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 - 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 - January 11th, 2012 8:21 am
Once again, we're done with our day before you get up.
In my 5am note to Members, I said: "I see nothing in the news to justify this pre-market "recovery" and I hate to sound like a broken record but I like shorting oil (/CL) if we get below that $102 line with tight stops and the Dow (/YM) is right at 12,400, which is a great spot to short. RUT (/TF) is at 762 and below 760 (same as yesterday) will confirm a downturn but 12,400 is a great line so why wait?" By 6:26, I was able to follow it up with:
And wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! There go the Futures!
It's 7:07 and we're still going down, with oil at $101.24 (up $760 per contract) and the Dow at 12,340 (up $300 per contract) and, as Dennis said: "Good enough for steak and eggs for me!" Roro got up late but still caught the Dow at 6:16 and that was right on the nose for the oil drop as well as we hit it right on the nose this morning and now we're done and waiting for the next good set-up.
Of course we scale in and scale out of positions as there's no need to get greedy in the Futures, where a single remaining contract catching a $1 move down in oil (now $101.25 again) pays $1,000. This week, we have even stationed our own Craigzooka in New Zealand, where it's tomorrow – which makes it much easier to bet on today's action as he can tell us what happened already! Not that today was all that hard to predict, right? My comment to Members LAST Wednesday was:
It’s been a pretty reliable bet that they tank the markets into the longer-term note auctions because it scares people into T-Bills and keeps the rates low. From this line-up, it seems to me they intend to jack us up on Friday and then zap us on Tuesday as Esther George releases something hawkish ahead of the 3-year and it’s no coincidence that Plosser, by far the biggest Hawk, is given the floor at 12:30 on Wednesday – just 30 minutes before the critical 10-year auction. Coincidence? Surely you cannot be that naive!
by Phil Davis - January 5th, 2012 8:13 am
Our day is done, how’s yours?
That’s right, we already did our 3am trade where we caught the dead top of oil (and the dead bottom of the Dollar), where my 2:59 am comment to Members in Chat was:
Dollar at session low of 80.40 at 3am and oil back at yesterday’s high at $103.70 so oil (/CL) makes a nice short below $103.75 here but DANGEROUS pre-market trading as Iran could spout off at any moment and the trading is VERY THIN.
So that brings us back to the good old Dow (/YM) futures at 12,350 and they are just over that line at 12,351 but that’s the short of the moment as long as the Dollar is over 80.40 .
For the next hour, I did a blow by blow on the oil trade in Member Chat on the way down to $102.70 – a nice $1,000 per contract worm gotten by the early birds, where we took the money and ran ahead of likely morning manipulation back up to $103.50, where we can short it again on inventories (11am). The Dow slipped to 12,300 and paid a solid $250 per contract as well, paying for over 100 Egg Mcmuffins this morning by itself. If you want to see how we make decisions along the way down – it’s well worth going over this morning’s comments – there was also some good discussion of other topics this morning, including my pick for the best wide-screen TV.
We’re still just messing around with hit and run plays, waiting to see how the week pans out and next week we’ll be waiting to see how earnings pan out as well as what we expect will be a pretty major market pullback leading into the 10-year auctions next Wednesday at 1pm. Clearly the Fed freaked out and jumped in yesterday when TLT hit $118 so we are fairly comfortable with our prediction of a…
by Option Review - January 12th, 2011 4:05 pm
Today’s tickers: BZH, HBC, MON, EBAY, ELX & PMCS
BZH - Beazer Homes USA, Inc. – A three-legged options combination play initiated on the homebuilder that designs, sells and builds single-family and multi-family homes in the U.S. indicates one strategist sees shares improving ahead of August expiration. Shares in Beazer Homes USA rose 1.5% this afternoon to $5.99 in the final hour of the session. The homebuilding company will reveal its performance for the first quarter before the market opens for trading on February 4, 2011. The investor responsible for the bullish spread sold 5,000 puts at the August $4.0 strike for a premium of $0.25 each, purchased 5,000 calls at the August $6.0 strike for a premium of $1.05 a-pop, and sold the same number of calls at the higher August $7.0 strike at a premium of $0.60 apiece. The net cost of putting on the trade amounts to $0.20 per contract. Thus, the trader stands ready to make money should shares in BZH rally 3.5% over the current price of $5.99 to surpass the effective breakeven point to the upside at $6.20 by expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $0.80 per contract are available to the trader if the homebuilder’s shares surge 16.9% to trade above $7.00 by the time the contracts expire in August. Selling the upper-strike calls as well as the out-of-the-money put options greatly reduced the cost of taking a bullish stance on the stock. The sale of the August $4.0 strike put options suggests this trader is more than willing to bear the risk of having 500,000 shares of the underlying stock put to him at $4.00 each should the puts land in-the-money at expiration.
HBC - HSBC Holdings PLC – Some investors trading options on the financial services firm are positioning for the price of the underlying to appreciate in the next couple of months, while others appear to be taking profits off the table today. Shares in London-based HSBC Holdings increased as much as 4.9% during the current…
by Phil Davis - January 1st, 2011 8:28 am
I am still trying to get more bullish.
I was thinking about writing something cute like I resolve to get more bullish but that would be wrong. I try, in my own humble way, to "get" the market right. That means I am not bullish or bearish but Truthish (to further botch Stephen Colbert’s use of the word) and, as Buddah says: "There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting." Confucious reminds us that there are three methods by which we may learn wisdom: "First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."
In that spirit, we will spend the day in reflection so that we are better able to start on that long road to the truth so that we will be better able to imitate the things that will work in the year to come while trying to avoid making mistakes that will give us bitter experiences.
This post is not about me – We had a fantastic year and I’ve already given some outlook for 2011 back on the 19th in that weekend’s "It’s Never too Early to Predict the Future" and our current position is short-term bearish in the Jan-April time-frame, looking for a pullback to at least 1,200 on the S&P and possibly back to 1,150.
After that, we are expecting a return to steady gains but without the irrational exuberance we’re currently experiencing. So no, I am not bearish – I simply think we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. Since we don’t know where the rally train will stop, we have our "Breakout Defense – 5,000% in 5 Trades or Less" from Dec 11th, which were a set of very bullish, highly levered plays where a little bet can pay off a lot if we simply hold our long-established breakout levels.
How much is "a lot"? Well my GE trade idea, for example, was to sell the 2013 $12.50 puts for $1.10 (net $1.15 in ordinary margin according to TOS) and to use that money to buy the 2012 $17.50/20 bull call spread for .95, which was a net .15 credit on a $2.50 spread that was on the money at the time. GE has gained about .75 since the 11th and…
by Option Review - December 16th, 2010 4:33 pm
Today’s tickers: CVC, OSTK, AKS, SLB, MON, NDAQ & WGO
CVC - Cablevision Systems Corp. – A short strangle implemented on the cable operator during afternoon trading indicates one strategist expects shares in Cablevision Systems Corp. to remain range-bound through June 2011 expiration. Cablevision’s shares rose earlier in the day, but are down 0.35% to arrive at $34.57 as of 3:40pm in New York. It appears the strangle-player sold 20,000 calls at the June 2011 $38 strike at a premium of $1.25 each, and sold the same number of puts at the lower June 2011 $29 strike for a premium of $0.85 apiece. Gross premium pocketed by the investor amounts to $2.10 per contract. The trader keeps the full amount of premium received on the transaction as long as shares in CVC trade within the confines of the strike prices described through expiration day next year. Short stances taken in both call and put options expose the trader to losses in the event that CVC’s shares soar 16.0% higher to trade above the upper breakeven point at $40.10, or should shares plunge 22.2% lower to breach the lower breakeven price of $26.90 ahead of June expiration.
OSTK - Overstock.com, Inc. – The online retailer’s shares are up more than 4.4% in the final minutes of the trading session to stand at $17.22. Overstock.com made its way onto our scanners late in the trading day due to bullish activity in the front month. Investors expecting shares to continue to rally ahead of expiration day tomorrow purchased more than 1,500 calls at the December $17.5 strike for an average premium of $0.23 each. Call buyers profit if OSTK’s shares rally another 3.0% to surpass the average breakeven price of $17.73 by expiration. Options implied volatility on Overstock.com is up 12.5% at 54.96% as of 3:45pm.…
by Phil Davis - October 5th, 2010 8:24 am
Go go BOJ!!!
Acting under pressure from the Government to DO SOMETHING, the Bank of Japan announce a 35,000,000,000,000 Yen ($418Bn) monetary easing program this morning, finally taking that last step and cutting rates to ZERO. That’s right, the BOJ will literally give you money for nothing (no word yet on whether the chicks will also be free). Ironically enough, though, the logic of giving out free money now is the same as it was in the early 80′s – the BOJ is well aware that:
"We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour T.V.’s"
Of course, even with an economy one quarter the size of the US ($4.1Tn), $418Bn doesn’t buy what it used to so the BOJ is coming up with ANOTHER 5 TRILLION YEN in a program to buy private and public assets – let the shopping spree begin! You might think such incredibly reckless spending by the BOJ would devalue their currency somewhat BUT Noooooooooooo – the Yen ROSE back to 83.2 to the dollar (and we caught that move last night in Member Chat!) as currency traders realized that $500Bn of QE from the BOJ was only a drop in the bucket of the ocean of irresponsibility that is our own Federal Reserve.
As I had said to Members last Wednesday (and we had lots of cool currency charts): "I am seeing A LOT of money lining up on the short side of the Dollar trade. I’m very concerned that BOJ will do something to squeeze the bears and THEN I think it’s a better entry." Of course, currency manipulation was the theme of the week last week and you can get a quick review by downloading a FREE SAMPLE of our new Weekly Newsletter HERE.
"The surprise invited some yen selling, but I don’t think the BOJ’s move will be enough to produce any sustained yen weakening," said Masanobu Ishikawa, general manager of spot foreign exchange trading at Tokyo Forex & Ueda Harlow. Hirokata Kusaba, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute echoed this view, saying "there will be no substantive effect from going from the already ultra-low 0.1% to this range. The only effect on markets will be from the surprise…
by Option Review - September 30th, 2010 4:14 pm
Today’s tickers: LLNW, LPS, TEVA, XRT, MON & AEO
LLNW - Limelight Networks, Inc. – Call options on the provider of Internet distribution services for video, music, games and other media and entertainment content are in high demand today with shares rising as much as 14.8% at the start of the trading session to touch an intraday high of $6.35. Limelight’s shares jumped after “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer said he’s bullish on the firm’s long term prospects. LLNW’s shares tapered off significantly during the course of the day and are currently up a lesser 5.60% to stand at $5.84 with less than 30 minutes to go before the final bell. Bullish investors picked up 1,000 in-the-money calls at the October $5.0 strike for an average premium of $1.11 each. Call buyers at this strike are poised to profit should LLNW’s shares exceed the effective breakeven price of $6.11 by October expiration. Trading traffic in calls was heaviest, however, at the December $5.0 strike where some 4,600 in-the-money calls were purchased at an average premium of $1.51 a-pop. Investors long the calls make money if the price of the underlying stock jumps 11.5% over the current price of $5.84 to surpass the average breakeven point at $6.51 by expiration day in October. Options implied volatility is still up 12.1% on the day to arrive at 83.75%, but earlier jumped 25.92% to touch a high of 94.10% today.
LPS - Lender Processing Services, Inc. – The provider of integrated technology and outsourced services to the mortgage lending industry attracted a bevy of long-term bearish put buyers this afternoon. Shares are down 0.40% at $33.31 heading toward the close, but did manage to eke out an early-morning rally of 0.25% to touch an intraday high of $33.52 perhaps after being rated new ‘buy’ at Fagenson & Co. with a 12-month target share price of $38.00. Put players may be buying the puts outright because they expect the firm’s shares to decline, or they could be building up downside…
by Option Review - September 29th, 2010 6:23 pm
Today’s tickers: MON, EWZ, XLB, HPQ, V, BCSI & SLB
MON - Monsanto Co. – Shares of the maker of genetically modified seeds seemed to be recovering at the start of the current session following Tuesday’s horrendous performance wherein the stock fell as much as 9.80% from an intraday high of $52.64 to a low of $47.50. MON’s shares managed to rebound 4.50% off Tuesday’s low of $47.50 to briefly touch an intraday high of $49.62, although the rally proved to be short-lived and shares are down 1.00% at $48.25 as of 3:15 pm ET. Though MON was unable to keep hold of earlier gains, one contrarian player is optimistic that Monsanto’s shares will reverse course and head back up by November expiration. The investor purchased a call spread, buying 5,000 calls at the November $55 strike at a premium of $0.85 each, and selling the same number of calls at the higher November $60 strike for a premium of $0.27 apiece. Net premium paid to establish the transaction amounts to $0.58 per contract. Thus, the investor is ready to make money should Monsanto’s shares surge 15.20% over the current price of $48.25 to surpass the effective breakeven point on the spread at $55.58 by November expiration. Maximum potential profits of $4.42 per contract are available to the bullish player if MON’s shares jump 24.35% to trade above $60.00 by expiration day.
EWZ - iShares MSCI Brazil Index ETF – Investors are placing near-term bearish bets on the Brazil fund this afternoon by selling calls to finance the purchase of put spreads in the October contract. The large pessimistic plays could be the work of traders hedging long positions or the mark of outright bearish bettors expecting the price of the underlying fund to slip lower ahead of expiration next month. Shares of the EWZ, an exchange-traded fund designed to replicate the price and yield performance of publicly traded securities in the aggregate in the Brazilian market – as measured by the MSCI Brazil Index, rallied…