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.
While pricing right on the When Issued screws, or 0.540%, tied for the lowest high yield since October 2014, today's $26 billion auction of 2 Year paper was nothing to write home about. From a low Bid to Cover, which at 3.30 was down from March's 3.457%, and the lowest of 2015, to a slide in the Indirect bid to only 38.1%, also the lowest for 2015, to the highest Dealer take down of 2015, with commercial banks left with 47.8% of the short-end issue, there was not much demand for the paper which pays a 0.50% cash coupon and which matures on April 30, 2017.
Still, the lack of a tail is what the algos were looking at, and they got it. As a result the bid following the auction across the curve which...
Last week, stocks cycled bullish yet again. In fact, the S&P 500, NYSE Composite, and NASDAQ each closed at record highs as investors positioned for the heart of earnings season in the wake of strong reports from some of the Tech giants. Notably, Utilities stocks got some renewed traction as yield-starved investors returned to the sector. Although our trend-following sector rotation model remains bullish, strong overhead technical resistance and neutral rankings in our SectorCast quant model indicate that caution is in order, and this might not be the moment for a major upside breakout, particularly given the expected softness in earnings reports.
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 funda...
Apple Inc.’s IPhone sales in China may have exceeded the U.S. for the first time in the latest quarter, thanks to brisk demand during the country’s New Year celebrations.
Apple will probably show on Monday that earnings jumped by more than 20 percent when it reports results for the second fiscal quarter, which ended in March. While Apple doesn’t break out shipments by country, the company may have sold 18 million to 20 million iPhones in greater China during the period, while U.S. deliveries were about 14 million to 15 million, according to Creative Strategies LLC.
Apple closed last week at an all-time weekly closing high at (1) in the chart above. Apple recently broke above its 4-year rising channel, came back to test old resistance and pushed higher, setting this new record high.
In November of last year, when Apple was trading below $110 per share, the Power of the Pattern shared that Apple’s upside target stood at $150.(See post here)
The big economic number this week will be the Q1 Advance Estimate for GDP on Wednesday at 8:30 AM ET.
What do economists see in their collective crystal ball for Q1 of 2015? Let's take a look at the GDP forecasts from the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists conducted earlier this month.
Here's a snapshot of the full array of WSJ opinions about Q1 GDP with highlighted values for the median (middle), mean (average) and mode (most frequent). In the latest forecast, the median and mean were quite close. The mode (ten of 62 forecasts) was a tad lower at 1.2%, and the second most frequent value, held by eight respondents, was bit higher 1.5%. In essence, 35% of the economists' forecasts fell within a narrow 0.3% range.
As the visualization above illustrates, despite the cluster in the midd...
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Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.
More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved.
Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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