by stjeanluc - May 3rd, 2015 5:11 pm
Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard
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.
Since then, oil has hit a multi-year low at around $42.50 and is now approaching $60, still well below its highs of 2014 but probably closer to a breakeven price for American shale producers. In this post I want to see what ETF would have profited best from that rebound and also which one would have fared worse. Let's look at a couple of performance charts. First, the standard oil proxies based on the futures:
Oil (red) is up 40% since March 17 but what is interesting is how the pure oil ETFs are tracking that move. USO (blue) which is not leveraged is not tracking very well. In fact, it's up only about 27% or about 2/3 of the oil move. As expected, SCO (pink) is down, but clearly, the leveraging is not the 2x that you would expect as it's only down a bit less than 40%. And UCO (green), while the clear winner here, is only up 57% which is lower than the advertised 2x leverage factor. Once again, these future based ETF are victims of some decay.
Let's look at some ETFs not based on oil futures but who should benefit from an oil price rebound. In the next performance chart, we'll look at OIH and XLE.
by phil - September 23rd, 2014 8:07 am
So much for 2,000 holding.
Fortunately, our Big Chart kept us cautiously bearish into the weekend and the hedges in our Short-Term Portfolio functioned perfectly, gaining $13,000 on the day and completely offsetting the drop of $8,000 in our Long-Term Portfolio.
That's without our big hedge, DXD, kicking in yet, as the Dow is still over 17,000 but, should it fail, we'll see those STP gains multiply quickly.
For those of you who are not Members, and don't have access to our various Member Portfolios (and you can by subscribing here), we have done our best to prepare you for this drop as well. Last Thursday, right in the morning post, I shared our short stance with the general public, saying
It's going to be crazy into the weekend but, in our Live Chat Room this morning, I said to our Members:
Futures pumped back up to yesterday's highs at 17,125, 2,001.50, 4,080 and 1,156.5 so I like shorting below 17,100, 2,000, 4,075 and 1,155 – short the laggard, out of any of them cross back over – very simple!
That's our plan into the weekend. As I've mentioned before, we're also using DXD ($24 at the time), TZA ($14.68) and SQQQ ($35.26) to hedge our long portfolios – just in case things unravel over the weekend. We also discussed FXI ($40.30) puts earlier in the week as a play on China melting down so PLENTY of ways to profit from the downside.
This morning, the Futures are 17,050 on /YM (up $375 per contract), 1,979 on /ES (up $1,125 per contract), 4,035 on /NQ (up $900 per contract) and 1,116.50 on /TF (up $4,000 per contract) – so that strategy went pretty well.
In last Wednesday's post, we also shorted Oil Futures at $95 and oil fell to…
by phil - September 17th, 2014 7:37 am
Wow, what a recovery!
And wow, what complete and utter BS it is. They NYSE is still below 11,000 (our Must Hold line) and the Russell is still below it's 50 dma and we up on less than 10% of the volume (total) that sold off for the last two weeks. But, who cares as long as it paints a pretty picture?
We can thank the Wall Street Journal's Fed Whisperer, John Hilsenrath with yesterday's rally as he wrote not one but TWO articles that whipped traders into a frenzy on his "insider view" that the Fed "may keep the words "considerable time" in its policy statement." Oh, be still my heart! More free money? Really? Will wonders never cease?
Needless to say we took the opportunity to re-short the Dow Futures (/YM) at 17,050 and the S&P Futures (/ES) at 1,993 and the Nasdaq Futures (/NQ) at 4,060 and the Nikkei Futures (/NKD) at 15,950 – all of which we discussed in yesterday's Live Trading Webinar that was, sadly, a Members only affair (but you can join us here).
We also got a chance to short oil at $95 again (a level I published in yesterday's post) and we're thrilled with that and already this morning, it's back at $94.50 for $500 per contract gains. For non-futures players we grabbed the SCO Sept $30s at .25 as a fun play that inventories at 10:30 won't support $95 oil in much the way Fed policies at 2pm won't support these market levels. In fact, here's CNBC's Art Cashin telling you yesterday at noon what I told you pre-market, yesterday morning – BRILLIANT!
Art's actually one of the very few Wall Street analysts I respect (and not just because he repeats what I say), I've followed him since I was a kid – he's a fantastic guy and a lot of what I share with you – I learned from him. As you can see on the Big Chart, the Russell is the laggard and, if the indexes break higher – it's the index we'll go long on but our short bets…
by phil - July 25th, 2014 7:55 am
If you read yesterday's post and took action on our trade idea to short Oil Futures (/CL) at the $103 line, then you were able to pocket $1,000 PER CONTRACT in just 3 hours. In the Morning post (delivered to our Members via Email at 8:35 am), the trade idea was:
"We're still shorting Oil (/CL) Futures at that $103 line and we hit it again this morning and, hopefully, we'll get a nice pullback around 10:30 – after the natural gas report shows a nice build."
That's about on par for our Futures trading as we demonstrated LIVE in Tuesday's Live Trading Webinar $300 of Futures profits in less than an hour (replay available here). We'll be doing more Futures Webinars for our Members aside from our usual Tuesday Live Trading Webcasts (sign up for your Membership here so you don't miss our trade ideas).
How to trade the Futures is one of the many things we learn at Philstockworld – another thing is PATIENCE! Patience has kept us from chasing this rally as we once again top out the market. On Tuesday we took a nice, speculative bullish trade (but did not officially add it to our Portfolios) - just in case we do have a breakout – but, otherwise, we've been working on our downside protection.
We are FUNDAMENTAL traders who just so happen to use Options and Futures for leverage and hedging – simply because they are convenient and profitable instruments when used correctly. What we teach is not all that complicated – but it isn't easy either. That's why not many people trade Options and Futures – it requires discipline and takes time and practice to master – not really the kind of thing our education system prepares our students for these days….
YOU, however, should not be intimidated away from making money. Our basic concepts are VERY SIMPLE and the concepts are explained in quick videos like "How To Buy a Stock for a 15-20% Discount" and "The Secret to Consistent 20-40% Annual Returns" – something we are demonstrating this year in the 5 Virtual Portfolios we track for our Members.
by phil - July 18th, 2014 8:15 am
Can we possibly be this jaded?
Even on Wall Street, where ruining the lives of the middle class is a sporting event, you would think that the tragic death of 298 people being shot down in an airplane would AT LEAST cause the markets to pause for more than a few hours. That's not what the Futures would have you believe – they are moving up this morning (7:30) as if shooting planes out of the sky isn't a reason not to trade stocks at their all-time highs.
While our long trade ideas from yesterday's morning post worked out fantastically, we were very fortunately NOT GREEDY at 10:03, when I said to our Members:
Philly Fed up huge (like NY), 23.9 vs 10 expected though 17.8 last month means they were just being too pessimistic. That should give us a nice pop but I'd take those Futures profits off this run!
As you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, our timing was near perfect as things turned sour very quickly. That then worked out well for our oil shorts, which went from the $103 conviction target I laid out in the morning post (subscribe here to get them pre-market every day) back below $102, where I said to our Members at 11:34:
There goes $102 on oil! Congrats to the players! That's the new stop line, of course.
That was a very quick $1,000 PER CONTRACT profit on /CL and, right after that, we got the plane crash news so we increased our hedges in our Short-Term Portfolio and we added BA July $128 puts at $1.25 (because it was a BA plane involved in the incident) and they finished the day at $2.18 (up 74%) as well as DAL Aug $37 puts at $1.50, which were already $1.92 by the day's end (up 28%). I don't like to take advantage of tragedies like that – but it was the fastest way to add good protection to our portfolios.
by phil - July 9th, 2014 8:29 am
Fed day (again).
Yesterday was TERRIBLE, with volume finally coming back – and it was all downhill, with 3x more declining volume than advancing. Still, as you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, the fix was in and the failure to hold $196.50 during trading hours was corrected at the bell by the powers that be, forcing the Market-on-Close suckers (401K, IRA, ETFs) to pay an extra 0.2% for their fills.
There's something strangely comforting about playing a rigged game like this. I yesterday's live webcast, we were able to make a quick $150 per contract playing a very predictable bounce in the Russell Futures (you can see the Webinar Replay HERE).
Of course that was small potoatoes compared to the trade ideas we gave you in yesterday's morning post (which you can have delivered to you every day by subscribing here) as the TZA Aug $14 calls shot up from 0.91 to $1.20 - up 32% for the day.
The QQQ calls I mentioned were the July $97 puts and we closed those out at $2.30, up 47% in less than a full day.
With returns like that, we could compound $1,000 into $1M in no time at all!
Though they were, in fact, small positions, our entire Short-Term Portfolio jumped up 2% on the day – as it's positioned bearish to protect our much larger and still bullish ($500K) Long-Term Portfolio, which is weathering this little storm quite nicely as we wisely moved it to mainly cash when we thought the market was toppy.
Now we anxiously anticipate earnings and the potential to bargain-hunt some more.
As you can see from our Big Chart, the Nasdaq and Russell were saved by their 5% lines (2.5% on the RUT) but the NYSE failed their critical 11,000 line and now we are 3 of 5 bearish and that means we lean bearish until one of our 3 lagging indices gets back over their line.
by phil - July 7th, 2014 8:23 am
Operation "Penny Pincher" nabbed 22 penny stock pumpers.
As I often point out to our Members, a stock doesn't have to be a penny to be a penny stock – any stock with a market cap under $100M is generally what we're talking about – regardless of the share price.
That's because the stock can be easily influenced by exactly the kind of action the FBI proved is RAMPANT in this industry – a single trader can, for a fee, move money into the stock and send the prices skyrocketing – then press releases are put out to whip retail investors into a frenzy and they follow with their money and, usually, get burned.
Of course, the same thing happens with mid-cap stocks as well and even large-caps – it's just that the people manipulating those stocks are generally better at covering their tracks! 22 is the number of people the FBI caught in the short period of time an operation like this can run before word gets out that their cover people are conducting a sting. Imagine how many other must be out there!
Obviously the markets are manipulated. We know CEOs and their Boards worry about the stock price – the minute they begin to worry about the stock price, manipulation is sure to follow. That's the way the system is designed. We have a Fed who worries about the price of the market and they manipulate it too! It's our job simply to be aware of the manipulation and take it into account in our trading and investing decisions.
Back on June 12th, I began a series of articles pointing out that oil and gasoline prices were being manipulated into the holiday weekend. Oil shot up to $107.68 that day and stayed between $105 and $107.50 through June but the EXTREME lack of actual demand we warned you about. This morning, oil is below $104 and up $3,500 per contract from a short at $107.50 – a trade idea we highlighted for our readers Friday morning, June 13th.
You can subscribe to Philstockworld and get interesting trade ideas
by phil - June 13th, 2014 8:26 am
In just 5 minutes we made our first $250 (per contract) of the morning and then we got a chance to re-load at $107.50 at 3:50 where we shorted it again (also noted in our Live Member Chat Room) and second time was already a charm as we got a much nicer run – this time all the way down to $106.75 for a $750 PER CONTRACT gain.
We're still shorting oil as it retests the $107 line and, if you read yesterday's post, you know why we are shorting oil already but this morning, if you want the late, authoritive word on the subject, the IEA just (7:58 EST) released a statement:
by phil - June 12th, 2014 8:31 am
The boyz are back in town!
By boyz, I mean al-Qeada and by town, I mean Tikrit, which is about 40 miles from Baghdad which has "dad" in it and Father's day is Sunday so now you are all caught up on the Middle East.
Oh, and that's not picture of the rebel attackers – that's a picture of the Iraqi "army" mounting a response to "dozens" of rebels who came into town "a hootin' and a hollerin'" and shooting up the place. As I pointed out to our Members, with 200,000,000 fake orders for July oil deliveries that have to be canceled by next Friday – all it costs is $10M to pay al-Qeada to cause a ruckus and oil pops $2 overnight and the contract holders make an extra $400,000,000 – a very nice return on their investment. CNN had footage of the attack:
As you can see, the situation is dire – until they get a new sheriff. Meanwhile, oil is over $106 (7:45) and it was over $106 earlier and we shorted the cross below the line in our Live Member Chat room at 6:37 and picked up a quick $250 per contract at $105.75 and we'll short any cross below any .50 line with tight stops above on the way down – as, eventually, there will be a new sheriff – or at least a shareef…
At the moment, oil is back over $106 and we're ready to re-load (at $106.50 with very tight stops). As we did yesterday, we're happy to make $250-$500 per move as it wriggles around in the channel. You can't beat these guys – may as well join them!
We'll likely add USO puts or SCO (ultra-short oil) longs to our Short-Term Portfolio with an eye towards oil going no higher than $110 into the July 4th weekend (as we discussed in Tuesday's Webinar) but failing to hold that, or even $105, for an extended period. Meanwhile, we'll keep an eye on the advancing al-Qeada forces as our Corporate Media makes the biggest possible mountain out of this mole-hill to justify their sponsors jacking up the price of oil – AS USUAL – into the biggest driving…
by phil - May 30th, 2014 8:21 am
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real – Nine Inch Nails
Were we wrong to cash out?
It's hard to feel bad about taking a 19% profit off the table after just 6 months (in our $500,000 Long-Term Portfolio) but we had another low-volume pump-job yesterday that sent some of the positions we closed up sharply and left us regretting our timing – just a little.
Still, the time to sell your positions is when other people are buying, not while everyone is panicking. We got great exit prices and, on the whole, it was fairly stress-free. S&P 1,920 was our predicted top and we pulled the trigger to take the money and run at 1,910 because, as experience has taught us – it doesn't pay to be greedy!
Last week and this week, I laid out my case for why the economy is not as good as it seems and certainly not good enough to be paying all-time highs for stocks. As you can see from the chart on the left – I'm certainly not the only one who thinks so as the "smart money" has flown out of the market this year, taking advantage of each record high to sell, Sell, SELL!!!
We were a little more patient, we moved our Conservative Income Portfolio ($500,000) to cash at the end of March and avoided the April sell-off and have since been buying bargain stocks in that portfolio. We had left our more aggressive Long-Term Portfolio ($500,000) on the table but this last leg of the rally left it up a ridiculous 19% for the year – and that's halfway to our best-case goal so it's a good time to take a break, step back, and see how the market handles early June.
It's not like we can't find anything to do with our cash. In additions to our usual Futures trading, we still have our Short-Term ($100,000), Butterfly ($100,000) and $25,000 Portfolios to play with and, since Wednesday…