by phil - April 30th, 2012 7:55 am
Is this time going to be different?
Sure, why not? Don't let the fact that we had pretty nasty sell-offs the last 4 Mays dissuade you from being gung-ho bullish into this one – after all – it takes bulls and bears to make a market, doesn't it?
We've been prone to focusing on the negative lately – mostly because the positive is pretty much all you hear in the Corporate Media and we like to have balance. If they were too bearish, I'd make a bullish case but this weekend we focused on "Money, Power and Wall Street," and the deteriorating Global situation, which got no better this morning with Spain's -0.3% GDP Report, Eurozone Inflation above forecasts at 2.6%, the S&P downgrading 16 Spanish Banks, California's Tax Collections are running 26% behind schedule, gasoline is hitting record highs in Europe while Business Investment in Europe drops BELOW the 2008 lows:
Should we be concerned? Why should we be – look how high the market is! Doesn't that prove that everything is OK? It sure proved it in October of 2007, when the Dow was at 14,000 and it was still proving it on Monday, May 19th, 2008 – when the Dow was at 13,028 for the last time until March 13th of this year, when 200-point one-day pop sent us all the way to 13,177. We topped out around and fell all the way to 12,700 a month later but now we're back and THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT, right?
For one thing, the SNB spent $4.1Bn propping up the Euro in Q1 – that's a lot of money for a country whose entire GDP is just $500Bn! Fortunately for the Swiss, their insane money printing did cause their gold holdings to rise by $1.2Bn so their net loss in manipulating the Global economy was "only" $2.8Bn so I'm sure they can sustain this farce for another quarter or two if they wish.
Farce is too kind a description for the fraud being perpetrated by the Central Banksters, according to the Economic Policy Journal's Bob Wenzel, what had this to say in his speech to the NY Fed last week (the whole speech is a must read):
Under Chairman Bernanke there have been significant changes in direction
by phil - April 4th, 2012 8:38 am
I hate to say I told you so but…
Oh, who are we kidding? I could not be happier saying I told you so and neither could our Members as our "Sell in March and Go Away" strategy seems to have hit the nail on the head – and it's only April 4th!
Back then (2/24), we were still bullish but the plan was to let the rally run its course and cash out ahead of earnings and our plays from that Wednesday (2/22) which I posted right in the morning post for all to see, have performed very well, of course.
We had April SQQQ and DXD hedges that failed, of course, but those were paid for by the short sale of AAPL 2014 $300 puts for $15, which are already $10.75, so up 28% already on those pays for a lot of protection.
Another offset we had looked at was the short sale of FDX April $80 puts at $1.10, which expired worthless (up 100%). We also looked at longer-term put sales on SKX, with the Oct $12 puts fetching $1.55 per contract, now $1.25 (up 19%), and the T 2014 $25 puts at $2.15, now $1.75 (up 18%).
Along the same vein, the XOM 2014 $65 puts at $5, now $4.05 (up 19%) were sold to pay for the SU 2014 $25/37 bull call spread for $6 for net $1 on the spread. The bull call spread is still $6 but that's net $1.95 now – up 95% on the combo. Our other bullish play on oil was the USO June $40/46 bull call spread at $2, selling he SCO Oct $26 puts for $3 for a net $1 credit. The USO spread has fallen to $1.40 but the short SCO puts dropped to $1.65 a net gain of .75 – up a quick 75% on a fairly neutral oil play, which was BRILLIANT as it covered many, many of our aggressive oil shorts over the month that went VERY well.
Our other trade ideas from the morning post (and the logic and strategies are detailed in the post):
- AA 2014 $10 puts sold for $2, still $2 – even
- X at $28.49, selling Jan $25 calls for $8.50 and 2014 $20 puts for $2.95 for net $17.04/18.52
by phil - March 14th, 2012 8:10 am
Yesterday, we talked about the BS that is Fox News.
Ironically, some of the "news" outlets that generally carry my articles (who's names shall be protected because they are wimps) decided it was too controversial for their readers so we know that's not a topic we're allowed to discuss in America, for fear of being black-listed. Today we'll see if we can make it a two-fer in the Bracket of Evil, as I have a juicy resignation letter from Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs (thanks Rev Todd), who is no small player, but the head of the firm's US Equity Derivative Business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Just a couple of excerpts:
I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.
I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail.
by phil - March 2nd, 2012 8:18 am
Oil shot up to $110.55 yesterday.
The news was that a pipeline in Saudi Arabia had been attacked and oil had been running up all day into this "news," which, funnily enough, turned out to be fake. We caught the news at 3:05 in Member Chat (thanks Kustomz) and we had been waiting for oil to stop going up so we could short it. The turn came at the $110.50 in the Futures (/CL) and we caught a nice run down to $109 and I reiterated, at 3:36, with oil still at $109.88 my love for the USO April $40 puts, which were $1.08 at the time and finished the day at $1.15.
As Malsg pointed out in Member Chat: "The pictures of the fire are taken in daylight … but Saudi sunset was several hours ago … the oil market only stared going nuts after the close." A very good observation that gave us the resolve to stay short on oil – which is working out fantastically this morning as well.
We also grabbed an aggressive short spread on BNO, as it seemed the whole day's run had been BS, with traders in the know stocking up ahead of the fake news so they could unload barrels into the retail suckers who bought into the spike. Don't worry though – no one who bought oil up from $105 on Thursday to $109 ahead of the news will be arrested or even questioned – we'll just keep pretending the total farce of oil trading is a legitimate pricing mechanism, even though it costs people around the world hundreds of Billions of Dollars each year in excess charges (see "Goldman's Global Oil Scam Passes the 50 Madoff Mark").
Now, this is the part where I would usually point out how the economy is weaker than we think etc. but I'm not going to do that this morning because the S&P still over 1,360 and, if a stronger Dollar isn't going to stop this rally – nothing will. Even yesterday, I joked to Members that I wasn't going to highlight negative news items in red anymore as there was no such thing as bad news in this market.
As you can see from David Fry's SPY chart, we''re back testing the bottom of that channel today and, if we don't break down here, then we can…
by phil - February 22nd, 2012 6:27 am
We're still waiting for a clear signal.
The S&P is finally over our 1,359 level but, so far, has not stayed over that line for a full session and we need two sessions over the line to confirm it. However, I did promise not to be bearish if we're over 1,360 and I think I got it all out of my system in the last few posts, as well as last night and this morning's Member Chat, where I outlined my case for for the oil glut and the collapse of the EU, which will lead to the collapse of Asia and the US – but not today.
Today there is a ton of money sloshing around in the system and we are clearly in a massive technical rally, which may (or may not) end at any moment. We discussed our February trade ideas from our morning posts on Monday's morning so I won't rehash them here but I do want to take a look at ways to leverage some trades to take full advantage of this non-stop rally as we have VERY CLEAR stop lines (our 10% lines) where we'll have a clear signal to get out or cover if ANY of the major indexes fail.
As with our early February trade ideas, we can add one more bullish trade each day that we're over the line and cash out the older trades that go well in the money and, of course, accumulate some Disaster Hedges (20-30% of your unrealized profits into protective hedges is a good rule of thumb as well as the cheapest form of protection – STOPS!).
My favorite disaster hedges are playing for a correction in the Dow or the Nasdaq which, if you are a Dow Theorist, would seem very likely based on the chart on the left but, so far, nothing matters to the bulls – who have their story and they are sticking to it – regardless of those pesky facts. Sorry, that's a bit bearish (bad habit). Anyway, my favorite disaster hedges are:
SQQQ April $13/17 bull call spread for .70. This trade has a 471% upside potential by itself if SQQQ (currently $13.14) gains 30% by April expiration (58 days). That's a lot but SQQQ is a 3x ultra-short to the Nasdaq so a 10% drop in the Nas, back to 2,650…
by Option Review - April 20th, 2010 5:07 pm
Today’s tickers: GS, MU, PEG, CX, XRX, IYT, EEM, HOG, HUM & ALL
GS – Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. – Posturing in out-of-the-money put options on Goldman Sachs today indicates some investors expect the investment banking firm’s share price could erode substantially ahead of May expiration. Goldman’s shares slipped 1.5% during the trading session to stand at $160.94 as of 2:30 pm (ET). One pessimistic player invested in a debit put spread in order to position for continued bearish movement in the price of the underlying stock through expiration next month. The trader picked up approximately 11,700 puts at the May $145 strike for an average premium of $1.91 each, and sold the same number of puts at the lower May $120 strike for $0.16 apiece. Net premium paid for the put transaction amounts to $1.75 per contract. The trader makes money if Goldman’s shares fall 11% to breach the effective breakeven point to the downside at $143.25. Maximum available profits of $23.25 per contract are available to the options player should the financial services firm’s share price plummet 25% to $120.00 ahead of expiration day in May. Other bearish players engaged in plain-vanilla put buying at the June $150 strike where at least 3,600 put contracts were picked up for an average premium of $4.73 each. Put-buyers at this strike stand ready to accrue profits if Goldman Sachs’ share price slips 9.75% lower to breach the average breakeven point at $145.27 by June expiration.
MU – Micron Technology Inc. – A large-volume short strangle play employed on the manufacturer of semiconductor devices today suggests one big options player expects Micron’s shares to trade within a specified range through expiration in October. Micron Technology’s shares are up 0.10% to $10.81 as of 2:50 pm (ET). It looks like one trader sold approximately 24,000 puts at the October $9.0 strike for a premium of $0.73 each, in combination with the sale of about the same number of calls at the higher October $12 strike for $0.98 apiece. Gross premium pocketed by the strangle-strategist amounts to $1.71 per contract. The investor keeps the full amount of premium received today as long as Micron’s shares trade within the boundaries of the strike prices described through expiration day. Short positions assumed in both call and put options expose the trader to losses in the event that Micron’s shares rally above the upper breakeven price…
by ilene - October 12th, 2009 11:50 pm
Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds
Many observers seem to have forgotten a weak dollar benefits Chinese exports due to the yuan-dollar peg.
For those readers who tire of charts: enjoy!
As the "news" continues to trumpet the decline/collapse of the U.S. dollar, many observers seem to have forgotten that the U.S. dollar is the defacto "shared currency" of the world’s largest economy and its biggest rising-star economy. Yes, the U.S. and the PRC--China. China’s currency (officially the renminbi, a.k.a. yuan) is transparently pegged to the U.S. dollar at about 6.8 yuan to the dollar, down from 8+ a few years ago.
Given that Japan is the world’s second-largest economy by most measures, and that the yen is informally pegged to the U.S. dollar (trading in a band of 90-110 yen for years on end), then it could be argued that the world’s three largest economies all "share" the U.S. dollar.
Before we explore the consequences of this, let’s look at a standard-issue "the dollar is weakening" piece: Dollar’s Slide Poised to Continue U.S. Quietly Tolerates Drop, While Trade Partners Fret; a Long List of Negatives for the Currency.
Here’s one which actually mentions the trade benefits to China of a weak dollar: Dollar weakness sends ripples across Asia: Scramble to preserve capital and the Hong Kong carry-trade redux
And just to remind everyone that China’s leaders don’t sit around tolerating circumstances which are negative for their economy: China Targets Commodity Prices by Stepping Into Futures Markets
And lastly, let’s establish the primary context of China’s leadership: 1 billion poor citizens seeking a better job/wage/life. Here is a puff piece by former U.K. prime Minister Tony Blair which makes one key point: most of China’s citizens are still very poor, and thus the leadership is obsessed with "growth" and jobs above all else: China’s New Cultural Revolution: The world’s largest country has a long way to go, but there’s no question it’s changing for the better. (WSJ.com)
Superficial stories about China are accompanied by glitzy photos of Shanghai skyscrapers and other scenes from the wealthy urban coastal cities, but the fact is that the consumer buying power of China is roughly equivalent to that of England (51 million residents).