by phil - September 14th, 2012 8:28 am
$85Bn a month!
Oh boy was I wrong when I said Ben Bernanke wasn't crazy enough to ease into a bull market. Yesterday, he exercised the full power of the Federal Reserve to confiscate your wealth and hand it over to the bankers. That's right, by engaging in what many consider reckless money-printing practices and announcing there is no end in sight, Bernanke caused the Dollar to fall below 79, down from 84 (6%) before all this QE talk began.
That's like taking all $100Tn worth of US Assets – everything you worked for your entire life – and just devaluing them by 6%. Many of our Conservative friends decry the 1% tax on wealth imposed by the French – but at least they are honest about it. At least they debate it and vote on it. Not Bern Bernanke – the Federal Reserve Chairman simply decrees that you will contribute 6% of your dollar-denominated assets towards more bank bail-out and there's no cut-off if you are below the top 2% – this is a confiscation from every man, woman and child in America.
How far down will Dr. Bernanke take your Dollars? That's the beauty of it – there's no limit! He warned Corporate America yesterday that he will continue to give them FREE MONEY as long as they keep refusing to hire more workers. The less American workers they hire – the more money he will give them. Sure, they can hire and spend overseas (most are) because that won't affect US unemployment rates but, if they start hiring Americans – THAT's when he will begin to take away the punch bowl.
See how this scam works?
It is hard to see how another round of QE would help the economy. Long-term interest rates are already at historic lows. With rates this low, even if QE put effective downward pressure on rates — a dubious proposition — the economy would be unlikely to benefit. If a 3.5% mortgage rate is of little consequence, there is no reason to believe that a 3.4% or even 3.3% rate would suddenly produce results.
Nor would quantitative easing result in a burst of money creation, as per traditional monetary policy, because the Fed now pays a quarter-point interest on excess bank reserves. With little growth in the demand for…
by phil - September 7th, 2012 8:30 am
This rally is never going to end!
Just look at this chart – we're breaking every level. THIS time is different – not only are we going to go on to 1,450, we're going to 1,500 and 1,550 and then 1,600 and then we're going to 1,700 and 1,800 and 1,900 and then we're going on to take on 2,000 – yeeeeeergh!
Sorry, I was channeling my inner Dean… Now that I've calmed down, I realize that this chart that got me so excited was actually the chart from March 5th and, as you can see from my end of February headlines like "Sell in March and Go Away," "This is the End – But For Who?" and "Fake-Out Thursday (March 8th) – Dollar Sacrificed on an Altar of Lies" – where I pointed out that rumors of more Fed easing (by John Hilsenrath of the WSJ, of course) had dumped the Dollar to 79 and that was accounting for the 1% gain in the S&P that day so – don't be fooled!
The ECB had just dropped $712,800,000,000 in fresh stimulus on the 29th and I asked "Will Another $712Bn Buy Us Another Day at 13,000?" Was I early? Yes. Did we miss the end of the rally? Yes. In fact, our $25,000 Portfolio at the time was so bearish, we were down almost $8,000 with huge bearish bets like 10 Short XRT March $55 calls, 10 short GLL March $17 puts, 10 April SCO 31/39 bull call spreads and 10 SCO short March $34 puts, 5 short FAS $88 calls, 5 March TZA $18 calls, 10 short SQQQ June $14 puts, 40 USO April $40 puts, 5 short FAS March $75 calls, 10 long FAS March $85 calls and 10 short FAS March $89 calls (a bearish spread), 10 TLT March $114/115 bull call spreads and 10 DIA March $129 puts.
The only bullish play we had at the time in our virtual portfolio was DMND, where we had 4 hopeless June $29 calls which we lucked out on when they spike on rumors in mid-March. Every other bullish position had been dumped and we were practically 100% bearish because the rally, at that point, seemed totally ridiculous. Just a months later, the Portfolio turned around and was up $8,000 and by May…
by phil - January 11th, 2012 8:21 am
Once again, we're done with our day before you get up.
In my 5am note to Members, I said: "I see nothing in the news to justify this pre-market "recovery" and I hate to sound like a broken record but I like shorting oil (/CL) if we get below that $102 line with tight stops and the Dow (/YM) is right at 12,400, which is a great spot to short. RUT (/TF) is at 762 and below 760 (same as yesterday) will confirm a downturn but 12,400 is a great line so why wait?" By 6:26, I was able to follow it up with:
And wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! There go the Futures!
It's 7:07 and we're still going down, with oil at $101.24 (up $760 per contract) and the Dow at 12,340 (up $300 per contract) and, as Dennis said: "Good enough for steak and eggs for me!" Roro got up late but still caught the Dow at 6:16 and that was right on the nose for the oil drop as well as we hit it right on the nose this morning and now we're done and waiting for the next good set-up.
Of course we scale in and scale out of positions as there's no need to get greedy in the Futures, where a single remaining contract catching a $1 move down in oil (now $101.25 again) pays $1,000. This week, we have even stationed our own Craigzooka in New Zealand, where it's tomorrow – which makes it much easier to bet on today's action as he can tell us what happened already! Not that today was all that hard to predict, right? My comment to Members LAST Wednesday was:
It’s been a pretty reliable bet that they tank the markets into the longer-term note auctions because it scares people into T-Bills and keeps the rates low. From this line-up, it seems to me they intend to jack us up on Friday and then zap us on Tuesday as Esther George releases something hawkish ahead of the 3-year and it’s no coincidence that Plosser, by far the biggest Hawk, is given the floor at 12:30 on Wednesday – just 30 minutes before the critical 10-year auction. Coincidence? Surely you cannot be that naive!
by phil - December 16th, 2011 8:25 am
It’s party time!
A lot of investors have been saying "Phuket" lately and they can only be referring to the annual Patong Carnival in Thailand, where the tourist bureau wants you to know the tuberculosis outbreak is "under control." Actually, it’s an amazingly beautiful place with great people – must be why so many people keep mentioning it when starting at the markets this week…
As I mentioned yesterday, we had to flip bullish because our bearish bets were no fun and we felt that A) the bottom was a little forced in order for Timmy to peddle his T-Bills and B) that Santa Clause is coming to town. Actually, we had plenty of bearish bets from when the market was high so we needed the bullish bets to get BALANCE!
Balance was the theme of our virtual White Christmas Portfolio and we added another $3,615 in gains over the past two weeks to bring us very close to a triple at $42,925 off our $15,000 start back on November 21st. This is a very aggressive virtual portfolio where we are practicing the art of hit and run trading. The positions we closed in the last 9 sessions were bullish bets with FAS, XLF, FAS, DIA, GLD, XLF, FAS and XLF and bearish bets with GLL, TZA, FAS (spread), USO, DIA, TZA, DIA, DIA, DIA, DXD. See – BALANCE!
We thought the market would go up and down (I know, such a stretch!) and the markets did, in fact go up AND down with an AVERAGE swing of 1.5% PER DAY but, in the end, we’re still consolidating around our Must Hold lines and right back where we were at the last options expiration day of November 18th – causing almost all puts and calls sold to sucker a month ago to expire worthless. Isn’t it a funny coincidence how all that seems to work out for the Banksters?
As I reminded our Members, our cynical motto at PSW is "We don’t care IF the game is fixed, as long as we can figure out HOW the game is fixed and place our bets accordingly."
by phil - December 5th, 2011 7:49 am
What a first month we had!
Oddly enough, when I was last on BNN (I’ll be on again this afternoon), we were just about to start our newest virtual portfolio after closing down this year’s virtual $25,000 Portfolio early as we were way past goal, over $130,000 on the 20th (up 420%). As that portfolio went so well, we decided to play a "White Christmas Portfolio" – as I explained on TV on Oct 24th, which aimed to practice making the same kind of small, aggressive trades, with the aim of turning $15,000 on October 24th into $25,000 by Christmas (66%).
In fact, I gave out our first trade idea, GNW, which was $6.30 during my BNN interview, now $6.47 (up 3%). We discussed the Jan $5/7.50 bull call spread for $1.10, which is now $1.40 and that’s up 27% but, more importantly, your gain playing the option INSTEAD of the stock is .30, vs .17 – that’s almost 100% better gain with NO MORE RISK than buying the stock while requiring less than 20% of the cash commitment (and no margin on just the bullish spread).
Of course, our actual WCP trade idea had another component deemed too confusing for TV – we also sold the short Dec $6 puts for .85 as an offset, which lowered the cash cost of the trade to .35 and those puts are now .20, up another .65 on their own and the net of the entire trade has gone from .35 to $1.20, which is a 242% gain on net. Of course, none of that matters – what matters is that you put a net of $350 into the trade (10 contracts) plus about $600 in margin on the short puts on October 24th and you can cash that trade out today (we elected to cover it on Friday) for $1,200 and that is clearly 242% more cash than you started with on October 24th – the margin requirement is gone, but the cash remains!
With that kind of success on our first trade, it’s not too surprising that the whole portfolio has been doing well. We left off last Wednesday with a balance of $35,540 – far better than we expected to do, obviously, in our first month (up 137%) so we decided it was prudent to get back to cash as we were "too bullish".…
by phil - September 2nd, 2011 8:18 am
$30 Billion – that’s bound to get their attention!
According to the WSJ, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble. The suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.
The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims arguing the banks, which assembled the mortgages and marketed them as securities to investors, failed to perform the due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were inflated or falsified. When many borrowers were unable to pay their mortgages, the securities backed by the mortgages quickly lost value.
Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers. In July, the agency filed suit against UBS, another major mortgage securitizer, seeking to recover at least $900 million, and the individuals with knowledge of the case said the new litigation would be similar in scope.
Tim Rood, who worked at Fannie Mae until 2006 and is now a partner at the Collingwood Group, which advises banks and servicers on housing-related issues, agrees with what I told Members in last night’s chat:
"While I believe that F.H.F.A. is acting responsibly in its role as conservator, I am afraid that we risk pushing these guys off of a cliff and we’re going to have to bail out the banks again.”
In other words – MADNESS! What was the point of spending Trillions of Dollars bailing out the Banks if you are going to turn around and sue them for $30Bn and drop their stock price another Trillion, causing them to need another bailout?
Perhaps this is the denouement of a week of scary market rumors that seem to have been designed to stop the markets from breaking too high. We were speculating on this last night in Member Chat before this…
by phil - August 11th, 2011 8:30 am
Holy cow – when will it end?
As I mentioned yesterday, we were expecting a whipsaw after the morning sell-off and we played that perfectly with bullish trades on the DIA and OIH and, as we move up, we took bearish plays on GLL, TZA and QQQ. All good so far but then we did a little bottom fishing before wising up and shorting USO into the close – just in case. The futures were up 2% this morning at 5am and I had to warn our Members:
Overall, this is too weak to get us over the hump and we are going to have to lean a little more bearish unless we can follow Europe up 2.5% or more. Our charts will turn from "spiking low on volume" to "consolidating for a move below 20%" very quickly if we don’t gets something bullish going by tomorrow.
The Dollar was at 74.64 at the time and it’s only 75.04 now (7:50) but the futures have gone from up 2% to down 1% in less than 3 hours – that is insane! How are retail investors supposed to play this market? The average person does not have the stomach for watching their virtual portfolio’s value go up and down 5% a day – at some point they are all going to pull the plug and walk away. Of course, as I was saying yesterday – that’s just what the Banksters want you to do, assuming they know QE3 is right around the corner, accompanied by a 20%+ market rally into the year’s end.
Anyway, hope is NOT a strategy for the prudent investor so I published another set of Disaster Hedges this morning as it’s time to add a layer to our longer hedges (which are now deeply in the money). I hate to chase these plays but one thing we learned in 2008 is that there may never be a bottom (not in the short run) no matter how oversold you think things may be. Was the market wrong in 2008 to go below S&P 1,000? Well 3 years of subsequent trading seem to indicate that it was – but that did not stop us from dropping 33% lower, to 666 (the mark of the Blankfein!).
by phil - August 8th, 2011 6:23 am
Wheeeeeeee, this is fun!
There’s nothing like an active virtual portfolio to get you through a rough market. The last update to our very aggressive virtual porfolio was on the July 28th, when I said to Members "On the whole, we’re pretty short so we’ll be either adding longs or cashing in shorts tomorrow to get a little more even into the weekend but still bearish if there’s no debt deal." There was, of course, no debt deal that week and the next morning I said in our Member Alert:
Volume is not very high – this is a retail panic so far. If you have short positions, strongly consider put tight stops on them (this includes the $25KP and Income Virtual Portfolio) as they put plenty of cash in your pocket and we can always find another layer of shorts if the RUT can’t hold 775.
Needless to say, the RUT failed (10% ago!) and we stayed generally bearish. At the time we "only" had $57,760 of virtual cash (after starting with just $25,000!) with $960 worth of unrealized losses in our remaining, mostly bearish positions. How do you think that worked out? That’s right, possibly our biggest gains of the year! In the last two weeks, we closed the following positions as the markets collapsed around us:
by phil - August 5th, 2011 8:30 am
As the great John "Hannibal" Smith used to say: "I love it when a plan comes together."
Of course Smith’s plans usually involved a great deal of mayhem culminating in things blowing up – very apropos considering the massive market blow up this week. The plan in Monday Morning’s Alert to Members, which was titled "Cashing in Longs and Back to Cashy and Shortish" was pretty straight-forward:
If you want to play this rally for more upside, you can still short the VIX (we did the Aug $19 puts on Friday for $1, now 1.20) or play gold down with the GLL Aug $22s, that are still .35 or the GLD Aug $155 puts at .72 BUT I’m not really believing things are fixed so these are SPECULATIVE plays to follow the rally – WHICH I DON’T BELIEVE IN. Clear?
What I do believe in is shorting the Dow with DIA Aug $119 puts at $1.20 or the SQQQ Aug $21/23 bull call spread at .85, selling the Sept $19 puts for .55 for net .30 on the $2 spread.
USO Weekly $38 puts are .44, 20 of those in the $25KP for $880! (longs are, of course off).
Let’s be straight about that, all the short-term long, including the ones in the Income Virtual Portfolio – are DONE. This was the pop we hoped for and now it’s done and back to cash!
The VIX puts are, of course dead with the VIX now at 31.66 but the Aug $22 GLL calls are still .15 (down 57%) and the GLD Aug $155 puts are now .95 (up 32%) thanks to that same rise in the VIX. Not bad for trades I did not believe…
by phil - August 3rd, 2011 8:29 am
I love the smell of capitulation in the morning (illustrated nicely by David Fry). It smells like — opportunity. We haven’t had a good bottom-fishing expedition in ages and it’s amazing to think that less than two weeks ago I was having to tell our Members NOT to BUYBUYBUY at the top. On Friday, July 22nd, when Jimmy Cramer was crowing Thursday night over "29 of 30 Dow Stocks" closing higher as if that meant you should buy everything that wasn’t nailed down, I was warning that the new EU rescue fund only indicated things were worse than they seemed. My comment that morning (7/22) was:
I like shorting the Futures here: S&P (/ES) at 1,346, Nas (/NQ) 2,415, Dow (/YM) 12,720 and Rut (/TF) 842.6 – as long as 74.20 hold on the Dollar, we should get a bit of a sell off so these are levels to look for as the Dollar heads back over that line but we can scale into position between 75.20 and 75.10 but, below that, too dangerous! Oil is good too below $99.50 with tight stops (now $99.66 so a patience game) – couldn’t quite get back to $100 ahead of the EU open.
I was wrong (so far) on shorting gold as our GLL Aug $22 calls have fallen from .50 to .10 (we rolled down to the $20s but those are not faring much better at the moment) but that was much more than made up for with the MASSIVE gains on the short futures as well as huge winning spreads like that morning’s Alert to Members, where my trade idea was to buy the SQQQ Aug $21/24 bull call spread for .90 and sell the AAPL weekly $375 puts for .80 for net .10 on the $3 spread. Of course the AAPL puts expired worthless and SQQQ is now at $25.29 and the spread is $1.85 so up 1,750% so far (and half off the table with stops on the rest at this point, of course).
THAT’s why we love our disaster hedges – they really help balance out your virtual portfolio in the event of an actual disaster with every $1,000 hedged paying $17,500 on that play. We then turn around (like today) and cash out that money and use it to buy more longs or roll our existing long positions.…