by phil - June 12th, 2010 8:28 am
Last week, I felt like I was going to have to call Animal Control to help me fight off the bears. As I mentioned in last week’s Wrap-Up, all 14 misses (out of 55 trade ideas for the week) we had were bullish plays that we were grabbing on the way down. On Friday we went bullish on USO, SSO, DIA, TBT (well, we’re always bullish on TBT), AET, ABX, Copper Futures and even poor BP. Those followed up on bullish plays we had taken on Thursday on TSRA, USO, MEE, FCX, EEM, ERX and XOM. We went into the weekend still bearish but we were excited about flipping back to bullish. My closing comment in the Wrap-Up was: " I’m hoping for a blow-off spike down on Monday with heavy volume, hopefully followed by a recovery over the next few days" and, gosh darn it, wouldn’t you know that’s EXACTLY what we got.
I don’t MAKE the markets do these things, I simply tell you what is going to happen and how you can make money on it… Needless to say, we had a LOT of fun this week at PSW! Last weekend, however, was such a bearish frenzy in the MSM that it was making our Members nervous and THAT I do not tolerate so I wrote : "The Worst-Case Scenario: Getting Real With Global GDP!" to illustrate why I felt our bottoms would hold and I began a Top 20 Buy List on Sunday and boy did we get some fabulous entries this week!
As I said on Monday Morning: "I already stuck my neck out calling a bottom so now we’re just waiting patiently." We were disappointed to have not gotten a stronger statement from the G20 over the weekend but it was just the Finance Ministers, so we weren’t expecting too much until the big boys meet at the end of the month. While we were in a buying mood, I cautioned against getting too bullish until we took back our anticipated "weak bounce" levels, which were the orange lines on Monday’s Multi-Chart:
I pointed out (on another Multi-Chart) that Europe was already gathering strength so we were pretty confident things would go our way but, as I said in the 9:50 Alert to Members, SOX 340 and TRANQ 2,000 had be taken back before we could feel confident. My outlook for the day was:…
by phil - June 8th, 2010 8:26 am
Behold the power of prayer!
We had a wild ride in the futures in the last 16 hours as they were up 1% and now are barely holding flat at 7:30. Our catalyst was Dr. Ben Bernanke who, as we expected, attempted to boost the markets in a scheduled speech where the Fed chairman said he is hopeful the economy will gain traction and not fall back into a "double dip" recession. "My best guess is we will have a continued recovery, but it won’t feel terrific," Bernanke said.
Bernanke didn’t offer new clues about when the Fed would reverse course and start to tighten credit. However, he did say the Fed won’t be able to wait until the jobs market is fully healed before it pushed rates up. Observing the economy, Bernanke said the news so far is "pretty good." Both consumers and companies are spending sufficiently to keep the recovery moving forward. The private sector, he said, is "picking up the baton" as government stimulus, which mainly powered the recovery in its earliest stage, starts to fade. n relations between the United States and China, Bernanke said there is a real desire between the two superpowers to work together to ease trade and economic tensions. Both countries sort of understand there is a "co-dependency relationship," Bernanke said. The United States snaps up Chinese goods and the Chinese is a major buyer of the U.S. government’s debt.
Wow, really Ben? I guess that’s some "good" kind of codependency and not the actual definition of codependency, which is: "A tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and quality of life… Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, and/or control patterns." According to Mental Health America: "Codependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive." Gee, he’s right – we DO have a codependent relationship with China!
Even more interesting is the way the MHA links codependency to Dysfunctional Family Structures, saying:
A dysfunctional family is one in which members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied. Underlying problems may include any of the
by phil - May 15th, 2010 6:35 am
You can’t lose what you don’t have.
The reverse is true for people with Millions in a stock virtual portfolio. Phil points out that the reson you don’t run a large hedge fund trying to make 100% gains is that the people who invest in those funds are more interested in what we call "preservation of capital" rather than generating wealth. Generally, the people who have $1M of investable cash to play the markets have already achieved a great deal of success, often by taking their own risks along the way. For most of us, $1M is hard to come by and, while we want to put that money to work – we certainly don’t want it wondering off and joining the circus.
As a high net-worth investor, you need to decide how to diversify your assets to suit your long-term goals. We’re not going to get into that here – let’s just say that if you want to gamble and go for some of our "more exciting" plays, perhaps allocate a portion of the virtual portfolio to those. Whether that’s 5% or 10% or 30% is up to you but it is good to fence off your risk to a sensible, manageable amount that you really can afford to lose while keeping the bulk of your market allocation well diversified and well-hedged.
I have my own 5% Rule. Phil’s famous 5% Rule deals with the predictable movement of stocks in their trading ranges but my 5% Rule, which Phil also agrees with is simply "Do not put more than 5% of your virtual portfolio in the stock of any one company!” This is so much easier said than done for many reasons!!
 Transition to Large Numbers
Moving from a 5 or 6 figure account to a 7 figure account has a profound impact on many traders. In fact, our friend Dr. Brett refers to the effect “performance anxiety” can have on a virtual portfolio and notes that one of the causes is the responsibility felt by traders as larger dollar amounts are traded. Phil advocates a system of "purging" Short-Term Virtual Portfolio gains when they gets too large and shifting money into safer investments in a Long-Term Virtual Portfolio – it is good to have a strategy for balancing out your holdings, not just target goals.
by phil - May 13th, 2010 7:48 am
What a freakin’ recovery!
As I said on Monday: "It’s a paper tiger of a straw man we’re building for $1Tn but you HAVE to respect $1,000,000,000,000 – you just have to… Our 5% Rule series for the S&P over the 1,155 breakdown line is the very critical 1,170, followed by 1,185, 1,200 (critical), 1,215 and 1,230 and THEN we are on the way to recovery." Wow, that guy is AMAZING! Anyway, so here we are at 1,170, after two days of testing the 1,155 line as a bottom so now it’s onwards and upwards to 1,185 hopefully. I also said on Monday: "Below that, we’re not too impressed but it also won’t be very surprising if all $1Tn buys us these days is some moderate lift that isn’t strong enough to break our major technicals."
We have been casting a wide and bullish net since the crash, finally pulling some of our sideline cash for long plays on ABX, APPY, BAC, BIDU, BRK/B, BSX, C, CAT, DIA (3), DF, ERX, GOOG, LIZ, LVS, MEE, MON (3), RIG, T (2), TBT (2), TZA (shorting it), UNG and WFR. We’re hedging heavily, of course, but it feels good to have longs again after being in cash for a while. Our short-term bearish plays (mostly DIA and TZA) have been crushing us so far, which is good in a rally but yesterday was a bit much for us and we got a little more bearish but it looks like the G7 has adopted the "Better Red Than Dead" mantra as the World racks up astounding deficits to put off admitting that this little debt problem is not isolated to the PIIGS nations.
Nonetheless, the global markets are rallying in unison – even while the Pound ($1.47) and the Euro ($1.26) collapse and even the Yen jumped back up last night, falling off the very BS 93.63 to the dollar it hit at 3am to psych up the Nikkei exporters back down to 92.75 this morning. I noted weeks ago how the Yen knocked down for Japan’s open and then drifts lower into the US open virtually every night – it’s what currency traders call the "Goldman Trade" because you can bet it every single day and have a perfect quarter. Sure it’s blatant manipulation designed to fool an entire nation of investors but, what else is new – Fuggedaboutit…
by phil - May 10th, 2010 7:53 am
Another day, another Trillion dollars for the banksters!
I mean really – how much money did you loan Greece? Perhaps you wrote Spain a check? France??? Well, you did now! $220Bn of that money came from the IMF and 20% of the IMF’s money comes from the USA as we once again paper over the global financial crisis for another month or two – whatever respite $1,000,000,000,000 buys us these days…
So YAY, I guess. We couldn’t be more thrilled for ourselves as we cashed out at the top and went short, then we cashed out at the bottom and went long. We’ve caught moves in the market from top to bottom that used to be considered two or three good years of trading in the past two weeks – that’s nuts! We went up so fast that there was no point in putting plays on our new Watch List (can’t be a Buy List yet because we don’t like chasing) as we’ll be up 5% at the open today.
In addition to the DIA $107 calls (my comment into Friday’s close as to whether I would keep them into the close was: "Not if I can get out even but they are gambling money so I won’t take a small loss (not when I can have a much bigger one!)" – we also picked up very nice entries on BAC, BRK/B, C, CAT, ERX, GOOG, LVS, MEE, MON, RIG, T, TBT and TZA (shorting it). How long we stay in those after the instant gratification of a 5% bump in 8 trading hours remains to be seen, as I said in our Watch List post:
There are two major forces at work there – the NEED to OVERCOME GREED and the TOOLS to OVERCOME FEAR. At PSW, we have a 2-step program for overcoming greed. Step number one is "Taking the money" and step number two is "running." The people who master these two complex steps find they have lots of cash at the bottoms and the tops of the cycles – they find that you can buy low and sell high once you realize that you don’t have to wait until the top to sell nor do you have to wait until the bottom to buy – especially when we can go from top to bottom at
by phil - March 6th, 2010 8:34 am
This whole week did not feel right to me.
We were too bearish as I had expected a bogus commodity rally in last weekend’s wrap-up but I didn’t expect it to persist for a week, even as the dollar held it’s ground above 80, a 10% pullback off the top, when oil was $40, copper was $1.50 and gold was $850. Now oil is $80 (up 100%), copper is $3.35 (up 123%) and gold is $1,135 (up 33%). Let’s say gold is a true indicator of dollar weakness – that means that only 33% of oil and copper’s move up can be attributed to the 10% drop in the dollar (not that even that makes sense but we’ll give it to them). Can the rest be attributed to demand?
Certainly not with copper. Global copper consumption was down 1.9% in 2009 and Q1 2010 is lower than any quarter since Q1 2009 and even Barclays’ very aggressive targets for China growth only bring global demand up 2.5% this year – whch would just about bring us back to 2007 levels of consumption. That, of course, also assumes a rebound in housing construction – something we are not seeing at the moment. Also, China spent $700Bn last year stimulating their economy and one of the ways they did this was to stockpile copper. As you can see from the chart – that too appears to be winding down and even Goldman Sachs has abandoned the bullish side of copper at this point.
Oil is just as silly. According to the EIA, global oil consumption is not expected to return to 2007 levels until late 2011 – and that is with some very rosey estimates of a global econonomic recovery – exactly the type of thing that can be derailed by high oil prices! Mighty China’s consumption is projected to go from 8.66Mbd this year to 9.13Mbd in 2011, a 500,000 barrel increase. Last week, the US had a build in inventories of 4Mb – we just send those over to China and everyone is happy! I’ve already had my say on oil demand this this weekend, so let’s just move on…
by phil - February 19th, 2010 7:17 am
I didn’t get to do a wrap-up last week so we have a lot of trades to go over and, with expiration looming and the Fed tightening, I thought it would be good to just get the list out on Friday so we can adjust our rolls to March where neccessary (in bold under appropriate positions).
In our Feb 7th Wrap-Up, I was gung-ho bullish saying "It’s Only a 55-Point Drop You Wimps!" and we had been BUYBUYBUYing at the bottom all week, especially Wed-Fri as the market spiked through our projected support at Dow 10,000 but not enough to change our minds as we bottom-fished on AAPL (2 trades), ABX, ACOR, AKAM, AMED, BRK/B (2), C, CCJ (3), CSCO, DELL, FXI, GE, GOOG, IBM, LLY, LOW, NLY, TBT (5 times!), TM (3), TNA, USO (yep, we wen long oil) and UYG. To say we were weigting bullish by that Monday was an understatement as we has finished the weekend in a bullish stance and were relying on our disaster hedges to protect us.
Those disaster hedges are an interesting set to look at, especially now that we’ve recovered 400 points:
- DXD July $27/33 bull call spread at $2.50, now $2 – down 20%
- We can roll the $27 calls to the $25 calls for $5 to widen the spread and drop our b/e from $29.50 to $28.50
- EDZ July $3/8 bull call spread at $2.10, now $1.60 - down 23%
- EDZ Apr $10 calls sold for .70, now .15 – up 78% (pair trade)
- SDS 2011 $36/40 bull call spread at $1.30, now $1 – down 18%
- We can roll the $36 calls to the $33 calls for $1.10
- TBT Jan $35/45 bull call spread at $6.30, now $7.40 - up 17%
- TBT March $50s sold for .65, now $1.22 – down 87% (pair trade)
This is what is great about disaster hedges. The potential upside on these spreads, if the market headed south was up about 100% on the 4 trades so a commitment of 5% of your virtual portfolio to each one (20%) would give you back 40% of your virtual portfolio in cash if the markets tanked. Already, after 2 weeks, we have the markets heading in the opposite direction and what is the cost? Not even 20% of the 20% you may have allocated, a 4% insurance premium while the 80% of the virtual portfolio that is bullish caught a…
by Option Review - February 16th, 2010 4:32 pm
Today’s tickers: UNG, IP, EEM, CAH, TRA, UAUA, USO, WFMI, BRK.B & ANF
UNG – United States Natural Gas ETF – Shares of the natural gas exchange-traded fund, which mirrors the price and performance of natural gas, are down 1.85% to $9.67 with just under one hour remaining in the trading session. Options traders initiated bullish plays in the March contract despite the dip lower in the price of the underlying shares. It looks like one investor initiated a bullish risk reversal to position for a rebound in the price per UNG share by March expiration. The trader sold 8,250 in-the-money puts at the March $10 strike for a premium of $0.64 each in order to offset the cost of buying 8,250 calls at the same strike for $0.40 apiece. The trader pockets a net credit of $0.24 per contract on the reversal, which he keeps if shares of the fund trade above $10.00 by expiration day. Additional profits are available to the upside if and when the price per share exceeds $10.00 apiece.
IP – International Paper Co. – Global paper and packaging firm, International Paper Company, enticed bullish options traders to initiate optimistic positions in the March contract as shares of the underlying stock jumped 6% in late afternoon trading to $23.92. Plain-vanilla call buying took place at the March $25 strike where upwards of 10,000 contracts were purchased for an average premium of $0.45 apiece. Call buyers stand ready to accrue profits should IP’s shares rally another 6.40% over the current value of the stock to surpass the effective breakeven point on the calls at $25.45 by March expiration.
EEM – iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF – Shares of the emerging markets exchange-traded fund, which generally corresponds to the price of the MSCI Emerging Markets index that was created by MSCI as a benchmark for international stock performance, rallied 2.30% to $39.32 this afternoon. June contract options activity on the EEM suggests shares may stagnate near the current price through expiration in four months. It looks like options traders sold straddles in order to pocket premium on the sale of both calls and puts. Investors sold approximately 9,100 calls at the June $39 strike for an average premium of $2.95 apiece and sold 9,100 puts at the same strike for a premium of $2.65 each. Gross premium enjoyed by straddle-sellers amounts to $5.60 per contract. Investors…
by phil - February 10th, 2010 8:21 am
Was that it?
A 10% correction (David Fry chart on right) and we’re done? If so, this is still a fairly bullish market, and it should be, as our sell-off last year was, beyond a doubt, way overdone. Often people forget the fundamentals of investing and the biggest fundamental of them all is: "Where else are you going to put your money?" There many fine companies out there with P/E ratios that are below 15. That means if you give them a dollar, they will return 6.6% in earnings. IBM has a PE of 12, which is an 8.3% return on my money and, according to projections, that will improve to 11 next year, generating 9 cents for each dollar I give them.
Call me an optimist but I think IBM is a fairly safe place to keep my money. Perhaps as safe as 4% TBills, or 7% Greek bonds or 3% Yen Notes or, Heaven forbid, a bank! In fact, not many banks are paying 1.8% on your deposits but IBM does through dividends. IBM was my example trade in the Weeekend Wrap-Up so I won’t get into strategies here but that is what our whole Buy List is about – picking up great long-term values and hedging them to even more effective entries.
Not every stock is as rock solid as IBM but (going back to the Wrap-Up) who did we buy when the chips were down last week? C, CCJ, TBT, GOOG, XLF, AAPL, AMED, CSCO, TM, LOW, AKAM, LLY, NLY, GE, TNA, USO, ABX, DELL, FXI, UYG, BRK/B. Not exactly a radical collection of picks is it? Yesterday, with the market up 2.5% from our shopping spree – we bought NOTHING. Part of the "buy low – sell high" philosophy is waiting for the market to be either high or low. Two weeks ago, on Jan 29th, I charted 10,058 on the Dow as a critical support line and, from our Buy List Update this weekend, I put up the following chart for Members:
And where did we finish yesterday on the Dow? 10,058. See, this charting thing is easy – that’s why I don’t usually bother, it’s dullsville! Let’s now turn our attention to our other major levels of 10,165 and 10,300 which, keep in mind, is nothing more than our predicted "weak bounce" off the drop from 10,700. As I said in the above chart, we can expect…
by phil - February 7th, 2010 12:19 pm
That’s right, I said WIMPS!
I have never heard so much whining and crying and complaining about a market drop as I have the past few weeks. Last week, I pointed out that we had only fallen 105 points from the prior week (10,172 to 10,067) and this week we fell ALL THE WAY to 10,012 to finish the week and you would think the world was ending (again) from the way the MSM has been acting.
By Friday the panic was palpable as we gave up Monday and Tuesday’s bogus gains to test new lows for the year – testing, in fact, the lowest levels the market has hit since last November and I pointed out in Friday’s post that it reminded me of when BSC and LEH went under and everyone panicked and sold Financials off to the point where Warren Buffet was willing to give GS $5Bn AFTER they bounced 50% – THAT’s how undervalued the financials were in November of 2008.
What do we do while people are panicking? We BUY! We don’t BUYBUYBUY like Cramer’s Pavlovian Peons but we sure do BUY and take some nice entry positions with sensible hedges. I was finally motivated to finish updating our Buy List on Friday and 18 of our 38 positions were highlighted (immediately actionable) on Friday. Sure they may go lower, but we’re buying them with 20% buffers built into the positions and then we can double down if they drop 40% (back to Nov 2008 lows) and then we’ll have our entries down 10% from the lowest levels of the past decade or so that we can hold until the next decade – what’s there to panic over?
If I wanted to buy IBM in January but thought it was a little pricey at $134, why would I not be HAPPY to have the opportunity to make an enty at $122, back at where they were pre FABULOUS October earnings? I can buy IBM for $122 and take advantage of the panic-induced VIX at 26 to sell July $125 calls for $6.60 and the July $120 puts for $6.65 for a net entry of $108.75 with a call away at $125 for a $16.25 profit (15%) in 5 months. If IBM should fall below $120, we will have a second round of the stock put to us as $120 for an average entry of $114.38, another 6.2% lower than it is…