SKS - Saks, Inc. – Timely bullish bets initiated in Saks options just seconds prior to the closing bell on Tuesday are generating sizable gains for at least one trader today, with shares in the high-end retailer up at the highest level since 2008. The stock closed Tuesday up 11% on the day at $13.67 after the company reported first-quarter revenue above average analyst expectations. Within minutes of the close shares in SKS moved sharply to the upside after the New York Post, citing a source familiar with the matter, reported that Saks has hired Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. to explore strategic options, including a potential sale of the company. Shares gained as much as 22% over yesterday’s close to touch $16.70 in the pre-market on Wednesday. The stock currently trades up 14% on the session at $15.59 as of 11:50 a.m. in New York. Options on SKS were active throughout Tuesday’s trading sessions, but it was the last-minute flurry of call buying at the Jun $13 and $14 strikes that look rather interesting in hindsight. It looks like some 1,339 calls were purchased at the Jun $14 strike for a premium of $0.30 each, all with a time stamp of 15:59:35. Volume of 347 of the Jun $13 strike calls changed hands at 15:59:29 yesterday and look to have been purchased at $0.85 per contract. As of midday on the East Coast, the value of the Jun $13 strike calls have tripled to $2.65 each, while premium on the $14 calls has risen six-fold overnight to $1.80 per contract. Meanwhile, trades initiated on Saks today are betting the shares continue move higher, with a block of 3,000 of the Jun $15 strike calls purchased for a premium of $1.10 per contract in the early going this morning. These contracts make money if shares in Saks rally another 3.3% over the current price of $15.59 to surpass the effective breakeven point at $16.10 by June expiration.
Poetry, that's what we got from the Fed's Bill Dudley and James Bullard yesterday, as they both hinted that – not only is the Fed likely to continue QE for "an extended period of time" – but they may EXPAND IT FURTHER if the economy doesn't turn around in the near future.
That's right, the economy sucks and the Fed knows it, even if "investors" don't. Of course, we're in that bad news is good news thing as the bad news keeps the free money flowing from the Fed and, as I say over and over again – a rising tide of money lifts all Financial Ships BUT, that has nothing at all to do with the underlying Fundamentals of the Global Economy, which continue to sink into the abyss.
Of course (and here's where the above chart becomes useful, the same could have been said in 1921 and 1933 and 1974 and 1987 but not in 1942, when we had that really big war to create so much demand we had to ration stuff! Despite my current caution, once inflation does kick in I have no doubt we will hit 2,100 on the S&P (see yesterday's post) – just not quite yet.
What we have at the moment is a frenzy of anticipation that things will get better but it's always "next quarter" or "after the summer" or "next year" while we ignore the NOW that doesn't look so hot.
That's putting us into a pretty extremely overbought position on the NYSE Summation Index (from Dave Fry) and, as you can see from the last 3 years of our rally – this usually doesn't last very long without a pullback. So, forgive me for being cautions just because we did, in fact, drop 10% from the Oct '12 high and 15% from the March '12 high and 13% from the Nov '11 high and 20% from the June '11 high.
We did not, however, pull back in Oct 2010 or Feb of this year…
SKS - Saks, Inc. – High-end retailer, Saks, Inc., popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner this morning on heavier than usual trading traffic in upside calls. Shares in Saks are up 10% on Tuesday morning at a new 52-week high of $13.54 after the company posted first-quarter earnings in line with analyst expectations on higher-than-expected quarterly revenue. Shares in Saks are up more than 30% since this time last year. Bullish positions initiated in SKS options ahead of the earnings release yesterday are seeing sizable overnight gains today as shares push to the highest levels since June of 2008. Traders yesterday picked up around 500 out-of-the-money calls at the Jun $13 strike for an average premium of $0.22 per contract. Today, the $13 calls are in the money and changing hands at $0.65 each, a near three-fold increase compared to the premium paid yesterday, as of 11:50 a.m. ET. Traders appear to be buying up the $13 calls against today, with more than 1,500 lots in play versus open interest of 887 contracts. Overall options volume on Saks is nearing 9,000 contracts as of the time of this writing, which is roughly four times the stock’s average daily level of around 1,900 contracts.
HLF - Herbalife, Ltd. – Shares in Herbalife have resumed trading this afternoon, currently up 3.0% at $50.69 as of 12:20 p.m. ET, after earlier being halted with news pending. The company announced today it has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers as its independent public accountant to replace KPMG. The stock was moving higher ahead of the halt in HLF shares today, rising as much as 7.0% in the early going to $52.84. Traders looking for the stock to potentially rise to fresh 52-week highs during the next few trading sessions purchased weekly calls on the stock, buying around 1,100 lots at the May $57.5 strike for an average premium of $0.77 each. Traders long the contracts stand ready to profit at expiration this week should shares in…
You heard it here first. Well, maybe 2nd as GS's Chief US Equity Strategist, David Kostin, says the U.S. economy will achieve above-trend real GDP growth in 2014, ending a six-year period of economic “stagnation.” And in developed economies, the final year of economic stagnation before GDP growth has been linked to price/earnings multiple expansions averaging 15%. They expect the S&P 500 p/e multiple will continue to rise, reaching 15 times at year-end 2013 and 16 times by the end of 2014.
“We are raising our S&P 500 dividend estimates and index return forecasts for 2013 through 2015. We expect S&P 500 index will rise by 5% from the current level to 1,750 by year-end 2013, advance by 9% to 1,900 in 2,014, and climb by 10% to 2100 in 2015.”
Goldman's timing is, of course, BRILLIANT, as it is Tuesday and the market has been up 18 Tuesdays in a row, so why stop now? 2,100 at 16x earnings is $131.25 per share so, in general, to be on that trend – we need to see 10% annual earnings increases from here ($110) but, of course, we were at $111.30 in January and earnings estimates have DROPPED to $110.10 as 2 rounds of earnings reports have come in weaker than expected so far – so you need a good supply of fairy dust to get as high as David Kostin.
To be fair to GS, they did call S&P 1,675 and yesterday the S&P was at 1,666 (the mark of the Blankfein!) but, unfortunately, they made that call in Jan of 2008 and were, in fact, off by about 744 points on December 31st of that year – and not in a good way! To be fair, in May of that year, they adjusted to 1,380, so only off 439 but the S&P was at 1,380 in May and, as you can see from the May 2008 Bespoke chart on the left, NOBODY SAW IT COMING – even when "it" was already there.
Oddly enough, on Tuesday, May 20th of 2008, I had a moment that now gives me severe deja vu, saying:
I’ve been growling for quite some time now that I want to see a real breakout before we turn bullish and, unfortunately, we could be in for a textbook reversal as we do
So, what did the market want today? Nothing it appears. It traded on weak volume and had very little movement. This morning the market hated commodities especially silver, but by days end, the market liked silver, gold and even oil but not the dollar. Why?
Last week the economic reports were tough, with bad misses on more than one occasion. But the market tended to ignore the bad news, probably because money continues to pour into equities from money market funds, long term fixed income, and many struggling foreign economies. On Thursday, investors finally caved to even more bad news from Initial Jobless Claims and weak Housing Starts. Then on Friday, when Michigan Sentiment and Leading Indicators posted large positive surprises, the money came pouring back to generate quite a positive week for all the leading domestic indices with Small-cap Growth leading the way, up 2.6% for the week. The Russell 2000 hit new all-time highs closing up 2.2%, and the S&P 500 and DJI both hit new highs up about 2% each. None of that explains today.
In contrast to a successful quarter of better-than-expected corporate earnings, investors had a lot more to worry about than poor economic numbers: a plethora of revenue misses; bubbling problems related to the IRS; and the White House--Benghazi controversy that’s made more than just investors nervous.
Although today’s comments from Chicago Fed President were optimistic, they caused some traders to worry again about QE3 phasing out earlier than expected and that Bernanke might discuss it before Congress as early as this Wednesday. Frankly, there is little news this week with only Existing Home Sales tomorrow, Initial Jobless Claims and New Homes Sales on Thursday, and Durable Goods on Friday. But without question, the key to this week will be Bernanke’s remarks on Wednesday. There is a group of large retailers including Best Buy (BBY), Saks (SKS), Home Depot (HD), and several others reporting earnings before the market opens tomorrow. Obviously, their reports could impact this market that is waiting for more news.
The bottom line is there are no easy answers to “what the market wants.” Our analysis of current valuations showed a bit above average valuations with plenty of undervalued companies remaining. Compared to highs over the last three decades, current valuations are far below them.
VOYA - ING US, Inc. – Shares in ING Group’s U.S. retirement, investment and insurance business are up as much as 8.0% today to $26.98, the highest level since the company’s May 2nd IPO. ING US was rated new ‘buy’ at BTIG LLC with a 12-month target share price of $31.00 today. The stock has rallied nearly 40% over the IPO price of $19.50, and some options traders are positioning for the price of the underlying to extend gains during the second half of the year. November expiry options are the most active contracts by volume on VOYA today, with notable fresh interest in the Nov $25 and $30 calls. Traders appear to have purchased around 200 lots at each striking price for average premiums of $2.71 and $1.14 each, respectively. Call buyers stand ready to profit at November expiration should shares in ING US rally another 2.7% and 15% to surpass average breakeven prices of $27.71 and $31.14, respectively. Meanwhile, traders snapping up Nov $20 and $25 strike puts are positioned to make money in the event of a pullback in the price of the underlying through November expiration. The company is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings ahead of the open on Thursday. Overall options volume on VOYA is sizable, with more than 1,500 contracts in play as of 12:15 p.m. ET versus overall open interest on the stock of 190 contracts.
GRPN - Groupon, Inc. – A large trade in Groupon options in the early going on Monday looks for the price of the underlying to remain in the single-digits through January of 2014. Shares in GRPN are down 0.45% on the day at $6.94 as of 12:20 p.m. ET. The stock has increased roughly 30% since the company reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and a narrower-than-expected first-quarter loss on May 8th. It looks like one strategist betting shares in Groupon will trade below $10.00 through the start of 2014 sold around 50,000 calls at the Jan 2014 $10 strike for…
Here's the latest weekend update from Serge Perreault, a Chartered Professional Accountant and market technician located near Montreal, Canada. Serge has been following the U.S. market in a series of weekly charts. Here is his update on the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 bounced off its uptrend resistance and paused its ascension, on average volume and on falling momentum.
A break of this week's low (1636) would confirm a correction in the direction of the EMA10 (1603).
While some, we are sure, will view this brief clip as partisan showmanship by Representative Steve Pearce, the questions he asks Treasury Secretary should surely be responded to in some manner that is anything but the typical perfunctory shrug these matters normally garner. From Lew's apparent disbelief that the IRS Audits debacle was in any way 'political' to Lew's "waiting for the investigation' on Jon Corzine's misappropriation of funds, and finally to the "War on the Poor" that Pearce describes the current administration's policies (for the benefit of Wall Street); these few minutes are well worth some time as we 'remember' this weekend.
Via google translate from Corriere Della Sera, Beppe Grillo is in favor of a "Referendum on the Euro Within a year" "Europe needs to be rethought. We consider just one year of information and then hold a referendum to say yes or no to the euro and yes or no to Europe. " Beppe Grillo to ride a strong theme of the last election campaign the 5 Star Movement. "Europe on the euro and the British teach us democracy. No party can claim the right to decide for 60 million people. "
"I want to go to Europe and re-discuss a Plan B to be in five years, "added the leader M5S, explaining:" When we ...
ANF - Abercrombie & Fitch Co. – Shares in teen retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., are getting hammered today, down 10% at $48.92 in early-afternoon trading after the company reported a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss and missed topline estimates, lowered its full year earnings forecast and said same-store sales would be down slightly for the rest of the year. A review of pre-earnings report activity in Abercrombie options yesterday indicates one trader was prepared for the pullback today. It looks like the strategist initiate...
While the S&P 500 has had quite a year already the Nikkei has been the story of the globe as they are performing acts of central banking that even put the U.S. Fed to shame. And Japan's central bank can buy ETFs and REITs directly per their charter versus the U.S. bank. Combined with a yen in free fall it's been a heck of a move for the Nikkei since last November. I noted last week we were seeing extremely rare weekly and monthly type overbought readings on bo...
The market went through some gyrations on Wednesday in reaction to Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee. He first defended continued quant easing by warning, “A premature tightening of monetary policy could lead interest rates to rise temporarily but also would carry a substantial risk of slowing or ending the economic recovery.” Stocks dutifully rallied and all major indexes hit new intraday highs.
But alas, consensus is apparently not a given over the longer term. The minutes hinted that a tapering off could start sooner, “A number of participants expressed willingness to adjust the flow of purchases downward as early as the June meeting if the economic information received by that time showed evidence of sufficiently strong and sustained growth.” So …...
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I am going to share with you how I manage my IRA and the power of reducing your cost basis. My goal each year is a 20% return in my IRA. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't, but I believe that all of my success is due to reducing my cost basis. To illustrate the power of reducing your cost basis here are some trades we did last year. These trades are taken from an educational portfolio we ran in a paper-trading account for a little more than a year.
We bought RIG on 5/15/2012 for $44.13, sold it on 1/18/2013 for $46 but booked a profit of $1,154.
We bought MT on 1/4/2012 for $19.24, sold it on 12/21/2012 for $15 but booked a profit of $454.
We bought CHK on 1/27/2012 for $21.93, sold it on 10/19/2012 for $18 b...
Stock market posts another record setting week, but the big news came after Friday’s close.
Courtesy of NASA
The stock market put on another record setting show with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) closing at a record high 15,118 and the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) closing at 1633.70, another all time closing high.
For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) gained 1%, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) climbed 1.2%, the Nasdaq Composite (NYSEARCA:...
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Well, well, well....it is good to know that there are others in the scientific arena who believed that YMI Bioscience's data (cough - Gilead) is a better drug than Incyte's Jakafi. Now, the definitive data are still unknown, but there was enough evidence from a Phase 2 trial to take a small risk for a huge reward. So, let's forget about Apple (AAPL), and do nothing but biotechs from now until Congress passes universal health care coverage for prescriptions....and drive the prices down so that research and development is no longer feasible to conduct in the US. Even Seattle Genetics (SGEN) has been on a tear as of late...
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