a way to make a living, doing something I love and am good at. So my approach is a little different then some of you may be used to.
Yet every so often a communication from one you impacts me with frustration and dismay. By now I would think that if you have been with me for six months, or a year, or longer, you would be making money trading, using some ideas and techniques that I have described over the months and years of writing AllAllan. But I hear something else from these communications, I hear that many of you are not getting it.
Today I am going to present to you three ways to trade using the simplest of strategies based on end of day prices and a minimal of necessary hardware or software. I am going to use an unleveraged ETF and remove all of my more sophisticated (read: expensive) tools, using only Market Club Triangles and 3 Line Break Point charts, both very similar in their construction and entirely objective in their application.
You can trade this going forward on XLF and probably not need anything else to be successful month to month, quarter to quarter and year to year. But it is my hope you will instead, glean from this the very basic premise of a simple rule-based system that can be applied and tweaked to any number of tradables, a simple trend following trading system from which anything is possible if you only have the discipline and desire to make it work.
XLF – Market Club Triangles -Daily Chart
Their are actually two systems shown on the chart:
(1) Enter trades on appearance of WEEKLY TRIANGLES and exit on appearance of reversing DAILY TRIANGLES. If flat, RE-ENTER on appearance of DAILY TRIANGLE in direction of most recent WEEKLY TRIANGLE;
(2) ENTER/EXIT on appearance of WEEKLY TRIANGLES (disregard DAILY TRIANGLES).
Here is gut wrenching story regarding firefighting and the California Division of Forestry.
I work in the aircraft repair/parts industry in California and thought I’d let you onto something. Many vendors to the CDF (California division of forestry) air operations have outstanding bills going back to last year. My company just put all California agencies on cash or credit card only. Many others are refusing to sell to the CDF because of huge amount of unpaid and late bills. We don’t even get Registered Warrants!
Mish, this is scary. I know of one company that is doing repairs knowing they won’t get paid just because they do not want to see fire fighting aircraft grounded!
Vendors must be given payment priority if the state wants to have any police and fire protection! Meanwhile the state is still purchasing new cars! Go figure.
Don’t put my name on this please. Thank you for your good work.
Normally I use initials, sometimes straight up and sometimes reversing them. In this case, I do not want a witch hunt so I will not post any initials at all. Meanwhile, California burns while the California legislature fiddles. Meanwhile Furlough Fridays are in.
California’s fiscal woes are in sharp focus again today, as state offices close on the first of three "Furlough Fridays" this month, idling tens of thousands of state workers; major banks stop redeeming state-issued IOUs at the close of business; and state leaders appear no closer to resolving the $26.3 billion hole in the state spending plan.
IOUs For Sale
The SEC said Thursday the IOUs are investment securities and anyone who wants to buy or sell their notes should go through registered dealers. This could make it safer.
Furlough Fridays Return
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered most state employees to take two furlough days a month starting in February. He has since ordered a third furlough day per month, which starts today. The three days amount to a 14.2 percent pay cut for state workers.
The governor also has proposed a 5 percent pay cut on top of the furloughs.
This Is Outrageous
The Land of the Setting Sun
Buddy, Can You Spare $5 Trillion?
There is no doubt that the US is in financial trouble. Those talking of a strong recovery are just not dealing with reality. But the US is in better shape than a lot of countries. This week, we begin by looking at Japan. I have written for years about how large their debt-to-GDP ratio is, yet they keep on issuing more debt and seemingly getting away with it. But now, several factors are conspiring to create real problems for the Land of the Rising Sun. They may soon run into a very serious-sized wall. And it is not just Japan. Where will the world find $5 trillion to finance government debt? We look at some very worrisome graphs. Those in the US who think that what happens in the rest of the world doesn’t matter just don’t get it. There is a lot to cover in what will be a very interesting letter. I suggest removing sharp objects or pouring yourself a nice adult beverage.
This Is Outrageous
But first, I want to direct the attention of those in the US finance industry to a white paper written by Themis Trading, called "Toxic Equity Trading Order Flow on Wall Street." Basically, they outline why volume and volatility have jumped so much since 2007; and it’s not due to the credit crisis. They estimate that 70% of the volume in today’s markets is from high-frequency program trading. They outline how large brokers and funds can buy and sell a stock for the same price and still make 0.5 cents. Do that a million times a day and the money adds up. Or maybe do it 8 billion times. It requires powerful computers, complicity of the exchanges (because the exchanges get paid a lot), and highly proximate computer connections. Literally, the need for speed is so important that to play this game you have to have your servers physically at the exchange. Across the river in New Jersey is too slow. Forget Texas or California. This is a game played out in microseconds.
I'm digging for green shoots but you have to sift through a lot of manure to find them this week!
A few weeks ago I complained that the MSM was irrationally exuberant and I couldn't find any negative articles (outside of PSW, of course, where people thought we were too negative calling for a correction) and now, less than a month later, you can hardly find anyone who doesn't think we're going back to the March lows. I stand by my statement to Members in yesterday morning's Alert where I said: "It’s ridiculous for the Dow to go back to 7,500 and ridiculous for the S&P to go back to 800. While it’s easy to make squiggly lines on a chart show 10% drops ahead (which seems like a normal 50% retrace of the gains overall) I just think it’s dead wrong from a valuation perspective so I’m not inclined to play it, especially when those valuations are about to slap you in the face over the next few weeks. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe earnings will suck and Q2 will be a miss and guidance will be lower but right now I say – Show me the misses."
So I said Cramer was an idiot to be herding his sheeple into stocks when the Dow was at 9,000 and now I am saying Cramer is an idiot for stampeding the herd out of stocks at 8,000? Am I that fickle? Not really, I just believe we are in a fairly tight trading range. On June 17th I warned on June 24th, as the market "rallied" back to 8,500 I warned we were simply in the midst of a "dead cat bounce" – using the following, very descriptive graphic:
These two are the "banking regulatory chiefs" in Congress of course; Dodd in the Senate and Frank in the House.
Both have steadfastly stood beside the banks through this crisis, especially the really-big banks that have given millions of dollars in campaign contributions.
The same banks that lobbied hard to "reform" bankruptcy so you cannot file Chapter 7 any more when you go bankrupt and stick lenders with the bad lending decisions they made of their own free will. That is, your credit and financial life is ruined, but theirs (which should also be ruined) is not.
The same banks that connived with Congress and The Federal Reserve to get the last pieces of Glass-Steagall repealed – the law that, had it been present, would have prevented nearly all of this crisis.
The same banks that (Citi-cough-cough) got Alan Greenspan to approve a merger with Travelers that Greenspan knew was illegal at the time it was consummated – a merger that was then retroactively made legal with passage of Gramm-Leach-Bliley.
The same banks that lobbied to get an exemption from bucket-shop laws and insurance regulation (indeed, any regulation) for credit-default swaps.
The same banks that, post-ENRON when we all learned about the outright fraudulent accounting enabled by "off-balance sheet" games, not only kept doing it but increased the size of such ventures.
And more importantly, the same banks that lobbied hard this spring to get an exemption from mark-to-market accounting for the "assets" they hold on their books – an exemption they were in fact using without having it, as I will shortly illustrate.
Today, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank asked the heads of U.S. banking regulators to look into whether their companies are carrying home-equity loans at “potentially inflated values,” which “may contribute to resistance on the part of servicers to negotiate the disposition of these liens.”
Most of these loans are in fact worth nothing!
Here’s the understatement of the year from the same article:
The so-called "green shoots" of recovery are turning brown in the scorching summer sun. In fact, the whole debate about when and how a recovery will begin is wrongly framed. On one side are the V-shapers who look back at prior recessions and conclude that the faster an economy drops, the faster it gets back on track. And because this economy fell off a cliff late last fall, they expect it to roar to life early next year. Hence the V shape.
Unfortunately, V-shapers are looking back at the wrong recessions. Focus on those that started with the bursting of a giant speculative bubble and you see slow recoveries. The reason is asset values at bottom are so low that investor confidence returns only gradually.
That’s where the more sober U-shapers come in. They predict a more gradual recovery, as investors slowly tiptoe back into the market.
Personally, I don’t buy into either camp. In a recession this deep, recovery doesn’t depend on investors. It depends on consumers who, after all, are 70 percent of the U.S. economy. And this time consumers got really whacked. Until consumers start spending again, you can forget any recovery, V or U shaped.
Problem is, consumers won’t start spending until they have money in their pockets and feel reasonably secure. But they don’t have the money, and it’s hard to see where it will come from. They can’t borrow. Their homes are worth a fraction of what they were before, so say goodbye to home equity loans and refinancings. One out of ten home owners is under water — owing more on their homes than their homes are worth. Unemployment continues to rise, and number of hours at work continues to drop. Those who can are saving. Those who can’t are hunkering down, as they must.
Eventually consumers will replace cars and appliances and other stuff that wears out, but a recovery can’t be built on replacements. Don’t expect businesses to invest much more without lots of consumers hankering after lots of new stuff. And don’t rely on exports. The global economy is contracting.
My prediction, then? Not a V, not a U. But an X. This economy
With the topic of infrastructure investing dominating today's newsflow after the NYT report that Democrats would support Trump if he endorsed their propsed list of some $1 trillion in infrastructure projects, which would create as many as 15 million jobs, the Kansas City Star and The News Tribune have compiled a presentation - based on internal White House documents - of about 50 infrastructure projects nationwide which comprise the "priority list" for US infrastructure projects in the coming years.
Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, has removed any lingering doubt I had that we are reasonable creatures. Cialdini shares so many examples of experiments that at times I literally stood up in disbelief. Here’s a good one:
More compelling evidence for the importance of similarity in determining whether we will imitate another’s behavior comes from scientific research. An especially apt illustration can be found in a study done several years ago by Columbia University psychologists. The researchers placed wallets on the ground in various locations around midtown Manha...
RMR Group Inc (RMR) provides management services to four publicly traded real estate investment trusts, or REITs, and three real estate operating companies. As of September 30, 2016, RMR had $26.9 billion of assets under management in the companies it manages.
RMR is a wonderfully lean business with strong recurring revenues, high operating margins around 40%, and 30% ROE. The company has a competitive moat through its long term lock-in contracts, a strong balance sheet, and loads of free cash flow. In terms of its valuation, RMR is currently trading on a P/E of 16, 4.79 times opera...
Some feel the price action of Copper is important to watch, because it could send important macro messages, about world wide growth or lack of. Since 2011 Ole “Doc Copper” has been very weak, no question about it. During this weakness, the S&P 500 has continued to move higher. So is the price action of Doc Copper not useful or relevant anymore?
US stocks up, gold and silver near multi-week high. President Trump begins with flurry of changes to Obamacare and NAFTA. Earnings season starting well for banks and miners. Global debt continues to soar, especially in China. Fake news debate rages. Trump and Merkel trade insults.
There is one reason why bitcoin quickly became the darling of HFT and various high speed algo traders operating out of China and the rest of the world: domestic transactions were "frictionless", as there were no fees on buys or sells. Until last night, that is, because as China's three largest bitcoin exchanges, BTCC, Huobi and OkCoin, all said in separate statements on their websites late on Sunday, starting Tuesday they will charge traders a flat fee of 0.2% per transaction. This is only the latest fallout from the recent crackdown on Chinese bitcoin exchanges whose activities have drawn increased scrutiny from the centra...
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PSS57 - "There is absolutely no data supporting a premise of demographics. "
Bingo, the vile filth known as "Secular Stagnation" emanated from Larry Summers, and was given an unqualified Fed benediction. Voila, no real data, no proof, an MSM narrative and repeated URBAN MYTH. The Flatworld Society has a more promising premise than this intellectual claptrap.
Its another "boogey man" same as the "pension crisis", which will be utilized to take away all forms of private and public pension, and have everybody forced into fee laden 401K/IRA. They will also force Social Security into the same fee laden hole using...
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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