by phil - April 9th, 2012 8:23 am
What a ride we're getting (see Bespoke Charts). We discussed the fun that led up to this drop on Friday, so no need to rehash it here. Over the weekend, Philstockworld reviewed "This Month in Fascism" and I put up a post outlining "Capitalism's End Game" where we had some nice additional discussion in that post's Member Chat so read that an you're all up to speed.
That brings us to what is happening now. There was little news this weekend other than inflation accelerating in China, with their CPI hitting 3.6% in March vs 3.3% expected but that number is BS anyway as food alone is up 7.5%. For the Quarter, the CPI was up 3.8% overall and China's target for the year is 4% so this effectively takes stimulus action off the table for now. The ONLY thing keeping CPI lower is the now-steady price of housing, which is down at 2% but that's still 2% higher than prices the Government has already decided the people can no longer afford.
China is clearly slowing down but STILL having inflation. The WSJ points out that China's iron-ore demand is down and other emerging-market economies also appear to be losing steam with India's growth down to 6.1% and Brazil down to 3% with Russia having almost no growth at all. So much for the BRICs… "Year-to-date returns have been quite deceptive. All that really happened in 2012 is a typically powerful bear-market bounce off 2011 lows," said Michael Shaoul, chairman of Marketfield Asset Management.
We've been hanging onto long-term short EDZ positions in anticipation of a sell-off in the emerging markets and, despite $25.6Bn of net inflows in Q1 (the most since 2006), EEM has gone nowhere since the end of January, which is funny, since only $1.7Bn flowed into the US stock market in Q1 yet our indexes are up 10% – but that's a different article!
Anyway, so EDZ is still at $12.79 and if we figure we get a 10% pullback in the Emerging Markets then EDZ pops 30% to $16.62 and you can buy the May $14/16 bull call spread for .40 with a 400% upside at $16 and we used to like to cover those with CHL but CHL has flown up to $54 and no longer cheap so I'm thinking FCX is a nice,…
by phil - April 6th, 2012 8:45 am
NOW things are getting interesting!
Who wants a market that goes up and up and up – where's the sport? Even the Nasdaq finally blew it's 15-week winning streak and that helped us decide to stay pretty bearish going into yesterday's close. This morning we went over the news and the week's data to position ourselves for the Futures and my conclusion to Members in our special 4:03 am Alert was:
Next week we get the BBook, PPI and CPI but the focus will be on earnings and AA is not likely to get us off to a good start so I simply don't see anything in particular to be bullish about at the moment.
The point I had been making (with many charts and graphs) was that it didn't matter if we added even 250,000 jobs – it still isn't enough to begin to fill in the hole in any meaningful way and, even more important, the QUALITY of jobs we have been adding is TERRIBLE!
It doesn't matter if you give everyone a job if they are only minimum wage jobs. We need our consumers to have an income to spend and aside from inflation (real inflation, not the Fed's BS numbers) eating into their buying power, when someone loses a $50,000 job and replaces it with a $35,000 job – that's NOT an improving economy – not for the long run, anyway.
Of course the stock market will like it, at first – as lower wages paid for the same job = greater Corporate Profits but that only works as long as there are people outside your country who have money to buy your goods.
As we noted just yesterday with the Retail Reports, the high-end stores are doing very well as the top 10% is doing well but those serving the bottom 90% are struggling because, clearly, these people are running out of money. While the market has been content to "ignore and soar" during this gathering storm, now we begin to see the size of the wave that's coming in and it's starting to look scary indeed…
8:30 Update: An anemic 120,000 Jobs added in March! That's about 1/2 of what was expected by Economorons, who can't even get a handle on a major, critical number like Payrolls – how scary is that? So many of…
by phil - April 5th, 2012 8:01 am
That's right folks – Goldman Sach's Chief Forecaster, David Kostin latest monthly chartbook has a 3-month target for the S&P 500 at 1,275 (down 9%) and a 12-month target of 1,250.
I don't agree with the longer-term forecast as I think inflation will kick in by then and we'll be off to the races (in price, not value) but that 90-day target is right on the money. I know you may be saying to yourself: "Say, didn't Goldman just tell us last month to BUYBUYBUY?"
Of course they did. If you don't BUYBUYBUY, who were they going to SELLSELLSELL to. See those S&P calls at the bottom – Nove 30th: "SELL Internationa Sales Basket," January 9th: "SELL S&P 500" – that's what GS tells their insiders – if you somehow got a slightly different impression of what they were saying from the MSM or ex-GS alumni Jim Cramer or any of the 300 stooges on CNBC – you must have simply misunderstood.
Doesn't Cramer sound like one of those hosts on the Home Shopping Network when they get stuck trying to sell an item that isn't moving? Clearly the Banksters did not expect that their Pavlovian attempt to train retail investors to buy every dip would wear off so quickly and this is why we "Sold into the Excitement" last week, rather than waiting for the charts to tell us what the Fundamentals were whispering in February, when we made our plan to "Sell in March and Go Away". In fact, the title of my Friday post was the last in my series of warnings: "March Goes Out Like a Lamb (to the Slaugher)."
After adding additional bearish bets in yesterday's morning post and early Member Chat (and TLT is flying this morning), we did flip bullish at 2:15, going long on the Russell Futures (/TF) at 815 and the QQQ weekly $66 calls at $1.16 (for the Futures-challenged). The RUT gave us a lovely run back to 818.50 for a $350 per contract gain and the Qs ran up to $1.40 for a nice 20% gain in less than two hours and, of course, we flipped back to bearish at the close. My prediction for tomorrow (today) was:
I think we're good for at least another half-point down tomorrow.
by phil - March 9th, 2012 7:53 am
The Greek debt crisis is over!
Again. Well, for now. Despite the "voluntary" participation of 85% of the debt-holders, collective action clauses (CAC) will be triggered to force other bondholders and a similar action in Argentina led to 10 years of lawsuits – so we have that to look forward to. "The rule of law has been treated with contempt," said Marc Ostwald from Monument Securities. "This will lead to litigation for the next ten years. It has become a massive impediment for long-term investors, and people will now be very wary about Spain and Portugal."
“Even if we band aid this Greek situation right now, they’re going to default down the road or write down 100 percent of the debt,” said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.
Now the European Commission has sent a team of experts to Spain to check its budget deficit data, according to Spanish website Expansion, and they will be greeted by a National Strike, scheduled for March 29th, to protest the austerity measures the EU is trying to enforce. Greek bonds are already passing the 20% mark again so this "fix" has lasted all of a few hours and already we're seeing rates creep up in Italy, Spain and Portugal (Ireland can't even borrow money – at any price) and part of the reason is they just blatantly screwed over the last batch of bondholders and Credit Default Swaps have now been revealed as completely useless tools to protect bond investments – and part of the reason is Uncle Sam needs to borrow a record $227Bn to pay the bills for February alone:
While the above chart may look like a catastrophe to a casual observer, especially considering February is the shortest month of the year – others may be cheered by the thought that the US will never actually have to pay this money back, as Greece has now shown us all that the path to default is celebrated by global markets climbing to record highs. So, if Greece's $450Bn default can get us to Dow 13,000 – imagine what the US's $16Tn default will do – I can't wait!
We are waiting for the jobs report this morning but according to the Gallup poll, there aren't any. Gallup sees 9.1% unemployment in February, up…
by phil - February 3rd, 2012 8:19 am
That's all we have lately. Greece's silly $171Bn loan is meant to distract us from Europe's $17Tn debt hole and the US continues to borrow $171Bn PER MONTH to cover it's deficit and we don't even talk about Japan as the debt climbs over 220% of their rapidly declining GDP and who knows what's going on in China but, generally, when you have double-digit declines in home prices on a monthly basis – there's going to be a problem down the road.
This may be my last bearish post before drinking the technical Kool-Aid this weekend and we've already selected 5 trades for our Members that will make 200-500% if the market keeps moving forward and there are still plenty of stocks we can make a lovely Buy List out of if this rally has legs – especially the way we like to bet, since our hedges allow us to make very nice returns, as long as we simply hold our current levels.
There's the rub though – are the current levels sustainable? The nice thing about consolidations like the one we've been having this year is that they firm up a floor and give us a very obvious exit point on the way down so we can move some of that sideline cash into play – as long as we hold 12,500 on the Dow and 1,300 on the S&P and 2,800 on the Nasdaq – pretty simple strategy, right?
Notice the 2nd row has our major indices priced in Euros and our third priced in Yen. My main issue has been that we've been much weaker than it seemed as the Dollar's relentless decline masked a downturn in the inflation-adjusted price of our stocks (and the weak Dollar also serves to inflate revenues reported by multinational companies) but, at the moment, we're at our breakout levels by any measure so we may as well go with the flow until we see a proper reversal.
First we need to get past our NFP report at 8:30 of course. I'm expecting a miss but will the market even care or will that just mean Uncle Ben has an excuse to pump up the QE according to their new "formula"?
by phil - November 21st, 2011 6:41 am
Mariano Rajoy won the biggest majority in a Spanish election in almost 30 years, and told Spaniards to brace for hard times as the nation fights to avoid being overwhelmed by the debt crisis. Bonds continued to drop. Rajoy’s People’s Party swept the ruling Socialists from power after eight years, winning 186 of the 350 seats in Parliament, compared with 110 for the Socialists’ candidate Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.
“Hard times lie ahead,” Rajoy, 56, told supporters outside the PP’s headquarters in Madrid, giving no new details of his plans. “We are going to govern in the most delicate situation Spain has faced in 30 years.”
Spanish borrowing costs continued rising toward euro-era records (6.6% this morning) even as the PP won a mandate to slash the budget deficit, overhaul the stagnant economy and reduce the 23 percent jobless rate. Rajoy, who hasn’t given details of his proposals, won’t take over for a month, prompting him to say on Nov 18th he hoped Spain wouldn’t need a bailout before he’s sworn in. Miguel Arias Canete, head of the PP’s electoral committee and a former minister, said today markets need to give the party time, as ministers won’t be appointed until Dec. 21 and Spanish law doesn’t allow Parliament to resume any sooner than Dec. 13.
So NO QUICK FIX IN SPAIN IS POSSIBLE – let’s face that fact now so we’re not endlessly surprised by it as the rumor-mongers can now have a field day attacking the lame-duck outgoing Government ahead of the transition. Meanwhile, our own do-nothing Congress looks to be heading towards certain disaster as we have what appears to be a TOTAL FAILURE of the US Deficit Reduction Committee to do anything to actually reduce our deficit.
Now I don’t want to point fingers (cough, Republicans, cough, cough) ahead of our National Holiday that celebrates unity and goodwill and crap like that. Let’s just say "they" couldn’t agree, so now it’s going to be Hard Times for America as we, in theory, will kick in $1.2Tn of automatic cuts including (gasp!) over 5% of our nation’s Trillion-Dollar annual Defense budget. Oh, not until 2013, of course because our Government doesn’t really have the balls to cut anything under any circumstances.
by phil - November 4th, 2011 8:24 am
Papandreou is trying to convince us he almost destroyed (the) Universe to get my consent. – Opposition leader Antonis Samaras
Ah the old "destroying the universe" ploy. It’s the same one the Republicans are using in the Senate as they once again kill Obama’s $60Bn infrastructure program that was meant to provide direct aid for highway and rail projects and set up an infrastructure bank. Without 60 votes, bills can’t even make it to the Senate floor so nothing gets done.
This is ironic because, on the same day, China APPROVED another $160Bn of infrastructure spending – just to build new underground subway systems in 28 cities by the end of the decade – creating millions of Chinese jobs, lowering transportation costs and laying the foundation for continuing to kick our asses in the 21st Century. So, to be fair, the Republicans aren’t destroying the Universe to advance their political agenda – just America.
Meanwhile, China’s subway plans are coming AFTER they have developed the World’s largest high-speed rail lines to connect to their World class shipping ports so goods can now be whisked around the country in a cheap and efficient manner while the knuckle-draggers in Congress debate whether or not it’s worth fixing the potholes that are ripping the tires off trucks on our nation’s roadways.
You don’t make a nation great by talking about how great we are – you make a nation great by building a great nation and we are doing almost the exact opposite – squandering what once seemed to be an insurmountable lead in education, transportation, utilities, health care, housing and even environmental progress – and turning America into what is now one of the lowest-ranked developed nations in each of those categories.
Rather than employ millions of people to maintain our infrastructure, we allow it to decay and ship our manufacturing and jobs overseas to Nations that are willing to invest in their future and that leads to trade deficits that suck hundreds of Billions of additional Dollars out of our economy along with the hundreds of Billions of Dollars we ship overseas every year to pay for our addiction to oil because, for 40 years now – our Republican leaders have told us it’s too difficult to kick the habit. Vote these fools in again and we’re doomed – that’s all…
by phil - September 2nd, 2011 8:18 am
$30 Billion – that’s bound to get their attention!
According to the WSJ, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble. The suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.
The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims arguing the banks, which assembled the mortgages and marketed them as securities to investors, failed to perform the due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were inflated or falsified. When many borrowers were unable to pay their mortgages, the securities backed by the mortgages quickly lost value.
Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers. In July, the agency filed suit against UBS, another major mortgage securitizer, seeking to recover at least $900 million, and the individuals with knowledge of the case said the new litigation would be similar in scope.
Tim Rood, who worked at Fannie Mae until 2006 and is now a partner at the Collingwood Group, which advises banks and servicers on housing-related issues, agrees with what I told Members in last night’s chat:
"While I believe that F.H.F.A. is acting responsibly in its role as conservator, I am afraid that we risk pushing these guys off of a cliff and we’re going to have to bail out the banks again.”
In other words – MADNESS! What was the point of spending Trillions of Dollars bailing out the Banks if you are going to turn around and sue them for $30Bn and drop their stock price another Trillion, causing them to need another bailout?
Perhaps this is the denouement of a week of scary market rumors that seem to have been designed to stop the markets from breaking too high. We were speculating on this last night in Member Chat before this…
by phil - August 18th, 2011 8:02 am
Now THIS is an exciting ride. We had a great sell-off in the Futures this morning – the same Futures that I mentioned, in yesterday’s Morning Post, that we had shorted at S&P 1,200 and Russell 710 in a post I had titled "1,200 or Bust!" Of course we also called for our usual monthly oil short with the (/CL) Futures hitting $99 on yesterday’s inventory and now down to $86 (up $3,000 per contract).
Of course, for the Futures Impaired – we still have our straight USO Sept $32 puts at .90, which we whittled down to a .75 in yesterday’s Member Chat as well as the very lovely idea of the SQQQ Sept $25/28 bull call spread at $1 (spread with short RIMM Sept $22.50 puts to make it FREE) that I mentioned right in the 2nd paragraph of Tuesday’s post. Those were just the ideas we gave away for free! In Member Chat, yesterday’s morning Alert to Members was this:
As I said earlier, we like the Futures short at RUT (/TF) 710 and S&P (/ES) 1,200 but the big play today will be shorting oil (/CL) below the $88.50 line or, hopefully, below the $90 mark if they get that high. Expect the Dollar to re-test 73.50 and, if they hold it, then it’s a great time to hit the shorts but, with oil, we’re waiting on that inventory report at 10:30.
As an overall short on oil, the Sept $32 puts are down to .65 and .60 is a good spot to DD in the $25KP (10 more). AFTER that, with an average of .75 per contract, we want to consider rolling up to the Sept $33 puts, now .90 for .30 or less.
Another fun way to play an oil sell-off is the SCO Aug $53/54 bull call spread
by ilene - July 7th, 2011 1:44 am
The latest tranche of loans from the EU and the IMF has helped buy debt-ridden Greece some time. But the Greeks will find it hard to get back on their feet. Their country has been ruined by three political dynasties, which created a bloated system of cronyism that is hard to change. By SPIEGEL Staff.
Regardless of whether it happens under Papandreou alone or with both politicians working together, if Greece starts economizing, it risks choking its own economy. "It’s like a cat chasing its own tail," says Greek economics professor Yanis Varoufakis.
Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff recently warned: "If they just continue with the European Union’s austerity program, they’re going to be in slow growth or recession as far as the eye can see, and at the end of the day they’re still going to default."
And it’s not as if Greece hasn’t already adopted austerity measures. Athens managed to cut its budget deficit from 15.4 percent of its gross domestic product to 10.6 percent last year, thanks to its first austerity package. The government made cutbacks in salaries, retirement funds and social benefits, among other things.
This austerity policy also caused 200,000 people to lose their jobs last year, with unemployment reaching an all-time high of 15 percent by late March.
With pay in the private sector also often falling by 10 to 20 percent, consumption likewise dropped by nearly 10 percent and the recession intensified. It’s a vicious circle. Since taxes need to increase and spending needs to decrease, the situation is likely only to get worse.