by Phil Davis - 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 Davis - June 28th, 2012 8:28 am
.DE is Germany's web domain.
So I'm trademarking .DEspair to consolidate all the anti-EU statements coming out of Germany this week as the rhetoric reaches a crescendo and goes up from there. .EU is, of course the EU domain and .EUphoria is where we will store all the glowing pro-EU rhetoric that makes the market rise (until someone in Germany says something).
It's a typical case of .DE said, SH.Eu said and all the kiddies can do is hide in their room until Mommy and Daddy stop fighting.
Things were getting silly enough on the plus side as we rallied for no reason at all that we added a very aggressive short position on the Russell using TZA. My 3:07 comment in Member Chat was:
Big RUT move makes TZA fairly cheap at $20 and the July $20/24 bull call spread is $1, which makes for a nice hedge and if the RUT pops, you can offset it with the July $18 puts, now .45, for $1 or better or, of course, there's always the TWIL List!
We had no long plays to make yesterday as we added them all when the market was much lower (told you so!) and now it has moved to the top of the bottom of our range and we pick up a short – this is not rocket science, folks. It's going to be a choppy, terrible market until either the EU saves us by tomorrow or we crash and burn horribly and my comment to Members in the Morning Alert at 10:24 was:
We still need the Dollar to go lower and this morning it's zooming higher (82.80) and keeping us from a better move up on the indexes. This will go on for the next few days with each syllable uttered by anyone of presumed authority in the EU so – if you can't stand the heat – stay in cash!
The Dollar had worked it's way down to 82.50 into the close but now (8am) it's been jammed back to 82.90 as the Euro plunges back to $1.2426 on whatever silly thing someone just said. Financials are dragging everyone down as they are DOOMED if the EU can't pull things together.
by Option Review - April 13th, 2012 3:11 pm
Today’s tickers: CSTR, BCS & SWY
CSTR - Coinstar, Inc. – Shares in the provider of coin-counting and Redbox self-service kiosks are bucking the trend today, surging as much as 13.7% during the session to hit a new all-time high of $69.74, after the Company raised its 2012 earnings forecast. The down-day for U.S. equities has taken some of the wind out of Coinstar’s sails this afternoon, though the stock continues to trade 7.6% higher at $66.00 as of 12:25 p.m. on the East Coast. Options on the kiosk provider are far more active than usual, with volume up above 16,000 contracts in early-afternoon trade, versus the stock’s 90-day average volume of 2,012 contracts. Trading patterns are mixed, but there are some strategists positioning for the rally to continue next week. Out-of-the-money calls in the front month attracted bullish bets, with more than 2,060 contracts changing hands at the April $70 strike against 1,720 open positions. The $72.5 strike calls expiring next week traded more than 540 times, with much of the volume initiated by buyers shelling out an average premium of $0.44 apiece this morning. Traders long the $72.5 strike calls profit at expiration in the event that shares jump 10.5% to surpass the average breakeven price of $72.94. Barring that move, call buyers lose the full amount of premium paid if the options are out-of-the-money at April expiration.
BCS - Barclays PLC – Put options on Barclays are more active than usual, with shares in the financial services provider sliding 4.1% to $13.74 by midday in New York. The stock joined in on the broad market decline, pulling back on European concerns, China’s GDP reading and U.S. consumer confidence data, to snap the three-day rally in equities. The heaviest action in BCS options is in the…
by Option Review - November 23rd, 2011 1:16 pm
Today’s tickers: JPM, BCS, ARCC & YGE
Commentary to resume Monday, November 28th
JPM - JPMorgan Chase & Co. – JPMorgan blends in with the sea of red today, its shares trading lower by 3.2% to stand at $28.48, as of 11:55 AM in New York. But, fresh prints in weekly options covering the banking institution reveal some strategists are initiating low-probability bullish positions on the stock should shares rebound after the holiday. Call options expiring on Friday saw an influx of buyers paying as little as a penny per contract to prepare for a near-term rebound. Trading traffic in the front-week calls is heaviest at the Nov. ’25 $29 strike where more than 7,600 contracts changed hands against previously existing open interest of 340 positions. It looks like most of these calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.30 apiece. Investors long the calls may profit at expiration this week in the event that JPM’s shares rally 2.9% to exceed the average breakeven point at $29.30. Traders also purchased another 1,000 calls at each of the Nov. $30 and $31 strikes for average premiums of $0.06 and $0.01 each, respectively. Meanwhile, like-minded optimism appears to have spread out to contracts that expire one week from this Friday. Investors itching for a rebound picked up around 1,500 in-the-money calls at the Dec. ’02 $28 strike for an average premium of $1.28 a-pop. Call buyers make money if shares in JPMorgan Chase & Co. top the average breakeven price of $29.28 at expiration on December 2. Options implied volatility on the stock rose 13.8% to 53.5% in early-afternoon trade.
BCS - Barclays PLC – A burst of call activity on Barclays pushed the stock onto our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner just before midday in New York. The seemingly bullish call buying on Barclays contrasts with the 3.0% move lower in the price of its shares to $9.32 this afternoon. More than 30,000 call options changed hands at the Dec. $12 strike against open interest of 3,863 contracts. It appears one investor purchased most of the calls, outright, at a premium of $0.15 apiece. The trader stands ready to profit at expiration in the event that the stock jumps 30.4% to surpass the effective breakeven price of $12.15. Shares in Barclays had topped $12.15 as recently as November 4.
ARCC - Ares Capital Corp. – Put activity on Ares Capital Corp. this morning suggests…
by Phil Davis - September 20th, 2011 8:28 am
Yay! Another crisis averted.
Well until next quarter, at least, when we can begin the "crisis" cycle all over again. As it stands, after much hand wringing yesterday, Greece will get the $11Bn they need to fund their nation for another 3 months. Yes, as I noted yesterday, this is not a typo – Greece needed $11Bn and the global markets gave up $1Tn in value because we weren’t sure if they were going to get it on Monday morning.
To meet their budget goals in a declining economy, Greece is being pressure to cut 100,000 public jobs by 2015. With just 11M people in Greece, cutting 100,000 jobs is like asking the US Government to cut 3M jobs – isn’t that insane? And by insane, of course, I mean – isn’t that the Republican platform? Yes, nothing say "economic recovery" like firing 3M people in this topsy-turvry World.
We expected this, of course, and we got very bullish with our picks yesterday morning and were handsomely rewarded into the close and hope to be even more handsomely rewarded this morning as QE FEVER once again takes over the nation (see November’s "POMO Fever" article to review the scam).
Interestingly, my main suggestion for playing QE2 last year was: "We can bet on inflation with our gold plays with potentials for 923%, 309%, 3,900%, 567%, 276% and 46%." Gold was "only" $1,300 last November and I was still enthusiastic about it at the time. Yesterday we shorted it with the GLD Nov $180/174 bear put spread at $3.30, selling $193 calls for $3 for a net .30 trade that bets gold won’t hold $2,000 through Thanksgiving.
Also different this year is that we are betting against TLT (also in yesterday’s main post) and we got fabulous prices for our short play yesterday as TLT ran all the way up to our goal at $115. As we got a nice sell-off at the open, my morning Alert to Members had trade ideas to go long on Oil Futures (/CL) off the $85 line (now $87, up $2,000 per contract) and we sold some DIA Oct $111 puts for $3.10 in the Income Portfolio, which are already down to $2.70 (up 13%) – simply following our rule of ALWAYS selling into the initial excitement.
by Phil Davis - September 12th, 2011 6:54 am
That’s how much Greece is paying today to borrow money for a year! In theory, if you lend Greece $10,000 today, next year they will pay you back $20,800. In THEORY that is because, at 108% – IF they actually borrowed at that rate, you could be very sure that they would not be around to pay you. That’s the joke of this whole thing – we have these insanely unrealistic prices being set on bonds, which only hurts the people who have outstanding ones and need to redeem them as Greece doesn’t actually borrow money for even double-digit interest rates. It’s all a silly, artificial construct that is only useful in spreading panic among investors.
Unfortunately, investor panic is all you need to really destroy the Global economy – as we proved in 2008. As you can see from the chart on the right, we are currently mirroring the same path we took 3 years ago as we head into October and, in fact, our financial sector is performing WORSE than it did when we had ACTUAL major bank and minor country failures – not just rumors of them.
On Friday, Greece’s finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, blamed “organized rumors” for renewed speculation that Greece would default, and said the country intended to comply with all terms needed for the bailout that European countries agreed to in July. But the fact that the details of the deal have yet to be locked down has unnerved some investors.
In a speech this week, Josef Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said it was not justifiable for politicians to demand that European banks raise more capital, as Christine Lagarde (DSK’s evil replacement), the head of the International Monetary Fund, had done. “It’s obvious,” he said, “that many European banks would not be able to handle writing down the sovereign bonds they hold on their banking books to market levels.”
But, he said, it would “risk undermining the credibility” of European bailout packages “if politicians were to now send out the signal that they do not believe in the success of those measures.” And, he argued, forcing banks to raise capital now would anger investors by forcing the dilution of current shareholders.
by Phil Davis - September 5th, 2011 7:54 am
Thank goodness the US is closed!
Europe is down a whopping 3.5% (so far) this morning, opening in free fall after Asia opened down about 2% on the average (but finishing at the day’s lows). Gold flew up to $1,906 before calming down but oil is down to $84.82 at 6:45 am as the Dollar tests it’s highs of 75.15 on the Euro’s fall to $1.41 and the Pound testing $1.61. Any thoughts that the BOJ was done manipulating the Yen are now officially out the window as the Dollar/Yen is STILL 76.80 (around 128.50 on FXY), the same place it’s been since August 8th!
When the World’s 3rd largest economy is manipulating it’s currency on a daily basis, of course the Global markets are going to be thrown into chaos. Every day the BOJ tries to debase their currency they must buy other currencies or foreign stocks or gold or silver or oil – ANYTHING BUT YEN to make the Yen less valuable as compared to another relative basis.
Even so, it’s not working and Japan’s new finance minister said this morning that he will try to forge a consensus among the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries that "excessive yen rises" won’t benefit the world economy when finance officials meet in France later this week. "I am hoping to see us develop a common view that excessive yen rises, as shown by facts and processes in the past, do not necessarily have a positive impact on the global economy," Mr. Azumi told reporters, referring to Friday’s planned meeting of G-7 finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Marseille, France. "At this exchange rate, it is becoming impossible for crucial parts of Japan’s export industry to make profits," he said.
Asian shares were already following US financials downhill on overblown fears of the FHFA lawsuit (see FHFA Friday). I say overblown because the first bank sued, ING, already settled for .20 on the Dollar so banks are reacting as if they already lost $30Bn when it’s much more likely this will all get washed away for $6Bn, or about 2 day’s worth of profits (4%). We’ve already seen the banking community write down over $1Tn in losses and survive to screw us over another day – do we really think this little wrist-slap will end them or is this just another example of retail suckers…
by Phil Davis - July 19th, 2011 8:29 am
NWS is down 20% of late.
Today we hear from the Murdoch family, owners of the venerated Wall Street Journal as well as Dow Jones, Inc., who will be explaining how their company allegedly broke the rules, lied, threatened and/or bribed almost everyone, engaged in cover-ups, slandered anyone who got in their way and callously ruined the lives of innocent people – all in the name of profits. Already Sean Hoare, the reporter who blew the whistle on Murdoch has been found dead inside his London apartment. "The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing," said a police statement.
Would that be the same British Police Department that’s had two high-level resignations over accepting bribes from Murdoch’s organization? The Daily Mirror newspaper quoted an unnamed friend as saying Hoare "thought that someone was going to come and get him, but I didn’t know whether to believe half the stuff he was saying." In other words, Hoare was poor and intimidated by NWS (he was refusing to testify against them) while the Murdochs are rich so every possible benefit of the doubt is being given to them just like Rebecca Nalepa was found with her hands and feet bound with a rope around he neck hung off a balcony in a San Diego mansion and the police there are thinking "suicide."
As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: "The rich are different than you and me – they have more money." As Bill Domhoff pointed out this weekend, when we talk about the rich, we don’t mean the top 1% – people who "only" make $1.6M a year or more. Sure those of us in that group may have a "get out of jail free" card for when we speed and we may get our buildings approved quicker than most and we may get a local ordinance passed here or there but, when you move up to the top 0.1% ($36M or higher per year income) or the top 0.01% ($450M or higher annual income), where Mr. Murdoch lives – not only do you get both national and international laws rewritten to suit your needs (like taking over 100% of the UKs satellite broadcasts), but the other laws don’t even apply to you.
by Phil Davis - April 13th, 2011 7:57 am
Why are they bouncing? Why not? We went down and people love to buy those dips and that means they are just going to love this chart, courtesy of Barry Ritholtz’s team. We don’t get our next Case-Shiller data point until the 26th but we did get mortgage applications this week and they are down ANOTHER 6.7%. This is despite the fact that an average 30-year mortgage is still just 4.98%.
I know that we have been trained to ignore supply and demand in commodities as well as to pretend that all prices are inelastic and that American consumers will buy anything at any price because they are generally mindless sheep that you can lead into anything with the right jingle but, if they are not willing to buy a $250,000 home with a 5% mortgage – what’s going to happen when that mortgage is 6%?
At 5%, a $250,000 mortgage has a monthly payment of $1,342.05. At 6% that payment jumps up to $1,498.88 – 10.5% higher! At 7% it’s $1,663.26, 24% higher – that’s the "cost" of housing as rates tick higher but, of course, that will force housing prices even lower to compensate and the Fed will tell us that inflation is low because home prices will be falling faster than food prices are rising – so we have that to look forward to…
I mentioned yesterday that China tightened their rates and home prices in Beijing fell 26.7% in the month of March. I waited all day to read more about it in the WSJ or Bloomberg or to see them discussing this on CNBC but no – it’s not the kind of news they want you to hear so – for your own good, it is not mentioned. I had to find this news in Business China but it’s also in the China Daily and the People Daily but where it isn’t is in any US newspaper I’ve looked at and neither is there mention of the problem caused by giant-sized, irradiated Asians poking buildings with sticks! (just kidding).
We talk about Chinese censorship and control of information but what is this? If a Nigerian Rebel spits at a pipeline or if a Somali Pirate even glances in the direction of an oil tanker – it’s on the front page of the papers (sometimes before it…
by Phil Davis - September 23rd, 2010 7:51 am
"I’m forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air,
They fly so high, nearly reach the sky,
Then like my dreams they fade and die.
Fortune’s always hiding,
I’ve looked everywhere,
I’m forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air."
We shorted TLT again yesterday ($105) as I sure wouldn’t lend the US money at those rates and neither, it seems, will the "smart money" guys anymore. The cost to hedge against losses on U.S. government debt rose to the most in six weeks as investors bet the Federal Reserve will put more cash into the economy. Credit-default swaps on U.S. Treasuries climbed 1.7 basis points, the biggest increase in more than three weeks, to 49.4, according to data provider CMA. The Fed said Tuesday that slowing inflation and sluggish growth may require further action. The statement positioned the central bank to expand its near-record $2.3 trillion balance sheet as soon as their November meeting – just in time for a Santa Clause boost for the markets.
So why does this not make us bullish? Well, as I said to Members on Tuesday, it was an anticipated statement with no immediate action and we’re at the top of a 10% run for September so, as I said in yesterday’s post, we anticipate a pullback of 2%, back to our 4% line (see post). Also in yesterday’s post, I mentioned our IWM 9/30 $67 puts ($1.10) and the DIA Oct $105 puts (.89) both of which were good for a reload on yesterday’s silly spike, where I said to Members in the 9:56 Alert:
I like the same IWM and DIA puts as yesterday as we test 10,800 on the Dow – I don’t think it’s going to last. Tomorrow we lose the usual 450,000 jobs for the week and we have Existing Home Sales at 10, which can now disappoint as Building Permits were a big upside surprise yesterday. We also get Leading Economic Indicators at 10 but they are expected up just 0.1% and I doubt they go negative. Friday we have Durable Goods, which should be down 2% and New Home Sales at 10, also now set up to disappoint even