Last Valentine’s Day was as Saturday, following a frightening Friday the 13th, where we had fallen through the 8,000 line on the Dow. I wrote a very interesting post that morning discussing how I came about my political views, which is good for new Members to check out. We also flipped short that day on SKF, too early at $130 but that ended well as we kept after them and it was our biggest bet by March 6th, which eventually returned over 1,000%. We also stopped shorting GOOG at $350 (it did keep going to $300 but the upside was nice too). I closed the morning post with:
For us, it’s all about the levels as we try to remain unbiased as investors, no matter how voraciously we defend our political views. Dow 7,800, S&P 820, Nas 1,460, NYSE 5,100, Russell 437 and SOX 203 all better continue to hold today but, even if they do, we’re nowhere near where we want to be and we’re going to take some bearish covers into the weekend – just in case. So whether you are a witch celebrating the horrors of the 13th or waiting for a rose from your true love the next day, remember to be careful out there – we are certainly still deep, deep in the woods!
That Tuesday (Monday was President’s day) we fell 300 points and another 300 points by the end of the week! That was a fitting way to mark the 80th anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre when Al Capone’s "South Side" gang, dressed as cops, rousted a garage run by Bugs Moran’s "North Side" gang and had them stand against the wall and then executed all 7 men. They shot them 70 times with machine guns and made their escape by using the Capone men dressed as cops to "arrest" the other Capone men and drive them away from the scene in broad daylight. Now that’s what I call a good plan!
Here’s a great chart that summarizes our year to date. Someone else found this, I wish I knew how to use StockCharts this well, they have tons of good things in there:
It’s a bit worrying that XLU is doing so poorly – so much for diversification keeping you safe… It’s going to be worth rummaging through the utility companies looking for good dividend payers who are on sale. SO…
Today’s tickers: EWZ, VRSN, PFE, MSFT, Q, FXI & NSM
EWZ iShares MSCI Brazil Index ETF – Shares of the Brazil ETF have dipped by less than 1% to stand at $50.93 today. The ticker occupied prime real estate on our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner after a large volume ratio put spread was established in the September contract. An investor looking for bearish movement on the stock purchased 15,000 puts at the September 40 strike price for a premium of 2.30 apiece spread against the sale of 30,000 puts at the September 30 strike for about 60 cents each. The net cost of the trade amounts to 1.10 and yields a maximum potential profit of 8.90 to the investor if shares were to fall all the way to $30.00 by expiration. Before the position comes good, Brazilian shares would need to decline by 23%. The trader begins to amass profits beginning at the breakeven point at $38.90.
VRSN VeriSign, Inc. – The provider of internet infrastructure services has experienced a share price rise of about 1% today to $24.48. VRSN appeared on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner after one investor established a large-volume ratio put spread in the September contract. Likely looking for downside protection on a long stock position, this trader purchased 25,000 puts at the September 25 strike price for 2.90 apiece and sold 50,000 puts at the lower September 20 strike for a premium of 95 cents per contract. The net cost of the transaction amounts to 1.00 to the investor and yields maximum potential gains to the downside of 4.00 should shares fall to $20.00 by expiration. The ratio spread represents some 80,000 contracts in play, trumping the existing open interest on the stock of just 64,919 lots.
PFE Pfizer, Inc. – The pharmaceuticals giant has slipped by more than 1.5% to $14.15 today, but attracted one bullish investor to populate the January 2011 contract. The January 15 strike price saw 50,000 calls picked up by one individual for a premium of 2.16 apiece. The long-call position requires that shares breach the breakeven point at $17.16 by expiration in order for the investor to begin to amass profits. The contracts have more than one and a half years until expiration and require that shares rally by at least 21% during that time period.
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 email@example.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.
Running a multi-billion dollar energy company isn’t easy. Just ask the executives in the corner suites of some of the energy companies that have gone bust over the years. Some, like Enron, were brought down because of insider malfeasance. A few, like ATP, blamed damaging government policies, while others went off the rails due to market forces that left the company and its shareholders flat-footed, deep in debt, and eventually broke. Here are the bankruptcies that will be etched into the tombstones of failed energy fortunes for time immemorial.
Bulls showed renewed backbone last week and drew a line in the sand for the bears, buying with gusto into weakness as I suggested they would. After all, this was the buying opportunity they had been waiting for. As if on cue, the start of the World Series launched the rapid market reversal and recovery. However, there is little chance that the rally will go straight up. Volatility is back, and I would look for prices to consolidate at this level before making an attempt to go higher. I still question whether the S&P 500 will ultimately achieve a new high before year end.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then o...
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If you're following Valeant's proposed takeover (or merger) of Allergan and the lawsuit by Allergan against Valeant and notorious hedge fund manager William Ackman, for insider trading this is a must-read article.
Linette Lopez describes the roles played by key Wall Street hedge fund owners--Jim Chanos, John Paulson, and Mason Morfit, a major shareholder in Valeant. Linette goes through the con...
There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock tou...
Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?
With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...
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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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