XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – Shares in the XLF are in negative territory this morning, down 0.90% at $18.39 as of 11:10 a.m. ET, amid broad-based declines in U.S. stocks spurred by an unexpected 0.4% decline in March retail sales and other soft economic data points. The price of the underlying fund is also being pressured by declines in JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. following first-quarter earnings reports from those companies prior to the opening bell. JPMorgan and Wells Fargo combined represent roughly 16% of the total holdings of the XLF. Big prints in short-dated XLF put options in the early going this morning suggests one trader is positioning for shares to extend losses in the near term. It looks like the strategist purchased 100,000 puts at the April 19 ’13 $18 strike for a premium of $0.06 per contract. The position starts making money if the price of the underlying declines 2.4% from the current level to breach the effective breakeven price of $17.94 by expiration next week. Put options on the XLF are far more active than calls, with the put/call ratio above 13.0 as of the time of this writing. Five of the top ten holdings in the XLF report quarterly earnings next week, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bancorp and American Express.
GSK - GlaxoSmithKline PLC – Bearish options changing hands on drug maker, GlaxoSmithKline, look for shares in the name to potentially slip further off a multi-year high of $48.55 realized on Thursday. Shares in GSK are down 0.40% on the day at $48.32 as of 11:45 a.m. ET. The April $47 strike puts on GSK are active for a second consecutive session, with roughly 5,000 contracts purchased this morning and around 2,000 lots purchased yesterday, all at a premium of $0.25 apiece. Put buyers make money if shares in GSK decline 3.25% from the current price of $48.32 to settle below the effective breakeven point at…
XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund – Shares in seven of the ten largest XLF holdings were trading lower this morning, dragging shares in the ETF down 0.40% to $17.19 at around 11:25 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Put buying on the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund during the morning hours of the trading day suggested some options players were preparing for the price of the underlying fund to extend losses. It looks like traders purchased 75,000 puts at the June $16 strike for an average premium of $0.35 per contract. These positions start making money if shares in the XLF decline 9.0% from the current level to breach the average breakeven point on the downside at $15.65 by June expiration. Shares in the XLF last traded below $15.65 on December 4th. The price of the underlying is up roughly 5.0% year-to-date, and has gained nearly 30% since June of 2012.
VSI - Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. – Options on the specialty retailer of vitamins and nutritional supplements are more active than usual today, with shares in Vitamin Shoppe down sharply on the heels of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report ahead of the opening bell this morning. Shares in VSI are currently down more than 20% to stand at $50.33 as of 11:50 a.m. in New York. Buyers of in-the-money put options on the stock earlier in the trading session are seeing the value of their contracts rise as shares in the name continue to weaken. At around 9:45 a.m. ET, traders stepped in to purchase around 400 in-the-money puts at the April $55 strike for a premium of $4.20 per contract. Premium required to purchase the $55 strike put options, as of the time of this writing, has increased to $5.50 apiece just before midday on the East Coast. Traders long the puts at $4.20 per contract stand ready to profit at April expiration should shares in Vitamin Shoppe settle below the breakeven price of $50.80.…
PBR - Petrobras SA – Options on Petrobras are more active than usual this morning, with shares in the state-run Brazilian oil producer down more than 7.0% on the day to stand at a new 52-week low of $16.74 as of 10:45 a.m. ET. The stock dropped after the company reported fourth-quarter EBITDA that declined in the period, missing analyst expectations, and said it will lower dividend payments to shareholders. Trading traffic in PBR options is mixed, as some traders position for shares to weaken further, while others bet on a near-term rebound in the price of the underlying. Fresh interest in weekly puts is greatest at the Feb. 08 ’13 $16.5 strike where upwards of 4,100 lots have changed hands against one contract in open interest. Time and sales data suggests most of the puts were purchased at an average premium of $0.22 apiece, thus positioning buyers to profit at expiration this week should PBR’s shares settle below the average breakeven price of $16.28. The Feb. 08 ’13 $17 strike puts are also in play, with around 2,000 in-the-money puts purchased in the early going for an average premium of $0.45 each. Meanwhile, weekly call buyers snapping up Feb. 08 ’13 $17 and $17.5 strike calls at average premiums of $0.15 and $0.05 each, respectively, may profit at expiration in the event that Petrobras shares rebound by the end of the week. Similar strategies appear to be in play across the Feb. 15 ’13 expiration call and put options, as well as in the March expiry options contracts. Traders bracing for shares to move sharply lower paid an average premium of $0.09 per contract to buy around 380 of the Mar. $14 strike puts. These contracts make money if shares in the oil producer plunge 17% from the current price of $16.74 to trade south of $13.91 by March expiration.
PLX - Protalix Biotherapeutics, Inc. – Upside calls on biopharmaceutical company, Protalix Biotherapeutics, are changing hands this morning, with shares in the name up better than 21% on the…
XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – The single-largest trade initiated in XLF options on Tuesday protects against a limited, albeit substantial, adverse move in the price of the underlying fund during the next few months. Shares in the XLF reached their highest level in nearly two years this past Friday, trading up to $17.08 on the heels of a more than 25% rally since this time last year. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF is off slightly today, trading lower in line with the broader market, with the shares now down 0.70% to stand at $16.89 as of 12:45 p.m. in New York trading. One large options market participant is prepared to see continued declines in the price of the underlying with the purchase of a 95,000-lot April $14/$16 put spread today at a net premium outlay of $0.275 apiece. The spread makes money if shares in the XLF dip 7% to breach the effective breakeven price of $15.725, with maximum potential gains of $1.725 per contract available in the event of a more than 17% pullback to $14.00 by April expiration. Though the transaction was not tied to stock, it’s possible the position was implemented to hedge a long position in shares of the XLF.
PERI - Perion Network Ltd. – Shares in Tel Aviv, Israel-based digital media company, Perion Network, jumped more than 30% to a new all-time high of $12.47 today after the company forecast higher-than-expected earnings and sales for 2013. Options traders anticipating further gains in the price of the underlying during the next five weeks appear to be buying upside calls on the name. The Feb. $12.5 strike calls are the most actively traded contracts on Perion this morning, with upwards of 1,100 calls in play versus zero open positions. One or more bullish strategists acting within the first 10 minutes of the opening bell this morning purchased around 200 of the calls at a premium of $0.65 apiece. These contracts make money at expiration next month as long as shares in PERI…
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.
AOL - AOL, Inc. – Put activity on AOL this morning may be the work of one strategist locking in gains on the high-flying stock. Shares in AOL, up roughly 175% since October 2011, are currently down 1.8% on the day to stand at $35.92 as of 11:20 a.m. ET. The largest trade in AOL options this morning was the purchase of 4,500 of the Nov. $34 strike put for a premium of $0.80 per contract. The options trade does not appear to have been tied to stock, although the put buyer may be establishing downside protection to hedge an existing long position in the shares. Alternatively, the sizable transaction could be an outright bearish bet that shares will decline in the near term, perhaps in the aftermath of the company’s third-quarter earnings report on October 31st. The position makes money if shares in AOL drop 7.5% from the current level to breach the effective breakeven price of $33.20 by November expiration.
EXPR - Express, Inc. – Options in play on Express this morning suggests shares in the apparel retailer, hard hit in recent months and sitting at all-time lows, may stage a significant turn-around in the next six months. Express shares, down nearly 60% from a March 2012 peak of $26.27, fell 2.35% in the first half of the trading session to $11.23 by 11:35 a.m. in New York. Upside call buying at the April 2013 $15 strike, where some 2,300 contracts were picked up for an average premium of $0.73 apiece, suggests at least one trader is positioning for EXPR shares to potentially increase sharply by expiration next year. The calls may be profitable at April expiration in the event that Express, Inc. shares jump 40% to exceed the average breakeven price of $15.73. The specialty retailer reports third-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on November 28th.…
One of the candidates will lower taxes for the middle class and small businesses while slamming shut loopholes on the rich and Big Business, limiting their deductions and raising taxes if needed, he will provide national health-care and concentrate on jobs, punishing outsourcers and educating US workers to get them on the path to full employment. The other candidate is already President. Romney now claims there will be no 20% tax cut for the rich – I assume his rich backers assume he's lying to get elected (lying doesn't bother them) and President Obama was in no way prepared to debate the guy who showed up yesterday and he lost the debate in an embarrassing fashion.
From a market perspective, we were playing the weakness as nervousness ahead of the debates and accumulating long positions as planned yesterday. Oil blew past the $88.50 target I set in yesterday's morning post – all the way to $87.70 before finally bouncing back and hitting our target again overnight (now $88.64). That drop from $91.22 in the Futures was good for $3,500 per contract in the Futures but, of course, we were done being short, as planned at $88.50 and in fact made a couple of bullish trades – long on USO at $33 (as planned) and short on SCO at $44. We'll see how they work out today but up at the open is a good sign.
Our bullish stance on AAPL finally paid off as the stock went from $660 to $672 at the close – hopefully $680 is next. Gasoline only got to $2.75 (we were hoping for $2.70) but is back to $2.86 already in pre-market trading (/RB).
As you can see from Dave Fry's Russell chart, we're still in a bullish consolidation – just below our breakout level and today, so far, we don't have rising Dollar headwinds to hold us back…
That's right, we have made not one inch of progress since we had the same exact title in last Wednesday's post, when I said: "This is the part where the MSM begins to realize that Manufacturing is slowing down, stimulus won't create jobs, earnings are not going to be as good as expected, Europe is not fixed, housing is not as strong as expected andthe stock market is being manipulated. Yep, all the stuff I've been telling you for months." Our plan was to buy into the dip and that's what we've been doing the past week as our short-term virtual portfolios are now much more bullish than they were a week ago.
As you can see from Dave Fry's weekly SPY chart, we're still in an uptrending channel and still over the major support line at 1,420 and we tested 1,430 at the end of last week but have, so far, held 1,440 this week.
Last week we were all worried about Spain because they were rioting in the streets and this week we are all worried about Spain because they haven't requested a bail-out yet. "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose," as they say in the country next to Spain…
In Member Chat last Wednesday, we took advantage of Oil Futures (/CL) testing $90 to go long and by the end of the week it was back to where we liked to short it at $93 and this morning, ahead of inventories, oil is at $91.22 but we're not long today as we don't expect the bulls to have much to get excited about but, if we get a dip to $88.50 that holds – we'd like to go long there. As you can see from this USO chart – we're pretty well stuck in the channel but the bottom is about $89 so I'm thinking a build this morning takes us just below the $33 line on USO.
AAPL was at $666 last Wednesday and they closed at $665 yesterday but we've worked ourselves into a more bullish position there (we had several long-term bullish trade ideas on AAPL in Member Chat that day). XLF was holding $15.50 and we went longer there – now $15.69. We added QQQ Oct $70s at .30 and yesterday we had the chance to add them again…
XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – US stocks are moving lower on Monday as European concerns creep back into the conversation, yet financial stocks are managing to hold onto slight gains this afternoon, with shares in the XLF up 0.06% at $15.84 as of 12:40 p.m. in New York. Put options on the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF saw heavy volume near the open after one big options market participant established a large bear put spread. It looks like the strategist purchased a 165,000-lot Dec. $13/$15 put spread, paying a net premium of $0.265 per contract. The trade makes money if shares in the XLF decline 7% to trade below $14.735, while maximum potential profits of $1.735 per contract are available on the position in the event XLF shares plunge 18% from the current level to settle at or below $13.00 at December expiration. Shares in the XLF last traded below $13.00 in December 2011.
FDS - FactSet Research Systems, Inc.– Options on the provider of financial and economic data are active today ahead of FactSet’s fourth-quarter earnings report scheduled for release prior to the opening bell on Tuesday. Shares in FactSet Research Systems are up 2.5% at $103.05 as of 12:05 p.m. ET. Some options traders appear to be bulking up on downside puts ahead of earnings, while others are getting long bullish calls in anticipation of further gains in the price of the underlying shares in the near term. Strategists prepared to benefit from a pullback in the stock picked up around 450 puts at the Oct. $95 strike in the first hour of the trading week for a premium of $1.40 apiece. Put buyers may profit at expiration next month in the event FDS shares drop 9% to trade below the effective breakeven price of $93.60. Volume in FDS options is heaviest in the Oct. $100 strike where more than 2,000 puts changed hands…
XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – Traders positioning for financial stocks to extend gains on the heels of Thursday’s FOMC announcement are loading up on XLF call options this morning. Shares in the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF earlier rallied as much as 1.8% to hit a new 52-week high of $16.44. Overall options volume on the fund is well above 500,000 contracts as of 11:35 a.m. ET, with the call-to-put ratio hovering just below 10-to-1. The Oct. $17 strike call has changed hands more than 320,000 times so far today against open interest of 215,271 positions. Much of the previously opened positions were established yesterday as traders stepped up to purchase the contracts for an average premium of $0.07 apiece. This morning, it looks like buyers are once again in the driver’s seat, paying an average of $0.12 per contract for the $17 strike call options. Traders getting long the contracts at around $0.12 apiece stand ready to profit at expiration next month if the price of the underlying rallies another 4% over today’s high of $16.44 to top the average breakeven price of $17.12. Shares in the XLF are off their highs of the day, up 0.90% at $16.30 as of 11:50 a.m. in New York.
LVS - Las Vegas Sands Corp.– Shares in the resort casino operator are up sharply today, trading 4.0% higher on the day at $47.21 just before 12:30 p.m. in New York. The Fed’s decision to extend its bond buying program and a number of analyst upgrades on Las Vegas Sands helped lift demand for bullish options on the stock this morning. A number of options market participants appear to be betting that shares in LVS have more room to run in the near term. Plain-vanilla call buying is prevalent across several out-of-the-money strikes in the September and October expiries. Traders positioning to benefit from strong performance in the shares…
If you listen carefully, you can hear the stampede of politicians distancing themselves from their once best-friend - Hotel magnate Sant Singh Chatwal - as AP reports, he plead guilty Thursday to charges he secretly funneled more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to three unnamed candidates and coached someone to lie about it. Without the contributions "nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said. "That's the only way to buy them, get into the system." Welcome to the ugly truth of American politik.
This one matters a lot. Abenomics was predicated on a lunatic notion—namely, that the economic ills from Japan’s massive debt overhang could be cured by a central bank bond buying spree that was designed to be nearly 3X larger relative to its GDP than that of the Fed. Yet anyone with a modicum of common sense and market...
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As Chief Strategist for STA Wealth Management, I start each and every day by consuming copious amounts of a heavily caffeinated beverage and a data feed from a litany of web and blog sites. Over the last couple of days in particular, they have been numerous articles on whether the market is currently in a bubble. Here are a few as an example that I just grabbed from RealClearMarkets.com:
Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (Ticker: CMG) opened higher on Thursday morning, rising more than 6.0% to $589.00, after the restaurant operator reported better than expected first-quarter sales ahead of the opening bell. But, the stock began to falter just before lunchtime on concerns the burrito-maker will increase menu prices for the first time in three years. The price of Chipotle’s shares have since fallen into negative territory and currently trade down 3.5% on the session at $532.89 as of 1:50 p.m. ET.
This week I’m in Disney World with the family, our first proper vacation all together in years. As such, I’m off the grid and away from computers of any kind (I’m trying to stay married, you guys). But while I’m gone, I’ve left you some stuff to catch up on…
These were the biggest posts – as read and shared by you – during the first quarter of this year. The theme of today’s collection is good investing and understanding the psychological forces at work when we commit capital. No matter how long I’m doing this...
The following are the M&A deals, rumors and chatter circulating on Wall Street for Thursday April 17, 2014.
Post Holdings to Acquire Michael Foods for $2.45B
The Deal: Post Holdings (NYSE: POST) confirmed Thursday it will acquire Michael Foods from its owners, which include GS Capital Partners and affiliates of Thomas H. Lee Partners for $2.45 billion. It was rumored Wednesday that Post had beat out rival Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) for the right to acquire Michael Foods.
Last week’s market performance was nasty again, especially for the Small-cap Growth style/cap, down 4%. Large-caps faired the best, losing only 2.7%. That’s ugly and today’s market seemed likely to be uglier today with escalating tensions over the weekend in Ukraine.
But once again, positive economic trumped the beating of the war drums. Retail Sales jumped up 1.1% over a projected 0.8% and last month’s tepid 0.3%, which was revised up to 0.7%. While autos led, sales were up solidly overall. Business inventories were about as expected with a positive tone. Citigroup (C) handily beat estimates to add to the morning’s surprises. As a result, the market was positive through most of the day, led by the DJI, up 0.91%, and the S&P 500, up 0.82%. NASDAQ had a less...
[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process.
The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...
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I just wanted to be sure you saw this. There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.
If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.
Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
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