by phil - 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 - May 3rd, 2012 7:52 am
Spain is up 2.3% this morning (7:30).
They are bouncing Europe with them despite a pretty poor round of trading in Asia (flat). Why? Because Spain's 3 & 5-year note sales "only" went for 100 more basis points than last time with the 3-years coming in at 4.04%, up 54% from last year's auction at 2.62% and the 5-year notes fetched 4.75%, up only 28% from the last 5-year note sale so YAY – Spain is fixed!!!
A whole $3.3Bn worth of bonds were sold or about 1/3 of 1% of what has been allocated through bailout programs to buy this junk but this autction is moving $80Tn worth of global equities up 1% ($800B) – talk about getting bang for your bailout buck!
I'm not going to get into how silly this is getting – we went through this all in '07 and '08 and the markets can be amazingly silly when they are in denial so we'll just go with the flow and pick up some nice upside momentum plays – as long as we can stay over 3 of 5 of our Big Chart's 2.5% lines and, if the pre-market move up holds – they should have no problem taking back 3,075 on the Nasdaq, 820 on the Russell and 8,200 on the NYSE. We're already over 1,400 on the S&P on yesterday's stick-save close and the poor Dow has 800 whole points to go before they catch up at 14,000 so it looks like the Dow will be the logical bullish bet if the other 3 indexes join the S&P over the line.
So IF the Dow is over 13,300 AND the other indexes are over our mark – how much money can we make playing for the Dow to catch up and make it to 14,000. 700 points is a lot, so there should be many ways to play this to our advantage. DIA $133 calls are $1 and have a delta of .44 so you capture 44% of a move up, which means a 100-point rise in the Dow will get you a 44% gain – it's a good trade to enter with tight stops below 13,300 as the Dow has 2 weeks and two days left to make those 800 points and that should be a cake-walk as they're already up 400 points in the last 7 sessions and, as we know from our friends at CNBC –…
by phil - April 19th, 2012 8:28 am
We are just loving these crazy-assed market moves. Every morning we have a pump job to short into and every afternoon there is a BS stick-save to re-establish our shorts. It's merely a matter of time before those floors begin to crack. I mean, really – how much of this abuse can they take?
Notice, in Dave Fry's SPY chart, the high-volume selling followed by low-volume pumping – that's the very unhealthy pattern the "rally" was built on, which means there really aren't any buyers waiting to scoop up shares when they dip – just Trade Bots that tease the indexes higher so the IBanks can keep pulling in the bag-holders as the "smart money" stampedes for the exits.
Yesterday was great fun. As I noted in the morning post, we went short on the Oil Futures (/CL) at $104.50 in our morning Member Chat and even in the morning post there was still time to catch it at $104. Oil sold off all the way to $102.60 at 2:10 and my 2:14 comment to Members nailed the turn as I said:
Oil coming right to our goal at $102.50 ($38.50 USO) so let's not be greedy and look to take $1.20 off the table on those 1/2 USO positions in the $25KP and $5KP as it's better to get out while the gettin's good.
That's what we mean when we talk about taking non-greedy exits (I had set $38.50 as my USO target for our exit at 11:08 but it didn't look like we'd get it so we got out). We caught the bottom and got out clean and this morning we got a chance to re-load our shorts at $103.50 on that predictable morning pump. Sure, you can say the markets aren't fixed and maybe we just have amazingly good timing – either way we make the same money!
We did manage to find a few things we liked, one of which was CHK, as the stock plunged to $17.20 on much ado about not too much as people took issue with the CEO borrowing money to invest in their wells. We didn't think it was such a big deal and our trade idea at at 10:23 in Member Chat gave us a good opportunity to buy right into the day's low at…
by phil - April 9th, 2012 8:23 am
What a ride we're getting (see Bespoke Charts). We discussed the fun that led up to this drop on Friday, so no need to rehash it here. Over the weekend, Philstockworld reviewed "This Month in Fascism" and I put up a post outlining "Capitalism's End Game" where we had some nice additional discussion in that post's Member Chat so read that an you're all up to speed.
That brings us to what is happening now. There was little news this weekend other than inflation accelerating in China, with their CPI hitting 3.6% in March vs 3.3% expected but that number is BS anyway as food alone is up 7.5%. For the Quarter, the CPI was up 3.8% overall and China's target for the year is 4% so this effectively takes stimulus action off the table for now. The ONLY thing keeping CPI lower is the now-steady price of housing, which is down at 2% but that's still 2% higher than prices the Government has already decided the people can no longer afford.
China is clearly slowing down but STILL having inflation. The WSJ points out that China's iron-ore demand is down and other emerging-market economies also appear to be losing steam with India's growth down to 6.1% and Brazil down to 3% with Russia having almost no growth at all. So much for the BRICs… "Year-to-date returns have been quite deceptive. All that really happened in 2012 is a typically powerful bear-market bounce off 2011 lows," said Michael Shaoul, chairman of Marketfield Asset Management.
We've been hanging onto long-term short EDZ positions in anticipation of a sell-off in the emerging markets and, despite $25.6Bn of net inflows in Q1 (the most since 2006), EEM has gone nowhere since the end of January, which is funny, since only $1.7Bn flowed into the US stock market in Q1 yet our indexes are up 10% – but that's a different article!
Anyway, so EDZ is still at $12.79 and if we figure we get a 10% pullback in the Emerging Markets then EDZ pops 30% to $16.62 and you can buy the May $14/16 bull call spread for .40 with a 400% upside at $16 and we used to like to cover those with CHL but CHL has flown up to $54 and no longer cheap so I'm thinking FCX is a nice,…
by phil - January 11th, 2012 8:21 am
Once again, we're done with our day before you get up.
In my 5am note to Members, I said: "I see nothing in the news to justify this pre-market "recovery" and I hate to sound like a broken record but I like shorting oil (/CL) if we get below that $102 line with tight stops and the Dow (/YM) is right at 12,400, which is a great spot to short. RUT (/TF) is at 762 and below 760 (same as yesterday) will confirm a downturn but 12,400 is a great line so why wait?" By 6:26, I was able to follow it up with:
And wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! There go the Futures!
It's 7:07 and we're still going down, with oil at $101.24 (up $760 per contract) and the Dow at 12,340 (up $300 per contract) and, as Dennis said: "Good enough for steak and eggs for me!" Roro got up late but still caught the Dow at 6:16 and that was right on the nose for the oil drop as well as we hit it right on the nose this morning and now we're done and waiting for the next good set-up.
Of course we scale in and scale out of positions as there's no need to get greedy in the Futures, where a single remaining contract catching a $1 move down in oil (now $101.25 again) pays $1,000. This week, we have even stationed our own Craigzooka in New Zealand, where it's tomorrow – which makes it much easier to bet on today's action as he can tell us what happened already! Not that today was all that hard to predict, right? My comment to Members LAST Wednesday was:
It’s been a pretty reliable bet that they tank the markets into the longer-term note auctions because it scares people into T-Bills and keeps the rates low. From this line-up, it seems to me they intend to jack us up on Friday and then zap us on Tuesday as Esther George releases something hawkish ahead of the 3-year and it’s no coincidence that Plosser, by far the biggest Hawk, is given the floor at 12:30 on Wednesday – just 30 minutes before the critical 10-year auction. Coincidence? Surely you cannot be that naive!
by phil - December 24th, 2011 8:31 am
I know it’s tacky to give cash but, as we closed our original, virtual $25,000 Portfolio early on October 20th and we were miles ahead of our $100,000 goal, we decided to do this bonus portfolio starting with a fresh virtual $15,000 set aside out of our $130,000 – risking 1/2 of the excess profits in an attempt to make 60% more ($10,000) in two months.
We started that Monday, the 24th of October with our GNW spread (which I also discussed on TV that day) and that Friday we put up the official post where, I will remind you, our stated goal was to make a little bonus money for the holidays AND to share some of that money with a worthy cause. I want to thank everyone who chose to donate to the NYC Food Bank, we got some really spectacular donations from some of you and I really appreciate it and I hope you have all gotten into the holiday spirit and helped to support those in need this season – it’s much appreciated and I thank you.
Just as importantly, I very much hope you were able to learn something following this portfolio. We never put much capital at risk, we took quick profits off the table and we worked our way out of most of our losses through rolling and adjusting – letting the trading range do most of the hard work. Most importantly, we had BALANCE – we selected trades in both directions – enjoying the wild ride from the up and down markets.
That strategy, in fact, worked very well!
As of Friday and since our last update on the 16th, when we had $41,465 of realized gains, we closed the following positions:
- 5 SCO Dec $37 puts sold for net $1.90, expired worthless – up $1,900
- 5 FAS Dec $40 puts sold for $2.40, expired worthless – up $1,200
- 10 TNA Dec $41 calls at net $1.50, out at $1.50 – even
- 10 FAS Dec $61 calls sold at net $0 (spread), expired worthless – even
- 10 TLT 12/23 $121 calls sold for net .74 ($740), expired worthless – up $740
- 10 GNW Dec $6 puts sold for .85, expired worthless – up $850
- 10 QQQ 12/16 $56 puts at .57, out at $1.05 – up $480
by phil - December 14th, 2011 8:01 am
Do Ben Bernanke and I live on different planets? "For a lot of people," he said during a speech at Fort Bliss, "I know it doesn’t feel like the recession ever ended." For what people exactly, Dr. Bernanke, does it seem like it did end? Study after study after study show that, if you are not lucky enough to be in the top 10% of our society (and certainly not a shade of Johnson’s "Great Society" anymore) then you are pretty much f*cked – and, no, there’s not a nicer way to put it.
Bernanke seems to love the Great Depression so much he is Hell-bent on replicating it here so he can study it in greater detail. I suppose he has some sort of academic detachment regarding the untold suffering he is causing the American people but, who can blame him? He just got a great rate when he refinanced his $850,000 home.
Fortunately, we had complete confidence in Bernanke’s incompetence (see yesterday’s "To QE3 or not to QE3 – That Sets Direction") and, of course, we took advantage of yet another chance to short oil futures (/CL) off the $101 and then the $100 lines on the way down. We were HOPING (not a valid investing strategy) that we’d get some QE3 but, as I warned Members in the morning: "If not – well, Hell hath no fury like a market disappointed."
Clearly, as you can see from David Fry’s SPY chart – I was not overselling the point. Bernanke and the Fed are of the opinion that 10% unemployment is within their mandate of "promoting full employment" and don’t see the need to take action? Let’s have a little review of how good the Fed Chairman has been as a prognosticator for our economy as he enters his 7th year at the Fed:
by phil - December 12th, 2011 8:27 am
That was easy!
Who’d have thought Europe’s problems could be over just like that? Certainly not us, as I was quite skeptical Friday Morning (see yesterday’s Stock World Weekly for the Executive Summary of the Week’s Events). As I noted in Friday morning’s post, we had ended the day on Thursday very bullish – too bullish I decided on Friday morning and I called for cashing out into the weekend at the end of the morning post. In the morning Alert to Members, I repeated:
When in doubt, sell half and, in this case, I want to get back to more cash by the day’s end in the White Christmas Portfolio as the WCP is too bullish and I’m just not in the mood to risk it so we’re not going to be too brave if the "rally" stops or even slows down.
The markets were very kind to us, heading higher all day long and giving us great exits. Heading into the close, we got a bit more bearish and, aside from existing hedges like our EDZ spread (mentioned as our key hedge in last week’s Stock World Weekly), we added DXD (ultra-short Dow) Jan $15 calls at $1.25 but we offset those with short FCX Feb $33 puts at $1.25 in our virtual White Christmas Portfolio, with 10 of those contracts on each side netting a free spread with unlimited upside (with the downside being owning FCX cheaply). As I pointed out to Members, DXD was $18.50 just 3 weeks ago.
At 3:26, just before the close, we added the SQQQ (ultra-short Nasdaq) Jan $16/19 bull call spread for $1.50, which I pointed out had a nice 100% potential upside all by itself but you could also, for example, offset it with things you REALLY want to own if they get cheap – like shorting a GOOG Jan $500 put ($1.20) or an AAPL Jan $320 put ($1.25) or a MSFT 2013 $20 put ($1.10) – the idea is to just thing of what stock you REALLY want to be jumping in and buying if the market throws a 20% off sale. If there’s nothing, then you should be thrilled with the 100% potential gain on the raw spread.
by phil - October 17th, 2011 8:01 am
European leaders have two weeks to settle differences and flesh out a strategy to terminate their sovereign debt crisis as global finance chiefs warn failure to do so would endanger the world economy. “The risk of a recession would be increased dramatically were the Europeans to fail to accomplish goals that they’ve set for themselves,” Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said after the G-20 meeting on Saturday.
The Brussels meeting “has the potential to turn into a positive historic moment,” Joachim Fels, London-based chief economist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note to clients yesterday. “But it could also easily turn into a negative catalyst.”
Europe’s plan, which has still to be made public, includes writing down Greek bonds by as much as 50 percent, establishing a backstop for banks and magnifying the strength of the 440 billion-euro ($611 billion) temporary rescue fund known as the European Financial Stability Facility. “The plan has the right elements,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in Paris. “They clearly have more work to do on the strategy and the details.”
The G-20 officials — who met to prepare for a Nov. 3-4 gathering of leaders in Cannes, France (and we’re fondly remembering London’s 2009 meeting with the graphic on the right) — said in a statement that the world economy faces “heightened tensions and significant downside risks.” European authorities must “decisively address the current challenges through a comprehensive plan.”
The policy makers held out the possibility of rewarding European action with more aid from the International Monetary Fund, while splitting over whether the Washington-based lender’s $390 billion war chest needs topping up. Europe’s latest strategy hinges on putting Greece, whose government forecasts its debt to reach 172 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, on a sustainable path. Austerity has plunged the country deeper into recession and provoked civil unrest that threatens political stability.
My reaction to this in Member Chat this Morning was to call for shorting the jacked up Dow Futures (/YM) at 11,600, saying:
Speaking of the illusion of power – yet another G20 meeting ends with yet another plan to have a plan but this time, for some insane reason, they only gave themselves a week to fix everything. I’ll be writing about this this morning but the gist of it is the Finance Ministers have essentially sent their own
by phil - October 4th, 2011 8:06 am
Has it been a week already?
That’s right – last Tuesday our title, after 3 bullish days, was "S&P 1,200 or Bust (again)" and bust we did! At the time I said "It’s not that I’m flip-flopping – we’re simply playing the range and if the trip from the bottom to the top of the range is just 2 days – then flip-flop we must!" Our bearish hedge in that morning’s Alert to Members was 30 DXD Oct $18/20 bull call spread at .70 ($2,100) offset by the sale of 10 GE Jan $15 puts at $1.05 ($1,050). DXD is already at $21.34 and the bull call spread is $1.30 (30 = $3,900) while the 10 GE short puts are $1.75 ($1,750) for a net $2,150, up 105% in the first week – even if the short puts were not stopped out with a smaller loss.
We also ran our Long Put List that morning (see Weekend Reading for recap of that strategy and list of short trade ideas) and those, of course, are up huge across the board as things got so bad yesterday we even had to short IBM – our list’s last brave holdout. Another fun short we played that day was a ratio backspread on CMG.
Taking advantage of selling into the pre-earnings excitement, we were able to add the following trade to our virtual $25,000 Portfolio:
Earnings are on the 20th, the day before expirations so I like the volatility crush of selling 5 $340 calls for $9 ($4,500) and buying 3 Dec $350s for $15 ($4,500) for a free spread. No matter what CMG does, $4,500 of premium will be gone from the callers on Oct 21st, then the Nov whatevers can be sold, hopefully for another $4,500 in premium or perhaps we can just pull the trade so let’s do one set in the $25KP and see how it goes.
CMG took a nice dip since then (now $292) and the 5 Oct $340 calls fell to $2.20 ($1,100) but the 3 Dec $350s have held $8.60 ($2,580) for a net profit of $1,480 off a trade that cost no cash just 7 days ago. These are the kinds of trades we love around earnings season. We didn’t need to hold it for a month and now we can free up the margin (about…