by phil - January 13th, 2012 8:05 am
Happy Friday the 13th!
Will the market's luck change today or will we break through the mirror at 1,297 on the S&P which could spell 7 years of bad luck for the bears (or maybe 7 weeks).
Surly Trader has a chart (see Phil's Favorites) that says only 9% of the S&Ps sales come from Europe, which means we really shouldn't care so much what they do but he also has a frightening chart of the Baltic Dry Index, which has fallen off a cliff since mid December and that matches up with this terrifying collapse in Rail Traffic that started earlier and also isn't finished.
The last time intermodal traffic dipped to this level, we were in denial that we were in a Recession and indeed the Dow continued to march from 11,500 in January of 2008 all the way to just above 13,000 in May before it began the long march to 6,600.
Of course, a pessimist may say that by the time traffic had dropped this badly, it was December and the Dow ars already at 8,000 or an even bigger pessimist may point out that, since these are year over year comparisons, that we've never even recovered the original 20% drop and now we're down again and worst than we were at the time.
But I don't like to be a pessimist so I'll just quote David Fry, who titled yesterday's post: "Bulls Blind to Bad Data Once Again," noting:
In the eurozone today ECB president Draghi decided the best defense is a good offense and cleverly spun a yarn that his policies are working. Draghi further states that “interest rates will remain low for an extended period”…where have we heard this before? This statement caused the euro to rally about 1% on the day perhaps squeezing some shorts.
by phil - October 27th, 2011 8:24 am
You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. – Winston Churchill
I do HAVE to say "I told you so!"
When I was interviewed on Monday and they asked why I’m bullish, I replied that "stimulus trumps everything" and that’s what we’ve been playing for, especially in our new White Christmas Portfolio, which will be off to a rockin’ start with the aggressive upside trades that I not only mentioned in yesterday’s post - which made easy fills yesterday morning, as the markets shook out the last of the weak hands on yet another rumor-driven dip.
We got our daily double on the AGQ calls, as expected and SSO fell all the way to $44.20 (150% profit on that trade if they finish Friday above $45) while FAS dropped $13.35 and that spread will be good for a 2,100% gain if FAS can get back to and hold $14 – which should be a snap thanks to our friends at the EU.
In the morning Alert to Members, I put up this cute little Gif to illustrate the day’s action and it was a real roller-coaster day but we stayed generally bullish, taking quick profits off our morning bear plays on DIA and USO. We added a bullish trade ideas for AMZN (complex spread), TNA (short Nov $40 puts at $3.60) but that was it for the day because my comment to Members at 11:01 was: "Dollar rejected at 76.80 – still hope for the bulls!"
Well, those bulls were us and we already had our bets in place from last week, when things were cheaper so there was nothing to do but watch as the markets took off like a rocket from that point forward. Heck, we were so bullish we even sold NFLX puts (Nov $67.50 puts for $3) as a bullish offset to a DXD hedge (which we’ll pull the bottom of today). On Monday we had picked up bullish trades on AAPL and GLW and I mentioned EWG in Friday’s post (those should be looking good this morning!) as well as our plays to go long in the Russell Futures at…
by phil - August 1st, 2011 8:11 am
Oh what BS!
Still, it’s BS we expected, isn’t it? What did I tell you in Friday Morning’s post? I said: "Our plan for the day (as we’ve been short all week) is to get back to cash for the weekend but I’m sure we’ll find some speculative upside plays (like USO at $37) to play (we already went long on Silver in the Morning Alert to Members)." I followed that up with my 9:40 Morning Alert to Members, where my specific trade ideas for the morning, while the market was plunging, were:
- USO Next week $36 calls are $1.45 so 10 of those in the $25KP with a stop at $1.20.
- TNA Aug $69/73 bull call spread is $2 and you can sell the $51 puts for $1.20 and that’s my favorite index play at the moment. Of course any bullish offset would work but this one is focused on the RUT and betting it won’t drop another 8% by Aug expiration (725).
How’s that for a bottom call? That was right into the panic lows and, at 9:48 I reiterated my call right at the dead bottom, saying to Members: "Volume is not very high – this is a retail panic so far. If you have short positions, strongly consider put tight stops on them (this includes the $25KP and Income Virtual Portfolio) as they put plenty of cash in your pocket and we can always find another layer of shorts if the RUT can’t hold 775."
At 9:50 my trade idea was selling PCLN weekly $545 calls at $3 which expired worthless that day for a 100% gain. At 9:52 we picked up the weekly (that day) QQQ $57 calls at .72 and we had a 100% gain on those by 11. At 9:56 we went short on the VIX with the Aug $19 puts at $1, at 10:16 we even made 5 bullish adjustments to our fairly conservative Income Virtual Portfolio, including selling 50 DIA Aug $116 puts for $110 ($5,500) and we’ll be pulling those right off the table this morning – but I’m getting ahead of myself…
At 11:25 we went for a Jan bull call spread on UNG and at 1:20 I put up my last long trade idea of the day, selling YRCW Jan $1 puts for .70 for a .30 net entry on the trucker. …
by phil - January 21st, 2011 8:22 am
This is fun, right?
We had a nice opportunity to buy the F'ing dip yesterday as well as an interesting opportunity to test the prudishness of the hundreds or web sites that syndicate my articles as I saw every possible variation of "F'ing" popping up in titles that were pinged back to me. Social mores aside the move was so well telegraphed that we were able to take a non-greedy exit on our QID position – leaving us, thankfully, with just the DIA shorts in our $10,000 Virtual Portfolio. That means, we are going to be able to start our brand new $25,000-$100,000 Virtual Portfolio right on schedule next week.
We began "Turning $10,000 into $50,000 by January 21st" on June 11th and we're not done yet but we're well over $30,000 – even looking at our wrong-way (so far) short bet on the Dow. We could have killed that one yesterday as well but, as today's title says – we just have to give the old Alpha 2 a chance to fully play out as we would just hate ourselves if we get get that 500-point drop in the Dow right after we bail on the shorts as that would be our $50K right there!
So up only 200% or so in 7 months is a failure but, to be fair, we did take a couple of months off as I didn't like the market enough in October and November and we already had $26,000 so it didn't seem worth risking 260% to make another 100%. In the final month, we decided to "go for it" but it was a messy way to make another 20% as our overall premise – that a drop was "right around the corner" simply did not pan out.
Frankly, looking back at the original 5 picks makes me want to cry as we could have just left those on the table and gone on vacation! They were:
- 10,000 YRCW at .21 (we doubled down at .11), now $3.76, up $35,500 (a Bazillion percent, I think but there was a reverse split…)
- 20 C Dec $3/4 bull call spreads at .62, closed at $1, up $760 (up 61%)
- 20 short C Dec $4 puts at $1.08, close at
by Option Review - January 13th, 2011 4:46 pm
Today’s tickers: INTC, JPM, MRVL & YRCW
INTC - Intel Corp. – Large-volume bearish positions cropped up in options on the chip giant this morning ahead of the firm’s much anticipated fourth-quarter earnings release after the final bell ends trading for the session. Intel’s shares are down slightly by 0.30% to stand at $21.24 as of 11:55am in New York. Investors placing outright bearish bets on the stock ahead of the earnings report utilized 60,000 January contract put options to construct a ratio put spread. Ratio put-spreaders purchased 20,000 of the January $21 strike puts for an average premium of $0.34 per contract, and sold 40,000 puts at the lower January $20 strike at an average premium of $0.10 each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to $0.14 per contract. The spread positions players to make money if the chip maker’s shares fall 1.8% from the current price of $21.24 to breach the effective breakeven point on the downside at $20.86 by expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $0.86 per contract are available should shares in Intel Corp. decline 5.8% to settle at $20.00 at expiration. The sale of twice as many lower strike puts is a sign that traders do not anticipate an all-out collapse in the price of the underlying. The position will start to work against investors in the event that shares in Intel fall 9.9% from the current value to trade below the effective breakeven price of $19.14 before the contracts expire next week. Bearish sentiment on the stock is also evident at the February $20 strike where around 20,000 puts were purchased for an average premium of $0.31 a-pop. Investors buying the put options make money if INTC shares drop 7.3% to slip beneath the average breakeven price of $19.69 by expiration day in February. Nearly 265,000 option contracts have changed hands on Intel Corp. as of 12:10pm.
JPM - JPMorgan Chase & Co. – Options traders are initiating bullish stances on the financial services firm today in the final…
by phil - September 4th, 2010 9:24 am
What an exciting 10 weeks these trades have had!
The most important thing to take away from these hedged play reviews is how important it is NOT TO TOUCH THEM. We orginated this group on June 11th and the Dow was at 10,200 and it ran up to 10,600 and down to 9,600, back to 10,700, down to 9,800 again and is now back to 10,400. We could have made some good adjustments and we could have made some bad adjustments but the best move is to do nothing with long-term, hedged positions while the market gyrates UNLESS something fundamentally changes in your range outlook.
Rather than panic out of positions like these examples, a simple disaster hedge was used in the July 26th update to ride out the dip, while letting time (theta) decay contine to do it’s work on the premiums we sold…
The VIX was at 30 back on June 11th and that, in part, determines the nature of the trade ideas we decide to use. The higher the VIX, the more we want to sell premium as we simply profit from the declining VIX (now 23.5). The idea of these picks was to find $10,000 worth of small plays that we thought could gain 500% by Jan 21st as part of a larger virtual portfolio. If you can do this with just 10% of a $100K virtual portfolio or 5% of a $200K virtual portfolio, that’s plenty of risk for these uncertain times and it’s a nice 25-50% bonus on the entire virtual portfolio if it works out. Risk can be a component of a conservative virtual portfolio if we wall it off safely.
Our first play was a fundamentals play on YRCW, assuming they wouldn’t go bankrupt. 10,000 shares at .21 was the original entry ($2,100) and I called an audible on this one on 7/7 to add 2x at .11 rather than stop out. That brought the net down to 0.143 on 30,000 or $4,290 so a bit more than a DD overall and we took 1/2 off the table this week at .29 ($5,850), turning this one into a free play ($1,560 profits in pocket) with 15,000 shares to ride out but we lost our nerve at .41 because we couldn’t get .10 for the Jan $1s so we gave up (and rightly so it turns out) and cashed out for another $6,150 in profits for a total profit of…
by phil - July 26th, 2010 7:20 am
What an exciting 6 weeks these trades have had!
The most important thing to take away from these hedged play reviews is how important it is NOT TO TOUCH THEM. We orginated this group on June 11th and the Dow was at 10,200 and it ran up to 10,600 and down to 9,600 and is now back to 10,400. We could have made some good adjustments and we could have made some bad adjustments but the best move is to do nothing with long-term, hedged positions while the market gyrates UNLESS something fundamentally changes in your outlook.
The VIX was at 30 back then and that, in part, determines the nature of the plays we take. The higher the VIX, the more we want to sell premium as we simply profit from the declining VIX (now 23.5). The idea of these picks was to find $10,000 worth of small plays that we thought could gain 500% by Jan 21st as part of a larger virtual portfolio. If you can do this with just 10% of a $100K virtual portfolio or 5% of a $200K virtual portfolio, that’s plenty of risk for these uncertain times and it’s a nice 25-50% bonus on the entire virtual portfolio if it works out. Risk can be a component of a conservative virtual portfolio if we wall it off safely.
Our first play was a fundamentals play on YRCW, assuming they wouldn’t go bankrupt. 10,000 shares at .21 was the original entry ($2,100) and I called an audible on this one on 7/7 to add 2x at .11 rather than stop out. That brought the net down to 0.143 on 30,000 or $4,290 so a bit more than a DD overall and we took 1/2 off the table this week at .29 ($5,850), turning this one into a free play ($1,560 profits in pocket) with 15,000 shares to ride out for our hopeful $1 target. We still want to sell the $1 calls for .10 – as was the original plan. Why not lock in another $1,500 that we can’t possibly lose on?
20 C Dec $3/4 bull call spreads were .62 each ($1,240) and paired with the sale of 10 2012 $4 puts at $1.08 ($1,080) for net $160 investment in the artificial buy/write. The $3/4s are now .70 ($1,400) and the $4 puts have dropped to .88 ($880) so now net $520 (up 225%), slow but…
by phil - July 23rd, 2010 8:23 am
What a way to end the week!
The EU has decided to leave us hanging until the last moment as they hold off on releasing their bank stress test results until after the markets close (11:30 EST) which leads me to believe the results may not be good or they wouldn't be waiting until the markets are closed and then giving investors the weekend to digest the results. If the tests are good, then the US will rally and Asia will rally and the EU would have to gap open on Monday and that would annoy investors over there (kind of like we were annoyed yesterday) but, if the results are bad, then we can drop back to 10,200 or lower and Asia can sell off and they will gap down on Monday but perhaps less of a panic sell-off than if they got hit with the news on a Friday morning.
So, because the results were already delayed and because the ECB has chosen to wait until Friday afternoon – I'm going to have to at least make a small bet that we have a failure. We already hedged the Dow in yesterday's Member Chat as we weren't sure of the timing and we wanted to lock in our gains for the week but now let's look at a nice, profitable way to play a sell-off in the financials.
- FAZ is the 3x Ultra Short ETF on the financials and you can just buy that ETF for $14.62 a share and a 3.3% move down in XLF should translate to a 9% gain to $15.94, not a bad day's work right there! Thanks to the uncertainty we now have, this trade can be augmented with the sale of the August $14 puts and calls for $2.65 and that drops the net purchase price to $11.97. If XLF finishes below $14, another round of stock would be put to you at $14 for an average entry of $12.99, which is 12% lower than the current price so this trade assumes the financials don't go UP 4% by August 20th. If FAZ finishes over $14 (.62 lower than it is now) the net return on the $11.97 is 17%, not bad for 3 week's work….
- Since XLF is also $14.45, we can also have some
by phil - July 2nd, 2010 8:23 am
Do I know what the jobs data will be at 8:30? Nope.
Then why would I title a post "Thank Jobs It's Friday!" – what if the report sucks and we go down? Well, at this point, even if that does happen, I think that will be the end of it. We've been building up to this "terrible" jobs number all week and we got a rotten ADP Report and a rotten Unemployment Report so everyone is expecting a rotten Non-Farm Payroll report. When everyone expects the same thing, we like to bet against it. Sometimes we're wrong and sometimes we're right but you make some amazing money when you are right. The magnitude of the short squeeze that would follow a significantly BTE NFP Report could send up up 300 points or more on the day, likely with a big finish this afternoon and some follow-through on Tuesday as the rest of the world plays catch-up.
A bad report, on the other hand, is already baked into the cake and we have yet to test S&P 1,000 so we can expect support there. It wouldn't be pleasant, but we should be able to scramble and protect ourselves if we head lower so the smart move is to play for the mega-move higher, and that's where we are. Of course, it's also a balance issue. In our last Weekly Wrap-Up, we had the following open trade ideas going into June 21st (we had gotten bearish at the end of the previous week):
- APOL July $40 puts spread at .46, now .60 – up 30%
- BBY Jan $37 puts sold for $4, now $3 – up 25%
- BP July $30/32 bull call spread at $1, now .70 – down 30%
- YRCW at .21, now .15 – down 28%
- BP Oct $33/July $33 ratio backspread (3:5) at net $225, now $524 – up 132%
- TZA July $7 calls .08 (net of spread), now $1.50 – up 1,775%
- SIRI 2012 $1 puts sold at .33, still .33 – even
- USO July $33 puts at .51, now $1.08 – up 131%
- GLL July $37 puts, sold for $1.30, now .35 – up 70%
by phil - June 11th, 2010 7:12 am
Wheee - this is getting to be fun!
I spend most of my time with members preaching LOW-risk strategies so it’s fun to look at a riskier one once in a while. If the market is trending higher then we may have an opportunity to make a nice, fat return and we’ve already locked in a conservative set with a lot of cash on the side so we’re able to consider taking a little gamble now.
While we still have a nice, fat VIX at 30, let’s look UP for a change and think of some small, fun plays we can take that give us great expectations for the end of the year. As I mentioned the other day, putting just 10% of your virtual portfolio into a risky play that makes 500% to the upside can be a real virtual portfolio booster. The trick here is to select trades that either limit our downside or have downsides we don’t mind (like having a stock put to us that we don’t mind owning).
I thought it would be fun to set up a small, virtual portfolio with a few selections we think can provide big returns by January expirations. Keep in mind that these are, of course, high-risk positions and should not be more than 1/10th of a virtual portfolio so if you have $10,000, just $1,000 should go into risky posiitons like this. If all goes well, you still make 50% on the whole $10,000 so DON’T BE GREEDY! We’ll track this set of picks going forward and make adjustments, if needed along the way.
Let’s start with a stock. As you know, I am NO fan of penny stocks. I pretty much avoid them like the plague but there’s a stock that costs just 21 pennies I’ve decided I like and that’s YRCW. YRCW is an unintentional penny stock and they do have many, many issues that may cause them to go BK BUT – they also have $5.2Bn in revenues against a $214M market cap and, if they don’t go bankrupt, then someone may decide to buy them, probably for more than $1.
Freight volume for truckers was up 0.9% in April after being up 0.4% in March and the Freight Index is now at 110.2, the highest level since Sept of 2008, when YRCW as stilll a $10 stock (but on the way down). YRCW says they broke even in April and…