Archive for 2006

Weekend Reading

Unanimous sanctions against North Koreathis will be interesting. China is already concerned about the effects of cutting off a major trading ally.

We can little afford a global change in sentiment as our status as a global debtor is being called into question. There are no quick economic fixes to stop spiraling interest rates if foreign banks stop buying US dollars.

Here’s an article by Tony Paradiso, who thinks it might matter.

Enough of that nonsense because – It Just Doesn’t Matter!

Nice follow up to my Dow article but Mat Hougan, who is much more thorough than I am!

This is why I love GE! This one project is over half the US total allocated for solar energy next year!

There’s a lot of noise about media companies “considering” action against YouTube and they would be foolish not to lodge a formal complaint as leverage for a future deal but I see NBC and CBS already on board with certain “approved” content plus Warner Music, Vivendi, Sony and Bertelsman on the music side. Let’s keep an eye out for a tipping point on content!

Having taken some time to read through all the Fed notes and gather comments, it looks like a hike is absolutely in our future but probably not at the October meeting as that would just ruin Christmas! Aside from Lacker, several non-voting members were in favor of tightening only it wasn’t their turn to vote. After the next two sessions, the hawks may gain the majority!


OPEC is meeting on Thursday but not every member will be there:

Norweigan “safety officials” have shut 3 platforms down for a week (280Kbd) because they need safer lifeboats.

Not one at a time, not a week’s notice, not that they have no lifeboats, not that they couldn’t anchor a safety ship nearby while they wait… No, take $16M per day off line for want of a dingy! Such blatant BS!!!

It’s a big game of pretending they are not working with OPEC to cut production. They can’t mess around with natural gas because we can see it locally, so that oversupply is killing the market there, despite the “surging demand and tight supply” in oil.

Here’s oil economics in a nutshell:

RDS.A shuts down an $8M a day platform for 2 weeks and the stock
continue reading

Vote Your Wallet – Please!

In a comment to my comment that the Dow went from 3,000 to just shy of 12,000 under Clinton, BL said: “Lets give credit where credit is due. Based on the charts, the great bull run began in the 3rd quarter of 1982 under Ronald Reagan, a republican, and ended in the last half of 1999 under Clinton, a democrat.”

Aside from my immediate reaction, which is to say: Credit – like the $2.6T surplus that was turned into a $3T deficit in just 6 years – will be certainly be given and, unfortunately for us, the interest is already due!

But that did made me wonder if I was short changing the Gipper so I did a little digging and found some interesting statistics:

Here is a long-term S&P Chart:

Since it goes further back, here’s the long-term Dow Chart.

I am going to be very kind and give the Republicans a pass on the Great Depression (even though they caused it) and just say they were in the wrong place (the White House) running the wrong country into the ground at the wrong time (1920-1933).

The S&P graph only goes back to 1950 but you can’t have a serious conversation about the markets using the Dow so we’ll just say there was a depression and a war and start from there:

1950-1953: Truman – D (two assassination attempts) inherited a post-war economy in charge of building the country back up from a very difficult period. The 1948 election was the first time the Republicans attempted to steal an election by miscounting ballots: S&P 16-26

1953-1961: Roosevelt’s Great republican general Eisenhower – R got us through the Korean War and got the 60s off to with a bang by starting the cold war that set the stage for the an immense peacetime expansion of the military – one might say he invented the Fear Factor! S&P 26-58

1961-1963: Kennedy – D (assassinated) inherited the Cuban missile crisis from Ike but turned things around quickly: S&P 58-71

1963-1969: Johnson – D declared war on poverty, started Medicaid but, unfortunately, also let us get sucked into Vietnam: S&P 71-104

1969-1974 Nixon – R (scandal) I’m not even going to go there! S&P 104-86

1974-1977 Ford – R The most amazing thing about Ford is that he…
continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up

What an amazing week!

We closed just 18 positions this week for a 33% profit and an average hold of 4 days.

We didn’t take many new positions either, other than various oil plays discussed in the previous post, as I remained distrusting (but warming up) of the great rally of 2006.

Our 46 remaining open positions are down 2% after 11 average open days. As I said this morning, I am ready to pull the plug on the lot if this market keeps acting so strangely and I am still being weighed down by the non-working ends of our Google spreads as well as the debacle with MS and GS!

As I said in the previous post about covering, we either play both sides of the market in uncertain times or we don’t play at all. While I so do want to close my eyes, clap my hands and say “I do believe in rallies, I do, I do!” I just can’t get it down yet!

The Dow finished with a bang, recovering from a morning drop to get 12 points closer to 12,000. Perhaps this weekend they will get their magazine covers…

The Dow is now up over 1,000 points in the past 90 days with 10 of those 13 weeks being positive. The last down week for the Dow was the week before 9/11, when investors were understandably a little edgy.

As much as I may complain that the Dow is a useless indicator, it certainly tracked tick for tick with the S&P for the past 3 months.

Not to waste your time, everything was up and amazing this week with all the indices finishing at or near the week’s high. We discussed in comments that it has a very 1999 feel to it but with more people wearing suits this time.

Still, the 1999 rally began in 1995, Clinton’s third year and didn’t end until Bush took office in January 2000 so these things can go on quite a while. During the Clinton Presidency the Dow went from 3,000 to just under 12,000, averaging 1,000 points a year for 8 consecutive years (not making a political statement, just marking the time).

Amazingly, that whole rally took place with oil under $30 (sometimes under $20!). So please forgive me for not being overly impressed that, 6 years later, we are back to where we…
continue reading

A Peek Under Our Covers

What is the difference between my style of trading and Amaranth?


We hedge our trades to avoid market meltdowns. Perhaps it is overly cautious at times but today we had a great example of how a little hedging can go a long way in protecting a trade gone wrong.

After Wednesday’s oil inventory report, we (the comment group) were positive oil was facing another leg down. Aside from my well-documented beliefs that oil is still overpriced and inventories are overflowing, we felt there was a strong disconnect between the actual price of crude and the price of the companies that sell it:

3-Month Chart

Notice how XOM, for example is outperforming the price of crude by 30%, while SU, SLB, and the OIH are up by 15%. VLO was the stock that most closely tracked crude but, since 9/25, it has veered away and is now 7.5% higher than crude in a month.

As you can see from a 1-year chart, until July ALL of these stocks tracked USO (the oil ETF) very closely. For XOM in particular, Zman did an excellent analysis of why this situation is unlikely to continue.

This disconnect of the fundamentals made us think Thursday’s action was unwarranted and we doubled down on the October oil bets that went the wrong way on us. This put me more in on the put side than I liked and, facing the close of Thursday with the Valero Rule telling us oil was going higher – I decided it was a good time to hedge the bet…

People make fun of me because I get nervous and cover my positions when I have a “bad feeling” or see something that bothers me but this is a great example of how being right once makes up for every single time I give up a small gain by being too cautious!

I was worried enough in Thursday’s comments to cover all the oil puts with protective calls at 2:50 (really 2:42 due to bad Google clock). At the time I said:

You can still buy USO ($53.25), if oil is in such a rally it’s a great opportunity to make a fortune on tomorrow’s gap up. The buyer was paying over ask for 9 minutes like it was life or death – what changed at 2:32??

And they jacked up the NYMEX close
continue reading

Fear and Loathing in the Markets

I don’t trust the market and I don’t like what THEY have done to pump them up!

I’m saying this at 6 am, before GE’s earnings and my opinion is subject to change after I get a look at their earnings but I had a nice revelation today thanks to a guy in comments who compared me to Hunter Thompson (something I take as a great compliment).

I’m pretty sure Hunter would have loved blogging, being able to get your thoughts on paper and “straight to the people” without delay (or editorial cuts) would likely have appealed to him. He made a great career out of picking on the establishment and taking down conventional wisdom with a sense of humor and I never thought much about how much his writing influenced me as it’s been years since I’ve read his stuff.

He was, in fact, the first blogger. Back in 1971, in an effort to “be fresh” he would fax in his work: “Because of the freewheeling nature of the campaign, a first-generation fax machine was procured at great expense by the magazine (Rolling Stone) for Thompson. Dubbing it “the mojo wire”, Thompson used the new technology to extend the writing process precariously close to printing deadlines, often haphazardly sending in hastily written notes as the “article” mere hours before the magazine went to press. Fellow writers and editors would have to assemble the finished product with Thompson over the phone.”

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 was one of the first adult reads that really moved me, which I suppose is pretty warped for a 9-year old – but the damage is done so we move on! Like me, Hunter used conspiracies as a literary device to talk about complex socio-economic confluences of events that are way to tedious to actually get into (and besides, it’s always fun to have someone to blame!).

I never thanked him for that and I guess I should!

He was the darling of conspiracy theorists everywhere though, and that reminds me I need to take a break every once in a while and remind people that I say a lot of this tongue in cheek and, other than the actions of this administration, there are perfectly rational economic reasons for most of the movements we see in the markets.

Speaking of the markets – for whatever…
continue reading

Through the Roof Thursday

Hooray for the Energizer Rally!

The Dow just went up and up and up, closing at 11,947 – enough to get CNBC to start a 12,000 counter. Gosh this is almost an exact reset of last weekend when I said they were trying to close on a high so all the retail buyers would go into the weekend feeling like they were missing out.

Last week I said “If I were an evil market manipulator I would want to hit the Saturday papers when people have time to read about it and also after Time and Newsweek go to print so I can assure a headline next week as well. This will bring in the maximum amount of suckers (I mean new clients), for me to dump (I mean share they joy of ownership of) my inflated (I mean valuable) shares on.”

I think Kim Jon Il ruined that plan last weekend so they’re going to take another whack at it this weekend with a story number, Time magazine cannot ignore – 12,000!!!

The S&P actually outpaced the Dow today and took no prisoners as it virtually jumped over 1,360 to close at 1,362.

The NYSE blew through 8,600 while the Nasdaq flew to 2,346. With the SOX up 2.7% on the day, there was never any doubt about tech’s direction. The transports got off to a slow start but, after the beige book said the economy was pretty good, it was party time for all the indexes!

Oil had a party that started just 10 minutes before the NYMEX closed. At 2:20 someone suddenly needed oil so bad that they bid it up from $57.60 (just above the day’s low) all the way up to $58.10 (the day’s high) just 9 minutes later!

I won’t get into it again here but we discussed how ridiculous this is in the previous post.

Gold made it back to the $580 mark and I am so glad I haven’t been shorting miners as they positively exploded on this minor move as the dollar was rejected at the 200 dma at $87.25.


Soccer_F1 provided this excellent chart illustrating our total confusion about XOM’s market defying run. I noticed something funny about XOM when checking out their balance sheet: How does a company earning $10Bn a quarter show no major changes on their balance sheet?

continue reading

Not for all the oil in China!

My Grandmother used to always say “Not for all the tea in China.” As China is where English people get their tea.

Now oil is trading up again based on “Chinese demand!

Yes China is a big, rapidly expanding country with a Billion people and their consumption of oil is going to go up 10% next year.

A Billion people! 10%! “Oh my gosh,” you say, “we must buy oil stocks before it’s too late!


America is, as we know, an energy hog. Our 300M people suck up 22M barrels of crude a day, only 9M barrels of which we produce ourselves.

How much oil do China’s 1B people burn up in an average day? Just 7M barrels total!

In fact China imported just 785M barrels of oil so far this year. You see all the shocking reports that their import demand will grow 10% next year – that’s 90M barrels, just 2% of the US’s 4.75B barrels imported annually.

Those demand figures include China’s move to fill up their own SPR, which will have 100M barrels when it is completed in 2008. They can perhaps impact global demand by 1-2M barrels a week if they fill it as fast as they can. Since August, they have actually placed just 3M barrels in the reserve because, unlike our leaders, China does not wish to impact prices.

Yet the oil bulls will have you believe there is a dragon on the other end of the earth drinking up the world’s oil. This is simply not true! It is just another part of the Fear Factor that is being used to keep buying energy stocks and crude oil despite mountains of evidence that there is a global production glut of oil.

Even Boon Pickens says his new high target for crude is $70, of the $50-70 range, and he’s one of the world’s greatest oil pumpers. Since his target was $100 when oil was $70, if he’s lowered his target by $30 when oil is $58 – look out below!

With costs rising and demand falling, a drop in the actual price of crude is the trifecta of doom for integrated oil profits.

Today we had a crude surplus of 2.6M barrels for the week, very interesting with BP’s Alaska pipeline running just 40,000Bpd out of its usual 450,000Bpd capacity due to a power outage.

In addition to the…
continue reading

Thrilling Thursday

Yesterday was very impressive!

We may be moving out of the Meatball rally and into the Energizer rally phase but let’s see how the week shakes out before we take another shot of Kool Aid and go all in (I’m still 65% cash).

Asia was mixed, with India being a major exception as INFY’s numbers ignited the whole market for a 1.4% gain. Japan’s banks led small slide in the Nikkei. A very interesting development is a sharp decline in the Chinese defense industry; perhaps they feel the N. Korea issues will be resolved peacefully.

Europe is moving up along with the US futures so we have mixed signals from the FTSE and Nikkei but the FTSE and S&P are behind so a little catching up is good.

We’ll see if yesterday’s little incident in New York reignites terror concerns, so far so doesn’t matter it looks like. What struck me yesterday was the way the market shrugged off the news, we are now so jaded about tragedies that a tragic accident can take place and people say “It wasn’t terrorists – Great!” I don’t know if that’s progress…

As we seem to be consolidating this week we will continue to watch our lower resistance levels (discussed yesterday) but if we are going to transition into a more positive (yes it can get more positive) rally phase we will need to set greedier targets:

The Dow may be forming a nice flag above 11,800 but holding this mark is all the difference in the world as to near-term direction.

The S&P is our leading indicator again as it refused to lose at 1,350 – you cannot take down the markets without taking down the S&P!

The NYSE remains the more volatile directional indicator and it would be so nice if they hold 8,500 as we could set up for a real bull run!

Nasdaq was yesterday’s disappointment with a 7-point drop and holding 2,300 will be key so let’s watch that one closely.

What are the SOX doing? They are channeled between 450 and 460 since 9/18 so let’s watch those earnings closely as I think this little index may lead the whole market.

Transports have firmed up above 2,550 and I remain concerned that they were considerably higher in June so let’s hope we see…
continue reading

Wednesday Wrap-Up

That really wasn’t so bad!

The Dow only lost 15 points on the day and looks like it really wants to go check out 12,000.

The S&P has no interest in going below 1,350.

The NYSE is not even looking at 8,500.

The Nasdaq, oops… The Nasdaq dropped 7 points, fell below 2,300 and couldn’t retake yesterday’s low. Slight worry.

But you know – It just doesn’t matter!

Why should it with oil down another buck to finish just .10 off the 52 week low of $57.49? That’s right, if just one guy sells a few contracts in Europe tomorrow, oil will open at a new low!

Yes, yes we are all shocked, unless you read this oil bear back on September 25th, when he predicted: “…the next 5% down is $57.14 and it could go there before there is a real turn (if at all).

Since that guy was right before we’d better keep a close eye on that $57.14 level tomorrow for a possible bounce! In the amazing world of mathematical convenience, a 5% bounce from $57.14 is $59.997 – let’s call it $60 and make that our new danger zone!

Both oil and gold were beaten into submission today by the rising dollar which stopped right up against the 200 dma of 87.25 on a very strong chart:

The dollar was buoyed by the Fed minutes as minutes showed concerns over “possible acceleration in labor costs,” which meant they “continued to see a substantial risk that inflation would not decline as anticipated.

This is right in line with what I said a week ago Tuesday when I called for another Fed hike. I thought this was terrible news for GM, who sell cars by financing them and are themselves over $300Bn in debt.

We took our first round of GM $30 puts at the lunch spike for .20, looking for a quick double but also moved into the GM $32.50 puts for .90 after the Fed.


This is also terrible news for the invulnerable homebuilders who seem to do no wrong but I did find one that slipped up just a little…

New Jersey luxury home builder Kara Homes, named to the Inc 500 fastest-growing private companies in 2004 and 2005 has filed for bankruptcy!

The Inc. 500 listing is the latest in a
continue reading

Watch out Wednesday

We have a busy day today!

AA, a company that never gives guidance, missed by a lot as aluminum prices were down but costs were up and that’s making a lot of people nervous about the economy in general. The key factor was energy costs did not come down fast enough to save Q3 – if that happened to Alcoa, then it may have hit many companies as well.

We will get refinancing numbers early this morning, which may disappoint, but the big Kahuna are the FOMC minutes at 2 pm. The oil and gas inventory reports will be pushed off until tomorrow due to Columbus day so more choppy action in store for us there.

It will be interesting to see if this matters enough to give us a downside test although it does turn out that North Korea has only, maybe, detonated one nuke so far. As John Stewart said “Good, News – North Korea Has One Less Nuclear Bomb!

Asian shares were down this morning and Europe is trying to overcome a bad open. We need to keep a close eye on foreign markets as the S&P has pulled ahead of the Nikkei while the FTSE is facing a critical test as it approaches the April high of 6,137.$SPX,$FTSE,$NIKK

Back home, we need to keep our eye on the following danger zones:

  • Dow: 11,700 needs to hold.
  • S&P: 1,340 is an early warning but 1,320 is the line in the sand
  • NYSE has no real support until 8,400 where it faces a critical test of a rising 50 dma.
    Nasdaq: 2,275 is the magic number but 2,225 is the very flat 200 dma.
  • SOX need to hold 450, also running into a rising 50 dma at 445
  • Transports need to show us something at 2,550, probably the single most critical index this week.

Cramer issued a ‘mon back on financials, cyclicals and technology last night, urging us to buy on the dips. Maybe if we hold our levels but otherwise, I’ll just let it dip a bit…

Oil will test $59 today as it touched the $58 line in overnight trading but was pumped up at exactly noon in Europe! T Boone is on CNBC saying “What’s the rush to get Purdoe Bay back on-line? Everybody’s happy with where oil is now,
continue reading


Zero Hedge

Americans' Economic Hope Has Collapsed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Which came first, the confidence or the stock market rally?

One thing is for sure, the crash in stocks in December has crushed the hope of Americans that their economic future is going to be better under President Trump.

Overall confidence dipped to 58.1 - a 4-month low, but, U.S. consumers this month were the most downbeat on the economy since November 2016, a third straight drop after expectations reached a 16-year high just three months earlier, as the partial government shutdown wears on toward a fourth week.


more from Tyler

Kimble Charting Solutions

Triple Breakout Test In Play For S&P 500!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the rally of late about to run out of steam or is a major breakout about to take place in the S&P 500? What happens at current prices should go a long way in determining this question.

This chart looks at the equal weight S&P 500 ETF (RSP) on a daily basis over the past 15-months.

The rally from the lows on Christmas Eve has RSP testing the top of a newly formed falling channel while testing the underneath side of the 2018 trading range and its falling 50-day moving average at (1).

At this time RPS is facing a triple resistance test. Wil...

more from Kimble C.S.

Phil's Favorites

Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?


Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?

Courtesy of Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds

As the clock ticks down to March 29 2019, all of the political manoeuvring, negotiating, arguing and fighting is coming to a peak. In the two and a half years since the 2016 EU referendum, views on both sides have hardened and agreement still seems as far away as it was the day after the referendum.

With Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement disliked by all sides, and voted down by an unprecedented majority in the House of Commons, everyone is wondering what can and should be done next?


more from Ilene

Digital Currencies

Crypto-Bubble: Will Bitcoin Bottom In February Or Has It Already?

Courtesy of Michelle Jones via

The new year has been relatively good for the price of bitcoin after a spectacular collapse of the cryptocurrency bubble in 2018. It’s up notably since the middle of December and traded around the psychological level of $4,000... so is this a sign that the crypto market is about to recover?

Of course, it depends on who you ask, but one analyst discovered a pattern which might point to a bottom next month.

A year after the cryptocurrency bubble popped


more from Bitcoin


D.E. Shaw Investment Calls For Leadership Change At EQT

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Elliott Management has offered to acquire QEP Resources for approximately $2.1 billion, contending the oil and gas explorer’s turnaround efforts have done little to lift the company’s share price. The company responded and said that a thorough review of the proposition is imperative in order to properly act in the best interests of shareholders, “taking into account the company’s other alternatives and current market conditions.” The news came only a month after Travelport Worldwide agreed to sell itself to Siris Capital Group and Elliott’s private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital for $4.4 billion in cash and two months after Athenahealth was bought by Veritas and Evergreen for $5.7 bi...

more from ValueWalk

Insider Scoop

UBS Says Disney's Streaming Ambition Gives It A 'New Hope'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DIS Despite Some Risks, Analysts Still Expecting Double Digit Growth From Communications Services In Q4 ... more from Insider

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...

more from Chart School

Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn


Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...

more from Our Members


Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.


more from Biotech

Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...

more from M.T.M.


Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

more from OpTrader


Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"



Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:


·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union


more from Promotions

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...

Learn more About Phil >>

As Seen On:

About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

Market Shadows >>