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…
I haven’t thought the 75%+ rally was particularly irrational over the course of the last 12 months. Surprised by the strength? Absolutely. But irrational, no. As of late, we’ve begun to see signs that the consumer is back, but the equity action implies that the consumer is not only back, but ready to break records. In late 2006 I wrote a letter that said:
“So here we sit with a relatively healthy economy, signs of inflation and record housing prices. Sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast. The markets could certainly move higher if housing doesn’t collapse, but we see very few scenarios in which that can happen. When the housing market slows consumers will spend less and businesses will begin to suffer. The US economy will then fall into a recession and European and Asian countries will quickly follow suit as the world’s greatest consumers wilt under the environment of low liquidity and higher debt….The credit driven housing bubble remains the greatest risk to the equity markets at this time.”
The day before the market bottom in March 2009 I said government intervention would likely generate an equity rally. But I did not come close to predicting that we were on the precipice of a 75% 12 month move. Not even close. On the other hand, I have never thought the move was particularly irrational and didn’t fight the tape through 2009.
I was very constructive on the market heading into 2010 and maintained that stimulus, strong earnings and an accommodative Fed would result in higher stock prices in H1. I point this out not because I am trying to toot my own horn or gloss over my many imperfections (many can be emphasized), but overall I have been able to not only foresee the macro mechanics driving the market, but have also done a fine job translating that into…
Consumer confidence is typically our "first look" at the state of the economy. While most government aggregated data come out with a two-month lag, or more, consumer confidence hits with just a one month lag. Studies have shown that consumer confidence is a good predictor of consumer spending numbers. Basically, people surveyed seem to be good at accurately reading their own economic situation, and those surveyed accurately reflect the broader economy. When consumer confidence drops to such deep unexpected levels--today’s were the worst in 27 years--then it is a flashing red-light about the economy.
There wasn’t anything good about today’s numbers. Every part of the survey was awful. On jobs, the optimistic folks who say jobs are plentiful fell to 3.6 percent from 4.4 percent. The pessimistic people who said jobs are hard to get increased to 47.7 percent from 46.5 percent. The gauge of expectations for the next six-months fell to 63.8, from 77.3 the prior month. The share of people who believe their incomes will increase over the next six months fell to 9.5 from 11 percent. The share of those expecting more jobs fell to 12.4 percent from 15.8 percent.
The message: the economy sucks.
The recovery we were supposed to have.
You’ll read a lot about how the consumer confidence numbers are a lagging indicator. Indeed, they are a lagging indicator when measured against the stock market. The real time data conveyed by the stock market is often a better indicator than any survey or government data. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the consumer confidence number, especially since stocks have declined for most of this year.
Lets be clear here. The story-book recovery was dependent on a recovery of the consumer and a decline in the saving rate. If consumers lost some of their apprehension about future income prospects and future employment, they might begin to spend more on both retail goods and to purchase homes again. Anticipating this return of the consumer, businesses would increase capital spending and inventory.
Shown below is a retail proxy, the Retail HLDRs Exchange Traded Fund (RTH). It’s outperformed the S&P500 on a three month basis. Yet Best Buy’s (BBY) warning today, that revenue will be driven by lower-ticket items in the fourth quarter, could mean that the pre-Christmas retail rally shown below is toast.
Note how Best Buy dropped a nasty 7% on just these decent earnings. A lot of holiday cheer is already priced-in.
The hype is that the "recession is over." Has anyone touting this line actually walked around the real world? The next 7 million jobs to be lost are already in the pipeline.
The divergence between the reality easily observed in the real world and the heavily touted hype that "the recession is over because GDP rose 3.5%" is growing. It’s obvious that another 7 million jobs which are currently hanging by threads will be slashed in the next year or two.
Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 190,000 in October. In the most recent 3 months, job losses have averaged 188,000 per month, compared with losses averaging 357,000 during the prior 3 months. In contrast, losses averaged 645,000 per month from November 2008 to April 2009. Since December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 7.3 million.
Civilian labor force: 154 million
Employment: 138.3 million
Unemployment: 15.7 million
Sept-Oct. change in employment: -589,000
in unemployment: 558,000
Not in labor force: 82,575,000
It is staggering that 7 million jobs lost out of 145 million (the total prior to the financial meltdown) has created a 10.2% unemployment rate. The numbers here don’t add up--"only" 190,000 jobs were lost in October, but then employment fell by 589,000--huh?--but the point missing is how many jobs are hanging by a thread.
I recently traveled to Los Angeles to be interviewed by my polymath friend and media maven Richard Metzger, creator of the Dangerous Minds website which has rocketed to 50,000 page views a day since he launched it a few months ago. (The topic was of course Survival+; look for the interview in about a week on Dangerous Minds.)
(Richard also manages the L.A. Time’s hot blog Brand X which will have you humming Randy Neuman’s I Love L.A. in short order.)
Has anyone noticed that airports are commercial dead-zones peopled by zombie clerks suffering from terminal boredom?
Richard Parkus of Deutsche Bank has updated his Commercial Real Estate outlook with Q2 data. Check out how much the situation has deteriorated since the end of Q1.
First, here’s where things stood at the end of Q1. The lines on the chart are the percentage of loans that are delinquent, measured by length of delinquency (the black line is the average). Deutsche Bank (bearish) was looking for 3.5% average delinquency by the end of the year.
And here’s where they were at June 30. Deutsche Bank is now looking for 6%-7% delinquency by the end of the year.
Note that these problems have nothing to do with "liquidity." (Remember earlier this year, when Tim Geithner was blaming everything on a "lack of liquidity"?) These loans are going bad because the real estate companies can’t make their interest payments--because the tenants can’t pay their rent.
Richard summarizes the situation:
Loan Performance Deteriorating Precipitously
Speed of deterioration in loan performance is unprecedented, even relative to the early 1990s
Total delinquency rate reached 4.1% in June, 2.2 times its March level and 3.5 times that in December
Delinquency rates are likely to soar higher over next 24+ months on billions of dollars of pro forma loans that never stabilized and resetting partial IO loans
With 2,158 delinquent fixed rate loans ($27.9 billion) special servicers may soon be under pressure
DB CMBS Research projects term losses will reach 4.3-6.3% for the outstanding CMBS universe ($31.3-$46.4 billion), and 8.4-12.1% for the 2007 vintage
Renewed anxiety over Chinas economy continued to be felt in financial markets Wednesday, with U.S. and Japanese stock index futures slipping with copper and Australias currency ahead of data on prices from Asias largest economy.
A problem with measuring inflation in a way such that the numbers do not adequately reflect what most of us experience--increasing costs of health care, food, college tuition, rent--is that even as our cost of living increases, COLA adjustments may not follow. Next year, there will be no adjustment. Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works, shows that this is not merely an academic difference. ~ Ilene
Yesterday might have seemed like a boring day, but a little known event took place that is very worthwhile. Turns out, the CBOE SKEW Index hit an all-time high. Here’s from the CBOE’s website says the SKEW is. The CBOE SKEW Index (“SKEW”) is an index derived from the price of S&P 500 tail risk. Similar to VIX®, the price of S&P 500 tail risk is calculated from the prices of S&P 500 out-of-the-money options. SKEW typically ranges from 100 to 150. In essence, the SKEW compares how much option traders are willing to pay for out-of-the money put versus call options. When the SKEW is high (like we just saw), it says traders are willing to pay anything for the protection that ...
Last week, the S&P 500 put up its best week of the year, closing above key psychological levels and breaking through bearish technical resistance, with bulls largely inspired by the dovish FOMC meeting minutes. But this year’s market has been news-driven and quite difficult for traders to read. Even our fundamentals-based and quality-oriented quant models have struggled to perform. With corporate earnings season now underway, equities might take a breather at this point of the oversold rally until some clarity from key corporate bellwethers begins to take shape, particularly with respect to forward guidance. But despite severe global headwinds, there remain strong rea...
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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 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).
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.
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...
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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