by Phil Davis - 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 Davis - June 1st, 2012 8:26 am
Oh you people are such suckers!
You panic out of positions at rock bottom prices and you'll sit there like a deer in the headlights when we bounce back until we're already too high again and then you'll chase the top – only becoming fully invested after we've already exited. Don't blame me – I try to warn you, but no one listens to me.
This morning the markets are in full panic more and that's fine with us as not only are we still "Cashy and Cautious" but what did we tell you Wednesday morning? "TZA July $19/25 bull call spread at $1.50, selling $18 puts for $1.05 for net .45" along with EDZ at $17.23 and SQQQ at $51.80. SQQQ is at $53.79 (up 3.8%) and EDZ is $17.90 (up 3.9% and the TZA hedge is already at net .80, which is up 77% in just two days (so far) – now that's a hedge! When you have your hedges in place, THEN you can bottom fish with impunity and boy is the fishing good out there!
Today we get our Non-Farm Payroll numbers and there's a rumor out there that it's a big miss at 120,000 or lower. CNBC has been pretty much reporting it as a fact all morning and Europe is freaking out for that and many other reasons so I had occasion to look back at last month's NFP report, where we predicted it would be a miss with the the title: "The Blow Jobs Deal to the Market Could be Huge." That was 10% ago on our indexes are back to testing last week's lows, where we began to get bullish with our Twice in a Lifetime List of stocks that are back at their 2009 panic lows which we still like enough to sell puts in (giving us an additional 15-20% discount on initial entry).
That post capped off a week of bearish picks as we followed through with our plan to cash out into the April rally – it's those bearish profits we're now GAMBLING with as we bottom fish but, as noted above – we're hedging our bullish bets because there's no limit to how badly investors can freak out in the stock market – CASH remains KING!
by Phil Davis - March 23rd, 2012 8:28 am
No one told us markets could go down? This is an outrage, I demand an investigation – TURN THOSE MACHINES BACK ON!!!
Has it already been a week since I said "Stop the Rally, We Want to Get Off"? As I noted in that post, we began our list of 12 Long Put Plays for Members on Thursday of last week (near the end of what I called "A Weak Week of Denial") and some have already doubled while others, like PCLN, have gotten even cheaper, which only makes us love them more…
I concluded that this rally was fake, Fake, FAKE and gave my reasons on Friday so no point in going over them again – now we're just watching and waiting to see what sticks as we haven't actually done a lot of technical damage (see Dave Fry's chart) – Yet!
Although we were TRYING to get bullish on Monday, we did so only after setting more aggressive targets in our Weekend Review of the 5% Rule (see post for details and levels) and by 10:09 on Monday, our first trade idea in chat was the very bearish TZA spread that I featured again in Tuesday's post, which was the April $17/18 bull call spread at .42, selling the April $17 puts for $1 for a .58 credit. TZA finished at $18.39 yesterday and the spread is now .54 but the short puts are down to .65 for a net gain of .47, which is 81% in 3 days and a good way to offset the 2.3% drop in the Russell – isn't leverage fun?
What was not fun is what happened to people who trusted Credit Suisse to run an honest game with their TVIX instrument. As noted by ETF Digest's David Gillie, an ETN is an unsecured, unsubordinated debt security with significant basis on the credit rating of the issuer. Although ETNs may be named to indicate tracking certain futures markets or indices, due to the fact that their holdings are credit notes rather than tangible assets, such as ETFs, their price becomes largely supply and demand based rather than based on underlying holdings. As Kid Dynamite points out – it does say right in the TVIX prospectus:
“The long term expected value of your ETNs is
by Phil Davis - March 7th, 2012 7:52 am
Was that it?
On February 24th I wrote "TGIF – Sell in March and Go Away?" and I laid out my case for why I thought we were going to fall off the table in March and we have, indeed, fallen right off the table right on schedule since then. I said that Friday, that the post was intended as a bookend to my September 30th bottom call as I felt that we had captured all of the upside we were likely to see off the "good news" that Greece was "fixed" and the economy was "improving."
I'm not going to say anything bad about the economy here, I'll let Michael Snyder do that with his "15 Potentially MASSIVE Threats to the US Economy over the next 12 Months" – I think he pretty much covers it! 8 trading days ago (2/24), we had two short trade ideas in our Morning Alert to Members, they were:
- SQQQ April $13/17 bull call spread at .70, still .70 (even)
- DXD April $13/15 bull call spread at net .55, now .70 – up 27%
In Member Chat that day, Exec asked if I was getting bearish and my response was:
Bearish/Exec – Are you kidding, this is me painting a sunny picture! Give me a few drinks and I'll tell you how off the rails the Global Economy is right now… Do you know how much Kool Aid I have to consume not to scream short on every single stock I see. CAT $116, CMG $386, DIA $130, GMCR we already did at $70, IBM $200, KO $70, MA $415, MCD $100, MMM $88, MO $30, MON $80, MOS $59, OIH $45, PCLN $593 (did them too), QQQ $64, SPY $137, TM $85, USO $41.50 (got 'em), UTX $84, V $117, WYNN $119, XOM $87, XRT $59 (got 'em) – and that's just off my watch list of stock I like to buy when they're cheap! We are not just priced for perfection, we are priced for perfection plus a return to full employment a forgiveness of all debts without write-downs and inflation without rising interest – we are priced for Nirvana!
by Phil Davis - January 11th, 2012 8:21 am
Once again, we're done with our day before you get up.
In my 5am note to Members, I said: "I see nothing in the news to justify this pre-market "recovery" and I hate to sound like a broken record but I like shorting oil (/CL) if we get below that $102 line with tight stops and the Dow (/YM) is right at 12,400, which is a great spot to short. RUT (/TF) is at 762 and below 760 (same as yesterday) will confirm a downturn but 12,400 is a great line so why wait?" By 6:26, I was able to follow it up with:
And wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! There go the Futures!
It's 7:07 and we're still going down, with oil at $101.24 (up $760 per contract) and the Dow at 12,340 (up $300 per contract) and, as Dennis said: "Good enough for steak and eggs for me!" Roro got up late but still caught the Dow at 6:16 and that was right on the nose for the oil drop as well as we hit it right on the nose this morning and now we're done and waiting for the next good set-up.
Of course we scale in and scale out of positions as there's no need to get greedy in the Futures, where a single remaining contract catching a $1 move down in oil (now $101.25 again) pays $1,000. This week, we have even stationed our own Craigzooka in New Zealand, where it's tomorrow – which makes it much easier to bet on today's action as he can tell us what happened already! Not that today was all that hard to predict, right? My comment to Members LAST Wednesday was:
It’s been a pretty reliable bet that they tank the markets into the longer-term note auctions because it scares people into T-Bills and keeps the rates low. From this line-up, it seems to me they intend to jack us up on Friday and then zap us on Tuesday as Esther George releases something hawkish ahead of the 3-year and it’s no coincidence that Plosser, by far the biggest Hawk, is given the floor at 12:30 on Wednesday – just 30 minutes before the critical 10-year auction. Coincidence? Surely you cannot be that naive!
by Phil Davis - December 24th, 2011 8:31 am
I know it’s tacky to give cash but, as we closed our original, virtual $25,000 Portfolio early on October 20th and we were miles ahead of our $100,000 goal, we decided to do this bonus portfolio starting with a fresh virtual $15,000 set aside out of our $130,000 – risking 1/2 of the excess profits in an attempt to make 60% more ($10,000) in two months.
We started that Monday, the 24th of October with our GNW spread (which I also discussed on TV that day) and that Friday we put up the official post where, I will remind you, our stated goal was to make a little bonus money for the holidays AND to share some of that money with a worthy cause. I want to thank everyone who chose to donate to the NYC Food Bank, we got some really spectacular donations from some of you and I really appreciate it and I hope you have all gotten into the holiday spirit and helped to support those in need this season – it’s much appreciated and I thank you.
Just as importantly, I very much hope you were able to learn something following this portfolio. We never put much capital at risk, we took quick profits off the table and we worked our way out of most of our losses through rolling and adjusting – letting the trading range do most of the hard work. Most importantly, we had BALANCE – we selected trades in both directions – enjoying the wild ride from the up and down markets.
That strategy, in fact, worked very well!
As of Friday and since our last update on the 16th, when we had $41,465 of realized gains, we closed the following positions:
- 5 SCO Dec $37 puts sold for net $1.90, expired worthless – up $1,900
- 5 FAS Dec $40 puts sold for $2.40, expired worthless – up $1,200
- 10 TNA Dec $41 calls at net $1.50, out at $1.50 – even
- 10 FAS Dec $61 calls sold at net $0 (spread), expired worthless – even
- 10 TLT 12/23 $121 calls sold for net .74 ($740), expired worthless – up $740
- 10 GNW Dec $6 puts sold for .85, expired worthless – up $850
- 10 QQQ 12/16 $56 puts at .57, out at $1.05 – up $480
by Phil Davis - October 5th, 2011 8:28 am
Baby listen without thinking you better be without demands
Now don’t get edgy and don’t start blinking and don’t start making any plans
You try to reach a vital part of me My interest level’s dropping rapidly
It’s all excuses baby all a stall We just don’t get excited
Don’t get excited No don’t get excited Don’t get excited
Wheeeeeeee – this is fun!
It was "1,072 or Bounce" yesterday and the S&P fell all the way to 1,074.77 at 10am before heading higher but, as you can see from David Fry’s chart, we got a second chance to jump on the bull train as we lost almost all of the day’s gains into the afternoon stick.
In our morning Alert to Members (as noted in the morning post), we played the Russell Futures bullish off the 600 line and, as of 7:30 this morning, they are at 646 – up $4,600 per contract but that’s chicken feed compared to our trade idea from the morning post on TNA, where the Oct $28/33 bull call spread offset with the sale of the $23 puts came out to net .15 and this morning, after a $6 move (5% on the RUT) in yesterday’s action, that spread is already net $1.90 – up 1,167% in a day!
The best possible outcome on that trade is netting $4.85 profit, which is a whopping 3,233% gain on cash but, when you make over 1/3 of your projected 3-week gains in the first day – it’s a good idea to take a little profit off the table! So, UNLESS we get a better than 1.5% gain today, we’re going to go back to Cashy and Cautious after a whole 24 hours on the bull side. Don’t blame the player – it’s just that kind of market….
As you can see from the Big Chart – there is NOTHING to get excited about as we bounce off our EXPECTED channel bottoms. We’re now firmly in downtrending channels on all of our indexes and we’re dangerously close to having to drop our ranges – which is a decision we take VERY seriously before acting. If we are forced to do that, the odds of a near-term recovery drop significantly.
by Phil Davis - October 4th, 2011 8:06 am
Has it been a week already?
That’s right – last Tuesday our title, after 3 bullish days, was "S&P 1,200 or Bust (again)" and bust we did! At the time I said "It’s not that I’m flip-flopping – we’re simply playing the range and if the trip from the bottom to the top of the range is just 2 days – then flip-flop we must!" Our bearish hedge in that morning’s Alert to Members was 30 DXD Oct $18/20 bull call spread at .70 ($2,100) offset by the sale of 10 GE Jan $15 puts at $1.05 ($1,050). DXD is already at $21.34 and the bull call spread is $1.30 (30 = $3,900) while the 10 GE short puts are $1.75 ($1,750) for a net $2,150, up 105% in the first week – even if the short puts were not stopped out with a smaller loss.
We also ran our Long Put List that morning (see Weekend Reading for recap of that strategy and list of short trade ideas) and those, of course, are up huge across the board as things got so bad yesterday we even had to short IBM – our list’s last brave holdout. Another fun short we played that day was a ratio backspread on CMG.
Taking advantage of selling into the pre-earnings excitement, we were able to add the following trade to our virtual $25,000 Portfolio:
Earnings are on the 20th, the day before expirations so I like the volatility crush of selling 5 $340 calls for $9 ($4,500) and buying 3 Dec $350s for $15 ($4,500) for a free spread. No matter what CMG does, $4,500 of premium will be gone from the callers on Oct 21st, then the Nov whatevers can be sold, hopefully for another $4,500 in premium or perhaps we can just pull the trade so let’s do one set in the $25KP and see how it goes.
CMG took a nice dip since then (now $292) and the 5 Oct $340 calls fell to $2.20 ($1,100) but the 3 Dec $350s have held $8.60 ($2,580) for a net profit of $1,480 off a trade that cost no cash just 7 days ago. These are the kinds of trades we love around earnings season. We didn’t need to hold it for a month and now we can free up the margin (about…
by Phil Davis - September 30th, 2011 8:15 am
1,320 – That was the S&P close on June 30th.
1,160 – That was the S&P close after yesterday’s wild action. A neat 160-point drop (12%) in 3 months for the World’s largest market kind of sucks, don’t you think? My commentary in June 30th’s "It’s the End of the Quarter as We Know It" post was:
We feel fine because we cashed out on the long side (shorter-term, unhedged positions) and we really don’t care what the market does today or tomorrow but we are betting this rally reverses and we will be taking some (more) short hedges today – hopefully selling into the last legs of this fairly fake-looking rally.
My top downside picks to play the sell-off were EDZ ($17.90 at the time, now $28, which is up 36% even without using options to make a spread) and TZA ($35.50 at the time, now $51.10 – up 44%). As I said in that morning post: "I didn’t think they could take the Dollar below 75 but they hit 74.54 last night and it remains to be seen if they can hold it down in real trading, especially with the Pound weakness (see this morning’s Alert) and the Yen’s unwanted strength. Something’s gotta give and we’re betting it’s this fake, Fake, FAKE rally…."
We were shorting oil futures (/CL) at $95 (now $80, up $15,000 per contract) as we thought the holiday weekend was the end of the run but we did keep heading up to $100 (down $5,000 per contract) before finally getting a drop to $75 (up $25,000 per contract) in early August.
One funny play from that June 30th Member Chat was the VIX Aug $15/17 bull call spread at $1.20, selling the $16 puts for .50 for net .70 on the $2 spread. That just seems so cute (and obvious) with the VIX at 38.84 now (it was 30 at the end of Aug for a full 185% gain on that hedge).
Other hedges we liked in that post were the TZA Oct $31/42 bull call spread at $3, selling RUT Aug $710 puts for $2.90. The RUT puts expired worthless so net .10 on the spread that is currently $20 in the money for pretty much the full 10,900% gain.…
by Phil Davis - September 26th, 2011 8:27 am
Up, up and away!
As I mentioned in Friday’s morning’s post, we did a lot of bottom-fishing on Thursday as we began to develop Disaster fatigue with long plays on XLF at $11.50, shorting TLT at $123, shorting VXX at $49.50, TNA at $34.50, BRK.B at $65, AA at $10.20, VLO at $19, IMAX at $15.75, BA at $58.32, AGQ at $170, CHK at $27.50, DIS at $30.14 and ABX at $47.50. They were hedged, of course and, for the most part, you still had a nice chance to make those entries on Friday – but not so much this morning as the futures are up about 1.5% already (7:30).
Friday morning, in my Alert to Members, I reminded them that BCS looked like an excellent VALUE to me, no matter what the PRICE was ($8.75 after hitting $8.40 the day before) and this morning, that PRICE is up well over 10% in EU trading. Did the VALUE of BCS change materially over the weekend? Of course not, certainly not by the $4Bn their market cap gained – like the song, the VALUE remains the same – only the highly variable price of a share of BCS is undergoing ch-ch-changes…
I pointed out similar hedged, long-term plays could be made on GS ($94), MS ($13), BAC ($6) and C ($24). Of course we hedged them per our discussion in the morning post (TZA was our morning choice but we’re out over 650 on the RUT) but then we went long on EWG (Germany) again with the very aggressive Oct $16,18 bull call spread at $1.30, offset by the sale of the $17 puts for .90 for net .40 on the $2 spread. 10 of those in our virtual $25,000 Portfolio cost $400 and can return $2,000 in less than 30 days if EWG is over $18 and, guess what – they’re over $18 this morning!
Another bullish bet we placed was USO Nov $28/30 bull call spread at $1.30, selling the $27 puts for $1.10 for net .20 on the $2 spread with a 900% upside if USO simply doesn’t drop from where it is now. That’s what’s nice about options – you don’t need the market to go up to make money good money. On this trade idea, your worst-case scenario is owning USO at net $27.20, about 10% lower than it…