by phil - May 11th, 2012 7:55 am
1,488 more years!
That's right, who cares about JPM and their little $2Bn mistake when a new Mayan calendar has been discovered that goes all the way to the year 3,500? That kind of puts JPM's loss in perspective as it's only $1.34M per additional year to get back – hardly seems worth mentioning, does it?
I'm certainly not going to talk about it because it's as silly as planning the end of the World around a calendar that was carved into a rock (and now we know they simply ran out of rock or 2012 would not have been the end). JPM MAKES $18Bn a year – much of it from trading. That trading is not without risk – so of course they will have the occasional loss. There is nothing about JPMs loss that indicates an industry-wide problem – other than highlighting the generally insane levels of risk that our TBTF Banksters take on a daily basis.
What we SHOULD be concerned about is systemic problems in TBTF Nations such as China, where April Industrial Production rose at the slowest pace since 2009, Retail Sales are also slowing and, worst of all, Fiscal Revenue grew at just 6.9%, down sharply from 18.7% in March. India's Industrial Production fell 3.5% in March vs a 1.7% gain expected by "experts" like the idiots at JPM who bet on Global Markets making new highs in May and lost their assets. Meanwhile, the EC says the EU is in a "mild recession," with the Eurozone GDP forecast to contract 0.3% this year and, hopefully, expand 1% next year while running a 3.2% deficit in 2012.
Contracting 0.3% while spending 3.2% more than you have is not a "mild recession" folks – it's a catastrophe that is being paved over by tons of QE and other stimulus. Not like America, where our $1.4Tn deficit is close to 10% of our GDP and that's how we can expand by 2% – see Europe, you just don't know how to spend your way to prosperity!
Bernanke spoke to a group of senators yesterday about the potential harm to the economy from the expiration of several pro-growth policies, according to senators who attended the meeting. Bernanke discussed the scheduled end of programs including the Bush tax cuts, the payroll tax holiday and extended unemployment…
by phil - April 28th, 2012 6:57 am
Have you seen this?
Frontline did this very good documentary and I'd file it under "those who forget the past are CONDEMNED to repeat it" – let's all TRY not to repeat the mistakes of 2008… "Wall Street got bailed out and Main Street didn't" is the quote that neatly sums up the present situation. Wall Street and the top 10% of this country – of this World – are partying like it's 1999 while the bottom 90% continue to languish in the worst Recession since the Great Depression.
Despite a myriad of worrying data, the Corporate Media is in full-blown promotional mode – pushing stocks as if it were modern snake oil – the panacea that will cure all your ills. We often forget that essentially ALL of our news sources are publicly traded companies and have a vested interest in the stock market going higher. Hell, we have an interest in that too, as our longer-term virtual porfolios are entirely bullish - but that shouldn't preclude us from making a realistic assessment of the CURRENT situation, should it?
Caterpillar, 3M, United Technologies and ABB are among the manufacturers that have reported weak performances in China in the first quarter as economic growth has slowed nearly to a three-year low. Caterpillar’s sales in China fell between $250 million and $300 million in the first quarter, pushing the company, the world’s largest maker of earth-moving equipment, to export to other countries a large share of the equipment it made in China.
Concerns about China overshadowed better-than-expected earnings at the company, which is based in Peoria, Illinois, and led investors to push the stock down 5 percent Wednesday, which was great for us as CAT was on our Long Put List.
ABB, a maker of power equipment, reported profits in the past week that were below analysts’ expectations, caused by weak Chinese demand. “It was a very slow start to the year for China. China in January was extremely weak,” ABB’s chief financial officer, Michel Demaré, said Wednesday.
“Our business in China is off to a slow start,” said Gregory J. Hayes, the chief financial officer of United Technologies, whose Otis arm is the world’s biggest maker of elevators. The unit’s China sales dropped 9 percent in the first quarter. “The ongoing government…
by phil - April 17th, 2012 8:27 am
Wheeeee, what a ride!
As you can see from David Fry's chart of the SPY, we're all over the place but, notably, there's a method to the market's madness as high-volume selling is followed by low-volume buying – allowing the funds to dump out onto the retail bagholders at top dollar while the carnival barkers in the MSM tell the sheeple to buy those f'ing dips.
Cramer said, in last night's show, that the Dow is composed of big international companies that were finally able to break free from concerns over Europe’s debt crisis. For the entire month of April, these stocks were held hostage to the Europe’s debt troubles. Cramer said most of these companies have no real ties to Europe, though, so the fears are overblown.
We ended up with what amounted to a frontsie-backsie day where all of the last month's winners, stocks that were unaffected by the weak euro and the miserable European stock markets, got pummeled, while the losers that had become risk free shorts because of an expected European decline were actually able to rally.
What a moron! Seriously – "frontsie-backsie"??? I guess he needs to treat his audience like they are 2 because bigger kids might realize that telling investors to ignore Europe would be just as idiotic as an Asian or European carnival barker telling the rubes over there to ignore America when making investment decisions. Is it really possible, in this day and age, that people still believe America is immune to what is happening in the rest of the World?
Look at the downtrend in the Global Commodities Index – do you think you are immune from that? I guess, to some extent we are, because CNBC's sponsors continue to use any excuse to pump up the PRICE of commodities, no matter how much DEMAND falls off (see yesterday's chart on gasoline volume consumption).
As Fundamental investors, we can often be a bit ahead of the curve but we find the market usually catches up to reality at some point. Cramer and his ilk know they can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time (known as their "core audience") but even the mighty Corporate Media can't fool all of the people all of the time.
by phil - April 11th, 2012 8:01 am
Are you buying the dips?
We're not yet. Notice that we've now blown 4 of our 5 Must Hold lines (the Dow never did make theirs, which kept us bearish in the first place) and, technically, the S&P failed to hold 1,360 as well but close enough to avoid panic so far.
Falling from 1,420 to 1,360 is 60 points so we'll be looking for a weak bounce (20% retracement) to 1,372 and a strong bounce (40%) past 1,384 would get us back in a buying mood but let's not count those chickens before they're hatched.
France and Germany are bouncing 1.5% this morning as the Euro stages a recovery back to that critical $1.31 line and the UK is up 0.77% (7:40) with the Pound back at $1.59. We noted in Member Chat that this seems like SNB buying to support that 1.20 line on EUR/CHF as we;re certainly not getting a move back up in copper ($3.65), Natural gas ($2.04) or gasoline ($3.24) that we'd expect if we had any additional stimulus or some sort of positive economic data. Even gold is down this morning ($1,659) so I do not have a lot of faith in this early-morning market movement so far.
Clearly we're not going to get excited about anything until our indexes can at least take back those 50 dma's (red lines) and the Dollar holding it's line at 79.60 is also bad news for the bulls. To keep that 1.5% gain in perspective, it's 88 points – back to 6,695 and we're down from 7,150 so "only" 5 more 1.5% up days to go and Germany is back on top.
This is always the tricky part about retracements – it's not so much what you get on the bounce (not even 20% on the DAX), but is the bounce going to be sustainable to get you to 6,850, which is the 20 dma (3% higher than we are now) and then to 7,000, which is the falling 50 dma – 5% over the current mark?
Keep in mind that the longer it takes to retake the 50 dma, the more it curves down and then you are running into a declining 50 dma, which has a much better chance of rejecting you – especially as you are running out of gas after having to climb 5% just to get there.…
by phil - March 28th, 2012 8:19 am
Wasn't it just 2 days ago that the EU was all set to pop the ESM to $1.25Tn and the IMF was going to add another Trillion and the Fed was talking about more QE in the $1.25Tn range, which plunged the Dollar to multi-week lows? Shouldn't adding 6% of the entire planet's GDP in additional stimulus give us more than a one-day pop in the markets?
As I pointed out in Monday's Morning Alert to Members – these are all just RUMORS and my conclusion in the Alert was:
Despite the bullish turn of events (which we anticipated last week) we're more inclined to cash out our bullish trades into the excitement and press our bear bets and TOMORROW, if we're still over our levels – THEN we will scramble to add some aggressive bullish trades to our virtual portfolios. Again, I cannot stress enough that CASH is my preferred position because this market is tough to call and you need to be very flexible and very nimble to trade it.
We proceeded as planned and, so far, we haven't had any reason to capitulate and get more bullish and that is both surprising and disappointing as this is the end of the first quarter of 2012 – if not now – when? As David Fry notes:
Monday’s rally was typical as we head toward the end of the quarter. Hedge fund performance fees are on the line and any way to boost these profits is job one. Top holdings for hedge funds include the usual suspects: AAPL, IBM, INTC, BAC, DIS, HD etc.
With little volume it’s easy for algos and hedge funds to prop stocks on little hard news. Tuesday we briefly saw more of this. Just as markets were weakening a story appeared using the Fed’s favorite oracle, the WSJ, as Fed governor Rosengren stated, “more stimulus is on the table”. Immediately HFT algos jumped and markets rose if only briefly.
It's very exciting for us as PLCN (see Thursday's notes) went all the way up to $736 on Monday and sold off on some pretty heavy trading yesterday. Slowly but surely, our negative premise is beginning to take shape as Piper Jaffray is finally catching up with us and noting "a sharp decline in unique visitors to Priceline's booking.com" from growth of 61 percent during the…
by phil - March 15th, 2012 8:28 am
HAVE to as in forced against our will. HAVE to as in forced against reason and rational thought. We HAVE to follow the herd or be stampeded by it despite screaming FACTS like the ECRI data on the right that CLEARLY shows that the herd is INSANE!
USUALLY, the market (and its investors) understands that where there is smoke,t here is fire. The last time ECRI was this low (on the way down) was early 2008, by which time we KNEW the economy was stalling and the Government gave us a tax rebate that goosed us for a few months but then we crashed and burned in a horrible, horrible mess that kind of made us wish they hadn't screwed around in the first place.
The ONLY OTHER TIME ECRI was this low, since the great depression, was back in 2001, but the Nasdaq had long since crossed 3,000 from the other direction and was on it's way from 5,000 to 1,500 – only a 70% drop. Don't worry though, in 2007 the Nasdaq was all the way back to 2,850 and then only fell to 1,250 and that's just 56% so this time may indeed be different despite the lower low in 2007 on the 6-year cycle that we're again in year 5 of.
Clearly, things are much better than they were in late 2008/early 2009, right? I believe, at the time, people thought the World was going to end and they were lining up at banks in Europe to withdraw money and the US had 300 bank failures and the FDIC was down to its last $50M to cover the $8Tn worth of cash on deposit (all better now, they have $850M!) and 1,000,000 people a single month were losing their jobs… Yes, things are better than the end of the World, that's for sure!
But, are they Dow 13,200 better? Are they S&P 1,400 better? Are they Nasdaq 3,050 better?
The NYSE doesn't seem to think so. Although the Dow (14,100), the S&P (1,560) and the APPLdaq (2,800) and even the Russell (850) are all within striking distance of their 2007 highs, the NYSE (10,300) is still 21% below at 8,125. Why is our broadest market index, whose capitalization ($16Tn) is larger than the Nasdaq ($5Tn),…
by phil - March 6th, 2012 7:35 am
Romney, Newt or Santorum?
In the movie "Sophie's Choice," Meryl Streep was forced to make a terrible decision over which of her children would be sent to the gas chamber and which to the labor camps. Even after choosing, she was unable to live with the decision and she and her husband killed themselves, which manages to further screw the boy who was sent off to the labor camps, now an orphan too. That pretty much sums up this Primary season for the Republicans as they have to choose between 3 TERRIBLE candidates – any one of which is a pretty clear path towards National suicide.
A recent Gallup poll indicated 55% of Republican voters say they wish someone else was running but, that leaves 45% happy with their choices (I guess if they were Sophie, they would have just flipped a coin and been done with it) and perhaps today we'll get a better indication of who the front-runner is as 410 delegates go up for grabs today, which is much less than last election, when John McCain alone scored 511 delegates on Feb 5th, 2008. Interesting Republican trivia: On that day in 2008, Mitt Romney came in 2nd with 176, Mike Huckabee had 147 and Dr. Ron Paul scored 10. So Romney was only 1/3 as popular as McCain 4 years ago and I'm pretty sure McCain got his ass kicked in the General elections, didn't he?
Something has to change in this country as 93% of all income gains in 2010 (most recent figures) went to the top 1%. 93%. How does this work? In 2010, average real income per family grew by 2.3%, but the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.2%. Looking ahead to last year, National Accounts statistics show that corporate profits and dividends distributed have grown strongly in 2011 while wage and salary accruals have only grown only modestly. Unemployment and non-employment have remained high in 2011.
While it is very, VERY good to be in the top 1%, being in the bottom 99% – not so much. What I try to get the top 1% to see though, is that getting 45% of the growth, like we did under Clinton, is pretty good – especially when it means that EVERYONE is participating in economic improvements and the overall growth is…
by phil - September 9th, 2011 8:15 am
Obama did not satisfy the markets last night.
Although his $447Bn American Jobs Act is a step in the right direction, $307Bn (68%) of the money is coming in the form of tax cuts and Unemployment Insurance extensions, leaving just $140Bn to go towards the creation of actual jobs. Even if every single dollar of that money went directly towards paying a $40,000 salary – the entire amount would employ just 3.5M people, not even 1/4 of the amount of people who are out of work.
Is that the best America can do? Come up with a jobs program that MIGHT lower unemployment from 9% to 7% over the next year? Of course we won’t create 3.5M jobs for $140Bn because a lot of that money gets spent on parts and materials. It’s certainly not that the projects are unnecessary, it’s just that the scope of the program is too limited to have a substantial impact.
In fact, exactly one year ago, I wrote "Jobless Thursday – America’s Infrastructure Crisis" where I laid out the TRILLIONS of Dollars worth of repair work that MUST be done in this country sooner or later. Why don’t we do them SOONER, while 20M potential workers are sitting on the sidelines? We MUST spend at least $2Tn on infrastructure in the next 10 years so why not spend $400Bn this year and next rather than waiting until the last minute to do anything? The money is all borrowed over time either way but NOW is when people need to get back to work and, of course, if we get necessary projects done now instead of 10 years from now, then we, the People, get to enjoy 10 years of beneficial use out of them. This is not complicated stuff folks, just common sense…
Nonetheless, $447Bn is 3% of our GDP and figure about 2/3 gets spent in the first year so the program SHOULD keep us out of Recession in 2012 – yay for that at least. If Recession is off the table, then the markets are underpriced – now we have to consider whether or not the bill can get past the Republicans in Congress. By the way, if you have not read "Reflections of a GOP Operative" yet, please do – it’s an excellent insight into the current political climate.
We had flipped bearish yesterday, anticipating…
by phil - July 13th, 2011 8:29 am
China is still rolling along and the Fed says "maybe" on QE3.
That was all it took to get us to yesterday’s highs but we took the money and ran at 2:24, when I told Members in Chat "DON’T BE GREEDY!" As I had mentioned in yesterday’s post, our Morning Alert to Members put us long on Dow Futures (/YM) at 12,400 and Nasdaq Futures (/NQ) at 2,350, which made vast sums of money of course with the Dow up well over 100 points at the time. During Member Chat yesterday, we took advantage of the early dip to go long on TBT, FAS, WFR and QQQ while killing our short positions on USO, EDZ and FXI (see Monday’s post) as they had a great run and WE ARE NOT GREEDY!
Of course we have our bull call spreads from last week so we’re pretty bullish BUT still cautious because our indexes are not holding their lines – especially the always-troubling NYSE, which did not hold the "Must Hold" line and when we name a line "Must Hold" well, it MUST be held!
The other thing I said to Members at 2:24 in yesterday’s Chat was:
Keep in mind this rally has 100 Dow points to go just to get us back to Friday’s close (12,660) so don’t be impressed with less (S&P was 1,344, Nas 2,860, NYSE 8,411 and RUT 852).
At the moment, we’re not even getting a 50% bounce of this morning’s bottom and Friday’s close was way below Thursday so it’s very easy to give us a "rally" by tanking the Dollar and floating rumors of MORE FREE MONEY but, for now – it does nothing to change the greater reality.
That’s good advise for today as well. A mere hint of QE3 does not change the cost of Italian debt, nor will it help our Treasury sell $21Bn worth of 10-year notes today at 2.9% (what kind of idiot would trust our Government to give them back Dollars with less than 3% interest to guard against inflation?), nor will it employ people and we ABSOLUTELY know that QE3, if done like QE2, is going to…
by Option Review - June 24th, 2011 5:30 pm
Today’s tickers: STJ, POT, SNDK & FXI
STJ - St. Jude Medical, Inc. – A three-legged bullish options combination play on St. Jude Medical cost $8,500 to initiate today, but the strategist responsible for the transaction could walk away with more than $1.26 million in his wallet come January 2012 expiration. The options player appears to have sold puts on the medical devices maker to offset premium required to purchase a bull call spread. Shares in St. Jude Medical are currently down 1.9% to stand at $46.49 as of 1:10pm on the East Coast.
The investor sold 1,700 puts at the Jan. 2012 $40 strike for a premium of $1.70 each, purchased the same number of calls up at the Jan. 2012 $50 strike at a premium of $2.45 per contract, and sold 1,700 calls at the Jan. 2012 $57.5 strike for premium of $0.70 apiece. The net cost of putting on the three-way trade amounts to $0.05 per contract or a total of $8,500. The spread positions the trader to make money should STJ’s shares rally 7.7% over the current price of $46.49 to exceed the effective breakeven price of $50.05 at expiration next year. Maximum potential profits of $7.45 per contract, or $1,266,500, are available to the investor if the price of the underlying stock jumps 23.7% in the next seven months to trade above $57.50 at expiration in January. The trader loses the $8,500 paid to establish the position if shares fail to rally as predicted. Additional losses accumulate if shares are sharply lower at expiration. The short stance in Jan. 2012 $40 strike puts indicates the investor may wind up having 170,000 shares of the underlying put to him at $40.00 each should the options land in-the-money at expiration day. The maximum payload requires STJ…