by Option Review - May 22nd, 2013 8:36 pm
Today’s tickers: SKS, USG & PFE
by phil - August 29th, 2012 8:38 am
Would you pay $1.25 for a Euro?
Would you take $125,000 of your Dollars and convert them to 100,000 Euros and put them in your safe until Christmas? The Euro topped out (non-spike) at $1.45 in April (when the markets topped out) and then plunged to $1.31 (10%) before bouncing back to $1.41 (66% retrace) and then fell all the way back to $1.27 (10%) came back to $1.34 (66% retrace) and then down to $1.21 (10%) and is now back at $1.25 (33% retrace).
Fibonacci would be very proud to see his numbers still ruling the markets 800 years later but it certainly doesn't make us feel warm and fuzzy about the Euro's chances of getting back to $1.30, since $1.29 would be that 66% retrace before we'd expect a drop back to $1.06.
From the point of view of our 5% Rule, we've got a 25-point drop from $1.45 to $1.20 and our "weak bounce" is a 20% retrace to – $1.25 and $1.30 would be a "strong bounce" 40% retrace but a failure here would be a very bad sign and, as you can see from Dave Fry's chart, the 22 week moving average crashing down to $1.25.57 doesn't make it seem all that likely.
In fact, $1.256 was our shorting spot for the Euro yesterday and there easy money to be made there several times already. We don't usually bother with currency trades but that one seemed pretty obvious… This morning obvious Futures trade I highlighted for our Members in an earlier note was going long on gasoline (/RB) off the $2.90 line as we head into oil inventories tomorrow and the hurricane makes landfall and knocks out a couple of refineries (they don't have to be damaged, someone always at least "trips" on the plug and shuts them down for 2 or 3 days to jack up gas prices – especially ahead of holiday weekends).
Gasoline makes a nice, bullish offset to our generally bearish bets – including oil shorts, because we still have way too much of it – despite 4 consecutive weeks of heavy draws, which were caused by a drastic reduction in imports and a drastic increase in imports to fake the impression of US…
by phil - May 15th, 2012 7:05 am
Here we go again!
It was only last Tuesday we were watching that 1,360 line on the S&P but, at the time, we were looking for it to hold as we finished last Monday at 1,370 – in a totally fake pump into the close. Even early Tuesday morning, the Futures were being pumped up to reel in the suckers but I warned in the morning post:
There is no particular reason for the move, other than this being Tuesday in a manipulated market. Neither oil ($97.38) or gold ($1,628) or copper ($3.71) or silver ($29.73) or even gasoline ($2.97) give any indication of consumer demand for commodities. "Fixing" the charts does not mean you have fixed the economy!
We all know what happened next – we failed to hold that 1,360 line on the S&P as the Euro failed to hold $1.30 and Greece was unable to form a coalition government (we also had disappointing Retail Sales numbers) and this morning (6:45) oil is $94.74, gold is $1,558, copper is $3.53, silver $28.23 and gasoline is STILL $2.97.
The last thing we should do is complain about gasoline prices – we still pay 1/2 of what Europe does and even China is paying $5.31 a gallon – 25% more than the US average $4.19. At this point, gas prices are the only commodity not falling down and that's because they are the easiest to manipulate – the last bastion of the speculator – if you will.
With that mythical summer driving season on the way, even we stopped shorting oil at $94 and gasoline is now a joke at $2.97 as that's $124.74 per barrel – a 33% per barrel mark-up at retail. At the pump, $4.19 a gallon means you are paying $175.98 at the pump – that's an 87% mark-up! Actually, we shouldn't look at it as 87%, that's misleading – when oil was $60 per barrel, gasoline was $1.85 at the pump and that was $77.70 and the refiners were making very good money. Why would it cost $81.98 to refine and retail a $94 barrel of oil when it only costs $17.70 to refine and retail a $60 barrel of oil? See – it's a rip-off! Somebody, somewhere is massively screwing you over – that much should be obvious to even a Republican Senator.
by Option Review - December 22nd, 2011 1:25 pm
Today’s tickers: USB, V, USG & CHS
USB - U.S. Bancorp – Financials extended gains Thursday and appear on track to wrap up the week on a positive note. Shares in U.S. Bancorp joined in on the rally to trade 1.75% higher at $27.28 as of 12:05 PM in New York, though its shares haven’t climbed quite like those of sector heavyweights Citigroup, JPMorgan and Bank of America today. Earlier in the week we noted a bearish transaction on USB in the Mar. 2012 contract that appeared to be the purchase of 10,000 $28 strike calls tied to the sale of 320,000 shares of the underlying. The position may be profitable if shares in U.S. Bancorp pull back ahead of expiration. Today, it looks like a different bearish strategy was initiated in USB call options. One trader sold 5,000 calls outright at June 2012 $32 strike within minutes of the opening bell this morning to pocket premium of $0.43 per contract. The investor responsible for the trade walks away with the full amount of premium in hand as long as shares in USB fail to rally above $32.00 at expiration day. If the trader holds no position in the underlying, he or she is naked short the call options and may start to lose money in the event that USB’s shares soar 18.9% in the first half of 2012 to exceed the effective upper breakeven price of $32.43 at June expiration. U.S. Bancorp reports fourth-quarter earnings on January 18, 2011.
V - Visa, Inc. – The near-term prospects for shares in Visa, which today rallied to a fresh high of $101.97, are good according to investors initiating bullish positions in options-land this morning. The global payments technology company’s call options are quite active, with more than 3.5 calls changing hands on the stock for each…
by phil - July 22nd, 2011 8:22 am
Greece is getting another $229Bn at 3.5% with about 30 years to pay it from the EU (ie. Germany and France) and private bond-holders will share about 1/3 of the pain by "voluntarily" renegotiating their own notes. Sounds like a really great offer, right? BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Another $630Bn of already promised emergency aid has now been places into a very slushy fund that will now allow the EU to throw money at any nation that so much as sneezes – WHETHER OR NOT THEY ASK FOR ASSISTANCE. This will allow them to play economic Whack-A-Mole, putting out all the little Euro-zone fires until that money runs out (about 6 months at the EU’s current burn rate).
All this fantastic news from Europe has sent the Dollar down to test the 74 line and that was down from 75.37 just ahead of yesterday’s open and that’s a 1.8% drop so we would expect our indexes to go up at least 1.8% – BUT – none of them did. In fact, the Nasdaq only gained 0.72% and the Russell was up 1.07% and the Dow was up 1.21% and the S&P was up 1.35%. The NYSE, which had been our perennial laggard, did the best yesterday – gaining a close, but still no cigar 1.57%.
Will we make it up today or is this an indication that things may not be quite so good as they seem? After the close yesterday, I did a news round-up for our Members and there is still plenty to worry about and we took a stab at some SPY Weekly (today) $135 puts at .79 for our aggressive $25K Virtual Portfolio on the off-chance they "fix" the US debt ceiling and accidentally make the Dollar strong again. At the moment, we are still playing our short lines in the futures, where we’ve been scalping nickels and dimes since my 3:23 am Alert to Members (if you are not a Member, you can sign up here), where I said:
I like shorting the Futures here: S&P (/ES) at 1,346, Nas (/NQ) 2,415, Dow (/YM) 12,720 and Rut (/TF) 842.6 – as long as 74.20 hold on the Dollar, we should get a bit of a sell off so these are levels to look for as the Dollar heads
by phil - June 30th, 2011 8:26 am
It's the end of the Quarter as we know it and we feel fine.
We feel fine because we cashed out on the long side (shorter-term, unhedged positions) and we really don't care what the market does today or tomorrow but we are betting this rally reverses and we will be taking some (more) short hedges today – hopefully selling into the last legs of this fairly fake-looking rally.
In yesterday's Morning Alert to Members we grabbed a short-term TZA hedge and I reminded Members in this morning's Alert about our Jan TZA hedge from the 20th that is, so far, down .50 and we'll be putting on a new Jan hedge on TZA (now $35.50) and probably EDZ ($17.90) as our primary hedges against a global melt-down over the weekend.
Of course, if we were SURE we were going to collapse next week, we'd go with the July spreads but we're only hedging for disaster, not betting on it – at least not until after we fail all our Must Hold levels!
The Nasdaq will be a key good/bad indicator this morning as they ran EXACTLY to our Must Hold line yesterday in a mighty 3-day, 3% move. Our bullish indicator would be the NYSE breaking over 8,280 – that will keep us a little bullish until our lines begin to break again.
We'd better be making market progress as the Dollar is down at 74.86 again, back at the early June lows. I didn't think they could take the Dollar below 75 but they hit 74.54 last night and it remains to be seen if they can hold it down in real trading, especially with the Pound weakness (see this morning's Alert) and the Yen's unwanted strength. Something's gotta give and we're betting it's this fake, Fake, FAKE rally….
First we'll have to see how far down they can push the Dollar this morning and then we'll see what kind of bump they can give the indexes, which need a whopping 2% to flatten out to last Quarters 5% up finish for the year. I'm sure that's what the Banksters WANT to see for today's close (just over our 1.25% lines) but that would…
by ilene - September 1st, 2010 2:23 pm
Housing-keeping note: Thanks to WordPress’s destruction of Phil’s Favorites site (and replacement with an invite to sign up for its service!), I’ve been relocating my blog to TypePad. Benefits: it looks better, is very user friendly and offers an easy way to search archives for any topic. One unique feature is that while exploring the internet, I can simply click on a button to post an excerpt of an interesting article with a link to the full article. That ability allows me to post links to articles that are worth reading when I do not have reprinting permission, such as articles from major news sources.
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy (Poor boy)
I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
Little high, little low
Any way the wind blows
Doesn’t really matter to me, to me
Ilene and I started the Dark Horse Hedge on July 1, 2010 with the goal of helping self-directed investors weather any storm, no matter which way the wind was blowing. Today completes the second month of publishing the Dark Horse Hedge and we thought it would be a good time to review.
by ilene - August 2nd, 2010 2:48 am
Hedging into the week of August 2nd, the Dark Horse Hedge (DHH) is in a BALANCED tilt (long to short ratio) with 8 LONG and 8 SHORT positions. We used Phil’s BUY/WRITE strategy to enter two of our LONG positions (IM and GCI) at a 10-20% discount to the market. As you can see from the chart, the SPX wandered between the 50 and 200 day moving averages (MAs) all week before whimpering towards the bottom of the channel Thursday and Friday. The 12-26-9 MACD which is the faster of the 2 technical direction signals we follow has flat-lined at just above +6 and the slower RSI 14-day still remains just below 50.
Without some impressive economic reports coming this week or much better than expected earnings reports, we believe the market will drift down towards and test the 50 day MA. If a bullish tone sets back in, it is doubtful that it could easily push through the 200 day MA. Resistance points as well as the 50 and 200 day MAs all which fit into a fairly narrow trading channel.
[chart from FreeStockCharts.com]
We are happy with the positions we put on in DHH’s first 30 days of existence and we look forward to capturing more profit as the companies report earnings this week. We will continue to take profits "after the news" and rotate into newer, fresher positions while keeping an eye on the overall market to adjust our tilt for maximum Alpha*, which is why we all write and read DHH.
Summary of DHH positions in the virtual portfolio
LONG: XRTX, WDC, GCI, IM, DLX, GME, FRZ, and TEO
by Sabrient - July 23rd, 2010 4:08 am
You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.
You can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.
Lord, that I’m standin’ at the crossroad, babe, I believe I’m sinking down.
Crossroads, Robert Johnson
Heading into Friday July 23, 2010 the market is again at a technical crossroad with the SPX closing Thursday at 1093.7, above the 50-day Moving Average of 1085.5. The MACD 12-26-9 remains close but still under the (zero) signal line at -1.13, with the RSI 14-day at 45.26. There is lateral resistance at the 1096 level from the close last Thursday showing how the market has traveled a long way the past week to get nowhere.
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) fell short of analysts’ forecasts after Thursday’s close and was down 14% in after-hours trading, suggesting that the market may follow the pattern it has been in most of the summer.
Up 200, down 200, up 200, down 200 - wash out your savings, rinse and repeat! What a total sham of a market we have these days with machines running us up and down on virtually no news at all. Yesterday they would have you believe that Ben Bernanke caused a sell-off. How ridiculous is that? He didn’t say one thing that he didn’t already say in the Fed Minutes that were released on the 14th, which were the notes from the meeting of June 23rd so for analysts to get on TV and say “the markets were concerned by the Chairman’s comments” is beyond stupid – it’s criminal negligence. Phil’s Thrill-Ride Thursday.
[chart from freestockchart.com]
Thursday’s economic releases were less than encouraging with a jump in the number of people seeking unemployment benefits. Sales of previously owned homes fell, but the market shrugged it off as seasonal and rallied on the earnings of Caterpillar Inc., UPS Inc., and others that beat estimates. However, the…