Archive for 2006

Virtual Portfolio Insurance

This is an article I was saving for the private site but news has forced my hand so I'm going to start picking up some of these next week.

Insurance companies are always good in times of trouble and should hold up better than the Dow in a plunge (but will not be immune to it so we sell calls against or get out in a downturn). Currently the IYF insurance ETF is 10% behind the Dow's rally but usually outperform the Dow (move the time-line further out, resting neatly at the 10% rule.

I'd like to give a shout out to my man Warren Buffett who took the time over the weekend to pump my beloved BRK.A, saying "you ain't seen nothin' yet" (I may be paraphrasing) while at the same time jumping on our bandwagon and taking a stab at Exxon for sqandering Billions on buybacks and dividends. Berkshire Hathaway was my stock of the year selection for 2006 and, although it was outperformed by some, there were none that made us feel safer through thick and thin! This puts a lot of pressure on my 2007 pick…

I think that Warren Buffet taking the time out of his busy day to tell you his company is still a good 30% undervalued at $107,000 a share should tell you something about the markets, especially the insurance sector.

AIG comes to mind as a possible play, with 2007 earnings projected at $6.26, up a mere 8% from 2006. "Yawn"you may say, but then you would be sleeping through the story! AIG only earned $3.33 a share in 2005, which was it's best year ever, but still fell from 2004 highs of $77 a share down to $49 during "the scandal."

That was then, this is now, AIG is so similar to Berkshire that they co-insured deals and poor Mr. Buffet was even slightly tainted by that nonsense back in '04 but he's moved on and so should we with the AIG Jan '09 $70s for the "I'm Not Kidding Price" of $10.40.

You can produce an income against them by selling the Jan $70s for $1.70 AND covering yourself with the Feb $75s for .40 but I would just do half as long as the…
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Burn Dollars to Fight Gravity?

While I respect and use the "bullish sentiment" indicators and, in fact, just commented on it last week I've also started thinking about the "herd mentality" as it applies to rational decision making.

Please do not take this as a BUYBUYBUY opus, but let's think about where we are in the universe (see Tuesday's post).

Starting with our spaceflight motif. I see the market as skimming along the upper atmosphere, the bottom of the ship buring red hot as we pick up speed but with the pull of gravity and the resistance of atmostphere slipping away. As any rocket scientist will tell you (and I know some), physics are a real bitch if you ignore them. So cutting the boosters, or running out of fuel, when you still have .001% of the Earth's gravity to fight off may feel good for a while and you will float – but you will also EVENTUALLY, INEVITABLY experience ORBITAL DECAY!

So here we are in our shuttle craft and the thrusters are easing off a bit and we're starting to feel a little weightless and some people want to get up and mess around but some people are still clinging to their seats, still thinking we could come back down at any minute.

Now the physicysts (analysts) are debating whether we can coast into orbit or do we need more fuel and, as you can tell from the padded walls, it's a well known fact that gravity can catch you by surprise if you miscalculate but, at some point, probably after a few people (bears) throw up – everyone may have to admit we have finally left Earth orbit.


That's where I see us now, right at the outer end of Earth's gravity well, ready to head off into space on a quest to go where no market has gone before (Dow 15,000). It just so happens we are launching a shuttle mission this week and, while it is now fairly routine, those of us who still watch such things still get the same feeling that any bear might have watching the markets take off.

They pick a launch time, they delay it. They pick another launch time, the weather is no good. They pick another launch time,…
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Wild Weekly Wrap-Up

I said in the morning that “markets will react (or overreact) to whatever jobs number we get” and they certainly did both!

The Dow flew up to 12,300 in the first 15 minutes, dove to 12,250 in the next, flew all the way up to 12,331 just an hour later and finished fairly well at 12,307 but they got me today with that early move!

It took a while for the market to come around to my Goldilocks view of the jobs report but the other indices all made similar moves eventually except the SOX and the Transports, who missed our marks.  This does leave me neutral towards the markets going into Monday.

Oil fell again and we had a great time with puts for the third day in a row, our Valero Group mainly gave us a nice spike at the open and drifted down all day, despite a desperate and very fake pump job on oil earlier in the day.  At one point oil was up over $1 and we took that time to grab more puts!

The stake in the heart for oil came as the dollar bounced off our 82.50 targetand was propelled 1% higher by comments made by Hank Paulson on CNBC at mid-day.  After that, the drop was just a matter of time!

Crude did hold $62.03, so we are not out of the woods yet but it was another interesting day at the NYMEX as losses mounted across the board.  The February contract (active a week from today) had huge volume but still dropped to $63.09, just $1.06 over the current month contract!  This is not good for traders who are in the red and were hoping to roll into the next month – unless of course there are people who are willing to let them store their oil very cheaply as they pray for a very late (or very, very early) hurricane…

Now the November contracts, at $67.95, have fallen below the October contracts ($68.08) and both are higher than the Decembers, which dropped to $67.73.  The September contracts, at $67.35 are still below the August contract price ($67.39).  Oh the horror!

Since everyone on the planet was short the dollar this week (except us, of course) there could be a bit of a short squeeze next week, depending on how the China trip goes of course.   Gold moved in tandem with the dollar, losing 1%
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Friday Morning

Another day when everything changes at 8:30!

Oh well, I’ll try to pass the time between now and then…

Luckily Asia is awake, unluckily they are down across the board. Japanese consumer numbers were weaker than expected and October machinery orders were half of what was expected. On the whole, Japan’s economic growth was revised down from 1% to .8%.

CHL continues to break down, calling a lot of assumptions into question regarding Chinese growth as well.

Europe is about as flat as flat can be ahead of our jobs report. I am very distressed that so much weight is being given to a number that was revised last month by 22% in August and (I kid you not) 190% in September!

So we could get a payroll number of, say +80,000 jobs, but it could be revised in January to “actually” be +220,000 jobs or, possibly, -70,000 jobs – we just won’t know until the “real” number comes in. Meanwhile the markets will react (or overreact) to whatever number we get as if they were carved on stone tablets at Mount Sinai!

I’m concerned we’ll get a big disappointment but that’s not very likely in the holiday season even though the government shoved every job they could into the pre-election report and we are likely to get a revision to the very fake sounding November numbers and that will be pivotal.

As long as “unit labor costs” are down (a nice way to say you work more for less money) I think a lower jobs number will actually help more than it hurts but we’ll find out in an hour.

The VIX is threatening to attackand we’d better have the market pointing in the right direction if it goes off! If we get the usual overreaction and correction in the markets from the jobs number, it will fuel the VIX and bring it back to a level we haven’t seen since early September, when this rally first started.

Will we end with a bang or a whimper? Stay tuned…

We’ll have modest goals for today and see if we can retake some key levels:

  • Dow 12,300 is a must! Failure at 12,250 or less.
    • It’s not going to happen without Transports at 2,650
  • S&P needs to get back to 1,410 but 1,400 had better offer some very solid support we will

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Thursday Thump

Thump!  What was that?  I don’t know… keep driving!

You know that never works out in a horror movie and I’m not sure it’s going to work out in the markets.  What happened today?  What was that thump?

Before we drive on and fire the last of our booster rockets(I know, mixing metaphors – shame, shame) it would be nice if we could figure out what we hit just then…

One thing we hit in the morning was all of our levels.  At about 9:47 we had:

  • Dow 12,360.75 (best intraday high was 12,409.31 on 11/21).
    • Transports were supportive at 2,653
  • S&P 1,418.25, an all-time high!
  • NYSE 9,092.54, an all-time high!
  • Nasdaq 2,454.90, not even close to 2,468.42 (11/24)
    • SOX 493.25, yawn, we were at 559.60 in January

By 11:45, we had pretty much crossed to the opposite side of the open on most indices and it got worse, and worse, and worse and worse until they rang the closing bell!

  • The Dow finished the day at 12,278, 82 points off the high but 83 points over Monday’s open!
  • S&P 1,407, 9 points off highs, 9 points over Monday!
  • NYSE 9,041, 51 points highs, 52 points over Monday!
  • Nasdaq 2,427, 27 points off the high, 7 points over Monday.

Well, I said this morning that I wasn’t sure what the markets would do today and I guess they weren’t either!   

So, on the average, the above indexes dropped .3% from the day but, other than the Nasdaq, I really didn’t find it too disturbing.  All I see today is a lot of irrational exuberance being sucked out of some ridiculously priced shares but no major sell-off yet.

In fact, read my Monday morning article and tell me how pleased I should be to see these levels today!  Those who forget the past blah, blah, something… I forget…  But you get the idea.

So what happened?  If it was profit taking I don’t think they’re done, based on our finishing patterns.  Analysts seem to think that unemployment will rise tomorrow but so what – who thought 4.4% was sustainable?  As usual, not having a second decimal point in such an important figure is beyond ridiculous!

The big concern tomorrow is likely to be any signs of wage pressure because there’s nothing the markets hate more than regular workers getting paychecks!  We are…
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Thursday Morning

I never could get the hang of Thursdays” – Arthur Dent

Douglas Adams also said: “An economic forecaster is like a cross-eyed javelin thrower: they don’t win many accuracy contests, but they keep the crowd’s attention.”

So I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I have no idea what the markets are going to do today!

Nothing I write now (6am) will have any meaning once the jobs report comes out at 8:30 am so I’m sitting here looking at what other people are saying and I realize that they are clueless too.  Rather than tell you they are clueless, they all give you their opinion anyway – which reminded me of the cross-eyed javelin thrower.

Of course I’m not supposed to tell you this as it damages the aura of omnipotence that financial writers are supposed to have, but I already let the cat out of the bag when I told you last week about how bad news turns off readers, so this can’t do too much more damage…

I don’t want to pick on Cramer because I do like him, but he is the very public example of this with this latest XOM reversal.  Last week we strongly disagreed with his BUYBUYBUY call on XOM at the top, calling XOM “the annointed stock” to buy while on Tuesday’s “Stop Trading” segment he said XOM was going to $80.

Yesterday he went on CNBC and reversed on XOM (while it was plunging), which was suspiciously absent from The Street’s article on the segment.

Rather than go back and forth, I’m going to choose to just say – I don’t know what will happen today so, I’m sorry, but more fence sitting lies ahead!

Asia was on the fence this morning with the Hang Seng dropping 183 points while the Nikkei bucked the general trend and rose 102 on M&A activity.

Europe continues to ignore their former colonies as Europen markets continue to grind upwards.  Don’t look for the EU to bail out the dollar until it hits $1.40 to the Euro as they are saving money on oil and we don’t buy enough imports from them to make it worth their while.

In fact, the ECB raised rates another quarter point to 3.5% but the Bank of England held theirs at 5%.  With Asia attempting to bail us out and Europe tightening, going long on the Euro vs. the Yen is
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Wednesday Wrap-Up

That wasn’t so bad was it?

The markets don’t go up every day.  If they did then stocks would probably cost more (just a theory).  We were prepared for it, positioned for it and now it happened – or is it still happening?

That’s the hard question!  Did our levels hold up?

  • Dow 12,300 – check.
    • The Transports told us so all day – flat!
  • S&P holds 1,408 – check.
  • NYSE flat(ish) at 9,047 (would have preferred 9,051). 
  • Nasdaq led us down, finished just under 2,450 (2,447). 
    • SOX were positive but, as predicted, impressed no one.
  • Russell did not break 800 and, as I said, we risk looking toppy.

Hmmmm, I’m not happy.  The Dow is an idiotic way to measure the markets so we ignore that which leaves us with just he S&P holding our levels.  The NYSE was neutral and the Russel and the Nasdaq were little help.  On the whole, a nothing day but certainly nothing good (other than the not falling off a cliff part!).

Oil went down and you would think we would be dancing in the streets but the Transports weren’t buying it and neither were half of the energy companies either.  You can see the confusion in our Valero Group as XOM led the decliners, TDW (our “guest”) led the advance while VLO and USO split the difference.

The stocks we track rose and fell in concert just after the inventory report and then splintered into chaos, as if they went through a prism.  Oil itself only went down .24, but again this was less than half of the average of the contracts that aren’t manipulated for your CNBC viewing pleasure. 

Now we begin to play the Contango Tango as two days of this nonsense has thinned the month-to-month spreads to the point where just .24 separates the Nov ’07 contract from the Dec ’07 contract.

We’d better start keeping track of this before backwardation forces a massive crude sell-off one of these months!  This is the inevitable result of manipulation…

Month Open High Low Contango Sett  Chg Vol
7-Jan 62.4 63 61.85 1.33 62.19  $   (0.24) 227430
7-Feb 63.85

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Watch Out Wednesday

Are we there yet?

We have tried so hard for so long to get this market to a new level it would be a terrible shame if I have to pull over and turn these indices around – so let’s hope they behave!

Asia is certainly behaving this morning with strong gains across the board but Japanese investors put a lot of money into dividend paying stocks on concerns about a global slowdown.  In China, the telcos continue to fly on the news I reported yesterday and miners made a comeback as nickel, lead and aluminum all hit highs on the London Metals Exchange.

South Korea took a hit as the dollar sank to a 9-year low against the won which threatens their export industry (Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo).  It’s a very sad day in America when South Korea has to hold meetings to figure out how to bail out the US economy!

Europe’s economy looks like it will grow 2.7% this year, up from 1.4% averaged over the past 5 years.   This will push the GDP of the EU past the US to $14.2T for 2006.

[Engines of Growth]

Well, we’re #2 now, but we try harder

While we build a 700 mile wall to protect a 1,500 mile border (I know, he got a C in math…) to keep out our neighbors, those growth crazy Europeans are expanding the “boarderless zone” to include 10 additonal countries.  Same planet, same terrorists – better leadership, different attitude!

Those Europeans will let anyone come in!  They’ve even allowed the NYSE (NYX) to merge with Euronext which will probably force the NDAQ to pay too much for the LSE.

Our Congress will have none of that!  The White House (and I’m with Bush on this one) was forced to withdraw a proposal to allow foreign investors greater access to US airlines.  This will be a nightmare for US airlines as we are having a gate war with Europe and ownership is a very sticky issue. 

CAL Jan $40 puts are expensive at $2.20 but I’ll jump on them if oil takes off after inventories.

After two very solid up days we certainly can’t begrudge the markets a little rest but I’m going to be very demanding about my levels as we certainly haven’t proven this isn’t a top yet. 

Anything up is a winner:

  • Dow 12,300 is a no brainer, 12,361 is

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Tuesday Wrap-Up

Look, we’re floating!

Is it just temporary or have we finally entered The Final Frontier?  If so, our 5% Rule mission is to seek out new highs and investment opportunities – to boldly trade at market levels where no trader has invested before!

This morning we talked about perspective and I set some pretty greedy levels, but we hit them!

  • Dow 12,331 – 31 points over goal and strong all day.  Can we do better?  Absolutely, we are still eating the Nikkei’s dust!
    • Transports finally kicked in but fizzled at the end of the day at 2,650.51
  • The S&P was strong all day too, finishing just under 1,415
  • NYSE finished at 9,064, very nice!
  • Nasdaq was not as strong but held 2,452
    • The SOX closed at 487 so we blame them but it was good progress!
  • The RUT did not hold 800 but finished at 797

So we have to keep an eye on the Russell, the SOX and the Transports tomorrow, consider them the last small tugs of gravity as we finally leave this tiny planet and all it’s annoying problems behind us and become Space Traders!


Oil dropped a penny.  As expected they tested $63.09 (made it all the way to $63.20) fell all the way to $61.55 (surprising) and finished back at $62.48.

I got my test and they bounced off $63.09 hard so I’m happy but the best part is that happened as the dollar went even lower!  Well, it’s a disaster that the dollar went even lower than the lowest it’s been since March of 2005 but shhhhh – the children are rallying…

Oil was savaged in the early morning trading, rescued as Europe closed but sold off into the NYMEX close on this day before inventories.  Once again we have one of those days where the contracts you don’t see dropped a lot faster than the contract that is manipulated for your viewing pleasure

As expected, gold did the same nothing the dollar did and held $652 but ABX Dec $27.50s stopped us out at $3.50 (up 112%) on the morning dip.  I’m looking at AU Jan $50s for $1.15 as a possible move but we need to watch that $650 line, the dollar and how AU handles it’s own 200 dma at $46.50 before getting back in a gold trade.

On the whole it was a…
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Take Two Tuesday

Can we do it again?

It would be great if we could tag on another 100 points and blow through all the recent highs, break out of orbit and leave all the cares of the world behind us:

No more declining dollar.  No more ballooning deficit.  No more rising commodities.  No more declining housing market.  No option scandals… 

Up here in Spaceship Market we don’t concern ourselves with such mundane, earthly matters.  Dow 15,000 is so close up here we can almost reach out and touch it – we just need a little more fuel!

Chinese demand doesn’t seem like such a big deal from 220 miles up and we can hardly even see Iraq, North Korea, Nigeria, Chad, Fiji (coup today) and who can even tell where Iran is pointing their missiles at or where Kim Jong Il is testing his. 

Perspective is a wonderful thing for those of us who can afford to have it!

Let’s’ just remember where we all fit in in the GRAND scheme of things as we all click on our mice and move our little virtual piles of virtual money about while we avoid contemplating that this is just one of 125 Billion galaxies in the known universe and there are 100 Billion stars in just the Milky Way yet we are very likely the only species on any of the possibly 1 Trillion local planets that goes around thinking that the whole thing belongs to us.

Just something to think about for those of you who complain that your purchase of an option caused the stock to dip!

Back here on Earth I’m getting some annoying warnings from my own navigational computers that are saying something about not having enough fuel to break orbit as we’ve taken on an additional $2.4 Trillion in extra weight since the summer but we’re going to ignore that flashing red light until it starts beeping…  What?  Oh it’s beeping…  Well just turn up CNBC really loud so we can ignore that too!

Perspective (or lack of it) will be very imprortant this week as we try to make the same levels we didn’t quite make yesterday.

The Hang Seng is back on a tear with a 241 point gain, taking them close to 19,000 again (not reflected in this chart), a party caused by Hong Kong dropping plans for a “goods and services tax.“  Oil…
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Phil's Favorites

Trump and the problem with pardons


Trump and the problem with pardons

Courtesy of Andrew Bell, Indiana University

As a veteran, I was astonished by the recent news that President Trump may be considering pardons for U.S. military members accused or convicted of war crimes. But as a scholar who studies the U.S. military and combat ethics, I understand even more clearly the harmful long-term impact such pardons can have on the military.

My researc...

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Zero Hedge

"Intervention" Is Coming...

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Sven Henrich via,

Sorry no weekend video this weekend, instead I just wanted to offer some commentary on some of the macro charts I recently posted on twitter. The larger message of all of these charts: Intervention is ultimately coming be it in the form of rate cuts and/or QE. It’s just a matter of the how and the when. Intervention is needed as the macro wheels are turning. Like it or not intervention remains the lifeblood of these markets, they just can’t do without and every bull case in the past ...

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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Sees 60-Percent Upside In Aphria Shares, Says Buy The Dip

Courtesy of Benzinga.

After a red-hot start to 2019, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) has run out of steam, tumbling more than 31 percent in the past three months.

Despite the recent weakness, one Wall Street analyst said Friday that the stock has 30-percent upside potential. 

The Analyst

Jefferies analyst ... more from Insider

Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX (Germany) About To Send A Bearish Message To The S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the DAX index from Germany about to send a bearish message to stocks in Europe and the States? Sure could!

This chart looks at the DAX over the past 9-years. It’s spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of rising channel (1), creating a series of higher lows and higher highs.

It looks to have created a “Double Top” as it was kissing the underside of the rising channel last year at (2).

After creating the potential double top, the DAX index has continued to create a series of lower highs, while experiencing a bearish divergence with the S...

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Chart School

Brexit Joke - Cant be serious all the time

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Alistair Williams comedian nails it, thank god for good humour! Prime Minister May the negotiator. Not!

Alistair Williams Comedian youtube

This is a classic! ha!

Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control


Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...

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DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

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


DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University


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More Examples Of "Typical Tesla "wise-guy scamminess"

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Stanphyl Capital’s letter to investors for the month of March 2019.

rawpixel / Pixabay

Friends and Fellow Investors:

For March 2019 the fund was up approximately 5.5% net of all fees and expenses. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 was up approximately 1.9% while the Russell 2000 was down approximately 2.1%. Year-to-date 2019 the fund is up approximately 12.8% while the S&P 500 is up approximately 13.6% and the ...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...

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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism


The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...

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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 ...

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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


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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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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 >>