by phil - April 4th, 2012 8:38 am
I hate to say I told you so but…
Oh, who are we kidding? I could not be happier saying I told you so and neither could our Members as our "Sell in March and Go Away" strategy seems to have hit the nail on the head – and it's only April 4th!
Back then (2/24), we were still bullish but the plan was to let the rally run its course and cash out ahead of earnings and our plays from that Wednesday (2/22) which I posted right in the morning post for all to see, have performed very well, of course.
We had April SQQQ and DXD hedges that failed, of course, but those were paid for by the short sale of AAPL 2014 $300 puts for $15, which are already $10.75, so up 28% already on those pays for a lot of protection.
Another offset we had looked at was the short sale of FDX April $80 puts at $1.10, which expired worthless (up 100%). We also looked at longer-term put sales on SKX, with the Oct $12 puts fetching $1.55 per contract, now $1.25 (up 19%), and the T 2014 $25 puts at $2.15, now $1.75 (up 18%).
Along the same vein, the XOM 2014 $65 puts at $5, now $4.05 (up 19%) were sold to pay for the SU 2014 $25/37 bull call spread for $6 for net $1 on the spread. The bull call spread is still $6 but that's net $1.95 now – up 95% on the combo. Our other bullish play on oil was the USO June $40/46 bull call spread at $2, selling he SCO Oct $26 puts for $3 for a net $1 credit. The USO spread has fallen to $1.40 but the short SCO puts dropped to $1.65 a net gain of .75 – up a quick 75% on a fairly neutral oil play, which was BRILLIANT as it covered many, many of our aggressive oil shorts over the month that went VERY well.
Our other trade ideas from the morning post (and the logic and strategies are detailed in the post):
- AA 2014 $10 puts sold for $2, still $2 – even
- X at $28.49, selling Jan $25 calls for $8.50 and 2014 $20 puts for $2.95 for net $17.04/18.52
by phil - February 22nd, 2012 6:27 am
We're still waiting for a clear signal.
The S&P is finally over our 1,359 level but, so far, has not stayed over that line for a full session and we need two sessions over the line to confirm it. However, I did promise not to be bearish if we're over 1,360 and I think I got it all out of my system in the last few posts, as well as last night and this morning's Member Chat, where I outlined my case for for the oil glut and the collapse of the EU, which will lead to the collapse of Asia and the US – but not today.
Today there is a ton of money sloshing around in the system and we are clearly in a massive technical rally, which may (or may not) end at any moment. We discussed our February trade ideas from our morning posts on Monday's morning so I won't rehash them here but I do want to take a look at ways to leverage some trades to take full advantage of this non-stop rally as we have VERY CLEAR stop lines (our 10% lines) where we'll have a clear signal to get out or cover if ANY of the major indexes fail.
As with our early February trade ideas, we can add one more bullish trade each day that we're over the line and cash out the older trades that go well in the money and, of course, accumulate some Disaster Hedges (20-30% of your unrealized profits into protective hedges is a good rule of thumb as well as the cheapest form of protection – STOPS!).
My favorite disaster hedges are playing for a correction in the Dow or the Nasdaq which, if you are a Dow Theorist, would seem very likely based on the chart on the left but, so far, nothing matters to the bulls – who have their story and they are sticking to it – regardless of those pesky facts. Sorry, that's a bit bearish (bad habit). Anyway, my favorite disaster hedges are:
SQQQ April $13/17 bull call spread for .70. This trade has a 471% upside potential by itself if SQQQ (currently $13.14) gains 30% by April expiration (58 days). That's a lot but SQQQ is a 3x ultra-short to the Nasdaq so a 10% drop in the Nas, back to 2,650…
by Option Review - October 3rd, 2011 2:45 pm
Today’s tickers: AMR, SBUX, FDX & LVS
AMR - AMR Corp. – Shares in AMR Corp. went down in flames today, falling nearly 40.0% this afternoon to $1.83, before trading in the stock was halted for a second time…and then a third, fourth, and fifth time at current count. Implied volatility on the stock shot up 136.39% to 194.42% in early-afternoon trade on fears the U.S. may be heading into recession and concern AMR Corp. may need to eventually consider bankruptcy protection. Investors eyeing the breathtaking drop in shares of the airline operator snapped up in- and out-of-the-money put options across multiple expiries. The November $2.0 strike put attracted the greatest volume, with more than 12,000 contracts having changed hands against open interest of 574 positions. It looks like most of the puts were purchased for an average premium of $0.21 apiece. Investors long the puts profit in the event that shares in AMR Corp. trade beneath the average breakeven price of $1.79 at expiration next month. Same-strike puts expiring in October drew a crowd, as well. Traders purchased the majority of the more than 9,700 puts exchanged at the Oct. $2.0 strike for an average premium of $0.14 each. Put premiums may appreciate should implied volatility edge higher and shares in the parent company of American Airlines fall further as the story continues to play out.
SBUX - Starbucks Corp. – Fresh prints in Starbucks Corp. put options this morning indicate one investor may profit handsomely should shares in the maker of Frappuccinos and Tazo teas decline substantially in the next seven weeks to November expiration. The spread may be an outright bearish bet on the specialty coffee retailer or a protective play on the stock ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report after the final bell on November 3.…
by Option Review - September 16th, 2011 2:25 pm
Today’s tickers: FDX, IR, XLK & CSTR
FDX - FedEx Corp. – Bearish activity cropped up in FedEx Corp. call and put options within minutes of the opening bell this morning. Shares in the provider of transportation, e-commerce and business services are down 1.9% to stand at $75.59 as of 11:40 am ET, with less than one week to go before the Memphis, Tennessee-based company is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings. Yesterday, FedEx rival, UPS, reaffirmed its full year earnings guidance, but warned of difficult economic conditions and anemic growth. Traders positioning for shares in FedEx to extend losses, and possibly dip to new 52-week lows ahead of October expiration, initiated a few different bearish strategies in the first half of the session. Plain-vanilla put buying ensued at the Oct. $77.5 strike, where roughly 1,900 in-the-money puts were purchased for an average premium of $4.07 apiece. Investors long the puts profit at expiration next month if shares in FDX slide 2.85% from the current price of $75.59 to breach the effective breakeven point on the downside at $73.43.
Most of the volume in FedEx options was generated by one strategist, who initiated a three-legged bearish spread straight out of the gate this morning. It looks like the investor sold 2,500 calls at the Oct. $85 strike in order to purchase the 2,500-lot Oct. $67.5/$75 put spread. The transaction cost the trader a net premium of $0.90 per contract. The investor may be employing the three-way spread to take finance an outright bearish view on the stock, or could be using the trade to hedge a long position in the underlying shares. Profits are available to the trader should shares in FDX drop 2.0% to breach the effective breakeven price of $74.10 by expiration day. The investor may walk away…
by Option Review - September 8th, 2011 4:45 pm
Today’s tickers: FDX, RRD, GCI & TLAB
FDX - FedEx Corp. – Sizable prints in call and put options on the provider of a range of shipping, transportation and business support services suggests one investor expects shares in FedEx Corp. to rebound substantially by October expiration. The stock today trades 0.50% lower on the session at $75.75 as of 12:00 pm on the East Coast. July and August were tough months to be long shares in Fedex, which fell nearly 28.0% from a 52-week high of $98.66 on July 7, down to a 52-week low of $71.33 on Tuesday. The three-legged options play could be a sign the investor expects monetary policy from the Fed to send shares higher, or perhaps for President Obama’s much-anticipated speech on jobs to inject some optimism into the market. Looking at a 2-year chart of FDX shares, it looks like the stock fell off a cliff in April 2010, bottoming out in July of last year, and ultimately spiking higher on the heels of Bernanke’s announcement of QE2. If the Fed ends up coming to the rescue, and markets believe the proposed actions will work, shares in FedEx could behave as they did around this time last year. The stock gained around 25.0% following the 2010 Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to top $98.00 a share in 2011. Speculation on possible Fed action aside, investors will surely be listening to Obama’s speech this evening to see if he says anything they don’t already expect to hear.
The trader appears to have sold around 5,000 puts at the October $67.5 strike, in order to purchase the October $77.5/$82.5 call spread 5,000 times, all for an average net premium of just $0.52 per contract. The transaction positions the trader to make money should FedEx’s…
by phil - June 8th, 2011 7:54 am
S&P 1,260. That’s the line we need to hold.
That’s where we started the Year on January 3rd and we finished that day at 1,271, beginning a fine tradition of making almost all of our gains on the first day of the month, continuing a very disturbing (and very fake) year-long trend that I am calling "sell the next day (of the month) and go away." (chart by Bespoke).
Notice that this trend became very disturbing at the same time Uncle Ben announced his fabulous QE2 plan that showered money on his fellow Banksters according to a nice, predictable schedule that allowed them to lever up their investments to inflate stocks and commodities, trapping index fund investors (especially the working poor who make monthly contributions to IRA and 401K accounts in a nice, predictable and controllable fashion). It’s a simple plan, index fund managers get your pension money at the end of the month, they are required to buy baskets of stocks to balance their funds and that action can be manipulated by clever bankers who jack up the prices and then sell into the fake demand they created – effectively stealing tens of Billions each month out of the paychecks of working Americans. Just another one of those great crimes they commit where they steal a little bit of money from everyone, every day.
Speaking of robbing from the rich to give to the poor (see "The Dooh Nibor Economy"), it’s time we said happy 10th anniversary to the Bush/Obama tax cuts that have, as Barry Ritholtz put it: "driven the balanced budget he inherited from President Clinton deep into the red." So deep in the red, in fact, that even now Congress is still debating about extending the $14.5Tn deficit that the Congressional Budget Office says will double over the next 10 years if these cuts remain in place.
That’s right, those same tax cuts that are "off the table" in negotiations in Congress are, other than war spending, the sole cause of our nation’s deficit. This country does not have a spending problem, it has a collecting problem! As Mike Konczal, a research fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, noted: "It’s not like this has unleashed a wave of productivity, or better incentives, or increased work output. It’s mostly just rich people got a lot more money."
by phil - April 15th, 2011 8:19 am
Well who’d have thunk it?
The cost of doing business is rising and GOOG happens to be one of those businesses that lacks pricing power as their rates are generally set through an auction process and their users have to VOLUNTEER to pay more money to advertise. Most advertisers on Google are on fixed budgets, like MSM advertisers and Google has done a great job of replicating that model. Why then, should it be surprising if a maturing Google begins to look more like a traditional media outlet than a dot com company with exploding growth?
Don’t get me wrong, we love Google long-term but we did short them as well as BIDU into Google earnings as we felt Google would disappoint enough to spook BIDU investors as well. We’re taking the short money and running and looking for some bullish plays now – the drop from $630 last month to $545 today is plenty of froth blown off the top for us to get long-term interested again. As you can see from the tag cloud of the Conference Call, growth is still there, especially in mobile display ads (Android a bit disappointing) and no major negatives. I’m not going to write a whole thing about GOOG though, there are thousands of people doing that and our Members know well enough where I stand. I’m more interested in examining the bigger picture.
We expected Q1 earnings to be rough and we’ve already seen FDX, NKE, ORCL, RIMM, FAST, FCS and AA struggle so hopefully you don’t have to be hit on the head with another whole week of earnings before you get a little more cautious. Next week we hear from C, HAL, LLY, TXN, BK, GS, INTC, IBM, SYK, USB, VMW and YHOO on Monday and Tuesday and then we’re off to the races with hundreds of companies reporting each week for the rest of the month. Our job in the first few weeks of earnings season is to get a feel for the quarter and, so far, that feeling is rough.
It’s all about inflation, of course and don’t say we didn’t warn you about that one! We went more bearish up at those 100% lines we’ve been watching and now the question really is – how bad was it? Inflation is, after all, our long-term BULLISH premise. We don’t think corporations…
by phil - January 1st, 2011 8:28 am
I am still trying to get more bullish.
I was thinking about writing something cute like I resolve to get more bullish but that would be wrong. I try, in my own humble way, to "get" the market right. That means I am not bullish or bearish but Truthish (to further botch Stephen Colbert’s use of the word) and, as Buddah says: "There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting." Confucious reminds us that there are three methods by which we may learn wisdom: "First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."
In that spirit, we will spend the day in reflection so that we are better able to start on that long road to the truth so that we will be better able to imitate the things that will work in the year to come while trying to avoid making mistakes that will give us bitter experiences.
This post is not about me – We had a fantastic year and I’ve already given some outlook for 2011 back on the 19th in that weekend’s "It’s Never too Early to Predict the Future" and our current position is short-term bearish in the Jan-April time-frame, looking for a pullback to at least 1,200 on the S&P and possibly back to 1,150.
After that, we are expecting a return to steady gains but without the irrational exuberance we’re currently experiencing. So no, I am not bearish – I simply think we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. Since we don’t know where the rally train will stop, we have our "Breakout Defense – 5,000% in 5 Trades or Less" from Dec 11th, which were a set of very bullish, highly levered plays where a little bet can pay off a lot if we simply hold our long-established breakout levels.
How much is "a lot"? Well my GE trade idea, for example, was to sell the 2013 $12.50 puts for $1.10 (net $1.15 in ordinary margin according to TOS) and to use that money to buy the 2012 $17.50/20 bull call spread for .95, which was a net .15 credit on a $2.50 spread that was on the money at the time. GE has gained about .75 since the 11th and…
by Option Review - November 29th, 2010 4:46 pm
Today’s tickers: FDX, XRT, FRX & HANS
FDX - FedEx Corp. – Shares of the delivery services firm increased as much as 3.4% in the first half of the trading session to secure an intraday high of $90.49 after it was upgraded to ‘outperform’ from ‘neutral’ with a target share price of $111.00 at Credit Suisse. The positive ratings change and subsequent rally in the price of the underlying shares spurred demand for near-term call options. Bullish players expecting FedEx to extend gains purchased at least 2,800 now in-the-money calls at the December $90 strike for an average premium of $2.13 a-pop. Call buyers are poised to profit should FedEx Corp.’s shares increase another 1.80% over today’s high of $90.49 to exceed the average breakeven price of $92.13 ahead of December expiration. More than 5,800 calls changed hands at the December $90 strike versus previously existing open interest of 4,243 lots at that strike. Options strategists also exchanged 1,400 calls at the higher December $95 strike by 1:15 pm in New York trading. The surge in demand for near-term call options on FDX lifted the stock’s overall reading of options implied volatility 5.9% to 29.91% this afternoon.
XRT - SPDR S&P Retail ETF – Put players flocked to the retail SPDR to initiate bearish positions on the fund right out of the gate this morning. Shares of the XRT, an exchange-traded fund designed to replicate the performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index, fell as much as 2.04% to touch down at an intraday low of $46.48. A sizeable ratio put spread drew our attention to the front month where one investor purchased 5,300 in-the-money puts at the December $47 strike for a premium of $1.45 each, and sold 10,600 puts at the lower December $45 strike at a premium…