by phil - June 21st, 2012 8:18 am
And we're out!
It might be a little early because we did get another $267Bn from the Fed yesterday but that plus $125Bn given to Spain and $100Bn to the IMF this month is "just" $492Bn and that, according to our calculations, should be good for 1,350 on the S&P, tops. If they want to get to 1,400 – they'll need another $500Bn from Europe and, while it is widely expected to come – the Fed came up short and if the EU comes up short as well, we could be talking flash crash so we took advantage of the pre-Fed run-up (as planned in yesterday's post) to get back to cash.
My morning Alert to Members was short and sweet:
I don't know if you guys usually click on my little links but this one was the most important of the day – Don't be white people – GET OUT!!!!
This one was so important that I tweeted it (you can follow me here) and Facebooked it (you can follow us here) and I even put it out on Seeking Alpha's Stock Talks (you can follow me here) so don't say I didn't warn you. Sure the market may go up as funds dress windows into the end of the Quarter/Half next week but we caught the run off the bottom this month so why push it when the upside looks limited and the downside does not?
Other than 2014 spreads in our new Income Portfolio – all of our virtual portfolios went to cash rather than risking very nice first half gains. As of yesterday morning they were:
Much thanks to StJ for keeping these tracking portfolios – all back to cash now and hopefully we can match that performance in the second half of the year although I think we're going to ditch the very boring $5,000 Portfolio in favor of a $25,000 Portfolio…
by phil - June 19th, 2012 8:28 am
BIG day today!
As you can see from the Big Chart, we are testing the 50 day moving averages on the Dow (12,746), S&P (1,347), Nasdaq (2,920), NYSE (7,756) and the Russell (781) IF all goes well and we move up from here. The Dow is already over and the S&P and Russell are close so we'll be watching them closely this morning to see if we should stay bullish or cash out our winners while we wait for some actual bullish news – because the rumors that are driving us higher so far are running out of steam.
The G20 meeting drags on in day 2 and we await their announcement. China dropped $43Bn into the IMF last night and India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico will also commit $10Bn EACH for another $40Bn and that brings the IMF's war chest up to $456Bn. Even Turkey put up $5Bn – we're talking about an all-out Global effort here so we expect A LOT more from the big guns.
Let's not dwell on what it means that Turkey has to bail out Europe and instead focus on Christine Lagarde's statement that the commitments demonstrate "the broad commitment of the membership to ensure the IMF has access to adequate resources to carry out its mandate in the interests of global financial stability." So now it's up to the G20 and that means it's up to Merkel today and Bernanke tomorrow.
Merkel faces mounting pressure to make even greater concessions, by putting Germany's financial muscle behind an integrated banking and borrowing system to keep the euro intact. The question is whether, after two years of muddling through, Europe's pre- eminent power can act quickly and decisively. "I think she will remain an incrementalist: we have not yet reached the point where it is obvious that we are hanging over the precipice," said Paul de Grauwe, a professor at the London School of Economics. "It looks again that what is going to come out is going to temporarily pacify markets until it is clear that it is not going to be sufficient."
For those of you who don't speak Economics – "not going to be sufficient" = DOOM!!!
by phil - June 12th, 2012 8:29 am
Well, we can't say this was unexpected.
As I noted in yesterday's post, we didn't think much of the Spanish bailout and began shorting the Futures Sunday night. Amazingly, we still opened well above Friday's close and that gave us a great opportunity to cash out our longs and flip bearish. My comment in the Morning Alert to Members was:
As I mentioned above – this was a nice pop and shame on you for not taking bullish profits and running back to cash and we can wait patiently for the next obvious entry on whichever side we end up on.
AAPL is over our expected $580 target off our $555 entry so GREED not to take that and run at $586. They have their conference today and great expectations are always a good time to get out – see my note on AAPL at the end of Friday's chat.
Cash, cash, cash, cash is the way to play this mess. If they Dollar doesn't stay below 82.25 then there's nothing to be bullish about this morning as it means the Euro is going weak again just hours after a huge bailout – which makes perfect sense from a macro standpoint because $125Bn does nothing at all for Italy, Greece or anyone else or, as I said above – band-aids on bullet holes is all we have and the blood keeps flowing….
Our bearish play for the morning was TZA at $20.70, selling the July $19 puts for $1.25 and buying the $20/25 bull call spread for $1.30 for net .05 on the $5 spread. TZA popped up to $22.30 at the end of the day (up 7.7%) and the puts fell to .80 while the $20/25 spread finished the day at $1.80 for net $1 – a 1,900% gain on cash in a single day.
In practical terms buying 50 of the spreads would have cost $250 and netted $5,000 but keep in mind you create an obligation to buy 5,000 shares of TZA for net $19.05 ($95,250) and the margin requirement is roughly $12,000. This is why we like to be mainly in CASH in a choppy market. Having spare margin on the sidelines let's…
by phil - June 8th, 2012 8:37 am
That was the word from Uncle Ben yesterday as he testified before the Senate and, as we warned you in the morning post, without Dr. Bernanke firing those stage two boosters on the market:
We may fall gently back to our lows as we once again shift our focus to the G20 or we may blow up, along with the bullish expectations that have driven the market for the past two days – in which case, I don't know if the G20 will have enough fuel to pull us out of the tailspin that a lack of Fed action is likely to put us in.
So not much new to report this morning. We are, so far, in a relatively gentle descent – market-wise but we caught the danger signs as our gauges flashed warnings at us early yesterday and went from "Cashy and Cautious" back to CASH. As my morning Alert to Members, which went out at 9:53 yesterday morning, said:
Good morning – cash, Cash, CASH is King ahead of Bernanke at 10. Nice pop to lighten up into and that would go for the small portfolios too if I weren't playing them for an aggressively bullish hunch that Ben has no choice at this point, other than to at least strongly indicate that additional accommodative policy is likely warranted.
Oil is testing $87 (/CL) and is a great short here. $86 is still too much based on yesterday's inventory. If Ben fails to stimulate – it will drop like a rock but very, very dangerous to say the least.
Cash is so much more relaxing!!
We recycled the 5 bearish trade ideas we didn't get to use the day before as all of our levels held but yesterday, our levels were S&P 1,310, Nas 2,850, Russell 760 and NYSE 7,600 and those quickly flashed failure warnings across the board and by 10:03 we got the text of Ben's speech and knew it was time to abandon ship. As the Q&A got underway, my 10:31 comment to Members was:
FAS Money/StJ – Up $10,000??? CASH!!!! (we started with $2,000)
by phil - May 30th, 2012 7:57 am
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.
Thank 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…
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 24th, 2012 8:28 am
I've listened to preachers
I've listened to fools
I've watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role
Mental wounds still screaming
Driving me insane
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train – Ozzy
Wheeeee, that was fun!
We called for a "Whipsaw Wednesday" and it doesn't come much more whipsawed that that. Fortunately we stuck with the plan from my morning post to take the money and run on our short plays and we even pulled the hedges off our $25,000 Portfolio, leaving it 100% bullish at 11:11 in Member Chat.
That left us a little nervous for the next hour but, of course, we had a plan for that too and, at 12:27, I put up a chart of the our indexes over the last 5 days saying: "Note our lows of last Friday – Those are the lines we need to give up at if we fail them!"
That's a very important point about aggressively trading – it's OK to pick a bottom and flip bullish, but ONLY IF YOUR BOTTOM HOLDS! The biggest problem traders have is they guess a bottom (1,300 on the S&P was ours) but then, when their premise fails – they FAIL to give up on the position. This is much like saying in the morning that you don't think it's going to rain – then having breakfast and seeing it pouring with rain outside – and refusing to take an umbrella because you didn't think it was going to rain (see "The Microwave Oven Theory of Behavior" for more on this subject).
Here was the chart we looked at at 12:27 in chat:
Things were not looking good, were they? Remember, we had gone bullish on that first pause and failed to hold that line so the first thing we had to do was make a new plan — just in case. If you don't know EXACTLY what you are going to do "just in case," you are going to let yourself get shoved around by these crazy markets. We had laid out our Just in Case plays in the Morning Alert at 9:57 with three aggressive hedges to…
by phil - May 22nd, 2012 8:15 am
Wow, what a Monday!
The Nasdaq and the Russell already hit our 2% bounce goals and the Dow needs another point with just half a point making the mark for the NYSE and the S&P – not bad for a day's work…
EVERYONE is TALKING about bailouts and easing but, so far, no concrete action has been taken and we don't believe we can get more than a strong bounce (40% retrace of the drop) without ACTUAL stimulus coming through. Those lines would be:
- Dow – 12,750 (12,540 is 20% retrace/weak bounce)
- S&P – 1,343 (1,319)
- Nas – 2,900 (2,840)
- NYSE – 7,720 (7,560)
- RUT – 780, (765)
As you can see from the Big Chart, the Nasdaq stopped dead at their -5% line at 2,850 so we'll be watching that one very closely and the S&P is just under its -2.5% line at 1,320 so those are our major goals for the day along with turning the Russell and the other weak bounce lines green. Those are the 2% bounces we expected in yesterday's post but we certainly didn't expect them in one day!
We had gone into the session expecting to flip more bearish after betting on the bounce Friday afternoon but it was a very strong day overall and none of our warnings (see Morning Alert) were tripped so we ended the day a little more bullish as we tweaked our FAS Money Portfolio even more bullish by uncovering our primary January bull call spread. On the other hand, we left our bear hedges in place on the $25,000 Portfolio, so we're not ready to go all the way on our first bullish date.
All three of my stock picks from this week's Stock World Weekly gave us the entries we were looking for and some nice gains yesterday as CHK opened at $14.25 and finished at $14.91 (up 4.6%), HPQ opened at $21.42 and jumped to $21.89 (up 2.1%) and XLF gave us our $13.77 entry but is still playable at $13.90 (up 1%) and, of course, our aggressive FAS Money move was to take advantage of the lagging XLF index.
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 phil - May 16th, 2012 8:27 am
Finally – news so bad it's GOOD!
Commercial Real Estate is down 14% in China so far this year with Residential right behind, down 13.5% – all on 11.8% fewer sales than last year. Foreign investment in Chinese properties has dropped 42.9% year to date. China's main banks are not lending any money – due to lack of demand, not supply and 45% of Chinese companies predict a slowdown this year and next. Brazil is right behind China with their own real estate market collapsing and the IMF is racing over to Australia to assess the damage done to their banks by the bursting property bubble and EU property values are also off 20% from their 2007 peaks – even in London and Frankfurt – which were supposed to be "immune" from this nonsense.
Good – let's get it all out in the open finally!
Italian Banks are in turmoil and their Government is considering using troops to protect the Banksters after one was shot last week. There is a run on the Greek Banks with almost $900M withdrawn this month and virtually no liquidity should people want more. Meanwhile, The Institute of International Finance has estimated that the global cost of a Greek exit could hit $1,300,000,000,000. When Argentina defaulted in 2001, foreign debtors lost around 70% of their investments. Is $1.3Tn finally a number that matters?
That's right folks, the Global situation is a complete and utter disaster – which is why we went long on the Russell Futures (/TF) at 775 and Oil Futures (/CL) at $92.50 in Member Chat this morning. Where the Hell else are you going to put your money if not in US Equities? That was my conclusion at 11:54 in yesterday's Chat, when I said to Members:
Nice pop off the EU close – still seems like people are abandoning the sinking ship of state over there and money has nowhere to go but US equities (but TBills and Dollars are getting some love too). With gold, silver, oil and copper all looking weak – where the hell are people supposed to put money?