by phil - October 24th, 2012 8:32 am
AAPL is a total disaster.
There's no denying it now, they had their IPad Mini event yesterday and investors charged out of the stock, dropping it from a high of $633 (which is already 10% off the Sept highs) to close at $613 and that was finally weak enough to get us to capitulate and roll back our AAPL positions to longer-term trades that have less upside but, more importantly, less downside as we are no longer confident they'll be able to turn it around on Friday.
Notice how silly it seems to talk about how poorly AAPL is performing when the chart on the right pretty clearly indicates it's the greatest stock on Earth but that would be the logical conclusion for a company that's on track to earnings $43Bn this year, which is $81,811 a minute – more even than what they were tracking to make last month, when I set out bottom target at $600 (and that spread is an even better buy now) AND, only 68% of what they are projected to make next year!
We didn't really think it would hit $600 – that was our worst-case but here we are – at the worst case and, since we are no longer able to say with conviction that it can't get any worse, we had to back our short-term plays to something that buys us more time. In that same post we liked HPQ at $14.30 and at least they are holding that line and we also had a nice spread on that stock in the same post, which is still holding up as a new spread.
In that post I mentioned (as usual) our primary hedge being TZA and the straight-up April $15 calls mentioned there have gone up another .40, from $2.50 to $2.90 off our $2.10 entry (up 38%) – not bad against just a 15-point drop in the Russell (down 2%).
Yesterday, with our hedges already in place (see last Wednesday's TZA hedge and this Monday's DIA hedge) we had the luxury of doing some bottom-fishing yesterday with long trade ideas on TIVO at $9.78, USO at $31.75, AAPL at $623, CMG at $238 and our last trade idea for the day was SQQQ at $41.20 (that one, of course, is another hedge – always look for BALANCE!) – just…
by phil - October 19th, 2012 8:30 am
25 years ago today, the market fell 22%.
You never know what's going to panic the markets – since then we've had many other sudden corrections like Black Friday just 2 years later and Black Wednesday in September 1992, we've had the dot.com collapse and 9/11 and whatever you call 2008 and recently we had Dubai and Greece leading to sudden crashes and the ubiquitous flash crash and whatever happened last August (Europe again).
So stock markets are dangerous places to keep your money, on the whole. That's why TZA (ultra-short Russell) is our primary hedge in the Income Portfolio and, as I mentioned in last Wednesday's post, should the S&P fail to hold 1,440, then the Dow has little support all the way down to 13,295 as well. Just this Tuesday, I reiterated a TZA spread Members could use for general portfolio coverage:
Ultra hedges/Bdon – You just can't beat TZA at $15. The Jan $12/15 bull call spread is $1.50 so 100% upside if TZA simply doesn't go any lower. If they do go lower, you can sell the April $11 puts, now .50 for $1 (the Apr $12 puts are .92) before your $1.50 is even out of the money and then you'd be in the Jan $12s at net .50 and worst case is you get assigned at net $11.50 in April but, of course, you can roll or simply accept the assignment and cover and then you have more long-term protection.
We like to buy our protection when the market is going up – it's cheaper that way! TZA was at $14.75 at yesterday's close and the Jan spread was still about the same $1.50 but it's $2.75 in the money – all we need is for TZA to not go down (Russsell not to go up) and we make a tidy profit. That's a good way to hedge because the only way that hedge loses money is if the market breaks higher.
We're not turning bearish yet but, as we're seeing some pretty serious misses (GOOG and CMG yesterday, for example) and some pretty strong reactions to those misses – it is a good time to make sure people do remember the value of hedging. If nothing else, it's a piece of mind that lets us ride out these dips without worry. Also, of course, it's good to…
by phil - October 18th, 2012 8:03 am
EU leaders are meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow.
For anyone who's been paying attention for the last two years – that's usually not a good thing and, as we noted yesterday, it was a strong Euro and a weak Dollar that was driving our little rally. The Dollar bottomed out at 79 and the Euro topped out at $1.314 and the Euro's strength sent the Yen back up to 79.30 to the Dollar (weaker) and that led to a 2% Nikkei rally last night. As you can see from the chart on the right, the S&P for the week is 1% behind UK and Germany and 2.5% behind France and Italy (+4%) and Spain (+7%) – so we have a lot of catching up to do if this rally is real and sustainable.
Still, I sent out an Alert to Members early this morning noting that the Global Markets were holding up well as of 6am and that was encouraging. Yesterday we discussed taking advantage of the run-up in the Russell to make a TZA hedge to lock in some of our gains (see main post) but we still haven't covered XLF (target $16.50 – see Dave Fry's chart) and we're still bullish on AAPL as well. We cashed that ISRG play, as planned for $9 on the spreads (200x = $1,800), spending .30 x 200 ($60) to buy back the callers so that, with the $200 we were paid to take the position is just short of our $2,000 goal at net $1,960 – not bad for a day's "work".
In Member Chat this morning, we discussed GOOG's outlook for earnings this evening and decided they were more likely topping than popping so we have that risk to the Nasdaq for tomorrow. IBM was an 80-point drag on the Dow yesterday but it did manage to finish flat and advancers led decliners on the NYSE by 2:1 so the conditions are still there for a rally and hopefully what we have here a a pause that refreshes and not a triple top from the mid-September highs.
The Nasdaq and the Russell are, in fact, in downtrending channels and, for the Nasdaq, their fate rests on GOOG tonight and AAPL next Thursday – but it's still a long way back to the highs at 3,200.
by phil - October 4th, 2012 8:32 am
What a debate last night!
One of the candidates will lower taxes for the middle class and small businesses while slamming shut loopholes on the rich and Big Business, limiting their deductions and raising taxes if needed, he will provide national health-care and concentrate on jobs, punishing outsourcers and educating US workers to get them on the path to full employment. The other candidate is already President. Romney now claims there will be no 20% tax cut for the rich – I assume his rich backers assume he's lying to get elected (lying doesn't bother them) and President Obama was in no way prepared to debate the guy who showed up yesterday and he lost the debate in an embarrassing fashion.
From a market perspective, we were playing the weakness as nervousness ahead of the debates and accumulating long positions as planned yesterday. Oil blew past the $88.50 target I set in yesterday's morning post – all the way to $87.70 before finally bouncing back and hitting our target again overnight (now $88.64). That drop from $91.22 in the Futures was good for $3,500 per contract in the Futures but, of course, we were done being short, as planned at $88.50 and in fact made a couple of bullish trades – long on USO at $33 (as planned) and short on SCO at $44. We'll see how they work out today but up at the open is a good sign.
HPQ was irresistible as it tested $15 (long-term positions) and BBY gave us a good entry again at $17.50. We made a quick 50% on the TNA weekly $61.50 calls, which we grabbed for $1 in our $25,000 Virtual Portfolio at 10:09 in Member Chat and we caught a nice move up to $1.50 not even 30 minutes later as our 838 line (weak bounce) on the Russell continues to hold.
Our bullish stance on AAPL finally paid off as the stock went from $660 to $672 at the close – hopefully $680 is next. Gasoline only got to $2.75 (we were hoping for $2.70) but is back to $2.86 already in pre-market trading (/RB).
As you can see from Dave Fry's Russell chart, we're still in a bullish consolidation – just below our breakout level and today, so far, we don't have rising Dollar headwinds to hold us back…
by phil - October 3rd, 2012 8:18 am
1,440 – Again.
That's right, we have made not one inch of progress since we had the same exact title in last Wednesday's post, when I said: "This is the part where the MSM begins to realize that Manufacturing is slowing down, stimulus won't create jobs, earnings are not going to be as good as expected, Europe is not fixed, housing is not as strong as expected andthe stock market is being manipulated. Yep, all the stuff I've been telling you for months." Our plan was to buy into the dip and that's what we've been doing the past week as our short-term virtual portfolios are now much more bullish than they were a week ago.
As you can see from Dave Fry's weekly SPY chart, we're still in an uptrending channel and still over the major support line at 1,420 and we tested 1,430 at the end of last week but have, so far, held 1,440 this week.
Last week we were all worried about Spain because they were rioting in the streets and this week we are all worried about Spain because they haven't requested a bail-out yet. "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose," as they say in the country next to Spain…
In Member Chat last Wednesday, we took advantage of Oil Futures (/CL) testing $90 to go long and by the end of the week it was back to where we liked to short it at $93 and this morning, ahead of inventories, oil is at $91.22 but we're not long today as we don't expect the bulls to have much to get excited about but, if we get a dip to $88.50 that holds – we'd like to go long there. As you can see from this USO chart – we're pretty well stuck in the channel but the bottom is about $89 so I'm thinking a build this morning takes us just below the $33 line on USO.
AAPL was at $666 last Wednesday and they closed at $665 yesterday but we've worked ourselves into a more bullish position there (we had several long-term bullish trade ideas on AAPL in Member Chat that day). XLF was holding $15.50 and we went longer there – now $15.69. We added QQQ Oct $70s at .30 and yesterday we had the chance to add them again…
by phil - September 12th, 2012 8:27 am
Europe is getting a $650,000,000,000 bailout!
The German courts approved the ESM and the markets are up almost half a point in all the excitement. Stimulus really works, doesn't it? As I have been saying, all this stuff is baked in – the only shocker you'll see is if Uncle Ben fails us – again – tomorrow. For those of you with very short attention spans, he just failed to provide QE3 at Jackson Hole two weeks ago but the markets have rambled higher, unperturbed, because he didn't say he WOULDN'T give us QE3.
What should really worry the bulls this morning is that the Dollar dipped all the way to 79.64 on this fantastic news out of Germany and all the futures managed was to get back to yesterday's highs. Oil had a good old time rocketing to $98 but has already crossed our shorting spot at $97.50 (/CL) and we'll likely take the money and run on any turn back up and short them again AHEAD of inventories, which should show a nice build as the shipping channels re-open.
As noted in Member Chat this morning (among many other things), there are over 600M barrels on order at the NYMEX and as of the 20th, 165M of those barrels have to be rolled to the next 3 months that already have over 500M barrels on pretend order so we can expect some real scrambling out of oil longs between now and next Thursday (we're short on oil with SCO Oct $37 calls, now $2.45 in addition to our Futures targets).
What's keeping oil prices from tanking (also discussed this morning) is another round of "Israel Willl Attack Iran By Lunch" articles that seem to crop up every time NYMEX traders find themselves faking demand for more contracts than they can comfortably unload. Usually, that number is 500,000 contracts (1,000 barrels per contract), not 600,0000 and usually the new month they are rolling into only has 40M open barrel orders – not stuffed with 110M barrels already like January is.
Clearly demand for crude has fallen off the cliff – as evidenced by the chart on the right which illustrates how a combination of the recession and Obama's rising CAFE standards are causing a very steady drop in US demand by as much as 2Mbd less than we used in 2007.
by phil - September 7th, 2012 8:30 am
This rally is never going to end!
Just look at this chart – we're breaking every level. THIS time is different – not only are we going to go on to 1,450, we're going to 1,500 and 1,550 and then 1,600 and then we're going to 1,700 and 1,800 and 1,900 and then we're going on to take on 2,000 – yeeeeeergh!
Sorry, I was channeling my inner Dean… Now that I've calmed down, I realize that this chart that got me so excited was actually the chart from March 5th and, as you can see from my end of February headlines like "Sell in March and Go Away," "This is the End – But For Who?" and "Fake-Out Thursday (March 8th) – Dollar Sacrificed on an Altar of Lies" – where I pointed out that rumors of more Fed easing (by John Hilsenrath of the WSJ, of course) had dumped the Dollar to 79 and that was accounting for the 1% gain in the S&P that day so – don't be fooled!
The ECB had just dropped $712,800,000,000 in fresh stimulus on the 29th and I asked "Will Another $712Bn Buy Us Another Day at 13,000?" Was I early? Yes. Did we miss the end of the rally? Yes. In fact, our $25,000 Portfolio at the time was so bearish, we were down almost $8,000 with huge bearish bets like 10 Short XRT March $55 calls, 10 short GLL March $17 puts, 10 April SCO 31/39 bull call spreads and 10 SCO short March $34 puts, 5 short FAS $88 calls, 5 March TZA $18 calls, 10 short SQQQ June $14 puts, 40 USO April $40 puts, 5 short FAS March $75 calls, 10 long FAS March $85 calls and 10 short FAS March $89 calls (a bearish spread), 10 TLT March $114/115 bull call spreads and 10 DIA March $129 puts.
The only bullish play we had at the time in our virtual portfolio was DMND, where we had 4 hopeless June $29 calls which we lucked out on when they spike on rumors in mid-March. Every other bullish position had been dumped and we were practically 100% bearish because the rally, at that point, seemed totally ridiculous. Just a months later, the Portfolio turned around and was up $8,000 and by May…
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 demand over the summer.
How much of a reduction? Thanks to the manipulation of our nation's strategic resources for…
by phil - August 21st, 2012 6:58 am
Here we go again (again)!
Yep, that's what I said last Tuesday and the Tuesday before that because Tuesday is a day they push the Futures higher and ditch the Dollar and tell you that this time it's different because of the same rumors they had the Tuesday before only this week – the data is getting worse and worse, as we know is better, right?
Last Tuesday we set levels to capitulate and go fully bullish at Dow 13,464, S&P 1,428, Nasdaq 3,060, NYSE 8,160 and Russell 816 and, as of yesterday's close we had the Nasdaq and the Russell over their marks needing just one confirmation to make it 3 of 5 and begin to flip our short-term portfolios (the $25KPs) bullish. We are soooo close but, so far – no cigar.
While we waited, we looked at some upside hedges that would do well if the market continued higher. Just as we get downside protection when we're bullish – we use upside protection when we're bearish and I suggested taking 5% or 10% positions in aggressive upside plays to help balance a bearish portfolio against – well against exactly what happened in the past 7 days. Our trade ideas were:
- 2 FAS Oct $105/115 bull call spread at $2, selling 1 BBY 2014 $18 puts for $3.25 for net .75, now $1.15 – up 53%
- 2014 SHLD $32.50 puts sold for $7.50, now $6.40 – up 15%
- 6 EWJ Jan $9 calls at .53, selling 1 BBY 2014 $18 put at $3.25 for a net .07 credit, still net .07 credit – even
- TNA Oct $55/61 bull call spread at $2.50, selling Oct $42 puts for $1.90 for net .60, now $1.80 – up 200%
The BBY puts jumped over 20% yesterday, from below $3 to $3.75 and that killed two of our trades (and worse today after earnings!), that were up significantly in Friday's update (which is why we take quick gains like that off the table). The good news is the EWJ play gives us a nice, new entry at the same net price so that one is still good and, of course, we are done with TNA after making 200% in a week and we'll find a fresh horse for that money.
by phil - July 26th, 2012 8:25 am
ECB President Mario Draghi said they "stand ready to do whatever it takes to save the Euro."
That was enough to send the Dow Futures flying up 200 points at 6am (where we shorted them at 12,800 along with S&P at 1,350, RUT at 780 and Oil at $90) because no one cared that he also said "within our mandate" nor do the bulls seem to realize that this is already year 3 of the ECB doing "whatever it takes" to save the Euro and, apparently, it takes a HELL OF A LOT MORE than what they've already done.
We were silly, we should have flipped more bullish last night as Spain's 10-year yields hit 7.75% – new highs on Spain and Italy's 10-year have been pretty reliable BS triggers for more happy talk from the ECB, because "whatever it takes" is lying to investors and posturing and bluffing – WHATEVER IT TAKES to stop these rates from heading to double digits, which necessitated a $500Bn bailout for Greece and would mean TRILLIONS for Spain and EVEN MORE TRILLIONS for Italy.
If you don't think there's a limit to "whatever it takes" – see how fast the EU comes up with one Trillion – let alone five it would take for Spain and Italy (as if it would stop there). I have, sadly, seen hospitals do "whatever it takes" to keep terminal patients alive – they do a lot but, in the end, the patient still dies.
Of course, our motto at PSW is "We don't care IF the markets are manipulated as long as we can figure out HOW the markets are manipulated and place our bets accordingly" so, early this morning, I put a note up for our Members, indicating how ridiculous the move was and indicating the shorting targets on the Futures. Just yesterday, right in the morning post, I mentioned our shorting target for the Dow Futures (/YM) was 12,650 and we hit it 2 times after the open with 2 drops below 12,600 where we stopped out with $500 per contract gains. Those are just the free ideas folks!
Every quarter, during earnings month, we like to show off with a few free trade ideas to give non-Members a chance to have some fun. We've been nailing it this month but July is almost over and so are…