Archive for 2009

Trading Strategies – Entry, Exit, Position Size

My strategies for trading are obviously going to be very different than Phil’s strategies. For one, I day-trade stocks and do not work with longer term option strategies.  My specific investment style is focused on short term investments that gain 2-5%. These rapid fire lucrative trades start to build up into a profitable long term virtual portfolio over time. The keys to my trading strategy are early entry, short term holds, and the earliest exit as possible.


I enter a stock based on what it can do in one to two days (maximum). When I look at a stock, I want to decide where it can be at the end of the day and whether I will be able to enter and exit it in this short term period for a 2-5% gain. Finding winners is the hardest part of day trading, while the entry, to me, is more of a system.

My entry strategy for a given equity depends on whether it has good fundamentals or bad fundamentals, as well as, whether the stock market looks to be moving upwards or downwards for the day. If a stock has good fundamentals for the day (good earnings, upgrades, bullish sector news) and the market looks like it is going to be green, the given stock will most likely gap up. On that gap up, some traders that were in the stock prior to the day will take profits. Usually on any gap up of 2% or higher, there will be a slight pullback in the first ten to fifteen minutes. This pullback is where I want to enter, because it will likely present the most discounted price that I will be able to get for the day, unless for some reason the market turns south.

If the market is looking particularly weak, I tend to stay away from stocks that have strong fundamentals because they probably won’t be able to have a lot of upward movement. Instead, I look to enter short on a stock that is either extremely overvalued, opening 10% up or more, or a stock that has bad fundamentals. When the market is looking red, I enter the stock almost right away. If there are poor fundamentals combined with a bad market, the stock has no reason to move up at the open
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The Week Ahead and Two Weekly Picks

A number of increasing stories and analysts seem to be growing more and more cautious about the stock market. It is not that most agree we are in a great position and the economy is recovering. What they all seem to be saying is that we moved pretty fast, and the market has become a bit OVERVALUED.

For example, I took a quick glance at Seeking Alpha tonight. On their "Macro View" section, the company has a market outlook section with stories about what direction writers believe the market is going. On it, the stories are 2:1 in a negative view of the market. Now, it is always easier to be a bear when the market gets much higher and looks ready for a correction, but if most people are thinking like this…doesn’t that mean its most likely market sentiment.

The market has made some ridiculously great profits, but this week might be a bit of a weaker week. Let’s rundown what is happening this week, what to expect, and what will shape this market’s red and green days.

To start, over the weekend, the big news we got was the shutting down of Colonial Bank. Colonial Bank was a major mortgage lender out of Montgomery, AL. The bank closing was the largest of the year, and the sixth largest of all time. The company had over $20 billion in assets. This is not some measly mom and pop joint. This was a large, second tier, regional bank. BB&T Corp. will be taking over the bank, but this should have some very adverse effects in the market. Especially, since financials have had such a strong run as of late.

One of the most defining economic data points for the week will be housing data. Monthly information on building permits, housing starts, and existing home sales for the month of July will be released. While I cannot venture to guess which way they will go, my one worry is that housing has had a great run. If the data is not exceptional, will it mean the housing sector could come unwinding. Plus, with how exceptional and unexpected last month’s numbers were, could the data be a bit overreaching.

Another important aspect of this week is the retail earnings. Big names in retail continue to release earnings. What we saw last week…
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Guest Post: Shining A Light On Expert Networks

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Submitted by reader Hedgehod’s Repent


Just Who’s Buying This Rally?

Here’s an interesting article by Graham Summers that touches on an issue discussed earlier today – it does not take $2.7 trillion actual dollars to move the stock market up $2.7 trillion in apparent value.  As a corollary, it wouldn’t take that much selling to move it back down. – Ilene

Just Who’s Buying This Rally?

stock market bubble, ponzi schemeRoughly 30% of US household wealth was destroyed by the collapse in housing and the 2008 Crash. Currently it stands at about $15 trillion, down % from $22 trillion at the 2007 peak. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call this “assets.”

Now, consider that total US household debt stands at $13 trillion ($2.5 trillion in credit and $10.4 trillion in mortgage). As we noted in previous issues, consumers have only paid off about $50 billion in credit (about 2% of this).  Thus we have US household equity at about $2 trillion.

Because consumers can no longer use their homes as ATMs (the home equity line of credit era is over), if we’re going to track how much US household money has flowed into the stock market, we need to focus on money market funds: the proverbial “sidelines” of the stock market.

Well, since March 2009, only $400 billion has flowed out of money market funds. Even more interesting is the fact that individual investors are pouring more money into bonds and income plays rather than stocks: for July, only $4 billion flowed into stock mutual funds compared to $28 billion for bonds.

In spite of this lack of participation, the stock market has kicked off a $2.7 trillion rally since the March lows. With only $400 billion potentially coming from individual investors. we can deduce that US households have only contributed 14% or less of the market’s gains.

Where did the other 86% ($2.3 trillion) come from?

See the Fed’s Balance Sheet, Factors Supplying Reserve Funds. This is essentially the money the Fed has put into the system via various lending windows and liquidity swaps.

As of July 30, it stood at $2.01 trillion.

It’s not hard to see what’s going on here. The Fed lends out money to Wall Street banks. Wall Street banks then use the money to recapitalize their balance sheets and push the stock market higher, creating the illusion of “recovery” and “bull markets” in an effort to get US consumers to “buy in” or begin spending…
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Dragon-Kings, Black Swans And The Prediction Of Crises

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Didier Sornette on “Dragon-Kings, Black Swans and the Prediction of Crises” – for all you Taleb fans:

This leads to two consequences, one pessimistic and the other one more optimistic. The first one is the unavoidable evidence that extreme events occur much more often than would be predicted or expected from the observations of small, medium and even large events. Thus, catastrophes and crises are with us all the time. On the other hand, we have argued that the dragon-kings reveal the presence of special mechanisms. These processes provide clues that allow us to  diagnose the maturation of a system towards a crisis, as we have documented in a series of examples in various systems.

We have emphasized the use of the concept of a “phase transition – bifurcation – catastrophe – tipping – point,” which is crucial to learn how to diagnose in advance the symptoms of the next great crisis, as most crises occur under only smooth changes of some control variables, without the need for an external shock of large magnitude.


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PE Bidders Not Allowed For Guaranty Financial Ahead Of Monday Deadline

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

The Financial Times is reporting that even as the FDIC probably managed to avert disaster by pushing off Colonial on to BB&T’s lap on Friday, its troubles keep escalating. Sheila Bair is trying hard to sell Texas’ Guaranty Financial ahead of a Monday deadline, however it may have used up its jokers on Colonial, which was supposed to be the “easy sell.”

Guaranty’s fate has become intertwined in recent weeks with that of Colonial Bank, an Alabama-based bank that was forcibly closed on Friday and largely sold to BB&T, another regional bank, in an FDIC-backed deal.

The FDIC, which is juggling failing banks around the US in an effort to minimise the fallout to consumers, had initially wanted to resolve Guaranty’s problems before Colonial’s by arranging a sale of Guaranty, which is struggling under the weight of burgeoning losses on homebuilder loans and mortgage-backed securities.

But regulators’ concerns over Colonial’s instability recently overtook their worries about Guaranty, because of Colonial’s deteriorating credit quality and its role in two federal investigations, so regulators contacted bidders and asked for offers for Colonial last week.

Regulators have been hoping that three banks that had bid for Colonial – Canada’s Toronto Dominion, JPMorgan and Spain’s BBVA – would step in instead as bidders for Guaranty.

Ironically, Sheila is doing as much as it can to prevent PE interest in the failed bank, effectively giving all the leverage in the hands of the banks, which are able to submit lowball bids, in the absence of other, truly interested parties:

At least one private equity consortium, which includes Blackstone, Carlyle, Oak Hill Capital, TPG and Gerald Ford, is considering a bid for Guaranty.

The FDIC, however, has long made clear that it prefers other banks as buyers of troubled financial institutions rather than private equity firms.

Heading into the weekend, the private equity firms had not been given access to Guaranty’s confidential financial data.

One wonders why the artificial barrier, but then one remembers that other BHC’s have access to the Fed’s discount window, and if the artificially inflated loans on Guaranty’s balance sheet actually have to get repriced to par, the banks will have much better access to capital than some mere, capitalist…
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Coming Soon: Banking Crisis of Historic Proportions

Coming Soon: Banking Crisis of Historic Proportions

Courtesy of John Lounsbury writing at Seeking Alpha

With everyone (well, almost everyone – I am one of the lonely skeptics) convinced that we have stepped back from the "edge of the abyss", the title of this article may be viewed as laughable. When you connect the dots, as I will in this article, you will at least stop laughing, and, maybe, realize that we still have a big problem.

We have a confluence of five factors that have the potential to create damage to banking not seen in 80 years, and that includes the Great Depression. We’ll hit these factors one at a time.

First Factor: Banks Are Not Doing Enough Business

Commercial bank credit growth has dropped to 2%, according to Jesse’s Cafe Americain (here). The recent history of credit growth is shown in the following graph.

bank credit

Now, it is a good thing that banks are conserving capital, since they need to increase capital to offset bad loans.

the perfect storm (financial storm)But, if asset valuations deteriorate (and that is quite possible), the banks need to increase earnings to "earn their way" out of their problem. Interest paid by the Fed for reserves on deposit there (by the commercial banks) are not producing nearly the same level of income as new credit issued commercially under our fractional reserve banking system with much higher interest .

If credit issuance does not increase year over year, banks can not improve their financial condition unless the quality of their existing loan portfolio improves.

As discussed in the third factor, below, just the opposite is anticipated for loan portfolios.

So the first factor in this perfect storm is that the banks are not doing enough business.

Second Factor: Banks Are Failing at a Rate Not Anticipated Two Months Ago

In his article, Jesse mentions reports by Bloomberg that 150 banks are in trouble. Some of these will be larger than many of the 77 (mostly community) banks that have gone under FDIC receivership so far in 2009.

Banks mentioned being in trouble by Bloomberg (here) include Wisconsin’s Marshall & Ilsley Corp. (MI), Georgia’s Synovus Financial Corp. (SNV), Michigan’s Flagstar Bancorp (…
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Recent Capital Markets Transactions Update

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Recent trends indicate that the pick up in corporate finance transactions, especially in the equity capital market may be petering off. After hitting an unprecedented high in June as the market reached the head of what had previously been seen as a fake head and shoulders formation, the July afterburners in the secondary market did not translate into primary market strength. Additionally, the August run rate indicates that the primary market may well have peaked in the May-June timeframe. In the current year the sector which has benefited the most from primary market issuance has unquestionably been Financials, where over $96 billion has been raised in the form of 251 issues. A distant second at less than half the total proceeds is Materials at $42 billion with 3968 unique deals, and bronze goes to real estate which managed to raise $37.5 billion in 162 deals. On the other end, the sector least in need (or least capable of raising) equity capital is telecommunications with just $3.6 billion in 29 deals and retail just above it at $3.8 billion in 43 deals. Yet retail is probably the sector that has benefited the most from the irrational exuberance over the past few months: could this be indicative that neither companies, nor potential investors take the overinflated retail valuations as conducive to a “value” primary entry point? If these companies are unable to capitalize on the ramp up in equities, what good is the use of company stock as valuation proxy? True, stocks can hit 1000x P/E but if this can not be converted into much needed corporate cash, what good is any such rally?

Yet what some may perceive as weakness in equity, has translated into strength for not only investment grade, but also high yield bonds. Primary market investors are gradually retracing and instead of looking at 20% returns promised by primary market operations, they are now content and much more interested with picking 5-10% returns.

LTM Investment grade bond issuance:

The sectors benefiting the most from a high yield issuance bonanza include Media and Entertainment, raising $15.6 billion in 36 deals, followed by Energy and Power and Materials, with $12.4 and $12.2 billion, in 38 and 28 deals, respectively.

Ironically, only 2 real estate high yield deals have been completed to date for $822 million, with consumer services, and retail both…
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Collapse Of The “Ownership Society”

Collapse Of The "Ownership Society"

Courtesy of Mish

Bush’s "ownership society" has collapsed under the dead weight of debt. There is too much debt and too little income to support it. Please consider President shifts focus to renting, not owning.

The Obama administration, in a major shift on housing policy, is abandoning George W. Bush’s vision of creating an “ownership society’’ and instead plans to pump $4.25 billion of economic stimulus money into creating tens of thousands of federally subsidized rental units in American cities.

The idea is to pay for the construction of low-rise rental apartment buildings and town houses, as well as the purchase of foreclosed homes that can be refurbished and rented to low- and moderate-income families at affordable rates.

Analysts say the approach takes a wrecking ball to Bush’s heavy emphasis on encouraging homeownership as a way to create national wealth and provide upward mobility for low- and working-class families, especially minorities. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan’s recalibration of federal housing policy, they said, shows that the Obama White House has acknowledged that not everyone can or should own a home.

In addition to an ideological shift, the move is a practical response to skyrocketing foreclosure rates, tight credit, and the economic crisis.

Barney Frank The Hypocrite

"I’ve always said the American dream should be a home – not homeownership," said Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and one of the earliest critics of the Bush administration’s push to put mortgages in the hands of low- and moderate-income people.

What a distortion of reality. Barney Frank was in the pocket of Fannie Mae and Freddie make and their biggest supporter for years. Now he plays on semantics in an unbelievable lie. He would have been better off keeping his mouth shut, but political hacks seldom if ever can.

It’s Better To Rent

The "Rentership Society" as Calculated Risk dubs it, reminds me of a chart I put together way back in Spring of 2005. Note the lower right hand corner of the top chart.


San Diego Home Prices (with thanks to piggington)

The above charts are from It’s a Totally New Paradigm written March 26, 2005. Here are some excerpts from that post.

  • Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors says that "South Florida is

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Guest Post: The Blue Tulip

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

The Blue Tulip (pdf) submitted by Ted Ely


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Zero Hedge

"Friend & Ally" Or "Barbaric Death Cult" - You Decide

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

With a record 151 beheadings this year (and 55 more looming for sedition, poetry, and 'terrorist crimes') arguably "under the guise of counter-terrorism to settle political scores" US' friend and ally Saudi Arabia bears a striking resemblence to another Sharia law-abiding 'state'. As Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger explains, while ISIS has actively sought exposure for their brutal punishments, Saudi Arabia has worked to keep evide...

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Phil's Favorites

Former CIA Deputy Director Gives A Stunning Reason Why Obama Has Not Attacked ISIS' Oil Infrastructure

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As we pointed out a week ago, even before the downing of the Russian jet by a Turkish F-16, the most important question that nobody had asked about ISIS is where is the funding for the terrorist organization coming from, and more importantly, since everyone tacitly knows where said funding is coming from (as we have revealed in an ongoing series of posts "Meet The Man Who Funds ISIS: Bilal Erdogan, The Son Of Turkey's President", "...

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Digital Currencies

The Bitcoin Universe Explained

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As evidenced by the Greek, Chinese, and now Argentine 'jumps', the world remains increasingly aware of the inevitable worth of fiat currencies and fears the desperate acts of governments as the react to that reality (and is looking for alternatives).

This infographic explains the wide ranges of the Bitcoin universe, accompanied with quotes from some of its best-known business leaders.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist ...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

The Fed just tweeted a brutal chart showing the sorry state of US department stores (Business Insider)

It's Black Friday, which means American consumers everywhere are knocking down doors in their efforts to take advantage of what they perceive to be a good deal.

Oil prices fall more than 3% as dollar and oversu...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Does Black Friday Matter For Gains The Rest Of The Year?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We are entering one of the most bullish times of the year historically.  As we mentioned last week, the final 30 trading days of the year have been higher each of the last 12 years.


Getting to today, it is Black Friday – the official start to the holiday spending season.  We’ve seen many stats that show this day isn’t quite as important as it once was.  From many sales now starting on Thanksgiving, to Cyber Monday this coming Monday – there are other times people are looking for the best deals.  None the less,...

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Chart School

Greatest risk to the stock market is?

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Nope it is not interest rates, nope it is not Donald Trump, it is!

It is the CRUDE OIL crash, simple!

Jim Willie has good comments in the first 40 min of this pod cast.

Energy company ...
- Debt is blowing up (See energy element of HYG).
- Hedging at oil $100 is coming to an end.
- Iran coming back to the market, more supply.
- Saudi still providing massive supply.
- Oil tankers holding oil parked in the ocean are coming in to harbor to unload
- US dollar strength supports lower oil prices
- World wide DEMAND slump for energy or deflation.
- More oil being sold outside the US Dollar
- The Oil futures can not be manipulated easily as folks actually ...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David 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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Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of November 23rd, 2015

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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PSW is more than just stock talk!


We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
  • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
  • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 


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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

Thank you for you time!

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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