by Phil Davis - November 16th, 2012 8:32 am
Falling, falling, falling.
That's all the markets have been doing lately. As you can see from our Big Chart – it's been a pretty orderly sell-off according to our 5% rule with roughly a 4-5% drop during October with some consolidation, followed by a much steeper 4-5% drop after the election.
We're back to the point where we expect resistance at an 8% total drop as well as some bounce action where once again we'll be measuring for strong or weak bounces to determine whether or not we can get a turn again (our indicators kept us bearish last time). Regarding the current action, I said to our Members yesterday in Chat:
I think there is a lot of selling as people take capital gains while they can. I think that it's very possible that it's going to be very difficult to get a proper rally into the end of the year because there are plenty of people waiting for a rally to take their gains, whether through timing or position. The problem with this state of not knowing is it becomes prudent for people to hedge for the worst and, if someone had a 20% gain for the year and now it's 15% and they can take it off now and keep 12.75% (after 15% tax) vs possibly hitting another 5% drop and running down to 8.5% this year or possibly 7% (at 30%) if they wait until next year and there's no recovery (and the more the cliff looms the less likely recovery seems) then it almost doesn't make sense not to take the 12.75% and run. So that's very possibly the selling pressure we see and it may continue to be relentless into the end of the year unless there is some sort of resolution or delay to the cliff.
While we don't think the Fiscal Cliff will end up being a big deal – that doesn't stop others from panicking. This week we've been scooping up positions they have been running away from but, if we're going to have another leg down – we'll be needing those disaster hedges (see Wednesday's post) to keep us out of trouble. It doesn't take much to profit from a downturn, fortunately, when we use good hedges. On Wednesday I suggested the TZA April $17/24 bull call spread for $1.40, selling the $14…
by Phil Davis - July 30th, 2012 7:58 am
So, where's our stimulus?
Like good little Pavlovian dogs, we ran back into the markets last week when Mario Draghi rang the stimulus bill – increasing the $60Tn global markets by 5% – that's $3Tn of valuation added in 48 hours on the say-so of a former GS executive that has been put in charge of the European Central bank. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario?
If we can't trust the Investment Bankers who are taking over our Government, who can we trust? So we'll assume that everything WILL be fixed this week and that the ECB, Fed, PBOC, BOE, BOJ and all the little Central Banksters will be pumping enough money into the system to justify a $3,000,000,000,000 increase in Global Equity prices – even though that means, at an average p/e of 15, that all this expected stimulus somehow drops an additional $200Bn to the bottom line of Big Business to justify the bump in valuation.
How many Dollars, Yen, Euros and Yuan do we have to give to Corporations to turn into $200Bn? Well, if it's AMZN – the answer is $15Tn because it takes $50Bn in sales for AMZN to make $600M so figure 75x in sales to make 1x in earnings. Why use AMZN? Well because AMZN is almost 5% of the Nasdaq and it was their amazing run last week, on what rational people would consider poor earnings, that reversed the downtrend initiates by AAPL's (who are 15% of the Nasdaq) miss.
I guess it's obvious why we're short AMZN (see Dave Fry's chart) but let's look at AAPL now, who are quite a bit more efficient at dropping Dollars to the bottom line. Last year, AAPL took in $108Bn and made a profit of $26Bn – now THAT'S a good company! So let's pretend that all companies are as good as AAPL and nowhere near as bad as AMZN at converting sales to profits.
Now to get that additional $200Bn in Corporate Profits we only need about $800Bn in stimulus – assuming, of course, that money actually went to people who would spend it and not to Banksters who are still trying to back-fill multi-Trillion Dollar holes in their mark-to-fantasy balance sheets. $800Bn is a doable number so let's pretend it is enough to justify a 5% bump in the market and now we know…
by Phil Davis - July 24th, 2012 8:49 am
Tut, tut, it does not look like rain.
You would think the worst drought in 80 years would merit more than the occasional mention in the Financial media – I've seen CNBC do one-hour specials on the marijuana crops so you'd think actual FOOD would maybe make it a little higher on the list of concerns for the MSM – especially when we are experiencing the worst drought of the past 80 years and the last one that was this bad led to a Global Depression (along with, of course, National Debt Crises and Financial Failures but mission accomplished there already).
You would think the drought has somehow fallen into a Somebody Else's Problem Field, where individuals/populations of individuals choose to decentralize themselves from an issue that may be in critical need of recognition. Such issues may be of large concern to the population as a whole but can easily be a choice of ignorance at an individualistic level. As Douglas Adams explains in The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem…. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.The technology involved in making something properly invisible is so mind-bogglingly complex that 999,999,999 times out of a billion it's simpler just to take the thing away and do without it……. The "Somebody Else's Problem field" is much simpler, more effective, and "can be run for over a hundred years on a single torch battery.This is because it relies on people's natural predisposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain.
by Phil Davis - July 23rd, 2012 8:25 am
How great is this? We flipped bearish on Wednesday's poor Beige Book outlook (not to mention drought concerns and Hugh Hendry's warning that "Bad things are going to happen") and Thursday we noted it was looking a little too much like last July, where we fell off a cliff right after options expiration and my very appropriate comment at the end of Thursday morning's post was:
Clack, clack, clack – like a roller coaster going up in the dark, we don't know when we'll get that big "wheeee" but we do know it's coming!
Fortunately, we did not wait with our Long Put List going out in the Thursday Morning Alert to Members at 10:18, with all bearish trade ideas that included these gems:
- AMZN Oct $180 puts at $2.75, still $2.75 – even (all as of Friday's close)
- CMG Sept $350 puts at $5, now $35 – up 600%
- DIA Dec $117 puts at $2.50, now $2.80 – up 12%
- ISRG Jan $350 puts at $1.70, now $5 – up 194%
- MA Jan $290 puts at $2.85, now $3.40 – up 19%
- SPY Oct $120 puts at $1, now $1.15 – up 15%
- V Jan $100 puts at $2, now $2.30 – up 15%
- XRT Jan $53 puts at $2, now $2.20 – up 10%
So a couple of big winners already and, of course, we're done with those (see Stock World Weekly for more trade ideas) and the way we work our Long Put List is to take those winners off the table and utilize our "fresh horses" for the next leg down. Don't worry, we won't run out, there are 13 more picks on deck for our Members with AMZN (above) our top choice for this week (also featured with a slightly different trade in SWW).
Even our aggressive oil puts should be doing well in our small portfolios as well as our bullish VXX trade and, of course, our EDZ and TZA hedges as China dropped 600 points this morning and the Russell is testing our 775 target already. Things may be worse than we thought they were going to be as 775 may not hold on the RUT and that breakdown can lead us to test our -5% lines on the Russell (760), Nasdaq (2,850) and the…
by Phil Davis - June 13th, 2012 8:35 am
$125Bn for Spain AND they are going to be given 5 years before having to pay back their loans and rumor has it that it will be a 10-year payment period at 3%. Sure, why not? At least that way we can pretend they are going to pay everyone back, rather than watch them default just a few months after we lend them the money, like Greece.
As we expected, Italy is the next crisis on deck as their 10-year bond yeilds climb over 6% as Italy's $2.4Tn debt (120% of GDP) running at 6% interest ($144Bn a year = 7.5% of GDP) is going to require a lot more than $100Bn to stop the bleeding. At the same time, Mr. Monti's tax-heavy austerity measures have choked economic growth, causing Italy's economy to contract 0.8% in the first four months of the year.
Mr. Monti lashed back at an Austrian minister on Tuesday for questioning whether Italy might need financial assistance to ride out the crisis. "I find it completely inappropriate that representatives of other governments in the European Union are talking about the situations of other countries," Mr. Monti said during a news conference, adding that his government was "continuing to work to guarantee the financial stability of the euro zone."
Clearly the honeymoon is over for Monti with a poll last week finding that only half of Italians supported political parties that form Mr. Monti's parliamentary majority, down from 63% two months ago. Confidence in Mr. Monti among those surveyed fell to 34%, compared with 71% when Mr. Monti took office. The steady erosion of public support for Mr. Monti's government is also prompting some politicians to question whether Mr. Monti can still push through the tough changes demanded by EU leaders.
You can see from the chart on the left what a tremendous drag the global markets (down 12.5% in a year) are becoming on the S&P (down 2.5%). If nothing is going to happen to snap the Global markets up – well, you do the math…
That math is keeping us Cashy and Cautious in this horribly choppy market and it's a good thing as we've been flip-flopping like fish out of water trying to stay on top of these crazy daily moves. Fortunately, the market is doing exactly what we expect it to do but, since what…
by Phil Davis - 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 Davis - April 2nd, 2012 8:29 am
I played poker this weekend.
I entered a few tournaments in Atlantic City, made it to a couple of final tables but didn't win any. It did remind me that a bluff can only get you so far – at a certain point, you have to actually have the cards in order to win. As I pointed out to Members this morning – the Global Markets have bluffed their way through the first quarter and now comes earnings season and it's time for the economy to show it's cards and now we'll see who ends up with all the chips!
Just this morning we got this disturbing data:
- Eurozone unemployment ticked up to 10.8% in February, compared with 10.7% in January and 10.0% in the year-earlier period.
- Eurozone Final Manufacturing PMI 47.7 in March (confirming preliminary estimate) vs. 49 in February. That's the 8th consecutive month of readings below 50, which signals contraction.
- German PMI fell to 48.4 in March from 50.2 in February, slightly beating estimates for 48.1 but still well within the range indicating contraction in the manufacturing sector.
- France March PMI slides to 46.7 from 50.0 previously and the flash estimate of 47.6. The read is the lowest since June 2009, led by a sharp decline in New Orders.
- U.K. February PMI rises to 52.1 from 51.5 previously and beating expectations of 50.7. The devil, however, is in the details: "The increase in output was heavily supported by a depletion in backlogs of work and record inventory building," note CIPS, the survey firm
- Spain's March PMI falls to 44.5 from 45.0 previously, inline with expectations. It's the 11th consecutive decline in the index.
- HSBC China PMI, which measures smaller factories, 48.3 in March (flash reading was 48.1) vs. February's 49.6, marking the fifth successive month of contraction.
- South Korean Exprts Fall 1.4% on Weakness in Global Demand.
These are NOT cards you want to be playing with unless you are forced. That's the thing, GS, JPM, MS, Fund Managers, etc – they HAVE to play. Since they have to play whatever cards that are dealt – they do the logical thing – THEY BLUFF! Although what's scary about the Banksters is that, when they bluff, it's like the dealer bluffing because they control so much of the game and their only real goal is to get you to play so they can rake…
by Phil Davis - 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 Davis - December 28th, 2010 8:24 am
Looks like we picked the wrong week to short FCX!
Copper hit a new all-time high in Shanghai this morning (as the guy who owns 90% of London’s closed for the holiday exchange supplies sold it to himself for more money than he did yesterday) and gold is back at $1,400 in the futures and that should give us a better entry on FCX puts than we expected for round 2 but Paul Krugman has me worried now that maybe commodity prices are just high because the World hasn’t got enough of them to go around. Usually Paul and I agree but i think he may be discounting the effect of a 10% decline in the dollar a little too much – which is understandable as he is still arguing for more stimulus while I’m arguing that the way they are stimulating now is causing this problem and can not and should not be sustained.
Still, we have to be pragmatic. That’s why, this weekend, I posted our "Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2011" as a follow-on to the "Breakout Defense – 5,000% in 5 Trades or Less" ideas of the 11th and, in the week between the two, we had bullish bets on HMY, XLF, CAKE, TNA, IWM, CCJ, CHK, EXC, TNA, XLF, UNG, GLD, AAPL, GLW, TOT and AXP – which I had mentioned on the 19th in the weekend post "It’s Never too Early to Predict the Future." Just because I think there’s going to be a disaster doesn’t mean we can’t go with the flow while we wait, right?
We don’t have to like the market to buy it above our breakout lines but we do need to keep in mind that this is a very thin rally that is very likely nothing but window dressing aimed at dragging money off the sidelines so the IBanks who have been propping up the markets can, once again, stick the retail shareholders with the bag as they load up on puts (watch the VIX to confirm) and crash the markets once again. I’ve seen it happen in 1999, I saw it happen in 2008 and, both times, the rally lasted longer than seemed logical but the smart play was to hit and run – not to leave your money on the table but to participate in the upswings and then…
by Phil Davis - July 20th, 2010 8:13 am
Wheeeee – this is fun!
Well, it’s fun when you have disaster hedges anyway. I already sent out an Alert to Members this morning reminding them that there’s no point in having disaster hedges if you don’t use that money to buy on the dips, though. Yesterday we added downside, leveraged plays on SDS (2) and DXD and our focus short was on NFLX (last week it was MA, and that went very well) along with our usual DIA Mattress play. That shifted us a bit negative as we failed to hold our watch levels and now we are sadly looking all the way down to those low closes of: Dow 9,686, S&P 1,022, Nasdaq 2,081, NYSE 6,434, Russell 590, SOX 332 and Transports 1,905 as a possible re-test if things get really ugly.
On July 3rd I laid out "5 Plays that Make 500% if the Market Falls" and, fortunately, we didn’t need them as we took off on Monday but they are still good plays and a little cheaper now than they were when we last tested our bottoms. If you are not well-protected – I strongly suggest you read this post and at least be ready to initiate a hedge if we can’t turn this morning around. As with most day’s lately – it’s all about copper and the $3 line…
That being said, I do think we will turn this morning around eventually - because IBM is down $7 and the Dow moves about 8 points per $1 of component value so that’s hitting the Dow for 56 points all by itself. IBM’s earnings were great but revs missed, in large part due to currency issues. BRIC revenues were up 22% for the company, despite the crap exchange rate.
TXN got whacked too on their report that profits nearly tripled on a 42% jump in revenues (not kidding). "Demand has continued very solid and very broad-based," said Ron Slaymaker, the company’s vice president of investor relations.
Mr. Slaymaker said the biggest positive surprise in the period was stronger demand from companies that buy industrial equipment, which have rebounded much slower than consumers from the recession. One notable area of weakness, he added, was sales of chips used in cellphones. TI has long been a major supplier to handset-maker Nokia Corp., which in June lowered its second-quarter forecast.
The company reported net income for the period ended