by phil - June 28th, 2012 8:28 am
.DE is Germany's web domain.
So I'm trademarking .DEspair to consolidate all the anti-EU statements coming out of Germany this week as the rhetoric reaches a crescendo and goes up from there. .EU is, of course the EU domain and .EUphoria is where we will store all the glowing pro-EU rhetoric that makes the market rise (until someone in Germany says something).
It's a typical case of .DE said, SH.Eu said and all the kiddies can do is hide in their room until Mommy and Daddy stop fighting.
Things were getting silly enough on the plus side as we rallied for no reason at all that we added a very aggressive short position on the Russell using TZA. My 3:07 comment in Member Chat was:
Big RUT move makes TZA fairly cheap at $20 and the July $20/24 bull call spread is $1, which makes for a nice hedge and if the RUT pops, you can offset it with the July $18 puts, now .45, for $1 or better or, of course, there's always the TWIL List!
We had no long plays to make yesterday as we added them all when the market was much lower (told you so!) and now it has moved to the top of the bottom of our range and we pick up a short – this is not rocket science, folks. It's going to be a choppy, terrible market until either the EU saves us by tomorrow or we crash and burn horribly and my comment to Members in the Morning Alert at 10:24 was:
We still need the Dollar to go lower and this morning it's zooming higher (82.80) and keeping us from a better move up on the indexes. This will go on for the next few days with each syllable uttered by anyone of presumed authority in the EU so – if you can't stand the heat – stay in cash!
The Dollar had worked it's way down to 82.50 into the close but now (8am) it's been jammed back to 82.90 as the Euro plunges back to $1.2426 on whatever silly thing someone just said. Financials are dragging everyone down as they are DOOMED if the EU can't pull things together.
by phil - September 5th, 2011 7:54 am
Thank goodness the US is closed!
Europe is down a whopping 3.5% (so far) this morning, opening in free fall after Asia opened down about 2% on the average (but finishing at the day’s lows). Gold flew up to $1,906 before calming down but oil is down to $84.82 at 6:45 am as the Dollar tests it’s highs of 75.15 on the Euro’s fall to $1.41 and the Pound testing $1.61. Any thoughts that the BOJ was done manipulating the Yen are now officially out the window as the Dollar/Yen is STILL 76.80 (around 128.50 on FXY), the same place it’s been since August 8th!
When the World’s 3rd largest economy is manipulating it’s currency on a daily basis, of course the Global markets are going to be thrown into chaos. Every day the BOJ tries to debase their currency they must buy other currencies or foreign stocks or gold or silver or oil – ANYTHING BUT YEN to make the Yen less valuable as compared to another relative basis.
Even so, it’s not working and Japan’s new finance minister said this morning that he will try to forge a consensus among the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries that "excessive yen rises" won’t benefit the world economy when finance officials meet in France later this week. "I am hoping to see us develop a common view that excessive yen rises, as shown by facts and processes in the past, do not necessarily have a positive impact on the global economy," Mr. Azumi told reporters, referring to Friday’s planned meeting of G-7 finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Marseille, France. "At this exchange rate, it is becoming impossible for crucial parts of Japan’s export industry to make profits," he said.
Asian shares were already following US financials downhill on overblown fears of the FHFA lawsuit (see FHFA Friday). I say overblown because the first bank sued, ING, already settled for .20 on the Dollar so banks are reacting as if they already lost $30Bn when it’s much more likely this will all get washed away for $6Bn, or about 2 day’s worth of profits (4%). We’ve already seen the banking community write down over $1Tn in losses and survive to screw us over another day – do we really think this little wrist-slap will end them or is this just another example of retail suckers…
by Option Review - August 1st, 2011 4:22 pm
Today’s tickers: HBC, TEVA, TLB & CAVM
HBC - HSBC Holdings PLC – Shares in the financial services provider increased 2.9% to $50.30 at the start of the trading week on news Europe’s largest bank by market value agreed to sell its upstate New York branch network to First Niagara Financial Group for around $1 billion. The London-based company said it plans to cut $3.5 billion in costs over the next two years by trimming 10% of its workforce and closing offices. HSBC posted better-than-expected first-half earnings ahead of the opening bell this morning. Options players cheered HSBC today by ditching downside protection, selling puts and engaging in light call buying in the front month. Approximately 4.1 put options are changing hands on HSBC for each single call option in action today. Investors expecting shares to exceed $49.00 through August expiration sold roughly 2,300 puts at the August $49 strike for an average premium of $0.74 apiece. Open interest at that strike suggests traders purchased around 2,000 of the Aug. $49 puts on Friday at an average premium of $1.41 each. Put sellers may be purging protective or bearish positions on HSBC post-earnings, or may be selling the puts outright to rake in available premium on the options. Investors engaging in the latter strategy keep the full amount of premium received as long as HSBC’s shares exceed $49.00 through expiration day in a few weeks. Similar put-selling took place at the August $48 strike where some 1,555 puts sold for an average premium of $0.39 a-pop, while 1,000 puts were sold at the August $47 strike at an average premium of $0.19 per contract. Meanwhile, investors expecting shares in the financial services company to continue to rise picked up some 560 in-the-money calls at the August $49 strike at an average premium of $1.35 each, and purchased around 620 calls at the August $50 strike for an average premium of $0.68 apiece. Call buyers profit at expiration if shares in HSBC rally above…
by Option Review - April 7th, 2011 4:05 pm
Today’s tickers: UAL, HBC, ALTR & GPS
UAL - United Continental Holdings, Inc. – A three-legged options combination play on United Continental suggests one strategist expects the price of the underlying to rebound by June expiration. Shares in UAL are down 2.25% at $20.75 as of 12:05pm in New York trade. The contrarian player is positioning for the medium-term rally by lowering the cost of buying a debit call spread with the sale of out-of-the-money put options. The trader sold 10,000 puts at the June $19 strike, to buy the 10,000-lot June $22/$26 call spread, for which he received a net credit of $0.10 per contract. The investor at least keeps the net credit as long as shares in UAL exceed $19.00 through expiration day. Additional profits are available to the bullish trader in the event that United Continental’s shares reverse course to rally 6.0% over the current price of $20.75 to trade above $22.00 in the next couple of months to expiration. Including the net credit, the investor may pocket maximum potential profits of $4.10 per contract on the transaction if the price of the underlying stock jumps 25.3% to exceed $26.00 at expiration in June.
HBC - HSBC Holdings PLC – It looks like one options investor raised bullish expectations on Europe’s biggest bank this morning with shares in HSBC Holdings currently trading 1.0% higher on the session at $54.44 as of 11:25am. The financial services provider’s shares were higher in European trading as well on sentiment that upcoming results from a government-sponsored Independent Commission on Banking will be less thorny than some investors initially anticipated. The trader responsible for the majority of options volume generated on HBC thus far today appears to be rolling a previously established bullish stance up to the next available strike price in the…
by Option Review - January 12th, 2011 4:05 pm
Today’s tickers: BZH, HBC, MON, EBAY, ELX & PMCS
BZH - Beazer Homes USA, Inc. – A three-legged options combination play initiated on the homebuilder that designs, sells and builds single-family and multi-family homes in the U.S. indicates one strategist sees shares improving ahead of August expiration. Shares in Beazer Homes USA rose 1.5% this afternoon to $5.99 in the final hour of the session. The homebuilding company will reveal its performance for the first quarter before the market opens for trading on February 4, 2011. The investor responsible for the bullish spread sold 5,000 puts at the August $4.0 strike for a premium of $0.25 each, purchased 5,000 calls at the August $6.0 strike for a premium of $1.05 a-pop, and sold the same number of calls at the higher August $7.0 strike at a premium of $0.60 apiece. The net cost of putting on the trade amounts to $0.20 per contract. Thus, the trader stands ready to make money should shares in BZH rally 3.5% over the current price of $5.99 to surpass the effective breakeven point to the upside at $6.20 by expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $0.80 per contract are available to the trader if the homebuilder’s shares surge 16.9% to trade above $7.00 by the time the contracts expire in August. Selling the upper-strike calls as well as the out-of-the-money put options greatly reduced the cost of taking a bullish stance on the stock. The sale of the August $4.0 strike put options suggests this trader is more than willing to bear the risk of having 500,000 shares of the underlying stock put to him at $4.00 each should the puts land in-the-money at expiration.
HBC - HSBC Holdings PLC – Some investors trading options on the financial services firm are positioning for the price of the underlying to appreciate in the next couple of months, while others appear to be taking profits off the table today. Shares in London-based HSBC Holdings increased as much as 4.9% during the current…
by phil - September 15th, 2010 8:22 am
As we discussed yesterday, it was meet the new boss, same as the old boss in Japan as Naoto Kan’s re-election sent the Yen to new highs as he was considered the least likely candidate to back intervention. Well surprise, surprise this morning as Japan officially intervened in the FOREX markets and sent the Yen down a full 2.5% as they used their Yen to purchase an undisclosed basket of currencies.
Since the Dollar is up today against both the Pound ($1.55) and the Euro ($1.29), we can assume the dollar is one of those currencies and demand for Dollars means upward pressure on rates so that should be the end of the TLT bounce for the moment. Stock boys want bonds to die so the money can come this way and bond boys want you to fear the stock market so you will let them hold your money (and charge you fees) at ridiculously low rates of interest. That’s they Yin and Yang of the markets.
“Investors were starting to doubt the government’s commitment to its pledge that it would take bold action,” said Yoshimasa Maruyama, a senior economist at Itochu Corp. in Tokyo. Kan and Noda in recent weeks repeatedly said that Japan was ready to take “bold” measures to stem the currency. The Japanese government official said European and U.S. officials were informed of the move in an effort to avoid a negative reaction. It took a while to convince Europe because authorities there didn’t like the idea, the person said.
We’ll see if the stronger Dollar today puts pressure on commodities but we’re in pretty good shape as this rally, for a change, has not been led by commodities as the market is now flat to the August despite an 8% drop in oil prices (see USO on chart):
I often complain about rallies that are led by Financials and Commodities as those are things that suck money OUT of the economy and are not long-term drivers of growth. The entire 2006-7 rally was this kind of rally and I bitched about it all the way up. We also had housing back then, another type of commodity, but that’s so dead now it’s hardly worth mentioning, is it? Actually housing is where we used a lot of commodities like lumber and copper etc. 33 months after the onset of the Great Recession, new home sales are still down 70% and non-residential construction is down 36% – that market is dead, dead, dead.
by phil - August 3rd, 2009 8:15 am
The dollar is off 2% since Friday.
That is sending oil back over $70 and gold back to $960 and has jacked the futures up 1% as the "value" of stocks tries to keep up with the less valuable dollars that they are exchanged for. People often forget that stocks are a commodity too and are also exchanged for currencies – when the dollar falls, at least initially, stocks tend to rise. Unfortunately so do our commodity costs but, as we saw in last week's data, wages do not keep up and that, sadly, leads to a deflation of consumer buying power.
Every $10 increase in the price of a barrel off oil rips $25Bn a month out of the hands of global consumers, enough money to employ 6M people a year at $50,000 each. Those jobs are torn away from other sectors as discretionary income goes to commodities and, by the time you add in refining mark-ups and the cascading effects on other raw material cost, the effect of a $10 per barrel rise in oil is doubled to what amounts to about 1M global jobs per dollar.
What we are seeing is the result of the inaction against GS and other commodity manipulators as they breezed through Congressional hearings, aided throught he process by a massive market rally that kept their nonsense off the front page. Who cares if GS made a few extra bucks if the market is up 10% in a month? We'll see if the resurging energy and commodities sectors can provide the catalyst to move the S&P up over the 1,000 mark, a level we haven't seen since the September crash, almost a year ago but also the last time the dollar index was below 78 so everything is coming full-circle, right back to the conditions that crashed us last time!
This is not to say we are going to fight the tide. In the Summer of 2008 oil was around $120 a gallon and the Dow was around 11,500 from June through September before plunging 35% in the second leg of the crash. If the market is determined to climb back up that cliff and try again, we need to at least head on the fact that they might…
by Option Review - March 16th, 2009 5:41 pm
Today’s tickers: ELNK, HBC, CECO, XLE, C, CMCSK, SWKS & ARNA
ELNK Earthlink , Inc. – The internet service provider has experienced a 5% decline in shares today to $6.29. ELNK popped onto our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner after one investor initiated a calendar roll. At the March 7.5 strike price 5,200 puts were sold for a premium of 95 cents each, while at the April 7.5 strike price 5,200 puts were purchased for 1.15 per contract. Maybe this investor sees Earthlink continuing to fall through next month, and therefore has rolled his in-the-money long-put position previously established in March into the next month’s contract.
HBC HSBC Holdings Plc ADS – As with many other financials today, shares of HBC have rallied 4% to $27.05. One trade of interest occurred at the March 30 strike price where an investor appears to have purchased a straddle by picking up 7,500 calls for 15 cents apiece and 7,500 puts for 3.20 per contract. You may be thinking, given where shares are with today’s rally – why on earth would someone pay a combined premium of 3.35 in the hope that shares of the bank swing to either breakeven point located at $33.35 on the upside and at $26.65 on the downside? While it is possible that this investor’s motivation for the trade is to see profits amass on falling share price, we believe there may be a different explanation. Perhaps this trader had previously sold the options leaving him short and now he is buying back the contracts in order to close out his short position. It appears that about 7,500 of the existing open interest for calls and puts at the March 30 strike was built up between February 5th and 6th. Thus, we propose that this investor may have originally sold the straddle in February and is not buying it back before the March contract expires on Friday.
CECO Career Education Corporation – Shares of the global education company have fallen 12% to $20.24. CECO is an on-ground provider of education at various levels and also has a significant presence in online education. The company edged onto our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner after one investor established plays in the March and April contracts. At the March 22.5 strike price it appears that one investor initiated a credit spread by purchasing 5,000 calls for 38 cents apiece…