In yesterday's Member Chat, we had one bearish earnings spread on AAPL as well as an aggressive play on SQQQ, the Nasdaq ultra-short, because we expected the Nasdaq to fail along with AAPL (and AMZN is next!) on their earnings. Our SQQQ trade grabbed the Sept $50/60 bull call spread, offset by short puts on some stocks we are accumulating for our Income Portfolio for a net free trade but our dreams of a big pay-off on the spread will be put on hold today as a sudden burst of stimulus talk has turned the indexes back up, with the Dow now 200 points off the bottom in the Futures (7:50) at 12,660.
Anyway, so where was I? Oh yes, market manipulation by Uncle Rupert and the WSJ is not unexpected with NWS reorganizing and looking for good valuations on the company split. I pointed out to Members seven other articles in which Hilsenrath has…
We’re right back to our 5% lines, which I predicted yesterday would be tested(and failed) so today we find out if I am half right or all right – hopefully it’s all right because we pushed our short plays to the lines and added a short on oil with USO May $41 puts, which we added yesterday afternoon for .95 at 2:30 and finished the day up a nickel. We are expecting the oil inventories to show some demand destruction at 10:30 – analysts are predicting a net 1Mb build, with a 1.6Mb increase in oil and a 300,000 barrel decrease in gasoline and distillates. A build in either gasoline or distillates will indicate pricing is hurting demand, despite whatever oil number comes up so that’s what we’ll be watching.
Yesterday, in the morning post (never miss one with a $1.90 per day Annual Report Membership!), I mentioned the TBT weekly $33 calls at $1.55 would make a good long and those finished the day at $1.87 (up 20%) but they looked good enough to keep into the close and we expect trouble in today’s 10-year auction so we’re being greedy and going for $2.15+, which will make a nice 40% gain in 2 days.
To make sure you don’t miss our next trade idea – today I will give you a trade idea that can knock 20% to 69% off the $695 Annual PSW Report Membership: You can buy 10 QQQ May $60 puts for $1 and sell 10 QQQ May $59 puts for .48 for net .52 ($520) on the $1 ($1,000) spread (it’s the net that matters, not the price of each leg). The maximum gain on this trade is $480 if the Qs finish below $59 next Friday and, if you stop your loss at net $400 (.40 per contract) that limits you to $120 lost and, if this trade loses money, let me know and I’ll give you 50% off an annual PSW Report Membership, which will save you $347.50 so net $127.50 (20%) saved on a Membership – even if the trade doesn’t work. If it does work – you are honor-bound to subscribe, of course!
What we are expecting, between now and Friday, is for the chart above to form a pattern that will look like the "M" in the McDonald’s arches,
As most sophisticated investors and traders are aware, the U.S. Federal government has run up significant deficits and the long term debt burden is becoming a drain on Gross Domestic Product. That being said, most economists are discussing the possibility of a major decline in the value of the U.S. Dollar going forward as inflationary monetary policy begins to strangle growth. While that view point may prove right over the long haul, in the short run most traders are not likely expecting the U.S. Dollar to rally.
The U.S. Dollar is expected to reach a multi-year cycle low in the near future. From the cyclical low, I expect the U.S. Dollar to regain a strong footing and work higher against the crowd. This is not to say that the U.S. Dollar will not eventually decline, but financial markets do not work that easily. Shorting the U.S. Dollar is a crowded trade and Mr. Market punishes crowded trades quite often by pushing prices the opposite of what the heard is expecting. Should the U.S. Dollar find a strong underlying bid, precious metals and domestic equities would feel the brunt force of such a move. While it remains to be seen if the U.S. Dollar rallies, if it does it will catch many traders and economists by surprise and the unwinding of the short dollar trade could unleash a wave of buying that we have not seen for quite some time.
Let’s take a look inside the market…
Major Index Price Action Over The Past 12 Trading Sessions – Bearish
Below is a table showing the main indexes used for tracking the market. The interesting thing about this data is that the indexes which typically lead the market have been deteriorating for the past 12 days and no one has noticed.
In short, the Nasdaq, Russell and Dow Transport indexes typically lead the market
Every radio station and business channel covers the Dow and SP500 indexes therefor the general public hears the market performance based on the those indexes. The problem here is that the Dow only consists of 30 stocks and the SP500 only holds the top 500
Fundamentals don’t matter so let’s look at the technicals.
As you can see from David Fry’s chart, there’s a good reason that XLF was my Trade of the Year in December 25th’s "Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges." The full force of the US Government is backstopping this play, in which we took the Jan $12/13 bull call spread at .80 and sold the Jan $11 puts for .40 for net .40 on the $1 spread. I said, just 37 days ago, that this could be the easiest 150% you ever make.
Just 5 weeks later, the bull call spread is .90 and the short puts are .30 for a net .60 – up 50% in 5 weeks. That SHOULD help keep us ahead of inflation, right? Keep in mind this was a trade, among others, that I published for free to the General Public on both our subscription site as well as Seeking Alpha and then it was syndicated on Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, MarketWatch, AOL, etc. I’m told that about 250,000 people read my free public posts when I make them available, so it’s not like these trades were so secret.
Yet, however many people decided these were good trade ideas and followed them – it didn’t matter because our counter-party wants to lose! Yes, that’s right, we are riding on the coat-tails of the Banksters, who are taking our future tax dollars from the Federal Reserve and betting them on rising commodity prices and monetary inflation. In order for us to bet on that, we need some idiotic counter-party to take the other side of that bet – one that assumes falling commodity prices and no inflation.
Even in under-educated America, who would be foolish enough to take such a bet? Why it’s us, of course! Well, it’s the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States of America who are spending $100Bn a month buying Treasury Bills at the lowest rates every (assuming no inflation) while trying to justify their misuse of our money with BS statistics that we’ve stripped away in "How the US Government Manipulates Inflation Data" along with this helpful video:
The Fed is using YOUR money, through debt, taxation and devaluation, to buy notes that a rational investor wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole and the ONLY way you can prevent yourself from getting screwed…
I don’t know what the Jobs will be but I’m betting on disappointment.
I had said to Members yesterday that I liked the Jan QQQQ $56 puts at .77 and the Weekly (next week, not today) QQQQ $56 puts at .53 as good ways to play a jobs miss. My comment in Member Chat was that I felt the ADP figures pushed expectations up significantly higher and now we would be much more likely to disappoint with almost any number short of 250,000 jobs added.
The key is the seasonal adjustments but there was already some very disturbing jobs numbers in the Gallup Poll, which came out last night and showed unemployment RISING from 9.3 to 9.6% in December and, even worse, the number of Underemployed workers shot up from 18.5 to 19%, just 0.5% lower than we were in January of last year.
Gallups Job Creation index showed no improvement in December but it is holding +10, which is the best net level we’ve had since October of 2008. So we have ADP going one way, yesterday’s unemployment numbers were flat and Gallup says things are getting worse. 8:30 will be very interesting indeed.
While we wait for the number, let’s take a look at last week’s post to see how things are tracking. Monday morning I mentioned we liked FCX short at $120 (a trade that was reiterated Tuesday morning) as we felt the run in copper was overdone. It was a rough week but FCX is down at $116 now so we’re on track at the moment of course we took a spread in chat, which was the Feb $119/110 bear put spread at $3.60, selling the Jan $120 calls for $3.60. That spread is now $4.60 and the calls have dropped to $2.30 for a nice net $2.30 gain already.
I said that $90 was already ridiculous for oil and we shouldn’t go any higher. We picked up the USO Feb $40 puts on Tuesday morning in Member Chat at $2.10 and those are now $3.70 so a nice $1.60 gain there, which is about the same as if we had just shorted the stock as it dropped from $39 that morning to $37.68 now. That’s where puts are very useful, you don’t have to commit as much as a short on the stock, you limit…
Copper hit a new all-time high in Shanghai this morning(as the guy who owns 90% of London’s closed for the holiday exchange supplies sold it to himself for more money than he did yesterday) and gold is back at $1,400 in the futures and that should give us a better entry on FCX puts than we expected for round 2 but Paul Krugman has me worried now that maybe commodity prices are just high because the World hasn’t got enough of them to go around. Usually Paul and I agree but i think he may be discounting the effect of a 10% decline in the dollar a little too much – which is understandable as he is still arguing for more stimulus while I’m arguing that the way they are stimulating now is causing this problem and can not and should not be sustained.
We don’t have to like the market to buy it above our breakout lines but we do need to keep in mind that this is a very thin rally that is very likely nothing but window dressing aimed at dragging money off the sidelines so the IBanks who have been propping up the markets can, once again, stick the retail shareholders with the bag as they load up on puts (watch the VIX to confirm) and crash the markets once again. I’ve seen it happen in 1999, I saw it happen in 2008 and, both times, the rally lasted longer than seemed logical but the smart play was to hit and run – not to leave your money on the table but to participate in the upswings and then…
The Global markets are closing for the weekend and we’re bound to have a very slow day – if you are waiting for a Santa Clause rally on today’s trading, you are very likely to be disappointed. Today is a day for relaxation and reflection. Remember, the words of Jacob Marley, who said:
Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!
Marley was a man who worked and worked until the day he died and regretted it every day after. If you don’t believe in an afterlife and you don’t believe in leaving behind the World a better place than you found it, at least find some time for yourself so people don’t call you "a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner" after you’re gone.
I was inspired this morning by a post on Barry’s site titled "Give and You Will Receive" listing 13 good ways we can all give every day. ’Tis the season of giving and goodwill to all man and all that and my children just completed their annual ritual of wrapping up all the toys they are done with to give to children who need them more than they do. It’s a little thing, but if you want your kids to learn the benefits of charity, actually parting with things they like or liked and physically giving them to kids who clearly appreciate it is much more gratifying than writing a check to some anonymous organization. The same goes for volunteering some time (and money!) at a local shelter and helping some people come in from the cold for a nice, warm meal – it makes you appreciate your family dinner a LOT more!
Anyway, end of commercial. Let’s just see who’s being naughty and who’s being nice this morning. We have quite a bit of data today with November Durable Goods at 8:30 (which have been tailing off) along with Personal Income and Spending. 2010 has NOT been an exciting year so far with monthly gains of about 0.4% but, on the bright side, there were only small negative months but this report only covers November and will not…
The Dow is up 400 points since Monday and we are just 150 points away from our November 4th high. Once we get over 11,500, we have no reason at all to be bearish from a technical standpoint and fundamentals are out the window so what else should we be looking at? We ended up too bearish on our $10K-$50K Virtual Portfolio as we hit our double-down targets on a couple of index shorts so I am CLEARLY in the bear camp this morning as we’re still playing this as a double-top, rather than a breakout but what if we do break out? As David Fry said this morning:
Any worries from Europe, China tightening, higher Jobless Claims are mere inconveniences when the light is a bright green. Let’s face it; this is what the Fed stated they wanted with their POMO activities—higher prices overall with higher stock prices emphasized. The Fed prints money and buys bonds from the Primary Dealers and (wink wink) they know what they’re supposed to do with it. Bears just better get out of the way.
Looking at David’s Nasdaq chart, we can see that we are back at 2007 highs. I find this truly amazing as it seems to me things aren’t quite as good in America as we THOUGHT they were in 2007, before we found out that Financial earnings were a scam and before our homes lost 1/3 of their value and when our neighbors used to all have jobs but CNBC is telling us over and over and over and over again how great things are so it must be true because they are on TV and TV doesn’t lie to us.
So there’s our ridiculous rally premise and we’re "very excited" to go bullish if we break over the 2007 market highs. XLF has been a real laggard so we like taking advantage of a run in the banks with trade ideas like the FAS April $20/25 bull call spread at $2.70, selling the April $21 puts for $2.55, which is net .15 on the $5 spread that’s already $4.25 in the money. So, if FAS makes a .75 gain between now and April expiration and holds it, this trade makes a 3,233% profit. That’s pretty good right?
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall ’cause government’s to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D’you know that you can use it?
The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there’s nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
In these days of evil presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due For working for the clampdown – The Clash
Portugal said in September it would cut the wage bill by 5 percent for public workers earning more than 1,500 euros ($2005) a month, freeze hiring and raise value-added taxes by 2 percentage points to 23 percent to help reduce a deficit that amounted to 9.3 percent of gross domestic product last year. The measures are included in the government’s 2011 spending plan, which faces a final vote in parliament on Nov. 26. “The strike arises in a context of a set of measures that are quite significant and have social impact,” said Carlos Firme, a director at Lisbon-based Banif Banco de Investimento SA. “It’s natural that there are demonstrations of discontent.”
I’m sure King George’s Bankster buddies told him the same thing when the American colonists expressed their "discontent" – Don’t worry my King, there’s sure to be some grumbling from the peasants but your stimulus package is working wonderfully – now come outside and check out the golden horseshoes I put on my carriage team!
We were able to add a little bling to our own rides as those QQQQ $53 puts I told you about in yesterday’s morning post, which we picked up in Member chat on Monday at .45, opened at .75 and flew on up to $1.25 (up another 110% from Monday’s entry) and pulled back to finish the day at .98. We were, of course, very happy to take a daily double off the table because that’s all you need to stay ahead of the game. Even if you are just playing with $450 (10…
The Fed is in all-out attack mode this week with $35Bn scheduled for release in the next 5 days. If that doesn’t goose the markets, then I think we are screwed because people, $35Bn is A LOT of money for a week. It’s $1.82Tn a year at that pace or 12% of our entire GDP being created by the Fed to give you the illusion that all is well with the markets. So say, thank you Chairman Bernanke, for treating us like children who would rather be lied to than facing reality and making necessary choices.
Speaking of necessary choices, I HIGHLY recommend looking at Barry Ritholtz’s "Fix It Yourself" deficit kit. Barry takes the more complex (but also good) NY Times article and presents the very excellent chart that shows us exactly what budget cap needs to be filled and what the available choices are to fill it. It’s a great way to think about the budget and also it makes you realize that 5 or 6 reasonable people sitting down with this chart at a table should be able to knock this thing out in a weekend if we were living in a rational world or perhaps one where an out-of-control Central Bank cooperated with a deceitful Treasury Department to maintain a status quo that clearly is not working for the American people.
QE2 is not about "fixing" the economy, it’s about FIXING the profits of the Primary Dealers (Gang of 12) who are estimated to reap a $50Bn benefit by simply acting as the conduits through which the Fed distributes our money as if they were the town Santa tossing candy off the back of a fire truck.
POMO spending might keep equities up and that is good for those of us who own them but what is it doing for the great unwashed and unemployed masses? Speaking of unemployed, did you know that 100,000 of Octobers 156,000 jobs created were not actual jobs but a bookkeeping entry as the government changed the "seasonal adjustment" it made to payroll numbers? Our friend, John Maudlin, explained the shenanigans over the weekend:
"According to John Williams at Shadow Government Statistics, the BLS’ fiddling with the figures via what he calls ‘seasonal-factor games’ actually created 200,000 phantom jobs last month. John cites such finagling as the
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.
"Two to three years is enough, not only to launch [settlements in rubles], but also to complete these mechanisms," says Andrey Kostin, head of Russia’s second-biggest bank VTB, noting that the possibility of the US and EU widening sanctions to exclude Russia from the SWIFT global money transfer system would become “a point of no return” making any further dialog impossible. However, as Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin explains in this interview, how Russia's military and industrial complex is responding to a growing threat from America. Russia is not responding with any talk about the nuclear button (at least not yet); b...
The S&P 500 closed September with a monthly loss of 1.55%. All three S&P 500 MAs and three of the five the Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested".
The Ivy Portfolio
The table below shows the current 10-month simple moving average (SMA) signal for each of the five ETFs featured in The Ivy Portfolio. I've also included a table of 12-month SMAs for the same ETFs for this popular alternative strategy.
For a facinating analysis of the Ivy Portfolio strategy, see this article by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and Rodrigo Gordillo:
The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.
Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big optio...
Yes, the market showed significant weakness last week for the first time in quite a while. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits each day. But it was all quite predictable, as I suggested in last week's article, and certainly nothing to worry about. Now the market appears to be poised for a modest technical rebound, and longer term, U.S. equities should be in good shape for a year-end rally. However, I still believe more downside is in order before any new highs are challenged. Moreover, market breadth is important for a sustained bull run, so the challenge for investors will be to put together broader bullish conviction, including the small caps.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, re...
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
Ebola is spreading too quickly for Ebola-vaccine makers to conduct typical studies of safety and efficacy on experimental vaccines. Instead, vaccines will be tested for basic safety, but then deployed with protocols devised now in order to test for efficacy essentially on the field. Testing has to be expedited because the situation in West Africa gets worse every day while there are no approved vaccines or other treatments.
The chart below is from a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine showing estimates of the virus's trajectory projecting out to November 1, 2014. If current trends continue...
Despite the various opinions on Bitcoin, there is no question as to its ultimate value: its ability to bypass government restrictions, including economic embargoes and capital controls, to transmit quasi-anonymous money to anyone anywhere.
Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."
The English word "money" derives from the Latin word "moneta," which means to "mint." Historically, "money" was minted in the form of precious metals, most notably gold and silver. Minted metal was considered "money" because it possessed luster, was scarce, and had perceive...
Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
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...
Note: The material presented in this commentary is provided for
informational purposes only and is based upon information that is
considered to be reliable. However, neither MaddJack Enterprises, LLC
d/b/a PhilStockWorld (PSW) nor its affiliates
warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither PSW nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance, including the tracking of virtual trades and portfolios for educational purposes, is not necessarily indicative of future results. Neither Phil, Optrader, or anyone related to PSW is a registered financial adviser and they may hold positions in the stocks mentioned, which may change at any time without notice. Do not buy or sell based on anything that is written here, the risk of loss in trading is great.
This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.