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Posts Tagged ‘Hedging’

Will We Hold It Wednesday – Euro $1.24 Edition

If it wasn't for bad news, Europe would have no news at all.

The funniest thing about watching Europe implode in a sea of incompetence is that we're actually no different over here – it's just not our time yet.  That doesn't stop the punditocracy from pontificating on all the ills of the European Union, as if America will be immune to California as their economy ($361Bn in debt) slips into the ocean

Actually Greece is not the disaster du jour in Europe this morning – it's Spain (who were downgraded yesterday), whose junk-rated 10-year notes are now costing them 6.65% – back to pre-LTRO levels already, after just 90 days of being "cured."  Italy is right behind them, only able to sell 90% of the bonds they auctioned off and even those went for 5.66% on the 5-year notes and 6.03% on the 10-years.  

Meanwhile, German yields hit record lows at 1.318% so how, exactly, does it benefit Germany to "fix" this situation when the fix would be for Germany to go back to paying 3% while Spain and Italy go back to paying 4%?  It's not like Spain or Italy will ever be able to pay back the money anyway so all we're really doing is costing Germany money to PRETEND things are fixed – again.  When will this madness end?  

Extending and pretending is exactly what is being planned as the European Commission is prepared to as European Union finance ministers to give Spain an additional year to meet the budget deficit target of 3%, according to a report in the online edition of El Pais this morning. The newspaper said it had obtained a rough draft of the copy of the economic strategy for the euro zone set to be delivered by the Commission on Wednesday. Media reports said it will issue specific recommendations for each of the 27 countries. El Pais said the EC wants to give Spain until 2014 to reach the budget deficit target of 3%, in light of its economic problems, but will also include draft recommendations on pensions, the financial system, taxes and labor reforms.  

SPY DAILYThank goodness – that will fix everything, I'm sure!  

Meanwhile, on the US side, we're getting worry fatigue and we're ready to rally – as was made clear by yesterday's bullish action which took us over our
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Very Good Friday – Wrapping up a Great Week (for the Bears)

NOW things are getting interesting!

Who wants a market that goes up and up and up – where's the sport?  Even the Nasdaq finally blew it's 15-week winning streak and that helped us decide to stay pretty bearish going into yesterday's close.  This morning we went over the news and the week's data to position ourselves for the Futures and my conclusion to Members in our special 4:03 am Alert was:  

Next week we get the BBook, PPI and CPI but the focus will be on earnings and AA is not likely to get us off to a good start so I simply don't see anything in particular to be bullish about at the moment. 

The point I had been making (with many charts and graphs) was that it didn't matter if we added even 250,000 jobs – it still isn't enough to begin to fill in the hole in any meaningful way and, even more important, the QUALITY of jobs we have been adding is TERRIBLE!  

It doesn't matter if you give everyone a job if they are only minimum wage jobs.  We need our consumers to have an income to spend and aside from inflation (real inflation, not the Fed's BS numbers) eating into their buying power, when someone loses a $50,000 job and replaces it with a $35,000 job – that's NOT an improving economy – not for the long run, anyway.  

Of course the stock market will like it, at first – as lower wages paid for the same job = greater Corporate Profits but that only works as long as there are people outside your country who have money to buy your goods

As we noted just yesterday with the Retail Reports, the high-end stores are doing very well as the top 10% is doing well but those serving the bottom 90% are struggling because, clearly, these people are running out of money.  While the market has been content to "ignore and soar" during this gathering storm, now we begin to see the size of the wave that's coming in and it's starting to look scary indeed…

8:30 Update:  An anemic 120,000 Jobs added in March!  That's about 1/2 of what was expected by Economorons, who can't even get a handle on a major, critical number like Payrolls – how scary is that?  So many of…
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Free-Fall Friday – Are There Any Dips Left to Buy?

SPY DAILYDown?

No one told us markets could go down?  This is an outrage, I demand an investigation – TURN THOSE MACHINES BACK ON!!!   

Has it already been a week since I said "Stop the Rally, We Want to Get Off"?  As I noted in that post, we began our list of 12 Long Put Plays for Members on Thursday of last week (near the end of what I called "A Weak Week of Denial") and some have already doubled while others, like PCLN, have gotten even cheaper, which only makes us love them more…

I concluded that this rally was fake, Fake, FAKE and gave my reasons on Friday so no point in going over them again – now we're just watching and waiting to see what sticks as we haven't actually done a lot of technical damage (see Dave Fry's chart) – Yet! 

Although we were TRYING to get bullish on Monday, we did so only after setting more aggressive targets in our Weekend Review of the 5% Rule (see post for details and levels) and by 10:09 on Monday, our first trade idea in chat was the very bearish TZA spread that I featured again in Tuesday's post, which was the April $17/18 bull call spread at .42, selling the April $17 puts for $1 for a .58 credit.  TZA finished at $18.39 yesterday and the spread is now .54 but the short puts are down to .65 for a net gain of .47, which is 81% in 3 days and a good way to offset the 2.3% drop in the Russell – isn't leverage fun?

What was not fun is what happened to people who trusted Credit Suisse to run an honest game with their TVIX instrument.  As noted by ETF Digest's David Gillie, an ETN is an unsecured, unsubordinated debt security with significant basis on the credit rating of the issuer. Although ETNs may be named to indicate tracking certain futures markets or indices, due to the fact that their holdings are credit notes rather than tangible assets, such as ETFs, their price becomes largely supply and demand based rather than based on underlying holdings.  As Kid Dynamite points out – it does say right in the TVIX prospectus:

The long term expected value of your ETNs is


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White Christmas Portfolio – Month 2

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".…
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Thanksgiving Thoughts

SPY DAILY What an ugly finish November is having!  

We’ve been trying to get bullish with little success and, if we are not reversing tomorrow, I will be regretting the wasted time poking at bullish plays when we could have been going "wheeeee" on the slide.  

I thought that blue line on Dave Fry’s chart was going to hold, it’s about 2.5% down from our Must Hold level for the S&P on the Big Chart (1,235) and that would have been a reasonable (and slight) overshoot of the 10% drop we were expecting so we played for the bounce but now we’ve blown our -5% line at 1,173 and our next support level is -10% at 1,112 – a very sad level to revisit if we do.  

Technically, of course, we’re breaking down.  Fundamentally, I’m not so sure.  The fear is palpable as Europe looks terrible and clearly all these austerity measures are taking a toll on the Global economy but it’s simply NOT showing up in the data yet.  PMI’s are dropping across the Globe but the Purchasing Manager’s index is a SENTIMENT indicator that reflects the OPINION of the buyers about business prospects.

As I have been pointing out (yes, there was a point) in my recent series of articles about market and media manipulation – there is a protracted campaign underway to push sentiment down – to chase retail buyers out of the markets.  

Who is doing this?  Perhaps it is the IBanks, who want to bottom out the market ahead of QE3, when we’ll be off to the races again.  Perhaps it is the Fed and Treasury, who want to chase people into the $140Bn worth of bonds they have to sell each month.  Perhaps it is the Republicans, who want to campaign against the worst possible economy next year to prove that Obama has blown his handling of the economy almost as bad as Bush did – so we may as well try one of their idiots again since it seems to make no difference.  Don’t laugh – I have a button for Romney that says that

Whatever and whoever is behind the negativity (and let’s not forget Germany, who are angling to take control of the EU and will be able to do so if things deteriorate further) – our job as investors is not to particularly care – but…
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Hedging For Disaster – 5 Plays that Make 500% if the Market Falls (Members Only)

We took our last round of disaster protection back in early July and almost all of those trades are well in the money.  

Since you know I am a big fan of taking cash off the table in either direction, let’s not be greedy and look at ways to "roll" our downside protection into new downside plays so we can set SENSIBLE stops on our now deep in the money short plays (very similar to our Mattress Strategy).  Keep in mind that this is the biggest market decline we’ve had since last Summer, so adding a layer of protection here doubles our returns if this is the first leg of a major sell-off, or it gives us a smaller hedge that we can roll up later while we take our bigger hedges off the table.  As I have to say WAY too often to members – It’s not a profit until you cash it in! 

Hedging for disaster is a concept I advocated during another "recovery," in October of 2008, where we made our cover plays to carry us through a worrisome holiday season and into Q1 earnings – "just in case."  That "just in case" saved a lot of virtual portfolios!  The idea of disaster hedges high return ETFs that will give you 3-5x returns in a major downturn.  That way, 10% allocated of your virtual portfolio to protection can turn into 30-50% on a dip, giving you some much-needed cash right when there is a good buying opportunity.  At the time, I advocated SKF Jan $100s at $19.  SKF hit $300 around Thanksgiving and those calls made a profit of over $280 (1,400%), so putting even just 5% of your virtual portfolio into that financial hedge would give you back 75% of your virtual portfolio when you cash out. 

Keep in mind these are INSURANCE plays – you expect to LOSE, not win but, if you need to ride out a lot of bullish positions through an uncertain period, this is a pretty good way to go.  We cashed out our bullish $25KP positions by July 28th, (our active virtual portfolio) with the S&P at 1,340 and, since then, I’ve had a very hard time making long-term bullish picks.  I want top put up a Buy List but it’s still too risky – this will be step 1 though – protect first, then buy!  Once we cash
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Flip Flop Friday – 2% Up or Bust!

 

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
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The $25,000 Virtual Portfolio – Halfway to $100K!

Here we go again!

After a very wild ride tracking our VERY aggressive virtual portfolio, we closed out the first half with $53,942 – up 115% for the first half of the year and, since we put $11,630 back in the bank above $25,000 from last year’s $10,000 virtual portfolio, that brings us to a grand total of $65,722 – up 555% from the $10K we started with last year.  Our goal in this small, aggressive virtual portfolio is $100K but forget the extra $15,722 – as I said last week, that’s our starting basis with a nice profit so we put that back into nice, safe, conservative investments (like our Income Virtual Portfolio) and that leaves us $50,000 to play with.  

Our first week of trades has already been very interesting.  Make sure you to read the original post and the update if you haven’t already to get an idea of what we are trying to learn by following this "hyper-aggressive" virtual portfolio model – especially last quarter’s lesson on taking those profits off the table and working on those losers.  Our "biggest loser" of last quarter was, of course, FAS and those Aug $23 calls hit $5 last week (we are already out), which is $40,000!  Anytime you can roll and DD a position in a $25,000 virtual portfolio that eventually cashes out for $40,000 – you will probably come out well…

The problem is mainly in learning how to stick with a position like that and that requires a lot of conviction because there were dozens of opportunities to panic out with a loss and that’s why we practice this kind of trading – you need to get the experience in playing these out over time so that you can learn to BELIEVE in the strategy and, even then, it should only be used in places where you REALLY have a very good reason to believe a stock or ETF will, eventually, come back sharply enough to make all the work pay off – because it’s a LOT of work!

Of course, no one makes 100% every six months by taking it easy, right?  Practice, practice, practice with virtual trading until you get comfortable with the strategies and, even then, use them sparingly.  This aggressive virtual portfolio is meant to be a small part (10% or less) of a larger, more conservative virtual portfolio, like our nice,
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Vacation-Proofing Your Virtual Portfolio

Option Sage Submits: 

When driving a car and some object appears on the road ahead do you usually run right over it or do your best to avoid it?  

Don’t we all take action in real-life based on the new information we receive that changes the old paradigm?  Take the first two guys in this video:  Who would you rather be, the first or the second guy?  While the second gentleman reacts and looks ridiculous in so doing, he’s the guy that is more likely to survive when real disaster hits because he’s reacting to new information.  In fact he doesn’t even know what’s making everyone else react, he just knows that when 99% are moving one way in panic, it’s best not to fight the crowd or he will be trampled.  It’s no different in the market.  Pride, ego and old theses have no place when new information directly contradicts an existing trade.

This week, we used DIA and QQQ puts and calls to "react" to quick changes in the market while we waited for better information before making more permanent changes in our positions.  This gave us the benefit of the


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Wild Weekly Wrap-Up (Part 1) – Our Billion Dollar Oil Shorts!

Billions!  

That’s how much money our oil futures trade ideas generated over the past two weeks and I certainly hope everyone got a piece of theirs but, out of curiosity, how did our other trade ideas do in this terrible market?  We track our virtual portfolios but we have many trade ideas during members chat on both sides of the fence so let’s take some time to review what worked and what didn’t work as the Dow dropped 500 points since the holiday.  

Keep in mind this is just virtual performance and I’ll do my best to not miss anything and I’m going to include the Friday before the holiday weekend so we can review what our mind-set was as we set ourselves up for the long weekend as well as how we handled the moves since in both our daily posts and our Member Chat.  I’m not going to narrate each day, that’s what Stock World Weekly is for –  I’ll just make quick comments on the trades when appropriate.  Keep in mind, with all options trading, once you make a quick 20%, you should be looking for the exits (see our Strategy Section) by setting stops (and we also stop out with a 20% loss of course) – we are just lucky when we happen to do better.  

TGIF – Dollar Done Diving or Destined to Drop?  

In the main post (main post trade ideas can be read daily by Report Members or higher – the rest are in our Private Member Chat), I discussed shorting oil futures off our $101.90 (at the time) target.  We didn’t like waiting for $102 because sometimes it failed.  Oil finished at $99 this week but was as low as $97.24 as we put pressure on the NYMEX pump crew by accepting their bogus offers to buy oil over $101 per barrel.  This post was the first one where I decided to go public with what we were doing, hoping to break the back of the market manipulators at the NYMEX by letting as many people as possible in on the trade.  This is also where I laid out our bearish fundamental case for oil so good for review.  My comment in the morning post was:  

As I mentioned yesterday, this week’s action is 


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Chart School

What To Do With The Market’s Bounce

Courtesy of David Grandey.

Last week, we said: 

“However, both indexes are at or near MAJOR support levels. That means that we are ‘in the zone’ for a bounce of some sort in the next couple of days.”   And a bounce is exactly what we got:      
But as you can see even with last week’s bounce, we are still locked in a downtrend.   As we look ahead to next week, should we break out of the downtrend to the upside, we’ll want to take advantage of buying stocks doing the same.  And should we remain in a downtrend, we want to short stocks that are also locked in downtrends.    As we’ve said before: Success in the market comes from trading stocks in tandem with the indexes.   
  Should the markets break higher, then FF is an excellent long side candidate:       Here we have a leading stock that like the Nasdaq is in a min...

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Market Shadows

Everything Looks Clearer... in the Rear View Mirror

Explaining Past Events is Safer than Predicting the Future

By Paul Price of Market Shadows

Brave souls who write about stocks always subject themselves to potential embarrassment if they take a stand on the future movement of their selected company. Including both a price target and a time horizon makes you accountable if things don’t go as predicted.

For that reason many media pundits much prefer to explain what’s already happened rather than sticking their necks out. They would rather justify the (supposed) reasons why a stock recently shot higher or detail the ...



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Phil's Favorites

10 Ways to Screw up Your Retirement

10 Ways to Screw up Your Retirement

By Dennis Miller

There are many creative ways to screw up your retirement. Let me show you how it’s done.

Supporting adult children. My wife Jo and I have friends with an unmarried, unemployed daughter who had a child. Our friends adopted their grandchild and are now in their late sixties raising a kid in grade school. The same daughter had a second child, and they adopted that one too. When she announced she was pregnant a third time, they finally said, “Enough! It’s time for a third-party adoption.”

Last time I spoke with them, their unemployed daughter and her boyfriend were living in their basement, neither contributing financially nor lifting a finger around the house. What began as a temp...



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Zero Hedge

Donetsk "Letter To Jews" Found To Be A Forgery

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

In the days before the Geneva "de-escalation" conference (and coincidentally, days after the secret visit of CIA director Brennan to Kiev), the top story across western media was the "undisputed" proof that east-Ukraine, populated by "terrorist separatists", is preparing to unleash a neo-nazi wave against local jews, when a leaflet was unveiled, beckoning the Jewish population to register and declare their assets.

The ...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly. Click here and sign in with your PSW user name and password, or sign up for a free trial.

...

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Insider Scoop

Comcast, Time Warner Said to be in Discussions to Sell Subscribers to Charter Communications for Up to $20B -FT

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) have reportedly begun negotiations with Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) to sell cable assets, including 3 million-5 million subscribers, in a deal that could be worth as much as $20 billion, according to Financial Times. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are waiting for US regulatory approval for their merger, announced on February 13.

View full article http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/0b3f0ef0-c719-11e3-929f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2zH5tZqHm

...

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Option Review

Wild Ride For Chipotle

Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (Ticker: CMG) opened higher on Thursday morning, rising more than 6.0% to $589.00, after the restaurant operator reported better than expected first-quarter sales ahead of the opening bell. But, the stock began to falter just before lunchtime on concerns the burrito-maker will increase menu prices for the first time in three years. The price of Chipotle’s shares have since fallen into negative territory and currently trade down 3.5% on the session at $532.89 as of 1:50 p.m. ET.

Chart – Shares in Chipotle cool by lunchtime

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Positive News and Stocks at Bargain Prices

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week’s market performance was nasty again, especially for the Small-cap Growth style/cap, down 4%.  Large-caps faired the best, losing only 2.7%.  That’s ugly and today’s market seemed likely to be uglier today with escalating tensions over the weekend in Ukraine. 

But once again, positive economic trumped the beating of the war drums. Retail Sales jumped up 1.1% over a projected 0.8% and last month’s tepid 0.3%, which was revised up to 0.7%.  While autos led, sales were up solidly overall.  Business inventories were about as expected with a positive tone.  Citigroup (C) handily beat estimates to add to the morning’s surprises.  As a result, the market was positive through most of the day, led by the DJI, up 0.91%, and the S&P 500, up 0.82%.  NASDAQ had a less...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 14th 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here...



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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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