by Option Review - November 21st, 2012 2:12 pm
Today’s tickers: SKX, FLO & STJ
Options brief will resume November 27, 2012.
SKX - Skechers USA, Inc. – An upgrade to ‘Positive’ from ‘Neutral’ with a 12-month target price increase to $22.00 from $19.00 at Susquehanna today kicked shares in shoemaker, Skechers USA, Inc., up as much as 13.6% to $19.26 on Wednesday. The sharp rise in shares sparked heavier-than-usual trading traffic in Skechers options this morning, with notable volumes building in upside calls on the footwear company. It looks like some traders are positioning for shares in the name to extend gains, while other strategists are taking profits on previously established bullish positions. The Dec. $17 strike call changed hands 1,000 times against open interest of 1,445 contracts within minutes of the opening bell today. Much of the open interest in the $17 strike call is the result of trading that took place on Monday; 1,000 of these contracts were purchased on Monday afternoon at a premium of $0.74 apiece. Today, it looks like the buyer of those 1,000 option contracts is selling-to-close the position for an average premium of $1.90 each, and pocketing net profits of around $1.16 per contract in the process. Fresh in-the-money call buying on SKX is apparent at the Dec. $18 strike where 300 lots were purchased at an average premium of $1.07 each. Buyers of these contracts profit at expiration next month as long as shares in Skechers settle above the average breakeven price of $19.07. Bullish positioning spread to the Jan. $18 and $20 strike calls, as well. Traders snapped up roughly 200 lots at each striking price, paying average premiums of $1.72 and $0.68 per contract, respectively. Upwards of 3,300 call and put options are in play on the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based company as of 11:50 a.m. ET, versus the stock’s average daily options volume of around 430 contracts. Calls are far more active than puts, with the call-to-put ratio up above 11.6 as of the…
by phil - April 30th, 2012 7:55 am
Is this time going to be different?
Sure, why not? Don't let the fact that we had pretty nasty sell-offs the last 4 Mays dissuade you from being gung-ho bullish into this one – after all – it takes bulls and bears to make a market, doesn't it?
We've been prone to focusing on the negative lately – mostly because the positive is pretty much all you hear in the Corporate Media and we like to have balance. If they were too bearish, I'd make a bullish case but this weekend we focused on "Money, Power and Wall Street," and the deteriorating Global situation, which got no better this morning with Spain's -0.3% GDP Report, Eurozone Inflation above forecasts at 2.6%, the S&P downgrading 16 Spanish Banks, California's Tax Collections are running 26% behind schedule, gasoline is hitting record highs in Europe while Business Investment in Europe drops BELOW the 2008 lows:
Should we be concerned? Why should we be – look how high the market is! Doesn't that prove that everything is OK? It sure proved it in October of 2007, when the Dow was at 14,000 and it was still proving it on Monday, May 19th, 2008 – when the Dow was at 13,028 for the last time until March 13th of this year, when 200-point one-day pop sent us all the way to 13,177. We topped out around and fell all the way to 12,700 a month later but now we're back and THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT, right?
For one thing, the SNB spent $4.1Bn propping up the Euro in Q1 – that's a lot of money for a country whose entire GDP is just $500Bn! Fortunately for the Swiss, their insane money printing did cause their gold holdings to rise by $1.2Bn so their net loss in manipulating the Global economy was "only" $2.8Bn so I'm sure they can sustain this farce for another quarter or two if they wish.
Farce is too kind a description for the fraud being perpetrated by the Central Banksters, according to the Economic Policy Journal's Bob Wenzel, what had this to say in his speech to the NY Fed last week (the whole speech is a must read):
Under Chairman Bernanke there have been significant changes in direction
by phil - April 4th, 2012 8:38 am
I hate to say I told you so but…
Oh, who are we kidding? I could not be happier saying I told you so and neither could our Members as our "Sell in March and Go Away" strategy seems to have hit the nail on the head – and it's only April 4th!
Back then (2/24), we were still bullish but the plan was to let the rally run its course and cash out ahead of earnings and our plays from that Wednesday (2/22) which I posted right in the morning post for all to see, have performed very well, of course.
We had April SQQQ and DXD hedges that failed, of course, but those were paid for by the short sale of AAPL 2014 $300 puts for $15, which are already $10.75, so up 28% already on those pays for a lot of protection.
Another offset we had looked at was the short sale of FDX April $80 puts at $1.10, which expired worthless (up 100%). We also looked at longer-term put sales on SKX, with the Oct $12 puts fetching $1.55 per contract, now $1.25 (up 19%), and the T 2014 $25 puts at $2.15, now $1.75 (up 18%).
Along the same vein, the XOM 2014 $65 puts at $5, now $4.05 (up 19%) were sold to pay for the SU 2014 $25/37 bull call spread for $6 for net $1 on the spread. The bull call spread is still $6 but that's net $1.95 now – up 95% on the combo. Our other bullish play on oil was the USO June $40/46 bull call spread at $2, selling he SCO Oct $26 puts for $3 for a net $1 credit. The USO spread has fallen to $1.40 but the short SCO puts dropped to $1.65 a net gain of .75 – up a quick 75% on a fairly neutral oil play, which was BRILLIANT as it covered many, many of our aggressive oil shorts over the month that went VERY well.
Our other trade ideas from the morning post (and the logic and strategies are detailed in the post):
- AA 2014 $10 puts sold for $2, still $2 – even
- X at $28.49, selling Jan $25 calls for $8.50 and 2014 $20 puts for $2.95 for net $17.04/18.52
by phil - March 14th, 2012 8:10 am
Yesterday, we talked about the BS that is Fox News.
Ironically, some of the "news" outlets that generally carry my articles (who's names shall be protected because they are wimps) decided it was too controversial for their readers so we know that's not a topic we're allowed to discuss in America, for fear of being black-listed. Today we'll see if we can make it a two-fer in the Bracket of Evil, as I have a juicy resignation letter from Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs (thanks Rev Todd), who is no small player, but the head of the firm's US Equity Derivative Business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Just a couple of excerpts:
I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.
I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail.
by phil - March 2nd, 2012 8:18 am
Oil shot up to $110.55 yesterday.
The news was that a pipeline in Saudi Arabia had been attacked and oil had been running up all day into this "news," which, funnily enough, turned out to be fake. We caught the news at 3:05 in Member Chat (thanks Kustomz) and we had been waiting for oil to stop going up so we could short it. The turn came at the $110.50 in the Futures (/CL) and we caught a nice run down to $109 and I reiterated, at 3:36, with oil still at $109.88 my love for the USO April $40 puts, which were $1.08 at the time and finished the day at $1.15.
As Malsg pointed out in Member Chat: "The pictures of the fire are taken in daylight … but Saudi sunset was several hours ago … the oil market only stared going nuts after the close." A very good observation that gave us the resolve to stay short on oil – which is working out fantastically this morning as well.
We also grabbed an aggressive short spread on BNO, as it seemed the whole day's run had been BS, with traders in the know stocking up ahead of the fake news so they could unload barrels into the retail suckers who bought into the spike. Don't worry though – no one who bought oil up from $105 on Thursday to $109 ahead of the news will be arrested or even questioned – we'll just keep pretending the total farce of oil trading is a legitimate pricing mechanism, even though it costs people around the world hundreds of Billions of Dollars each year in excess charges (see "Goldman's Global Oil Scam Passes the 50 Madoff Mark").
Now, this is the part where I would usually point out how the economy is weaker than we think etc. but I'm not going to do that this morning because the S&P still over 1,360 and, if a stronger Dollar isn't going to stop this rally – nothing will. Even yesterday, I joked to Members that I wasn't going to highlight negative news items in red anymore as there was no such thing as bad news in this market.
As you can see from David Fry's SPY chart, we''re back testing the bottom of that channel today and, if we don't break down here, then we can…
by phil - February 22nd, 2012 6:27 am
We're still waiting for a clear signal.
The S&P is finally over our 1,359 level but, so far, has not stayed over that line for a full session and we need two sessions over the line to confirm it. However, I did promise not to be bearish if we're over 1,360 and I think I got it all out of my system in the last few posts, as well as last night and this morning's Member Chat, where I outlined my case for for the oil glut and the collapse of the EU, which will lead to the collapse of Asia and the US – but not today.
Today there is a ton of money sloshing around in the system and we are clearly in a massive technical rally, which may (or may not) end at any moment. We discussed our February trade ideas from our morning posts on Monday's morning so I won't rehash them here but I do want to take a look at ways to leverage some trades to take full advantage of this non-stop rally as we have VERY CLEAR stop lines (our 10% lines) where we'll have a clear signal to get out or cover if ANY of the major indexes fail.
As with our early February trade ideas, we can add one more bullish trade each day that we're over the line and cash out the older trades that go well in the money and, of course, accumulate some Disaster Hedges (20-30% of your unrealized profits into protective hedges is a good rule of thumb as well as the cheapest form of protection – STOPS!).
My favorite disaster hedges are playing for a correction in the Dow or the Nasdaq which, if you are a Dow Theorist, would seem very likely based on the chart on the left but, so far, nothing matters to the bulls – who have their story and they are sticking to it – regardless of those pesky facts. Sorry, that's a bit bearish (bad habit). Anyway, my favorite disaster hedges are:
SQQQ April $13/17 bull call spread for .70. This trade has a 471% upside potential by itself if SQQQ (currently $13.14) gains 30% by April expiration (58 days). That's a lot but SQQQ is a 3x ultra-short to the Nasdaq so a 10% drop in the Nas, back to 2,650…
by phil - February 20th, 2012 6:37 am
Why do we scream at each other
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry – Prince
It's no coincidence that this week we will be hearing from Fed Governors Kocherllakota (1pm Tues), Hoenig (12:30 Weds), Plosser (1:30 Weds), and Bullard (9:15 Thurs) ahead of our 2-Year Note Auction (1pm Tues), 5-Year Note Auction (1pm Weds) and 7-Year Note Auction (1pm Thursday) as the Fed needs to bring out 4 of it's 5 most hawkish members to talk up the Dollar (by talking down QE3) to keep those rates paid as low as possible for Treasury.
Once the Hawks drive the rates down and the notes are sold, the Doves will once again be released to talk them back up by extolling the glories of QE3 – completely reversing whatever was said before just as the Hawks will once again be called upon to reverse what the Doves say at a later date – when they need rates to come back down. The joke of it all is that traders will react to each statement, every time, as if it's a "game changer" and adjust their positions to reflect the new reality of the moment. It reminds me of a quote from Orwell's 1984:
As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs – to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.
Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.
by phil - February 8th, 2012 5:16 am
78.50 on the Dollar!
The Yen finally got back to 77 and EUR/CHF back to 1.21 so my theory that the BOJ has given up on the Dollar and moved to boosting the Euro is playing out nicely.
This does not make me more bullish (expecting falling Dollar to boost the markets) because, in the grand scheme of things, this is kind of like now there are two kids building a sand wall on the beach instead of one – sure it will last longer than the wall just one kid was building but, eventually, the tide will get it anyway or, as Jimi Hendrix said more poetically: "Castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually."
Once you start messing around with Forex markets, you are messing with major macro forces that are hard to control. Japanese banks have $7.5Tn of Japanese bonds at 1% – what happens to the value of those bonds if the BOJ does push the Yen down 10%? Who takes that $750Bn hit? What if rates go up to 2% – what's the value of the bonds then? Who will bail out the Japanese Banks when they have a multi-Trillion Dollar (several hundred Trillion Yen) hole in their balance sheets? Do Japanese spreadsheets even have room for Quadrillions? They are going to need it!
Then there's this Bloomberg article on the Central Banks, who have doubled their balance sheets since 2006 to $13.2Tn but, magically, have caused no inflation (according to Ben Bernanke – not according to people who actually buy food and stuff). China is now sitting on $4.5Tn of other people's TBills (mostly ours) and that's up $1.5Tn in a year. The ECB is right behind them with $3.6Tn and another $1Tn supposedly coming in the next EFSF round and the Fed has $2.9Tn plus whatever nonsense they are running off book.
So, how is it that WE are the bad currency here? If the Dollar is a problem, then China, who's GDP is only about $8Tn (optimistically, possibly $5.5Tn depending on who's measuring) is almost as insane as Japanese bankers and maybe more so as they are betting on our country's ability to pay and maintain the value of the Dollar (already a fail, right?). I suppose no one can ever recognize losses and just carry more and more junk…
by phil - September 7th, 2011 8:25 am
That was easy!
Only 3 days of panic and we’re back to manic already – I’d say that was a record but our last panic only lasted two days, on August 18th and 19th, when we dropped 600 points before bouncing back 800 points the next week so this last 3-day, 600-point drop was gentle by comparison. That, of course, did not stop the usual round of Doomcasters from declaring the end of the World (especially the European section) as we know it but that was all so yesterday morning and now it’s 24 hours later and the Dow is up 300 from that bottom in the pre-markets.
Pre-market yesterday we were bullish but cautious, going long on Dow (/YM) futures at 11,000 (now 11,227 – up $1,135 per contract) and Russell (/TF) Futures at 666 (now 688, up $2,200 per contract) and our bullish EWG spread from the morning post should be going gangbusters already as the DAX pops 3% this morning!
We also laid out new hedge ideas on EDZ and GLD but the point of those was, wisely, to take the money and run on our old hedges as they bottomed out in the morning (max profit), trading in our well-ridden horses for fresh ones that have more time to expiration and lower deltas to snap back on a bounce is all part of our range-trading strategy – we may need those hedges again, just not now….
By the time the market opened, things looked too good not to play bullish and we ended up picking 19 bullish plays in yesterday’s Member Chat with not one bearish one. My comment to Members in the 9:44 Alert, where we took a very aggressive upside play on the Dow was: "Damn, and I said I wasn’t going to get too bullish. Oh well, what can you do?" As I have been pointing out in our Range Trading posts – sometimes you just have to go with the flow…
Just 18 minutes later, I put up 6 long-term trade ideas on CAT, DIS, HOV, JPM, SKX and T as we took advantage of low prices, a probable bottom and a high VIX. The nice thing about our buy/writes is that they have a built-in 20% discount (see "How to Buy a Stock for a 15-20% Discount") and can usually be scaled in to ride…
by Option Review - July 28th, 2011 4:54 pm
Today’s tickers: SKX, RCL, OSK & TWI
SKX - Skechers USA, Inc. – The footwear designer’s decision to purge inventory of some 2 million pairs of its Shape-ups sneakers in exchange for a $21 million loss pleased investors reviewing the somewhat ugly second-quarter earnings report released from Skechers USA on Wednesday. Shares in the Manhattan Beach, CA-based company sky-rocketed 25.0% on Thursday morning to an intraday high of $17.88 despite the shoe retailer’s reported net loss of $0.62 a share on 14% lower revenue for the quarter. Steps taken by the company to clear out inventory as well as promising international growth prospects seem to have overshadowed weaker-than-expected top- and bottom-line results. Bullish momentum in the shares was also aided by an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets who raised Skechers to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’ with a 12-month target share price of $18.00.
On Monday we noted bullish call buying taking place in the September and October contracts, and suggested traders long those calls may benefit from a post-earnings pop in the price of the underlying. Lo-and-behold, shares are soaring and some investors have seen the value of their positions more than double this week. For example, traders purchased around 2,200 October $15 strike calls on Monday for an average premium of $1.07 apiece. Today investors could turn around and sell those calls for an average premium of $2.65 a-pop, or hold onto their positions in the hope that shares continue to rally in the next few months. Like-minded bulls picked up around 500 of the September $15 strike calls on Monday at an average premium of $0.85 each, while the last-traded price on the contract now stands at $2.35.…