by phil - October 19th, 2012 8:30 am
25 years ago today, the market fell 22%.
You never know what's going to panic the markets – since then we've had many other sudden corrections like Black Friday just 2 years later and Black Wednesday in September 1992, we've had the dot.com collapse and 9/11 and whatever you call 2008 and recently we had Dubai and Greece leading to sudden crashes and the ubiquitous flash crash and whatever happened last August (Europe again).
So stock markets are dangerous places to keep your money, on the whole. That's why TZA (ultra-short Russell) is our primary hedge in the Income Portfolio and, as I mentioned in last Wednesday's post, should the S&P fail to hold 1,440, then the Dow has little support all the way down to 13,295 as well. Just this Tuesday, I reiterated a TZA spread Members could use for general portfolio coverage:
Ultra hedges/Bdon – You just can't beat TZA at $15. The Jan $12/15 bull call spread is $1.50 so 100% upside if TZA simply doesn't go any lower. If they do go lower, you can sell the April $11 puts, now .50 for $1 (the Apr $12 puts are .92) before your $1.50 is even out of the money and then you'd be in the Jan $12s at net .50 and worst case is you get assigned at net $11.50 in April but, of course, you can roll or simply accept the assignment and cover and then you have more long-term protection.
We like to buy our protection when the market is going up – it's cheaper that way! TZA was at $14.75 at yesterday's close and the Jan spread was still about the same $1.50 but it's $2.75 in the money – all we need is for TZA to not go down (Russsell not to go up) and we make a tidy profit. That's a good way to hedge because the only way that hedge loses money is if the market breaks higher.
We're not turning bearish yet but, as we're seeing some pretty serious misses (GOOG and CMG yesterday, for example) and some pretty strong reactions to those misses – it is a good time to make sure people do remember the value of hedging. If nothing else, it's a piece of mind that lets us ride out these dips without worry. Also, of course, it's good to…
by Option Review - September 11th, 2012 2:10 pm
Today’s tickers: MCD, INTC & JPM
MCD - McDonald's Corp. – Traders hungry for bullish options on McDonald’s Corp. purchased upside calls on the stock this morning, with shares in the world’s largest restaurant chain rising as much as 0.90% to $92.10 at the start of the session on better-than-expected August same-store sales growth in its Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East region. Options players positioning for shares in MCD to extend gains during the next five weeks snapped up Oct. $92.5 and $95 calls. The Oct. $95 strike call is the most heavily traded at present, with around 3,700 contracts in play as of 12:15 p.m. in New York. It looks like most of the $95 calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.51 apiece, thus preparing buyers to profit at expiration next month should the price of the underlying rally another 3.7% to exceed the average breakeven price of $95.51. Bullish activity spread to longer-dated contracts expiring in December, where around 2,600 of the Dec. $95 strike calls were purchased for an average premium of $1.21 each. These contracts may be profitable at expiration if the Big Mac maker’s shares rally 4.5% to top $96.21, the highest since May. McDonald's is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on October 19th, the last session available to trade the October options before they expire.
INTC - Intel Corp. – Shares in the chip maker are on the mend today, up 1.3% at $23.57 as of 12:25 p.m. ET, reversing some of the declines suffered during the prior two trading sessions. A large bullish risk reversal initiated on INTC this morning suggests one big options market participant is positioning for further gains in the price of the underlying this year. It looks like the strategist sold around 25,000 puts at the Dec. $21 strike at a premium of $0.45 each in order to partially offset the…
by phil - July 27th, 2012 8:02 am
You made me promises promises
You knew you'd never keep
Why do I believe
All of your promises
You knew you'd never keep – Naked Eyes
Wow – what a party!
The former Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs (Draghi) says everything is fixed and the global markets go flying – what's not to trust? Would anyone form GS ever lie to us? Would GS be involved in manipulating the Global Markets – of course not!
Now that I've fulfilled my obligation to get my mother back unharmed – let's get real. Draghi said the violent spike in bond yields in recent days was hampering "the functioning of the monetary policy transmission channels" – the EXACT expression used to justify each of the ECB's previous market interventions.
Yields on Spanish two-year debt plunged 72 basis points to 5.47% in barely an hour, with comparable moves on Italian debt – easing the pressure before a string of debt auctions in Rome over coming days. The MIB index of stocks in Milan surged by 5.6%. Madrid's IBEX rose 6%, the biggest jump in two years, led by an explosive rise in bank shares. Mr Draghi's comments came as Spain claimed backing from France and Germany for activation of the eurozone's rescue fund (EFSF) to buy Spanish bonds, though this would require calling the Bundestag's finance committee back from holiday for a vote. Action by the EFSF would provide "political cover" for the ECB to join the fray in a two-pronged attack. "We're firing on all cylinders: that is what has ignited the markets," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at Morgan Stanley.
Joint statements from Madrid, Paris and Berlin said market turbulence "does not reflect the fundamentals of the Spanish economy, or the sustainability of its public debt". According to Ambrose Pritchard, "the wording seems scripted to clear the way for intervention." Of course, now it's time to put up or shut up as the Fed meets next week and the ECB has their pre-holiday meeting next week as well…
by phil - May 2nd, 2012 6:40 am
Yesterday did not count.
Until the end of day, the volume was low and, as you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, the morning pump was mostly erased by the end of the day. In fact, on the Russell and Nasdaq – it was entirely erased. What a friggin' joke, yet no one will investigate it and few will even question it.
As we often say at PSW – We don't care IF the game is rigged, as long as we know HOW the game is rigged and get to place our bets accordingly. In my Morning Alert to Members at 10:05, my comment on the move up was:
Not too many markets are open so super low-volume means we can pretty much ignore whatever's happening. Some wild gyrations at the open already with AAPL popping $10 to goose the Nas and they are spiking us up and down at will on this low volume.
At 12:02 we made our planned adjustments to our 4 active virtual portfolios, taking advantage of the big, bad spike to move to cheap June bear positions and cash out our long plays and just get generally more aggressively bearish at what we thought was going to be the top for the day. The most aggressive move was made in our most aggressive, $25,000 Portfolio (pictured here from its 10am status BEFORE many changes were made), where we flipped our protective TNA hedge from bullish to very bearish – shifting the balance of the portfolio much more bearish with a single move:
TNA – $60s are now $4 so let's take that and run on 5 (1/2), as that's more than we paid for the spread and we'll ride the $63s half-covered with a stop on 5 at $3 (now $2.25). Also, a stop on the 5 remaining $60s at $3, at which point we would reset the stop on the $63s, of course.
Needless to say, that trade worked out huge already as the $60s all stopped out at a $3.50 average ($3,500), which is $500 more than our max potential gain on the spread and the $63 calls already finished the day at $1.10 ($1,100) for a net of $2,400 (so far) off our $1,450 entry on 4/26 – so up 65% in less than a week on the trade we used to…
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 - February 17th, 2012 8:19 am
A day late and a point short on the S&P.
Our senior index finished the day at 1,358.04, just 0.96 under our 10% line at 1,359. Oddly enough, it never actually crossed the line that we had predicted would be the top of this run in April of 2009. It's a simple 2% overshoot of the 100% run from the S&P bottom at 666.
If the S&P can get over the line and hold it – we will be THRILLED to finally redraw our Big Chart but, if not, then this is just the blow-off top of the range, reeling in the suckers ahead of the big reversal that no one could have possibly seen coming (except this guy but he's like 100 and just got divorced, so he's bound to be in a bad mood).
Is there anyone who was born SINCE radio who is willing to still be bearish? As you can see from David Fry's chart, since December 19th, other than a few red days out of over 40 – it's been tough to be a bear. This is what it was like in 1999, when the experienced market players would be well-hedged and missing the rally while some kid who works for him quits because he bet his student loan money on Yahoo and now drives a Porsche.
Sure 9 months later the Porsche was repossessed and the kid was flipping burgers but WE WANT TO BE THAT KID – IT'S FUN TO BE THAT KID – until it isn't again. The funny thing is, we only gave those dot com companies Millions when they IPO'd – now we give out Billions because, of course, this time is different, it's a new paradigm, this changes everything, you have to understand the new metrics, sock puppets rule….
McDonald's was founded in 1940 by two brothers actually named McDonald. Ray Krok bought the chain from them and created the World's greatest franchise which now has over 26,000 franchise operations and over 6,000 company stores employing about 1.7M people worldwide selling $24Bn worth of food a year with a $5Bn net profit. Facebook has 3,200 people but they generate $1.2M in revenues per employee ($3.8Bn) and drops $1Bn to the bottom line. Facebook's assets are mainly IP and those are about as valuable as MySpace's assets now…
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…
by phil - October 17th, 2011 8:01 am
European leaders have two weeks to settle differences and flesh out a strategy to terminate their sovereign debt crisis as global finance chiefs warn failure to do so would endanger the world economy. “The risk of a recession would be increased dramatically were the Europeans to fail to accomplish goals that they’ve set for themselves,” Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said after the G-20 meeting on Saturday.
The Brussels meeting “has the potential to turn into a positive historic moment,” Joachim Fels, London-based chief economist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note to clients yesterday. “But it could also easily turn into a negative catalyst.”
Europe’s plan, which has still to be made public, includes writing down Greek bonds by as much as 50 percent, establishing a backstop for banks and magnifying the strength of the 440 billion-euro ($611 billion) temporary rescue fund known as the European Financial Stability Facility. “The plan has the right elements,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in Paris. “They clearly have more work to do on the strategy and the details.”
The G-20 officials — who met to prepare for a Nov. 3-4 gathering of leaders in Cannes, France (and we’re fondly remembering London’s 2009 meeting with the graphic on the right) — said in a statement that the world economy faces “heightened tensions and significant downside risks.” European authorities must “decisively address the current challenges through a comprehensive plan.”
The policy makers held out the possibility of rewarding European action with more aid from the International Monetary Fund, while splitting over whether the Washington-based lender’s $390 billion war chest needs topping up. Europe’s latest strategy hinges on putting Greece, whose government forecasts its debt to reach 172 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, on a sustainable path. Austerity has plunged the country deeper into recession and provoked civil unrest that threatens political stability.
My reaction to this in Member Chat this Morning was to call for shorting the jacked up Dow Futures (/YM) at 11,600, saying:
Speaking of the illusion of power – yet another G20 meeting ends with yet another plan to have a plan but this time, for some insane reason, they only gave themselves a week to fix everything. I’ll be writing about this this morning but the gist of it is the Finance Ministers have essentially sent their own
by phil - September 12th, 2011 6:54 am
That’s how much Greece is paying today to borrow money for a year! In theory, if you lend Greece $10,000 today, next year they will pay you back $20,800. In THEORY that is because, at 108% – IF they actually borrowed at that rate, you could be very sure that they would not be around to pay you. That’s the joke of this whole thing – we have these insanely unrealistic prices being set on bonds, which only hurts the people who have outstanding ones and need to redeem them as Greece doesn’t actually borrow money for even double-digit interest rates. It’s all a silly, artificial construct that is only useful in spreading panic among investors.
Unfortunately, investor panic is all you need to really destroy the Global economy – as we proved in 2008. As you can see from the chart on the right, we are currently mirroring the same path we took 3 years ago as we head into October and, in fact, our financial sector is performing WORSE than it did when we had ACTUAL major bank and minor country failures – not just rumors of them.
On Friday, Greece’s finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, blamed “organized rumors” for renewed speculation that Greece would default, and said the country intended to comply with all terms needed for the bailout that European countries agreed to in July. But the fact that the details of the deal have yet to be locked down has unnerved some investors.
In a speech this week, Josef Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said it was not justifiable for politicians to demand that European banks raise more capital, as Christine Lagarde (DSK’s evil replacement), the head of the International Monetary Fund, had done. “It’s obvious,” he said, “that many European banks would not be able to handle writing down the sovereign bonds they hold on their banking books to market levels.”
But, he said, it would “risk undermining the credibility” of European bailout packages “if politicians were to now send out the signal that they do not believe in the success of those measures.” And, he argued, forcing banks to raise capital now would anger investors by forcing the dilution of current shareholders.