Posts Tagged ‘PGR’

Ratio Put Spread Pops Up On Safeway


Today’s tickers: SWY, GM & PGR

SWY - Safeway Inc. – The North American retailer of groceries and consumer products reports fourth-quarter earnings five weeks from today, and it appears one options player may be locking in gains in Safeway’s shares should investors lose their appetite for the stock following the report. Shares today rose 1.25% to a six-month high of $21.82, on the heels of a more than 35.0% rally since the end of September. The largest transaction in Safeway options today was the one-by-two ratio put spread initiated in the March expiry in the first half of the trading session. It looks like the investor responsible for the spread purchased 4,100 in-the-money puts at the Mar. $22 strike for a premium of $1.09 each and sold 8,200 puts at the lower Mar. $20 strike at a premium of $0.37 apiece. Net premium required to establish the trade amounts to $0.35 per contract. The sale of twice as many lower-strike put options greatly reduces the cost of the directional play and suggests the investor expects limited bearish movement in the price of the underlying rather than a nosedive in the next couple of months. Profits – or downside protection – kick in if shares in Safeway decline 0.80% to breach the effective breakeven price of $21.65, while maximum possible gains of $1.65 per contract result in the event that shares drop 8.3% to settle at $20.00 at expiration in March.

GM - General Motors Co. – Shares in General Motors are up 0.80% at $24.70 after the Company revealed it sold 9.03 million vehicles globally in 2011, which could earn the Detroit, Michigan-based Company the title of world’s largest automaker by unit sales. One sizable options strategy on GM this morning…
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Testy Tuesday – How Many Times Will You Fall for the Same Thing?

Isn't this exciting!

The pre-markets are up 1% after a long weekend.  That hasn't happened since – two weeks ago!  Of course last Tuesday, we were jammed up as well and the Tuesday after Christmas, we were jammed up as well but THIS TIME – we're REALLY feeling it, right?  

The funniest thing is the way they have dozens of idiots saying all sorts of ridiculous things on CNBC and not one of them mentions even the vaguest hint of deja vu in what has been the most consistent pattern of late 2011, early 2012.

On this Dollar chart from Scott Pluschau, you can see the dives that are occasionally taken to goose the markets and we have another one this morning with the Dollar down 1%, making the 1% pop in the futures slightly less impressive when taken in context.  

This time may be different because, according to Friday's Legacy Commitments of Traders Report released by the CTFC, Commercial Traders are now net short on the Dollar to the tune of 59,023 to just 6,061 longs – about a 10:1 ratio that is EXTREME to say the least.  Non-Reportable, Non-Commercial Traders (ie. Speculators), on the other hand, are almost 10:1 the other way with 9,765 long contracts and just 1,390 shorts.  Reportable Non-Commercial Traders (Hedge Funds) fill out the rest of the longs with 52,644 long contracts against just 8,057 shorts.  

To some extent, hedge funds are also speculators and usually you would assume their bets are covered but that's kind of hard to see with a 7:1 long/short ratio.  Keep in mind that Commercial Traders are institutions with business reasons to hedge – they are not going to be flip-flopping their positions so they will NOT be buying Dollars just because they get cheaper.  So, if it all hits the fan and the Funds shift to short – we could get quite a tidal-wave of Dollar selling.

That's an odd sort of positions for the speculating class to be taking (super-long on the Dollar) considering the possibility of a highly dilutive quantitative event (QE3) in the very near future.   This is why we can't be gung-ho bearish – tempting though it may be and this is why every little rumor of Europe being "fixed" sends the Dollar flying down – there are no buyers – only nervous long Dollar holders.  

As you…
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Testy Tuesday – Already?

Wheeeee, this is fun!

It's only been a week since I called for "Turnaround Tuesday" and asked the question "Will CNBC Apologize to America" for their ridiculous, sickening parade of negativity that chased their poor viewers out of the market (now 600 points ago) by completely misrepresenting the economic outlook in order to protect the TERRIBLE advice given by Jim Cramer, the Fast Money Crew, their sponsors etc. etc. – it was all one national frenzy of media negativity designed to shove retail investors entirely out of the market while the cognoscenti went shopping.

It's not just CNBC, of course, it's a problem with the whole MSM but I ranted about corporate (top 0.01%) control of the media last week so let's move on as we wave bye-bye to all the beautiful sheeple who were kind enough to sell us their stocks at the bottom, despite my warnings.  Our 500% upside plays are now well on their way to making 500% for us and our "9 Fabulous Dow Plays Plus a Chip Shot" are also looking good already.  Even the trade ideas I mentioned right in last Tuesday's post are well on track as I said last week:

On Friday, I had said to Members right at 9:38, in the Morning Alert: "If we run up, then it will be prudent to get more neutral into the weekend but if we stay down and hold our levels, then saying a little bullish will be fine. Out of short-term short trades if you haven’t already.  Keep in mind we have some great 500% upside plays you can still grab here if you think you are too short." 

The latter was a reference to our 500% upside plays.  We also went with EEM July $38 calls at .99, and a QLD $50/53 bull call spread for $1.30 (selling puts as well for more profits) as well as long plays on RIMM, AA, HOV, VLO and TASR.  My optimism was based on the considered TA analysis I shared with Members at 2:39:

After completing last month’s "Omega III" market pattern on the Trade Bots, it’s now time to spring the bear trap and run the "Apha II" into options expiration

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Ford Motor Co. Calls Fly Off the Shelves

Today’s tickers: F, PGR, IBM, YHOO, SMH, LINTA, VALE, POT, LEN & RRGB

F – Ford Motor Co. – Call options on automobile maker, Ford Motor Co., are flying off the assembly line this afternoon with shares of the underlying stock soaring 4.5% higher to $13.36. Investors exchanged more than 381,000 option contracts on Ford by 3:25 pm (ET), and paid extra attention to call contracts, trading more than 3.7 calls to each single put option in action. The most heavily trafficked area of the Ford options arena today are call contracts at the September $14 strike where bullish players bought up approximately 86,000 lots for an average premium of $1.12 apiece. More than 99,100 calls changed hands at this strike, which puts the previously existing open interest of 22,831 contracts to shame. Call-buyers holding the September $14 strike call options are positioned to make money if the auto maker’s shares surge 13.2% over the current price to surpass the average breakeven price of $15.12 by September expiration. Ford’s overall reading of options implied volatility is up 14.5% to 39.48% with 30 minutes remaining in the trading session.

PGR – The Progressive Corp. – Bullish options investors dabbled in call options on the insurance holding company in late afternoon trading with shares of the underlying stock rallying up 5.55% to a new 52-week high of $20.55. One investor was prepared for the rally and banked profits on a previously established long call position today. It looks like the options optimist originally purchased 2,000 calls at the May $20 strike for an average premium of $0.35 apiece back on March 25, 2010, when shares of Progressive Corp. were trading at around $18.86 each. The subsequent surge in the value of Progressive’s shares prompted the trader to sell the calls today for a premium of $0.95 apiece, thus banking net profits of $0.60 per contract. Finally, the investor initiated a fresh bullish stance on the stock by purchasing 2,000 calls at the higher August $22.5 strike for a premium of $0.40 each. The trader makes money on the new call acquisition if the insurer’s shares increase another 11.45% to exceed the effective breakeven share price of $22.90 by expiration day in August.

IBM – International Business Machines Corp. – The computer services giant received a vote of confidence by one big bullish options player this afternoon amid a 1.7% increase in the…
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Testy Tuesday – Have the Markets Become Comfortably Numb?

"There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
but I have become comfortably numb
." – Pink Floyd

I have a theory that the markets (and the American people in general) aren't irrational, they are simply shell-shocked after suffering a very traumatic group financial experience… 

To be shell-shocked is to be "mentally confused, upset, or exhausted as a result of excessive stress" and the most common symptoms are: Fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's surroundings, and inability to prioritize – That certainly sounds like our Congress doesn't it?  Combat stress disorder was first diagnosed in WWI, when 10% of the troops were killed and 56% wounded – far worse than had been experienced in previous wars.  Our current financial crisis has similarly affected more people than any previous crisis with almost everyone knowing someone who is bankrupt or lost their jobs or homes and almost no one escaped the carnage of the downturn without some financial damage. 

Combat fatigue may go a long way to explaining the severe drop-off in volume that has plagued the markets since March, with participation now down to 25% of where we were last January and that leaves us open to the blatant sort of market manipulation that Karl Denninger caught last week as well as the usual nonsense we get daily from HFT programs that drive the market with such precision that we are able to tell how the day is going to go by simply checking our hourly volume targets.  Here's a clip from CNBC where a floor trader discusses market manipulation as a fact of trading (2 mins in).  

As Nicholas Santiago points out on In The Money Stocks,   "January is usually a very high volume month, yet it has started off the New Year even lighter than the last two months of 2009.  Light volume markets are very difficult to
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Weekly Wrap Up – Double Up or Double Top?

Not such a good week!

Last week was FANTASTIC and we had 28 winning trades out of 36 with an average gain of 42% on the winners and an average loss of 12% on the losers – now THAT's A GOOD WEEK.  We were stopped out of most of our bearish trades on Monday but we took a lot of new ones, which I'll get into later…  Of course, since we are rangish and play both ends, the good news is we still had our "losers" and puts that we sold on long positions and those turned into huge winners in just 5 days:

  • AA at $13.30, out at $15 -  up 12.7%
  • AAPL Jan $165 puts sold for $7.40, now $4.70 – up 36%
  • BAC Oct $17 puts sold for .97, now .28 – up 71%
  • DIA Nov $92 calls at $5.40, now $7.30 - up 35%
  • MHP 2011 $25 puts sold for $5.20, now 5.10 – up 2%
  • RIMM March $100 calls at $1.45, now $1.25, down 13.7%

So, of the 6 that were not working last week, 5 are winners this week.  As I mentioned at the end of last week's wrap up, we were more than satisfied with our 5% drop that week and we did expect a bit of a bounce but we made the mistake of thinking The 250 points we gained by Tuesday morning was the end of it, but here we are at the end of the week, another 100 points higher and right back where we started from when we shorted into the rally in mid September. 

Last weekend we were at a great point in our range as all our put plays had just paid off, this will be an interesting contrast as we have serious problems with our new short plays and we have a little less conviction than we had in mid September that we will get our correction – not after such a sharp turn off the 5% line this week.  Nonetheless, we did stay 55% bearish into the weekend overall – still playing for our range.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's go back to Monday and see how we got here….

Monday Market Manipulation – Goldman's

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Zero Hedge

Putin, Hollande Hold Joint Press Conference Over Anti-ISIS Talks - Live Webcast

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Moments ago, after nearly two hours of private talks in Moscow between Vladimir Putin and France's Francois Hollande, a press conference started in which the two world leaders will share the conclusions of their discussions: will France gravitate closer toward Moscow after the events of the past 2 weeks or will it remain a key block in the NATO anti-Russia alliance?

Some of Hollande's statements so far:

  • Assad can not play a role in Syrian future
  • France and Russia will share intelligence and exchange information
  • France and Russia will coordinate their strikes on the Islamic State, as well as coordinating what should not be hit
  • Putin w...

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Phil's Favorites

Giving "Thanks" To The Fed - Holiday Dinner Has Never Been More Expensive

Happy Thanksgiving!

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As you’re probably aware, the Fed has a hard time spotting asset bubbles. Just as there was no housing bubble in 2006 according to the honorable and exceptionally “courageous” Ben Bernanke, there’s no bubble in equities today and certainly no ZIRP-induced fixed income bubble either. 

The other thing the Eccles cabal has trouble spotting - and this is of course inextricably linked to an inability to spot speculative excess - is inflation.

Nevermind the fact that housing costs have ...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

25 Years of Stock Market Milestones for China (Bloomberg)

This year has been a wild ride for Chinese stocks, something that long-time investors have come to expect from a country that's seen 55 bull and bear markets since the ruling Communist Party first allowed equity trading in 1990. As the Shanghai Stock Exchange celebrates it's 25th anniversary on Thursday, here's a look at some of the key milestones on China's path from equity-market upstart to $7 trillion behemoth.

Oil rig count falls (Business Insider)

The US oil rig count ...

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Chart School

Status Quo Maintained - Happy Thanksgiving!

Courtesy of Declan.

Holiday trading kicked into gear, although volume for the S&P managed to push into a technical accumulation day. Things are likely to remain quiet through to next week and any sharp moves at this stage have a high risk of failure.

The top performing index on the day was the Russell 2000. It managed to add another decent gain o keep the string of higher closes running. It didn't quite close above 1,200, but it may do so Friday (with the aforementioned caveat of holiday trading). Overall action in this index has been positive, and relative performance to other indices continues to improve.

The Nasdaq is also ready to break higher. ...

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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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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P 500 – Dangerous for bull case, if prices turn weak here!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.


The S&P 500 remains inside of a rising channel that has been in place since 2010. The 5-year trend is up.

The 5-month trend is a different story, at this time.

Over the past 5-months, the S&P 500 has created a series of “falling weekly closing highs,” which is represented by line (1) above.

The S&P is testing this falling resistance line at (2) above.

If weakness takes place at (2) above, at falling resistance, it would be concerning price action for the bullish case!


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Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of November 23rd, 2015

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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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's Computing Network is More Powerful than 525 Googles and 10,000 Banks!

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

I've decided to build our startup - Veritaseum, a peer-to-peer financial services platform, directly on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Many queried why I would voluntarily give up a lucrative advisory and consulting business to chase virtual coins in cyberspace. That's exactly why I decided to do it. That level of misunderstanding of what is essentially the second coming of the Internet gave me a fundamental advantage over those who had deeper connections, more capital and more firepower. I was the first mover advantage holder.

You see, Bitcoin is not about coins, currency or price pops. It is a massive computing net...

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PSW is more than just stock talk!


We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
  • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
  • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 


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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 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.

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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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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