by phil - November 13th, 2014 8:24 am
What is the Fed so afraid of?
Yesterday, at about 1:45, as the market was dipping, Fed President Kocherlakota decided it would be a good time to say it would be a MISTAKE for the Fed to raise rates any time in 2015:
“It would be inappropriate for the [Federal Open Market Committee] to raise the target range for the fed funds rate at any such meeting” occurring in 2015, Mr. Kocherlakota said.
As a voting member of the FOMC, Kocherlakota's words carry a lot of weight but he was already the dissenting opinion to the Fed's last vote, so this was not NEW information – but it was enough to re-energize the bulls, as there's nothing they love more than FREE MONEY!!!
Our Futures were dipping back down this morning until 3am, when it suddenly became urgent for NY Fed President Bill Dudley to say it was "still too early to raise rates." Noting there could be a significant benefit from letting the economy run "slightly hot." Speaking at the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi this morning, Dudley called for "patience" on an increase in the Fed funds rate as the risk of tightening prematurely is greater than the risk of tightening too late.
It's amazing to look at the chart above and consider that Greenspan "took away the punch bowl" when rates were 5%. THAT was a rate he considered far too accommodative but his VERY BRIEF attempts to raise rates to 7% were quickly reversed as the markets collapsed in 2000 and then, of course, 9/11 happened and rates were dropped to near zero to goose the economy – leading to our 2007 housing bubble that almost destroyed the Universe.
This time, of course, is different because – well because it is, right? Sure it could be argued that bubble #1 came during the dot com boom, when Clinton was in office and everyone had jobs and the deficit was low and the economy was booming and…
by phil - November 12th, 2014 8:16 am
So close, and yet so far.
Our 5% Rule™ dictates that we need to have two consecutive DAYS (not just closes) above one of our support levels before we consider it as a real sign and, yesterday, the Dow did FINALLY hold its critical "Must Hold" line at 17,600.
Unfortunately, that lasted all of 2 hours and then the Futures re-opened 20-points lower and, since then, we've lost another 50 points. So REJECTED so far on our first test of the middle for the Dow, which has long been the laggard in getting up to our expected trading range for 2015 (the Big Chart is always a year ahead).
The Nasdaq, on the other hand, has long been our leader (thanks to our Stock of the Year, AAPL, gaining 46% and contributing 9% to the Nasdaq's 23% move). Perhaps we should have realized that, if we were right about AAPL, we should have set more aggressive targets for the Nasdaq in the first place.
As Dave Fry notes on his Nasdaq chart, it's hard to write anything meaningful about the movement of the last few weeks other than, as I pointed out yesterday – it's Bullshit. The Nasdaq has popped 400 points (10%) in 4 weeks and is on pace to be up 130% by next December OR, if that doesn't seem likely to you, then maybe you see why it's our key short in our Short-Term Portfolio.
Our Short-Term Portfolio has, in fact, taken a beating this past month – as it's full of hedges that are getting slaughtered. Now we're only up 70% for the year (down from over 100%) but the trade-off is, of course, that our bullish (and 5x larger) Long-Term Portfolio is now up 23.5% for the year. That's pretty good as they aren't both supposed to be up at the same time anyway.
We haven't changed our aggressively bearish short-term position, despite losing 30% of our gains on this rally, because the volume simply isn't confirming the breakout and that means that all these gains can be just a quickly reversed – and we sure don't want to…
by phil - November 11th, 2014 8:22 am
MORE FREE MONEY!!!
How many ways can they goose these markets? Too many to count as Japan's QUADRILLION Yen debt soars to new highs as the Government backs away from using a sales tax to attempt to balance (as in slow the deficit slightly) the budget. After all, once you pass the Quadrillion mark in debt, what's a few Trillion more in debt between friends?
The BOJ's friendship is a wonderful thing for the Nikkei and the Japanese exporters that are part of the index. It's not so wonderful for the Japanese people, who have seen 30% of their purchasing power disappear in the past two years and that allows Abe's Government to point to low inflation (because people can't afford to buy things) as an excuse to devalue the currency further – enriching the investor class at the expense of everyone else on the island:
It's a SCAM people, this is nothing more than an illusion of market prosperity – they are simply repricing the currency the stocks (and earnings) are measured in to give you the impression that things are getting better – BUT THEY ARE NOT – they are getting worse. Infinite debt is no free lunch and it's really starting to concern me that US and European markets are following Japan higher when Japan's move is total BULLSHIT!
We're going to be shorting the Nikkei, of coures (17,370 on /NKD and $12 on EWJ), as it tests it's all-time high – hopefully at 17,500 but we're not going to let 17,350 fail without jumping on that bandwagon as this is complete and utter BS. Did I mention this was BS? I want to make sure that's clear. BS. Totally….
We already took a short position with conviction on /TF (Russell Futures) as it tested 1,180 this morning in our Live Member Chat room as well as during yesterday's Live Trading Seminar in Las Vegas (my last day here ). I've been urging our Members to take the money and run into the holidays, taking advantage of this rally to get back to mainly cash and, as we pointed out in our…
by phil - November 10th, 2014 8:19 am
What a fun weekend we've been having in Vegas!
We had a great dinner at Nobu on Saturday night (co-sponsored by TradeStation), followed by some poker and yesterday we had our first seminar day where we looked at the Global Macros, discussed trading techniques and made a few new picks for 2015. That was followed by another great dinner at Rao's last night and this morning we are getting started at 6am Vegas time and will be doing live trading all day long. We will be simulcasting in our Live Chat Room via WebEx – Greg will post a link when it's ready.
Meanwhile, all quiet on the Global front over the weekend or, at least, just the normal nonsense so the markets continue to drift along at the highs but it's a very busy week and we'll have to wait PATIENTLY to see how things play out. We have 4 Fed Speakers this week but not too much data, which will keep the focus on the tail end of earnings. So far, so blah on that front:
As noted by the WSJ: "While profit gains have generally been solid, many blue-chip companies are posting weak sales growth or outright year-over-year revenue declines, causing worries about their long-term growth prospects. Others are reporting earnings increases driven by factors that don’t reflect sustainable improvements in their business, such as share buybacks and cost-cutting efforts."
Amplifying those concerns is a softening global economic outlook. U.S. multinational firms are now contending with slowing economic growth in key markets like Europe and China, and a strengthening dollar that threatens to further damp revenue by reducing the value of payments collected in foreign currencies when converted into dollars.
Few investors expect a sustained stock decline. But many traders and analysts say they fear future growth at U.S. companies won’t be robust enough to meet the high expectations currently implied by the above-average valuations on blue-chip shares. Friday’s employment report for October, which showed another month of modest job gains tempered by only slight increases in wages, underscored those concerns.
by phil - November 7th, 2014 8:29 am
Productivity was down and costs were up.
That's the news we got yesterday as we say a 30% drop in productivity, from 2.9% to 2% along with a drastic increase in unit quarterly labor costs – from -0.5% to 0.3%, which bumped the annual labor costs up by 60%, from 1.5% to 2.4%. Not surprisingly, this led to employers cutting the number of hours worked by 0.2% to save some of the rising costs that they have been unable to pass on to consumers.
These are, of course, not great numbers but that didn't stop the market from flowing higher – kind of like that lava in Hawaii that can't be stopped. Also like the lava – it's a fairly low-volume flow but, if you are bearish – it's very destructive!
Keep in mind that we're hitting these highs only after a TREMENDOUS amount of stimulus from Japan and Europe on top of very doveish outlook from our own Fed (even though they have stopped increasing QE – it's not over by a mile).
As tempting as it is for us to cut our bearish positions and join the party, here we face another weekend full of Global uncertainty, so we're going to stay covered and watch to see if the S&P can hit our 2,035 goal (see Wednesday's predictions) and actually hold it.
Now that we're here, we'll be looking for the following retracements next week:
- S&P 2,035 is our 10% line and we'll be looking for a pullback to 2,018 (weak) and 2,000 (strong).
- Dow 17,600 is our Must Hold and that makes a weak pullback 17,250 and 16,900 would be a strong retrace.
- Nasdaq 4,600 is our 15% line and we're over that without a retrace (so far) to 4,480 (weak) or 4,360 (strong).
- NYSE Must Hold 11,000 (it's been there before) and below that we look for 10,760 (weak) and 10,520 (strong) for pullbacks. The fact that the NYSE is in a range such that even our strong pullback isn't 5% is a bullish indicator for the rest over the long-term and our long-term
by phil - November 6th, 2014 7:49 am
It was another low-volume "rally" yesterday.
Hard to call it a rally when we spike off on no volume in pre-market and then spend the rest of the day selling off. The much less-reliable Dow, on the other hand, put up a record high – all the way to 17,485 and now we're less than 1% shy of our Must Hold target – only two years after we set it and right on schedule for the end of 2014.
As we discussed in yesterday's post, "If it's a real rally, the Dow should have no trouble at all at 17,500 and should be able to get to 17,600 before there is any serious pullback and, if that doesn't happen – the rest of our lines will tell the tale." So Far, so good on the Dow as it gained 94 points yesterday (0.54%) but 17,484 is not 17,500 – hence today's headline, written long before the market opens (now 7:30).
What am I concerned about? Well, so far is been all stimulus and today Draghi holds a press conference an hour before our markets open and, unless he has more red flags to wave at the bulls – all this excitement may calm down a bit. Fed Gov Powell speaks at 1:30 and he's a bit bearish, followed by Mester this evening (7pm), who is more bearish.
Tomorrows retail sales report is likely to be bad and Non-Farm Payrolls are a wild-card but Yellen speaks at 10:15 tommorw, so she'll be able to keep any sell-off shallow into the weekend. We're not overly bearish – more like a "watch and wait" sort of thing at the moment as our Long-Term Portfolio is up 20.9% for the year and our Income Portfolio is up 18.1% for the year and the Short-Term Portfolio which hedges them is up a ridiculous 85.2% for the year.
All we are trying to do, at this point in the year, is to protect our gains into the holidays and tomorrow's NFP report is a major wild-card, as is Draghi's press conference this morning. Our long-term portfolios are 5x larger than the STP so we error…
by phil - November 5th, 2014 7:59 am
Democrats were decimated in the Senate, losing their majority, primarily as angry voters, who still face dire economic situations 6 years after electing Obama chose to CHANGE the last vestiges of his support:
The economy was voters’ most pressing concern as they cast their ballots in the midterm election, with seven of 10 rating conditions poor, preliminary exit polls showed.
More than five years after the recession ended, ordinary Americans still feel pinched. Wages and incomes haven’t recovered even as corporate profits hit records, stocks have almost tripled and the nation’s output of goods and services grew more than $1 trillion from its pre-recession peak.
Amazingly, after getting a clear referendum on how awful the economy still is for the average American, the markets are up over half a point in the Futures, with the Dow (/YM) testing 17,400, S&P (/ES) 2,020, Nasdaq (/NQ) 4,175 and Russell (/TF) 1,175.
Those will be our lines of capitulation if they break to the upside but, by the day's end, I expect cooler heads to prevail and they'll be our shorting lines too.
When there are no fundamental reasons to move up (and no, electing a different bunch of morons doesn't qualify as a fundamental) we look to our technicals and our 5% Rule™ to tell us what to expect. Last time we whipped out the Rule, we used it to chart the move off the bottom in October – now let's see what…
by phil - November 4th, 2014 7:53 am
"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…"
"Representatives shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons… When the right to vote is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State."
On that basis, it seems to me, that Texas should be losing about 10% of the Congresspeople next year – as they have seen fit to exclude close to 1M of their citizens from being eligible to vote.
Of course Texas is already being punished by plunging crude prices as oil hit $75.84 overnight and gasoline prices fell back to $2.06. Low prices at the pump are bound to put consumers in a better mood but, in Texas, a lot of those consumers are in the oil industry or in towns dominated by the oil industry and that industry is in BIG TROUBLE with oil below $80.
It's not just oil that's dropping, copper is off 4% this morning, barely holding $3.01 as there is NOTHING to indicate any rise in demand for materials in our weakening Global Economy.
Nonetheless, Corporate Profits in the US are up 10% this year and, whether it's the result of FREE MONEY pumped in by the Central Banks or spending cutbacks that ultimately damage the economy or finanical engineering like stock buybacks that artificially inflate apparent earnings by decreasing the number of shares or, even if it's just good old inflation creeping into the pricing – who cares as long as they are making money?
by phil - November 3rd, 2014 8:16 am
What an incredible finish!
We have retaken most of our September highs after dropping about 10% in the first two weeks of October. Technically, it LOOKS like a strong market but Fundamentally, we know that the boost is the result of Trillions of additional stimulus from Japan and Europe and, as I mentioned on Thursday, it's not that the US has STOPPED stimuluating the economy – we've simply stopped INCREASING the amount of stimulus – hardly a "taper."
So we're watching and waiting this week, especially ahead of the elecion. We did a Portfolio Review over the weekend and all 5 of our Member Portfolios are looking very good into the end of the year so we don't want to rock the boat and we angled more bearish into the weekend, just in case but, on the whole BALANCE is our goal.
As we expected, weak Chinese data (see morning notes to Members) is putting a damper of Friday's rally already and, as you can see from our Big Chart, we're back at levels that have proven to be harsh overhead resistance for our indices.
We're still waiting for the Russell and the NYSE to confirm by making their own new highs and Russell's pop to 1,174 on Friday was so fake that we did decide to short /TF (Russell Futures) below the 1,170 line this morning – we'll see how that goes as a fun bearish play.
On the whole, last week's action had the Fundamentalists throwing up their hands and simply screaming. Soc Gen's Albert Edwars summed it up nicely, saying:
“The amazing thing is how little interest there is with western investors about Japan and how it effects US or European portfolios
Notwithstanding the fact that it is the 3rd biggest economy in the world by a long way (the same size as Germany and France
by phil - November 1st, 2014 7:26 am
And we're back!
Quite the recovery since last week so I figured we'd better take another look and go over our positions to make sure we're well-balanced. We're UNbalanced in our recovery, with less volume and more height than we've had before. Technically, we're looking bullish but, Fundamentally – there are still a lot of questions.
We'll discuss outlook and such in the Member Chat Room over the weekend, this article is just to check our balances, not an extensive review like we had last week. I'm on the way to Vegas today ahead of our Live Seminar next weekend (last chance to sign up), so I'm just going to note the items I think need adjusting this morning.
As an overview, last week our LTP was up 19.2% for the year at $596,170 and our STP was up 94% at $194,183 for a total of $790,353 (up 31.7% overall) following our aggressive strategy. As of Friday's close, the LTP had climbed to 21.5% ($607,710 and the STP fell to 82.5% at $182,498 for a total of $790,208, essentially flat at 31.7%. We turned more bearish on Wednesday and it may have cost us some gains but our aim into the end of the year is to lock in these profits, not "go for it."
The more conservative Income Portfolio was up 2.4% last week and finished yesterday up 8.5% at $542,304. Combined with the hedges in the Income Portfolio, that pairing is at $734,538, up 22.4% for the year and miles ahead of our 10% goal.
Our Butterfly Portfolio was as boring as its supposed to be, up 18.7% last week ($118,740) and up 18.1% today. The $25,000 Portfolio slipped from $30,745 to $28,802 as we added two bearish plays that, so far, have not worked out.
The reason we flipped more bearish this week was because we are back in the tops of our channels now AND we're heading into an election where, no matter who wins, half the people will be disappointed – that could lead to a small sell-off at least, along with a dozen other bad things that are going on in the world that we've decided to ignore again while the market engages in…