by phil - April 28th, 2012 6:57 am
Have you seen this?
Frontline did this very good documentary and I'd file it under "those who forget the past are CONDEMNED to repeat it" – let's all TRY not to repeat the mistakes of 2008… "Wall Street got bailed out and Main Street didn't" is the quote that neatly sums up the present situation. Wall Street and the top 10% of this country – of this World – are partying like it's 1999 while the bottom 90% continue to languish in the worst Recession since the Great Depression.
Despite a myriad of worrying data, the Corporate Media is in full-blown promotional mode – pushing stocks as if it were modern snake oil – the panacea that will cure all your ills. We often forget that essentially ALL of our news sources are publicly traded companies and have a vested interest in the stock market going higher. Hell, we have an interest in that too, as our longer-term virtual porfolios are entirely bullish - but that shouldn't preclude us from making a realistic assessment of the CURRENT situation, should it?
Caterpillar, 3M, United Technologies and ABB are among the manufacturers that have reported weak performances in China in the first quarter as economic growth has slowed nearly to a three-year low. Caterpillar’s sales in China fell between $250 million and $300 million in the first quarter, pushing the company, the world’s largest maker of earth-moving equipment, to export to other countries a large share of the equipment it made in China.
Concerns about China overshadowed better-than-expected earnings at the company, which is based in Peoria, Illinois, and led investors to push the stock down 5 percent Wednesday, which was great for us as CAT was on our Long Put List.
ABB, a maker of power equipment, reported profits in the past week that were below analysts’ expectations, caused by weak Chinese demand. “It was a very slow start to the year for China. China in January was extremely weak,” ABB’s chief financial officer, Michel Demaré, said Wednesday.
“Our business in China is off to a slow start,” said Gregory J. Hayes, the chief financial officer of United Technologies, whose Otis arm is the world’s biggest maker of elevators. The unit’s China sales dropped 9 percent in the first quarter. “The ongoing government…
by phil - April 11th, 2012 8:01 am
Are you buying the dips?
We're not yet. Notice that we've now blown 4 of our 5 Must Hold lines (the Dow never did make theirs, which kept us bearish in the first place) and, technically, the S&P failed to hold 1,360 as well but close enough to avoid panic so far.
Falling from 1,420 to 1,360 is 60 points so we'll be looking for a weak bounce (20% retracement) to 1,372 and a strong bounce (40%) past 1,384 would get us back in a buying mood but let's not count those chickens before they're hatched.
France and Germany are bouncing 1.5% this morning as the Euro stages a recovery back to that critical $1.31 line and the UK is up 0.77% (7:40) with the Pound back at $1.59. We noted in Member Chat that this seems like SNB buying to support that 1.20 line on EUR/CHF as we;re certainly not getting a move back up in copper ($3.65), Natural gas ($2.04) or gasoline ($3.24) that we'd expect if we had any additional stimulus or some sort of positive economic data. Even gold is down this morning ($1,659) so I do not have a lot of faith in this early-morning market movement so far.
Clearly we're not going to get excited about anything until our indexes can at least take back those 50 dma's (red lines) and the Dollar holding it's line at 79.60 is also bad news for the bulls. To keep that 1.5% gain in perspective, it's 88 points – back to 6,695 and we're down from 7,150 so "only" 5 more 1.5% up days to go and Germany is back on top.
This is always the tricky part about retracements – it's not so much what you get on the bounce (not even 20% on the DAX), but is the bounce going to be sustainable to get you to 6,850, which is the 20 dma (3% higher than we are now) and then to 7,000, which is the falling 50 dma – 5% over the current mark?
Keep in mind that the longer it takes to retake the 50 dma, the more it curves down and then you are running into a declining 50 dma, which has a much better chance of rejecting you – especially as you are running out of gas after having to climb 5% just to get there.…
by phil - October 27th, 2011 8:24 am
You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. – Winston Churchill
I do HAVE to say "I told you so!"
When I was interviewed on Monday and they asked why I’m bullish, I replied that "stimulus trumps everything" and that’s what we’ve been playing for, especially in our new White Christmas Portfolio, which will be off to a rockin’ start with the aggressive upside trades that I not only mentioned in yesterday’s post - which made easy fills yesterday morning, as the markets shook out the last of the weak hands on yet another rumor-driven dip.
We got our daily double on the AGQ calls, as expected and SSO fell all the way to $44.20 (150% profit on that trade if they finish Friday above $45) while FAS dropped $13.35 and that spread will be good for a 2,100% gain if FAS can get back to and hold $14 – which should be a snap thanks to our friends at the EU.
In the morning Alert to Members, I put up this cute little Gif to illustrate the day’s action and it was a real roller-coaster day but we stayed generally bullish, taking quick profits off our morning bear plays on DIA and USO. We added a bullish trade ideas for AMZN (complex spread), TNA (short Nov $40 puts at $3.60) but that was it for the day because my comment to Members at 11:01 was: "Dollar rejected at 76.80 – still hope for the bulls!"
Well, those bulls were us and we already had our bets in place from last week, when things were cheaper so there was nothing to do but watch as the markets took off like a rocket from that point forward. Heck, we were so bullish we even sold NFLX puts (Nov $67.50 puts for $3) as a bullish offset to a DXD hedge (which we’ll pull the bottom of today). On Monday we had picked up bullish trades on AAPL and GLW and I mentioned EWG in Friday’s post (those should be looking good this morning!) as well as our plays to go long in the Russell Futures at…
by phil - October 21st, 2011 7:29 am
A statement was issued by Merkel and Sarkozy yesterday.
As translated by the Financial Times, it read:
The President and German Chancellor spoke today by telephone to prepare the European dates in the coming days.
The President and the Chancellor have agreed to provide a comprehensive and ambitious global response to the current crisis in the euro area.
This response will include the following:
- The operational implementation of new forms of intervention EFSF.
- A plan to strengthen the capital of European banks.
- The implementation of the economic governance of the euro area and the strengthening of economic integration.
For a lasting solution to the situation in Greece, the Greek authorities will have to make ambitious commitments to address the situation of their economies as part of a new program. Based on the report of the troika and the analysis of debt sustainability Greece, France and Germany call for immediately undertake negotiations with the private sector to reach an agreement for strengthening sustainability.
The President and the Chancellor will meet Saturday night in Brussels ahead of the European Council summit in the euro area on Sunday. France and Germany have agreed that all elements of this ambitious and comprehensive response will be discussed in depth at the summit on Sunday in order to be finally adopted by the Heads of State and Government at a second meeting no later than Wednesday.”
As I said to our Members in Chat (we went bullish on the news, of course) – could they possibly be more clear in their statement? Well, apparently they should have been because the interpretation of this statement, as headlined in the WSJ, was as follows:
Disagreement between Germany and France over virtually every point in a plan to resolve the euro-zone debt crisis forced Merkel and Sarkozy to concede that a summit of EU leaders Sunday won’t produce an agreement.
And that’s what moved the markets yesterday. Fortunately, we have learned to ignore almost everything printed in the Wall Street Journal or any other Murdoch-owned publication and, of course, it goes without saying that if any news is being broadcast on Fox, there’s probably another side to the story that is true.
by phil - September 28th, 2011 8:25 am
Strap in for another wild one!
We fixed our targets yesterday morning, in the main post, at Dow 11,300, S&P 1,200, Nas 2,575, NYSE 7,100 and Russell 685 and, at 10:46 in Member Chat, my comment was: "Past 10:30 without breaking 10,300 and the Dollar over 78.20 so over 78.25 is a good reason to tap the DXD hedge or grab the DIA FRIDAY $111 puts, now .98 so let’s watch that VERY CAREFULLY although it could just be a bit of profit taking into the EU close with the DAX up 12% since Friday morning. A pullback to 10% (from the DAX 5,000 bottom) is very much expected here and EWG naked calls can come off the table for now until they prove they can break $20."
We ended up holding that 10,300 line through the afternoon but we finally broke down at 3:07 and we stuck to the plan but my adjustment on the trade idea for Members in chat was: "Game on for the DIA puts but now we can pick up the $112 puts for $1.10 – 10 in the $25KP with a stop at .90 in case we dive into the close."
Those puts came off the table at $1.65 into the close, up 43% in less than an hour and even the original idea of the $111 puts topped out at $1.40 for a nice 43% gain on the day (but those took 6 hours, so not as good an annualized rate of return!). As I noted to Members in this morning’s Alert – these are the kinds of quick adjustments we can make to re-balance our portfolios on the fly in a choppy market.
We don’t want to let ourselves be chased in and out of short-term positions by these silly market fluctuations so we make quick adjustments with even shorter-term momentum plays that help us ride out these little moves. As I said to our Members during the afternoon drop "I’m not changing my stance because Meredith Whitney told me to." That was at 3:48 when people were asking if we should panic out of our bullish positions on FAS and other trades. At 3:29 I had already pointed out: "Also Whitney was no help – same BS as usual when they want to halt a rally. Next we hear from Roubini, Gross and El-Erian."
by phil - September 7th, 2011 8:25 am
That was easy!
Only 3 days of panic and we’re back to manic already – I’d say that was a record but our last panic only lasted two days, on August 18th and 19th, when we dropped 600 points before bouncing back 800 points the next week so this last 3-day, 600-point drop was gentle by comparison. That, of course, did not stop the usual round of Doomcasters from declaring the end of the World (especially the European section) as we know it but that was all so yesterday morning and now it’s 24 hours later and the Dow is up 300 from that bottom in the pre-markets.
Pre-market yesterday we were bullish but cautious, going long on Dow (/YM) futures at 11,000 (now 11,227 – up $1,135 per contract) and Russell (/TF) Futures at 666 (now 688, up $2,200 per contract) and our bullish EWG spread from the morning post should be going gangbusters already as the DAX pops 3% this morning!
We also laid out new hedge ideas on EDZ and GLD but the point of those was, wisely, to take the money and run on our old hedges as they bottomed out in the morning (max profit), trading in our well-ridden horses for fresh ones that have more time to expiration and lower deltas to snap back on a bounce is all part of our range-trading strategy – we may need those hedges again, just not now….
By the time the market opened, things looked too good not to play bullish and we ended up picking 19 bullish plays in yesterday’s Member Chat with not one bearish one. My comment to Members in the 9:44 Alert, where we took a very aggressive upside play on the Dow was: "Damn, and I said I wasn’t going to get too bullish. Oh well, what can you do?" As I have been pointing out in our Range Trading posts – sometimes you just have to go with the flow…
Just 18 minutes later, I put up 6 long-term trade ideas on CAT, DIS, HOV, JPM, SKX and T as we took advantage of low prices, a probable bottom and a high VIX. The nice thing about our buy/writes is that they have a built-in 20% discount (see "How to Buy a Stock for a 15-20% Discount") and can usually be scaled in to ride…
by phil - August 31st, 2011 8:27 am
Here we go again. We made it through our "Testy Tuesday" and, as you can see from our Big Chart, we hit our goals with 4 of our 5 indexes coming right up to their resistance lines – not bad for support lines we first drew in April of 2009!
As I often say: I am neither Bullish nor Bearish – just Rangeish. Rangeish has been the winning play for us for quite a while. I was on TV August 2nd, where I laid out our plan for the month (20% drop) and we were VERY HAPPY to do our bottom fishing at those -10% lines for the last few weeks and now we are back in a zone of relative uncertainty where we must hold our Must Hold lines.
On Friday, the 19th, we were confident enough in our bottom call (I led the post off with: "We are now officially getting silly" as the futures tanked that morning) that we shorted EWG puts in the morning post and shorted the VIX at $42.50 with a VXX spread that’s already up 1,433% but well on track to double that.
Also in that morning post (and this is just the free stuff!) I put up a bullish trade idea on XOM at $70 that is obviously doing very well (XOM $74 yesterday) as well as calling for longs on the Futures at Russell (/TF) at 650, Nasdaq (/NQ) at 2,050 and Oil (/CL) at $80. If you didn’t play those bullish, don’t look now because you might cry…
Once the market opened that day, we added an aggressive play on HPQ in our $25,000 virtual portfolio, buying 20 Sept $26 calls for .60 (now .93, up 55%) and paying for them by selling 5 Sept $23 puts for $1.57 (now .20, up 87%). That trade was net $415 and is currently worth $1,760 – up 324% in two weeks.
We are able to do that when we take advantage of the very high VIX (which we expected to go down) as well as taking specific advantage of HPQ coming off disappointing earnings but it’s not the charts — it can NEVER be the charts that tell you to buy a stock that is plummeting – it’s FUNDAMENTALS!
by phil - August 19th, 2011 8:29 am
Where is the bottom?
We are now officially getting silly, with Germany falling another 3% this morning, now down close to 30% in less than a month (see David Fry’s chart) with the banking sector off 50% and more. To keep that in perspective, the S&P is down less than 20% and even our super-lame Transports (which go down with oil for some reason) are down "just" 24%. So – do we have another 10% (at least) left to fall or is it kind of ridiculous that AAA-rated Germany, with arguably the World’s strongest economy, should drop 30% in 30 days?
It looks like EWG is going to open around $19.50 this morning and you should be able to sell the Sept $19 puts for $1+ or the Jan $17 puts for $1.25+, giving Germany another 16% buffer before you have to give that $1.25 back at net $15.75, which is back at the non-spike lows of the crash.
The VIX spiked up to $42.50 yesterday, that’s higher than it was in April’s sell off and that made an excellent short at the time. You can sell VXX Sept $45 calls for $3.25 and buy the $45/40 bear put spread for $3.40 for net .15 on the $5 spread. If the VIX and VXX do move higher, a 2x roll to the Sept $55s (now $1.60) is about even or the Dec $62 calls are currently $3.10 so it would take a pretty major, sustained move up in volatility for the short puts to really hurt.
Here we are, back at our March lows for the Nikkei and 15% BELOW the March lows for the DAX and 10% below the March lows for the S&P. REALLY? Were we too optimistic in March by 15%? We just had earnings reports and the numbers were generally fine – it’s the outlook that got gloomy, due to all the economic uncertainty. That’s what happens when your Congress is a bunch of buffoons who are willing to sacrifice the Nation and it’s Citizens in order to improve their political posture…
Other than the imaginary problems of debt (it’s been worse) and austerity (a poor solution to address the debt non-issue) and the real problem of the deficit (easily fixable by collecting taxes and cutting military spending) and a slightly slowing economy (caused by the idiotic austerity measures),…
by phil - March 28th, 2011 8:08 am
Oh, where to begin this morning?
We already covered "Big Trouble in Little Tokyo" in our Weekend Reading post so we’ll just say things are still sucking in Japan. The Nikkei lost 0.6% in this morning’s trading but it was Angela Merkel who lost control of Germany this weekend as nuclear concerns gave a huge victory in a state election to the Green (environmental) party who, along with the Social Democrats (what it sounds like) now control 47.1% of Germany’s coalition-based Government vs just 44.3% held by Merkel’s Christian Democrats and her allies in the Free Democrat party.
As a stand-alone, Germany’s GDP is about $3.5Tn, the World’s 4th largest economy, behind Japan’s $5.4Tn (maybe less at the moment) and China’s $5.8Tn and, of course, our $15Tn juggernaut of an economy. Together with the EU, however, Germany is part of a $16Tn economic union where it is followed by France ($2.5Tn and Sarkozy also took an electoral hit this weekend!), Italy ($2Tn), Spain ($1.4Tn) and then you drop down to The Netherlands at $770Bn. We know what kind of shape Italy and Spain are in so keep in mind that it’s Germany and France who run the EU – no matter who is "in charge."
Moody’s put another nail in Spain’s coffin this morning, downgrading 30 Spanish banks by one or more notches. Interestingly, they left STD and BBVA alone and I’m liking STD with their 9% dividend as money is likely to be drawn away from the smaller banks and moved to the relative safety of STD. STD is trading at $11.94 and they can be covered with Sept $11 calls at $1.60 for a net $10.34 entry or paired with the sale of the Sept $11 puts at $1.05 to drop the basis to $9.29. That gives you a net on the buy/write at $9.29/10.14, which is a 15% discount if put to you at $10.14 or called away with an 18% profit if called away at $11 in 9 months – PLUS the 9% annualized dividend!
Not surprisingly, Germany and the rest of the EU rushed through the final approval of their now $987Bn bailout fund as that was the number one issue that was crushing Merkel’s party and it’s not entirely sure Germany will have the will, going forward, to commit any more capital. The agreement requires 80Bn euros…
by phil - October 5th, 2010 8:24 am
Go go BOJ!!!
Acting under pressure from the Government to DO SOMETHING, the Bank of Japan announce a 35,000,000,000,000 Yen ($418Bn) monetary easing program this morning, finally taking that last step and cutting rates to ZERO. That’s right, the BOJ will literally give you money for nothing (no word yet on whether the chicks will also be free). Ironically enough, though, the logic of giving out free money now is the same as it was in the early 80′s – the BOJ is well aware that:
"We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour T.V.’s"
Of course, even with an economy one quarter the size of the US ($4.1Tn), $418Bn doesn’t buy what it used to so the BOJ is coming up with ANOTHER 5 TRILLION YEN in a program to buy private and public assets – let the shopping spree begin! You might think such incredibly reckless spending by the BOJ would devalue their currency somewhat BUT Noooooooooooo – the Yen ROSE back to 83.2 to the dollar (and we caught that move last night in Member Chat!) as currency traders realized that $500Bn of QE from the BOJ was only a drop in the bucket of the ocean of irresponsibility that is our own Federal Reserve.
As I had said to Members last Wednesday (and we had lots of cool currency charts): "I am seeing A LOT of money lining up on the short side of the Dollar trade. I’m very concerned that BOJ will do something to squeeze the bears and THEN I think it’s a better entry." Of course, currency manipulation was the theme of the week last week and you can get a quick review by downloading a FREE SAMPLE of our new Weekly Newsletter HERE.
"The surprise invited some yen selling, but I don’t think the BOJ’s move will be enough to produce any sustained yen weakening," said Masanobu Ishikawa, general manager of spot foreign exchange trading at Tokyo Forex & Ueda Harlow. Hirokata Kusaba, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute echoed this view, saying "there will be no substantive effect from going from the already ultra-low 0.1% to this range. The only effect on markets will be from the surprise…