Market manipulation…. One of the things I've gained from this site is the concept of market manipulation. I never thought it was so prevalent, but now I know it is. I actually consider its effect when I make trades. Several days ago, when AAPL was moving toward 220 I sold 210 calls. My reasoning was that they will probably pin this month at 210. They came in big time as the stock moved ever closer to 210. I agree with Phil's comment that one of the things we need to do is find out what they are manipulating, and how, and hitch a ride. They are doing this with several equities. I've actually seen one article describing several equities that were being manipulated to pin at expiration each month, and describing how it was done, and of course Phil has described it well. In some ways it's easier to figure this out than it is a ‘normal' market behavior, and thus easier to make money in certain equities.
I have been reading the "free" PSW for about a year and have always liked Phil's style as it closely resembled the way I like to trade (mostly naked put options). I have been a paid subscriber for about 5 weeks and I have been learning a lot from Phil and other members. I had made some money on Phil's "free" ideas in the past and I joined because one of Phil's futures ideas paid for my subscription within the same day (NG). Phil deserved my subscription and I was eager to learn more. I just did a quick tally and within the last 5 weeks the ideas that I chose to follow from Phil generated over 25K in options profits and 12K in futures profits (some of my trades were more conservative than what Phil's had suggested). I have a lot to learn, experience and confidence to gain. Thanks again Phil and Successful Trading to all.
PHIL: The most important lesson I have learned is how to hedge using SQQQ, SDS and TZA. A big thanks.
Your discussion during your web seminar on SPX and SDS today was great. It really let me see how you look at the numbers and use the 5% rule to see where inflection points occur and what the bands look like. This was incredibly helpful. I actually sold out of my small short position at a good profit ( which was more a bet on a short term fluctuation rather than a hedge after listening to you) and will look more deeply at my portfolio and how to hedge it. In addition your view on hedging was also very helpful looking at the leverage you can get w/ a small spread, and protect portfolio against a big move against me. Thank you for your sharing this. Very helpful.
Phil, I was so impressed with the personal note in the comments that I went ahead and paid for a months trial of premium that I have been on the fence for awhile about. Just reading the comments makes me already glad for the purchase.
Have been a member for about 6 months or there abouts. Signed up for a quarter at first and then for a year. To me, and it's only my opinion, it's an investment and I have made the membership fees back many times over on the strategy advice. Since joining and implementing the strategy of buy/writes and hedges I have cut my portfolio losses for the year and have a really good chance of going positive this year. If I would have continued down the road I was on, I would still have been fumbling around without a strategy and completely inept in what I was doing. I feel now the strategy is working and I am far more comfortable with the risks I am taking. I still have a lot to learn but I feel the fees have been one of the best investments I have made. The returns have been fantastic. Still have problems with the politics but hey nobody is perfect
Phil, I have the SRS 2011 $7.50 short puts you recommended awhile back. I sold them for $2.20 and now $1.51 (up 31%) although SRS has been down since inception. This was a nice mellow way to play it like you said, thanks.
It is amazing how much confidence you engender, Phil………..I knew the 1% a day trades and repeated often were possible as I had done in stretches, and I knew kill zone trades were also possible and 5% to 10% returns per month were very possible with practice, experience and smart risk management all without having to take a lot of risk, but I guess I was talking to the disbelievers and since I have dropped them into my 'why bother to try to explain it' file and come over to the dark side at PSW I feel soooo much more content not only with the returns, but with the company and a comments and the obvious opportunity to learn and learn and learn some more.
It all helps the mental and emotional discipline of the trading too. So thanks again.
Phil: Thank You!
Scaling, Scaling, and Scaling… then patience, patience, patience I'm 2 to 1 short and even on a day the broad market is up I had my largest one day gain in years. The last 6 weeks in fact have been great. I really feel I've learned to use some tools that will enable me to deal with the turbulence ahead. Selling short calls is definitely my preferred approach. Even allowed me to play golf this afternoon while the premium melted away and shoot a career low round. I owe you man!
Phil, 26% on the week for the 20% I day-trade, and since drinking the kool-aid last fall, the whole portfolio has doubled. Have a great weekend !!
Phil – great calls this past week, esp. friday and monday. in the old days I would have let Prechter et al scare me into trimming my longs and going short at just the wrong time. your feel for the markets is Tiger-esque. CHK, HOV, BX, TLT and XLF are big winners for me today. My biggest up day in a long time. Thanks!
Phil/thankyou. Phil, I went over the recording of last weeks webinar. I liked it a lot and wanted to thank you. I thought the case studies (company reviews) were detailed, I learned more about selling puts process and also what happens if stock continues to go down after that, I liked the fact that we discuss so many different avenues like stocks, optiond, futures, oil, commodities etc… I replayed portions of it multiple times to make sure I was grasping it but wanted to say good job. Thanks…
Phil: I am always able to figure out your trades, including the rational when put in the right context of previous comments, etc. Keep doing what you're doing. It is much appreciated, and invaluable. Your hit rate of successful trades has been very high in my 1.5 months as a member, but even more importantly is your teaching of how to repair and DD positions that haven't gone your way yet. As with most members, we all have our ‘pet' trading interests, and learning how to think about trading is much more important than a specific trade, which could see the conditions behind it change an hour later. This is the classic case, of ‘Teach us to Fish', rather than just giving us a fish once in a while. Thank you!
Phil- I am a former portfolio manager and now retired. I have been following you for about six months and I now know why you have so many followers you are very insightful and knowledgeable.
You called all the trends and market movements with perfection this week. I enjoyed it! Thanks for keeping us sane!
I would like to echo the sentiments of dclark41. Joining this site was the best thing I have ever done to aid my growth as a trader/investor. There are so many smart and experienced people here sharing their ideas that regardless what your investing style is you will learn something daily. Thank you and all the regular contributors for your generosity.
Well I want to thank P. Davis for his style and for the fact that he affirmed my thoughts for a correction. He was right and his confirmation of my bias saved me thousands. Mr. Davis is amoral when it comes to money. He realizes the poor are screwed but we must fight to win. A measure of sarcasm and dark humour and it is great reading. 100% right on the correction.
Great call on expe Phil! Went long 50 shares and sold for a nice profit! And Great call on the nkd shorts as well. I didn't use a stop that tight and was able to cover for a $400 gain. Works been keeping me pretty busy and I'm jealous of all the members who are able to check in here more often! It's almost always quite profitable! Looking forward to Vegas!
Phil// Cashing out of my LT holdings have been going on for over two weeks. However, I have elected not to cash all of the holdings including my AAPL, Jan 16 Short Puts at $470 and $480. Plus, I am being opportunistic in selectively putting on those positions for beat down stocks by selling 2016 Puts. That said, YTD harvested profits now stand at $135k on a current account balance of $683K or a 19.81% YTD return. Thanks for your expertise in teaching me how to be patient, be the banker, but also not being greedy, cashing out and harvesting profits.
hil, I hit my targets for the year in my 401K (thanks in no small part to your site), so I cashed out of all positions a couple of weeks ago. Feels good... I'm conservative with this money –looking for 2% per month, which i've been able to do… thx.
Phil – I think I finally figured out your "crystal ball" time frame. You're about 5-14 days AHEAD of what the market is going to do. It's taken me a long time to realize this, but boy it's been profitable. I go in when you recommend something at about 25% allocation, and then add to it each day it "goes the wrong way" Then BOOM, one day it's all good…. The long put list was literally exact in it's timing.
Tesla et. al. – I've spent many months getting hammered shorting overvalued Momos, until, finally, I internalized Phil's message. Play small; give yourself plenty of room to double/move up the [lack of value] chain in terms of price. Play short; take [Musk's, eg.] latest bleep and sell the spike for a short time frame, because his tweets always come to naught. I've been coining money doing it, I just watch that premium melt away with scarcely veiled amusement. Swinging for the fences is for suckers [me, for a long time]. Those little gains really add up — $2k per week of evaporated premium and you could actually buy a Tesla by the end of the year!!
Sold out my AAPL mar95 calls. Up over 100% today on them!
Being on this board is better than successfully completing the Times crossword. Phil's panoply of comments manage to excite, illuminate, frustrate, exasperate, confuse, enlighten, outrage, invigorate and stupefy (and that's par for the morning session only!). But goddammit, it's addictive, informative and when it all goes right extremely profitable.
I have been a member for over six years and I still learn something new every day. This site gives you the skills to trade without having to be spoon fed. More importantly it teaches you about risk which is WAY more important than profit. Honestly, it is not a get rich quick scheme!
Phil / TNA – On Monday you put out the TNA BCS 41/47. As I mentioned I work during market hours so on Tuesday morning on my way out the door (premarket) I put in an advanced TOS '1st trigger sequence' order to fill the BCS. I can control the entry using this method vs. the vertical entry that TOS allows for the BCS. I filled the June 41 long call but never filled the 47 short call. I let that ride into today. OMG ..TNA popped 7.5%!… the $3.60 entry is almost a double! Tomorrow will be a OCO bracket to get out of TNA before Ben speaks. I should be able to preserve 85% – 100% on the trade. For the income portfolio plays in my IRA's, doing very well… I do like collecting premium! Well done and thanks!
Thanks, after years of blood and blunders, I have reached a significant milestone – I don't lose money. Net net, I rarely have a losing week, market up, market down. And that I owe to you. Balanced positions. More premium sold than bought. Fundamental criteria applied to good companies, not momentum/ news headlines/ stock du jour/ triangle squeezies. But rather earnings, P/E, dividends, competitive position — the boring stuff that takes study, thought,….and patience. You have been a great teacher, and I have embarassed myself repeatedly day with how slowly I learn.
And it's a funny thing – if you don't lose, the gains start to pile up. The arithmetic is cruel to the downside, and becomes a gift in the other direction. And I'm in this for the long run, having made myself unemployable through a need for diversification. Moreover, what I've learned here has also elided into other areas, including real estate and ex-U.S. investment. Pretty cool. Have a great weekend.
Phil – Great calls yesterday, you were in top form. As I was reading your postings, I had hindsight of what the day brought. The calls were uncanny!
On Optrader's section yesterday he was asked how he works with AAPL as an investment. He replied that he just ‘plays with the covers'. I've got a separate portfolio where I use primarily this technique over the past 6 months. Up 60% The principles involved are stock selection, patience, patience, using covers to protect profits, rolling covers to maximize premium return, and exiting when covers are gone and stock price is high. Sometimes it's hard to remember where you learn to do this stuff, but much of it is from integrating principles I've learned here with thing I already knew. Thanks for the help on this, Phil and others.
Phil, I'm up 34x what I paid in fees for your service, and that only counts the trades I didn't think of myself. Thanks!
Mike Ahearn, chairman of the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, had every reason to party in September. That’s when his company, First Solar, based in Tempe, Ariz., was picked by China to build what promises to be the world’s biggest solar-electricity plant: a Manhattan-size facility in Inner Mongolia providing 2 gigawatts of power, about twice the size of a large coal plant or average nuclear power station. But the Chinese facility will take years to build, and the party buzz subsided pretty quickly. The next month, Wall Street analysts downgraded First Solar’s stock after the company missed its third-quarter revenue target. "I think the Wall Street perspective is pretty short-term," says Ahearn.
That’s true, but it’s also true that, while photovoltaic cells that turn sunlight into electricity may play a potentially vital role in weaning the world from fossil fuels, a transition will take decades — and the business metrics surrounding the solar-power industry currently are anything but bright. After a period of rapid expansion, panel manufacturers today are reeling from a pronounced supply surplus, falling prices and stagnating sales. In 2009, industry revenue plunged by nearly 40% to about $25 billion from $40 billion the previous year, according to BankAmerica Merrill Lynch alternative-energy analyst Steven Milunovich. Solar-panel output far outstripped demand last year; manufacturers made 66% more product than they were able to sell, estimates research firm iSuppli located in El Segundo, Calif. Some analysts believe the dismal conditions will persist into 2011, setting up marginal players worldwide for failure. "A large number of manufacturers will not survive," says Paul Semenza, an analyst with research company DisplaySearch, based in San Jose, Calif.
The global glut has been building for a number of years as hundreds of solar cell and panel start-ups, attracted by a potential boom in alternative energy as oil prices climbed and by government solar-energy-subsidy programs, swarmed into the market. Because the industry’s barriers to entry are relatively low — crystalline solar cells are rudimentary semiconductors that are comparatively easy to make — the number of solar-panel and photovoltaic suppliers mushroomed nearly tenfold from 2002, when there were about 80 manufacturers, to somewhere between 500 and 800 today, according to iSuppli. In China and Taiwan, whole solar-energy sectors sprouted almost overnight. Stefan de Haan, an analyst for iSuppli, says industry profit margins,…
Industry fundamentals are looking pretty bad for solar.
After enjoying a few years of tight supply, far too much solar production capacity is coming online as a result.
Government policy hasn’t helped either. For 2009, half of total solar production might not even be sold due a change in government policy from a major solar buyer, Spain.
WSJ: Spain accounted for more than 40% of all new solar panel installation globally last year, installing 2.7 gigawatts — five times the 2007 figure — out of a global total of 5.6 gigawatts. According to Spain’s photovoltaic industry association, Asif, the country’s market was worth €16.38 billion ($23.24 billion). This year, with cuts to aid and a more complicated application process, there has been no new installation in Spain.
Other countries are introducing aid to the solar sector, particularly the U.S. But the new U.S. measures aren’t expected to arrive in time to shore up demand this year. And while China has pledged support for the solar industry via economic-stimulus packages, support is likely to primarily benefit its own low-cost producers that have easy access to credit from state-owned Chinese banks.
Even based on bullish Barlcays numbers shown below, supply is likely to oustrip demand by 30-40% for many years. This could collapse prices down to merely the cost of production… or worse.
Sahm Adrangi: Currently, there is too much supply in all the steps. There is too much polysilicon. There are too many wafers. There are too may solar cells and there are too many modules. The oversupply began in 4Q08, and has only become more exacerbated as time has gone on. Polysilicon prices have crashed from about $400/kg to about $70/kg. Marginal cost is estimated to be around $35 to $45/kg, and I’ll bet that prices will get there soon enough.
Perhaps companies such as Suntech (STP), Yingli (YGE), SunPower (SPWRA), and even First Solar (FSLR), despite its technology advantage, could be in for a long, nasty price war.
I’ve been a long time investor in the solar space (circa late 06) and one thing that has really irked me over the years is the complete lack of differentiation. Much like the market as a whole nowadays, its "all or nothing" in this space. The one exception has been First Solar (FSLR) – an American "thin film" (different technology than most solar companies) producer. The Chinese names have especially all been thrown together in one pot and when its time to run up solar, they all go up together (in varying degrees) and when solar is out of favor they all get pole axed. Hence doing any due diligence is really a waste of time.
Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and a company that has cost me many real (and virtual) dollars over the years, Trina Solar (TSL) are 2 of the Chinese solar markets with good size, and the most integrated production models. This should have differentiated them over the years – but as I said above, not in American investors eyes. We like "big easy to understand, sweeping themes" – i.e. oil up, solar good. And that’s as comprehensive as it seems to get.
We are seeing some nice action in both these names today, on the back of an analyst report which is alluding to the advantages the two companies have. Now that silicon (which is the main cost component on the material side) has swooned after bottlenecks plagued the industry for 3+ years, the other main cost is labor. And you are not going to compete with the Chinese on labor costs…
Both Trina Solar (TSL) and Yingli Green Energy(YGE) shares are trading higher today following upgrades by Morgan Stanley analyst Sunil Gupta. He thinks both companies are going to take market share in the solar sector from U.S.-based and European rivals. Here are the details
First Solar (FSLR) gave an "impressive" presentation yesterday at its investor/analyst meeting about the future of its business, but it wasn’t enough to make analysts feel better about the stock.
We’ve received analyst reports morning from FBR, Deutsche Bank and Cannaccord Adams. Here’s their summaries:
Canaccord Adams downgraded from Buy to Hold with a $180 price target with a 25x multiple of its 2009 EPS estimate.
IMPACT: Modestly negative. First Solar remains the leading solar company, in our opinion; however, the company issued fairly ambitious targets with respect to the project pipeline and technology advances, and a lack of visibility into further positive catalysts remains. Additionally, the company’s business model and financial model are changing fairly significantly. As we suspected, the company’s new focus will lower GMs but likely increase income in absolute terms. While the company has finally properly set expectations, we believe that the decreasing margin profile may turn some investors off until the higher income and cash flows actually materialize.
FBR has an underperform rating with a $110 price target with 5X EV/sales and 12x EV/EBITDA, versus the its peer group (SPWRA, STP, TSL, YGE) average of 1.5x EV/sales and 8x EV/EBITDA.
We walked away from the First Solar (FSLR) analyst event impressed with the quality of presentation and the company’s long-term vision, which was communicated clearly, We continue to believe that First Solar is among a few industry leaders that have sound long-term and short-term strategies based on the realities of the industry. However, in light of the fact that the company has now publicly acknowledged that the business model is changing (revenue mix has changed from one item to three separate items), we think there is an increased probability of a capital increase (to beef up the balance sheet), while challenges remain in the near term (excess inventories, customer insolvency, tight credit market) that are the most important factors, which, in our view, will pressure the stock for the remainder of CY09. Additionally, we walked away feeling incrementally confident that the consensus estimates are too aggressive and do not reflect the realities of the industry.
Deutsche Bank maintains its hold rating raising its price target to $170 from $167, with a 20x C2010 EPS valuation.
Someone is trying to knock First Solar (FSLR) off its perch by tipping investigators that its OptiSolar acquisition might not be above board.
A private citizen told California investigators to check out the land rights First Solar said it acquired when it paid $400 million in stock for OptiSolar’s project pipeline. When the deal was announced, First Solar said it received "strategic land rights of approximately 136,000 acres." In reality, OptiSolar only had applications for the land rights.
Applications are considerably less valuable. If First Solar labeled those applications as assets, and priced them into the acquisition, then the company may be in violation of the law. At this point, it’s unclear if First Solar did or did not label them as assets. It’s also unclear if it’s illegal to price them into the deal, reports Dow Jones.
In spite of the haze around this minor infraction, it’s receiving a decent amount of coverage. Major news outlets are reporting on it as well as most energy/solar focused blogs.
Our intial reaction was that this was much ado about nothing. The Bureau Of Land Managment in California is worried about speculators paying for applications, holding them, then selling them to developers at higher prices. We don’t consider First Solar a speculator, so we thought it was long shot that they were violating the law.
While developing a project is not First Solar’s typical operating pattern, it is a direction the company is heading. In the relase announcing the OptiSolar acquisition, First Solar mentioned other construction projects it was working on. For this reason, we don’t think First Solar plans on just selling off its application permits.
We are curious about the identity of the "private citizen" that tipped investigators. After news broke that First Solar was under investigation, Earth2Tech reported that:
A couple weeks ago we received an email query from an exec at an environmental group wondering about the legality and ethics of solar maker OptiSolar incorporating yet-to-be-approved Bureau of Land Management land applications into its price when solar giant First Solar agreed to acquire the thin-film PV company back in March. I’m not sure how legal it is, I told him, but I would assume
With Carrier setting the precedent for what future negotiations with the Trump administration may look like, Ford CEO Mark Fields has come forward to layout potential policy changes that would be important to preserving auto jobs in the United States. Not surprisingly, per an interview with Bloomberg, Fields' opening "ask" focused on less restrictive fuel economy standards, new currency-manipulation rules to promote free and fair trade and corporate tax reform.
Ford Motor Co. was a target of Donald Trump’s criticism on the campai...
OPEC agrees to cut output. Oil jumps, stocks rise, gold falls. The political focus shifts to upcoming Italian, French and Austrian elections, all of which could go against the establishment. India’s war on cash may turn into war on gold. Political class still searching for an explanation (see “Best of the Web”). Trump’s cabinet takes shape, with mostly old and a few new faces.
Internet troubles have limited me tonight, but the one chart I want to show is the near 5% loss in the Semiconductor Index. Having escaped relatively unscathed from recent day's selling it was a whirlwind of action for the index today.
This had obvious consequences on the Nasdaq. The Nasdaq did relatively well to suffer just over a 1% loss. However, there were 'sell' triggers for On-Balance-Volume and Directional Index. There was also an acceleration in the relative underperformance of the index to the S&P.
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Last Thursday we reported that in a startling development seeking to breach the privacy veil of users of America's largest bitcoin exchange, the IRS filed court papers seeking a judicial order to serve a so-called “John Doe” summons on the San Francisco-based Bitcoin platform Coinbase.
The government’s request is part of a bitcoin tax-evasion probe, and se...
There is a reason no Berkshire Hathaway investor chides Buffett when the company has a bad quarter. It’s because Buffett has so thoroughly convinced his investors that it’s pointless to try to navigate around 90-day intervals. He’s done that by writing incredibly lucid letters to investors for the last 50 years, communicating in easy-to-understand language at annual meetings, and speaking on TV in ways that someone with no investing experience can grasp.
Yes, Buffett runs an amazing investment company. But he also runs an amazing investor company. One of the most underappreciated part of his s...
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Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer. One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."
Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.
Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.' Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color). Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is und...
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