by Option Review - September 10th, 2013 6:36 pm
by Option Review - October 4th, 2012 2:17 pm
Today’s tickers: ACI & NFLX
ACI - Arch Coal, Inc. – Shares in Arch Coal, Inc., which traded down to their lowest levels of the past decade during the month of July, caught a bid on Thursday, energized by positive comments from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the presidential debate last night. Romney’s comments and the subsequent 8% rally in ACI shares to an intraday high of $6.72 this morning, stoked bullish activity in options on the coal producer as well. Options traders positioning for shares in Arch Coal to extend gains purchased around 5,000 calls at the Nov. $7.0 strike for an average premium of $0.43 apiece. Call buyers profit at expiration next month as long as shares in Arch Coal rally more than 10% to surpass the average breakeven price of $7.43. Bullish activity spread to the higher Nov. $8.0 strike where options players snapped up around 1,000 contracts at an average premium of $0.21 each. Traders long the $8.0 strike calls make money if shares in the coal company surge 22% over Thursday’s high of $6.72 to exceed $8.21 by November expiration. Current volume in Arch Coal options, topping 20,000 contracts as of 12:40 p.m. ET, is more than twice the stock’s average daily volume of 8,849 contracts. Call options comprise most of the volume, with around three calls changing hands on the stock for each single put option in play so far in the session.
NFLX - Netflix, Inc. – Short term bullish bets initiated on Netflix earlier this week have paid off for some options traders, with shares in the provider of online streaming video services soaring more than 20% since Monday morning on positive comments from T2’s Whitney Tilson and other analysts. Trading traffic in upside call options that have one full trading session remaining until expiration indicate some strategists are positioning for shares in NFLX to extend gains into the weekend. Shares in Netflix tacked on 6.6%…
by Option Review - July 5th, 2012 3:52 pm
Today’s tickers: KSS, NFLX & CTSH
KSS - Kohl's Corp. – Shares in the department store operator are up better than 7.5% at $47.68 as of 11:35 a.m. in New York despite a larger-than-expected decline in the company’s June same-store sales. Kohl’s reported a 4.8% drop in same-store sales for last month and said it expects second-quarter earnings to come in at the low end of their prior forecast of $0.96 to $1.02 a share. The pop in the price of the underlying shares made KSS one of the best performers in the S&P 500 Index this morning and spurred bullish activity in the retailer’s options as some traders looked to position for the stock to extend gains in the near term. Volume in the front month calls is heaviest at the July $46 strike where approximately 1,000 in-the-money calls were purchased for an average premium of $1.05 apiece. Traders long the calls stand ready to profit should shares in Kohl’s settle above the average breakeven price of $47.05 at expiration. Premium required to buy the July $46 calls has moved up sharply intraday, with the last-traded price on the contracts up at $2.15 for a 105% increase over the $1.05 traders paid on average earlier in the session. Finally, traders that purchased calls ahead of Independence Day returned Thursday to find the value of their positions soaring to the upside. Open interest in the July $46 call suggests around 430 contracts were picked up at a premium of $0.50 apiece on Tuesday. These call options are now worth more than four times as much.
NFLX - Netflix, Inc. – The provider of subscription streaming services for television episodes and movies is leading the S&P 500 gainers today, with shares in Netflix up more than 11.5% at $80.45 on reports users streamed a record 1 billion hours of video during the month of June. The big move in the price of the underlying saw an…
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 - April 25th, 2012 8:28 am
A meteoric 10% rise pre-market is being celebrated by the Global markets even though it's really only part of the way back to the $644 high that was, very recently, supposed to be a stepping stone on the way to $1,000. Are we really going to get all excited just because AAPL's earnings didn't suck? That seems kind of silly as I'm pretty sure they were never going to get to $1,000 by just earning $10 a share per quarter, were they?
I have nothing bad to say about AAPL. We were bearish on them at $640 but $550 was our buy target and we didn't take direct action on AAPL yesterday as we were worried they might disappoint so our 1:31 bullish trade idea for Members was the QQQ June $60/63 bull call spread at $2.35 and those should be well on their way to $3 this morning as the Qs are up 2% to $66 pre-market already.
I mentioned in yesterday's post that we had already played TQQQ (ultra-long Nasdaq) the day before and that one was the more aggressive May $103/110 bull call spread at $4, selling ISRG Jan $350 puts for $4.40 for a net .40 credit on the $10 spread. Any offset would do, of course but we REALLY wouldn't mind owning ISRG for $350 if it goes on sale (now $560) but, if not, we'll take the free money. As a 3x ultra, TQQQ will be up 6% this morning, already at our $110 goal and, if they can hold it, we're looking at a very nice 150% gain on just the bull spread with a 2,600% gain on the full spread – either way, not a bad way to play!
We had also taken the QQQ MAY $63/66 bull call spread at $1.90 on Monday and that deal was so good we didn't feel we needed an offset. That's the difference between catching the bottom, like we did on Monday and chasing a run, as we did with the Qs on Tuesday – the rewards of being contrarian investors!
One trade that may not be going well for us was the AAPL weekly $575 calls, which we bought for $20.75 against the sale of the May $590s for $22 for a net $1.25 credit. We didn't think AAPL would pop $600 so fast, so we're a…
by phil - April 24th, 2012 8:29 am
If it's Tuesday we must be bouncing!
Clearly, from the recent sell-off, we have a whole lot of bouncing to do. Yesterday we failed our Must Hold lines on the Nasdaq, the NYSE and the Russell (the Dow never got there) and the S&P was briefly below 1,360 and recovered to end the day at 1,366 – still below our weak bounce level of 1,372.
That leaves us in the same place as we were on the 11th, when I titled the morning post – "Weak Bounces and Beige Books." As we expected at the time, we made it to our 1,384 level on the S&P and then failed to hold it and now we come in for our 2nd tests of our 3 significant levels – 1,360, 1,372 and 1,384 – that's our range until it breaks and THEN we can make some directional bets.
In this market chop, our best strategy has been to bet both ways and our virtual $25,000 Portfolio is now up about $16,000 for the year but that's nothing compared to our completely neutral FAS Money Portfolio, which has turned a $2,000 spread into almost $8,000 in profits in the same 4 months – just using our very simple strategy of selling premium on a regular basis:
Last year's FAS Money Portfolio was also a great performer and it's a great time to get started following as the current position is down $706 so you sure didn't miss anything but a loss by taking up the current position. It's a great exercise to set up a virtual portfolio and follow these trades along as we are constantly managing these positions to maximize the amount of premium we sell so it's a great practice portfolio for rolling and adjusting short positions, teaching you the value of BEING THE HOUSE!
Speaking of investing value – don't miss our contest to win 2 passes to Berkshire Hathaway's Annual Shareholder Meeting! Hopefully we'll get a nice report from whoever wins – it's always good to get a little insight into what the Oracle of Omaha is thinking.
My thinking is that – while our Virtual Portfolios are all performing very well this year – I still can't shake my overall feeling that the markets are very weak internally. Today we are hoping that AAPL will save us (earnings…
by phil - March 22nd, 2012 8:34 am
Do you REALLY think this will go on forever?
On the right is the AAPL quarterly chart but it could also be the quarterly chart of SHLD, NFLX, FOSL, STX or PCLN (Bespoke Chart), all of whom are up more than AAPL (which is up 50%) in 2012. We've discussed PCLN as one of my favorite shorts and we had a good discussion in Member chat last night comparing PCLN to EXPE, who drop the same amount of cash to the bottom line (before buybacks and dividends) but have just 1/8th of the market cap of PCLN.
Sure you can say that PCLN is twice as good as EXPE (it isn't, but you can say it) but can you say it's 4 times as good? How about 8 times? EXPE nets $500M a year – 8 times that is $4Bn – more money than the entire travel sector makes! How, exactly, will PCLN grow into that valuation? Eliminate all competition and then grow the sector by 50%? Well, that's pretty much what AAPL did but how many AAPLs can you have in one market?
THAT is the problem my friends. Aside from the macro concerns we discussed in yesterday's post, we have a sort of value mania that is driven by the very real success of one company, much the way we had a dot com boom in the late 90s driven by the very real success of just a few companies. Back then, everyone was the next QCOM, YHOO, MSFT, CSCO – whichever category you were supposed to be the best. Qualcomm, in fact, was the best performing tech stock of 1999, gaining 2,619% that year and finishing right about $100. By the end of July, 2002, they were trading at $10 but hey, what a ride!
In fact, here's the CNet story from Dec 29th, 1999 titled "Qualcomm Jumps on $1,000 Price Target" and coming on the heels of "Qualcomm to offer Net2Phone services in Eudora" it's no wonder people were super-excited! AMZN was "only" up 25% that year to $100 but Jeff Bezos was Time's Man of the Year and yes, their business has been growing at an amazing rate for the past 12 years and they have crushed their competition and dominated the sector – and gained less than 6% a year for their troubles.
by phil - 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 - January 10th, 2012 8:21 am
Well here we go again.
Once again it's Tuesday and once again it's a primary and once again we are meant to believe everything is right in America as the Futures take the markets back to levels not seen since last August. As we discussed last week and as noted by David Fry this morning:
Throughout the week Fed governors will be making speeches: Dennis Lockhart (2 speeches), Charles Evans (2 speeches), Esther George, John Williams, Charles Plosser and Jeffrey Lacker. This is part of their transparency mission and/or a campaign to pump-up investor confidence. You choose.
Yesterday we made our breakfast money shorting the Dow off the 12,350 line and today we already had a double dip at the Dow off the 12,450 line but, on the whole, it would have been easier to drink the Kool-Aid and go long.
Unfortunately, I'm a Fundamental Investor and not a TA guy so, impressive as this run may seem, it doesn't match up with the data and, so far, it's neither matching up with Q4 earnings or Q1 outlooks. We HOPE the Fed will go for QE3 (Friday's Fed speak indicated that and more today) and we HOPE Europe is fixed and we HOPE China doesn't implode – is this a sound investing premise? Let's see how things have been going in the last Quarter:
Up 15% in all of our indexes and led by the Transports, which are up 21% – even with oil up 25% over the same period which once again proves our theory that trucks and airplanes must poop oil when they run – which explains the non-inverse correlation between Transports and Fuel Costs that those of us who took Econ 101 may be familiar with.
The most interesting thing about the above chart set is the uniformity of the moves up in the majors but I think it's the NYSE and the Russell which PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this market is traded by robots. Look at those two charts – they are practically tick by tick matching – even to the point where the Russell is almost exactly 1/10th of the NYSE. Sure, you could assume some similarities in two broad indexes but this is 6 full months of daily moves that are in lockstep. That's just not natural on the order of…
by phil - December 14th, 2011 8:01 am
Do Ben Bernanke and I live on different planets? "For a lot of people," he said during a speech at Fort Bliss, "I know it doesn’t feel like the recession ever ended." For what people exactly, Dr. Bernanke, does it seem like it did end? Study after study after study show that, if you are not lucky enough to be in the top 10% of our society (and certainly not a shade of Johnson’s "Great Society" anymore) then you are pretty much f*cked – and, no, there’s not a nicer way to put it.
Bernanke seems to love the Great Depression so much he is Hell-bent on replicating it here so he can study it in greater detail. I suppose he has some sort of academic detachment regarding the untold suffering he is causing the American people but, who can blame him? He just got a great rate when he refinanced his $850,000 home.
Fortunately, we had complete confidence in Bernanke’s incompetence (see yesterday’s "To QE3 or not to QE3 – That Sets Direction") and, of course, we took advantage of yet another chance to short oil futures (/CL) off the $101 and then the $100 lines on the way down. We were HOPING (not a valid investing strategy) that we’d get some QE3 but, as I warned Members in the morning: "If not – well, Hell hath no fury like a market disappointed."
Clearly, as you can see from David Fry’s SPY chart – I was not overselling the point. Bernanke and the Fed are of the opinion that 10% unemployment is within their mandate of "promoting full employment" and don’t see the need to take action? Let’s have a little review of how good the Fed Chairman has been as a prognosticator for our economy as he enters his 7th year at the Fed: