by phil - August 25th, 2014 7:54 am
As usual on Friday, more volume = more selling.
Still, there's no reason to expect volume to come back and that means the markets can go back to drifting higher when the bars are lower and that can get us all the way to S&P 2,000, but over that line is going to be a tough trick.
Our weekend reading from our Member Chat Room produced the usual litany of woes with the usual suspects:
ISIS, Putin, China, Gaza, Ebola and Draghi causing the usual damage aided by newcomers like an earthquake in San Francisco, a volcano in Iceland, a nuclear scare in Belgium - but none are as scary as French President and Austerity Radical, Francois Holland, dissolving his Government because they disagreed with him.
In interviews with the French press and speeches at a Socialist gathering Sunday, Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg and Education Minister Benoît Hamon said forcibly reducing budget deficits as the economy wilts is driving up unemployment, fueling political extremism and risks tipping the economy into recession. "The priority must be exiting crisis and the dogmatic reduction of deficits should come second," Mr. Montebourg said in an interview with Le Monde.
The criticism came at a difficult moment for the French president, who said earlier this week he will push ahead with a three-year plan to cut public spending to fund tax cuts for business even as the economy stagnates – so he fired them all! As in the US, Businesses continued cutting investment in the second quarter despite receiving the first payouts from labor-tax reductions.
"Promising to get the economy going again, on the path to growth and full employment, hasn't worked. Honesty obliges us to acknowledge this," Mr. Montebourg said in a speech to supporters. "The role of the economy minister and any statesman in his place is to confront the truth—even it is cruel—and propose alternative solutions," he added.
by phil - August 1st, 2014 7:07 am
What fun this is! Well, it's fun for us because we were playing for this drop and not only did our bearish Short-Term Portfolio pop 10% yesterday but our bullish Long-Term Portfolio crossed over the 20% line for the first time this year. How is that possible? Because we are using our "Be the House – Not the Gambler™" strategy to SELL premium to suckers who think they know what the market is going to do!
This allows us to make money in any market direction while remaining well-hedged for the downturns. It also allows us to put up these spectacular gains while using less than 50% of our cash – keeping it on the sidelines and ready to deploy when we catch a good bargain on one of our Buy Lists to add to our virtual portfolios. We had not one but two special Live Trading Webinars yesterday for our Members, where we cashed out the XOM puts I mentioned FOR FREE last Friday for a 300% gain.
If you want to get our morning posts delivered to you each day, in progress, at 8:30 each day with access to the full posts pre-market – just sign up right here.
Last Friday I also suggested our SCO (ultra-short oil) longs and that $1,200 position in our Short-Term Portfolio closed yesterday at $3,400 – up a very nice 183% and the SQQQ trade I aslo put up in last Friday's morning post for a net $400 credit (also featured on TV on this Wednesday's Money Show) finished yesterday's session at $1,060 – up $1,400 (350%) in less than a week!
Another hedge we discussed were the TZA Aug $14 calls which were $1.67 on Wednesday (more FREE picks in the morning post), which was already up 153% from 0.66 when I first mentioned them (outside of our Live Member Chat Room) in our July 8th post. As of yesterday's close, they were $2.51 – up 50% from Wednesday and up 280% overall.
by phil - July 3rd, 2014 7:36 am
Happy Birthday America!
The markets are closed tomorrow and today is a half day but the trend is certainly our friend on the S&P as we haven't been below the 200 day moving average since December of 2011 (except a couple of very brief dips). Though the average volume is about 30% lower than it was back then – it's still an impressive feat.
Of course, if 10% of the market was manipulated before and the manipulators haven't left (they certainly haven't) – even if the level of manipulation remained the same, 30% of the 90% that wasn't manipulated (retail investors) did leave (possibly BECAUSE of the manipulation) and that means now manipulators control 10% of the remaining 70%, a 42% increase in manipulation! Of course we know it's much worse than that because now the Central Banksters perform their own brand of market manipulation. As noted by Salient Partners in a great article about PBOC Manipulation:
The explicit purpose of recent monetary policy is: to paper over anemic real economic growth with financial asset inflation. It’s a brilliant political solution to the political problem of low growth in the West, because our political stability does not depend on robust real economic growth. So long as we avoid outright negative growth (and even that’s okay so long as it can be explained away by “the weather” or some such rationale) and prop up the financial asset values that in turn support a levered system, we can very slowly grow or inflate our way out of debt. Or not. The debt can hang out there … forever, essentially … so long as there’s no exogenous shock. A low-growth zombie financial system where credit is treated as a government utility is a perfectly stable outcome in the West.
So China has indeed learned the most valuable lesson of Capitalism – that money is a meaningless contstruct that can be freely manipulated to fit whatever narrative the Government wishes to spin and that debt is not to be feared, but embraced, especially by our Corporate Masters – because our National Debt becomes their Private Profits!
by phil - May 22nd, 2014 7:58 am
Look at this chart:
LOOK AT IT!!!! This is America, damn it! We peaked out in earnings in 2000 and it's been downhill ever since. Even worse, this is America AFTER the Federal Reserve spent $4 TRILLION to boost the economy. This is America AFTER our Government plunged another $6 TRILLION into debt – supposedly to save jobs and support the economy.
This is a DISASTER! If this were the chart of a company you owned – you'd be selling. If there were a board of directors, we'd be looking to make changes, right? Actually, there is a sort of board of directors and, as is often the case with Corporate Management – they're the only ones making any money!
Only in Washington DC and Dick Cheney's Wyoming are people in this country still making as much money as they were in the good old days (Clinton years). The rest of the country is in various states of decline – some of it fairly drastic – and in big states like Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, where people are earning about 20% less now than they did 14 years ago.
Our standard of living is in decline, especially when you consider that inflation is chewing into those lower wages from the other end as well. How much more evidence can we possibly need that the Bush Tax cuts were a complete and utter policy failure? Yet you will hear none of that in the MSM. What TV station owner or newspaper & magazine publisher is going to tell you that they should be paying 20% more taxes than they are paying now?
There's a reason that, despite the BS Employment Numbers put up by the Administration, that the #1 concern of US voters is JOBS! People may HAVE jobs (actually 20% of the families in our country have NO ONE employed at the moment) but, clearly, from an economic perspective – the jobs suck! Even people lucky enough to keep their jobs through the crisis haven't had raises in a decade but, of course, they are too afraid to leave because we all know people who lost their jobs and didn't find…
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…
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…
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.