by Phil Davis - May 8th, 2014 8:32 am
Thank you Madam Chairwoman!
Not that Yellen said anything of substance but that won't stop her from saying it again this morning (9:30) so let the rally continue – for another day, at least.
Yellen made an congressional appearance yesterday, where she argued the economy “needed more help”. She didn’t articulate how the Fed might help given the ongoing taper, although ZIRP would continue for a considerable time which bulls took to mean “indefinitely”.
Oddly she also suggested small cap stocks were near bubble conditions but then said she couldn’t see any bubbles. All in all, it was the kind of obfuscating testimony that would have made Alan Greenspan proud.
As Dave Fry notes on his Dow chart, that index is just window dressing for the tourists, with 7 stocks (AXP, CVX, JNJ, MCD, MMM, UTX and V) accounting for ALL of the Dow's gains yesterday in this stupidly price-weighted index.
The Russell is clearly in trouble and tested that bottom bar at 1,080 again (1,088 was the low) early in the morning and we caught the turn on the nose in our Live Member Chat room, when my 10:25 comment to our Members was:
Wow, what a ride! Gotta take some profits off the table on the Futures shorts – people don't like Janet's testimony but she can still pull it out with the Q&A. /NQ at 3,500 – that shouldn't go down easy. Actually it's a good bullish bounce play, as is 1,090 on /TF (with very tight stops). /YM 16,300 is also a good line – go long on the laggard.
As you can see from the intra-day SPY chart – the timing of that call could not have been better! The Dow finished the day back at 16,500 and, at $5 per point per Futures contract, that made a $1,000 per contract on that call. We took $1,000 and ran when the Russell hit 1,100 but then got a chance to reload for a ride to 1,110 later that day (+$2,000 per contract).
by Phil Davis - May 7th, 2014 8:31 am
All of last week, I kept saying the market was only hitting highs because it was being manipulated that way and, by Friday we'd had enough and took our ill-gotten gains off the table once again. This week, it's obvious we're in trouble – but it's a lot harder to sell your stocks when they're already in trouble, isn't it?
It's a very hard discipline to take winners off the table but you should scale out of posiitons on the way up the same way you should scale into them on the way down (and the Strategy Section at Philstockworld has a great article about scaling – also lots of additional commentary in chat below the article).
There's nothing wrong with being in cash. Yesterday, from 1pm until 2:30, we had on of our Live Futures Trading Workshops (replay available here) and our 4 trades made $360 by the close (4pm) for a very nice $100+ per hour salary for just trading a few contracts. Our trade idea from yesterday's morning post (which you can get delivered to you pre-market, every day by SUBSCRIBING HERE) was to short the Nikkei (/NKD) at 14,350 and this morning we hit 14,050 – good for a $1,500 PER CONTRACT profit!
That's one of the things you can do with cash. We also have fun making earnings plays, like the FSLR trade we added to our Short-Term Portfolio yesterday. That trade idea was:
I think it's worth a try at selling 5 July $75 calls for $3 ($1,500) and buying, to cover, 4 Jan $77.50/85 bull call spreads at $2 ($800) for a net credit of $700 – let's do a set of those in the STP.
If FSLR is under $75 (it's about $69 after earnings), we pocket $700 PLUS whatever value remains on the January bull call spread (probably about half). That's against zero cash outlay ($700 credit, in fact) and possibly we'll just take quick money off the table and reload…
by Option Review - October 18th, 2013 4:46 pm
by Phil Davis - 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 Davis - 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 Davis - 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…