Not surprisingly, Apple options are active ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings report after the bell on Monday. Shares are in rally mode, up almost 1.1% on the day at $130.06 on Thursday afternoon. Volume as of the time of this writing (3:30 pm ET) is approaching 786,000 contracts, which is approximately 105% of the average daily options volume traded on AAPL of around 750,000 contracts. Much of the volume changing hands during today’s session is in the Apr24 ’15 expiry weekly calls, which expire ahead of the company’s earnings release. But, a review of open interest on Apple reveals interesting patterns. Open interest is largest by far in 130.0 strike call options across all available expiries. There are approximately 505,000 open call positions at the 130.0 strike on Apple at present. Much of that open interest, roughly 20% of it, is in the regular May expiry 130.0 calls.
Traders exchanged more than one million option contracts on Apple (Ticker: AAPL) today amid a 1.2% dip in the price its shares. The 1.04 million contracts traded so far in the session compares to an average daily options volume for Apple over the past 10 days of roughly 750,000 contracts. The below snapshot displays the day’s option volume split out into call and put options across active strike prices. The chart includes monthly expiration options, while excluding weeklys. The 125.0 strike April 17 ’15 expiry calls and puts are most active today, but cease trading as markets close out another week this afternoon.
Shares in Apple (Ticker: AAPL) are near their highs of the session in the final hour of trading on Wednesday, adding to the muted gains seen earlier in the day, following the release of the September FOMC meeting minutes and after activist investor and Apple shareholder Carl Icahn tweeted, “Tmrw we’ll be sending an open letter to @tim_cook. Believe it will be interesting.” Icahn’s tweet hit the ether at 2:33 pm ET and was met with a spike in volume in Apple shares. The stock is currently up 2.0% on the day at $100.75 as of 3:15 pm ET.
By now, we've all seen the "Bengate" video of the iPhone 6+ being bent by hand but now it turns out that the video that's gone viral may have been FAKED!!! This is a video that knocked 5% off AAPL's stock price this week, costing its investors $30Bn in lost market value – so not a harmless hoax.
As a disclaimer, it's important to note that, in our first Webcast of the year, we picked AAPL as our top trade idea and again, on TV on March 6th, I was almost embarrassed to say AAPL was once again our trade of the year for BNN (it was last year's trade too). AAPL is up 33% since than and our initial trade idea is up over 300% (we used options for leverage) but we still have bullish AAPL trades in our Member Portfolios – so we do like the company and have some bias…
That being said, we don't know the bias of "Unbox Therapy" and we don't KNOW that it's a hoax but it's starting to seem like one as AAPL has already put out a rare public statement rebuffing the claim, stating that only 9 customers to date have complained of bent phones (out of 20M sold) and now Consumer Reports has done a test confirming that, indeed, you can't bend an iPhone 6 Plus with your bare hands.
Speaking of hands, there are some inconsistencies in the Unbox video that are very disturbing. First of all, look at the hands in the image above and then look at the guy narrating the video – people are saying those are not the same hands. That may or may not be the case but it is certainly the case that there's a huge discrepancy in the video itself:
As you can see, the phone he is bending "live" at 1:38 in the video says it's Tuesday, 23rd at 2:26 but then, 40 seconds later, the "same" phone says it's 1:58. This is not an editing discrepancy since he had an UNBENT phone just seconds before 2:26 that…
Fortunately, our Big Chart kept us cautiously bearish into the weekend and the hedges in our Short-Term Portfolio functioned perfectly, gaining $13,000 on the day and completely offsetting the drop of $8,000 in our Long-Term Portfolio.
That's without our big hedge, DXD, kicking in yet, as the Dow is still over 17,000 but, should it fail, we'll see those STP gains multiply quickly.
For those of you who are not Members, and don't have access to our various Member Portfolios (and you can by subscribing here), we have done our best to prepare you for this drop as well. Last Thursday, right in the morning post, I shared our short stance with the general public, saying
Futures pumped back up to yesterday's highs at 17,125, 2,001.50, 4,080 and 1,156.5 so I like shorting below 17,100, 2,000, 4,075 and 1,155 – short the laggard, out of any of them cross back over – very simple!
That's our plan into the weekend. As I've mentioned before, we're also using DXD ($24 at the time), TZA ($14.68) and SQQQ ($35.26) to hedge our long portfolios – just in case things unravel over the weekend. We also discussed FXI ($40.30) puts earlier in the week as a play on China melting down so PLENTY of ways to profit from the downside.
This morning, the Futures are 17,050 on /YM (up $375 per contract), 1,979 on /ES (up $1,125 per contract), 4,035 on /NQ (up $900 per contract) and 1,116.50 on /TF (up $4,000 per contract) – so that strategy went pretty well.
It was a really ugly hold but we did hold 2,000 on the S&P all day long on Friday and that, as I've said for a long time, is finally a signal we need to do a little bottom-fishing. We have already been picking up some material stocks in our Live Member Chat Room, including adding BTU($13.29) on Friday morning to our Income Portfolio, despite a Goldman Sachs downgrade that cost them 5% pre-market.
In fact, 65% of China's energy comes from coal and, for the first time ever, China passed the EU in pollution levels per capita with each person in China producing 7.2 tons of carbon dioxide on average compared with 6.8 tons per European and just 1.9 tons per Indian.
Of course, none of them hold a candle to the US, where we proudly produce 16.4 tons of CO2 per person!
Still, with 1.3Bn people, China has now passed the US in overall carbon emissions, contributing to a new Global Record of 40Bn tons of CO2 added to the atmosphere in 2014. According to a recent UN study, at this rate, the theoretical limit for carbon in our atmosphere (before irreversible damage sets in) will be hit in just 30 years. But don't worry folks, that's just science and we can always vote Republican and ignore it.
Emissions grew 4.2 percent in China, 2.9 percent in the U.S. and 5.1 percent in India last year. The EU’s pollution level declined 1.8 percent because of weaker economic growth. So coal is not going away as soon as people think and we have been literally burning off the surplus this year. In Europe, utilities are switching back…
12 trading days since the S&P first hit 2,000 (Aug 25th) in which we have failed to hold 2,000 for a full day. Not one and, unless the Futures pop 10 points before we open, not today either. On 10 of those days, we've had a late-day run-up on low volume that popped us over 2,000 and on 7 of those days, 2,000 held at the close but EVERY SINGLE DAY – it also failed to hold.
Let's not forget that, during this time, we've had TRILLIONS of Dollars of additional stimulus pledged by Carney, Draghi, Kuroda and other minor Central Banksters and Yellen has certainly been as doveish as she could by (while still tapering our existing Trillion Dollar stimulus). This is how our market behaves WITH Trillions of Dollars of cash being pumped into the Global economy – I wonder what will happen when it stops?
Of course, maybe it won't stop but, if it doesn't, this chart will look even uglier. This is a chart of our projected net annual interest payments on our debt in 10 years. That's $880 BILLION Dollars each year, just in interest payments, up $650Bn from the $233Bn we are spending now.
That's WITHOUT additional stimulus so I guess we can go for a bit more and make it an even Trillion, right? These are what we used to call CONSEQENCES – back when we used to care about such things. The US is not the leader in debt issuance, not by a long shot. Japan is 150% more in debt than we are and China has now doubled our debt to GDP ratio, after having been a creditor back in 2007 but now the undisputed king of stimulus spending.
Europe is also a mess. As I said to our Members in an early-morning Alert: Another thing the US Media is purposely ignoring is the 12.5% correction in Europe (example on Germany chart) since July that, so far, has bounced weakly (4-point drop on EWG has weak bounce at 28.8 and strong at 29.6) – failing exactly…
If you want to play for an AAPL pop this afternoon, the QQQ weekly $100 calls are just .40 and QQQ topped out at $100.33 yesterday. Figure AAPL pops 2.5% and that pops the Nas and QQQ 0.5% so $100.50 + premium could be good for 50% if AAPL gets a good reaction – if not, it's probably going to lose less than a direct play on AAPL would.
TZA/Sn0 – Well TZA is only at $14.50 so the spread is half in the money at net $1.25 so it still has good upside if you add to it but I'd rather get the Jan $15/20 bull call spread at $1 as that gives you more time and more upside – if your TZA hedge goes in the money. That way, you can take $2 off the table on the Oct spread and know you still have plenty of upside if TZA keeps going up on you and also less downside exposure if it flips the other way.
When our 1pm Webinar started (at the same time Apple's conference started), the QQQ calls were just 0.42 and still playable and, as you can see on the chart, we even had a dip down to 0.30 briefly but that line held and we then jumped 100% back to 0.60 and then on to 0.72 before dropping back to 0.60, where we took our expected 50% gains and ran.
If you missed our Webcast yesterday, you should check out the replay because we discussed WHY we made that particular pick and HOW we selected it – very educational! That's because, at Philstockworld, our goal is to TEACH you to be a great trader – not just give you great trades.
That hasn’t hurt Apple financially by any stretch; in fact, it continues to make more on each device it sells than just about anyone. Still, a constant stream of promises from Apple’s top execs have drawn out the idea that something big is just around the corner. That something big is very likely making its debut at Apple’s event next Tuesday, which kicks off at 1pm EST / 10am PST and we'll be covering it live today during our Live Trading Webinar (1pm EST).
On top of the rumor pile are expectations for:
Bigger IPhones (to go after Samsung market share) + 10%
NFC and Mobile Payments (transaction revenues) + 20%
iOS8 (pushing iCloud) + 5%
iWatch (new product) + 20%
Apple TV (home integration) + 10%
So those are the most likely announcements and they have the POTENTIAL (if all goes well) to add 65% to AAPL's already massive market cap. Just enough, in fact, to make AAPL the world's first $1Tn company in 2016. We're already playing AAPL bullish in two of our PSW Portfolios but we have been since they were $450 ($64 post-split) and we're already up 50% (AAPL was our Stock of the Year selection), so we hedged a bit at $105.
The question for us is – do we remove those hedges in anticipation of AAPL's 2 consecutive 30% annual runs that we are predicting but, with AAPL already up 25% this year at $100 and having already been rejected at 30% ($105), we're keeping our partial cover – at least until we see the public's reaction to the new product line.
While it could be argued that a lot of good news is priced in, I think NFC/Mobile Payments is being completely missed along…
Volume in Apple Inc. (Ticker: AAPL) options is spiking today as shares in the name slide back into double-digits after yesterday trading up to a fresh record high of $103.74. Upwards of 1.5 million options contracts have changed hands on the stock by midday, which compares to average daily volume of around 940,000 contracts. Shares in AAPL are down roughly 4.5% on the day at $98.60, helped lower in part by comments from Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves, as investors await the company’s September 9 media event in Cupertino, California.
As of the time of this writing, roughly 1.9 call options are trading for each single put option changing hands on the stock. Perhaps some traders are taking profits following the stock’s roughly 30% rally since the start of 2014, or alternatively, picking up calls at relatively discounted premium levels amid the day’s selloff in the view that shares may potentially bounce back. The pop in implied volatility on the name, up 22% on the day at last check, could also be attracting traders to the options as well. Trading is most active in near term calls and puts. Specifically, the Sep 05 ’14 102.0 strike calls and the Sep 12 ’14 107.0 strike call options have each traded upwards of 66,000 times, trumping existing open interest levels. The Sep 05 ’14 99.0 strike put options are seeing volume in excess of 59,000 contracts as of midday.
For banks, the recent news is pretty grim. But it’s about to get much worse, based on the following:
Yield Curve Flattens: Now 10-Year Yields Just 1% More than 2-Year (Barrons) – Ye olde yield curve keeps getting flatter. Wednesday continued the trend — which is most pronounced between two and 10-year maturities. At 2:30 p.m., the two-year note was at .71%, 1.6 basis points higher than Tuesday’s close, while the 10-year was 2 basis points lower at 1.71%.
That’s just 1 percentage point of spread between the two-year and ten-year Treasury notes.
Peter Boockvar of The Lindsey Group says this flattening is “the most noteworthy event” in the bond market in the past week. He believes investors are ...
Treasury 10-year yields dropped to the lowest level since 2012 as falling equities drove investors to the relative safety of government debt and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said weakening stock prices pose a risk to the economy.
The following are the M&A deals, rumors and chatter circulating on Wall Street for Wednesday February 9, 2016:
Hearing Chatter of Potential Tencent Offer for LinkedIn
The Rumor: Shares of LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) rose Wednesday, following unconfirmed market chatter of a potential big from China's Tencent (OTC: TCEHY). The rumored offer, accordidng to "sources" is between $120 and $125 per share.
Spokespersons for LinkedIn and Tencent did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
LinkedIn closed at $101.76 on Wednesday, up $0.78.
Opera Confirms Buyout Offer from Chinese Group Including Qihuoo 360
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Throughout the past 30 days of wild volatility, here’s what I didn’t do.
Panic. Worry. Sell.
In fact, the best I did was add to a couple of positions yesterday. The world was already in an uncertain state for the past 3+ years. It’s just that with the market rising, we pushed the issue to the back of our mind and ignored it.
A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the rise of non-state, non-central-bank-issued crypto-currencies.
We all know money is created and distributed by governments and central banks. The reason is simple: control the money and you control everything.
The invention of the blockchain and crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin have opened the door to non-state, non-central-bank currencies--money that is global and independent of any state or central bank, or indeed, any bank, as crypto-currencies are structurally peer-to-peer, meaning they don't require a bank to function: people can exchange crypto-currencies to pay for goods and services without a bank acting as a clearinghouse for all these transactions.
Last year, the S&P 500 large caps closed 2015 essentially flat on a total return basis, while the NASDAQ 100 showed a little better performance at +8.3% and the Russell 2000 small caps fell -5.9%. Overall, stocks disappointed even in the face of modest expectations, especially the small caps as market leadership was mostly limited to a handful of large and mega-cap darlings.
Notably, the full year chart for the S&P 500 looks very much like 2011. It got off to a good start, drifted sideways for...
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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).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
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