Phil: I loaded up big time yesterday on your suggestion of the AMZN September 75 naked puts. They are up 43%!
Thanks to Phil (again) for the lessons on the art of the roll, selling premium and hanging tight under fire (particularly in the first hour of trading-MADNESS). Watching you manage the $25KP has really helped my trading in a big way.
Phil, you are the man. My positions in ABX and CLF are up massively this year, and doing very nicely with USO and UNG. TSR is another winner. Just waiting for the TSLA short now!
Rookie IRA Investor
I have been with this site since the beginning and i have learned more the past 3 years than the previous 10. Information and great commentary are abound. The traders on the site are second to none and my portfolio has benefited greatly.
Hey Phil -- I want to thank you every chance I get for helping me to grow my previous portfolio to being profitable enough to pay off some debts my family had and left me with $1,000 left to use in the markets. You should know that your premium membership is amazing on many levels, You and your readers offer a ton of economic and statistical analysis that I was able to use in my clerical level job in finance. It's a shame that someone as talented and honest as you is not on television each night providing a true service to the investing public and not the clowns and hucksters that are talking up their books to dump on retail investors. Sorry for the long post. I had to say something to you that I never thought I would have the opportunity to. You helped put my family in an almost debt-free life through the stock and option plays that I made during my time as a customer of your service and that has made us very happy. You are a good man and I wish you and your family many years of joy and happiness. I wish I could do ads for you!
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! How will I ever do anything else in my life that will compare to the wild ride you get trading an ultra etf in the most volatile sector in the stock market the day before option expiration?
Phil - It is nice being more discipline with my trading. Generally, I am out earlier than most, but my results, overall, are much better than they were when I was trying to squeeze 80 cups of lemonade out of one lemon! On the other side, I am learning the value of rolling and turning losses into non-losses or small gains. I so appreciate the time you have spent with me and others who have benefited greatly from your knowledge. Thank you!
Peter D, Just a note of thanks. Eight weeks ago, I entered my first RUT strangles, when the RUT was at 625. Tomorrow, I will let them expire, with the RUT at 625 (give or take). I didn't care when the RUT went to 650, nor when it dropped to 590. Easiest, no touch money I've made in a long time.
Phil, I have the SRS 2011 $7.50 short puts you recommended awhile back. I sold them for $2.20 and now $1.51 (up 31%) although SRS has been down since inception. This was a nice mellow way to play it like you said, thanks.
Hey Phil – I ignored your call to sell those AAPL $580s for $1 so not sure whether to thank you or not (just kidding) for my $5 winner. Actually I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, that was an uncanny call.
Thanks Phil, your note at the close was responsible for making those silly GOOG sellers pay for my NYC sojourn, nice!!
Simply the best blogger with the greatest group of members a person could surround himself with on trading day. I've been trading for quite some time now and the insights & suggestions offered by Phil and the members keep me on a continuous learning cycle.
Thanks for the free disaster hedge ideas. I implemented variations of two of them on SDS bull call spreads and EEM bear put spreads (haven't done the TZA yet) and they really hedged my short term longs nicely today. Makes it seem a lot less like gambling.
You are the man (of the people)!
Just closed out my V put for 50% in 24 hours thanks Phil!
Phil: UNH, hedged stock position, doing great, up over 50 %,
Phil - I know I am small change compared to most others members, but I just wanted to let you know that during the last two weeks with the shorts you and others suggested I have 6 winners and 5 losers. My losers were small because I tried to follow your guidelines as best I could. On the other hand my winners on average were around 50%. Consequently, I am up $2000 in 14 days. Thank you for your patience and help. I think I am making progress getting rid of some of my poor trading habits of the past!
It is amazing how much confidence you engender, Phil………..I knew the 1% a day trades and repeated often were possible as I had done in stretches, and I knew kill zone trades were also possible and 5% to 10% returns per month were very possible with practice, experience and smart risk management all without having to take a lot of risk, but I guess I was talking to the disbelievers and since I have dropped them into my 'why bother to try to explain it' file and come over to the dark side at PSW I feel soooo much more content not only with the returns, but with the company and a comments and the obvious opportunity to learn and learn and learn some more.
It all helps the mental and emotional discipline of the trading too. So thanks again.
Phil, I meant to post over the weekend, but I was busy having fun . Last week was a very nice week for me, and I wanted to thank you for all that you do. I am pretty much back to cash and really feel like I am learning. I have out performed the $5kp by a very large margin. Thanks again for the service you provide.
Phil - Moved today to send kudos. You're in my top 5 to see/read daily. I do not trade...
but as former econ-finance adjunct faculty near Stanford U. I give you lots of attaboys....
and provide your links to many to spread some understanding of the mess we are in. Best to you and yours,
Phil - I just referred 10 people. Last week was a 50% gainer for me. There are companies that want to sell mentoring service for thousands of dollars. This is far better of a deal with very good advice.
Phil thanks. You never cease to amaze me with your thoughtful perspective on a myriad of different issues and challenges. It's kind of an embarrassment of riches since I joined this board a few years back. The ride from Dow 9,000 or was it 8,000? up to Dow 15,000 seems hard to believe. I wish I could have it all over again, except with the capital I have now.
I must add yet another paen to Phil's "cash and short" call, as my TZA shorts are past paying for Similac and Pampers and have now covered all doctors and Mt. Sinai hospital bills for young Charlotte, as TZA took the portfolio up 10%.
Phil – Great calls yesterday, you were in top form. As I was reading your postings, I had hindsight of what the day brought. The calls were uncanny!
Boring trading – Phil/ Thanks to PSW, my yearly covered-writes are on pace for 15%. Add the long puts and well over 20%… and I look at it once a day and never lose sleep over it. Actually doing better than my trading account at this point (Thanks, summer 2013)
Anyway, the point is that anyone with enough money would be wise to do the 20% – 40% stuff and do trading as a hobby…
Your discussion during your web seminar on SPX and SDS today was great. It really let me see how you look at the numbers and use the 5% rule to see where inflection points occur and what the bands look like. This was incredibly helpful. I actually sold out of my small short position at a good profit ( which was more a bet on a short term fluctuation rather than a hedge after listening to you) and will look more deeply at my portfolio and how to hedge it. In addition your view on hedging was also very helpful looking at the leverage you can get w/ a small spread, and protect portfolio against a big move against me. Thank you for your sharing this. Very helpful.
I am a Registered Nurse, so is my wife. We work hard to take care of seven kids that are the joy of our lives. The cost for a basic membership is ALOT from our our monthly budget of spending and saving…but well worth it! Phil has allowed me to really ramp up the savings we put away for our children's college funds and our retirement.
Phil, I'm up 34x what I paid in fees for your service, and that only counts the trades I didn't think of myself. Thanks!
Phil: Once again thanks for those inciteful comments, and the old links to Sage's portfolio management (I hadn't read before). I'm an experienced stock trader, but over the last 3 or 4 months have come to appreciate options trading here at PSW, and the consistency of your many premium-selling strategies. It is liberating to have to worry less about getting direction right and being able to generate 5% MONTHLY returns with close to delta-neutral positioning. Much appreciated!
I took $2 (up 133%) and ran on those USO puts, quite a bit more than the 20 you played in the $25KP. Thank you once again for turning a bad market week into a great personal week. You will be happy to know I am back to cashy and cautious with a few of your favorite longs into the weekend. Thanks to Phil, JRW and all the members who share their knowledge here.
Phil fantastic call on the markets… I owe you BIG…thanks and have a great weekend!
Commercial real estate is in a structural cliff-dive, currently in slow-motion but soon to gather momentum.
With all the hub-bub about the foreclosure crisis in residential real estate, commercial real estate (CRE) has fallen off the radar screen of crises. Don’t worry, it’s still careening off the cliff; the fall is just in slow motion.
No need for a fancy report to see the signs of decay in CRE. Signs of the ongoing CRE meltdown are everywhere--empty storefronts, mall shops and vacant office complexes abound.
The causes are all too familiar: lending standards went out the window, banks loaned too much, buyers paid too much, lousy deals were avidly securitized, cash flow projections entered Fantasyland and unhealthy speculation fed widespread fraud.
Since boom-and-bust cycles of overbuilding and retrenchment are endemic to commercial real estate, it’s tempting to view this as just another post-expansion trough. Since prices have already slipped a staggering 40% from the 2006 peak, those calling this the bottom of the current cycle have some history on their side.
But beneath what appears to be a standard-issue retrenchment--a glut of inventory to work through, lenders avoiding risk instead of embracing it, and so on--structural changes in the U.S. economy are changing the CRE landscape for good--and not in a positive direction.
A long-term structural decline in CRE is not just a real estate industry concern. With some $1.7 trillion in CRE loans needing to be refinanced in the next few years, a continuing decline in CRE values could push the still-fragile banking system into a new crisis and the economy back into recession as early as next year.
The extremes reached in the boom were certainly epic: investors paid $800,000 per resort hotel room and over $500 per square foot for Class A office space, numbers which no terrestrial cash flow could possibly justify. Retail centers sprouted alongside every new exurb subdivision.
By this logic, an unprecedented boom requires an equally unprecedented bust to work through the excesses in price, debt and risk. So far so good, but there is an anecdotal body of evidence which suggests that profound systemic changes are taking place in the U.S. economy which will structurally reduce the demand for commercial real estate--not for a few years, but permanently.
A bargain frenzy since the global financial crisis has led consumers to expect and accept only slashed prices.
The dire forecast, from market research company TNS director Chris Kirby, comes as bored staff in some stores are put to work cleaning, tidying and changing window displays because of a lack of customers.
At some sites, especially fashion outlets, stock is discounted by up to 70 per cent as soon as it hits shelves to attract shopper interest.
"Consumers are no longer willing to accept the first price they find. They know there’s a good chance of finding it cheaper somewhere else," Mr Kirby said. "In essence the industry is training us to become professional, if not predatory, consumers."
The caution came as a Commonwealth Bank economic index that tracks credit and debit card transaction value trends across a wide range of industries reported the weakest spending since the height of the global financial crisis in early 2008.
One retail organisation, the United Retail Federation, said the slump was at its worst in Queensland, where small retailers were struggling to move stock, even after heavily discounting items.
The bleak picture is at odds with scenes of hundreds of shoppers queuing at lay-by counters to take advantage of major toy sales.
Thousands of bargain hunters queued at Big W stores for the start of its two-week toy sale, which ended last week.
One Gold Coast shopper complained of a four-hour wait at her local Big W store, and of being hit in the ankles with shopping trolleys in the stampede.
Target will follow with its toy sale from July 22 to August 4, having already released its 72-page catalogue offering 120 half-price bargains.
But Australian Retailers Association director Russell Zimmerman said retailers generally were finding it difficult to clear stock, even at hefty discounts. "It’s tough out there and retailers are finding it harder
Retail stocks continue to hit new 52 week highs just about every day. As we noted last week, the discrepancy between the retail stocks and reality appears to be growing with every uptick. Citi recently issued a note expressing the same belief:
“The S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary sector’s Retailing industry group looks worrisome. While retailing stocks have been very powerful performers this year, up almost 2x the S&P 500’s gain year to date, there are several reasons to become concerned about the group’s potential trading trends in the next year, ranging from fundamentals, to earnings revision momentum and to valuation. Moreover, potential equity market weakness mid-year could generate meaningful near-term profit-taking as portfolio manager conviction seems shallow. Therefore, a “downgrade watch” alert from Market Weight is appropriate.”
In this morning’s Breakfast With Dave newsletter, analyst David Rosenberg talks last week’s retail sales report.
Don’t believe everything that you read, says Rosie. According to "raw data," retail sales actually FELL1.6% month-over-month in February, and you can’t just blame seasonality for this.
Breakfast With Dave: “It’s always best to look at what consumers do rather than what they think or say. They’re spending — that’s the main thing”. That goes down as the glib remark of the weekend — front page of the Investors Business Daily (Shoppers Perk Up, Lifting Retail Sales, By A Surprise 0.3%). Another pundit said pretty well the same thing in Barron’s and following the data on Friday there was an economist on CNBC who said that you never win by betting against the U.S. consumer.
What a load of you-know-what.
Let’s more closely examine that retail sales report.
First, the raw data actually showed that sales fell 1.6% MoM in February. Now it would be meaningful if February was usually a weak month for sales compared to January so that it would make perfect sense for the seasonal adjustment factor to give the raw data an upward skew. But in fact, retail sales rise over half the time in February. And while, on average, the not seasonally adjusted retail sales data are down 0.4% in each February over the past decade, the reality is that this past February was four times as bad as the norm — not to mention tied for the third worst February since 1998. Really good result, eh?
Second, here we have the greatest stimulus experience in seven decades and retail sales are still down 5% from the pre-recession peak and on a per capital basis are down 8%. Sales are actually lower today than they were in January 2006 — four years ago — even though the population has risen 4.3% over this time. And on a per capita basis, retail sales are no…
Disappointing news on the consumer front, courtesy of the latest charge-off numbers:
WSJ: The rate of charge-offs on U.S. credit cards rose more than a half-percentage point in November, snapping a two-month run of drops from an all-time high in August, and delinquencies rose for the fourth consecutive month, Moody’s Investors Service said.
Charge-offs, which are those loans a credit-card company doesn’t think it will be able to collect, were 10.6% for November, compared with 10% in October. The ratings firm also said the delinquency rate, which gives a glimpse of issuers’ potential losses and how much they may need to set aside in reserves, rose to 6.2% in November.
LA Times: As credit lines have shrunk and consumers have cut back on spending, thousands of small businesses have closed their doors over the last year. The plight of struggling firms has been aggravated by the reluctance of banks to lend money, said Brian Headd, an economist at the Small Business Administration’s office of advocacy.
California has been particularly hard hit. The latest data show small-business bankruptcies up 81% in the state for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous year. Filings nationwide were up 44%, according to the credit analysis firm Equifax Inc.
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.
In a sign that the new normal in consumer spending continues unabated, upper-income Americans’ self-reported average daily spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online fell 14% in November, reverting to its relatively tight ($107 to $121) pre-October 2009 average monthly range. Middle- and lower-income consumer discretionary spending increased by 7% last month but remained in its tight 2009 average monthly range of $52 to $61. Still, consumer spending by both income groups continues to trail year-ago levels by 20%, even as those comparables have gotten easier to match — possibly dashing hopes that upscale retailers and big-ticket-item sales will do better this year.
[click on charts to enlarge]
Spending By Income Level
Spending vs. Year Ago
The hope was that the surge on Wall Street and the seeming stabilization of housing values had encouraged some upper-income consumers to abandon the 2009 spending new normal. November’s results dashed these hopes, as upper-income consumers joined their middle- and lower-income counterparts in spending 20% less than they had during the financial crisis days of 2008 and returning to the relatively tight 2009 daily spending range for this group prior to October.
Spending New Normal
The year-over-year differences have declined somewhat during recent months, but much of this closure in the 2008-2009 spending gap is a result of the easier spending comparables from last year’s financial crisis.
On a national level, the spending new normal suggests slower economic growth than otherwise might be expected in the years ahead.
While the spending "new normal" may not be good for the larger economy in the short-term, it may be seen as a strong positive for individual consumer households. Consumers, like their business and banking counterparts, would be well-served to de-leverage by spending less, saving more, reducing their use of credit, and thereby strengthening their personal balance sheets. While this may not provide the immediate-term returns to the economy of the over-leveraging of recent years, a financially stronger U.S. consumer implies only good things for the longer-term
If local media reports are accurate, shoppers have turned out in huge numbers across the country for Black Friday.
We did a survey of local news sites to gather the latest Black Frdiay news. And it looks very good for retailers.
Cincinnati, Ohio: "A long line of shoppers looking for the best priced toys for Christmas waited outside a Western Hills Toys R’ Us store on Glenway Avenue, since late Thursday night to be among the first in line. After the doors opened at 12 a.m., there were some reports that Cincinnati police had to be called to bring order to a disorderly line of shoppers. Some of them said an argument between several groups of shoppers got out of hand and forced the police to called for help…At the new Wal-Mart superstore in Fairfax on Red Bank Road, over a thousand people came early Friday morning, to be in the right line to get some of the doorbuster sales the chain was offering…Many retailers warn that they have severely cut back on what they have ordered."
Weston, Wisconsin: "The line leading to Target in Weston stretched at least three blocks as people got ready for Black Friday shopping Friday."
Framingham, Massachusetts: "Dondrae May, a manager at Best Buy’s Framingham, Mass., store, said shoppers started lining up at 4 p.m. Thursday for the 5 a.m. opening for the limited early morning specials like the $299 32-inch Dynex flat-panel TV.
He noted that crowds were larger than last year and that shoppers were filling their basket with more items than a year ago, when they were shellshocked following the ballooning of the financial meltdown. The biggest draws were laptops, TVs and GPS systems, he said."
Aurora, Illinois: "Black Friday shoppers got an early start this year, causing a 2-mile traffic back-up near Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora…Starting about 11 p.m. Thursday, cars began lining up to get into the mall, according to Illinois State Police…The mall opened at midnight, and the heavy traffic remained for several hours, State Police said."
Hot on the heels of the WSJ report that Trump's former National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn, has offered to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution, Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner of the law firm Covington, issued the following statement, in which judging by Kelner's language, Flynn's offer is not so much to "turn" on Trump, as to set the record straight, while putting an end to the ongoing "media witch hu...
Controversy continues to ramp up in Donald Trump’s presidency, with the latest debate spurred by a congressional vote that reverses landmark online privacy protections put in place during the last days of the Obama administration. While some experts say the problems with online privacy don’t loom as large as health care or immigration, the conflict surrounding what internet service providers can do with customer data is shaping up to be a hot-button issue that could take years to resolve. ...
There were small gains across markets, but it was the Russell 2000 which benefited the most. Today's gain managed to push past the 20-day and 50-day MAs on a fresh MACD trigger 'buy'. Next up is a 'buy' trigger in the relative relationship between Russell 2000 and Nasdaq.
The S&P was up against resistance, but it managed to post a small gain to edge just above its 20-day MA. This move is enough to open up for a challenge of 2,400. Volume was better than yesterday, but there was no 'buy' trigger in bearish technicals. ...
A company wanting to insure its revenues or financial investments against further falls in the currency could pay 4.8 percent on Tuesday, back to late 2015 levels, for "put" options that start generating a profit if sterling falls to $1.20.
Below looks at the performance of the S&P 500 Sectors, looking back 5-years. The winner for the lowest performance is the Energy Sector (-1.42%). XLE is lagging the S&P 500 by almost 70%, in just 5-years. “Time for them to rally?”
CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
Below looks at the Energy ETF (XLE)/S&P 500 ratio over the past 17-years and why we find this pattern worth looking closer into.
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Having rebounded rapidly from the ETF-decision disappointment, Bitcoin suffered another major setback overnight as Chinese regulators are circulating new guidelines that, if enacted, would require exchanges to verify the identity of clients and adhere to banking regulations.
A New York startup called Chainalysis estimated that roughly $2 billion of bitcoin moved out of China in 2016.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, the move to regulate bitcoin exchanges brings assurance that Chinese authorities will tolerate some level of trading, after months of uncertainty. A draft of the guidelines also indicates th...
ISPs will soon be able to sell your most private data without your consent.
As expected, Republicans in Congress have begun the process of rolling back the FCC's broadband privacy rules which prevent excessive surveillance. Arizona Republican Jeff Flake introduced a resolution to scrub the rules, using Congress' powers to invalidate recently-approved federal regulations. Reuters reports that the move has broad support, with 34 other names throwing their weight behind the res...
Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.
In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.
This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.
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 PSW Investments, 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.
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