by stjeanluc - May 3rd, 2015 5:11 pm
Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Since then, oil has hit a multi-year low at around $42.50 and is now approaching $60, still well below its highs of 2014 but probably closer to a breakeven price for American shale producers. In this post I want to see what ETF would have profited best from that rebound and also which one would have fared worse. Let's look at a couple of performance charts. First, the standard oil proxies based on the futures:
Oil (red) is up 40% since March 17 but what is interesting is how the pure oil ETFs are tracking that move. USO (blue) which is not leveraged is not tracking very well. In fact, it's up only about 27% or about 2/3 of the oil move. As expected, SCO (pink) is down, but clearly, the leveraging is not the 2x that you would expect as it's only down a bit less than 40%. And UCO (green), while the clear winner here, is only up 57% which is lower than the advertised 2x leverage factor. Once again, these future based ETF are victims of some decay.
Let's look at some ETFs not based on oil futures but who should benefit from an oil price rebound. In the next performance chart, we'll look at OIH and XLE.
by phil - October 15th, 2014 8:00 am
If what goes up, must come down – oil has a LONG way to fall:
As you can see, during the glorious Clinton era, oil prices generally stayed down in the $20s despite OPEC cutbacks (because Clinton counteracted them by releasing oil from the SPR), hurricanes, tornadoes, wars in the Middle East (we used to win them, you know), etc. Then, a real disaster struck and oil man GWB was elected to office.
Bush and his Enron buddies destablized the commodities markets (under looser regulations) and Bush started wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to catch Osama Bin Laden, who was in Pakistan and, while he had the US military destroying Iraq's 3Mbd production and burning up another 1 Million barrels of oil a day looking for Osama in all the wrong places, he was also BUYING an average of 500,000 barrels a day to stick in the ground – doubling the size and filling to the brim our strategic petroleum reserve.
That led to a "reserve oil gap" and, of course, other countries began building and filling their own SPRs as well so more oil was bought by more countries, only to be shoved into the ground and never used. This created a very false sense of demand for oil and, when the price of oil rose to the point where consumers could no longer afford to drive – President Bush gave every family $3,000 to spend on oil – and they did – and oil hit $140 a barrel. "Cha-ching" indeed!
But then the $3,000 was gone and so was the ridiculous spike in oil and it fell and fell and fell and fell and fell – all the way down to $35 before stabilizing for a few months around $40 and then heading back to $80 as the market doubled and then, since 2010, US production has jumped 50% and generally kept oil under $100, despite MASSIVE manipulation by the Banksters (see "Goldman's Global Oil Scam Passes the 50 Madoff Mark").
by phil - October 6th, 2014 8:03 am
Get ready for a wild week.
FOMC minutes are released on Wednesday at 2pm and there are a record 12 Fed speeches in the days that surround them. Expect the market to gyrate wildly with each tweetable quote and it all kicks off this afternoon with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, followed by KC's Hawkish Esther George at 8:30.
Tuesday we have Kocherlakota (hawk) and Dudley (dove), Wednesday is Evans (dove) and the minutes. Thursday we have Bullard (hawk), Tarullo (dove), Lacker (uber hawk) and Williams (dove) ahead of the realease of the Fed's shocking balance sheet and a look at the ever-expanding US Money Supply.
Friday ends with a bang as we hear from Plosser (uber hawk), George again, Fisher (uber hawk) and then Lacker again – so the hawks very much have the last word into the weekend. It's not much of a data week (next week is a doozy, though) and, to summarize it's hawk, hawk, dove, dove, hawk, dove, HAWK, dove, HAWK, hawk, HAWK, HAWK - do you think, perhaps, the Fed is trying to tell us something?
The next Fed meeting is October 28th and we'll hear their decision on the 29th. If they don't begin to tighten at this meeting, there is no way they'll do it right before Christmas at their last meeting on the 16th. It seems to me, they are going to be setting expectations for some hawkish action this week and the reaction will give them time to contemplate it going into the next meeting.
What's keeping us from getting too hawkish (bearish) is this chart from Macrobond, which points out that, the last 3 times 10-year rates have been this low, the Fed has begun major rounds of EASING, not tightening policies. QE increases the money supply and that forces note rates up to compensate and Jack Lew is the guy who has to borrow the money at those rates – so you can see how this week will all tie together once the dust settles.
As a hedge, for our Member Portfolios, we're favoring SQQQ (now $36.55) and DXD (now $24.52) to protect us from another…
by phil - October 2nd, 2014 8:14 am
Wheeeeeee - What a ride!
As with skiing, a nice drop can be lots of fun – if you are ready for it. If not, things can get broken… Supports were broken yesterday as we lost the 200-Day Moving Average on the NYSE (10,600) and the 50 dma on the Dow (16,930), Nasdaq (4,500) and the S&P (1,975).
We lost the Russell ages ago, when we made our Death Cross so "told you so" on that one. As I said at the time (9/16):
Of course, we've been telling you for weeks now that the markets were toppy but at least now it's getting obvious. The Fed may still pull a rabbit out of its ass and goose the markets once again but I very much doubt anything is going to stop the eventual correction now. Delay, maybe – stop, no.
Our trade idea that day in our morning post that day was:
If, however, you buy just $2,500 worth of the of the TZA Oct $13/16 bull call spread at $1 (25 contracts), they will pay you back $7,500 if TZA goes up about 15% (just a 5% move up in the RUT) AND they don't lose all their money until TZA is down 10% (a 3% move up in the RUT).
That trade is already 110% in the money and on it's way for a $5,000 per unit gain (200%) – a very nice way to hedge what is, so far, less than a 10% pullback in our indexes. What we do, once these hedges go in the money (if we're still bearish) is add another layer of hedges at higher strikes and we put a stop on our original hedges to lock in those gains. That's where we are now as we begain playing for a bounce yesterday in our Live Member Chat Room (you can join us HERE).
by phil - September 26th, 2014 8:02 am
That's how much our FREE Futures suggestions made between the time I put them in yesterday's morning post (8am) and the close of trading at 4pm. That's not bad for 6 hour's work, is it? As I said in the morning:
So, you may wonder, why would we want to go against the wishes of two of the most powerful people and short oil ($93.40), gasoline ($2.75), the Dow (17,150) and the Nikkei (16,350)? Well, that's because, as powerful as these people may be – they are still fighting physics in trying to make the markets do things they simply shouldn't be doing.
I'm sure ALL the newsletters you follow are able to give you equally profitable advice so, by all means, DON'T SUBSCRIBE HERE – especially ahead of the rate increase in October (sorry, inflation). But, can you really blame us for being pleased that we totally nailed the drop?
In fact, had you simply joined us on Wednesday and replicated our virtual Short-Term Portfolio, which was only up 53.4% at the time, you would have caught a ride from there to 60% in just two days. Last Thursday, the STP was up only 30%, so that's a 30% ($30,000) gain for the week as our bearish bets paid off and it very much offset the $15,560 decline in our bullish Long-Term Portfolio. So much so that we took some of our shorts off the table to get us more neutral into the morning (as we expect a slight bounce unless GDP sucks).
You don't have to trade the Futures to make great money on your hedges. Our DXD Oct $24 calls jumped from 0.50 on Tuesday (when I reminded you about them in the morning post) to 0.96 at yesterday's close – up 92% in 3 days! That's a good hedge, especially when you consider the Dow only fell 2.5%, so we got 36:1 leverage on that hedge – and THAT is how we balance our portfolios and protect them from sell-offs.
by phil - September 17th, 2014 7:37 am
Wow, what a recovery!
And wow, what complete and utter BS it is. They NYSE is still below 11,000 (our Must Hold line) and the Russell is still below it's 50 dma and we up on less than 10% of the volume (total) that sold off for the last two weeks. But, who cares as long as it paints a pretty picture?
We can thank the Wall Street Journal's Fed Whisperer, John Hilsenrath with yesterday's rally as he wrote not one but TWO articles that whipped traders into a frenzy on his "insider view" that the Fed "may keep the words "considerable time" in its policy statement." Oh, be still my heart! More free money? Really? Will wonders never cease?
Needless to say we took the opportunity to re-short the Dow Futures (/YM) at 17,050 and the S&P Futures (/ES) at 1,993 and the Nasdaq Futures (/NQ) at 4,060 and the Nikkei Futures (/NKD) at 15,950 – all of which we discussed in yesterday's Live Trading Webinar that was, sadly, a Members only affair (but you can join us here).
We also got a chance to short oil at $95 again (a level I published in yesterday's post) and we're thrilled with that and already this morning, it's back at $94.50 for $500 per contract gains. For non-futures players we grabbed the SCO Sept $30s at .25 as a fun play that inventories at 10:30 won't support $95 oil in much the way Fed policies at 2pm won't support these market levels. In fact, here's CNBC's Art Cashin telling you yesterday at noon what I told you pre-market, yesterday morning – BRILLIANT!
Art's actually one of the very few Wall Street analysts I respect (and not just because he repeats what I say), I've followed him since I was a kid – he's a fantastic guy and a lot of what I share with you – I learned from him. As you can see on the Big Chart, the Russell is the laggard and, if the indexes break higher – it's the index we'll go long on but our short bets…
by phil - August 5th, 2014 7:40 am
Actually it's a rule of thumb at PSW that dip buyers need to get burned 3 times before they wise up to a proper correction, so they still have at least another try in them before they finally walk away from this crazy market. As you can see from Oppenheimer's S&P chart, 56% of the S&P has plunged back below their 50 dma in the past 30 days.
This is EXACTLY what I've been warning you about. At the same time the indexes LOOKED like they were rallying, MOST stocks were actually being dumped while a few (AAPL, for expample) were kept aloft to maintain the ILLUSION that the market was still strong. That's how they keep the retail buyers moving in while the institutional investors head for the hills. Yesterday's action was nothing but another low-volume bounce – the kind we teach our Members to ignore:
Short-term, we're certainly oversold but we'll be very critical of a low-volume recovery until we see those 50 dmas retaken on the indexes. Those are way up at 16,877 on the Dow, 1,954 on the S&P, 4,368 on the Nasdaq, 10,912 on the NYSE and 1,160 on the Russell. Anything less than that and there's nothing to be particularly bullish about.
That doesn't stop us, of course, from picking individual short-term longs. On Wednesday, for example, I was on TV on Money Talk and we featured this play on GTAT as my "Options Play of the Month." Last night, GTAT knocked it out of the park on earnings and the stock shot up over 10% to $15+ already in pre-market trading. That will put us well on track to the full $14,000 return on this spread and a 1,650% gain on cash ($13,200 profit on the $800 we invested)! Not bad for a few day's work, right?
By the way, if you never want to miss trade ideas like GTAT again – sign up right here for Membership and you will be among the first to hear about our new trade ideas every day!
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 29th, 2014 8:28 am
Some of the people all of the time.
That's the basis for this rally – or what's left of it – as we see this pattern almost daily: A big(comparatively) volume sell-off followed by a "rally" on 1/3 to 1/4 of the volume that sold and then, once we hit a pre-programmed peak (about where we got to in the no-volume Futures), we have a bit of volume selling into the close.
This is how you can see those charts that show all the "smart money" running out of the market, even as the market goes higher. Why would they leave? Why would anyone leave this exciting market? The answer is, because those fund managers are well aware that, at some point, the music will stop and there will be no buyers to save them then. Best to get out now and avoid the rush.
That time was also "different," wasn't it? We had invented the Internet (well, Al Gore did) and easy monetary policy led to bank mergers and NAFTA ushered in an era of free trade that send tens of millions of jobs overseas, causing profits for US Corporations to soar and those good times were never going to end – until they did.
It's very hard to say when a rally like this will finally run out of gas but, when we stop making new highs and we have these BS daily, manipulative run-ups to cover the selling – that's probably a good time to get more cautious.
As noted on Dave Fry's S&P chart, it's ALL about the Fed and how much FREE MONEY the Fed will pump in and how long they will keep pumping it in, etc. You would think we'd be tired of the same old song and dance but why should we, when we GET PAID to join in?
Yesterday, for example, in our Live Member Chat Room, I called for a bottom on the Russell Futures (/TF), saying:
/TF below 1,130! One would hope that's it. Playable for a bounce over
by phil - July 25th, 2014 7:55 am
If you read yesterday's post and took action on our trade idea to short Oil Futures (/CL) at the $103 line, then you were able to pocket $1,000 PER CONTRACT in just 3 hours. In the Morning post (delivered to our Members via Email at 8:35 am), the trade idea was:
"We're still shorting Oil (/CL) Futures at that $103 line and we hit it again this morning and, hopefully, we'll get a nice pullback around 10:30 – after the natural gas report shows a nice build."
That's about on par for our Futures trading as we demonstrated LIVE in Tuesday's Live Trading Webinar $300 of Futures profits in less than an hour (replay available here). We'll be doing more Futures Webinars for our Members aside from our usual Tuesday Live Trading Webcasts (sign up for your Membership here so you don't miss our trade ideas).
How to trade the Futures is one of the many things we learn at Philstockworld – another thing is PATIENCE! Patience has kept us from chasing this rally as we once again top out the market. On Tuesday we took a nice, speculative bullish trade (but did not officially add it to our Portfolios) - just in case we do have a breakout – but, otherwise, we've been working on our downside protection.
We are FUNDAMENTAL traders who just so happen to use Options and Futures for leverage and hedging – simply because they are convenient and profitable instruments when used correctly. What we teach is not all that complicated – but it isn't easy either. That's why not many people trade Options and Futures – it requires discipline and takes time and practice to master – not really the kind of thing our education system prepares our students for these days….
YOU, however, should not be intimidated away from making money. Our basic concepts are VERY SIMPLE and the concepts are explained in quick videos like "How To Buy a Stock for a 15-20% Discount" and "The Secret to Consistent 20-40% Annual Returns" – something we are demonstrating this year in the 5 Virtual Portfolios we track for our Members.