by Option Review - July 3rd, 2013 8:54 pm
Today’s tickers: CSCO, FTNT & ELX
by Phil Davis - July 3rd, 2012 8:28 am
As I said yesterday, we're still looking "constructively bullish" on our Big Chart as long as we hold those lines:
Looks can, of course, be deceiving. Keep in mind that this entire pop to form the right-hand top of a very nasty "M" pattern, that can take us right back to the June lows by the end of the month, is the result of the G20 holding hands and singing Kum Ba Yah – along with a few hundred Billion in extra stimulus and, of course, RULE CHANGES that create stealth stimulus.
So, when you have a leak in a $60Tn pool and the water level is down to $55Tn and you pour in $12Tn worth of stimulus and, 3 years later, the water level is only back to $59Tn – do you say "all we need is another Trillion and we're done" or should you be looking for the leak that continues to drain $8Tn over 3 years from the Global Economic Swimming Pool?
If we don't address the problem (unemployment, inadequate tax collections) – we're never going to find a lasting solution, are we?
On the other hand, if your pool is leaking at a rate of $8Tn over 3 years, that's "only" $222Bn a month so any month you dump more than $222Bn worth of Global Stimulus into the pool, you will see the economic levels rising and you can declare things to be "fixed" and all the bulls can jump in and play again until the next time the activity levels get dangerously close to the line at which the pumps seize up and then we have more meetings and do it all over again.
We have to accept the fact that our "leaders" are unwilling or unable to fix the actual leak and this is essentially the cycle we will have to put up with. If we assume we have an infinite amount of stimulus to keep pumping our economic pool back up – then this system is just fine but, judging from the way they had to scrape up this recent few hundred Billion – do we even have enough ($1.2Tn) fresh water to get us through the end of the year?
by Phil Davis - 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 Option Review - May 10th, 2012 2:37 pm
Today’s tickers: CSCO, TJX & INSP
CSCO - Cisco Systems, Inc. – Large risk reversals are dominating the options-landscape on Cisco Systems this morning, helping to drive volume above 540,000 contracts by midday in New York. The maker of networking equipment is the most active single-stock as measured by options volume today following the Company’s third-quarter earnings report after the close Wednesday. Shares are getting crushed, down 10.3% at $16.84 at present, after Cisco forecast lower-than-expected earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter. Risk reversals in the October expiry pay off if shares in CSCO exceed $16.00 through expiration. One large block of 51,000 Oct. $16 puts sold for a premium of $0.77 apiece against the purchase of the same number of Oct. $19 calls at a premium of $0.54 each, yields a net credit of $0.23 per contract. The strategist responsible for the trade keeps the premium if the puts expire worthless at expiration. Additional profits are available on the positions should shares in the name rally 12.8% to top $19.00 during the next five months.
TJX - TJX Companies, Inc. – A sizable put spread on high-flying off-price retail chain operator, TJX Companies, appears to be a near-term bullish bet on the stock. Shares in TJX, up 1.4% at $41.86 this afternoon, have rallied more than 60.0% since this time last year. The sale of a 10,164-lot June $35/$40 put spread results in a net credit of $0.61 per contract, which the trader keeps as long as shares in TJX exceed $40.00 through June expiration. Though a limited risk strategy, the spread could still result in substantial losses of up to $4.39 per contract in the event that TJX shares drop 16.4% to trade below $35.00 at expiration next month. Losses start to amass on the…
by Phil Davis - 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 Davis - March 22nd, 2012 8:34 am
Do you REALLY think this will go on forever?
On the right is the AAPL quarterly chart but it could also be the quarterly chart of SHLD, NFLX, FOSL, STX or PCLN (Bespoke Chart), all of whom are up more than AAPL (which is up 50%) in 2012. We've discussed PCLN as one of my favorite shorts and we had a good discussion in Member chat last night comparing PCLN to EXPE, who drop the same amount of cash to the bottom line (before buybacks and dividends) but have just 1/8th of the market cap of PCLN.
Sure you can say that PCLN is twice as good as EXPE (it isn't, but you can say it) but can you say it's 4 times as good? How about 8 times? EXPE nets $500M a year – 8 times that is $4Bn – more money than the entire travel sector makes! How, exactly, will PCLN grow into that valuation? Eliminate all competition and then grow the sector by 50%? Well, that's pretty much what AAPL did but how many AAPLs can you have in one market?
THAT is the problem my friends. Aside from the macro concerns we discussed in yesterday's post, we have a sort of value mania that is driven by the very real success of one company, much the way we had a dot com boom in the late 90s driven by the very real success of just a few companies. Back then, everyone was the next QCOM, YHOO, MSFT, CSCO – whichever category you were supposed to be the best. Qualcomm, in fact, was the best performing tech stock of 1999, gaining 2,619% that year and finishing right about $100. By the end of July, 2002, they were trading at $10 but hey, what a ride!
In fact, here's the CNet story from Dec 29th, 1999 titled "Qualcomm Jumps on $1,000 Price Target" and coming on the heels of "Qualcomm to offer Net2Phone services in Eudora" it's no wonder people were super-excited! AMZN was "only" up 25% that year to $100 but Jeff Bezos was Time's Man of the Year and yes, their business has been growing at an amazing rate for the past 12 years and they have crushed their competition and dominated the sector – and gained less than 6% a year for their troubles.
by Phil Davis - March 19th, 2012 8:23 am
We are still trying to get more bullish.
Over the weekend we set a new, higher set of levels for our Big Chart on the assumption that our breakout levels hold up and our new Must Hold lines become Dow 13,600 (not there yet), S&P 1,360, Nasdaq 3,000, NYSE 8,000 and Russell 800, which means it's now up to the Dow and Nasdaq to continue to show leadership if we're going to be having a rally good enough to get us to add our next 10 bullish plays.
I already added 2 aggressive upside trade ideas on XLF and SPY in the weekend post and last week we already looked at WFR, X, BAC, GLW, BBY, CHK, AAPL, AA, and BA but we also added a new Long Put List (Members Only), which had 19 stocks that we thought were good downside horses to ride if, per chance, we fail to hold 3 of our 5 breakout levels.
It shouldn't be too much to ask – IF this is a real bull market. We've been extremely skeptical up to this point and, Fundamentally, I still have my doubts but Technically, we can't keep fighting the tape so were drawing a line in the sand for Mr. Market to cross and, if it does so, we're happy to play along. If it fails to do so, however, well – we've already made those bets!
Our aggressive take on the Dow is the result of analyzing the 5 components that were replaced since the crash with MO and HON thrown out for BAC and CVX in Feb of 2008, AIG replaced by KFT in Sept 2008 and C and GM replaced by CSCO and TRV in June 2009, causing a massive distortion in the index, meaning 16,000 is the old 15,000, possibly even lower:
The Nasdaq is similarly distorted by AAPL, who are up 500% since 2009 and when a stock that is 11.5% of an index is up 500%, that stock alone causes the index to go up 57.5%, which is why we now call it the AAPLdaq. The AAPLdaq itself is "only" up 100%, which means the ENTIRE rest of the index is lagging with a 42.5% contribution – those who tell you that tech is somehow loved again are fooling themselves…
by Phil Davis - December 28th, 2011 6:53 am
Watch the Nasdaq.
That’s the index we need to catch up to the Dow now that the S&P is halfway to goal at 1,297 (from our Must Hold line at 1,235). The Dow is in La La Land, led by MCD (up 31%), IBM (up 26%), PFE (up 24%), HD (up 20%) and KFT (up 20%) while this year’s Dogs of the Dow are BAC (down 59%), AA (down 43%), HPQ (down 39%) and JPM (down 22%).
While the losers may seem to outweigh the winners, that’s not how it works as the Dow is price-weighted so BAC dropping from $14 to $5.50 "only" costs the Dow about 68 points (roughly 8 points for each Dollar), IBMs rise from $145 to $185 added a whopping 320 points.
So a 26% rise in one component and a 59% drop in another nets out to a gain of 252 points! At the beginning of the year, they had roughly the same market cap ($150Bn) but IBM has gained $70Bn and BAC has lost $100Bn which, of course, translates into a net gain of 2% on the entire Dow – BECAUSE IT IS THE STUPIDEST INDEX ON EARTH!
Our Members, of course, know this. I wrote "DJIA: The Most Useless, Overused Tool on the Planet" back in 2006, when GM was still part of the Dow so no need to rehash it all here other than to mention the fact that a 30-component index has made 5 substitutions in the 5 years since I wrote that article only serve to highlight how ridiculous it is to use the Dow to draw long-term conclusions. The Dow is manipulated because it’s easy to and Uncle Rupert sits with the other Masters of the Universe to decide how to use this headline tool to make things look as good as possible in the US markets.
That’s why CSCO and TRV replaced C and GM in June of 2009. C was at $28.80 and is down a bit, GM went BK from $45 (which would have been a 360-point loss in the Dow) while CSCO was disappointing but essentially flat and TRV is up $20, adding another 160 points so a 520-point swing (5%) on those substitutions alone. In September of 2008, AIG ($135 at the time) was swapped for KFT ($32). KFT is just $37.70 but AIG was…
by Option Review - October 7th, 2011 3:58 pm
Today’s tickers: CSCO, DELL, JCI & RRR
CSCO - Cisco Systems, Inc. – Shares in the maker of routers and switches were on a tear this week, rallying as much as 9.3% over Monday’s open to a high of $16.76 on Thursday. The stock had been in positive territory to start the final trading session of the week, but have since slipped 0.30% to stand at $16.70 as of 11:50 am in New York. Activity in put options set to expire one week from today suggest some traders are positioned to see Cisco’s shares continue to lose ground in the near term. Meanwhile, longer-dated calls indicate investors expect shares to run up against resistance at the $17.00 and $18.00 levels through April 2012 expiration.
Investors predicting a near-term pullback in the price of the underlying purchased roughly 2,600 puts at the Oct. ’14 $16 strike for an average premium of $0.10 per contract. Put buyers profit at expiration next week should shares in Cisco Systems drop 4.8% from the current price of $16.70 to breach the effective breakeven point on the downside at $15.90. Looking out to the April 2012 contract, it appears traders are selling large blocks of call options. Investors may be selling the calls outright, or writing the contracts against long stock positions. The heaviest volume was observed at the April 2012 $18 strike, where more than 10,000 calls were sold for an average premium of $1.25 each. It looks like the largest single block sold 7,481 times. The investor responsible for the sizeable position keeps the $1.25 premium received on the trade as long as shares in Cisco fail to exceed $18.00 at expiration in April. Cisco’s shares last traded above $18.00 back in April 2011. Options implied volatility on the stock rose 14.7% to…
by Phil Davis - August 12th, 2011 8:20 am
In case you were on vacation, here’s what you missed:
The Dow is down 2.6% for the week, the S&P is down 2.3% and the Nasdaq is down 1.2%. Very likely, by the end of the day, these losses will be erased and we should have a nice, green close. For some reason (can’t imagine why) the VIX went up to 45, where we shorted the Hell out of it. One trade idea we had was on Wednesday Morning, where we sold the Aug $45 calls for $1.45 against the Sept $45 calls at $1.40. Even yesterday that one was looking good with the Augs down to .85 and the Sept $45s still $1.30 so the net .05 spread turned into net .45, a nice 800% gain in two days.
On Wednesday afternoon, Nicha had a great idea to short VXX as well, so we did the Sept $36/32 bear put spread at $2.50, selling the Aug $38 calls for $1.55 for net $1 on the $4 spread. Those Aug $38 calls have already dropped to $1 and the bear put spread is $2.60 so that’s net $1.60 – up 60% in two days on that one. This is why we ALWAYS sell into the initial excitement. On the whole, we have been TRYING to follow my philosophy, which I reminded everyone of of in last Friday’s Member Chat, of "Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!" – which is still some of the best crisis management advice I can give people.
What does our Big Chart look like since last Friday?
Wow, those were four very silly days, weren’t they? As I noted above, we’re down about 2.5% for the week but the week isn’t over and we could still turn this puppy around and do you know what that would be? It would be a VERY bullish bottom candle on a weekly chart! In fact, if we can finish August back at that +5% line (a 10% gain into the month’s end), THAT would form a VERY bullish candle on a MONTHLY chart.
So Greece blah, blah and Italy, blah, blah and Merkel, Sarkozy, B-B-B-Bennie and the Fed, Inflation, Deflation, Unemployment, Debt and Taxes – whatever… Just wake us up when it’s over and we’ll consider pulling our cash off the sidelines. Meanwhile, as I lectured Members in…