Archive for April, 2006

Friday Morning

I’m away again so this will be brief:

While we got the Fed speak we were looking for yesterday, the reaction was muted by another big drop in commodities including continuing weakness in the oil sector. The commodity drop was mostly caused by the China Bank raising their rates to slow down their 10% economy but that trend should reverse this morning as our own economy hits 5% growth.

The key is all the indexes held their lines though but, unfortunately, today will be another test as Mega Corp Microsoft, a big component in all the indices, blows it by a mile.

I did not see this comming and it kills me as $27.50 puts and calls were just .35 yesterday and a split would have yeilded a 400% return so far in pre market!

Gold was up and down and all around yesterday and I just kept buying it on the dips as the last time we were in a never ending war with a President that had a 33% approval rating gold was $800 an ounce (inflation adjusted $3,000).

This is why I went cash yesterday, any little thing was ready to hurt the markets and this is a big thing. After yesterday though, I’m hoping the losses today will be muted which would be a very good sign. GE and INTC gave me a lot of encouragement (2 that I still hold along with gold and SUN into earnings).

======================================

You have to keep MSFT in perspective – earnings are up 17% on 13% higher revenues. Earnings are up 35% from 2003 yet the share price is down (assuming $25 this morning) 20% because the company “only” made $3Bn this quarter. I’m certainly not advocating catching this falling knife but I think they are going to lower expectations far enough to make this a great long-term play so I will be picking up some 2008 calls when the dust settles.

BVN (my second favorite gold play) beat by 50% with revenues up 59% so that bodes well for ABX next week. It remains to be seen how the markets react.

BIIB looks very good on great earnings and a nice report on Tysabri (another one) so I like the momentum of the $45s for $1.15 but I’m unlikely to buy anything today.





Thursday Morning

Abandon ship!

Exxon disappointed and although the reason is they tanked profits by throwing a ton of costs into the quarter to deflect congressional criticism the net effect is the stock goes down and drags the markets with it.

Asian markets were up today but Europe is way off already and our futures market looks really bad. Bernanke speaks this morning and may say something to reassure the markets but, if he doesn’t, we may see greater than 1% drops today across the board.

As I said earlier in the week, it’s a very bad sign when good earnings go unrewarded and now some poor reports from XOM, BAY, DCX and CBS are going to incur the wrath of the bears.

We need to watch the technicals: Dow 11.300, Nasdaq 2,300, S&P 1,300 – if we hold these today it will be a good sign but if any one fails, we could be in for a big downturn.

Commodities will be off today as China’s rise in rates signals that they are serious about slowing their own growth. Oil is trading down towards $71 in Europe and if we cross down to the $70s there are plenty of great short plays to make in oil.

Credit to Vic who held firm to shorting oil yesterday in comments and is very, very right today!

Cash, cash, cash today as I would rather watch the morning carnage from the sidelines until we get a good test of the technicals.

=====================================

For the following oil plays, follow the entire Valero Rule which means XOM, VLO and either the OGX or OIH should all be heading down to take a short position and you need to have an itchy trigger finger!

In a vaccuum I would be buying all these companies on the pullback as XOM earns 10% of it’s stock price every year in net profits. When oil was $30 a barrel, they earned 7% – that’s a good company no matter what! This is purely a play on companies that were pumped up on speculation and hopefully there will be momentum to the downside but be very careful..

SLB is one of the most overpriced oil companies, trading at 135% over last year’s price. $65 puts are .95 and the stock was at $60 just 2 weeks ago.

CVX (tomorrow) has held up well so far but today, at least, they will…
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Wednesday Wrap-Up

I would have liked to see more out of the Nasdaq but that was a pretty good day in the face of an oil melt-down.

The Dow didn’t have trouble all day but couldn’t get it’s buddies to join in the fun so it put in a subdued but strong gain to 11,354.
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=1d&s=%5EDJI&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=&c=%5EGSPC&c=%5EIXIC

The Valero Rule saved me a lot of money today as VLO flew down just ahead of the oil inventories so I sold before they even announced the numbers – which seemed bullish but certainly wasn’t taken that way by the sector.
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=1d&s=VLO&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=

We will hear from the Fed tomorrow so consult your magic eight ball but mine says Bernanke gives a hint that they are satisfied with where we are which would really kick the markets up a notch. Of course we also get big daddy XOM reporting tomorrow but many strong earnings reports did nothing for the oil patch today. You can follow along in comments but my opinion is that today’s action may be a bear trap but we will know by the end of the week.

I remember last time we thought oil was finally dead back on 3/20 when it went from $65.50 to $61.25 in 3 days, fell below the 200 dma ant then snapped back to $67 in the next 5 days so you have to excuse me for being a little gun shy!

======================================

BA was very, very good to us with the $85s dropping down to $1.05 in the morning and then popping right back to $2.30 at lunch. Even if you were too greedy or busy to take the double it still finished the day back at $1.75.

AHC split 3:1 this evening but went down with the rest of the oil market today. It will be interesting to watch this one tomorrow.

HPQ came down a lot today and bounced up but the $32.50s never went below $1.40 and 5% is a bit too much premium for me!

CNI couldn’t hold its gains for the day but the Oct $50s still added .15 to $1.75 as volatility increased.

BNI was much better behaved which is why we bought the $85s which finished at $1.05 (up 10%).

TM gave us all morning to watch HMC before deciding to follow it up but the Jun $120s finished about flat at $2.25.

It was…
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Wednesday Morning

Asia continues to recover from Mondy’s drop and Europe is on good footing (never dropped) so it is all up to the home team to depress the planet! The S&P is back dangerously close to 1,300 and is the one to watch today as a slip below could be a very very very bad sign. The Nasdaq looks safely above 2,300 at 2,33o and the Dow really needs to reassert itself above 11,300 otherwise that will begin to look like a solid top. Oil continues it’s mild pullback ahead of 10:30 inventories with Iran saying they do not intend to use oil as a weapon but at the same time they are saying they have enough trouble keeping up with domestic demand which is an interesting new tactic to boost the prices. Nice noises from Iran also serve to calm the gold market for the day but now inflation is rearing it’s ugly head so we need to watch the 30 year to see which way gold is going – a pullback to 5.05% will take some of the air out of gold but seasonal fundamentals should keep it well above $600. Mortgage applications are at a 5 year low which hopefully will get traders back to thinking the Fed might be done (new home sales were up causing everyone to panic about a data dependant Fed yesterday). Durable goods orders were up huge (6%) which is another inflation indicator, so as stupid as this is – our economy is too strong and nobody wants to commit to stocks in fear of endless rate hikes which will weaken the economy… Strong economy = strong demand for oil, no matter what the inventory shows today the oil traders will likely hang their hats on this one. I am officially staying mainly in cash for the rest of earnings season as the reactions have been too unpredictable to make money on. I will be watching COP today to see if I want to stay in XOM (tomorow) but I feel very strongly about ABX (5/3) even though they will probably pull back prior to earnings. So please take all picks with a huge grain of salt as good earnings do very little to guarantee a rise in stock prices this week. ===================================== COP only hit earnings on the button. Granted the number is 13% over last year but the stock is up…
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Tuesday Wrap-Up

What a lousy day, you just can’t please this market.

Consumer confidence was up this morning, existing home sales rose .3% vs. an expected decline, oil is coming off its highs (only $72.90 now!) and even metals are taking a small rest. 65% of earnings reported have beat expectations with less than 20% below, the dollar is down (which should be good for exports) and the Fed is actually saying they are almost done tightening… Still the market goes down!!!

Not my beloved Intel! It was up .24 today as market share reports indicated that AMD is not really getting that far with pretty serious price cuts.

Bush made a big energy speech which is discussed in the comments that did effectively talk down the price of oil but only by a hair and the energy complex overreacted with a big drop that dragged down the market. I have never lost money shorting the market the minute Bush starts talking!

Also in comments I discussed why I bought XOM and ABX today prior to earnings – so far I’m not so happy with either one but we will give it more than 4 hours I suppose…

======================================

All oil picks were disasters today but, if you followed the Valero Rule, there was an amazing shorting opportunity from the minute Bush said he was going to stop the SPR from buying oil (who knew it wasn’t full?) for a few months:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=VLO&t=1d

Almost every stock you could look at had a great opening and an awful finish as the whole market just spiraled down with the oil patch.

T bounced up and down in the roller coaster from hell today but that’s why we took the Octobers:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=1d&l=on&z=m&q=l&p=&a=&c=&s=t

VZ was a little better behaved but sank at the end, finishing slightly positive with the $32.50s up slightly at .70 (up .12%).

If anyone can explaining to me how JBLU rose 13% today please do! I suppose people thought earnings were going to be much worse but they scaled back guidance too…

HPQ had a fire sale earlier in the day but, in the end, the $35s went up a dime to .70:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=HPQ&t=1d

TRAD did just what we wanted it to do as the $15s dropped to .95 but then recovered to $1.20 (up 25%) by the day’s end.
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=TRAD&t=1d

I like the HAL
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Tuesday Morning

In a perfect world, today should be rally day. We had a little pullback and stocks bounced nicely and earnings continue to be very strong but the dollar is still falling and oil doesn’t look like it’s coming down much so we could still go either way.

Asia went either way this morning with mixed results but Europe was generally up so we should at least get a good open. All the indices are comfortably above resistance and we will see if the Dow can break 11,350 today.

Lots of earnings today and all week for that matter and, unless the trend really breaks down, we can look forward to a lot of nice surprises.

Oil inventories are out tomorrow and expectations are now very low so any draw in oil or distillates will be seen as another sign for the bulls to take off. A lot of oil companies report this week as well and we may see another round of record profits but expectations are very very high so we may get a few misses as well.

Gold is back over $630 but anything less than a pullback below $600 is still very long-term bullish for gold stocks.

I posted a link on the right to Weblogs which mails you updates from the site if you sign up, not a bad idea if you follow a blog.

=====================================

DD May $45s may have been the deal of the month at .30 as the company missed a by a little due to energy fluctuations but raised prices and is forecasting a better year than expected. We need to keep in perspective that they were .65 yesterday and should be taken off the table if the stock pulls back. I’m already out of these as I don’t ride a double into earnings but I might wish I did…

BP had a 15% miss but they had multiple legitimate (not like Whole Foods) hurricane problems so they will probably go up anyway.

OXY had a nice beat as well but I’m not putting more money into oil at this level other than my XOM (4/27) $65s for $1.20. Exxon is lagging the other majors by a mile and as each one reports and runs up, the rubber band gets tighter:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=1y&s=XOM&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=cop+sun+cvx

If I were going to play oil bull I would take the OIH $175s for $1.20 but stopping…
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Back to Work

Ah, so all it was was a bad bit of HTML in my original post for the weekend. Not the sort of thing I was able to work out on my laptop but quickly handled at the control center!

This was a very strong market day again with oil and commodities causing so much trouble but I didn’t like the action as CAT had amazing earnings and good guidance but couldn’t catch a break all day.

Still, all in all it’s just great that we didn’t melt down like Asia and now we have to wait and see how they respond to the US market resilience tonight.

Oil had a decent pullback but still to $73 which is quite a lot higher than we started last week with. Gold dropped to $623 but gold stocks are not crashing as we are starting to accept $600 may be a new long-lasting level.

=====================================

SUNW’s revenues are up and they are rocketing in after hours as a reward for not losing as much money as people thought but we’ll see if it holds because the reality is that the company really does not have great long-term prospects.

UNH may be getting away from us, quickly recovering from a .50 opening drop. Some of the fear factor is coming out of the May $50s and they are already $1.70 (up 15%) but it’s very hard to trust this stock!

MS also ran straight up but has a long way to go ant the May $65s are now $1.55 (up 10%).

BEAV had earnings that were the blow-out of a blow-out and the May $25s are now $4.50 (up 200%) and should be rolled into the $30s for .90, taking the 110% remaining profits off the table and stopping out at .45 for now less than 170% profit.

AIR gapped up too as I am not the only person who sees them as a group buy with BA. The May $25s are now $4.40 (up 50%).

TIE gapped up yet again and had a 7% day running the May $55s all the way to $14.70 so please take some of the $12.40 profit off the table!!!

ATI has been lagging our group of Boeing super friends (which is why we didn’t pick them on the 11th), but not by much, so I like the July $80s for $4.70 but with little tolerance for loss…
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MIA Monday

Sorry but I’m out of town and it is doubtful I will have time to post tomorrow. I’ll be looking for the Nasdaq to rebound and oil to remain under $75 otherwise I will be cashing out almost everything until people adjust to the new prices.

Watch GE, if they can’t move up there is little hope. In general, we are blaming the recent poor action on option shenanigans but anything but an up movement could be a sign of a short-term top.

The fact that it costs $2.50 for a $57.50 put or call on NEM says it all about the price of gold. You could probably make money on both sides before the end of the month!

Don’t touch a call if any of the indices are going down on Monday as we are still due for a proper correction. My plan on the below trades is to wait and see which one drops by half and then think about buying that!

=====================================

I think HPQ should be moving up so I like the $35s for .70 but getting right out if it goes down (or better yet just waiting a bit to enter). It’s been trapped with a $34.50 ceiling for 2 months and $32 seems to be the floor, if the Nasdaq moves up this is a nice play but watch that top!

If you would have told me in March that I could buy UNH May $50s for $1.45 I would have closed out my other positions to buy as much as I could. Revenues are up 50% and earnings beat expectations by 7% and they raised guidance for the year by 2%, forecasting 22-24% growth. This quarter had a ton of costs (the kind you expect when revenues go from $12Bn to $17.7Bn in 3 months) that they will get under control. It may go down some more as the sector is in a death spiral but I think there will be an Apple style snap back within 2 months.

KO $42.50s for .35? Come on, its only .60 away! If people are drinking Black Coke then watch out as they may finally get a new hit. Will THIS be Microsoft’s month? Probably not but at .40 for the $27.50s I see it as a cheap proxy for the QQQQs if the Nasdaq perks up.

If oil keeps going up, COST will keep going…
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Weekly Wrap Up

Well I am so glad I got out of Google early! What a lame day it had considering. I made the huge mistake of thinking it might bounce back to $450 mid-day and wasted some of my profits on more calls that quickly went worthless.

After peaking out at $4 (a nice double) the $500 calls dropped to $2.90. The $490s only fetched $5.50 but that was 175% so nothing to really complain about. They held up ok, closing at $4 but this is how greed kills as they were going for $5 all the way until 11:30.

The markets were awful and I am dreading Monday as only commodities held up the indexes. The Nasdaq’s poor performance in the face of great earnings does not speak well for next week but we are comfortably above all resistance points and this was an option expiration day so we will have to wait and see.

Oil finished way up at a record $75 and gold made it back to $635 and copper is at an amazing $310 (up 11% for the week).

An optimist would say these are signs of a robust economy but I am baffled by the mediocre performance of most of the stocks.

=====================================

Our day trades went pretty good if you followed the rules and set 20% stops:

COP $70s opened at .60 and finished at $2.49

NEM $55s never came lower than $1.05 but finished at $2.50

The NEM May $55s that were a disaster yesterday, dropping from $1.90 to .90, finished today at $4.10 so I no longer feel bad for my major recommendation.

ABX $30s came down to .10 and finished there too after peaking at .45 (again greed kills)

I got the PLAY Jan $17.50s for $1.10 but I am already regretting it!

AAPL $67.50s for came down to .60 but never went back up. I was lucky to get .50 before the close.

GM $22.50 puts opened at .10 (I love these crazy buyers!) and got better all day finishing at .70.

XOM $65s were nice enough to open for .05 but never went over .10.

CVX came in at .50 and had a great day, finishing at $1.50.

QQQQ $42s did come down to .60 and kept going all the way down to .05 but it was a falling knife from the open as we discussed in comments.

DIA $113s for…
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Friday Morning

Asia is up with Sony flying ahead into next weeks earnings and the car companies moving nicely, there may be an opportunity to play TM or HMC this morning if they don’t gap up at the open. Europe is up across the board on a commodity recovery.

I don’t think today’s action will tell you anything other than people are playing with prices into options expiration. Google may have decimated the non-believers but I won’t be surprised if there is a concerted effort to hold it down (and, as below, I feel there are many reasons to) before 70,000 contracts (7M shares) finish in the money.

On the other hand, there may be a real shortage of shares to buy which can really rocket the stock.

The WSJ is front paging how EBay is in talks with Microsoft and Yahoo to take out Google. This is the kind of article that could have be written any time but they use them when they want to stop a runaway stock:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114558083975931981.html?mod=home_whats_news_us

As we expected metals are recovering already, I actually thought they would stay down through options expiration but this just shows you the strength of underlying demand.

Oil is down but you wouldn’t know it as we are now quoting June delivery so the price is now $73 per barrel but that’s down about .50 from yesterday. We don’t short oil on the weekend, especially with new supply threats from Nigeria.

Anything can happen today so don’t be greedy!

Good trading,

- Phil

=====================================

Here are some very dangerous day trades I am looking at with a goal of making 20% and a stop at 20%. Remember you need to exit asap as the premium will be destroyed by 1pm! And please, please, please do not chase…

All oils strictly following the Valero rule as long as oil stays over $73.

COP $70s for .45

NEM $55s for .85

ABX $30s for .15

Offering PLAY Jan $17.50s for $1.15 or less (not a day trade but get out at $1). I think they are just being punished by Apple for trying to sell tech to other companies and this will be resolved as their stuff is just better and if Apple doesn’t want it, Sony will.
http://yahoo.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2006/tc20060420_403611.htm

AAPL $67.50s for .60

GM $22.50 puts for .20

XOM $65s for .10 (total gamble)

CVX $60s
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Authored by William Luther via The American Institute for Economic Research,

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes that Venezuela’s “National Superintendency for the Defense of Socio-Economic Rights is reportedly pressuring stores to accept the government’s new digital fiat currency, the petro.” The Venezuelan government claims its digital...



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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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