by Option Review - October 18th, 2013 4:46 pm
by phil - April 25th, 2012 8:28 am
A meteoric 10% rise pre-market is being celebrated by the Global markets even though it's really only part of the way back to the $644 high that was, very recently, supposed to be a stepping stone on the way to $1,000. Are we really going to get all excited just because AAPL's earnings didn't suck? That seems kind of silly as I'm pretty sure they were never going to get to $1,000 by just earning $10 a share per quarter, were they?
I have nothing bad to say about AAPL. We were bearish on them at $640 but $550 was our buy target and we didn't take direct action on AAPL yesterday as we were worried they might disappoint so our 1:31 bullish trade idea for Members was the QQQ June $60/63 bull call spread at $2.35 and those should be well on their way to $3 this morning as the Qs are up 2% to $66 pre-market already.
I mentioned in yesterday's post that we had already played TQQQ (ultra-long Nasdaq) the day before and that one was the more aggressive May $103/110 bull call spread at $4, selling ISRG Jan $350 puts for $4.40 for a net .40 credit on the $10 spread. Any offset would do, of course but we REALLY wouldn't mind owning ISRG for $350 if it goes on sale (now $560) but, if not, we'll take the free money. As a 3x ultra, TQQQ will be up 6% this morning, already at our $110 goal and, if they can hold it, we're looking at a very nice 150% gain on just the bull spread with a 2,600% gain on the full spread – either way, not a bad way to play!
We had also taken the QQQ MAY $63/66 bull call spread at $1.90 on Monday and that deal was so good we didn't feel we needed an offset. That's the difference between catching the bottom, like we did on Monday and chasing a run, as we did with the Qs on Tuesday – the rewards of being contrarian investors!
One trade that may not be going well for us was the AAPL weekly $575 calls, which we bought for $20.75 against the sale of the May $590s for $22 for a net $1.25 credit. We didn't think AAPL would pop $600 so fast, so we're a…
by phil - March 9th, 2012 7:53 am
The Greek debt crisis is over!
Again. Well, for now. Despite the "voluntary" participation of 85% of the debt-holders, collective action clauses (CAC) will be triggered to force other bondholders and a similar action in Argentina led to 10 years of lawsuits – so we have that to look forward to. "The rule of law has been treated with contempt," said Marc Ostwald from Monument Securities. "This will lead to litigation for the next ten years. It has become a massive impediment for long-term investors, and people will now be very wary about Spain and Portugal."
“Even if we band aid this Greek situation right now, they’re going to default down the road or write down 100 percent of the debt,” said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.
Now the European Commission has sent a team of experts to Spain to check its budget deficit data, according to Spanish website Expansion, and they will be greeted by a National Strike, scheduled for March 29th, to protest the austerity measures the EU is trying to enforce. Greek bonds are already passing the 20% mark again so this "fix" has lasted all of a few hours and already we're seeing rates creep up in Italy, Spain and Portugal (Ireland can't even borrow money – at any price) and part of the reason is they just blatantly screwed over the last batch of bondholders and Credit Default Swaps have now been revealed as completely useless tools to protect bond investments – and part of the reason is Uncle Sam needs to borrow a record $227Bn to pay the bills for February alone:
While the above chart may look like a catastrophe to a casual observer, especially considering February is the shortest month of the year – others may be cheered by the thought that the US will never actually have to pay this money back, as Greece has now shown us all that the path to default is celebrated by global markets climbing to record highs. So, if Greece's $450Bn default can get us to Dow 13,000 – imagine what the US's $16Tn default will do – I can't wait!
We are waiting for the jobs report this morning but according to the Gallup poll, there aren't any. Gallup sees 9.1% unemployment in February, up…
by Option Review - February 27th, 2012 2:08 pm
Today’s tickers: UTX, FSLR & CCL
UTX - United Technologies Corp. – A burst of call activity on United Technologies may mean traders are expecting shares in the operator of Otis, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky and others to rise substantially ahead of March expiration. The stock is roughly flat on the session, down 0.10% at $83.89 as of 1:10 p.m. on the East Coast. Roughly one hour into the trading session, traffic in out-of-the-money call options with three weeks remaining to expiration spiked – this following Friday’s bullish action in the $85 weekly options. One or more traders appear to have purchased some 1,700 calls at the Mar. $85 strike at a premium of $0.76 each and at least 2,500 calls at the Mar. $87.5 strike for an average premium of $0.22 apiece. Call volume is heaviest up at the Mar. $90 strike, where more than 9,100 contracts changed hands against open interest of just 201 contracts. A block of 6,415 of the $90 strike calls, the largest single trade in UTX options today, was purchased by one investor for $0.09 each. The sizable block of call options appears to be a low-cost, low probability bet that shares in UTX may be rally sharply ahead of March expiration. Profits may be available on the position in the event that shares in UTX jump 7.4% to top the effective breakeven price of $90.09 by expiration next month. Shares in UTX last traded above $90.09 back in July 2011. The stock has rallied nearly 13.0% since the start of the New Year.
FSLR - First Solar, Inc. – Big prints in First Solar put options appear to be the work of an investor taking profits on one sizable put spread and simultaneously initiating a fresh bearish stance on the stock.…
by Option Review - December 14th, 2011 2:35 pm
Today’s tickers: AVP, FSLR & GLD
AVP - Avon Products, Inc. – Investors cheered news that the beauty products seller will seek a replacement for its current CEO next year, sending shares in Avon Products up as much as 11.1% to $17.93 at the start of the trading session. The purchase of 10,000 calls at the July 2012 $20 strike on a 33 delta may at first glance appear to be the work of a bullish investor gearing up for shares in the cosmetics seller to extend gains. However, the long calls were tied to short stock, indicating the trader responsible is bearish on Avon and hoping to profit from a pullback in the price of the underlying. The investor sold 330,000 shares of AVP stock at $17.40 this morning and bought the calls, thereby synthetically buying long puts to benefit from share price erosion.
FSLR - First Solar, Inc. – Options activity suggests the end of this week may be even uglier for First Solar shareholders who saw the price of the stock tank today after the company again cut its earnings and revenue forecasts for 2011. Shares in the largest U.S. solar company are currently trading at their lowest since 2007, down 20.0% on the day at $33.98 as of 12:15 PM in New York. The stock has dropped more than 80.0% off the February 18, 2011, two-year high of $175.45. December expiry call and put trading on First Solar indicates investors are expecting the sell-off to continue through the end of the trading week and expiration. Bears purchased in- and out-of-the-money puts to prepare for further share price erosion in the next few days. Strategists positioning for the stock to sink to fresh lows picked up 1,600 puts at the Dec. $33 strike this morning for an average premium of $0.78 each.…
by Option Review - September 28th, 2011 2:15 pm
Today’s tickers: FSLR, DBC, CDE & SNDK
FSLR - First Solar, Inc. – Put options are active on the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar modules this morning, with shares in the Tempe, Arizona-based company falling as much as 8.35% to touch an intraday low of $66.23. Shares fell after analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald lowered their 2011 EPS estimates for First Solar, cut their target share price to $55.00 from $88.00, and reiterated a ‘Sell’ rating on the stock. A debit put spread initiated in the December contract may yield maximum potential profits to one bearish trader if shares in FSLR drop to $55.00 at expiration. It looks like the trader purchased 2,000 in-the-money puts at the Dec. $70 strike for an average premium of $11.50 each, and sold the same number of puts at the lower Dec. $55 strike at an average premium of $4.83 apiece. Net premium paid to initiate the spread amounts to $6.67 per contract. The investor profits at expiration in December if shares in First Solar fall 4.4% off today’s low of $66.23 to breach the effective breakeven point on the spread at $63.33. Maximum potential profits of $8.33 per contract are available to the trader should shares plunge 16.95% to trade below $55.00 at December expiration. Options implied volatility on the stock is up 10.05% at 85.13% as of 12:30 pm EDT.
DBC - PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund – Shares in the PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund, an ETF that tracks the performance of the DBIQ Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Index Excess Return, are down slightly by 0.20% to stand at $27.05 this morning. The price of the underlying has fallen 10.5% since the start of September, but options activity on the fund today suggests at least one strategist may benefit from…
by Option Review - March 16th, 2011 4:53 pm
Today’s tickers: TIF, EWJ, FSLR, HD, PEET, EWJ, ENDP & CVC
TIF - Tiffany & Co. – The retailer of fine jewelry and other high-end luxury goods has not lost its sparkle according to some contrarian traders establishing bullish bets on the stock this morning. Shares in Tiffany & Co. fell as much as 8.8% to an intraday low of $54.58 today, but pared some of the earlier losses to stand 3.9% lower on the session at $57.52 as of 11:35am in New York. One investor betting on a recovery in the price of Tiffany & Co. shares initiated a three-legged spread to prepare for the rebound. The trader sold 2,500 puts at the January 2012 $50 strike for an average premium of $4.62 each, purchased the same number of in-the-money calls at the January 2012 $55 strike at an average premium of $8.46 per contract, and sold 2,500 calls up at the January 2012 $70 strike for an average premium of $2.77 a-pop. Net premium paid to establish the bullish position amounts to $1.07 per contract. Thus, the options player is prepared to make money in the event that Tiffany’s shares exceed the average breakeven price of $56.07 through expiration day in January. Maximum potential profits of $13.93 per contract pad the investor’s wallet in the event that shares surge 21.7% over the current price of $57.52 to trade above $70.00 by expiration next year. The jewelry retailer’s shares currently tout an all-time high of $65.76, attained back on December 21, 2010. Finally, it looks another trader pocketed profits today on a long-term bearish bet established last month on Valentine’s Day. It appears the investor originally purchased 500 puts at the January 2012 $60 strike for a premium of $5.65 each on February 14, when shares in TIF traded as high as $65.59. Today, it looks like the trader sold the now in-the-money puts for a hefty premium of $9.40 apiece. Net profits on the put sale amount to $3.75 per contract. The overall reading of options implied volatility on Tiffany & Co. is up 11.1% at 45.23% just before 11:55am. The luxury goods retailer is slated to report fourth-quarter earnings before the market opens next Monday.…
by phil - January 13th, 2011 8:16 am
The last of the bears are now capitulating. We’re hearing it in Member Chat and we’re reading it in analyst reports and we’re seeing the fund managers on TV – it is very out vogue to be a bear.
Just a few weeks ago, I pointed out to Members how few bears remained by saying "Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you – you would be the only bear." That was way back when "only" 20% of investors were bearish – as of yesterday, we lost 1/3 of those poor creatures and now only 13% of the market is bearish. Now you can look diagonally as well and you’ll STILL be the only bear!
Certainly the market seems to be proving the primary axiom of "You can’t fight the Fed." Pretty much no matter what happens, the market goes up. Bryan Leighton from Traddr! Makes a good point saying: "It’s a neutral to positive market and the only thing that can change that is some sort of surprise event out of Europe or out of Asia or something major out of the US that the Fed is not ready for or prepared for. If they are prepared for it – it will not happen – it will not have a major effect on the markets."
That’s the reality we’re dealing with out there. As long as the Fed and their pet IBanks are running the markets and as long as volume is at 3-year lows, allowing the TradeBots to control each move – then it is wrong to be a bear. But, is it 87% wrong? 87% bullish sentiment isn’t just "very" bullish – it’s a new, historic high. It’s like going to a fight where the entire crowd only cheers for one guy which, like professional wrestling, would be an automatic indication that the game must be fake, Fake, FAKE!
As you can see from this longer-term chart, we are as extremely bullish now as we were extremely bearish in the two worst market events of the past quarter-century. Much the way that Black Monday of 1987 and the Crashes of 2008/9 were unique buying opportunities at 15% bullish, this may be a unique shorting opportunity at 15% bearish that you are not likely to see again for…
by phil - November 16th, 2010 8:29 am
It’s hard to be in cash, isn’t it?
I’ve been calling for cash for weeks and now I’m starting to feel like Braveheart, trying to get anxious Members to hold, Hold, HOLD in chat every day as traders, by nature, like to trade and sitting in cash waiting for market certainty is pretty boring. Of course it’s a lot less boring than riding the market down all tied up in positions, isn’t it? As you can see from David Fry’s TLT chart, we did get it right when I called a top on Treasuries at $105 (Sept 24th) but it did take it a little while before it really began breaking down – better early than late in your market timing!
I was early with "October’s Overbought Eight" on the 3rd although, obviously, we had a few huge winners on our short-term plays as we caught that first dip on NFLX, PCLN, BIDU and FSLR while AMZN is looking good as is TLT (Dec $102 puts now $8.50 from net .35 entry, up 2,328% and done, of course). MOS, on the other hand, went up and up but is finally backing off it’s run. Dec $62.50 puts at $2.10 should do quite well if they fail to hold the $65 line.
CMG, on the other hand, has become our white whale, now up 27% from where we first looked at them. The original play was a ratio backspread of 4 March $190 calls at $10.75 ($4,300), selling 5 Nov $175 calls for $8.75 ($4,375) which was a net credit of $75 on the spread. The good news is the March $190 calls are now $51 ($20,400) but the very bad news is the Nov $175s are now $56 ($28,000). We have, of course adjusted this trade several times but it is still very painful to wait out.
An example of a simple adjustment on a trade like this is to roll the calls to 10 Jan $210 calls at $28 ($28,000) and rolling the March calls to 8 June $230 calls at $29 ($23,200) so an extra $2,800 put into the trade to buy a more manageable 6-month spread. When you do this, you have to keep in mind that your net entry has gone up from a $75 credit to a $2,725 debit and killing the trade now would cost $4,800 more so the…
by phil - October 15th, 2010 6:12 pm
Up and up the markets go, where they stop – only Ben knows!
We actually initiated the October 8 picks on Thurs, Sept 30th, when we had that crazy Dow spike to 10,950. As it was the last day of the month we got an instant winner on the NFLX play and some other good ones as we plunged to 10,700 that Monday. In between, when I wrote the post on Sunday, Oct 3rd, I said "I hate to go short."
We were still very bullish in our virtual portfolios (see September’s Dozen, Turning $10K to $50K, Defending with Dividends, 9 Fabulous Dow Plays and the June 26th Buy List) since the June bottom (and we were early on that call too) but we felt is was time to start covering with some bearish plays as we completed our projected 12.5% run back 11,000. These 8 trade ideas were to get the ball rolling in October. Since then we have flown up to 11,062 on the Dow, slightly over our projected top, much the way 9,650 was slightly below our projected bottom in July. The rally still has not retraced enough to cause us to give up on our long-term longs so this is a BALANCING move on an expected pullback, not an overall long-term bearish posture – always be clear about that! We’ve been bullish since the beginning of July as this point it pays to diversify.
Like July, we can take advantage of the the spike out of our range to scale into positions and to roll and adjust the trades and, like July, we looked at some bullish covers along the way – just in case we are even earlier than we thought. I’m not going to get into the whole macro thing here – I did that all week but everything old is new again, as you can see from this chart:
I don’t know how well you can see this but I copied the current rally and lined up the bottom with the Feb rally. It’s hard to see because the movement is VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL. That’s right, Lloyd is either too lazy or too cheap to even bother to change the Bots he uses to gooses the markets. As you can see in the area with the extra lines – day after day, tick…