by phil - October 14th, 2011 8:34 am
Can we end the week with a bang for a change?
Google had tremendous earnings last night (10% beat) and that has the Futures flying (along with AAPL’s IPhone 4S release, which has, as usual, lines around the block to buy their product on the first day). We already made some quick futures money in Member Chat, shorting the Nas (/NQ), Dow (/YM) and Oil (/CL) at 6am in Member Chat. Why go short – just because we had a silly pre-market run-up and we wanted to lock in gains – now it’s 7:30 and we’re done – waiting and seeing how things go into the open.
Futures trading is very useful for locking in pre-market gains but you have to be very careful or it’s just as easy to blow them and, as we demonstrate in Las Vegas Sunday Night – the futures markets are clearly a load of manipulated BS – especially in thin after-hours and pre-market trading. Fortunately though, that’s fine with us as one of the main lessons at PSW is "We don’t care IF the market is rigged, as long as we can figure out HOW the market is rigged and place our bets accordingly."
The news we didn’t want to risk the futures on comes up at 8:30, as we get the Retail Sales Report for September and not much is expected after a very weak August, where Auto Sales really dragged us down with a 0.2% drop and there was nothing sexy about the other items either. Still, one thing people fail to grasp when looking at these charts is that the numbers are in MILLIONS, not thousands – so August 2011 was $389,502,000,000 in total sales and up $26Bn from last August. That’s a pretty healthy pace of $4.6Tn in just Retail and Food Services – what recession?
As you can see from David Fry’s chart, we probably need to work off some overbought conditions before we can have a proper rally. Also, in an early Alert to Members this morning, we looked over our updated Big Chart and determined it was very unlikely that we will hit the levels we need to go bullish into the weekend so we are already planning to short the Nasdaq into the morning pop to put us neutral into the weekend with a 15/15 allocation (short-term positions, of course). …
by phil - September 19th, 2011 8:04 am
Last Thursday, I said in the Morning Post:
We’ll certainly be angling to hedge back near neutral into the weekend. Next week is going to be a real thrill-ride as Greece boils over in the EU this weekend and Bernanke steps up to the plate on Wednesday.
In Member Chat on Friday we cashed out our FXI Oct $36 longs at $2 (up 117% in 2 days) in our $25,000 virtual portfolio (now over $80,000) – selling into the morning excitement and grabbed the QID Oct $44/47 bull call spread at $1.45, selling RIMM Oct $22 puts for $1.10 into the panic as a bullish offset. At net .35, it will be very easy to get a quick 100% or even 200% gain ahead of the Fed on the morning sell-off and we’ll be looking to cash out and switch horses if we can hold the same levels we held on Thursday, the same ones we were looking to break over on Wednesday (we did) – notably S&P 1,200 and Russell 700.
We are simply waiting on the Fed this week and little attention should be paid to any action in the markets as long as it stays within our range. What matters is the reaction to Wednesday’s FOMC statement at 2:15 and, between now and then, it’s all about Housing in the US, with the NAHB Housing Market Index this morning at 10 followed by Housing Starts and Building Permits tomorrow at 8:30 and then the MBA Mortgage Index Wednesday at 7am and, finally, Existing Home Sales at 10. After that the Fed has the floor and nothing really matters after that.
If Housing is bad, we are ready with IYR hedges in our Income Portfolio so we’ll be able to sell DIA puts to cover into the morning sell-off that we anticipated on Friday. We can also take advantage of the morning panic to short TLT again, as they should be flying over $113 again. Our last TLT spread was last Wednesday, where we sold the weekly $113 calls for .90 and bought the $114/112 bear put spread for $1.12 for net .22 and that one finished Friday at net $1.75, up 795% in two days – so you can why I’m excited to get another pop at it this morning!
Doug Short wrote an excellent article titled "Weighing the Week…
by phil - September 12th, 2011 6:54 am
That’s how much Greece is paying today to borrow money for a year! In theory, if you lend Greece $10,000 today, next year they will pay you back $20,800. In THEORY that is because, at 108% – IF they actually borrowed at that rate, you could be very sure that they would not be around to pay you. That’s the joke of this whole thing – we have these insanely unrealistic prices being set on bonds, which only hurts the people who have outstanding ones and need to redeem them as Greece doesn’t actually borrow money for even double-digit interest rates. It’s all a silly, artificial construct that is only useful in spreading panic among investors.
Unfortunately, investor panic is all you need to really destroy the Global economy – as we proved in 2008. As you can see from the chart on the right, we are currently mirroring the same path we took 3 years ago as we head into October and, in fact, our financial sector is performing WORSE than it did when we had ACTUAL major bank and minor country failures – not just rumors of them.
On Friday, Greece’s finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, blamed “organized rumors” for renewed speculation that Greece would default, and said the country intended to comply with all terms needed for the bailout that European countries agreed to in July. But the fact that the details of the deal have yet to be locked down has unnerved some investors.
In a speech this week, Josef Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said it was not justifiable for politicians to demand that European banks raise more capital, as Christine Lagarde (DSK’s evil replacement), the head of the International Monetary Fund, had done. “It’s obvious,” he said, “that many European banks would not be able to handle writing down the sovereign bonds they hold on their banking books to market levels.”
But, he said, it would “risk undermining the credibility” of European bailout packages “if politicians were to now send out the signal that they do not believe in the success of those measures.” And, he argued, forcing banks to raise capital now would anger investors by forcing the dilution of current shareholders.
by phil - January 31st, 2011 8:21 am
Is it safe?
I asked that question at the end of November in "Timid Tuesday – Is It Safe" and here we are, 60 days later and up 7.5% and, on the whole, feeling less safe than we did back then, when the Market Oracle and I seemed to be the only people concerned global inflation and sovereign default risks rising rapidly. Although we were playing the market bullishly, with our aggressive $10,000 Virtual Portfolio (and make sure you check out our brand new $25,000 Virtual Portfolio that begins today with a $100,000 goal by December 31st) we decided to try to take from $26,000 to $50,000 by Jan 21st (we only made $35,000), our Breakout Defense Plays (5,000% in 5 Trades or Less) and our Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges – it was with one hand on the exit door at all times. As I said at the close of Timid Tuesday’s article: "This house of cards is teetering folks – please be careful out there!"
That was 60 days ago. We’re a lot older now and have learned a lot about the World since then. We learned that China, Japan and the IMF are all ready, willing and able to buy the bonds of various EU nations. We learned that the Dollar can still fall 5% (was 81.44 on November 30th) further down despite Europe’s very obvious problems and Japan’s MASSIVE 200% Debt to GDP ratio. We learned that Uncle Ben will never stop printing money (until forced) and we learned that commodities can rise much faster than even our aggressive "Secret Santa" plays anticipated, with every one of our hedges (XHB, XLE, DBA and XLF) already over our year-end targets, all on track for gains well over 100%.
After watching our Alpha 2 pattern break (as I predicted it would on Monday morning) for the week, we went a lot more bearish on Thursday when I said in that morning post:
Keep in mind that gold and silver are our defensive plays. In Member Chat yesterday, Jromeha mentioned he’s 80% in cash and 85% short the market on the 20% in play and I said I thought that was an excellent way to play what I felt was a blow-off top after the Fed. We added 2 disaster hedges yesterday, a TZA spread that pays 500% if we get to $17 by
by phil - January 20th, 2011 8:06 am
Just buy the f’ing dip.
That’s the great advice we had back on December 2nd, as it was pointed out by Captain Broccoli that we should just ignore all the so-called "facts" of the economy and "just borrow money at this ridiculous low interest rate and just buy the f’ing dip." "It’s not a pyramid scheme, you idiot," says the Captain – "It’s a dip buying scheme!" So far, on every little dip we have had since December 2nd – the Captain has had the winning strategy – do we dare ignore his sage advice today?
Yesterday we had the biggest pullback since November 23rd with the Russell and the SOX, two of our most over-extended indexes, falling 2.5% in a single day. The Russell essentially gave up an entire month’s worth of gains in a single day because, as I have warned you over and over and over until I myself was bored hearing it, it has been a low-volume rally and the pure physics of the situation means that, when people finally want to sell stocks, there aren’t enough buyers in the world to support the prices they have run up to.
The Shanghai, which we’ve been watching closely, dropped another 3% today to 4-month lows this morning. We did the chart of the Shanghai vs the Hang Seng on Friday, when I was droning on about how weak the real Global economy is and how dangerous inflation was looking and how the government was papering it all over, etc. Even so, I reminded Members in Chat that none of that reality mattered and we still had to buy the dips until it stopped working. Is today the day or have we finally reached the end of the gravy train?
We did some hedged buying on Friday with new long-term bullish trade ideas on AAPL, AET, BAC, GENZ and INTC (2) as well as shorter-term bullish trade ideas on CSTR (April) and ABX (quick 50% profit and done). We also had a short play on PCX (up huge already) and hedged with RKH Feb $85 puts at $1.15 (now $1.80, up 56%) and rolled our losing QID position in the $10,000 Virtual Portfolio to the Feb $10 calls at an average of $1.15 (now .90, down 22%). This is how we can be long-term bullish and short-term bearish. Buying the f’ing…
by phil - January 19th, 2011 8:30 am
When we first began following the Alpha 2 TradeBot pattern on Jan 3rd (see Stock World Weekly for current chart) back on Jan 3rd, I said: "Let’s assume we get that extra 2.5% between Friday’s close and expiration day – that’s going to take us to Dow 11,850 and S&P 1,285." Yesterday the Dow hit our 11,850 mark, 2 days ahead of schedule! If we break higher here (and the S&P is already at 1,295 – see David Fry’s chart) then we are "off the charts" and possibly running a whole new series – which is very possible as last year the IBanks didn’t have $25Bn worth of POMO a week to feed into their machines – that has to be worth something right? At least 10 S&P points…
If, on the other hand, S&P 1,300 becomes a hard stop and the Dow can’t hold 11,850, let alone break up over 12,000 – then the second part of my prediction was that we would pull back to Dow 10,900 and S&P 1,188 – a test of the 200 day moving averages. If we get that pullback and those levels hold, THEN we will be happy to get on the bullish bandwagon – we just want a test!
Not, of course, that we are waiting around doing nothing. We already had our "Secret Santa Inflation Hedges" and, at this point, you either have them or you shouldn’t even look as they are up well over 200% already and the market is "only" up 2.5% since then. We were waiting patiently for Russell 800 to confirm our Breakout 2 levels and we not only got that but we got several nice tests since then so we’ll have to put that one in the "win" column as well for the bulls.
While I don’t like chasing the MoMo stocks higher, AAPL and IBM show us that there are some solid fundamentals underlying the big boys and I mentioned in the Morning Post of the 6th that I did like CSCO ($20.77 at the time) and GLW ($18.98 that day) as solid, go-forward positions. Even without our option plays, they are both up nicely in less than two weeks – certainly a higher percentage (5% for GLW, 2.5% for CSCO) than AMZN, which is up $3.50 (1.8%) or NFLX, which is up $6 (3.2%), who I cautioned…
by phil - January 18th, 2011 8:29 am
I already sent out an Alert to Members this morning.
Obviously, with the Steve Jobs situation, everyone is wondering how to play things. At the time (7:03) I thought the fact that AAPL was only down 3.7%, at $335, seemed fake and ridiculous – but what else is new in this market? Our position was to short pretty much everything as the Nas futures were all the way back to 2,310, which was not even down half a point from Friday’s close and some simple math tells us that AAPL is over 20% of the Nasdaq so a 5% drop in AAPL will take the Nasdaq down 1% while a 20% drop in AAPL will take the Nasdaq down 4% – right back to the 50 DMA at 2,640 and that seems like a reasonable pullback – especially when you consider that 2% of the current 2,755 was a result of Friday’s ridiculous rally.
Surely at least we would expect the loss of Steve Jobs to AT LEAST put the Nasdaq back to Friday’s open at 2,730 (2,300 in the futures) but I’ll be very surprised if we don’t at least test that 50 DMA so that will be our watch line for the week. Oddly enough, we had been discussing Steve Jobs’ health as one of the key unpriced market risks last Thursday, when I said to Members (in response to why I preferred a very defensive AAPL spread to holding the stock):
AAPL/Iflan – As I said to Maya, I like my above AAPL trade better than cash but I do not like AAPL stock better than cash because you can only sell 10% worth of protection and that caps your gains at 10% (and we can do better with cash) and it also doesn’t cover the risk of Steve Jobs catching a cold or just coughing on stage, which could cost you 20% very quickly.
In fact, concerns of AAPL and Jobs’ health were the premise for pressing our QID bets in February (see our $10,000 Virtual Portfolio Review), where I said at the time: "QID/Drum – Well since we were saved from doom on USO I got brave and went for a DD on the QID Feb $10s (now .82) and I think that’s worth the risk into expiration and the following weekend. Same goes for waiting on the…
by phil - January 11th, 2011 8:28 am
Up, up and away!
It’s Super Market! Strange index from another reality, who ignores bad news and achieves p/e multiples far beyond those of rational markets. Super Market, who can break resistance on low volume, move higher without consolidation and who – disguised as a genuine Price Discovery Mechanism, an actual indicator of the true-value of listed companies – Instead fights a never-ending battle with rational thinking and negative data because, in America, the market is only allowed to go one way!
OK, I got that sarcasm off my chest, now we can cheer-lead. Go Russell 800 go! Is today finally the day? After a rational-looking sell-off yesterday on very legitimate concerns over the fact that Portugal is now borrowing money at over 7% interest (a rate that would cost the US over $1Tn in interest annually), we had essentially a "Free Money Day," where the market goes up and up and now we have even better futures, where another 0.5% is being tacked on in early trading (7:30).
Let’s embrace the positives first and foremost. Both Japan and China have now stepped up to assist the 17-member EU to beat back high rates by pledging to actively participate in this week’s bond auctions, the first of the new year. The IMF (mostly the US) has also pledged to backstop loans – all this is giving the Euro a nice 0.5% bounce that has knocked the dollar down to 81, which is down 0.6% from yesterday’s open so of course our markets are up 0.6% – THATS WHAT ALWAYS HAPPENS!
What doesn’t always happen is the Nasdaq punching through the 2,700 mark on the back of AAPL’s run to $345 as the expected announcement of the Verizon IPhone is pushing Apple’s expected 2011 earnings past the $20 per share mark so $340 (p/e 17) sounds almost conservative compared to BIDU (p/e 87), AMZN (p/e 74) or NFLX (p/e 71) and, if you think about it, Apple has a search engine, sells things on-line and has Apple TV, which does Netflix’s job so if Goldman Sachs can call Netflix the "killer app" for tablet computers – what does that make Apple TV, which is designed to run off the IPad and includes Netflix as just one of its offerings?
The Wednesday before last, we made shorting the AAPL 2013 $175 puts at $8 the base for buying…
by phil - December 22nd, 2010 7:46 am
A Trillion Dollars – Muhaha!
After adding $209Bn (26.3%) in total assets so far this year, the US ETF industry has passed the Trillion Dollar mark led by $31Bn of inflows into fixed income ETFs, of all things as well as $29Bn of inflows into emerging markets, and $21Bn into domestic. Recent outflows have knocked commodity ETFs down to $11.4Bn, miles down from last year’s $32.6Bn inflow – rats leaving a sinking ship, perhaps? That would be very bad news for the firm that bought up 90% of the LME copper supply recently. Do ETF traders really know something or are they a lagging indicator?
“There is little doubt that money chases performance, so the bedrock for significant (ETF asset) growth is clearly a continuing move higher for risk assets,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group. He added that growth for ETF assets would essentially be a “tug of war” between hedge funds and retail investors. “As retail investors grow more confident in a continued rally in risk assets, they will shift capital from cash to equity ETFs,” said Mr Colas, who described growth for equity focused hedge funds as the “other side of the growth coin” for ETFs.
Mr Colas noted that hedge funds tended to use ETFs on the short side which was negative for asset growth. He said that as hedge funds expanded their equity trading books, a growing portion would come from from ETF short sales. “This will come through as ‘supply’, dampening demand for new shares.” Barry Ritholtz ponders the end game of the ETF madness and concludes that soon there will be more ETFs than ever:
There is growing speculation surrounding what is believed to be the next breakthrough product in the ETF marketplace: Single stock tracking ETFs. Unlike their index-based cousins, these new single stock trackers would, as the name implies, track only a single stock, trade at exactly the same price as the stock to which they’re linked and consequently eliminate the need for single stock ownership. A top executive with a money management firm who is familiar with his company’s plans to launch such a product and was granted anonymity so he could speak freely, put it this way: “Think about the prospect of, say, a GE tracking ETF — an investor could capture over 99% of the movement of GE
by phil - December 8th, 2010 8:28 am
So many things are pissing me off today.
I got my political outrage out of the way in my earlier post: "Thanks for the Gas Money, Mr. President," so we don’t need to talk about that again. Ireland, as of 7:45, has not actually voted to accept the EU’s deal, which will pull $20,000 per Irish family directly from national pension funds to pay for the speculative mistakes of Irish Banks. Additionally, the Irish people are being asked to borrow another $75,000 per family from the EU at about 6% interest, also to pay for the speculative mistakes made by the Irish Banks. While this may seem insane – it’s only a drop in the bucket compared to what Americans are spending to bail out our own speculators so why shouldn’t they join the club?
At least Ireland gets to vote for their obligations, we have a Federal Reserve System where a single man, known as "The Bernank" is able to spend what is now heading towards $3.5Tn of OUR MONEY to bail out his banking buddies. That’s $31,818 per American family spent over two years IN ADDITION to the stuff I complained about Obama and our spineless Government spending in the last post.
As I said, things are pissing me off today! I should be in a better mood – we had a fabulous day trading in Member Chat yesterday. In yesterday’s post, I closed with "One last stab at making some bearish profits for us (see Morning Alert)" and you can click on that Alert, which was posted on Seeking Alpha and check out our trade ideas for the $10,000 to $50,000 Virtual Portfolio which included (at 7:22 am yesterday) QID Jan $10 calls, which opened at $1.80 and finished at $2 (up 11%), DIA Dec $114 puts, which opened at .80 and finished at $1.33 (up 66%), XRT Jan $44 puts, which opened at .35 and finished at .55 (up 57%), USO Jan $36 puts, which opened at .66 and finished at .90 (up 36%), PCLN weekly $400 puts, which opened at $50 and finished at $1.40 (up 180%) and NFLX Jan $155 puts, which opened at $1.70 and finished at $2.30 (up 35%) but should look much better this morning, where we will exit.