Are capital markets leading economic indicators or do they provide fuel for a growing economy? Or is it both? Isn’t the function of capital markets to raise capital for the financing of corporate and government operations through the sale of securities (stocks and bonds)?
If the stock market is rising, would this not then create the economic condition it is "predicting" as an economic indicator? In the absence of government stimulus, might financial markets save themselves? If so, how? Can financial markets rise spontaneously or do they require a fundamental boost or outside stimulation?
Capital markets have many functions and their participants have numerous objectives; however, we may simplify them all into two basic categorical functions: 1) Passive and 2) Active. Depending upon economic conditions and variables, capital markets can play one or both rolls. Consider recent comments by George Soros (Hat tip to Captain Jack):
…financial markets do not play a purely passive role; they can also affect the so-called fundamentals they are supposed to reflect. These two functions that financial markets perform work in opposite directions. In the passive or cognitive function, the fundamentals are supposed to determine market prices. In the active or manipulative function market, prices find ways of influencing the fundamentals. When both functions operate at the same time, they interfere with each other. The supposedly independent variable of one function is the dependent variable of the other, so that neither function has a truly independent variable. As a result, neither market prices nor the underlying reality is fully determined. Both suffer from an element of uncertainty that cannot be quantified. I call the interaction between the two functions reflexivity…
Mr. Soros’ idea of reflexivity asserts, as he says, "that financial markets do not necessarily tend toward equilibrium; they can…
Last Thursday was a so-called 90% down-day for American stock markets (and many other bourses also recorded downward dynamics). A 90% down-day is defined as a day when downside volume equals 90% or more of the total upside plus downside volume and points lost equal 90% or more of the total points gained plus points lost. The historical record show that 90% down-days do not usually occur as a single incident on the bottom day of an important decline, but typically on a number of occasions throughout a major decline. As far as the very short term is concerned, 90% down-days are often followed by two- to seven-day bounces.
The stock market is on a knife’s edge at the moment as seen in the chart below, showing the long-term trend of the S&P 500 Index (green line) together with a simple 12-month rate of change (ROC) indicator (red line). Although monthly indicators are of little help when it comes to market timing, they do come in handy for defining the primary trend. An ROC line below zero depicts bear trends as experienced in 1990, 1994, 2000 to 2003, and in 2007. And 2010? With the ROC delicately perched just above the zero line, the primary trend is still bullish, but barely so.
Regarding seasonality, I have done a short analysis of the historical pattern of monthly returns for the S&P 500 Index from 1950 to August 2010. The results are summarized in the graph below.
Source: Plexus Asset Management (based on data from I-Net Bridge).
As shown, the six-month period from May to October has historically been weaker than the period from November to April as seen in the average monthly return of 1.05% for the “good six months” compared with 0.25%% for the “bad six months”. Importantly, when considering individual months, September (-0.18%) and October (-0.19%) have historically been the only two negative months of the year. (A word of warning, though: one should take cognizance of seasonality but understand that it is not a stand-alone indicator and it is anybody’s guess whether a specific year will conform to the historical pattern.)
Where does this leave us at this juncture? Considering an array of indicators, we are somewhat in no-man’s land regarding whether the bull or bear will…
Trading ideas for early next week. Courtesy of Fibozachi.
Short Trade Candidates
GME: Gamestop (Short-Term to Intermediate-Term)
Current Price: 25.22
Candlestick Patterns: None
After rallying for eight consecutive weeks, Gamestop appears due for a pullback that allows price to digest gains and consolidate before re-testing a wide band of horizontal resistance that spans 26 – 28. With price quickly approaching resistance at 26.05, the chances of registering a multi-week swing high appear well above-average. Last week’s narrow range (near doji) plotted alongside the highest weekly volume tally since the first week of January. This type of high-volume ‘churn’ is a flashing yellow light, warning of possible inflection ahead.
Entry: Immediate (with daily confirmation) or with a move below 24.77
Target (Short-Term): 22.75
Target (Long-Term): 21.11
Stop-Loss: 26.06 or higher
Potential Risk: $1.29
Potential Reward (Short-Term): $2.02
Potential Reward (Long-Term): $3.66
Reward: Risk Ratio: 1.6 & 2.8
WAT: Waters Corporation (Short-Term to Long-Term)
Current Price: 70.03
Candlestick Patterns: Doji
Last week’s high-volume doji marked an end to WAT’s eleven week non-stop rally from 56 – 72 and now is an ideal time to begin looking the other way. WAT appears primed to pullback towards 63 over the next few weeks, where even a bull flag would target 64 – 65 before inflecting. An extended move would carry price down towards the previous swing low area of 56 – 57 from the first week of February.
Entry: Immediate (with daily confirmation) or with a move below 68.36
Target (Short-Term): 63.00
Target (Long-Term): 57.00
Stop-Loss: 71.62 or higher
Potential Risk: $3.26
Potential Reward (Short-Term): $5.36
Potential Reward (Long-Term): $11.36
Reward: Risk Ratio: 1.6 & 3.5
LINTA: Liberty Media Holdings (Intermediate-Term to Long-Term)
Current Price: 16.38
Candlestick Patterns: Doji (Perfect)
LINTA has now registered back-to-back dojis up at a previous swing high, which is a specific trading setup that we scan across markets for each and every day. While last week finally provided a bit of venting for Liberty’s eleven week monster rally, price popped back up at week’s end to close just a single penny lower for the week; some weekly…
As a futures trader I routinely check the commitment of traders report released by the CFTC. For those who aren’t familiar with the report it is a breakdown provided by the CTFC of each Tuesday’s open interest for market positions in which 20 or more traders hold positions equal to or above the reporting levels established by the CFTC. It’s widely followed in trading circles and gives a glimpse into what the big money, commercial money and even the small money is doing with their positions.
I have found over the years that the commitment of traders report tends to be a fairly weak short-term indicator. In fact, the COT tends to be more useful in following the long-term trends of large institutions and where they are currently investing money. Mr. Rosenberg’s implication that the current net bullish position should be seen as a contrarian sign is not necessarily true. After all, big money moves prices and knowing where the big money is going is more often than not a good indicator of where to put your money as opposed to what to avoid. But let’s go even further.
One of my favorite indicators is actually the reporting of small speculators in the CFTC’s report. This shows us what the amateur and small-time futures traders are doing with their money. I have found over the years that this is a fairly reliable contrarian indicator. As you can see in the chart below these traders were net bullish in just 4 weeks over the last year. The last time small traders were substantially net bullish was just before the market crumbled at the beginning of 2009. But what is it telling us now? As of last week’s report it is showing the largest net short position since the week following the March 8th bottom. In other words, small speculators were this…
Kvaerner sells its onshore construction business in North America to Matrix Service Company for an enterprise value of USD 80.3 million. The divestment enables Kvaerner to focus its efforts on further developing its upstream oil and gas business. "This transaction is an important step in our strategy to focus our operations. All of Kvaerner's operations will now be focused on delivering offshore installations and onshore plants to our upstream oil and gas customers. The sale also provides us with increased strength to further develop Kvaerner's position in our target markets," says Jan Arve Haugan, President & CEO of Kværner ASA. A definitive agreement was signed between Kværner AS and Matrix Service Company (Nasdaq: MTRX). In the tra...
The President’s speech yesterday on inequality avoided the “R” word. No politician wants to mention “redistribution” because it conjures up images of worthy “makers” forced to hand over hard-earned income to undeserving “takers.”
But as low-wage work proliferates in America, so-called takers are working as hard if not harder than anyone else, and often at more than one job.
Yet they’re still not making it because the twin forces of globalization and technological change have reduced their bargaining power and undermined their economic standing — while bestowing ever greater benefits on a comparative few with the right education and connections (and whose parents are often best able to secure these advantages for them).
From Bernanke's infamous 2008 "not forecasting a recession" call to Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines 2004 "subprime assets are riskless" commentary, the following 10 "predictions" - as opposed to Wien "surprises" - will go down in infamy for their degree of errant-ness...
10) Ben Bernanke, 10th January 2008 - "The Federal Reserve is currently not forecasting a recession."
A few months later, United States entered one of the wort recessions ever.
9) Herbert Hoover 1928: "The United States are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land."
It's time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny, Regular and Premium were unchanged. Regular and Premium are down 52 cents and 45 cents, respectively, from their interim highs in late February.
According to GasBuddy.com, no state is averaging above $4.00 per gallon, and only Hawaii is averaging over $3.80. Five states (Oklahoma, Missouri Kansas, Minnesota and Montana) are averaging under $3.00, up from three states last Monday.
How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here's a visual answer.
Today, with very little market moving news, the S&P 500 closed at 1808.4, yet another new closing daily high. The index did touch the 1811 area on at least three distinctly different time slots creating a new resistance level. But after last week’s bevy of positive economic surprises, the sharp gain of 1.1% on Friday, leaving the index just a tiny point away from its ninth consecutive up week, we can’t be too quick to suggest today was a topping rally. For one thing, volume was quite low as traders seemed to be trying to sort out the odds on the earliest date of Fed tapering. Estimates range from this month to March and even later. But it’s going to happen…so why so much emphasis on when? Perhaps protection of end-of-the-year profits in so many fund managers portfolios? ...
Investors sent the S&P 500 to a record-high close despite speeches by Federal Reserve officials hinting that the taper could begin this month.
Monday’s trading action suggested that investors finally overcame their fear that the FOMC could vote to taper the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying on December 18. The S&P 500 reached a new, record-high close, despite the fact that three Federal Reserve officials gave speeches on Monday, suggesting that the tapering program could begin this month. Dallas FedHead Richard Fisher, Richmond FedHead Jeffrey Lacker and St. Louis FedHead James Bullard gave speeches on Monday, wherein each discussed the possibility that the cutbacks to the Fed’s bond-buying could begin in December. Is a Fe...
OSIS – OSI Systems, Inc. – Options volume on OSI Systems today is well above the average daily level for the stock, with upwards of 7,500 contracts in play as of midday in New York versus average daily volume of 57 contracts. The surge in options trading on OSI Systems coincides with a 40% decline in the price of the underlying shares to $39.00 today, the lowest level since October of 2011. The company provided an update on a recent $60 million order cancellation by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Call options are more active than puts, with the call/put ratio hovering near 2.0 as of 12:40 p.m. EST. Some traders appear to be selling out of the money December and January 2014 expiry calls, while others step in to buy the contracts perhaps in the expectation that shares rebound in the...
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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.
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These rallies are becoming familiar. In early July we saw a streak of 12 of 13 sessions in a row up, early September 11 of 12, and mid October 11 of 13 (current streak). It is a bit uncanny the similarities and how the escalator goes straight up in vertical ascent as we see indexes come out of mini corrections during QE. So we are about at the same stage where the last two began to tire, so it will be interesting if this is similar or if the current consensus of the market that there is nothing to worry about until next year as the Fed and D.C. are both off the table and this 3% annual growth rate in earnings we are now seeing in the S...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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Come and get it! Read all about it! Biotechs, biotechs and more biotechs to buy buy buy for your portfolio! To date, almost 30 biotech companies have hit the market. Most of the time, there are fewer than 10-12!
For the last five years, biotechs have had issues obtaining offer prices above expectations. In 2013, that trend looks to be broken. According to BiotechNow, the offer prices are 4% above expectations! In addition, biotechs are going public with little more than a wing and a prayer (pre-clinical or Phase 1 data only). Really? What this means is that the drug or technology looks good in mice, rats, or dogs, etc, but there is no smidgen of evidence that it will work in humans. That's what is called an appitite for RISK!
Note: The material presented in this commentary is provided for informational purposes only and is based upon information that is considered to be reliable. However, neither Philstockworld, LLC (PSW) nor its affiliates warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither PSW nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance, including the tracking of virtual trades and portfolios for educational purposes, is not necessarily indicative of future results. Neither Phil, Optrader, or anyone related to PSW is a registered financial adviser and they may hold positions in the stocks mentioned, which may change at any time without notice. Do not buy or sell based on anything that is written here, the risk of loss in trading is great.
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