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Posts Tagged ‘Options Education’

Fabulous Friday – Counting our Blessings in the Market Collapse

Wheeeeeee – isn't this fun?  

We're certainly having a good time and, if you've been following our posts and getting our trade ideas – you probably are too as yesterday's DXD trade idea, for example, made 100% in a day for the 2nd time this week!  

Now let's say you put just 2% of your portfolio into a hedge like that against a worry that we'd have a 5% drop.  Well, on Tuesday we collected 100% of that 2% on a 2.5% drop and yesterday we collected another 100% of 2% on another 2.5% drop – there's 4% back and we never even fell 5%.  This is how you hedge and hedging is what we teach you to do at PSW (sorry, Memberships now full, try the wait list for next month).  

Of course, if you find yourself on the wrong side of the market, the Futures also make excellent hedges and it just so happens that we teach that as well!  We did a Futures Webinar just this Wednesday and you can watch us make money live on the replay.

 Those are the hedging strategies that led us to call for shorts yesterday (right in the morning post) at 1,100 on /TF (Russell Futures), 4,040 on /NQ (Nasdaq Futures), 1,965 on /ES (S&P Futures) and 16,900 on /YM (Dow Futures).  Aside from the Alert we sent to our Members, we also Tweeted out and Facebooked? the trade ideas – THAT'S HOW SURE WE WERE!  If you followed those, we closed the day at:

  • Dow (/YM) 16,550: down 350 points at $5 per point – Gain of $1,750 per contract 
  • S&P (/ES) 1,918: down 47 ponts at $50 per point – Gain of $2,350 per contract 
  • Nasdaq (/NQ) 3,950: down 90 points at $20 per point – Gain of $1,800 per contract 
  • Russell (/TF) 1,060: down 40 points at $100 per point – Gain of $4,000 per contract 

The margin requirements for the Futures trades are roughly $4,000 per contract so we're talking net gains of roughly 50-100% IN A SINGLE DAY on our hedges.  It's a very simple process – we
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Friday Failure – 1,880 is a Bust!

Did you see the frightened ones? 
Did you hear the falling bombs? 
Did you ever wonder 
Why we had to run for shelter 
When the promise of a brave new world 
Unfurled beneath a clear blue sky?
 - Pink Floyd

What were we excited about? 

With 204 of the S&P 500 now reporting 68% (139) have beat earnings estimates BUT only 44% (90) have beaten on revenues.  It's yet another year of cost-cutting and share buy-backs to boost earnings per share with no actual growth in real earnings yet the market, overall, is up 35% from where it was last year on a 2.9% overall growth in EPS.  - THAT'S FRIGGIN' CRAZY!  

If we back out BAC, who had the crap fined out of them this Q, then the S&P earnigs are up a more respectable 4.9% but, on the other hand, that includes superstars like AAPL, who dropped $13Bn on the S&P by themselves, and it's very unlikely the rest of the S&P will bring up the curve.  In fact, Zacks is now estimating that overall earnings will be DOWN 0.9% for the quarter compared to last year and DOWN 4.6% from last quarter.  

SPY 5 MINUTENo wonder we are seeing the continued exodus of "smart money," who sell in volume into every rally we have.  What's getting scary (and keeping us bearish) is that now we aren't even making gains on weak volume.  Yesterday's move up was 100% due to AAPL, which gained over 8% on the day.  

Since AAPL is 15%+ of the Nasdaq, that 8% gain should have popped the Nasdaq 1.2% and the rally in AAPL suppliers should have lifted the index even more.  But it didn't.  The Nasdaq was only up 0.8%, so it would have been down 0.5% without AAPL's contribution and even further without the rally in suppliers and the sectors that support them.  

As I said to our Members yesterday ahead of the bell, Apple's gains are Samsung and others' lossses, NOT…
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Thrilling Thursday – Tweeting our Way to Oil Profits!

Isn't oil trading fun?

Just this morning I was able to tweet out a trade idea from early morning Member Chat at 4:47 to remind our followers that oil Futures (/CL) were a nice short idea at the $93 mark.  Less than two hours later, at 7:26, we decided to take the money and run at $92.15 – which was good for an $850 per contract gain – enough to buy about 300 Egg McMuffins!  

We were long on oil Tuesday Morning at $92 and our target for shorting was $93 but, as I said in the morning post: "hopefully, they'll go a little higher than that and we can add short positions using SCO or USO in Member Chat as things can turn very ugly next week as the thieves try to wriggle out of the contracts they signed today."  We got a $1,000 upside trade followed by the $1,000 per contract drop from $93.47 (right on schedule, after inventories) back to just below $92.50 and then we got a run back to $93 again on Wednesday ($500 per contract profit), where I again laid out our reasons for shorting them again at $93, which was good for another $1,000 per contract gain and then this morning's $850, which was good for $4,350 PER CONTRACT's worth of gains in just two days.  

Now, I'm not telling you this to point out how great I am at calling Futures trades – I'm telling you this to point out what a MASSIVE SCAM energy trading is and how something should be done to stop this farce, which is ROBBING the World's citizens of over $850Bn a year! 

I often say to our Members: "We don't care IF a market is fixed as long as we can understand HOW it is fixed and place our bets accordingly," but that's not really true with oil trading, as this criminal enterprise (which I have written about for years) is more harmful to our everyday life than every hurricane, earthquake or terrorist act that has ever been committed on this planet – and they do it to us EVERY DAY OF EVERY YEAR!  

I'm not able to go 5 for 5 on oil calls in two days because it's "fair" (and it's not a fluke, we do this all the time), I can do this because it's very, very UNFAIR…
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Vacation-Proofing Your Virtual Portfolio

Option Sage Submits: 

When driving a car and some object appears on the road ahead do you usually run right over it or do your best to avoid it?  

Don’t we all take action in real-life based on the new information we receive that changes the old paradigm?  Take the first two guys in this video:  Who would you rather be, the first or the second guy?  While the second gentleman reacts and looks ridiculous in so doing, he’s the guy that is more likely to survive when real disaster hits because he’s reacting to new information.  In fact he doesn’t even know what’s making everyone else react, he just knows that when 99% are moving one way in panic, it’s best not to fight the crowd or he will be trampled.  It’s no different in the market.  Pride, ego and old theses have no place when new information directly contradicts an existing trade.

This week, we used DIA and QQQ puts and calls to "react" to quick changes in the market while we waited for better information before making more permanent changes in our positions.  This gave us the benefit of the


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Improve Your Market Timing: Channeling Stocks

 Courtesy of MarketTamer.com

- Stocks will typically channel 65-70% of the time.

- There are essentially three types of channels; Ascending, Descending and Sideways.

- The channel is comprised of two parallel trend lines which define support and resistance.

- The trading opportunity is as a result of buying the bounce off the lower trend line and selling the resistance.

- Channeling stocks as a continuation pattern occur as the stock trends and then consolidates for a period of time, only to eventually break out to resume the prior trend.

- Ascending Channels are usually embedded in a broader downtrend and act as a respite to the primary downtrend.

- Accordingly, Descending Channels are a respite in a broader uptrend and will more often than not resume the initial bullish trend after channeling.

- Sideways Channels are considered consolidations before resuming the original trend.

- The investment community recognizes that stocks neither go directly up nor down without pause.

- A majority of trading activity resides in channels as supply and demand play “tug of war”.

- Eventually traders will push the stock out of the range.

- The quality of the breakout/breakdown move should be measured by the investor participation as evidenced by increased volume.

- The opportunity to make money with channeling stocks are as a result of two approaches: 1) buy on the bounce off of the lower trend line and sell at the top of the channel at resistance and 2) Play the breakout/breakdown out of the channel.

 


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Are clouds looming on the horizon?

Courtesy of Market Tamer

S&P 500

 

Hanging Man on the NASDAQ

 

Improve Your Market Timing: The Symmetrical Triangle Chart Pattern

 

 

 

  • The Symmetrical Triangle is a continuation pattern that is comprised of two symmetrically converging trend lines.  The continuation will normally be in the direction of the prior trend, although at times the pattern can reverse the trend.
  • The breakout usually occurs prior to the triangle reaching its apex and is strongest if that is the case.
  • The target is the trend line breakout/breakdown plus the length of the widest part of the triangle.
  • After the stock has moved either up or down relatively quickly and with increased volume, the stock then begins a period of pause as the stock moves sideways or with a slight retrace against the trend.
  • The initial trading in the period of pause consists of a wider amplitude and narrows as the upper and lower trend lines converge symmetrically.
  • The investment community is telling us that it is indecisive as to the continuing direction of the stock as the trading range narrows and finally breaks out to resume the trend

 


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NASDAQ Video Analysis

 

Improve Your Market Timing: The Double Top

  • The buyers at the top of the first peak were victims of buying from the “smart money” as they sold to the “not so smart money” at the top of the trading range.
  • These unfortunate buyers will usually hold, refusing to take a loss and waiting for the opportunity to unload the stock at a break even.
  • When that opportunity presents itself, at the second top, selling pressure increases and drives the stock lower.
  • Other knowledgeable traders who know that the “Double Top” will present an opportunity to short, will do so thereby increasing the velocity downward move.

 

 


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Weekly Charts + The Reverse Cup & Handle Chart Pattern

Courtesy of Market Tamer

Weekly Charts

Dow Jones


S&P 500


NASDAQ


 

The Reverse Cup & Handle Chart Pattern

- The inverse of a Cup & Handle Chart Pattern.

 

-The stock bounces off of a support level and moves higher on unremarkable volume.

 

- A “Rounded Top” forms and then subsequently moves lower on increasing volume producing “The Cup”.

 

- The pattern is completed when a Bear Flag forms producing the handle.

 

- The breakdown occurs when the stock breaks the low of the handle on increasing volume.

 


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How to Make Profits in Your Spare Time

The Only Three Questions That Count: Investing by Knowing What Others Don't

Option Sage submits:

I saw an infomercial from Fisher Investments where Ken Fisher mentioned 3 attributes that he believes are keys to successful investing which can be crudely summarized as follows:

[1]  Focus on long-term investing

[2]  Expect surprises

[3]  Stay ahead of the crowd by knowing what others don’t

The first point is certainly critical and weeds out the greedy ‘get-rich-quick’ traders from the patient traders.  Our policy here is that of ‘play-to-win’.  We like to be aggressive in seeking profits with short-term plays but we also recognize that if those trades don’t work out that we can still rely on longer term plays to end up profitable in the end. 

The second point regarding expecting surprises asks the trader the question “Are you managing risk well and do you have contingency plans in mind each time you enter a trade?”  While the second part of the sentence is important, the first is paramount!  No matter what you do, never violate risk management rules which we have discussed here in the past.

The third point is a luxury in my view.  Of course, it would be nice to know what others don’t but it’s not critical.  By definition only a small number can have information that the rest of the crowd does not have so if you are not trading full-time you have to find another way of making money without relying on staying ahead of the crowd.

As I was scanning for trades over the weekend, I came across one trade which might in fact fall into the category of offering relatively attractive profits by relying on options rather than additional information.  In fact, I know many of our members find it hard to focus on the daily trades and would like to construct virtual portfolios with the longer-term in mind.  As Phil mentioned in his classic "James Bond Investing" article, playing short-term positions requires constant vigilance and you need to ready to turn on a dime with small windows of opportunity and this kind of trading is not for everyone.  Even Phil has a rule of thumb that 75% of a virtual…
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Peter D – Confessions of the PSW Strangler

Peter D has a long-running and very successful system of selling premiums on a regular basis that’s well worth learning.

Investors selling a short strangle are expecting the underlying stock to not move much in either direction. The strategy is accomplished by selling a call option at a higher price than the current stock or ETF price and by selling a put option at a lower price than the current stock or ETF price. Both of the options will have the same expiration month. The investor in a short strangle benefits from the underlying moving within the spread between the call strike and the put strike.

There are two reasons we like this strategy a lot at PSW:

1) It’s boring!  Unless the market is MUCH more volatile than normal, taking sensible, NON-GREEDY, out-of-the-money short option positions is a fairly market-neutral way to place our bets.  While the risk/reward ratio may seem inverted, statistically it’s a winning play over time.

2)  It’s perfect for our "be the house, not the sucker" philosophy of trading.  We are always looking to SELL volatility. The idea behind this trade is that front-month volatility is relatively expensive compared to historical long-term volatility and we take advantage of selling a very high cumulative volatility over the course of the year.  

We recently ran a collection of comments following through on some trades over time and quite a while ago Sage wrote an article relating about using short strangles on longer-term stock plays, which provides some additional ideas on how to apply this strategy.  Peter has been kind enough to provide us with a definitive guide to help set you on the road to a successful career as a strangler.  The following is a collection of posts (make sure you use the links) on Short Strangles and the Crazy plays on the indices (SPX, RUT, NDX, etc.):
 
1- The Crazy play consists of a Short Strangle and a protective long put vertical. These plays are mainly for Virtual Portfolio Margin accounts, with balance greater than $125,000, preferably over $200k as the margin can swing wildly.  

2- Very rough comparison among Short Strangle, Iron Condor, Buy/Write and straight stock purchase. Note the rolling tips in the second to last paragraph.
 
3- VIX, the effects of.
 
4- Possible adjustments of the Crazy Play.
  
Additional discussion on doubling down.
   …
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Zero Hedge

Capital Controlling Like A Boss: Nigeria, Belarus Halt All FX Trading As Central Bank Urges "Don't Panic"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Just because Russia has managed to stabilize its currency for the time being as crude tries to find a floor, that certainly does not mean the soaring dollar tantrum-cum-crude crash episode is anywhere near over, nor that stability has returned to the rest of the oil-exporting countries. Case in point, crude-exporting powerhouse Nigeria, where things are going from worse to #REF!

As Bloomberg reported yesterday, the temporary Russian FX-trading halt appears to have inspired all other nations with plunging currencies (the Nigeria Naira just hit a new rec...



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Phil's Favorites

Competitive Theories: "Deflation Warning" vs. "Inflation is Nearly Everywhere"

Courtesy of Mish.

Theory #1: Break-Even Rates Provide "Deflation Warning"

Bloomberg is sounding a Deflation Warning as 2-Year Break-Even Rates Go Negative.

Break-even rates are the difference between treasuries and the same-duration Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). The break-even rate turned negative yesterday for the first time since 2009.

In theory, break-even rates reflect investors’ expectations for inflation over the life of the securities.

When break-even rates are negative, it's an indication investors expect price deflation for the duration, in this case for two years.

From Bloomberg ...
The drop in the break-even rate followed a Labor Depart...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Chart School

Relief Bounce in Markets

Courtesy of Declan.

Those who took advantage of markets at Fib levels were rewarded.  However, this looked more a 'dead cat' style bounce than a genuine bottom forming low.  This can of course change, and one thing I will want to see is narrow action near today's high. Volume was a little light, but with Christmas fast approaching I would expect this trend to continue.

The S&P inched above 2,009, but I would like to see any subsequent weakness hold the 38.2% Fib level at 1,989.


The Nasdaq offered itself more as a support bounce, with a picture perfect play off its 38.2% Fib level. Unlike the S&P, volume did climb in confirmed accumulation. The next upside c...

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Digital Currencies

Chart o' the Day: Don't "Invest" in Stupid Sh*t

Joshua commented on the QZ article I posted a couple days ago and perfectly summarized the take-home message into an Investing Lesson. 

Chart o’ the Day: Don’t “Invest” in Stupid Sh*t

Courtesy of 

The chart above comes from Matt Phillips at Quartz and is a good reminder of why you shouldn’t invest in s...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of December 15th, 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Energy sector rains on bulls' parade, but skies may clear soon

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Scott Martindale of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Stocks have needed a reason to take a breather and pull back in this long-standing ultra-bullish climate, with strong economic data and seasonality providing impressive tailwinds -- and plummeting oil prices certainly have given it to them. But this minor pullback was fully expected and indeed desirable for market health. The future remains bright for the U.S. economy and corporate profits despite the collapse in oil, and now the overbought technical condition has been relieved. While most sectors are gathering fundamental support and our sector rotation model remains bullish, the Energy sector looks fundamentally weak and continues to ran...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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Market Shadows

Official Moves in the Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio

By Ilene 

I officially bought 250 shares of EZCH at $18.76 and sold 300 shares of IGT at $17.09 in Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio yesterday (Fri. 11-21).

Click here for Thursday's post where I was thinking about buying EZCH. After further reading, I decided to add it to the virtual portfolio and to sell IGT and several other stocks, which we'll be saying goodbye to next week.

Notes

1. th...



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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