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 - September 11th, 2012 7:50 am
Once again we're waiting on the Fed.
As you can see from the chart on the right, while we had a very impressive break-out last Friday, it was only impressive when you price the indexes in Dollars – priced in Euros, we were unable to break over the 50 dmas, which are in decline in a constant currency. The Dollar stopped going down yesterday and the markets stopped going up – it's a pretty straightforward relationship.
To be bullish on stocks and commodities here means you are bearish on the Dollar at 80 and, of course, bullish on the Euro at $1.28, which just so happens to be its own 50 dma ($1.2827). Should gold be higher than $1,750? Should oil be higher than $96.74? Should AMZN be higher than 260 with a p/e of 313?
It's not just AMZN, of course but that's one of our favorite shorts because, even with the most bullish of forward projections – they are still priced like dot com mania never left us at 8x the valuation of AAPL, who make 41 TIMES more money than AMZN. AAPL makes $25Bn a year on $108Bn in sales, AMZN make $600M on $48Bn in sales. AMZN has been around since 1994 – it's not like they just started doing this stuff. If AMZN doubled their bottom line without increasing sales, then they'd make $1.2Bn on $48Bn in sales, still 1/20th of AAPL's profits.
In order for AMZN to match AAPL's $25Bn in profits, even giving them a free double on margin, they would have to sell $1.8Tn worth of merchandise. That's 4 times bigger than WMT and would essentially mean that AMZN is the only retailer in the United States, with over 90% of the total retail market share. And that's JUST to get to AAPL's valuation! Isn't that completely ridiculous? The suckers buying AMZN don't seem to think so.
It's not just AMZN that has completely unrealistic pricing, of course, with the consumer taking it on the chin, much of Retail is way overpriced for realistic forward prospects. In fact, the p/e ratio of the entire S&P 500 is up to 15 again – about the value at which we usually…
by phil - September 5th, 2012 7:49 am
What a day yesterday. The Dow dropped over 100 points from the open but then, at 2 pm, a miracle occurred and we recovered almost all of our losses in just 30 minutes. We had similar action on the S&P and, as TA guru Dave Fry commented:
Our crack addicted trading desks believe in the Bernanke Put and the global central bank put. It’s quite apparent reading the news from China this morning as pundits were universally calling for more PBOC stimulus—it’s QE contagion. Moody’s cut their European outlook to negative which must be viewed two ways: Moody’s gets no respect and it means more QE.
Speaking of which the ECB is rumored to be launching “unlimited” bond buying (QE) with “conditions” (whatever those might be). The bond buying is said to be 0-3 year maturities with the implication being the problems of austerity and debt would beClouseau-like “sol-ved” during that period. Given that sort of optimism you’d not be incorrect in assuming the ECB will need a bailout itself down the road.
As you can see from Dave's SPY chart, the real volume for the day came to the downside while more volume sold off into the close than took us up in the afternoon.
That's the beauty of the HFT algos – they punch the market up all afternoon and then dump it on the mutual funds that come in after the bell and buy (for you – you retail sucker) at the day's closing prices. Pump and dump – that's the game the big boys get to play every day and it's clear as a bell that yesterday was dump, pump and dump with 2-3 times more volume selling that buying.
That's why this chart of On Balance Volume has such a massive divergence, again, much like the one that led to a 20% drop in the market last year that "no one saw coming." OBV measures buying and selling pressure as a cumulative indicator that adds volume on up days and subtracts volume on down days – clearly…
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…
by phil - August 28th, 2012 8:29 am
Seriously, this is 4 Tuesday's in row – is anyone seeing a pattern?
Of course this Tuesday we are 100 Dow points lower than we were last Tuesday and the BS pre-market pump job at 6am has already faded (7:30) although we're still working short bets on the Russell futures (/TF) and the Euro (EUR/USD) from 813 and $1.256 as I put up a note in early morning Member Chat as we spiked on – get this – the news that Draghi cancelled his appearance at Jackson Hole this weekend.
Why would it be good that Draghi is NOT going to the last Central Bankster conference of the year but the buzz is that he MUST be so close to a masterful solution to all of Europe's problems that he can't be bothered to gather with his brother bankers on the eve of his triumph. The announcement was timed to coincide (10 minutes before) bond auctions by Spain ($2Bn 3-month notes at 0.95%) and Italy ($3.75Bn of 2-year notes at 3.06%) and the Euro jumped 0.7% into the auction – lowering the effective rates and both auctions were a "success".
That pulled the EU markets off the floor (still down half a point at 8am) and got the US futures out of the red zone as we finally pushed the Dollar under that pesky 81.50 line, goosing the indexes and commodities. Unfortunately, it's just a sugar rush and we've already run out of steam but I'm sure someone will start another rumor around 9:15 to get us back to green into the open.
As I said last Tuesday, with the Dollar at 81.50 we're looking for adjusted levels of: Dow 13,464, S&P 1,428, Nasdaq 3,060, NYSE 8,160 and Russell 816 and we held the Nasdaq yesterday but that was all so no reason to capitulate on our bearish stance just yet. Last Tuesday we also discussed 3 more trades (there we 3 the Tuesday before) to make 300% if the market did break higher and our first batch had several 100% winners so let's see how our 3 new trades did in a downtrend:
- 2 FAS Oct $107/117 bull call spreads at $2.05, selling 1 BBY 2014 $15 puts for $3.75 for net .35 is now net $1.52 – up 334%
- AGQ Oct $38/45 bull call spread at $3.10, selling BTU 2014 $20 puts for $3.60 for
by phil - July 5th, 2012 8:16 am
Before we begin – let's catch up on the Libor scandal:
"The Global Banking Industry relies on London having virtually no regulatory oversight. The bulk of the Global financial crimes occur in London. David Cameron, of course, is keen to protect the franchise of the city of London – it's the big profit center for his country and his Government – essentially peddling in fraud."
That is the key point made by Max Keiser (7:20) in the above video. As Keiser points out, fraud and manipulation are rampant in the Global Financial Markets and have been for years. I've been saying so and we have great systems to profit from the manipulation of fraudulent markets but they wouldn't work so well if the markets were not a sham, would they?
While I'd love to go back to picking value stocks in clean market environment – I'm certainly not holding my breath. Fining BCS $450M for making Billions of Dollars in a conspiracy to defraud Trillions of Dollars of Global investors over periods of years means you shouldn't hold yours either. I'm pretty sure we can expect more of the same for a long, long time.
This morning the Euro and the Dollar have been flying up and down along with our index futures on rumors that China will or won't be easing (100-point swings in the Dow pre-market) or that the ECB will or won't ease and that other countries will or won't kick in stimulus. You know, the same old crap we've been hearing since early June – giving us roughly 10% gains across the International board – even as the Global Economic Data continues to decay:
We are still "constructively bullish" which is what led us to stay cashy and cautious short-term, while holding bullish on our long-term bets. We haven't got any strong downside bets as we have clear lines at those 50 dmas (red) with the 20 dmas (blue) curving up sharply to give us support before we feel compelled to go bearish again. Of course, this "rally" has been a lot of low-volume BS – hence the "cashy and cautious" stance. We have had no reason yet to actually go bearish and, since we added most of our long-term longs in early June – we have quite a while before we do become…
by phil - June 28th, 2012 8:28 am
.DE is Germany's web domain.
So I'm trademarking .DEspair to consolidate all the anti-EU statements coming out of Germany this week as the rhetoric reaches a crescendo and goes up from there. .EU is, of course the EU domain and .EUphoria is where we will store all the glowing pro-EU rhetoric that makes the market rise (until someone in Germany says something).
It's a typical case of .DE said, SH.Eu said and all the kiddies can do is hide in their room until Mommy and Daddy stop fighting.
Things were getting silly enough on the plus side as we rallied for no reason at all that we added a very aggressive short position on the Russell using TZA. My 3:07 comment in Member Chat was:
Big RUT move makes TZA fairly cheap at $20 and the July $20/24 bull call spread is $1, which makes for a nice hedge and if the RUT pops, you can offset it with the July $18 puts, now .45, for $1 or better or, of course, there's always the TWIL List!
We had no long plays to make yesterday as we added them all when the market was much lower (told you so!) and now it has moved to the top of the bottom of our range and we pick up a short – this is not rocket science, folks. It's going to be a choppy, terrible market until either the EU saves us by tomorrow or we crash and burn horribly and my comment to Members in the Morning Alert at 10:24 was:
We still need the Dollar to go lower and this morning it's zooming higher (82.80) and keeping us from a better move up on the indexes. This will go on for the next few days with each syllable uttered by anyone of presumed authority in the EU so – if you can't stand the heat – stay in cash!
The Dollar had worked it's way down to 82.50 into the close but now (8am) it's been jammed back to 82.90 as the Euro plunges back to $1.2426 on whatever silly thing someone just said. Financials are dragging everyone down as they are DOOMED if the EU can't pull things together.
by phil - May 31st, 2012 8:06 am
That's how much the Dollar has risen in the month of May. Should we be surprised then, that the S&P has fallen 7.2% – from 1,415 to 1,313? The Dow is down 900 points and that's 6.7% etc. Are the chart's, in fact, giving us a misleading view of how well our markets are doing? I said to Members in this morning's chat:
Big Chart still indicating a constructive floor although it doesn't feel like it. Don't forget we're supposed to adjust our lines vs the Dollar and the Dollar is up 5.4% in May. This is a BIG factor because it means ALL stocks should be 5.4% cheaper when you buy them with Dollars so look 2 2.5% lines higher and THAT's where we've recovered to – back to our April highs in a Dollar-neutral market.
Will the Dollar go up forever and keep shoving the indexes lower? Probably not and, if the Euro ever comes back and the Dollar falls – we will see a spectacular rally and all the bears will whine about how unfair it is ect. but I'll tell you right now it's a very simple and natural thing for us to have a sudden 2.5-5% pop on any can-kicking resolution from Europe and/or stimulus from the Fed.
It's very impressive that we've made any progress at all since the 21st as the Dollar has moved 2.4% since then (81-83) and that also means gold is holding up pretty well and gasoline is a huge rip-off as well as, of course TLT is up to 126.16 because the Dollars the notes are priced in are rising and that's part of your net gains in TBills too.
Back in the last Euro panic in 2010, when the Euro dropped to $1.19,
by phil - March 6th, 2012 7:35 am
Romney, Newt or Santorum?
In the movie "Sophie's Choice," Meryl Streep was forced to make a terrible decision over which of her children would be sent to the gas chamber and which to the labor camps. Even after choosing, she was unable to live with the decision and she and her husband killed themselves, which manages to further screw the boy who was sent off to the labor camps, now an orphan too. That pretty much sums up this Primary season for the Republicans as they have to choose between 3 TERRIBLE candidates – any one of which is a pretty clear path towards National suicide.
A recent Gallup poll indicated 55% of Republican voters say they wish someone else was running but, that leaves 45% happy with their choices (I guess if they were Sophie, they would have just flipped a coin and been done with it) and perhaps today we'll get a better indication of who the front-runner is as 410 delegates go up for grabs today, which is much less than last election, when John McCain alone scored 511 delegates on Feb 5th, 2008. Interesting Republican trivia: On that day in 2008, Mitt Romney came in 2nd with 176, Mike Huckabee had 147 and Dr. Ron Paul scored 10. So Romney was only 1/3 as popular as McCain 4 years ago and I'm pretty sure McCain got his ass kicked in the General elections, didn't he?
Something has to change in this country as 93% of all income gains in 2010 (most recent figures) went to the top 1%. 93%. How does this work? In 2010, average real income per family grew by 2.3%, but the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.2%. Looking ahead to last year, National Accounts statistics show that corporate profits and dividends distributed have grown strongly in 2011 while wage and salary accruals have only grown only modestly. Unemployment and non-employment have remained high in 2011.
While it is very, VERY good to be in the top 1%, being in the bottom 99% – not so much. What I try to get the top 1% to see though, is that getting 45% of the growth, like we did under Clinton, is pretty good – especially when it means that EVERYONE is participating in economic improvements and the overall growth is…