by Phil Davis - September 1st, 2014 8:14 am
Don't you just love lists?
Apparently, most American's do because the posts that get the most clicks are the ones with lists and quizzes. I don't do lists very often yet, somehow, I still manage to be fairly popular but let's see what happens when I make a list with a catchy headline.
This list is an update of our original 2014 Buy List, which was written on June 6th and originlaly had 20 trade ideas for the 2nd half of the year. That list quickly grew to 29 and, today, we're adding 11 more to make 40 top stock picks to take us into Q4. Those first 29 picks are already 82% successful with only HOV, IRBT, RIG, TEX and WEN failing to make gains so far and, on average, we're up 72% on our picks in just 3 months.
That's about par for the course with our winning percentages on trade ideas but what makes the Buy List special is that these are the ones we are comfortable committing long-term allocation blocks to, not just messing around with short-term trading. In fact, our 5 "losers" all represent great entry opportunities at lower prices and none are being kicked off the list as our general outlook for these stocks is measured in years, not months!
The strategy we are following is summed up nicely in this video:
As we did in building our Long-Term Portfolio, we're not going to rush in and buy everything. We will do exactly what we did in January where, following our Fall Buy List, we simply added stocks from our list whenever they became cheap. While our Members are able to pick up our trade ideas as they are released, we don't always add them to our virtual portfolios right away. As with the first half's Long-Term Portfolio, we will track every entry and exit in both our Live Weekly Webcasts, as well as in our Live Member Chat Room and alerts will be sent to our subscribers (you can join here, Basic and Premium Members get full access).
by Phil Davis - August 29th, 2014 8:24 am
Saved by the bad news!
August has been a spectacular month in which we ignored the most bad news ever ignored by a species that is still not extinct. With any luck, an asteriod will head straight for us next month and we can rally the markets another 5% in anticipation of more Fed easing on impact. The asteriod struck the other side of the Earth this morning as Russia Invaded Ukraine and Euro Zone Inflation plunged to 0.3%, miles below the 2.0% target considered "healthy".
This is, of course, GREAT NEWS, because it means Super Mario is free to go ahead and do something – like he always says he will do but never does. That doesn't stop people from believing it because they WANT TO BELIEVE – they want to think someone is going to save them and make all their hardships go away. 11.5% of the people in Europe are still out of work, double the rate in the US. Over 25% of the people under 25 are out of work, about the same as the US. These are horrific figures – of course people are eager to hear the words of a potential savior.
Since it's Friday, we're not going to debate the merits or discuss what a farce it all is – we've done that this week. Today we'll talk about making money.
On Tuesday, in the morning post, I suggested the TNA Sept $72.50/76.50 bull call spread at $2, selling the Sept $68 puts for $2. 10 of those would not have cost you a penny (since it netted out to $0), though about $7,500 in margin on the short puts. Today the spread is $2.50 and the short puts are $1.15 for net $1.35 or +$1,350 in 3 days, which is an 18% gain on the committed margin despite the fact that TNA has essentially gone nowhere.
I don't point this out to brag, we have plenty of trade ideas that have done much better – I point this out because it was a free trade idea, right in the morning post which anyone could have done and it…
by Phil Davis - August 28th, 2014 8:12 am
The Futures are off a bit today and that's no surprise to those of us who have been paying attention to the volume, or lack thereof, as we made our final approach at the 2,000 line on the S&P 500. Jim Cramer was literally foaming at the mouth this week as he and his CNBC co-conspirators herded the sheeple into the markets to participate in the tail end of the rally, where the suckers could hold the bags for their Corporate Masters.
Why am I angry at Cramer today? Because yesterday he committed the same crime he commtted in 2008 that cost so many people their life's savings – he told people not to sell their stocks on a pullback. "Don't take profits" is the message for the viewing public. But, I would ask, if people don't take profits – when will they ever get profits? What kind of stupid message is that? Well, it's the message that leaves you holding the bag while his hedge fund buddies head for the exits. It's not much different than telling one group of people not to leave a burning building while you make sure all your friends are getting out safely.
"This is not just my opinion. I can prove it to you empirically. See, as I was preparing to write my book "Get Rich Carefully," I went over the previous five years of trades made by my charitable trust. And as I reviewed those trades I noticed that far too often, my good judgment would be overcome by excessive skepticism."
If the "proof" Jim is talking about is his Action Alerts Plus, then I'd say you really should think long and hard about following his advice here (via Kirk Lindstrom – who does compete with Cramer):
I guess, sure, Jim legitimately should regret that he wasn't more bullish from 2008 to 2013, when the market popped 200% and his trust gained about 100% but don't you think the lesson Cramer should be taking from that experience is to CUT YOUR LOSSES, not…
by Phil Davis - August 27th, 2014 8:09 am
2,000.02 – We did it!!!
Unfortunately, we can't afford to pop the champagne because the 0.03 we spend on it would put us back under – so we'll watch and we'll wait another day before celebrating a milestone we've been expecting since last week (see "Will Jackson Hole Give Us S&P 2,000?") and we went with that TNA trade we discussed in yesterday's post to cover the expected bull run.
We also picked up long plays on BAC and DBA in our Live Member Chat Room and BAC has already rocketed on the settlement news but DBA is only just making the turn and still makes an excellent play that we'll be adding to our Buy List (Members Only) along with 10 more picks we'll be making this week.
As you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, we have set a new record for this decade for low volume on a full market day. Last Christmas Eve was 43M on a half day, for example, but the Christmas Eve before that was 53M and those were the lowest two days I could find before I got bored looking (very scientific).
Anyway, the point is that 38.9M is VERY LOW VOLUME – so low that paying attention to a dot on a chart that is drawn in such a light touch is just silly. That makes yesterday's jaunt over 2,000 completely meaningless and more so with the additional evidence of the intraday action which, as Dave notes, could not have been more manipulated.
This is why we have been pressing our bear bets. Even though we have peace in Gaza and peace in Ukraine (for today) and even though we've forgotten about Europe's negative GDP and China's plunging property prices and Ebola – we still couldn't find more than 38.9M buyers for SPY – that's just sad!
Speaking of China, last Monday, for FREE, right in the morning post, we picked the following on FXI:
We shorted India last week (EPI) and now FXI has got my mouth
by Phil Davis - August 26th, 2014 8:05 am
S&P 2,000 – YAY!!!
We did it, congratulations, fantastic, go markets! OK, now what? Now we'll see if we can pop 17,160 on the Dow, which is 2.5% below the Must Hold Line on our Big Chart. We also need to firm up over 11,000 on the NYSE (another Must Hold Line) and then we'll be looking for 1,200 on the Russell and 17,600 on the Dow and THEN we are into the next leg of our rally.
Until then, we need to be just a little bit cautious. Fortunately, we already placed our hedges and now we're ready to BUYBUYBUY off our Buy List as well as 10 new bullish trade ideas we'll be discussing in today's Webcast (1pm, EST). This one is going to be Members only though, as we're picking new positions for our portfolios.
As you can see from our Big Chart, the Russell is our lagging index and has already been to the promised land over 1,200. That's why, last Thursday morning in our Live Member Chat Room, we added an aggressive long using TNA, the ultra-long Russell ETF:
With TNA at $73.30 today, the same logic applies and the Sept $72.50/76.50 bull call spread is $2 and the Sept $68 puts can be sold for $2 to offset or maybe the ABB March $24 puts at $2 instead. As with last month, this isn't a portfolio play for us as we're already very bullish in the portfolios – this is to cover yourself if you think you are too bearish and a pop over the highs will kill you.
It's only been 3 sessions but TNA has already popped to $75.10 and the Sept $68 puts have already fallen to $1.30 and the spread is now $2.40 for net $110 gained per contract – up infinity from the net zero cash basis! The ABB puts are a little slower moving at $1.50, but still very nice for a more conservative play.
by Phil Davis - August 25th, 2014 7:54 am
As usual on Friday, more volume = more selling.
Still, there's no reason to expect volume to come back and that means the markets can go back to drifting higher when the bars are lower and that can get us all the way to S&P 2,000, but over that line is going to be a tough trick.
Our weekend reading from our Member Chat Room produced the usual litany of woes with the usual suspects:
ISIS, Putin, China, Gaza, Ebola and Draghi causing the usual damage aided by newcomers like an earthquake in San Francisco, a volcano in Iceland, a nuclear scare in Belgium - but none are as scary as French President and Austerity Radical, Francois Holland, dissolving his Government because they disagreed with him.
In interviews with the French press and speeches at a Socialist gathering Sunday, Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg and Education Minister Benoît Hamon said forcibly reducing budget deficits as the economy wilts is driving up unemployment, fueling political extremism and risks tipping the economy into recession. "The priority must be exiting crisis and the dogmatic reduction of deficits should come second," Mr. Montebourg said in an interview with Le Monde.
The criticism came at a difficult moment for the French president, who said earlier this week he will push ahead with a three-year plan to cut public spending to fund tax cuts for business even as the economy stagnates – so he fired them all! As in the US, Businesses continued cutting investment in the second quarter despite receiving the first payouts from labor-tax reductions.
"Promising to get the economy going again, on the path to growth and full employment, hasn't worked. Honesty obliges us to acknowledge this," Mr. Montebourg said in a speech to supporters. "The role of the economy minister and any statesman in his place is to confront the truth—even it is cruel—and propose alternative solutions," he added.
by Phil Davis - August 22nd, 2014 7:44 am
Hang on to your hats!
Janet Yellen speaks at 10 am, EST and she's scheduled to discuss her "Labor Dashboard" and, from that, the pontiffs will then attempt to read the tea leaves of Future Fed action. She'll likely note that the Labor Market is generally improving but that there is no immediate reason to raise rates. The definition of immediate will be much debated.
If that does not confuse us enough, we will hear from 7 of the Fed Dwarves as well including Williams, Lockhart, Plosser and Bullard. Draghi takes the stage at 2pm, EST. In case Yellen's empty promises don't do the trick, Draghi is sure to have even emptier ones – whatever it takes to end the week on a positive note!
Still, we're playing the day bearish (we added bear plays in yesterday's Live Member Chat and we're short /YM below 17,000 along with other Futures) as it's hard to imagine what Yellen and company can possibly say that they haven't already said. Unlimited amounts of FREE MONEY forever is already priced into market expectations – anything less will be a severe disappointment. Any firm mention of ending QE in the next 12 months can send the markets down sharply. As "clarified" by Goldman Sachs:
With opinions mixed as to whether or not Jackson Hole will be the forum for Yellen to say something new, many are trying to figure out if it is a buy the rumor and then buy more after the fact event, a buy the rumor sell the fact event, or a do nothing with the rumors and then buy the fact if the USD is actually rallying after the fact event.
According to Zero Hedge, only "Full Doveish" statements are likely to lift the markets at this point. Those would be for Yellen to:
by Phil Davis - August 21st, 2014 6:01 am
I could take today off.
Why? Because I already wrote this article last month, on a Thursday, when the S&P was at 1,988 and topped out at 1,991, which was $199.06 on SPY and, as you can see from Dave Fry's chart, SPY topped out at $199.16 yesterday (before plunging back to $198.90 on strong volume into the close).
Will this time be different? I certainly hope so because last time, we plunged about 5%, back to 1,904 over the next 10 sessions and it's taken us another 10 to claw our way back for another attempt at an all-time high.
In our Live Member Chat this morning, we shorted the run-up in the Futures at Dow 16,990 (/YM), S&P 1,985 (/ES), Nasdaq 4,045 (/NQ) and Russell 1,155 (/TF) because, as I said to our Members:
I'm sorry but I simply can't reconcile this news with what's going on in the markets so I'm going to continue to lose money hedging to make sure we keep what we have. The alternative is going to cash but there is simply no way I can endorse getting more bullish on this market at this point.
One major difference this time is we DON'T have money flowing out of SPY (as much), as we did last month and we DO have the Fed's Jackson Hole conference tomorrow, which looks to Global Investors like a Santa Claus convention with Yellen, Draghi, Carney and Kuroda sitting under the spruce trees with gigantic bags of FREE MONEY – and that's why traders are as giddy as kids before Christmas this week.
But, Virginia, is there really a Santa Claus, or are the bulls hopes and dreams about to be crushed by cruel economic realities they have, so far, been avoiding like the plague (or Ebola)? Realities like China's horrific PMI this morning, that dropped from 51.7 to 50.3 (barely positive) and France's PMI, which is back in heavy contraction at 46.5 this morning. Retail Sales in the UK were up just 0.1% vs.…
by Phil Davis - August 20th, 2014 7:52 am
Fed Minutes Today (2pm).
That gives the bullish pundits another chance to read the tea leaves and promise MORE FREE MONEY to those who are silly enough not to be fully invested in stocks. As you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, only 56.7M shares were transacted yesterday and nearly half of those people were selling.
Perhaps 10% more buys than sells is 5.7M shares at $198.28 means it cost just $1.1Bn to move the $60Tn markets up 0.5% ($300Bn) – now that's leverage! With a lack of participation, those few buyers can really shove the markets around. Also, as Dave noted:
Hobson owned a livery stable and he rotated his horses to different stalls. He offered customers the choice of taking the horse in the first stable or none at all. Henry Ford also offered a variation of Hobson’s Choice since customers could buy a car in any color they liked, as long as it was black. The stock market offers many choices but only stocks are effective as bonds offer no yield while Fed policies have forced investors to stocks or nothing else.
This is basically the issue for investors in financial markets, buy stocks or nothing else. Farmland is admittedly in a bubble as Iowa farmland now goes for $8,500 per acre. If you can buy it right, some residential real estate offers a decent rental yield. Then there is the weird world of collectibles where you really need to know what you’re doing and have adequate cash.
So stock markets remain in play at least for most institutions. We’ve seen heavy volume sell-offs meaning most retail investors continue to loathe and leave markets. It remains a market for
by Phil Davis - August 19th, 2014 8:06 am
You've gotta love those trend lines.
Chart people sure love them and we love chart peopel because they are SOOOOOOOO predictable and predictable behavior is behavior we can bet on and that makes us happy. Today we'll be seeing the 50-day moving averages on the Dow, the NYSE and the Russell all tested at the same time – what happens next will tell us a lot about this rally.
As I pointed out to our Members in our Live Chat Room this morning, though we may be past our bounce levels and though we are now challenging the 50 dmas, we still have 3 of 5 of our Must Hold levels red on the Big Chart – that's not too impressive. Consider what a 50-day moving average is. It means that, over the last 50 days, half the time the index has been above the line and half the time it's been below – so how impressive should it be to see the index back in the middle?
Nonetheless, Chart People believe it's some mystical symbol that gives them a rally signal and half the time they are right – so the religion of TA continues to prosper! As you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart from yesterday, 75% of yesterday's gain came on no volume as we gapped up in the Futures and the rest of the day's trading was one of the lightest of the year.
The reason I like Dave is because he's one of the only TA people who actually pay attention to volume and this volume is total BS. Still, it's enough to stampede the retail suckers back in and God bless them because they throw money at us to sell them the things we liked when they were out of favor.
In May and June, for example, we compiled a Buy List for our Members, which had 29 trades we liked for the rest of 2014. Here's a few that we are done with already: