by Option Review - September 19th, 2013 3:51 pm
by phil - July 2nd, 2012 7:13 am
Now we need follow-through.
I think we've already blown the opportunity. In Stock World Weekly we discussed the stealth bailouts jammed into the Transportation bill on Friday which rightly sent the markets flying higher into the close of the quarter (I know quelle suprise!). As noted by David Fry, GS was working hard behind the scenes to make sure that, in the end, Germany toe'd the line.
For the year so far, the Dow is up 3.89%, S&P is up 6.66% (so you KNOW Goldman is involved), the Nasdaq is up 10.81%, NYSE 2.33% (all of it gained on Friday) and the Russell 6.15%. See how great everything is?
We took the money and ran, again, as we hit some clear resistance lines (see SWW) on our Big Chart and there was no sense risking a 10% gain in our first week in our new $25,000 Portfolio with the July 4th holiday coming up (we have a half-day tomorrow and we're closed on Wednesday).
The only trades we left active in the $25KP was 5 OIH July $35 calls at $1.25 (still $1.25), 10 DIA July $129 calls at $1.10 (now $1.35) and 10 SQQQ July $49/53 bull call spreads at $1 (now .75) we added later in the day to protect them in case we had a big dip this week. If we make it through Friday above the lines on our Big Chart – then we will continue to be "constructively bullish" and we'll be happy to deploy more cash but, into 2 days off – NO THANKS!
In fact, as we're already up 22% on the DIA calls – if we get another pop this morning, those are likely to come off the table as well. After all, how much money should you expect to make in 48 hours? This is a very unnatural and manipulated market and it's great to play it – as long as you keep that in mind! The danger comes when you delude yourself that this is some kind of "investing" environment when it's actually just gambling ahead of Q2 earnings reports – that could send us right back into a tail-spin.
by phil - June 19th, 2012 8:28 am
BIG day today!
As you can see from the Big Chart, we are testing the 50 day moving averages on the Dow (12,746), S&P (1,347), Nasdaq (2,920), NYSE (7,756) and the Russell (781) IF all goes well and we move up from here. The Dow is already over and the S&P and Russell are close so we'll be watching them closely this morning to see if we should stay bullish or cash out our winners while we wait for some actual bullish news – because the rumors that are driving us higher so far are running out of steam.
The G20 meeting drags on in day 2 and we await their announcement. China dropped $43Bn into the IMF last night and India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico will also commit $10Bn EACH for another $40Bn and that brings the IMF's war chest up to $456Bn. Even Turkey put up $5Bn – we're talking about an all-out Global effort here so we expect A LOT more from the big guns.
Let's not dwell on what it means that Turkey has to bail out Europe and instead focus on Christine Lagarde's statement that the commitments demonstrate "the broad commitment of the membership to ensure the IMF has access to adequate resources to carry out its mandate in the interests of global financial stability." So now it's up to the G20 and that means it's up to Merkel today and Bernanke tomorrow.
Merkel faces mounting pressure to make even greater concessions, by putting Germany's financial muscle behind an integrated banking and borrowing system to keep the euro intact. The question is whether, after two years of muddling through, Europe's pre- eminent power can act quickly and decisively. "I think she will remain an incrementalist: we have not yet reached the point where it is obvious that we are hanging over the precipice," said Paul de Grauwe, a professor at the London School of Economics. "It looks again that what is going to come out is going to temporarily pacify markets until it is clear that it is not going to be sufficient."
For those of you who don't speak Economics – "not going to be sufficient" = DOOM!!!
by phil - May 10th, 2012 8:28 am
Not much happening overnight.
Dollar at 80.30 as we wait on Bernanke at 9:30. The Euro is still dead at $1.296, Pound up to $1.615 as BOE holds rates steady (easing was expected). 79.65 Yen to the Dollar and 1.201 EUR/CHF shows those guys are still serious about supporting the Euro at all costs – and it must be costing them a fortune to do this.
I would say anyone who is holding large Euro positions and isn't taking advantage of the fact that the Swiss are backstopping it to get out is very foolish. The Euro is closer to dissolving now than it was last year. Greece will default on $500Bn in debt, Portugal will either default or need a huge bailout, as will Spain and just because Italy and France and Ireland are quiet at the moment, doesn't mean they are fixed either.
Clearly the only reason the Euro is holding $1.29 is because the Swiss are buying it – this is certainly not a reason to be holding the currency. If the Dollar were only staying over 80 because Canada was buying them to keep the Loonie from going to $1.20 – would that mean you should stay in or get out before the game falls apart?
If the Euro is artificially strong, then the Dollar is artificially weak and if the Dollar begins to rise (and the BOJ would love to see that) then we know there will be a dip in the price of dollar-denominated equities and commodities. So we need to continue to tread carefully because much of what we currently see is based on this artificial construct of a relatively weak Dollar and a relatively strong Euro – and that's distorting reality in many ways.
Also keep in mind that these little CB money-printing schemes can go on much longer than one would think logical so it's more of a big-picture sort of observation than an actionable item other than I sure wouldn't want to tie up too much money in Euros – just in case the SNB does run out of money one day.
by phil - May 3rd, 2012 7:52 am
Spain is up 2.3% this morning (7:30).
They are bouncing Europe with them despite a pretty poor round of trading in Asia (flat). Why? Because Spain's 3 & 5-year note sales "only" went for 100 more basis points than last time with the 3-years coming in at 4.04%, up 54% from last year's auction at 2.62% and the 5-year notes fetched 4.75%, up only 28% from the last 5-year note sale so YAY – Spain is fixed!!!
A whole $3.3Bn worth of bonds were sold or about 1/3 of 1% of what has been allocated through bailout programs to buy this junk but this autction is moving $80Tn worth of global equities up 1% ($800B) – talk about getting bang for your bailout buck!
I'm not going to get into how silly this is getting – we went through this all in '07 and '08 and the markets can be amazingly silly when they are in denial so we'll just go with the flow and pick up some nice upside momentum plays – as long as we can stay over 3 of 5 of our Big Chart's 2.5% lines and, if the pre-market move up holds – they should have no problem taking back 3,075 on the Nasdaq, 820 on the Russell and 8,200 on the NYSE. We're already over 1,400 on the S&P on yesterday's stick-save close and the poor Dow has 800 whole points to go before they catch up at 14,000 so it looks like the Dow will be the logical bullish bet if the other 3 indexes join the S&P over the line.
So IF the Dow is over 13,300 AND the other indexes are over our mark – how much money can we make playing for the Dow to catch up and make it to 14,000. 700 points is a lot, so there should be many ways to play this to our advantage. DIA $133 calls are $1 and have a delta of .44 so you capture 44% of a move up, which means a 100-point rise in the Dow will get you a 44% gain – it's a good trade to enter with tight stops below 13,300 as the Dow has 2 weeks and two days left to make those 800 points and that should be a cake-walk as they're already up 400 points in the last 7 sessions and, as we know from our friends at CNBC –…
by phil - April 19th, 2012 8:28 am
We are just loving these crazy-assed market moves. Every morning we have a pump job to short into and every afternoon there is a BS stick-save to re-establish our shorts. It's merely a matter of time before those floors begin to crack. I mean, really – how much of this abuse can they take?
Notice, in Dave Fry's SPY chart, the high-volume selling followed by low-volume pumping – that's the very unhealthy pattern the "rally" was built on, which means there really aren't any buyers waiting to scoop up shares when they dip – just Trade Bots that tease the indexes higher so the IBanks can keep pulling in the bag-holders as the "smart money" stampedes for the exits.
Yesterday was great fun. As I noted in the morning post, we went short on the Oil Futures (/CL) at $104.50 in our morning Member Chat and even in the morning post there was still time to catch it at $104. Oil sold off all the way to $102.60 at 2:10 and my 2:14 comment to Members nailed the turn as I said:
Oil coming right to our goal at $102.50 ($38.50 USO) so let's not be greedy and look to take $1.20 off the table on those 1/2 USO positions in the $25KP and $5KP as it's better to get out while the gettin's good.
That's what we mean when we talk about taking non-greedy exits (I had set $38.50 as my USO target for our exit at 11:08 but it didn't look like we'd get it so we got out). We caught the bottom and got out clean and this morning we got a chance to re-load our shorts at $103.50 on that predictable morning pump. Sure, you can say the markets aren't fixed and maybe we just have amazingly good timing – either way we make the same money!
We did manage to find a few things we liked, one of which was CHK, as the stock plunged to $17.20 on much ado about not too much as people took issue with the CEO borrowing money to invest in their wells. We didn't think it was such a big deal and our trade idea at at 10:23 in Member Chat gave us a good opportunity to buy right into the day's low at…
by phil - February 20th, 2012 6:37 am
Why do we scream at each other
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry – Prince
It's no coincidence that this week we will be hearing from Fed Governors Kocherllakota (1pm Tues), Hoenig (12:30 Weds), Plosser (1:30 Weds), and Bullard (9:15 Thurs) ahead of our 2-Year Note Auction (1pm Tues), 5-Year Note Auction (1pm Weds) and 7-Year Note Auction (1pm Thursday) as the Fed needs to bring out 4 of it's 5 most hawkish members to talk up the Dollar (by talking down QE3) to keep those rates paid as low as possible for Treasury.
Once the Hawks drive the rates down and the notes are sold, the Doves will once again be released to talk them back up by extolling the glories of QE3 – completely reversing whatever was said before just as the Hawks will once again be called upon to reverse what the Doves say at a later date – when they need rates to come back down. The joke of it all is that traders will react to each statement, every time, as if it's a "game changer" and adjust their positions to reflect the new reality of the moment. It reminds me of a quote from Orwell's 1984:
As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs – to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.
Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.
by phil - February 8th, 2012 5:16 am
78.50 on the Dollar!
The Yen finally got back to 77 and EUR/CHF back to 1.21 so my theory that the BOJ has given up on the Dollar and moved to boosting the Euro is playing out nicely.
This does not make me more bullish (expecting falling Dollar to boost the markets) because, in the grand scheme of things, this is kind of like now there are two kids building a sand wall on the beach instead of one – sure it will last longer than the wall just one kid was building but, eventually, the tide will get it anyway or, as Jimi Hendrix said more poetically: "Castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually."
Once you start messing around with Forex markets, you are messing with major macro forces that are hard to control. Japanese banks have $7.5Tn of Japanese bonds at 1% – what happens to the value of those bonds if the BOJ does push the Yen down 10%? Who takes that $750Bn hit? What if rates go up to 2% – what's the value of the bonds then? Who will bail out the Japanese Banks when they have a multi-Trillion Dollar (several hundred Trillion Yen) hole in their balance sheets? Do Japanese spreadsheets even have room for Quadrillions? They are going to need it!
Then there's this Bloomberg article on the Central Banks, who have doubled their balance sheets since 2006 to $13.2Tn but, magically, have caused no inflation (according to Ben Bernanke – not according to people who actually buy food and stuff). China is now sitting on $4.5Tn of other people's TBills (mostly ours) and that's up $1.5Tn in a year. The ECB is right behind them with $3.6Tn and another $1Tn supposedly coming in the next EFSF round and the Fed has $2.9Tn plus whatever nonsense they are running off book.
So, how is it that WE are the bad currency here? If the Dollar is a problem, then China, who's GDP is only about $8Tn (optimistically, possibly $5.5Tn depending on who's measuring) is almost as insane as Japanese bankers and maybe more so as they are betting on our country's ability to pay and maintain the value of the Dollar (already a fail, right?). I suppose no one can ever recognize losses and just carry more and more junk…
by phil - February 3rd, 2012 8:19 am
That's all we have lately. Greece's silly $171Bn loan is meant to distract us from Europe's $17Tn debt hole and the US continues to borrow $171Bn PER MONTH to cover it's deficit and we don't even talk about Japan as the debt climbs over 220% of their rapidly declining GDP and who knows what's going on in China but, generally, when you have double-digit declines in home prices on a monthly basis – there's going to be a problem down the road.
This may be my last bearish post before drinking the technical Kool-Aid this weekend and we've already selected 5 trades for our Members that will make 200-500% if the market keeps moving forward and there are still plenty of stocks we can make a lovely Buy List out of if this rally has legs – especially the way we like to bet, since our hedges allow us to make very nice returns, as long as we simply hold our current levels.
There's the rub though – are the current levels sustainable? The nice thing about consolidations like the one we've been having this year is that they firm up a floor and give us a very obvious exit point on the way down so we can move some of that sideline cash into play – as long as we hold 12,500 on the Dow and 1,300 on the S&P and 2,800 on the Nasdaq – pretty simple strategy, right?
Notice the 2nd row has our major indices priced in Euros and our third priced in Yen. My main issue has been that we've been much weaker than it seemed as the Dollar's relentless decline masked a downturn in the inflation-adjusted price of our stocks (and the weak Dollar also serves to inflate revenues reported by multinational companies) but, at the moment, we're at our breakout levels by any measure so we may as well go with the flow until we see a proper reversal.
First we need to get past our NFP report at 8:30 of course. I'm expecting a miss but will the market even care or will that just mean Uncle Ben has an excuse to pump up the QE according to their new "formula"?
by phil - January 26th, 2012 8:25 am
But where's my Trillion Dollars?
Federal Reserve officials said they expect to keep short-term interest rates near zero for almost three more years and signaled they could restart a controversial bond-buying program in yet another campaign to rev up the disappointing economic recovery.
The Central Bank's pronouncements came after a two-day policy meeting from which officials emerged still frustrated at the slow pace of growth and a bit more confident that inflation is settling down after climbing last year. The combination of persistent slow growth and low inflation, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled in a news conference after the meeting, could give the Fed leeway to take more action to support the economy, though he didn't commit to it.
A bond-buying program—also meant to push down long-term interest rates—could be the next step. Mr. Bernanke said there would be a "very strong case" for even more action by the Fed "if the recovery continues to be modest and progress on unemployment very slow and inflation appears to be likely to be below target for a number of years out."
What amazes me is not one reporter at yesterday's news conference asked Dr. Bernanke what is COSTS to ARTIFICIALLY keep rates 3.75% below what his own board considers "normal" for another 3 – 4 years. Maybe that's because we don't know what it cost already, do we? We do know the Fed now has a $3Tn balance sheet. Since I don't recall a bake sale at which the Fed sold $3Tn worth of cookies, I have to imagine that money was borrowed from somewhere and don't things that are borrowed eventually need to be paid back?
I mean, I understand that, since Reagan, there has been a massive effort to destroy the American Education system and make the beautiful sheeple as dumb and compliant as possible (a less crazy article on the subject here) – but surely there must be some reporter who was accidentally exposed to some rudimentary economics who can come up with a better question than "when in 2014?"
Apparently, it is beyond the grasp of the MSM that, when the Government borrows money at 3% and lends money at 0.25% – SOMEONE has to pay that 2.75% difference. I don't know how to put this in the "new math" terms my kids are learning but, in old math, if I…