by phil - November 16th, 2012 8:32 am
Falling, falling, falling.
That's all the markets have been doing lately. As you can see from our Big Chart – it's been a pretty orderly sell-off according to our 5% rule with roughly a 4-5% drop during October with some consolidation, followed by a much steeper 4-5% drop after the election.
We're back to the point where we expect resistance at an 8% total drop as well as some bounce action where once again we'll be measuring for strong or weak bounces to determine whether or not we can get a turn again (our indicators kept us bearish last time). Regarding the current action, I said to our Members yesterday in Chat:
I think there is a lot of selling as people take capital gains while they can. I think that it's very possible that it's going to be very difficult to get a proper rally into the end of the year because there are plenty of people waiting for a rally to take their gains, whether through timing or position. The problem with this state of not knowing is it becomes prudent for people to hedge for the worst and, if someone had a 20% gain for the year and now it's 15% and they can take it off now and keep 12.75% (after 15% tax) vs possibly hitting another 5% drop and running down to 8.5% this year or possibly 7% (at 30%) if they wait until next year and there's no recovery (and the more the cliff looms the less likely recovery seems) then it almost doesn't make sense not to take the 12.75% and run. So that's very possibly the selling pressure we see and it may continue to be relentless into the end of the year unless there is some sort of resolution or delay to the cliff.
While we don't think the Fiscal Cliff will end up being a big deal – that doesn't stop others from panicking. This week we've been scooping up positions they have been running away from but, if we're going to have another leg down – we'll be needing those disaster hedges (see Wednesday's post) to keep us out of trouble. It doesn't take much to profit from a downturn, fortunately, when we use good hedges. On Wednesday I suggested the TZA April $17/24 bull call spread for $1.40, selling the $14…
by phil - November 14th, 2012 8:31 am
What was that mess yesterday?
As you can see from David Fry's SPY chart, we went up and finished down but the volume was a bit lower to the upside than the sell-off into the close. MSFT and INTC led us to the downside – no surprise really as we discussed both this weekend as Dow components to avoid in the current cycle.
There was no significant economic data, just the usual nonsense about Greece and, of course, the drumbeat of fear regarding the US fiscal cliff that the MSM is banging 24/7. "What's up with that fiscal cliff" is now how 90% of my conversations begin with anyone who knows what I do for a living.
I now find that it's easier to say "Oh, we're all totally doomed" than to explain why we're not because when, for example, I say this to one of my Mother's friends – they nod wisely and agree with me while, if I try to explain why they shouldn't worry so much – they get all confused and then say to my Mom – "I thought he was supposed to understand the stock market."
I guess I should have tried this with my children. Rather than sitting up for 15 minutes or so explaining why there are not monsters under their bed – I could have just agreed with them and said "Yep, big hungry ones!" Maybe they'd never sleep again but at least I'd sound knowledgeable about monsters and the imminent dangers they posed to sleeping children.
Stocks are now at 3-month lows and it's been a month since we strung together 2 up days in a row (Oct 15-17) with the S&P falling from 1,470 on Oct 5th to yesterday's low of 1,371 fir a 99-point drop in 25 trading sessions (6.8%) – losing an average of 4 S&P points a day with 1,360 being our Must Hold line on the Big Chart. The S&P and the NYSE are both, so far, holding their lines (NYSE is 8,000) and they are our broadest indexes but we're pretty close to having to layer our disaster hedges as we cross those -7.5% lines.
The S&P was at 1,440 when we put up our latest round of disaster hedges on the 20th of October. Before that, we had just been using TZA as our primary hedge –…
by phil - September 14th, 2012 8:28 am
$85Bn a month!
Oh boy was I wrong when I said Ben Bernanke wasn't crazy enough to ease into a bull market. Yesterday, he exercised the full power of the Federal Reserve to confiscate your wealth and hand it over to the bankers. That's right, by engaging in what many consider reckless money-printing practices and announcing there is no end in sight, Bernanke caused the Dollar to fall below 79, down from 84 (6%) before all this QE talk began.
That's like taking all $100Tn worth of US Assets – everything you worked for your entire life – and just devaluing them by 6%. Many of our Conservative friends decry the 1% tax on wealth imposed by the French – but at least they are honest about it. At least they debate it and vote on it. Not Bern Bernanke – the Federal Reserve Chairman simply decrees that you will contribute 6% of your dollar-denominated assets towards more bank bail-out and there's no cut-off if you are below the top 2% – this is a confiscation from every man, woman and child in America.
How far down will Dr. Bernanke take your Dollars? That's the beauty of it – there's no limit! He warned Corporate America yesterday that he will continue to give them FREE MONEY as long as they keep refusing to hire more workers. The less American workers they hire – the more money he will give them. Sure, they can hire and spend overseas (most are) because that won't affect US unemployment rates but, if they start hiring Americans – THAT's when he will begin to take away the punch bowl.
See how this scam works?
It is hard to see how another round of QE would help the economy. Long-term interest rates are already at historic lows. With rates this low, even if QE put effective downward pressure on rates — a dubious proposition — the economy would be unlikely to benefit. If a 3.5% mortgage rate is of little consequence, there is no reason to believe that a 3.4% or even 3.3% rate would suddenly produce results.
Nor would quantitative easing result in a burst of money creation, as per traditional monetary policy, because the Fed now pays a quarter-point interest on excess bank reserves. With little growth in the demand for…
by phil - July 30th, 2012 7:58 am
So, where's our stimulus?
Like good little Pavlovian dogs, we ran back into the markets last week when Mario Draghi rang the stimulus bill – increasing the $60Tn global markets by 5% – that's $3Tn of valuation added in 48 hours on the say-so of a former GS executive that has been put in charge of the European Central bank. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario?
If we can't trust the Investment Bankers who are taking over our Government, who can we trust? So we'll assume that everything WILL be fixed this week and that the ECB, Fed, PBOC, BOE, BOJ and all the little Central Banksters will be pumping enough money into the system to justify a $3,000,000,000,000 increase in Global Equity prices – even though that means, at an average p/e of 15, that all this expected stimulus somehow drops an additional $200Bn to the bottom line of Big Business to justify the bump in valuation.
How many Dollars, Yen, Euros and Yuan do we have to give to Corporations to turn into $200Bn? Well, if it's AMZN – the answer is $15Tn because it takes $50Bn in sales for AMZN to make $600M so figure 75x in sales to make 1x in earnings. Why use AMZN? Well because AMZN is almost 5% of the Nasdaq and it was their amazing run last week, on what rational people would consider poor earnings, that reversed the downtrend initiates by AAPL's (who are 15% of the Nasdaq) miss.
I guess it's obvious why we're short AMZN (see Dave Fry's chart) but let's look at AAPL now, who are quite a bit more efficient at dropping Dollars to the bottom line. Last year, AAPL took in $108Bn and made a profit of $26Bn – now THAT'S a good company! So let's pretend that all companies are as good as AAPL and nowhere near as bad as AMZN at converting sales to profits.
Now to get that additional $200Bn in Corporate Profits we only need about $800Bn in stimulus – assuming, of course, that money actually went to people who would spend it and not to Banksters who are still trying to back-fill multi-Trillion Dollar holes in their mark-to-fantasy balance sheets. $800Bn is a doable number so let's pretend it is enough to justify a 5% bump in the market and now we know…
by phil - July 24th, 2012 8:49 am
Tut, tut, it does not look like rain.
You would think the worst drought in 80 years would merit more than the occasional mention in the Financial media – I've seen CNBC do one-hour specials on the marijuana crops so you'd think actual FOOD would maybe make it a little higher on the list of concerns for the MSM – especially when we are experiencing the worst drought of the past 80 years and the last one that was this bad led to a Global Depression (along with, of course, National Debt Crises and Financial Failures but mission accomplished there already).
You would think the drought has somehow fallen into a Somebody Else's Problem Field, where individuals/populations of individuals choose to decentralize themselves from an issue that may be in critical need of recognition. Such issues may be of large concern to the population as a whole but can easily be a choice of ignorance at an individualistic level. As Douglas Adams explains in The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem…. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.The technology involved in making something properly invisible is so mind-bogglingly complex that 999,999,999 times out of a billion it's simpler just to take the thing away and do without it……. The "Somebody Else's Problem field" is much simpler, more effective, and "can be run for over a hundred years on a single torch battery.This is because it relies on people's natural predisposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain.
by phil - July 23rd, 2012 8:25 am
How great is this? We flipped bearish on Wednesday's poor Beige Book outlook (not to mention drought concerns and Hugh Hendry's warning that "Bad things are going to happen") and Thursday we noted it was looking a little too much like last July, where we fell off a cliff right after options expiration and my very appropriate comment at the end of Thursday morning's post was:
Clack, clack, clack – like a roller coaster going up in the dark, we don't know when we'll get that big "wheeee" but we do know it's coming!
Fortunately, we did not wait with our Long Put List going out in the Thursday Morning Alert to Members at 10:18, with all bearish trade ideas that included these gems:
- AMZN Oct $180 puts at $2.75, still $2.75 – even (all as of Friday's close)
- CMG Sept $350 puts at $5, now $35 – up 600%
- DIA Dec $117 puts at $2.50, now $2.80 – up 12%
- ISRG Jan $350 puts at $1.70, now $5 – up 194%
- MA Jan $290 puts at $2.85, now $3.40 – up 19%
- SPY Oct $120 puts at $1, now $1.15 – up 15%
- V Jan $100 puts at $2, now $2.30 – up 15%
- XRT Jan $53 puts at $2, now $2.20 – up 10%
So a couple of big winners already and, of course, we're done with those (see Stock World Weekly for more trade ideas) and the way we work our Long Put List is to take those winners off the table and utilize our "fresh horses" for the next leg down. Don't worry, we won't run out, there are 13 more picks on deck for our Members with AMZN (above) our top choice for this week (also featured with a slightly different trade in SWW).
Even our aggressive oil puts should be doing well in our small portfolios as well as our bullish VXX trade and, of course, our EDZ and TZA hedges as China dropped 600 points this morning and the Russell is testing our 775 target already. Things may be worse than we thought they were going to be as 775 may not hold on the RUT and that breakdown can lead us to test our -5% lines on the Russell (760), Nasdaq (2,850) and the…
by Option Review - July 10th, 2012 2:10 pm
Today’s tickers: MAKO, V & DF
MAKO - MAKO Surgical Corp. – Options on medical device maker, MAKO Surgical Corp., are more active than usual today after the company said it experienced lower than expected growth in the first half of 2012 and lowered its sales forecast for the RIO® robotic arm orthopedic system to 42 to 48 systems from prior guidance of 52 to 58 systems for the full year. Shares in MAKO sold off sharply on the news, dropping more than 40% in early trading to a new 52-week low of $14.625. The company is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after the close on August 6th. Options volume on MAKO is approaching 25,000 contracts as of 11:15 a.m. in New York versus the stock’s average daily options volume of 3,988 contracts. Some strategies in play this morning suggest the stock may have sold off a bit too hard, with light call buying in the July and August expiries looking for the stock to rebound somewhat in the near term. Additionally, put sellers populating the stock appear to be betting shares are unlikely to hit fresh lows from here in the near future. Traders eyeing the potential for share price improvement in the next couple of weeks snapped up July $15 and $17.5 strike calls at average premiums of $1.03 and $0.25 apiece, respectively. Call buying spread to the Aug. $15, $17.5 and $20 strikes, as well. Meanwhile, put sellers fetched an average premium of $0.85 for the July $15 strike contracts and $0.70 apiece on the sale of Aug. $12.5 strike puts. Traders selling put options on the medical device maker walk away with premium in hand as long as shares in MAKO exceed the strike prices described through expiration.
by phil - June 13th, 2012 8:35 am
$125Bn for Spain AND they are going to be given 5 years before having to pay back their loans and rumor has it that it will be a 10-year payment period at 3%. Sure, why not? At least that way we can pretend they are going to pay everyone back, rather than watch them default just a few months after we lend them the money, like Greece.
As we expected, Italy is the next crisis on deck as their 10-year bond yeilds climb over 6% as Italy's $2.4Tn debt (120% of GDP) running at 6% interest ($144Bn a year = 7.5% of GDP) is going to require a lot more than $100Bn to stop the bleeding. At the same time, Mr. Monti's tax-heavy austerity measures have choked economic growth, causing Italy's economy to contract 0.8% in the first four months of the year.
Mr. Monti lashed back at an Austrian minister on Tuesday for questioning whether Italy might need financial assistance to ride out the crisis. "I find it completely inappropriate that representatives of other governments in the European Union are talking about the situations of other countries," Mr. Monti said during a news conference, adding that his government was "continuing to work to guarantee the financial stability of the euro zone."
Clearly the honeymoon is over for Monti with a poll last week finding that only half of Italians supported political parties that form Mr. Monti's parliamentary majority, down from 63% two months ago. Confidence in Mr. Monti among those surveyed fell to 34%, compared with 71% when Mr. Monti took office. The steady erosion of public support for Mr. Monti's government is also prompting some politicians to question whether Mr. Monti can still push through the tough changes demanded by EU leaders.
You can see from the chart on the left what a tremendous drag the global markets (down 12.5% in a year) are becoming on the S&P (down 2.5%). If nothing is going to happen to snap the Global markets up – well, you do the math…
That math is keeping us Cashy and Cautious in this horribly choppy market and it's a good thing as we've been flip-flopping like fish out of water trying to stay on top of these crazy daily moves. Fortunately, the market is doing exactly what we expect it to do but, since what…
by phil - May 17th, 2012 8:04 am
What a week to do an IPO!
Will Facebook save the markets tomorrow with a successful roll-out of the largest IPO of all time or will it be the straw that breaks the camel's back, with a disappointing open that sends the Nasdaq off a cliff along with their entire over-priced sector? Either way – this is going to be fun.
We can argue the merits of Facebook's value (or lack thereof) all day long but, scam or not, it's very likely FB will set off a buying frenzy in the space and we finish the week off with a bang. If that doesn't happen – I will be very, very bearish but from what I'm hearing and the way they are extending the offer and raising the price – it's way oversubscribed. Also, we have to consider that people are cashing out 1-5% of their holdings to raise cash for FB on Friday – sure it's moronic, but that's what people do so you have to put yourself in a position of someone who wants to put 5% of your portfolio in to Facebook (the way you wish you had put 5% into Google at $80 when they IPO'd) tomorrow – what would you be doing with the rest of your portfolio today?
Meanwhile, the rest of the World is falling apart with Europe turning sharply lower as Spain sells bonds at record high yields (5.106% for 4-year notes) this morning after announcing that their Q1 GDP was -0.4% at the same time as Moody's indicates they will be cutting the credit ratings of 21 Spanish Banks this evening AND, to top it all off – there is a run on Bankia, which Spain nationalized last week – with $1.3Bn pulled from accounts this past week! This sent Spain's markets down 1.6% and Italy (who is next) fell 2%, sending the Euro down 1% to $1.2668 and the Pound followed it down to $1.5832 (while EUR/CHF holds steady at 1.2009 in the most blatant currency manipulation ever witnessed).
Wow – that's a lot of bad stuff! Maybe too many bad things – as in a bit suspicious that all this bad stuff happens at once – as if maybe someone WANTS to force a panic bottom? If so, I applaud them – we certainly needed to shake things up a little…
by phil - April 2nd, 2012 8:29 am
I played poker this weekend.
I entered a few tournaments in Atlantic City, made it to a couple of final tables but didn't win any. It did remind me that a bluff can only get you so far – at a certain point, you have to actually have the cards in order to win. As I pointed out to Members this morning – the Global Markets have bluffed their way through the first quarter and now comes earnings season and it's time for the economy to show it's cards and now we'll see who ends up with all the chips!
Just this morning we got this disturbing data:
- Eurozone unemployment ticked up to 10.8% in February, compared with 10.7% in January and 10.0% in the year-earlier period.
- Eurozone Final Manufacturing PMI 47.7 in March (confirming preliminary estimate) vs. 49 in February. That's the 8th consecutive month of readings below 50, which signals contraction.
- German PMI fell to 48.4 in March from 50.2 in February, slightly beating estimates for 48.1 but still well within the range indicating contraction in the manufacturing sector.
- France March PMI slides to 46.7 from 50.0 previously and the flash estimate of 47.6. The read is the lowest since June 2009, led by a sharp decline in New Orders.
- U.K. February PMI rises to 52.1 from 51.5 previously and beating expectations of 50.7. The devil, however, is in the details: "The increase in output was heavily supported by a depletion in backlogs of work and record inventory building," note CIPS, the survey firm
- Spain's March PMI falls to 44.5 from 45.0 previously, inline with expectations. It's the 11th consecutive decline in the index.
- HSBC China PMI, which measures smaller factories, 48.3 in March (flash reading was 48.1) vs. February's 49.6, marking the fifth successive month of contraction.
- South Korean Exprts Fall 1.4% on Weakness in Global Demand.
These are NOT cards you want to be playing with unless you are forced. That's the thing, GS, JPM, MS, Fund Managers, etc – they HAVE to play. Since they have to play whatever cards that are dealt – they do the logical thing – THEY BLUFF! Although what's scary about the Banksters is that, when they bluff, it's like the dealer bluffing because they control so much of the game and their only real goal is to get you to play so they can rake…