by phil - June 23rd, 2015 9:01 am
Not the same as last Tuesday.
Last Tuesday we were testing our lows and we were looking to see if the indexes could bounce back and bounce back they did, past all of our Strong Bounce Lines at Dow 18,000, S&P 2,100, Nasdaq 5,050, NYSE 11,050 and Russell 1,260. We were also very concerned about Germany's DAX retaking its 11,500 line and yesterday we finished at 11,460 and today we are back over – all the way to 11,600 as Greece remains fixed for the 2nd consecutive day!
None of our underlying concerns have changed – only the immediate potential downside catalyst of a Greek default has (seemingly) been removed for the moment. We're not going to race back into the market but, on the other hand, we did plenty of bottom-fishing last week and added plenty of long trades to our portfolios (see our June Trade Review for a look at our free picks). Now we're headed back into earnings season with plenty of cash in our wallets, looking for more stocks to go on sale.
The whole market doesn't have to down for there to be bargain stocks. While the Nasdaq made a new all-time high yesterday, 40 of it's component stocks made 52-week lows. 57 new lows were made on the NYSE as well, where 1/3 of the index is within 5% of their year's lows, despite the recent round of exuberance.
For an up 1% day, yesterday was a pathetically low-volume affair – as you can see from Dave Fry's S&P ETF (SPY) chart. The index fell from 213.34 on Thursday to 210.36 on Thursday on 195M shares but all the way back to just under 212 on 65M shares. Hey, it's more than a quarter (but less than a third) – so let's not quibble over whether it's meaningless or manipulated and just sit back and enjoy the show.
You need the same sort of suspension of disbelief watching the markets as you do watching Jurassic World. Not so much that people are living with dinosaurs but that Ingen is still in business after 3 previous park disasters and this time their idea is to put much bigger dinosaurs in a new…
by phil - June 22nd, 2015 8:25 am
Look at Europe go!
2.5% moves are HUGE for a single day on major indexes and we're already (7:30 EST) past that point for Germany (EWG), France (EWQ) and Spain (EWP) in anticipation of a last-second deal with Greece that will put off the next crisis for more than 30 days. Already this morning, the ECB has increased the amount of emergency loans available to Greek banks to offset the massive daily outflows of capital as depositors flee the banking system. See – all is well!
What they are really celebrating is that there is no problem the Central Banksters will not throw money at and that's very encouraging as everybody has problems to one degree or another in the Eurozone and, as long as no one wonders where all this free Central Bank money comes from, we can paper over these problems seemingly forever. That is the true glory of a monetary Union – you have a Central Bank that endlessly prints currency that is removed from your own country's bond market so, when you are Germany (for example) you get to act "holier than thou" even though you are just as irresponsible as everyone else.
Greece's markets (GREK) are up 10% this morning as Greece submitted a proposal that would increase pension contributions by wealthy employers (earning over 500,000 Euros) while phasing out some payments to it's poorest pensioners (the ones least likely to fight back) and eliminating early retirement options.
It's a good move by Socialist Tsipras, who is now forcing the ECB to be the bad guy if they turn down a plan that is solving their balance sheet problem by placing a burden on Greece's top 1% – the very people the ECB serves. This is a very dangerous precedent so the deal may still blow up (with other excuses, of course) before any other countries get an idea that this is a way to fix deficits.
Tsipars's move means that those other EU corporations who are licking their chops as the force Greece to privatize their vital services may be walking into a tax trap as they fall under the Greek Government's umbrella. It had been hoped, by the…
by phil - June 20th, 2015 8:19 am
After taking two years off from publishing our morning posts on Seeking Alpha, we've begun sharing our entry-level PSW Reports again. The PSW Report is the morning market overview for our Members at Philstockworld published pre-market each day. Though it is only a small portion of what we publish for our Members, we still have plenty of actionable trade ideas to share early each morning. Now that we have two month of posts under our belt – it's a good time to review our performance from Month 1 and discuss our trading techniques.
April 22nd was our first day back at Seeking Alpha with "Market Manipulation Takes Center Stage" in which I noted what BS the low-volume moves up in the market were. We also discussed how easy it had been to "spoof" trades during the Flash Crash and often in our weekly Webinars (and we had happened to discuss it the day before) we show people how this sort of manipulation happens every day and learning to spot it can make for very profitable counter-trades – especially in the Futures. Our strategy was summed up nicely as I said:
Still, the best way to make money in these crazy markets is the Warren Buffett way, which is also my way – keep your cash ready and buy good companies when they get cheap, don't be greedy and sell risk premium to others. It's not complicated – it just takes a bit of discipline.
As examples I pointed out several stocks we liked that were already in our portfolios (IBM, LL, RIG, LQMT, ABX, CLF, USO, UCO, BHI, HOV, CIM, MAT, LULU). We use option spreads to give ourselves 15-20% discounts on our entries (see "How to Buy a Stock for a 15-20% Discount") and, as a new trade idea that morning, I suggested:
- Ultra-Long Oil ETF (UCO) July $5/9 bull call spread at $2.80, selling the July $5 puts for 0.14 for net $2.66, now $3.95 - up 48% (UCO reverse-split but the old options are still there)
The next day, in "Bad News Is Still Good News In China As Poor PMI Boosts Market" we also discussed the Financial Engineering that…
by phil - June 19th, 2015 8:42 am
Here come those tears again
Just when I was getting over you
Just when I was going to make it through
Another night without missing you
Baby here we stand again
Like we've been so many times before
S&P 2,120! Again…
It must be the 3rd week of the month because that's the week the S&P gets to 2,120. It's happened every month since February and the reason it happens is because it gives fund managers the chance to sell call options to suckers who bet the market will break out and go higher while they continue to lighten up on their holdings. For instance, the S&P ETF (SPY) is at $212 this morning and the July $212 calls can be sold for $2.75. Sell those calls to suckers 5 months in a row and you boost your returns by 5% even though the index itself goes nowhere!
The same goes for when the index is low in it's very tight channel. For instance, on Monday, when the S&P fell back to test 2,070 at the open, I said to our Members:
Let's lock in some gains by selling 100 SDS June $20.50 calls at 0.42 ($4,200) in the STP. We have the July $20 calls (and other long-term hedges) and we can always roll the short $20.50s to the July $22s (0.33).
I meant gains because we had gone into last weekend short so the move down in the morning was a win in our Short-Term Portfolio. We've already taken 1/2 off the table at 0.21 (up 50%) and today the rest will expire worthless for a 100% gain and net $3,150 gain for the week. We then use that money to press our longer SDS bet, so we'll be even more bearish going into this weekend than we were last weekend. This helps lock in the bullish gains in our Long-Term Portfolio without pulling money out of our own pockets.
As I mentioned yesterday, our bullish bet on the Gold ETF (GLD) will expire in the money today for the full 100% gain. We also mentioned yesterday, a bear play on China…
by phil - June 18th, 2015 8:20 am
Dive, dive, dive!
That's what the Dollar is doing this morning as Yellen once again stepped in to save the markets by saying the high Dollar has been a drag on US Exports, giving the impression the Fed does not want the Dollar so strong – even though the Dollar was already at 95, down 5% from it's April highs, when the S&P was at 2,050.
Now the Dollar is at 94, which is 6% lower and the S&P has managed to claw back to 2,100, which is 2.4% higher. When you consider the fact that the S&P 500's value is calculated from a formula that is based in Dollars, we've actually lose 3.6% in real value since the April lows but shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – don't tell that to the bulls!
The good news is that the Gold ETF (GLD) trade idea we had for you, FOR FREE, right in our morning post on June 4th (and you can have them delivered to you pre-market right HERE to make sure you don't miss another one) is right on track with just one day to expiration. At the time, we said:
Today, for example, there's a nice opportunity to go long on gold at $1,175 (/YG Futures) and that should be good for a $5-10 move up at $32.20 per $1, per contract. If we're still low at the open, the Gold Trust ETF (GLD) June $112/113 bull call spread at 0.50 will pay back 100% if GLD holds $13.50 into expirations on the 19th. So, if we want to make $2,500 in two weeks, we add 50 of those contracts for $2,500 to our Short-Term Portfolio (and 10 to our $25,000 Portfolio for $500) and then sit back and watch the fun.
Not only are those 50 contracts going to make the full 100% ($2,500) just two weeks later but the /YG futures just hit our $1,200 goaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllll!!! and that's good for a gain of $805 PER CONTRACT! We also gave away 6 other stock picks in that morning's post, 5 of which are already winners. GLD was, of course, one of our Top Trade Alerts for June (5 so far) and we have consistently been…
by phil - June 17th, 2015 8:35 am
That's the size of the Fed's balance sheet in relation to the US GDP. It's gone from 6% in 2008 to 25% in 2015 so 19% in 7 years is 2.7% or about 180% of our 1.5% average GDP growth over that time. So all the money being printed by the Fed isn't just responsible for the stock bubble because, without it, we'd still be CONTRACTING!
That's why the markets get the shakes every time the Fed even hints at withdrawing what is still currently $65Bn per month that is being rolled over each month. If they stop rolling it over, that $780Bn/yr (4.3% of GDP) will have to come from somewhere else and, unfortunately, there is nowhere else for it to come from. Certainly don't look to China, who have their own problems and just this morning disappointed their banks by failing to roll over $108Bn in 3-month loans that were supposed to be a "temporary" fix in March. Clearly the PBOC would rather not go down the Fed's path to monetary madness if they can avoid it.
The lack of a Chinese debt rollover tightens liquidity that’s already strained as 25 initial public offerings lock up funds and at least five regional governments sell bonds this week. The PBOC may add funds to the financial system by cutting lenders’ reserve requirements or in open-market operations – it remains to be seen how they rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic.
Nonetheless, we took the money and ran on our China ETF (FXI) July $50 puts yesterday in our Live Member Chat Room as they hit the $3.95 mark, which was up over 100% from our $1.90 entry on 5/21. Our goal had been $45 by July and that would have been $5 for a $6,200 gain on 20 contracts in our Short-Term Portfolio but given the chance to take a $4,100 gain after less than a month with more than a month to go was the proverbial bird in the hand for us – especially as you never know when China will do something else to prop up the markets. This also, of course, terminates the FREE TRADE IDEA we gave you on 5/11 ("Market Manipulation: China's Third…
by phil - June 16th, 2015 7:42 am
Wheeeee, what a ride!
So far, the markets are doing exactly what we expected them to do all month (see previous posts) ever since, in fact, that I wrote my post on May 15th (the tippy top on these charts) titled: "All-Time Highs Prove Investors Must be Stoned." The best part of looking back on these posts is to read all the comments of people telling me how wrong I was to doubt the might of the markets at the time.
We did our mid-May Portfolio Review that day and our Short-Term Portfolio was up 119.5% at the time and fortunately, since we did call it correctly, we finished the day yesterday at +137.4%, gaining 18% as the S&P fell 2.5%. 2.5% is very significant to our 5% Rule™ so we'll be looking for a 0.5% "weak" bounce today and a 1% "strong" bounce by the end of the week.
Last Monday ("Bouncing or Bust"), we were focused on Germany's Dax Index as a leading index to the downside and on Weak Bounce Wednesday (10th) before the market opened we were already calling for a move back up. As I said at the time:
Speaking of gravity, we're looking for some weak bounces today, especially in Germany, where the DAX is completing a 10% correction (12,250 to 11,000) which is still above the 200-day moving average at 10,469, which would be another 5% drop from here. This is all perfectly normal after a 30% run from 9,500 in January, which is kind of a lot for a major market to move in 6 months.
As you can see from how well it obeys the lines Fibonacci Lines (see our primer here), the bots are firmly in control of the trading in Europe so this 50% retracement will be a huge test of sentiment over there. Of course we're going to have a "bullish" bounce off the 11,000 line – it's major support – the question is whether the bounce will be strong (40% retrace of the drop) or weak (20% retrace) and the drop was from 12,250 so 1,250 points means we're looking for a 250-point weak bounce to 11,250 this Friday and 11,500 by
by phil - June 15th, 2015 8:33 am
Told you so on Greece!
And Greece is only the first country to default, it won't be the last as aging populations are the proverbial bill that now has to be paid by countries who used their retirement systems as piggy banks to fund deficit spending they never should have engaged in in the first place (cough, America, cough, cough!). Greece's pension deficit is 9% of their $242Bn GDP or $24Bn – really a drop in the bucket of their $365Bn total debt, but it's the pension funds their ECB creditors insist on raiding to balance the books despite the fact that it will actually KILL PEOPLE to cut benefits further at this point.
The Banksters at the ECB and IMF don't care how many old people starve as long as they can extend and pretend on their payments for another few quarters. Of course, their actions exacerbate the problem as Greece's austerity-collapsing stock market (and low bond rates) has destroyed $28Bn of pension fund value since 2012 alone. As part of a package of savings and tax increases, Greece’s creditors are demanding the government cut pensions by the equivalent of 1% of gross domestic output, a more rapid clampdown on early retirees and for supplementary pensions to be financed by contributions, not by the state (which would effectively mean cutting them further).
Look at the spiral Greece has fallen into: 20.5% of Greece's 11M people are over 65 (and there are currently 400,000 new pension applications on hold due to Government cutbacks) while, because of the austerity measures being undertaken to pay off debts, 50% of the youths in the country (16-24) are unemployed – meaning they can't contribute to the pension system. It's not like Greek pensions are generous, either, with half of them below the poverty limit of $775/month. In fact Greece's (EL on this chart) spending per beneficiary is in the low middle of the EU pack:
The Banksters of the EU, through the IMF and ECB are pushing to purge retirees’ benefits, cut supplementary pensions horizontally across the board and raise additional revenues by squeezing a drastically depleted pool of taxpayers, which would in the short-term allow Greece to unlock…
by phil - June 13th, 2015 7:23 am
We're on the road to nowhere.
As you can see from the S&P chart, we haven't missed much in cashing in our Long-Term Portfolio back on 3/24 as the markets have not really gone anywhere since. And, of course, we didn't cash everything out, just our winners and positions we weren't sure about – the remaining 12 picks plus the stocks we added since have gained $69,275 (13.8%) for the quarter, protected by our generally bearish but opportunistic Short-Term Portfolio, which has gained a virtual $28,058 (28%) over the same 3-month period.
While our Short-Term Portfolio is margin-intensive and aggressive (with a $100,000 base), the Long-Term Portfolio runs our patented "BE THE HOUSE – Not the Gambler" protocols (just put "Be the House" in Google and that's us!), aiming for steady, reliable gains in a low-touch environment. The LTP had a $500,000 base on 11/26/13 and is currently up 47.9% at $739,470 but, because we SELL risk and don't buy it, we are still sitting on $753,430 in cash and using just $325,500 of $1.5M in margin.
Could we have made more money if we had been more aggressive? Sure we could have – as long as we were more aggressive at the right time! As it is, we are teaching the BALANCED approach to portfolio management with the bulk of our investing capital (83%) going into conservative, long-term investing strategies (and staying mainly in cash so we can scale into losing positions if necessary) while the other 17% ($100K out of $600K) is for our "fun" day-trading and, more importantly, as a bearish hedge to our bullish long-term picks.
Let's face it, those bullish long-term trades are self-hedged and our system, though brilliant, is like watching paint dry while we wait to grind out those returns. The short-term trades don't just protect our LTP but they help keep us sane and it gives us something to do on those volatile days OTHER THAN MESSING WITH OUR LONG-TERM POSITIONS. That's right, it's kind of a trick I developed over the years because the hardest thing to teach new Members at PSW is PATIENCE.
Patience is what people have trouble with as those LTP returns are a
by phil - June 12th, 2015 8:09 am
Things are getting serious.
Yesterday morning, the IMF began what may be the endgame for Greece as they walked out of negotiations and flew back to the US, saying "There are major differences between us in most key areas and there has been no progress in narrowing these differences – thus we are well away from an agreement."
Faced with the decision to catch the last flight to DC or spend the weekend in Brussels, the IMF wisely decided to head home. At a meeting of EU Government staffers late Thursday, Greece was given less than 24 hours to come up with firm proposals to end the impasse. Policy makers are now examining all scenarios if Greece refuses to compromise, including the possibility that the country could eventually leave the Euro.
“There is no more time for gambling,” EU President Donald Tusk told reporters in Brussels on Thursday. “The day is coming, I am afraid, that someone says the game is over.”
Greek banks fell as much as 8.1% and traded 7.1% lower at 11:30 am this morning in Athens. Greek bank stocks have lost more than 50% since the previous government of Antonis Samaras began to unravel in December. The Athens Stock Exchange Index, which has lost 24% since then, dropped another 4.2% this morning and now all of Europe is down about 1%, wiping out half of the last two day's gains.
Today's deadline aside (as we've seen plenty of them come and go), If the two sides do not reach an agreement on how to extend a 240Bn Euro ($270Bn) loan program beyond June 30th (18 days), Greece will most likely default on its debts and would probably be forced to abandon the Euro.
As noted by the NYTimes, in order to move past the next 18 days, 18 other members of the Eurozone would have agree to forgive or delay the repayment of some (not all) of Greece’s crushing debt, which by itself is equal to 177% of their GDP. In exchange, the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must agree to changes that would increase tax collection, make the government more efficient and to boost economic…