by phil - July 30th, 2010 8:25 am
Everyone is down on the GDP all of a sudden.
As I related Wednesday - the GDP, like the Beige Book report (which we expected to be poor) is made up of many factors like Trade Balance (same), Government Spending (up due to census), Personal Consumption (earnings reports indicate up), Residential Investment (HD and LOW indicate up), Corporate Earnings (way up),etc. The biggest etcetera is Inventories and they are a major wildcard. As near as I can tell, April was a very enthusiastic month and we began May with the "flash crash" but that was shaken off so I have no reason to think orders didn’t continue to outpace inventory through mid-may at least.
We did, as we discussed, get the best Beige Book in 2 years in early June so I’ve gotta go with expecting two months of inventory builds that trail off sharply as merchandise went unsold in early June as the market collapsed and even the top 10% stopped shopping for a couple of days. Still, it seems to me that that was too late in the month to knock GDP below 2.7% and I think we still have an excellent shot at 3%.
We’ll find out shortly but Asia didn’t wait and had a pity party this morning with the Nikkei giving up all of the week’s gains, back at 9,537 so I’m still loving EWJ if we head higer but, if not, look for the Dow to begin filling that gap! The Hang Seng was choppy but held 21,000 and the Shanghai can afford to take a break at 2,637. India continues to be our top global concern as the Bombay Sensex continues to move to test the rising 50 dma as they fall to 17,868 and it looks like they’ll meet up next week in the 17,600s and that will be a very critical test.
Samsung knocked the ball out of the park with an 83% jump to record profits on amazingly strong memory chip sales. We can probably thank 64-Gig Smartphones and IPads for much of that gain but, holy cow! Net income climbed to 4,280,000,000,000 – too bad that was Won ($3.6Bn) but not bad considering our own chip giant, INTC, only hit $2.4Bn last Q. Despite lower chip prices, revenue was up 17% and I’ve already mentioned that Samsung has pledged $20Bn to become the World’s #1 solar power provider so you’ve gotta love these guys…
by phil - May 21st, 2010 11:22 pm
Where do I even begin to go over this week?
I think, to set the proper tone, let’s look at my Thursday morning Alert to Members where I said: "Get out, Get Out, GET OUT of the short-term short-side plays if we get back over the 200 dmas. Take the money and RUN. CASH OUT THE SHORT SIDE. Is that clear? We may not hold these lines but that’s why we have October Disaster Hedges, the shorter-term downside plays are huge winners and should be cashed here – we’ll find something else to short if we fall off this support level. 200 dmas need to be held and those are: Dow 10,250 (8,650 is next major support), S&P 1,100 (900), Nasdaq 2,225 (not there yet! 1,800), NYSE 7,100 (5,500) and Russell 630 (still above! 500)."
We never did hold those levels but, as I mentioned in Friday morning’s post, I thought the end of day sell-off on Thursday was a bit forced, and, in my first Alert of Friday morning I said: "TAKE THOSE SHORT PROFITS OFF THE TABLE!" Now, I am not prone to making statements in all caps in Member Chat - almost never is about how often so this was a pretty important statement. Before that Alert, right at 9:42, I had already called for the SPY $105 calls at $2.45 as our first trade of the day. Those calls finished at $4.11, up 67% for the day so a good start to our expiration day!
A good start and our other day trades did very nicely as well:
- FXI June $39 calls at .98, now $1.28 - up 30%
- DIA May $102 calls at .13, out at .45 – up 246%
- DIA May $101 calls at .95, out at .80 - down 16%
- DIA May $101 calls at .10, out at .80 – up 700%
Of course we followed our strategies and took 1/2 the DIA’s off the table at a double so the other half was a free ride (we like to gamble but we’re not crazy!) but the FXI was the only "keeper" for the day, we’ll see if that was a good idea on Monday. We also took (as I said we would in the morning post) a number of well-hedged, bullish plays on BA (from the post), TNA, TBT (have I mentioned how much I like them lately?), INTC, AAPL, VLO, FCX (I guess we’re done relentlessly shorting them!), XOM and…
by phil - May 16th, 2010 9:42 pm
We had a totally exciting week last week!
I was busy this weekend so no Wrap-Up but I did write about 5 pages of commentary under Sage’s $1,000,000 Virtual Portfolio article regarding virtual portfolio allocations and scaling strategies - all Members should read that! We were discussing our Disaster Hedges as well which are all well in the money but hardly a double in the bunch so far, which is actually fantastic news if you haven’t entered them yet as you can enter these plays now and still do great if EITHER the market continues lower OR the VIX calms down since it’s the high VIX that is keeping us from making big money. These are October hedges so no one expects them to pay off this early but the fact that you can still get in them even after this dip is a nice break if you intend to start getting bullish and want hedges.
We took shorter-term hedges for more aggressive traders during the last week of April and those, of course, are up very nicely like:
- EDZ June $38/44 bull call spread at $2.80, now $3.50 - up 25%
- EDZ June $35 puts sold for at $1.25, now .70 - up 44% (pair trade)
- FAZ July $12/16 bull call spread at $1.10, now $1.35 - up 18%
- FAZ July $10 puts sold for .70, now .50 – up 28%
- IYR May $52 puts at $1.30 (fell to .79), now $2 - up 54%
- OIH May $131 calls sold for $3.45, now .05 – up 98%
- OIH May $131 calls sold for $3.90, now 05 – up 99%
- QID May $16 calls at .32 (fell to .27), now $1.27 – up 296%
- QID May $15 puts sold for .32 (rose to .37), now .02 - up 94% (pair trade)
- QID June $14/16 bull call spread at $1.15, now $1.50 – up 30%
- TBT Sept $43 puts sold for $1.50, now $3.90 – down 160%
- TBT Sept $43/48 bull call spread at $2.60, now $1.55 – down 36%
- TZA June $6 puts sold for .70 (rose to .94), now .74 - down 5%
- UGL Oct $49/54 bull call spread at $2, now $2.50 – up 25%
- GLD March $90 puts sold for $1.20, now $1.40 - down 17% (pair trade)
- VNO May $80 calls sold at $2.30 (rose to $3.90), now $1.85 – up 19%
by phil - April 25th, 2010 8:29 am
I’m sorry, I am trying so hard to get bullish but it’s not working…
My only solution is to, as we often joke, switch off my brain and stop reading the news (listening to it is great as everything is coming up roses in TV-land) and ignore the now-exposed shenanigans on Wall Street (why should I worry about my investments just because the people running the game are up on fraud charges?) and for goodness sakes don’t even look at something as depressing as "The Economic Elite vs. the People of the United States of America," neither Parts 1-3 or Parts 4-6 because that can lead to thinking and thinking makes it REALLY hard to go to sleep at night with your money riding on the top of an 80% market while gold is trading at $1,150 an ounce because of overwhelming global instability and a total lack of faith in the global financial markets.
Yep, if we don’t think about all that stuff and focus on the good stuff, like the fact that Unemployment is only 3% for those of us who earn $150,000 a year (for the poor it’s 31%), and 93% of our virtually fully-employed analysts predict the S&P will finish the year even higher (although not too much higher) with only Andrew Garhwaite of Credit Suisse in need of an "attitude adjustment" with his puny target of 1,175, which is 32 points lower than Friday’s close. Fortunately, enlightened analysts like Deutsche Bank’s Binky Chad think we can still squeeze another 100 points out of this rally (about 10%) although Goldman Sachs is wimping out at 1,250, their partner in "whatever you want to call it", JP Morgan is up at 1,300. So it’s BUYBUYBUY from the gang of 12 and we’ll be whipping Andrew into shape by the next report or he may find himself the fall guy for the next scandal…
Oops, sorry, I wasn’t supposed to mention the scandals as that’s not really a buying premise unless of course you look at the sheer volume of things the IBanks were getting away with and then look at the virtual nothing that is being done about it and then we can conclude there is no reason they can’t pump this market back up to Dow 14,000 because we already know it was such total BS last time, when we dropped 50% like…
by phil - March 21st, 2010 5:20 pm
How did I reach my breaking point on Friday?
Well, I haven’t been happy about the action for the whole month of March and this week was simply the last straw, where I feel the risk of being long now outweighs the likely rewards. Even all the bullish analysts in 12 of 13 of our beloved IBanks are "only" projecting the S&P to gain another 7.5% for the year. That’s not even 1% a month so excuse me if I decide it’s time to take a 7th inning stretch after we’re already up 70% of 77.5% projected over 2 years. As I said when reviewing our Buy List, where we are closing out 22 of 37 stocks – you just aren’t supposed to make an average of 28% with 64 winners on 66 picks in 6 weeks – it gets to a point where it’s just foolish not to cash out and take a rest.
Make sure you check out our latest round of Disaster Hedges as well, "5 Plays that Make 500% if the Market Falls" is a good way to keep your toes in the water! In last Weekend’s Wrap-Up I was "Still Trying to Get Bullish" and I was wrestling with killing the Buy List then - doing the full review this week is what killed it for me because - if I go over the fundamentals of 37 of my favorite stocks and can’t see more than 15 plays I’m enthusiastic about keeping – then it’s a good bet I’m not going to be too wild about the rest of the market either.
If I were a real bear, this would be great and I’d just be running around yelling SELLSELLSELL but I am, believe it or not, a generally bullish guy who prefers to play an up market but I am also realistic enough not to fall so in love with my positions or bullish premise that I don’t know when it’s time to give things a rest. We haven’t had a proper pullback, we haven’t had good volume to the upside (Barron’s raised that concern this weekend) and we haven’t addressed many, many problems that are still out there.
by phil - March 14th, 2010 5:20 am
I’m having writer’s block this weekend.
Usually when I can’t think of what to write it helps me to go over our virtual portfolios so I started this morning reviewing the Buy List but I didn’t get far because it was silly. Of 43 plays on the buy list, 39 are doing well – too well in fact to the point where it’s hard for me, in good conscience, not to say let’s kill the whole thing and get back to cash as we’re up about 20% in 2 months and that’s just ridiculous – most people would call that a good year and go on vacation.
The Buy List was 100% bullish and we did catch a good bottom on our early February entries. I was gung ho bullish then because I felt comfortable that the 10,000 line on the Dow would prevail and that we were good for a run back to the top (10,700), following, more or less, the pattern we had in 2004 (see original post for charts). Well that’s pretty much what’s happened since then but that’s not making me happy because I see no reason we won’t complete that pattern and begin falling off a cliff shortly.
As you all know, I’m not a big fan of TA, or patterns for that matter but the reason I started looking for patterns was to try to get a handle on how long market could really keep going up before falling victim to exhaustion. To me it seemed we weren’t at that point on Feb 6th but now that we’ve put in that big push back up – if we can’t punch up to new highs on all our indexes then I do think it’s time for the markets to take a break.
Clearly I’ve been too bearish for the past couple of weeks and we are now 224 points over 10,400 on the Dow which is where I turned bearish as the January data made me lose faith in our ability to get back to 10,700. I should have stuck to the TA because we’re a lot closer to 10,700 than we are to 10,400. With the Russell and Nasdaq exploding to their own new highs. You can see though, from the above chart, why I do want to wait to see the NYSE, Dow and S&P confirm this move up – it’s not far now!…
by phil - January 23rd, 2010 11:36 am
Well I hate to say I told you so but…
No wait, that’s nonsense – what market prognosticator doesn’t love to say "I told you so"? Actually, it’s kind of my job to tell you so and the reason I’m so popular is because, more often than not, when I tell you so, I tend to be right. I’m not right all the time and my single biggest flaw is I am often right but sometimes way too early and timing is EVERYTHING in the markets. It’s not good enough to tell you what is going to happen (give things enough time and everything happens eventually, right Cramer?) - I need to get the period right as well so we can turn it into an actionable trading idea that makes money.
As a fundamentalist, I didn’t like the entire last 500 points of the rally. I had predicted the market would finish the year at 10,200 way back when it was down at 8,650 when the idea was we’d have a Santa Clause rally to 20% (10,380) and then a 20% pullback of that run (346) into Jan earnings that would take us back to 10,034 so the entire run from 10,200 to 10,700 REALLY annoyed me. It didn’t annoy me just because it made me wrong – I’m wrong a lot and I’m old enough to have learned how to deal with it. What annoyed me was the manipulation as, clearly, the fundamentals in no way, shape or form justified the additional 5% move up.
I’ve gone on and on about how fake the move was and how manipulated the markets were and how artificial the support was and I think I’ve pulled out the Seinfeld "fake, Fake, FAKE" clip often enough now that I don’t even have to do a link (but I love it, so I do) or explain how it’s a metaphor for recent market activity so I’m not going to waste our valuable time here. Let’s just do a review of the recent action, which is my best way of preparing for the upcoming Members only post where I’ll be charting out new levels and coming up with action plans for the week ahead.
So don’t read this if you can’t stand to hear "I told you so" because this is the review post and I did tell you so!
by phil - January 16th, 2010 8:29 am
Wheee, what a ride!
The week can be neatly summed up by my 1:35 comment to Members in yesterday's chat, summed the week up quite nicely as I said: "So funny, a whole week of gains I thought were ridiculous wiped out in 4 hours." Of course it's easy to laugh when you play the market correctly – as I had said in the morning post, we had cashed out into Thursday's run up and planned on going bearish through the weekend but it turned out we got our sell-off early, jumping the $100K Virtual Portfolio, for example, up 12% in one day – enough to send us back to cash rather than risk a weekend reversal.
We laid the groundwork for this little sell-off in last weekend's posts as we put up an aggressive Buy List for Members but in my regular weekend post we emphasized the need to cover our buys with "Disaster Hedges" as we were heading to the tops I had predicted when I published the "Last Charts of the Decade," where I set resistance target of Dow 10,457, S&P 1,135, Nasdaq 2,314, NYSE 7,389 and Russell 638. As you can see, I pretty much hit them on the head, other than the Dow but that's because our year-old 5% rule calculations did not account for the change in the Dow that replaced C and GM with TRV and CVX, who added about 100 Dow points since their inclusion so we started using 10,549 this month and we'll make it 10,557 for today's chart, which makes perfect sense looking at this group (I added the Transports as they are fell right off our 2,000 target, giving us the early warning that things were not right):
As you can see, the 5% Rule rules! I will apologize for being such a grump this week but the rally was really starting to annoy me as it was so blatantly forced up through our levels without a proper test that is was really getting me down about the markets. I don't mind that the markets are manipulated, that's been going on since markets were invented – it's stupid and destructive manipulation that bothers me, the kind that, long term, destroys more investor confidence than it builds and squanders…
by phil - January 1st, 2010 2:42 pm
Thursday's close was very exciting, wasn't it?
Well it sure was for us as my 10:01 Alert to Members was a play on the DIA Jan $103 puts at .56. Thanks to the late afternoon dip, they finished the day at .90 (up 60%) after peaking out at .95, a very nice win to close off the year. That was the only Alert trade all week as this market has been too tough to call and we don't make trades just for the hell of it. I had been sniping at DIA puts all week expecting a pay-off but Thursday it finally came together.
Of course, I also strongly advocated hedging on Thursday morning and listed 4 trade ideas in the morning post to hedge ourselves against the possibility of just such a drop so don't say you haven't been warned. Whether there will be follow-through on Monday or a full reversal remains to be seen and, even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you here because this is a review – predictions are another article entirely.
We treaded very cautiously into last year because our PSW Holiday Retail Survey was not looking very pretty so it was no surprise to us, on Dec 26th, when we got some horrific retail reports. These are, of course, the same reports that we "beat" this year – but not by much. Dec 29th was Monday and Israeli jets attacked Hamas targets in the Gaza sending oil flying up to $48 a barrel. That gave us a nice commodity rally into the close of the year but January 2nd was a Friday and we decided (fortunately) to take the money and run on our long plays, holding open our main cover of SKF Jan $120s at $4.35, which hit $80 later in the month (up 1,732%) and USO Feb $32 puts at $3.40, which hit $10.50 in the Feb dip (up 208%) so, on the whole, not too differently positioned than we are now, coming into the new year. Visually 2009 looked a little like this:
January – Waiting for Obama, or Something, to Change
We began January much the same way we ended December with my Wed Jan…
by phil - December 19th, 2009 8:20 am
Wheee – that was fun!
Last week, I asked the question were we "Too Bearish or Just Too Early?" I said in that wrap-up: "This Friday the market topped out about 150 points higher than last Friday, closer to the top of our range so we went much more bearish on Friday, perhaps too bearish considering this was the best Friday finish since Nov 6th and we haven’t had a down Monday since October 26th." We did get the move up we feared on Monday but we stuck to our guns and had a fabulous week.
Even as the market was going against us Monday morning, my first Alert of the week to members at 9:44 said: "I’m still more inclined to look downward at: Dow 10,250, S&P 1,100, Nasdaq 2,187, NYSE 7,200 and Russell 600… I’m still bearish because oil is weak, gold is weak, the financials (XLF at 14.30) are weak and most of the good news we are hearing is nothing but fluff." That was a pretty good call as we hit our target levels yesterday and held them, so we flipped more bullish right at 11:30 on Friday, in what was some very good timing for our intra-day play.
We are still on a stock market roller coaster that's going to have plenty of ups and down in the thin, holiday trading that will likely characterize the end of the year. The market will be closed 2 Fridays in a row and good luck finding people around this Thursday or the next one so 6 proper trading days left to 2009 at best. We got out – that drop was very satisfying and we've moved mainly to cash (our $100K Virtual Portfolio has $88,000 in cash at $107,249 at the end of it's first month). Last week we were able to cash out the bull side, this week we got satisfaction from our bear plays and that leaves us footloose and fancy free to have fun the next two weeks. If our day trading goes as well as it did on Friday, we can end this year with quite a bang.