by phil - October 18th, 2012 8:03 am
EU leaders are meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow.
For anyone who's been paying attention for the last two years – that's usually not a good thing and, as we noted yesterday, it was a strong Euro and a weak Dollar that was driving our little rally. The Dollar bottomed out at 79 and the Euro topped out at $1.314 and the Euro's strength sent the Yen back up to 79.30 to the Dollar (weaker) and that led to a 2% Nikkei rally last night. As you can see from the chart on the right, the S&P for the week is 1% behind UK and Germany and 2.5% behind France and Italy (+4%) and Spain (+7%) – so we have a lot of catching up to do if this rally is real and sustainable.
Still, I sent out an Alert to Members early this morning noting that the Global Markets were holding up well as of 6am and that was encouraging. Yesterday we discussed taking advantage of the run-up in the Russell to make a TZA hedge to lock in some of our gains (see main post) but we still haven't covered XLF (target $16.50 – see Dave Fry's chart) and we're still bullish on AAPL as well. We cashed that ISRG play, as planned for $9 on the spreads (200x = $1,800), spending .30 x 200 ($60) to buy back the callers so that, with the $200 we were paid to take the position is just short of our $2,000 goal at net $1,960 – not bad for a day's "work".
In Member Chat this morning, we discussed GOOG's outlook for earnings this evening and decided they were more likely topping than popping so we have that risk to the Nasdaq for tomorrow. IBM was an 80-point drag on the Dow yesterday but it did manage to finish flat and advancers led decliners on the NYSE by 2:1 so the conditions are still there for a rally and hopefully what we have here a a pause that refreshes and not a triple top from the mid-September highs.
The Nasdaq and the Russell are, in fact, in downtrending channels and, for the Nasdaq, their fate rests on GOOG tonight and AAPL next Thursday – but it's still a long way back to the highs at 3,200.
by phil - October 17th, 2012 7:31 am
Let's not make this more complicated than it needs to be.
A weak Dollar lifts the markets and, this morning, the Dollar fell from 79.50 at yesterday's close to 79 at 6:45 and that's why, despite earnings disappointments from both INTC and IBM, the Futures are up slightly 3 hours before the open. As you can see from the chart on the right, to say there's a strong inverse correlation between the Dollar and the S&P is quite the understatement. Over the longer run – the effect tends to wash out but, over the short run, it's an almost perfect match.
Of course, this also has a very direct effect on commodity pricing and part of the reason for the Dollar's big sell-off last night was the much-better-than-last-time performance of Barack Obama in the second Presidential Debate as the future of the Fed and all that free money hangs in the balance.
After the first debate, two weeks ago, Romney clearly won and has made it known that he will kick both Big Bird and Big Ben to the curb as soon as he gets in office – that sent the Dollar up from 79.10 to 80.21 (up 1.4%) last week and dropped the S&P from 1,460 to 1,430 (2%). After last night, Romney looks to be back off the table and that leaves the Dollar to resume it's downward slope – giving another lift to the markets.
At the same time, Moody's left Spain's credit rating above junk this morning and that's lifting the Euro to $1.31 and the Pound is moving in lock-step at $1.61 BUT the Yen dropped 0.5% to 78.63 and it's not likely the BOJ will let the Dollar slip below 79 as that makes Toyotas and Sonys more expensive just ahead of the holidays. Also, the Nikkei finally got back to 8,850 last night and you know they hate to lose that line.
So get set for some heavy-duty Global Market Manipulation by our Central Banksters as everyone but Europe tries to race for the bottom. Europe, interestingly enough, doesn't mind a strong currency as they are fuel and goods importers and most of the goods they export are "luxury" class and less susceptible to currency fluctuations. With strong intra-zone trading the backbone of the EU economy, it doesn't matter where the Euro is trading from that perspective either and, of…
by phil - October 10th, 2012 8:44 am
$76,103 – That's not sales, that's profit!
Every minute of every day, AAPL is making $76,103 (at $40Bn a year) on the sale of $316,120 worth of products. No company on Earth comes close to that kind of metric and, overall, the stock's performance clearly indicates that but, if you listen to the MSM, you would think AAPL is finished.
We had a nice, in-depth discussion about AAPL in Member Chat this morning and we not only concluded it's still a buy but we came up with a lovely spread that has the potential to turn $3,000 into $45,000 between now and Jan 2015 if AAPL simply holds $600 – needless to say we're very proud of that as it's always nice to have a trade or two in your portfolio that returns 1,500% and we rarely get a chance to do them with a blue-chip stock like AAPL.
Note in the above chart, that AAPL is still a relative outperformer this year – shown priced against HPQ, DELL, INTC, IBM, CAT and ISRG – all good companies that have simply failed to keep up. We also like HPQ at this level, now $14.30 as their REDUCED guidance has them earning $3.62 per share next year after earning $4.05 this year and that's still 25% back on your money, which sure beats TBills and we're not even counting the $18Bn in cash they have on hand, which is quite a lot when you consider that their entire market cap is now just $28Bn. Small wonder HPQ spent $9Bn buying back their own stock last year, when it was priced 100% higher.
HPQ is a pretty good candidate for a buy/write, where we Buy the stock for $14.30 and Write 2014 $15 puts and calls (sell short) for $5.50 and that nets $8.80 on the trade and, if HPQ is below $15 in Jan 2014, then another round of shares will be put to you at $15 for an average entry on 2x of $11.90, which is 17% below the current price and, if HPQ is over $15 in 16 months, then you get called away at $15 for a $6.20 profit on cash (75%). Buy/writes are our favorite tools for making long-term entries – see "How to Buy a Stock for a 15-20% Discount."
by phil - May 25th, 2012 8:30 am
Resistance is, unfortunately, not futile for our indices.
On Monday we discussed our expectations for a 2% weak bounce for the week, which would be a 20% retrace of the 10% drop I had predicted we'd have way back (and a bit early) in March. That constitutes a WEAK bounce and not a rally and they almost fooled us on Monday by taking back most of that 2% on day one but, since then – it's been pathetic and we've essentially done nothing the rest of the week.
The levels we were looking for were laid out in Monday's Member Chat and in Tuesday morning's post and were:
by phil - May 17th, 2012 8:04 am
What a week to do an IPO!
Will Facebook save the markets tomorrow with a successful roll-out of the largest IPO of all time or will it be the straw that breaks the camel's back, with a disappointing open that sends the Nasdaq off a cliff along with their entire over-priced sector? Either way – this is going to be fun.
We can argue the merits of Facebook's value (or lack thereof) all day long but, scam or not, it's very likely FB will set off a buying frenzy in the space and we finish the week off with a bang. If that doesn't happen – I will be very, very bearish but from what I'm hearing and the way they are extending the offer and raising the price – it's way oversubscribed. Also, we have to consider that people are cashing out 1-5% of their holdings to raise cash for FB on Friday – sure it's moronic, but that's what people do so you have to put yourself in a position of someone who wants to put 5% of your portfolio in to Facebook (the way you wish you had put 5% into Google at $80 when they IPO'd) tomorrow – what would you be doing with the rest of your portfolio today?
Meanwhile, the rest of the World is falling apart with Europe turning sharply lower as Spain sells bonds at record high yields (5.106% for 4-year notes) this morning after announcing that their Q1 GDP was -0.4% at the same time as Moody's indicates they will be cutting the credit ratings of 21 Spanish Banks this evening AND, to top it all off – there is a run on Bankia, which Spain nationalized last week – with $1.3Bn pulled from accounts this past week! This sent Spain's markets down 1.6% and Italy (who is next) fell 2%, sending the Euro down 1% to $1.2668 and the Pound followed it down to $1.5832 (while EUR/CHF holds steady at 1.2009 in the most blatant currency manipulation ever witnessed).
Wow – that's a lot of bad stuff! Maybe too many bad things – as in a bit suspicious that all this bad stuff happens at once – as if maybe someone WANTS to force a panic bottom? If so, I applaud them – we certainly needed to shake things up a little…
by Option Review - April 24th, 2012 2:41 pm
Today’s tickers: IBM, BIG & MMM
IBM - International Business Machines Corp. – Bullish options are in play on the world’s largest computer services provider this morning after IBM raised its quarterly dividend to $0.85 a share and increased the size of its stock buyback plan by $7 billion. Shares in the Armonk, New York-based Company are up 1.65% at $201.90 as of 11:05 a.m. ET. Weekly calls with a few trading days remaining to expiration are active, with the April ’27 $205 strike contracts drawing the heaviest volume in the expiry. The $205 calls have changed hands more than 2,300 times in the first half of the session versus 779 open positions, and it looks like most of the volume was purchased for an average premium of $0.26 apiece. Call buyers may profit at expiration as long as shares in IBM rally another 1.7% to surpass the average breakeven price of $205.26. Meanwhile, fresh interest in the June expiry calls suggests some traders are positioning for IBM’s shares to potentially hit fresh record highs in the next couple of months. The June $215 strike calls have traded more than 600 times this morning against open interest of 133 contracts, with much of the volume initiated by buyers paying $0.37 apiece, on average. Investors long the calls stand ready to profit in the event that shares in IBM surge 6.7% to top an average breakeven share price – and new all-time high – of $215.37 by June expiration.
BIG - Big Lots, Inc. – Shares in Big Lots are down big time after the discount retailer of consumer goods lowered its first-quarter sales forecast. The Columbus, Ohio-based Company’s shares are down more than 20.0% today to stand at $36.40 on the sales guidance and a slew of analyst…
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 7th, 2012 7:52 am
Was that it?
On February 24th I wrote "TGIF – Sell in March and Go Away?" and I laid out my case for why I thought we were going to fall off the table in March and we have, indeed, fallen right off the table right on schedule since then. I said that Friday, that the post was intended as a bookend to my September 30th bottom call as I felt that we had captured all of the upside we were likely to see off the "good news" that Greece was "fixed" and the economy was "improving."
I'm not going to say anything bad about the economy here, I'll let Michael Snyder do that with his "15 Potentially MASSIVE Threats to the US Economy over the next 12 Months" – I think he pretty much covers it! 8 trading days ago (2/24), we had two short trade ideas in our Morning Alert to Members, they were:
- SQQQ April $13/17 bull call spread at .70, still .70 (even)
- DXD April $13/15 bull call spread at net .55, now .70 – up 27%
In Member Chat that day, Exec asked if I was getting bearish and my response was:
Bearish/Exec – Are you kidding, this is me painting a sunny picture! Give me a few drinks and I'll tell you how off the rails the Global Economy is right now… Do you know how much Kool Aid I have to consume not to scream short on every single stock I see. CAT $116, CMG $386, DIA $130, GMCR we already did at $70, IBM $200, KO $70, MA $415, MCD $100, MMM $88, MO $30, MON $80, MOS $59, OIH $45, PCLN $593 (did them too), QQQ $64, SPY $137, TM $85, USO $41.50 (got 'em), UTX $84, V $117, WYNN $119, XOM $87, XRT $59 (got 'em) – and that's just off my watch list of stock I like to buy when they're cheap! We are not just priced for perfection, we are priced for perfection plus a return to full employment a forgiveness of all debts without write-downs and inflation without rising interest – we are priced for Nirvana!
by phil - January 24th, 2012 8:26 am
Tough call today.
The Dollar bounced off 79.75 this morning, nothing to crow about for Dollar bulls as the Euro remains just over the critical $1.30 mark and the Pound is solidly over $1.55 for the moment.
You could say it's a bearish sign that the Dow and the NYSE stopped dead at our breakout levels but that's to be expected on a first attempt at breaking out – even if they have already attempted the same move back in late October, when the Dow was 5% lower in it's test and the NYSE was testing the same line (7,866).
Our broadest market index is the one that's holding everyone back as what little volume there has been in this rally has been fairly narrowly focused on certain leaders. Now a pessimist might say that this is a reflection of the blatant manipulation of the indexes in which certain Banksters place buys on stocks that have disproportionate positive effects on the junior indexes in order to fool retail traders into believing there is a rally while the Banksters drive the VIX down to multi-year lows, dump all their stocks on the bagholders and prepare to cash in by crashing the markets on a major event like tomorrow's FOMC Rate Decision which is, in fact, very unlikely to have any language specific to the QE3 that has been promised by the MSM since Thanksgiving.
An optimist would say – well, you can read almost any MSM site for that. It's lonely at the top of the range when you are bearish, one by one the other bears capitulate and soon you are there all by yourself with your shorts – your lovely, lovely, cheap shorts! The Dow shot up yesterday to just over the 12,749 breakout line we have as the tippy top of the range on our Big Chart so of course I called for DIA puts in Member Chat. The DIA Feb $123 puts, which came in around .75 and finished the day not much higher at .78 after topping out at .95. Ranges usually hold – if you're not going to have conviction at the very top of a range to short – when will you? For one thing – you have a very good stop line to watch!
by phil - December 28th, 2011 6:53 am
Watch the Nasdaq.
That’s the index we need to catch up to the Dow now that the S&P is halfway to goal at 1,297 (from our Must Hold line at 1,235). The Dow is in La La Land, led by MCD (up 31%), IBM (up 26%), PFE (up 24%), HD (up 20%) and KFT (up 20%) while this year’s Dogs of the Dow are BAC (down 59%), AA (down 43%), HPQ (down 39%) and JPM (down 22%).
While the losers may seem to outweigh the winners, that’s not how it works as the Dow is price-weighted so BAC dropping from $14 to $5.50 "only" costs the Dow about 68 points (roughly 8 points for each Dollar), IBMs rise from $145 to $185 added a whopping 320 points.
So a 26% rise in one component and a 59% drop in another nets out to a gain of 252 points! At the beginning of the year, they had roughly the same market cap ($150Bn) but IBM has gained $70Bn and BAC has lost $100Bn which, of course, translates into a net gain of 2% on the entire Dow – BECAUSE IT IS THE STUPIDEST INDEX ON EARTH!
Our Members, of course, know this. I wrote "DJIA: The Most Useless, Overused Tool on the Planet" back in 2006, when GM was still part of the Dow so no need to rehash it all here other than to mention the fact that a 30-component index has made 5 substitutions in the 5 years since I wrote that article only serve to highlight how ridiculous it is to use the Dow to draw long-term conclusions. The Dow is manipulated because it’s easy to and Uncle Rupert sits with the other Masters of the Universe to decide how to use this headline tool to make things look as good as possible in the US markets.
That’s why CSCO and TRV replaced C and GM in June of 2009. C was at $28.80 and is down a bit, GM went BK from $45 (which would have been a 360-point loss in the Dow) while CSCO was disappointing but essentially flat and TRV is up $20, adding another 160 points so a 520-point swing (5%) on those substitutions alone. In September of 2008, AIG ($135 at the time) was swapped for KFT ($32). KFT is just $37.70 but AIG was…