by Option Review - October 25th, 2010 9:04 pm
Today’s tickers: XRT, SM, AMD, MEE, EXPE, CTV & MYL
XRT - SPDR S&P Retail ETF – Pessimism on the retail ETF took the form of a put butterfly spread today, suggesting one strategist is prepared for the price of the underlying fund to decline by December expiration. Shares of the XRT, an exchange-traded fund designed to track the performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index, are up 0.95% this afternoon to stand at $43.75 as of 3:10 p.m. in New York trading. The XRT’s shares are higher today following reports that economists increased estimates for consumer purchases in the third quarter after retail sales rose more than expected in September. But, nearly all of the activity in XRT options took place in puts and implies a bearish slant on the fund today. The butterfly spread involved the purchase of 5,600 puts at the December $43 strike at a premium of $1.45 each [wing 1], the sale of 11,200 puts at the December $39 strike for a premium of $0.47 per contract [body], and the purchase of 5,600 puts at the lower December $35 strike at a premium of $0.19 apiece [wing 2]. Net premium paid to initiate the bearish spread amounts to $0.70 per contract, thus positioning the investor to make money if shares of the XRT fall 3.3% from the current price of $43.75 to breach the effective breakeven point at $42.30 by expiration day in December. Maximum potential profits of $3.30 per contract are available to the trader if the price of the underlying fund declines 10.85% to settle at $39.00 at expiration. The investor paid $0.70 per contract, but stands prepared to gain more than 4.7 times that amount, or $3.30 per contract, if the transaction comes good by December expiration.
SM - SM Energy Co. – Shares of the U.S. producer of oil and natural gas rose 4.05% today to $42.34 as of 3:25 p.m. The current rally may be an extension of gains realized last week on news the…
by Option Review - October 20th, 2010 4:12 pm
Today’s tickers: MU, REE, MEE, DAL, USB, VLTR & KR
MU - Micron Technology, Inc. – Renewed rumors that the memory chip maker could be the target of a leveraged buyout by private equity investors looking to take the company private inspired an options feeding frenzy today. Micron’s shares responded to speculative musings by rising as much as 6.30% to an intraday high of $7.76. Just before 2:00 p.m. in New York trading, one big options market participant initiated a large-volume bullish spread in the April 2011 contract. The debit call spread serves to position the trader to benefit handsomely should buyout rumors wind up having some truth to them ahead of April expiration. The options strategist picked up 21,750 calls at the April 2011 $9.0 strike for a premium of $0.71 each, and sold the same number of calls at the higher April 2011 $11 strike at a premium of $0.27 a-pop. Net premium paid for the transaction amounts to $0.44 per contract. Thus, the investor is prepared to make money should Micron’s shares surge 21.65% over today’s high of $7.76 to exceed the effective breakeven point on the spread at $9.44 by expiration day next year. The trader may pocket maximum potential profits of $1.56 per contract if the chip maker’s shares jump 41.75% to trade above $11.00 by April expiration. Investors populating Micron options during the session exchanged more than 7.1 calls on the stock for each single put in play as of 3:25 p.m. in New York. A total of 146,615 option contracts have changed hands on Micron Technology with 35 minutes to go before the closing bell.
REE - Rare Element Resources Ltd. – Shares in Rare Element Resources Ltd., which has a 100% interest in the Bear Lodge property, rallied more than 19.2% today to…
by Phil Davis - August 14th, 2010 3:43 am
Talk about feeling outnumbered!
As the guy in Airplane kind of said – "Looks like I pricked the wrong week to get bullish!" Of course, as I often tell people I am neither bullish nor bearish – I’m rangeish – and our range is the 5% band between around Dow 10,200 and S&P 1,070, which takes us as low as Dow 9,690 and S&P 1,016 and as high as Dow 10,710 and S&P 1,123 before I really "flip flop" my positions. Despite the fact that this is the range we predicted last October and is the range we’ve been in (other than a brief trip to 11,200, which we shorted the hell out of) all year – people still seem to find it necessary to call me either bullish or bearish as we navigate the channel.
I suppose I have been HOPEFUL for the month (now heading into day 14) that we will finally make a little progress and establish a higher floor at our usual mid-points while, at the same time, the MSM have decided that we are all going to die. That does make me kind of bullish by comparison doesn’t it? We are mainly in cash and we are well hedged to the downside so, unless we are REALLY heading much, much lower, there is little profit in speculating to the downside, other than our quick trades. As PT Barnum once said:
"A man who is all caution, will never dare to take hold and be successful; and a man who is all boldness, is merely reckless, and must eventually fail. A man may go on "’change" and make fifty, or one hundred thousand dollars in speculating in stocks, at a single operation. But if he has simple boldness without caution, it is mere chance, and what he gains to-day he will lose to-morrow. You must have both the caution and the boldness, to insure success."
Balance is the key to long-term success and we’ve had many conversations about that in Member Chat. Our goal is to be neither bullish or bearish but rather to sell premium to both the bulls and the bears when conditions permit us. As Ravalos said Friday in Member Chat:
"Ever since I became member (actually before I became member I was already following your newsletter for quite some time) I find it hard for me to BUY PREMIUM. Over time, I’ve realized that buying the
by Phil Davis - July 27th, 2010 8:29 am
Wow, this market goes from zero to sixty in record time, doesn’t it?
Our 1,113 mark (see yesterday’s post for charts) was tested and broken on the S&P yesterday (see David Fry’s chart) on a silly stick save into the close but, seeing that, it was very obvious that "they" are looking to paint some impressive moves on the charts this week so strap yourselves in – it’s going to be a wild one.
1,120 is our next big test on the S&P along with the satanic 666 on the Russell and 10,700 is the next big test for the Dow (as 10,500 seems well in hand). Advancers led decliners 20:1 on the Nasdaq, which shows you what a total farce the market is because we had the same ratios going down so stocks are either ALL good or ALL bad on a random daily basis. Human beings do not trade this way my friends, this market has been totally taken over by machines and the affect of your individual trading is about the same as shotting a water gun into a wave to slow it down.
As long as you accept this fact and "go with the flow" you can be a very happy channel surfer but fight the tide at your own peril! We stuck to hedged plays in yesterday’s Member Chat with our bearish play on FSLR in the Morning Alert and then earnings spreads on MEE and VECO along with long-term bullish plays on LYG, GS, CHK and our beloved TBT, who are finally showing signs of life. We also keep selling GENZ calls to overly enthusiastic buyers who think someone is going to pay more than $70 for the company – even though it was at $50 before the rumors started. Aside from the lack of logic that a buyer with a p/e of under 10 will pay a p/e of over 20 for GENZ, it just isn’t really the right credit environment for buyers to be bidding +40% for a company. We aren’t buying puts but we’ll certainly sell Jan $70 calls for $4 as that’s just silly!
The markets are back in "Soar and Ignore" mode this morning as bad news is now like water off a duck’s back to the market, much the same way good news was ignored just 2 weeks ago. The moon is full this week so I’m going to start charting that against the market as we’re still trying to find some sort of early predictor of…
by Phil Davis - June 12th, 2010 8:28 am
Last week, I felt like I was going to have to call Animal Control to help me fight off the bears. As I mentioned in last week’s Wrap-Up, all 14 misses (out of 55 trade ideas for the week) we had were bullish plays that we were grabbing on the way down. On Friday we went bullish on USO, SSO, DIA, TBT (well, we’re always bullish on TBT), AET, ABX, Copper Futures and even poor BP. Those followed up on bullish plays we had taken on Thursday on TSRA, USO, MEE, FCX, EEM, ERX and XOM. We went into the weekend still bearish but we were excited about flipping back to bullish. My closing comment in the Wrap-Up was: " I’m hoping for a blow-off spike down on Monday with heavy volume, hopefully followed by a recovery over the next few days" and, gosh darn it, wouldn’t you know that’s EXACTLY what we got.
I don’t MAKE the markets do these things, I simply tell you what is going to happen and how you can make money on it… Needless to say, we had a LOT of fun this week at PSW! Last weekend, however, was such a bearish frenzy in the MSM that it was making our Members nervous and THAT I do not tolerate so I wrote : "The Worst-Case Scenario: Getting Real With Global GDP!" to illustrate why I felt our bottoms would hold and I began a Top 20 Buy List on Sunday and boy did we get some fabulous entries this week!
As I said on Monday Morning: "I already stuck my neck out calling a bottom so now we’re just waiting patiently." We were disappointed to have not gotten a stronger statement from the G20 over the weekend but it was just the Finance Ministers, so we weren’t expecting too much until the big boys meet at the end of the month. While we were in a buying mood, I cautioned against getting too bullish until we took back our anticipated "weak bounce" levels, which were the orange lines on Monday’s Multi-Chart:
I pointed out (on another Multi-Chart) that Europe was already gathering strength so we were pretty confident things would go our way but, as I said in the 9:50 Alert to Members, SOX 340 and TRANQ 2,000 had be taken back before we could feel confident. My outlook for the day was:…
by Phil Davis - June 5th, 2010 7:12 am
Like any good car race, the lead changes often in the markets. Yesterday the bears took the lead as the combination of Hungarian debt issues and a disappointing jobs number were like a tire blow-out for the bulls, who were forced to pull in for a pit stop. Fortunately, we had our seat belts on and had assumed the crash position as I had warned Members on THURSDAY Morning at 10:04:
Watch that 666 line on the RUT – we don’t want to lose that or even show weakness there… ISM a bit disappointing, now we’ll see what holds but I’m out of short-term, unhedged, upside plays here.
I felt strongly enough about it that we also posted it on Seeking Alpha, to warn as many people as possible, under the heading: "Phil Calls Short-Term Top." I don’t post live trade ideas on Seeking Alpha but in Premium Member Chat (and you can subscribe here) I followed right up at 10:17 Thursday morning with the following trade idea:
BGZ (large-cap bear) is at $15.27 and I like them as a hedge here with the (June) $14/16 bull call spread at .75, selling the July $14 puts for .95 and that’s a net .20 credit on the $2 spread with about $2.70 in margin so you can do a 10 contract spread for a $200 credit and $2,700 in margin (according to TOS standard) with a $2K upside if the market even twitches lower. Worst case is you own BGZ as a hedge to a dip below Dow 10,600 (your put-to area) at net $13.80 (9% lower than current price).
That’s what hedged trade ideas look like in our Member Chat. At PSW, you need to put some time in LEARNING how to trade and, more importantly, how to hedge. This is a fairly complicated options play but we take it BECAUSE IT WORKS! There are many, many simpler ways to play that don’t work (or carry far more risk) but we prefer to teach our Members how to do the things that do work. As it stands, just 48 hours later, BGZ is up 10% on Friday to $16.89 (so the spread is now 100% in the money) and June $14/16 bull call spread is now $1.50 while the July $14 puts are Down to .60 so net .90 already on the spread that already paid…
by Phil Davis - June 3rd, 2010 8:28 am
Where’s the kaboom? There’s supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom.
Well, it’s Thursday and the World hasn’t ended yet, contrary to the dire predictions we were getting last week and I guess that means you’d better buy some stocks! We’ve been buying up a storm since falling below the bottom of our range with 50 long-term entries on our Buy List and another dozen longs in the first two days of this week including speculative longs (haven’t taken those for a while) on BP and RIG. We even took two very bullish earnings plays on STP and JOYG – both of which were just way too low to ignore.
JOYG was a complex spread from our 12:50 Alert to Members with a max profit at $55 but STP was a very simple, VERY bullish play where we bought the $9 calls for $1 and sold the $9 puts for .47, for a net .53 entry and no limit to our upside over $9. Even if your margin requirement is 50% on the puts, you can pick up a single contract spread like this for $497 in buying power and your risk is being assigned the stock at net $9.53 but a move over $10 nets you a 10% gain in one day. As long as you don’t mind owning the stock on a move down, these are fun earnings plays to make…
We didn’t expect to be getting bullish (and we are still well-hedged for the next fat-fingered fall) but at 12:27 on Tuesday, I posted the following chart for Members where I drew a line in the sand for the downturn:
Yesterday I noted in the Morning Post that we were completing that move down into the open so all we really did was follow-through with our plan to flip bullish for at least a bounce. As we drifted along into the afternoon on a low volume move up, I re-examined the chart and decided it was a fine afternoon for a stick save and I drew this updated chart with the attached comment:
10,080 is the 0% line for the Dow and if I were Mr. Stick, I’d use that as my go point and jam the Dow up 100 from there, back to about 1,100 (on the S&P) so that’s the game(d) plan for the afternoon if we are getting back to the usual bullish shenanigans. Which would
by Phil Davis - May 13th, 2010 7:48 am
What a freakin’ recovery!
As I said on Monday: "It’s a paper tiger of a straw man we’re building for $1Tn but you HAVE to respect $1,000,000,000,000 – you just have to… Our 5% Rule series for the S&P over the 1,155 breakdown line is the very critical 1,170, followed by 1,185, 1,200 (critical), 1,215 and 1,230 and THEN we are on the way to recovery." Wow, that guy is AMAZING! Anyway, so here we are at 1,170, after two days of testing the 1,155 line as a bottom so now it’s onwards and upwards to 1,185 hopefully. I also said on Monday: "Below that, we’re not too impressed but it also won’t be very surprising if all $1Tn buys us these days is some moderate lift that isn’t strong enough to break our major technicals."
We have been casting a wide and bullish net since the crash, finally pulling some of our sideline cash for long plays on ABX, APPY, BAC, BIDU, BRK/B, BSX, C, CAT, DIA (3), DF, ERX, GOOG, LIZ, LVS, MEE, MON (3), RIG, T (2), TBT (2), TZA (shorting it), UNG and WFR. We’re hedging heavily, of course, but it feels good to have longs again after being in cash for a while. Our short-term bearish plays (mostly DIA and TZA) have been crushing us so far, which is good in a rally but yesterday was a bit much for us and we got a little more bearish but it looks like the G7 has adopted the "Better Red Than Dead" mantra as the World racks up astounding deficits to put off admitting that this little debt problem is not isolated to the PIIGS nations.
Nonetheless, the global markets are rallying in unison – even while the Pound ($1.47) and the Euro ($1.26) collapse and even the Yen jumped back up last night, falling off the very BS 93.63 to the dollar it hit at 3am to psych up the Nikkei exporters back down to 92.75 this morning. I noted weeks ago how the Yen knocked down for Japan’s open and then drifts lower into the US open virtually every night – it’s what currency traders call the "Goldman Trade" because you can bet it every single day and have a perfect quarter. Sure it’s blatant manipulation designed to fool an entire nation of investors but, what else is new – Fuggedaboutit…
by Phil Davis - May 10th, 2010 7:53 am
Another day, another Trillion dollars for the banksters!
I mean really – how much money did you loan Greece? Perhaps you wrote Spain a check? France??? Well, you did now! $220Bn of that money came from the IMF and 20% of the IMF’s money comes from the USA as we once again paper over the global financial crisis for another month or two – whatever respite $1,000,000,000,000 buys us these days…
So YAY, I guess. We couldn’t be more thrilled for ourselves as we cashed out at the top and went short, then we cashed out at the bottom and went long. We’ve caught moves in the market from top to bottom that used to be considered two or three good years of trading in the past two weeks – that’s nuts! We went up so fast that there was no point in putting plays on our new Watch List (can’t be a Buy List yet because we don’t like chasing) as we’ll be up 5% at the open today.
In addition to the DIA $107 calls (my comment into Friday’s close as to whether I would keep them into the close was: "Not if I can get out even but they are gambling money so I won’t take a small loss (not when I can have a much bigger one!)" – we also picked up very nice entries on BAC, BRK/B, C, CAT, ERX, GOOG, LVS, MEE, MON, RIG, T, TBT and TZA (shorting it). How long we stay in those after the instant gratification of a 5% bump in 8 trading hours remains to be seen, as I said in our Watch List post:
There are two major forces at work there – the NEED to OVERCOME GREED and the TOOLS to OVERCOME FEAR. At PSW, we have a 2-step program for overcoming greed. Step number one is "Taking the money" and step number two is "running." The people who master these two complex steps find they have lots of cash at the bottoms and the tops of the cycles – they find that you can buy low and sell high once you realize that you don’t have to wait until the top to sell nor do you have to wait until the bottom to buy – especially when we can go from top to bottom at
by Phil Davis - May 8th, 2010 5:43 am
I’m just doing a quick wrap-up this week because, surprisingly, it MIGHT be time for a new Buy List!
I had said to Members on Cinco de Mayo, in our 5% Rule Review, that if we broke below 1,155 we would retrace all the way to 1,100 with our 5% Rule resistance points around 1,100 at 1,155, 1,114, 1,100, 1,073 and 1,045. We actually spiked as low as 1,066 on Thursday but finished the week at a very sad 1,110 as we watched for that "weak bounce" zone to be broken all day. This does not bode technically well for the markets next week but I told Members we would have to give the markets a pass for the day. Based on the uncertainty of the weekend, we can’t expect a lot of capital commitments ahead of the EU decision. After all, we’re in cash – why shouldn’t other smart funds be too?
When I predicted we’d hit 1,000 on Wednesday, I did not think it would be on Thursday! The markets are now negative for the year and the S&P has spiked almost to the Feb low of 1,044 (and our lowest close was 1,056). That’s right, these 5% Rule numbers are the SAME ones we used back then and it’s the same series we used to measure our winter run at the end of last year. We expect a bounce here, hopefully at least a test of 1,155 on a relief rally if Greece is "fixed" yet again on Monday but we’re not going to be too impressed until we’re over that line.
Still that means it’s time to at least lay out a new Watch List, which is the prelude to a Buy List – giving us a list of stocks we’d like to get into at lower prices. Our last Member Watch List was back in December and by Feb 6th we had our famous Buy List, which we triggered at Dow 10,058 for a very successful run through March 18th ("Bye Bye Buy List!"), when we closed 2/3 of the positions and we have since cashed out the rest as I got more and more worried about the rally, finally calling for all cash last week.
Speaking of last week, for those of you who say I don’t pick enough straight stocks – I listed 33 short trade ideas from my unofficial "Sell List" last Friday (4/30) when the Dow was way up at 11,167…