by phil - August 21st, 2012 6:58 am
Here we go again (again)!
Yep, that's what I said last Tuesday and the Tuesday before that because Tuesday is a day they push the Futures higher and ditch the Dollar and tell you that this time it's different because of the same rumors they had the Tuesday before only this week – the data is getting worse and worse, as we know is better, right?
Last Tuesday we set levels to capitulate and go fully bullish at Dow 13,464, S&P 1,428, Nasdaq 3,060, NYSE 8,160 and Russell 816 and, as of yesterday's close we had the Nasdaq and the Russell over their marks needing just one confirmation to make it 3 of 5 and begin to flip our short-term portfolios (the $25KPs) bullish. We are soooo close but, so far – no cigar.
While we waited, we looked at some upside hedges that would do well if the market continued higher. Just as we get downside protection when we're bullish – we use upside protection when we're bearish and I suggested taking 5% or 10% positions in aggressive upside plays to help balance a bearish portfolio against – well against exactly what happened in the past 7 days. Our trade ideas were:
- 2 FAS Oct $105/115 bull call spread at $2, selling 1 BBY 2014 $18 puts for $3.25 for net .75, now $1.15 – up 53%
- 2014 SHLD $32.50 puts sold for $7.50, now $6.40 – up 15%
- 6 EWJ Jan $9 calls at .53, selling 1 BBY 2014 $18 put at $3.25 for a net .07 credit, still net .07 credit – even
- TNA Oct $55/61 bull call spread at $2.50, selling Oct $42 puts for $1.90 for net .60, now $1.80 – up 200%
The BBY puts jumped over 20% yesterday, from below $3 to $3.75 and that killed two of our trades (and worse today after earnings!), that were up significantly in Friday's update (which is why we take quick gains like that off the table). The good news is the EWJ play gives us a nice, new entry at the same net price so that one is still good and, of course, we are done with TNA after making 200% in a week and we'll find a fresh horse for that money.
by phil - August 13th, 2012 8:29 am
Think Mcfly, THINK!
Forget the rhetoric, forget what Cramer says – or any of the other idiots on what used to be accurately called "the idiot box." Just look at this one, simple chart (thanks Doug Short) and tell me – why on earth would the Fed step in and take emergency action when the market is at a multi-year high?
Have they EVER done this before? EVER? Has ANY Central Bank EVER taken emergency liquidity measures when their stock market was at or near their all-time highs? And look at the interest rates (the red line) – there's nowhere to go folks – not unless the Fed is going to start PAYING US to borrow money. In which case – sign me up for $10Bn…
This is the point that was made this week on the cover of Stock World Weekly, and my comments in "The Week Ahead" section were:
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 - April 30th, 2012 7:55 am
Is this time going to be different?
Sure, why not? Don't let the fact that we had pretty nasty sell-offs the last 4 Mays dissuade you from being gung-ho bullish into this one – after all – it takes bulls and bears to make a market, doesn't it?
We've been prone to focusing on the negative lately – mostly because the positive is pretty much all you hear in the Corporate Media and we like to have balance. If they were too bearish, I'd make a bullish case but this weekend we focused on "Money, Power and Wall Street," and the deteriorating Global situation, which got no better this morning with Spain's -0.3% GDP Report, Eurozone Inflation above forecasts at 2.6%, the S&P downgrading 16 Spanish Banks, California's Tax Collections are running 26% behind schedule, gasoline is hitting record highs in Europe while Business Investment in Europe drops BELOW the 2008 lows:
Should we be concerned? Why should we be – look how high the market is! Doesn't that prove that everything is OK? It sure proved it in October of 2007, when the Dow was at 14,000 and it was still proving it on Monday, May 19th, 2008 – when the Dow was at 13,028 for the last time until March 13th of this year, when 200-point one-day pop sent us all the way to 13,177. We topped out around and fell all the way to 12,700 a month later but now we're back and THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT, right?
For one thing, the SNB spent $4.1Bn propping up the Euro in Q1 – that's a lot of money for a country whose entire GDP is just $500Bn! Fortunately for the Swiss, their insane money printing did cause their gold holdings to rise by $1.2Bn so their net loss in manipulating the Global economy was "only" $2.8Bn so I'm sure they can sustain this farce for another quarter or two if they wish.
Farce is too kind a description for the fraud being perpetrated by the Central Banksters, according to the Economic Policy Journal's Bob Wenzel, what had this to say in his speech to the NY Fed last week (the whole speech is a must read):
Under Chairman Bernanke there have been significant changes in direction
by phil - April 20th, 2012 8:17 am
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends We're so glad you could attend
Come inside! Come inside!
There behind a glass is a real blade of grass
Be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!
Come inside, the show's about to start
Guaranteed to blow your head apart
Rest assured you'll get your money's worth
The greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth. – ELP
What a long, strange week it's been in the markets.
I know we've been having fun. See that turn in the S&P at 2:35? My 2:46 comment to Members in Chat was:
$25KP/StJ – Keep in mind it's an aggressive portfolio BUT, in the $5KP, we're going to take $1.80 and run for the DIA $127 puts on the whole thing and 1/2 out in the $25KP.
That's two days in a row we nailed the turn almost to the minute (Wednesday it was USO) and those $127 puts cashed out with a 50% profit in 2 days (we picked them up on the 17th). I put it to you – are we simply amazingly good at picking tops and bottoms or is the market, in fact, a total scam and we just happen to be good at identifying criminal patterns of behavior?
Since our premise for making these calls is that the market is a scam and since I said just yesterday morning "Every morning we have a pump job to short into and every afternoon there is a BS stick-save to re-establish our shorts" – you have to at least consider the possibility that the markets are, in fact, fixed.
So it should come as no surprise that our ultra low-volume Futures are back up this morning with oil once again giving us an entry at our $103.50 shorting spot (see yesterday's post). We caught a $1,300 per contract ride down to $102.20 yesterday and then all we have to do is wait and let them pump it back up to $103.50 and we short it again and already we're back to $103.25 (7:30) for a quick $250 per contract gain and now we wait for the next run-up and see if we can short them again – maybe at $104 this time. If people are going to manipulate the Futures – that's fine…
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 - March 14th, 2012 8:10 am
Yesterday, we talked about the BS that is Fox News.
Ironically, some of the "news" outlets that generally carry my articles (who's names shall be protected because they are wimps) decided it was too controversial for their readers so we know that's not a topic we're allowed to discuss in America, for fear of being black-listed. Today we'll see if we can make it a two-fer in the Bracket of Evil, as I have a juicy resignation letter from Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs (thanks Rev Todd), who is no small player, but the head of the firm's US Equity Derivative Business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Just a couple of excerpts:
I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.
I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail.
by phil - March 2nd, 2012 8:18 am
Oil shot up to $110.55 yesterday.
The news was that a pipeline in Saudi Arabia had been attacked and oil had been running up all day into this "news," which, funnily enough, turned out to be fake. We caught the news at 3:05 in Member Chat (thanks Kustomz) and we had been waiting for oil to stop going up so we could short it. The turn came at the $110.50 in the Futures (/CL) and we caught a nice run down to $109 and I reiterated, at 3:36, with oil still at $109.88 my love for the USO April $40 puts, which were $1.08 at the time and finished the day at $1.15.
As Malsg pointed out in Member Chat: "The pictures of the fire are taken in daylight … but Saudi sunset was several hours ago … the oil market only stared going nuts after the close." A very good observation that gave us the resolve to stay short on oil – which is working out fantastically this morning as well.
We also grabbed an aggressive short spread on BNO, as it seemed the whole day's run had been BS, with traders in the know stocking up ahead of the fake news so they could unload barrels into the retail suckers who bought into the spike. Don't worry though – no one who bought oil up from $105 on Thursday to $109 ahead of the news will be arrested or even questioned – we'll just keep pretending the total farce of oil trading is a legitimate pricing mechanism, even though it costs people around the world hundreds of Billions of Dollars each year in excess charges (see "Goldman's Global Oil Scam Passes the 50 Madoff Mark").
Now, this is the part where I would usually point out how the economy is weaker than we think etc. but I'm not going to do that this morning because the S&P still over 1,360 and, if a stronger Dollar isn't going to stop this rally – nothing will. Even yesterday, I joked to Members that I wasn't going to highlight negative news items in red anymore as there was no such thing as bad news in this market.
As you can see from David Fry's SPY chart, we''re back testing the bottom of that channel today and, if we don't break down here, then we can…
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 - November 15th, 2011 12:48 pm
Today’s tickers: GME, FTR, SUN & HNZ
GME - GameStop Corp. – The remainder of the trading week is unlikely to be all fun-and-games for shareholders in GameStop Corp., according to bearish trading in its put options this morning. Protective or perhaps outright bearish positioning in GME options arrives just in time for the world’s largest video game retailer’s third-quarter earnings report due out ahead of the opening bell on Thursday. It looks like the buyer of a debit put spread in the front month is prepared for shares in GME to head lower following the release. Shares in the world’s largest video game retailer are currently down 3.0% to stand at $23.90 as of 11:50 AM in New York. The investor responsible for most of the volume in GameStop Corp. options in the first half of the trading session on Tuesday purchased a 1,000-lot Nov. $23/$24 put spread for a net premium of $0.30 per contract. The trader makes money if shares in GME settle below the effective breakeven price of $23.70 at expiration this week. Maximum potential profits of $0.70 per contract are available to the put player in the event that shares in the video game retailer drop 3.75% from the current price of $23.90 to settle below $23.00 at expiration.
FTR - Frontier Communications Corp. – Options traders appear to be bulking up on bearish positions in Frontier Communications for the second consecutive day this week, with shares in the Stamford, Connecticut-based company sliding 2.3% lower to $5.43 by 11:15 AM ET on Tuesday. The stock also fell 2.3% on Monday to close at $5.57. Investors positioning for the stock to continue to drop within the next few months are accumulating sizable positions in the closest-to-the-money strike put available in the February contract. It looks like one investor snapped up more than 4,500 puts at the Feb. 2012 $5.0 strike for a premium of $0.35 each in the first 30 minutes of the trading session. The put buyer may profit at expiration next year if shares in Frontier fall 14.4% to breach the effective breakeven point on the downside at $4.65. Bearish trading in the same Feb. 2012 $5.0 strike put occurred in the final 10 minutes of trading on Monday, as well. It appears one investor purchased a block of 5,000 of the put options for a premium of $0.30 apiece yesterday. Both positions, which may or may not…