by phil - October 4th, 2012 8:32 am
What a debate last night!
One of the candidates will lower taxes for the middle class and small businesses while slamming shut loopholes on the rich and Big Business, limiting their deductions and raising taxes if needed, he will provide national health-care and concentrate on jobs, punishing outsourcers and educating US workers to get them on the path to full employment. The other candidate is already President. Romney now claims there will be no 20% tax cut for the rich – I assume his rich backers assume he's lying to get elected (lying doesn't bother them) and President Obama was in no way prepared to debate the guy who showed up yesterday and he lost the debate in an embarrassing fashion.
From a market perspective, we were playing the weakness as nervousness ahead of the debates and accumulating long positions as planned yesterday. Oil blew past the $88.50 target I set in yesterday's morning post – all the way to $87.70 before finally bouncing back and hitting our target again overnight (now $88.64). That drop from $91.22 in the Futures was good for $3,500 per contract in the Futures but, of course, we were done being short, as planned at $88.50 and in fact made a couple of bullish trades – long on USO at $33 (as planned) and short on SCO at $44. We'll see how they work out today but up at the open is a good sign.
HPQ was irresistible as it tested $15 (long-term positions) and BBY gave us a good entry again at $17.50. We made a quick 50% on the TNA weekly $61.50 calls, which we grabbed for $1 in our $25,000 Virtual Portfolio at 10:09 in Member Chat and we caught a nice move up to $1.50 not even 30 minutes later as our 838 line (weak bounce) on the Russell continues to hold.
Our bullish stance on AAPL finally paid off as the stock went from $660 to $672 at the close – hopefully $680 is next. Gasoline only got to $2.75 (we were hoping for $2.70) but is back to $2.86 already in pre-market trading (/RB).
As you can see from Dave Fry's Russell chart, we're still in a bullish consolidation – just below our breakout level and today, so far, we don't have rising Dollar headwinds to hold us back…
by phil - September 4th, 2012 8:26 am
If it's Tuesday, we must be at the week's highs.
Obviously, we're still bearish and the news we've been discussing this morning in Member Chat certainly hasn't changed my opinion on that. Back on August 7th (first Tuesday of last month), I said we were about $700Bn in stimulus short of what we need to support S&P 1,400 and we knew we would have to wait a month to see how much we got from Draghi and Bernanke but, so far, and with Ben already out of the way, we have zero.
At $10Bn per S&P point that puts our fair value all the way down to 1,330 but keep in mind that the $500Bn we did get only lasts for 6 months so more like 1,310 at this point without a proper commitment by the ECB or Fed this week. Even 1,310 would be up 50 from the June lows and it would represent a neat 2/3 retracement of the rally since then. Our $25,000 Portfolio has, if anything, gotten more bearish as we dragged along the top but another thing we've done each Tuesday has been to take aggressive bullish positions to cover ourselves IN CASE someone actually does put up the cash needed to goose the markets over our breakout levels (see Friday's post for current positions in the virtual Portfolio and our levels).
On Tuesday, August 14th, our trade ideas were as follows:
by phil - August 28th, 2012 8:29 am
Seriously, this is 4 Tuesday's in row – is anyone seeing a pattern?
Of course this Tuesday we are 100 Dow points lower than we were last Tuesday and the BS pre-market pump job at 6am has already faded (7:30) although we're still working short bets on the Russell futures (/TF) and the Euro (EUR/USD) from 813 and $1.256 as I put up a note in early morning Member Chat as we spiked on – get this – the news that Draghi cancelled his appearance at Jackson Hole this weekend.
Why would it be good that Draghi is NOT going to the last Central Bankster conference of the year but the buzz is that he MUST be so close to a masterful solution to all of Europe's problems that he can't be bothered to gather with his brother bankers on the eve of his triumph. The announcement was timed to coincide (10 minutes before) bond auctions by Spain ($2Bn 3-month notes at 0.95%) and Italy ($3.75Bn of 2-year notes at 3.06%) and the Euro jumped 0.7% into the auction – lowering the effective rates and both auctions were a "success".
That pulled the EU markets off the floor (still down half a point at 8am) and got the US futures out of the red zone as we finally pushed the Dollar under that pesky 81.50 line, goosing the indexes and commodities. Unfortunately, it's just a sugar rush and we've already run out of steam but I'm sure someone will start another rumor around 9:15 to get us back to green into the open.
As I said last Tuesday, with the Dollar at 81.50 we're looking for adjusted levels of: Dow 13,464, S&P 1,428, Nasdaq 3,060, NYSE 8,160 and Russell 816 and we held the Nasdaq yesterday but that was all so no reason to capitulate on our bearish stance just yet. Last Tuesday we also discussed 3 more trades (there we 3 the Tuesday before) to make 300% if the market did break higher and our first batch had several 100% winners so let's see how our 3 new trades did in a downtrend:
- 2 FAS Oct $107/117 bull call spreads at $2.05, selling 1 BBY 2014 $15 puts for $3.75 for net .35 is now net $1.52 – up 334%
- AGQ Oct $38/45 bull call spread at $3.10, selling BTU 2014 $20 puts for $3.60 for
by Option Review - August 27th, 2012 2:15 pm
Today’s tickers: BBY, KNXA & NOK
BBY - Best Buy, Inc. – A bull call spread initiated on the world’s largest electronic retailer this morning suggests one option strategist is positioning for shares in Best Buy to potentially post double-digit percentage gains by January 2013 expiration. Shares in the retailer are up 5.9% at $18.33 this morning on news Best Buy agreed to permit its founder, Richard Schulze, to perform due diligence on the company required to further the process of possibly taking over the retailer with a group of private equity firms. The sizable spread was constructed through the purchase of 6,750 calls at the Jan. ’13 $19 strike call and the sale of the same number of calls up at the Jan. ’13 $23 strike, all for a net premium outlay of around $1.28 per contract. The spread makes money if shares in BBY rally another 11% to surpass the average breakeven price of $20.28, with maximum possible profits of $2.72 per contract available should the stock soar 25.5% to $23.00 by expiration next year. Options on Best Buy are more active than usual today, with volume in excess of 56,200 contracts running at approximately 156% of the stock’s average daily volume of 35,942 contracts.
KNXA - Kenexa Corp. – Shares in Kenexa Corp. are up nearly 42% this afternoon at $45.85 on news IBM agreed to buy the maker of human resources software for $1.3 billion in cash. It looks like the sharp move in the share price has some options traders sitting on substantial paper profits. Call open interest in Kenexa is largest at the Sep. $35 strike where 399 positions were initiated during the past few weeks. A 100-lot block was purchased at a premium of $1.00 back on August 9th and around 35 of the calls were picked up this past Friday at an average premium of $0.85 apiece. Call buyers paying up to $1.00 per contract for the…
by phil - August 21st, 2012 6:58 am
Here we go again (again)!
Yep, that's what I said last Tuesday and the Tuesday before that because Tuesday is a day they push the Futures higher and ditch the Dollar and tell you that this time it's different because of the same rumors they had the Tuesday before only this week – the data is getting worse and worse, as we know is better, right?
Last Tuesday we set levels to capitulate and go fully bullish at Dow 13,464, S&P 1,428, Nasdaq 3,060, NYSE 8,160 and Russell 816 and, as of yesterday's close we had the Nasdaq and the Russell over their marks needing just one confirmation to make it 3 of 5 and begin to flip our short-term portfolios (the $25KPs) bullish. We are soooo close but, so far – no cigar.
While we waited, we looked at some upside hedges that would do well if the market continued higher. Just as we get downside protection when we're bullish – we use upside protection when we're bearish and I suggested taking 5% or 10% positions in aggressive upside plays to help balance a bearish portfolio against – well against exactly what happened in the past 7 days. Our trade ideas were:
- 2 FAS Oct $105/115 bull call spread at $2, selling 1 BBY 2014 $18 puts for $3.25 for net .75, now $1.15 – up 53%
- 2014 SHLD $32.50 puts sold for $7.50, now $6.40 – up 15%
- 6 EWJ Jan $9 calls at .53, selling 1 BBY 2014 $18 put at $3.25 for a net .07 credit, still net .07 credit – even
- TNA Oct $55/61 bull call spread at $2.50, selling Oct $42 puts for $1.90 for net .60, now $1.80 – up 200%
The BBY puts jumped over 20% yesterday, from below $3 to $3.75 and that killed two of our trades (and worse today after earnings!), that were up significantly in Friday's update (which is why we take quick gains like that off the table). The good news is the EWJ play gives us a nice, new entry at the same net price so that one is still good and, of course, we are done with TNA after making 200% in a week and we'll find a fresh horse for that money.
by phil - August 17th, 2012 8:28 am
That's how much money yesterday's rally cost. Spain got the green-light on $123Bn from the ECB, most of which goes to just ONE bank (Bankia Group). This news sent Bankia shares up 15% and did wonders for their creditors' stocks as well because, as we know, the best way to get money from a Central Banks is to owe a lot of money to other banks so – borrow, borrow, borrow if you want to survive the Financial Crisis. Spain led Europe higher with a 4% gain on the day and hit another 1.75% early this morning before pulling back.
Also in the Free Money train yesterday was Brazil, who initiated a $65.6Bn stimulus package aimed at much-needed infrastructure ahead of the 2016 Olympics. This is a "just in time" thing for Brazil as 32 of 58 reporting companies in the Bovespa Index missed sales projections this quarter – the worst performance since Q1 2009.
The Olympics have also greatly aided the UK's economy and July Retail Sales were the stars of Europe at +0.3% and August should be good too – it's September, October and November we're worried about. The entire Euro Zone is clearly in a Recession, but it could be argued that it's the same one that started 4 years ago, which some would call a Depression – but not if they want the MSM to listen to them or to keep their Government positions.
Even China is seeing declining exports, with August projected to come in at less than 1% according to ForexLive, who says "China's Government has underestimated the impact of the European debt crisis on trade flows." As you can see from the chart on the right for California, China's export woes are hitting us on this side of the Pacific as well as total state revenues are 10% below projections with HUGE misses in Sales Tax – indicating an extremely beaten-down West Coast consumer.
The state has avoided default by temporarily borrowing from state trust funds, but those accounts will soon need their cash back to continue operating. Today California quickly began trying to sell $10 billion in municipal bonds to fund the record $28 billion they need to keep the lights on. With tax revenue plummeting and the state already the second
by phil - August 7th, 2012 8:30 am
GRANDPA JOE: But this roof is made of glass. It’ll shatter into a thousand pieces. We’ll be cut to ribbons!
WILLY WONKA: Probably.
Is today going to be the day? After pressing against our breakout levels on and off since failing them in May, today do we should finally have the gas to get over the top or will our Must Hold levels keep acting like a solid barrier? Our goals on the Big Chart have been Dow 13,200, S&P 1,400, Nas 3,000, NYSE 8,000 and Russell 800 and we came right up against them yesterday but failed to punch through.
It is certainly no surprise, in this BS manipulated market, that the levels they failed to take out yesterday in regular trading are all being crossed in ultra-light pre-market trading because, as we know, investors are complete idiots who use squiggly lines on a chart to make all of their major financial decisions. Essentially, when you follow TA – you are saying to hedge fund managers – "If you can get your stock to cross this line, I will buy it." That's very much like me saying to my youngest daughter that if she can get her older sister to say "quit it," I will give her $20. Once she decides I'm serious – I'd be hearing "quit it" all day long.
We were, at the time, at the top of a very bogus-looking, low-volume rally (again) that had taken us up 7.5% from 12,100 in early June to 13,187 at yesterday's high. The S&P has been our leader but the Russell keeps flashing warning signs as it failed to hold it's -2.5% line (780) at the beginning of the month and looking very similar to the pre-disaster pattern we had in April, ahead of the May collapse – which we also tried to warn you about while it was on the way up on QE rumors (see "Federally Fueled Thursday – QE Maybe?" or "Thank GDP it's Friday – Reality Check?". Despite being dead right to call a top at the time – it took the market another week to drop but we fell off a cliff on Friday, May 4th and we were down 1,000 points by the 18th so better a week early than a week late with these calls.
Willy Wonka understood stock market physics, there…
by phil - June 21st, 2012 8:18 am
And we're out!
It might be a little early because we did get another $267Bn from the Fed yesterday but that plus $125Bn given to Spain and $100Bn to the IMF this month is "just" $492Bn and that, according to our calculations, should be good for 1,350 on the S&P, tops. If they want to get to 1,400 – they'll need another $500Bn from Europe and, while it is widely expected to come – the Fed came up short and if the EU comes up short as well, we could be talking flash crash so we took advantage of the pre-Fed run-up (as planned in yesterday's post) to get back to cash.
My morning Alert to Members was short and sweet:
I don't know if you guys usually click on my little links but this one was the most important of the day – Don't be white people – GET OUT!!!!
This one was so important that I tweeted it (you can follow me here) and Facebooked it (you can follow us here) and I even put it out on Seeking Alpha's Stock Talks (you can follow me here) so don't say I didn't warn you. Sure the market may go up as funds dress windows into the end of the Quarter/Half next week but we caught the run off the bottom this month so why push it when the upside looks limited and the downside does not?
Other than 2014 spreads in our new Income Portfolio – all of our virtual portfolios went to cash rather than risking very nice first half gains. As of yesterday morning they were:
Much thanks to StJ for keeping these tracking portfolios – all back to cash now and hopefully we can match that performance in the second half of the year although I think we're going to ditch the very boring $5,000 Portfolio in favor of a $25,000 Portfolio…
by phil - June 20th, 2012 8:07 am
Dude, where's my bailout?
The tentative deal at the G20 summit to mobilize the EU's rescue machinery to douse the raging fire in Spain and Italy comes in the nick of time, but is fraught with fresh dangers. According to Ambrose Pritchard:
Monday's explosive rise in Spanish two-year bond yields was a warning that Spain's crisis would spiral out of control within days, taking Italy with it. Yet the deal explored over ceviche and mango at Los Cabos in Mexico remains murky. Any plan will backfire horribly unless conducted in the right way, and with overwhelming force.
From what we know, the eurozone's leaders aim to deploy the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to cap borrowing costs for Spain and Italy by purchasing sovereign bonds on the open market. Unfortunately, the ESM fund does not yet exist. It has not been ratified by Germany and Italy. When it does come into being, it won't have much money. It has a theoretical limit of €500bn — a nice wish — but its paid up capital will start at just €22bn.
Britain's George Osborne cautioned against exuberance. "One thing we have learnt is: don't expect a single summit to solve the eurozone's problems, otherwise you are going to be disappointed. The eurozone is inching towards solutions."
David Owen from Jefferies Fixed Income said the Franco-German plan will fail unless EU leaders give the ESM a banking licence to borrow from the European Central Bank. "This is not going work unless they let the fund gear up and draw on the full firepower of the ECB," said. Such a move that has been blocked until now by Germany.
The ECB's chief Mario Draghi has in the past scoffed at the idea, saying it would be a back-door bailout of sovereign states and would violate the spirit — if not the letter — of the Lisbon Treaty. Mr Owen said the ECB is the "only institution with the credibility and balance sheet to reassure markets. It would be much simpler if the ECB carried out quantitative easing but that does not seem to be an option".
Lack of direct action by the G20 (in the G20 Communique, they essentially promise to do something, but no specifics) puts the ball back in Bernanke's court today (conference at 2:15, after Fed Statement) and then we have an EU meeting…
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!!!