by Option Review - January 31st, 2013 1:11 pm
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 - 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 the summer.
How much of a reduction? Thanks to the manipulation of our nation's strategic resources for…
by phil - August 8th, 2012 8:30 am
After hitting our lines ON THE BUTTON across the board (see yesterday's perfect predictions), we're taking a little pre-market tumble this morning led lower by our favorite short – PCLN, which has negotiated their way to a 15% drop on an earnings miss that didn't surprise any of our Members as it's been a focus short of ours for ages and is in both of our $25,000 Portfolios as well as our Long Put List with the Oct $540 puts, which we rolled into from the $510 puts for a net of $7.
With PCLN dropping to $575 pre-market, we won't do as well as we did on CMG last month (another focus put of ours) but we should get about $25, which will add, at 5 contracts, $9,000 to our $25KPs! When asked why we were shorting PCLN in yesterday's Member Chat, my response was:
Because the exchange rate sucks for one thing (PCLN is very big in Europe), because a great Q is priced in as PCLN has zoomed up with EXPE from last Q but are now outpacing EXPE (who are a much better company) by 20% over the past year. Also, PCLN has been diversifying into regular travel and cannibalizing their own business and, of course, because PCLN has a p/e of 30, which is a good 50% above the rest of the sector.
That pretty much sums up PCLN's earnings report. They are not a terrible company, they were simply over-priced into earnings and we took advantage of it. Now that we've had our little correction, we're moving on. We pressed our bearish bets yesterday as we expected a rejection at our Must Hold levels and my comment to Members on the way up was: "If you are going to be bearish – days like this are when you dig in your heels and shore up your positions – not the day you capitulate!"
As you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, the "rally" looks a lit less impressive if you notice the volume, which is lower now than it was before we went off the cliff in May or August or July of last year. Traders never seem to learn that these resistance lines are very hard to cross when there is a lack of participation but it's not because of any…
by phil - June 8th, 2012 8:37 am
That was the word from Uncle Ben yesterday as he testified before the Senate and, as we warned you in the morning post, without Dr. Bernanke firing those stage two boosters on the market:
We may fall gently back to our lows as we once again shift our focus to the G20 or we may blow up, along with the bullish expectations that have driven the market for the past two days – in which case, I don't know if the G20 will have enough fuel to pull us out of the tailspin that a lack of Fed action is likely to put us in.
So not much new to report this morning. We are, so far, in a relatively gentle descent – market-wise but we caught the danger signs as our gauges flashed warnings at us early yesterday and went from "Cashy and Cautious" back to CASH. As my morning Alert to Members, which went out at 9:53 yesterday morning, said:
Good morning – cash, Cash, CASH is King ahead of Bernanke at 10. Nice pop to lighten up into and that would go for the small portfolios too if I weren't playing them for an aggressively bullish hunch that Ben has no choice at this point, other than to at least strongly indicate that additional accommodative policy is likely warranted.
Oil is testing $87 (/CL) and is a great short here. $86 is still too much based on yesterday's inventory. If Ben fails to stimulate – it will drop like a rock but very, very dangerous to say the least.
Cash is so much more relaxing!!
We recycled the 5 bearish trade ideas we didn't get to use the day before as all of our levels held but yesterday, our levels were S&P 1,310, Nas 2,850, Russell 760 and NYSE 7,600 and those quickly flashed failure warnings across the board and by 10:03 we got the text of Ben's speech and knew it was time to abandon ship. As the Q&A got underway, my 10:31 comment to Members was:
FAS Money/StJ – Up $10,000??? CASH!!!! (we started with $2,000)
by phil - May 25th, 2012 8:30 am
Resistance is, unfortunately, not futile for our indices.
On Monday we discussed our expectations for a 2% weak bounce for the week, which would be a 20% retrace of the 10% drop I had predicted we'd have way back (and a bit early) in March. That constitutes a WEAK bounce and not a rally and they almost fooled us on Monday by taking back most of that 2% on day one but, since then – it's been pathetic and we've essentially done nothing the rest of the week.
The levels we were looking for were laid out in Monday's Member Chat and in Tuesday morning's post and were:
by phil - May 16th, 2012 8:27 am
Finally – news so bad it's GOOD!
Commercial Real Estate is down 14% in China so far this year with Residential right behind, down 13.5% – all on 11.8% fewer sales than last year. Foreign investment in Chinese properties has dropped 42.9% year to date. China's main banks are not lending any money – due to lack of demand, not supply and 45% of Chinese companies predict a slowdown this year and next. Brazil is right behind China with their own real estate market collapsing and the IMF is racing over to Australia to assess the damage done to their banks by the bursting property bubble and EU property values are also off 20% from their 2007 peaks – even in London and Frankfurt – which were supposed to be "immune" from this nonsense.
Good – let's get it all out in the open finally!
Italian Banks are in turmoil and their Government is considering using troops to protect the Banksters after one was shot last week. There is a run on the Greek Banks with almost $900M withdrawn this month and virtually no liquidity should people want more. Meanwhile, The Institute of International Finance has estimated that the global cost of a Greek exit could hit $1,300,000,000,000. When Argentina defaulted in 2001, foreign debtors lost around 70% of their investments. Is $1.3Tn finally a number that matters?
That's right folks, the Global situation is a complete and utter disaster – which is why we went long on the Russell Futures (/TF) at 775 and Oil Futures (/CL) at $92.50 in Member Chat this morning. Where the Hell else are you going to put your money if not in US Equities? That was my conclusion at 11:54 in yesterday's Chat, when I said to Members:
Nice pop off the EU close – still seems like people are abandoning the sinking ship of state over there and money has nowhere to go but US equities (but TBills and Dollars are getting some love too). With gold, silver, oil and copper all looking weak – where the hell are people supposed to put money?
by phil - April 4th, 2012 8:38 am
I hate to say I told you so but…
Oh, who are we kidding? I could not be happier saying I told you so and neither could our Members as our "Sell in March and Go Away" strategy seems to have hit the nail on the head – and it's only April 4th!
Back then (2/24), we were still bullish but the plan was to let the rally run its course and cash out ahead of earnings and our plays from that Wednesday (2/22) which I posted right in the morning post for all to see, have performed very well, of course.
We had April SQQQ and DXD hedges that failed, of course, but those were paid for by the short sale of AAPL 2014 $300 puts for $15, which are already $10.75, so up 28% already on those pays for a lot of protection.
Another offset we had looked at was the short sale of FDX April $80 puts at $1.10, which expired worthless (up 100%). We also looked at longer-term put sales on SKX, with the Oct $12 puts fetching $1.55 per contract, now $1.25 (up 19%), and the T 2014 $25 puts at $2.15, now $1.75 (up 18%).
Along the same vein, the XOM 2014 $65 puts at $5, now $4.05 (up 19%) were sold to pay for the SU 2014 $25/37 bull call spread for $6 for net $1 on the spread. The bull call spread is still $6 but that's net $1.95 now – up 95% on the combo. Our other bullish play on oil was the USO June $40/46 bull call spread at $2, selling he SCO Oct $26 puts for $3 for a net $1 credit. The USO spread has fallen to $1.40 but the short SCO puts dropped to $1.65 a net gain of .75 – up a quick 75% on a fairly neutral oil play, which was BRILLIANT as it covered many, many of our aggressive oil shorts over the month that went VERY well.
Our other trade ideas from the morning post (and the logic and strategies are detailed in the post):
- AA 2014 $10 puts sold for $2, still $2 – even
- X at $28.49, selling Jan $25 calls for $8.50 and 2014 $20 puts for $2.95 for net $17.04/18.52
by phil - March 27th, 2012 7:34 am
Wheeeeeee – isn't this economy FANTASTIC?
It sure is for those of us in the top 1% (1.4M) - people earning over $352,000 in annual income. We made $105,637 more Dollars in 2010 than we did in 2009 – thanks in large part to the Fed's fantastic policy of printing more and more money, which lets us borrow cheaply or invest with leverage in inflating equity as the Dollar collapses. Sure the Dollar collapsing hurts everyone – but an extra $105,637 keeps us ahead of inflation, right?
I'm stil jealous of course (good Capitalists are always jealous), as the top .01% (14,000 of us) – who earn an average of $23.8M, were able to add another $4.2M to their annual incomes in 2010. That's 52,500 TIMES the average $80 increase earned by the bottom 99% (thank goodness we're not one of THEM!). That's right, somehow, the riff-raff in the bottom 99% managed to grab 7% of the Nation's total increase in income – clearly Congress needs to make immediate changes to prevent this travesty from happening again!
Steve Rattner has a different opinion, saying: "The only way to redress the income imbalance is by implementing policies that are oriented toward reversing the forces that caused it. That means letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy and adding money to some of the programs that House Republicans seek to cut. Allowing this disparity to continue is both bad economic policy and bad social policy. We owe those at the bottom a fairer shot at moving up."
That's Commie talk! If we allow the bottom 99% to make a fair share of the money, they would make 5% more and you know they would only SPEND it on stuff they need TO LIVE. Then our companies would have to provide more goods and services to the bottom 99% and jobs would be created and we, at the top, would have to WAIT for the money to trickle UP from the bottom as only companies that do a good job servicing the bottom 99% would increase in value. Even worse, we may have to WORK (a four-letter word) to provide goods and services for the people who have money in order to EARN (another four-letter word) our Incomes. That's no fun for us at all!
by phil - March 14th, 2012 8:10 am
Yesterday, we talked about the BS that is Fox News.
Ironically, some of the "news" outlets that generally carry my articles (who's names shall be protected because they are wimps) decided it was too controversial for their readers so we know that's not a topic we're allowed to discuss in America, for fear of being black-listed. Today we'll see if we can make it a two-fer in the Bracket of Evil, as I have a juicy resignation letter from Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs (thanks Rev Todd), who is no small player, but the head of the firm's US Equity Derivative Business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Just a couple of excerpts:
I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.
I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail.