Archive for 2007

Weekly Wrap-Up

What an amazing week that was!

We had by far our best virtual portfolio advances of the year thanks to some very nice gyrations from BIDU, GOOG and RIMM, who went up and down like stocks on a trampoline, shaking out our callers and putters alike as we were able to ajust our spreads to bring in some amazing profits.

The week started out innocently enough, in last week's wrap up I noted that we had so many open calls we had to open additional cover plays in the LTP.  Fortunately, our two covers were XOM and BIDU puts and, although the Dow got off to a nice start, gaining 100-points on Tuesday, BIDU stayed flat at $325 and our 30% rule turned it into a key position.  We put a roll plan into effect, selling the October puts against longer puts and constantly rolling both positions up until the opening jump on Thursday caused us to make a radical move, blowing off buying more callers and collapsing our time advantage in order to roll our position up to the current $360 puts.  This could have easily gone the other way (in which case we would have retreated to a bull put spread) but we hit the jackpot with a drop that came so quickly we actually ended up employing a mattress strategy on the way down.

Since we had taken BIDU combinations in several virtual portfolios, the impact was tremendous and we were very lucky to be in the right place at the right time and (at least for those of you comfortable with all the terms in the previous paragraph) we were prepared to take advantage of it.  Keeping the virtual portfolio largely in cash was also key as was having a generally balanced virtual portfolio that let us spend 3 straight hours focused almost exclusively on one stock that was making a shocking (but not entirely unexpected) move

Although I've already extensively detailed the trade itself in Thursday's post, I think it's very important to remind members what it takes to get there.  We practice creating balanced virtual portfolios each quarter, starting with the $10KP, then a $25KP until we have enough cash to play our regular short-term and long-term…
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28 Years Later

August 1979:  "Death of Equities" was the celebrated cover on the front of Business Week.  It was stated that: 

"For better or worse, then, the U.S. economy probably has to regard the death of equitities as a near-permanent condition – reversible some day, but not soon"

Business Week was not alone.  Indeed, fund managers joined in the prognostications of doom with comments such as:

"Knowing that stocks are cheap does not impel one to go on a buying spree; the future is clouded by many ugly questions"

These statements were made with the backdrop of the Dow dropping lower in the summer of 1979 than its 1969 level (mid-800s).  The dollar was weak, the federal debt was ‘shocking’ according to some and energy shortages were a cause for concern.  Moreover, concerns were prevalent over Iranian fundamentalists and many believed the country was in decline.  Fast forward over a quarter of a century and the dollar is again considered weak, the national debt was $9,045,644,843,195 at last count, Iranian fundamentalists still dominate news discussions and let’s just not talk about oil because that’s a whole topic by itself!

In 1979, the future seemed unclear and few were willing to pay bargain prices for equities.  Less than a year later, however, the Dow had risen by over 40% and Business Week pronounced the "rebirth" of equities.  The importance of buying into the unknown versus the known is evident.

Assume two investors purchase the same security at different points in time.  Investor Joe The Pro buys when the security is priced at $100 per share while investor Nervous Nelly buys the security after the security has risen to $140 per share.  Assume the security continues appreciating to $200 over the next few years.  Joe the Pro makes 100% while Nelly Nervous makes just 42%.  Every point the security rises increases Joe The Pro’s return by 1% whereas the same point increase only increases Nervous Nelly’s return by 7/10ths of 1%.  This may seem small but compounded over time the effects are staggering. 

Stock investors pay a premium for clarity and a discount for uncertainty.  If all you change in your trading is your ability to purchase uncertainty and sell clarity, you will more often than not find yourself following the old adage of "buying low, selling high".  Phil reminded us again this weekend of his rules in his article on "Taming The BEASt".  He declared…
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Thoughts on Goldman Sachs

Well Fellow Stock & Option Traders, it’s always a little deflating to arrive at the fireworks display and find that someone forgot how to light the fuse. But that is exactly what seemed to happen today with Goldman, which Sage noted was not meeting expectations within 10 minutes of the market open:

“I am not seeing the movement in GS that I was expecting at the open so no plays yet” 

And so it continued throughout the day with Goldman staying in a relatively tight range that matched the movement in fact in the NASDAQ (non-descript at best!). However, some stocks were on the move throughout the day, including Boeing. Boeing held a conference call that sparked a decline below the $100 mark. The company announced that it would delay delivery of its 787 Dreamliner commercial aircraft by 6 months. When you find a rock solid company that announces disappointing news in the short-term, look for opportunities! The November short puts at strike 90 had about $1.20 of premium throughout the day and although this is a naked put, a safer bull put spread 90/85 could have been entered with much lower risk and still some attractive premium.

This trade is safe as long as the stock remains above $90 by November expiration. So the stock would have to fall another $8 or so for the trade to run into trouble. Safe traders might sit back to see if the stock continues to slide and enter the trade at a later stage while more aggressive traders might decide it’s worth scaling into a position early (that’s what Sage did today!). Meanwhile Costco was a runaway success following its earnings report. Costco moved up almost 10% as the company earned $372.4 million during the last quarter , a year-year increase of 4.7%. Expect to see this type of volatility frequently over the coming weeks as earnings season has just kicked off.

So how do you take advantage of this movement?

One approach is to enter a bullish credit spread following the announcement. For example, an October bull put spread 67.50/62.50 intra-day offered over $0.70 of premium. This means that if the stock were to remain above $67.50 through to October expiration, the bull put would expire worthless and the entire $0.70 premium would be captured as profit. Since commissions are only spent entering a credit spread, only 2 commissions…
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Taming the BEASt!

We had lots of fun with our BIDU trade this week but, that’s a high-stakes type of play that is not for everyone. Another example of a good way to trade stocks is BEAS, which we closed out on today’s rally but provides an excellent example of how a trade develops at PSW.

 

Our original call was for the December $15s for .50 back on September 14th and, as Andrew Wilkinson of IAB pointed out in Friday’s wrap-up, that’s where the action was as we rushed to take our amazing profits off the table: “Today’s unsolicited move by ever-acquisitive Oracle to buy BEA Systems for $17 per share, sent BEA stocks skyrocketing to $18.09 – well past the initial offer, and igniting rumors that a competing bid may be in the offing. With options moving at 20 times the average volume, some traders aren’t waiting for a bidding war to erupt – they’re taking profit given the spectacular rise in call-side premiums today. We believe this is what can be observed in the December 15 calls, which traded more than 11,000 times this morning, selling primarily to the bid at prices around $3.10. This may have been the closing of positions opened for $0.65 in late July, when BEA Systems shares were trading 27% lower at around $13.00. Looks like these early call buyers – not to mention shareholder Carl Icahn – cashed in handsomely in the space of two months.

 

PSW Rule #1: Always sell into the initial excitement!

 

Here are ALL of our comments on BEAS from the beginning of the trade through the sell. It’s very interesting to go back and see how a trade takes shape on the board. Note that it’s a great team effort. This one started with a trade thrown out by me, as I noted some unusual bullish activity, which was quickly followed up by the members as we figured out why we were in the trade! Some people got out on the Sept 24th dip, getting out with a humble 400% return, while others held it through Friday’s stunning returns of 800-1,500%:

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Friday Virtual Portfolio Moves

 October 12th, 2007 at 9:38 am | Permalink   edit

Cash cash cash – taking calls off the table.

October 12th, 2007 at 9:41 am | Permalink   edit

I’m wondering who will win:

Will Apple lift the Nas?
Will GOOG come back
Will BIDU be the weight that drags it down?

PEP making a comeback.
PLCE making a comeback.

Seems like bargain hunting to me – that could just be perma-bulls shopping but let’s grab AKS $50s as a mo play, looking for them to break over $49.50 or dump it. XXX

October 12th, 2007 at 9:43 am | Permalink   edit

Scratch that AKS, November $50s at $2.90, sell the current $50s if it breaks below $48.50. XXX

October 12th, 2007 at 9:52 am | Permalink   edit

Cash is tight stops on winners. There’s no way to guess the direction so, as long as you are reasonable balances, it’s best to just start taking profits off the table, we can use the profits to save other positions later. Don’t forget tomorrow started with a 100-point gain and didn’t end so good.

MAR breaking out, I like the $40s as a mo play at $2.20, stop at $2, looking for $3 (.25 Tstop there). XXX

October 12th, 2007 at 10:12 am | Permalink   edit

BEAS – no, by all means don’t take a 1,500% profit in a week. Good traders do that every day (extreme sarcasm!).

RULE #1: ALWAYS SELL INTO THE INITIAL EXCITEMENT

RULE #2: WHEN IN DOUBT, SELL HALF

RULE #3: IF YOU DIDN’T FOLLOW RULE #1 OR RULE #2, WHY THE HELL WOULD I BOTHER WITH A RULE #3?

Any other questions, kindly see Rule #1. Thank you.

HXL – the DD was at $2 but if you caught the DD and have a chance to get out even on half, well, that’s kind of Rule # 2 isn’t it?

PTR gone wild, up $15. Turkey on the warpath!

Oct callers – if there’s premium left I’d rather keep them for weekned insurance, won’t change the roll any.

GOOG may come back like CME very soon. Tough call but I could do without callers unless they break back below $622. XXX At $640ish I’d want to have callers again (the $630s).

October 12th, 2007 at 10:38 am | Permalink   edit

HMY – I’m still trying to DD at .15!

October 12th, 2007 at 10:40 am |
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Archer-Daniels Midland, Dow options show auspicious upside plays

Today’s tickers: ADM, DOW, BEAS, EK, SAKS, GE, PLCE, BIDU

BEAS – Today’s unsolicited move by ever-acquisitive Oracle to buy BEA Systems for $17 per share, sent BEA stocks skyrocketing to $18.09 – well past the initial offer, and igniting rumors that a competing bid may be in the offing. With options moving at 20 times the average volume, some traders aren’t waiting for a bidding war to erupt – they’re taking profit given the spectacular rise in call-side premiums today. We believe this is what can be observed in the December 15 calls, which traded more than 11,000 times this morning, selling primarily to the bid at prices around $3.10. This may have been the closing of positions opened for $0.65 in late July, when BEA Systems shares were trading 27% lower at around $13.00. Looks like these early call buyers – not to mention shareholder Carl Icahn – cashed in handsomely in the space of two months.

Flashy call buying, meanwhile, was seen in the October and November contracts at the 17.50 level, implying a sustained rise past $18.50 in November.

ADM – Options in agricultural commodities giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) are trading at 8 and a half times the average frequency this afternoon on chatter this afternoon, as shares gained 1% this afternoon to stand at $35.27. ADM has been the subject of past takeover chatter, but these rumors have since gone scale. The 75,000 lots trading match more than 21% of ADM’s total open interest, and most of this was tied up in the sale of calls at the out-of-the-money November 40 strike against the purchase of lots in the January 40 strike. The trade suggests an investor is paying a net premium of $0.50 in hopes of a 17% gain for ADM shares after November’s expiry but in time for the January contract. A further 2,200 lots traded in the March 45 calls.

DOW – Options in Dow Chemical are trading at 9 times the average rate today, with shares up 3.7% to $46.43. We’re tracking the development of what looks like chatter-driven activity in Dow options, where implied volatility has also surged some 30%. Traders are piling into calls at the 50.0 strike in the October, November and December contracts, implying an upside move to two-year highs for Dow shares.

EK –News that Eastman Kodak is planning to discontinue its official Olympic…
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Friday Flip Flop

Well that wasn't so bad was it?

Just a little dip to keep us on our toes - so far!

Did the market just fire a warning shot across the bow of the bulls or is this the beginning of the end?  On the whole, it was a mild-low volume pullback but it won't take much follow-through to send us into a major correction so we need to be vigilant and get ready to move back to cash.  I will be VERY concerned if we give up another 25 points on the Nasdaq (2,750) as that could lead to a quick retest of 2,650, an that's a test we dare not fail!

Asia had a mild sell-off in response to our little dip with the Nikkei and the Hang Seng giving back a point going into their weekend.  China's trade SURPLUS jumped 56% in September with the country sending out $24Bn more than it purchased.  Wow, they run their whole country at a profit!  Maybe we should make Hu Jintao our next "CEO in Chief."

The WSJ says: "Critics of Beijing's trade record say controls on China's currency, the yuan, keep it undervalued and give Chinese exporters an unfair price advantage in foreign markets."  ROFL!  What do you think the rest of the world is saying about us?  We've got the worst currency on the planet!

China held back on its imports of both crude oil and refined products in September, possibly in response to benchmark prices hitting record highs. The country, which is buying crude not only for its own refineries but also for strategic stockpiling purposes, imported 13.66 million metric tons of crude in September, or the equivalent of 3.34 million barrels a day, according to preliminary data from the General Administration of Customs.

Wow!  So China uses it's SPR to control the price of oil and buys LESS when it's expensive.  Wow!  It's almost like they are an intelligent consumer…  President Bush is a consumer (notice missing adjective) of oil too.  In fact, he is actively fighting congress right now to push through the addition of 1.5 BILLION barrels of oil to the SPR, an amount that would take us 6 years to fill at 5M barrels a week.

  • Aside from this increasing global oil demand


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Adieu Baidu

At PSW our motto is "Fun and Profits" and today we had plenty of both!

We've been shorting BIDU, XOM and RIMM all week, pouring 30% of our upside profits from a bullish virtual portfolio into these high flyers on the way up as we've been anticipating a break down pretty much like today's

While we expected the BIDU bubble to pop, we certainly didn't expect it to explode but that's what happened when this particular house of cards turned into a house of pain for the longs, who simply couldn't find enough buyers to take the stock off their hands at $350, $340, $330, $320, or even $310 a share as the stock simply collapsed in a very messy sell-off.

How did we get so bearish on BIDU?  Well, it all started with an iron condor play we took on October 2nd, following an analyst upgrade that sent the stock rocketing.  We took a few momentum plays in the morning but, by the afternoon I had a premise and a range that led to a box play on the stock:

Oct 2nd, 1:07 – "Lazy Condor play:

Buy BIDU $250 put, BDUVJ @ $1.45
Sell BIDU $270 put, BDUVW @ $3.50
Buy BIDU $340 call BPJJG @ $6.80
Sell BIDU $320 call BPJJC @ $12.10

You collect $7.35 and get paid between $262.65 and $327.05 with an outside risk of $12.65 and we can always adjust it if we have to."

There were, of course, several adjustments, too complex to go over but, needless to say, we took out our putter cheap and rolled out into very good positions for this little dip.  Here's an idea of how we ended up with one of the most profitable positions in PSW history:

Oct 3rd, 8:03 am – "Short-Tem BIDU – well I did a naked sell on the $320s yesterday for $21 but they scared the crap out of me with a huge volume bounce near the close so I lost my nerve and bought them back for $18. In retrospect I should have just shorted them as I would have been more willing to take my lumps (as I would DD or roll, something that’s not fun or smart with a $320 naked caller). I REALLY think $320 is out of control for
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Thursday Virtual Portfolio Moves

October 11th, 2007 at 9:30 am | Permalink   edit

Long Puts – I take 30% of my profits and buy puts in whatever seems most ridiculous (RIMM, BIDU, SU, XOM, DIA spikes), mainly I’m getting killed but the 70% of the profits I let ride, rather than cashing out, more than makes up for it. It’s a tough way to go compared to just buying and riding the rally up but I really think we could wake up one morning down 500 points, on the way to down 1,000 in 2 days at any time and for any of the dozens of reasons that currently don’t matter.

October 11th, 2007 at 9:31 am | Permalink   edit

Speaking of rides. CROX Nov $70s at $4.90, selling Oct $70s at $2 OR getting out at %4.50 XXX

October 11th, 2007 at 9:46 am | Permalink   edit

IRBT – I’d say if they’re not flying along with the markets, that’s a warning sign of sorts.

CROX – that’s the price at which I would sell it, not the current price.

XOM – looking to roll to Nov $95 puts for $1.75 (now $2.05)

October 11th, 2007 at 10:00 am | Permalink   edit

Where are the brokers? What kind of rally is this?

GOOG – I’d keep the protection through earnings or at least until his premium is down to $4. You don’t need to protect yourself, you locked in your profits when you sold, you only capped your upside. If it were me, I’d roll him up to 2X the $630s and roll myself up to 2X the $630s but that would cost about $20 per current share so a more revenue neutral roll to keep your eye on is pushing him to Nov $620s when that roll turns even and rolling yourself to the March $620s for $5 per share, which adds 1 month to your spread and moves him into a $22 premium without you giving him any of the $16 you owe him now.

GM – Well let it stop going up. UAW quick settle with Chrysler means they can put labor problems to rest long-term so it’s a bad time to bet against them. I really like the Jan ‘09 $40 puts and that’s where I’m heading as I can sell Nov $37.50 puts for $1.31 (current price) while I wait for sentiment to change on this stock. Even…
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Change of heart on Baidu.com reverses equity market optimism

Today’s tickers: BIDU, VIX, JWN, SII, F, GM, WMT, NRG, GSF, GOOG

BIDU – When Confucius said that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, he didn’t know he was likely referring to the share price performance of Chinese Internet search-engine Baidu.com. Just one year ago the shares could be bought for less than $100 each and until today the march upwards has met with only a tiny degree of resistance. Shares traded at a record high this morning above $350. the company has been likened to Google, with the added boost that the company operates in China, where replication of just half of the success that Google has had, will lead to a phenomenal performance for Baidu. However, today’s revenue forecast reduction from a JP Morgan analyst sent shares into a tailspin quickly losing 10% of its value. The latest 65% EPS growth and all of the opportunity that the company promises in Asia has left the company sitting on a PE ratio of 156 times. JP Morgan only reduced its revenue forecast by 3.2% to $65.7 million but perhaps the episode serves to remind investors that Baidu revenues don’t compare to those of Google and that no matter how attractive Asian markets might appear, investors need to understand the size and profitability of the companies they are investing in. Today’s move weighed heavily across the market and turned a positive day into a key reversal with many markets reaching record heights before closing lower on this side of the Atlantic. This might upset the cozy applecart in the fourth quarter where investors were beginning to overlook the low bar set for minimal earnings growth.

The downgrade sparked heavy options trading on Baidu. There was heavy selling in the October call at the 350 strike, which was the most heavily traded series today. More than 700 calls traded to the bid at a premium of around 17.0. Earlier in the session, the same calls were traded at premiums in excess of 20.0 and during the fallout lost as much as 75% of their value trading at 4.5. In the November contract put buyers emerged on decent volume as low as the 280 strike indicating a fear that Baidu shares may fall further in coming sessions. Options implied volatility jumped 21% to stand at 91% late in the session
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ValueWalk

#1 Performing Global Macro Hedge Fund Sees More Shorts Opportunities Ahead As China Bursts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Crescat Global Macro Fund update to investors on 1/19/2019

Crescat Global Macro Fund and Crescat Long/Short fund delivered strong returns for both December and full year 2018 in a difficult market. Based on ...



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Zero Hedge

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers Face $1 Billion Suit For Infecting Guatemalan Hookers With Syphilis 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A federal judge in Maryland said Johns Hopkins University, pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a top-secret program in the 1940s ran by the US government that injected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis, reported Reuters.

Several doctors from Hopkins an...



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Phil's Favorites

Divisive economics

 

Guest author David Brin — scientist, technology consultant, best-selling author and futurist — explores the records of Democrats and Republicans on the US economy in the following post. For David's latest posts, visit the CONTRARY BRIN blog. For his books and short stories, visit his web...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock declines did not break 9-year support, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We often hear “Stocks take an escalator up and an elevator down!” No doubt stocks did experience a swift decline from the September highs to the Christmas eve lows. Looks like the “elevator” part of the phrase came true as 2018 was coming to an end.

The first part of the “stocks take an escalator up” seems to still be in play as well despite the swift decline of late.

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- All of these indices hit long-term rising support on Christmas Eve at each (1), where support held and rallies have followed.

If you find long-term perspectives helpf...



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Digital Currencies

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

 

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain technologies can empower people by allowing them more control over their user data. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Ajay Kumar Shrestha, University of Saskatchewan

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Blockchain is a secure chain of digital records that exist on multiple computers simultaneously so no record can be erased or falsified. The...



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Insider Scoop

Cars.com Explores Strategic Alternatives, Analyst Sees Possible Sale Price Around $30 Per Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 44 Biggest Movers From Yesterday 38 Stocks Moving In Wednesday's Mid-Day Session ...

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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...



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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 (...



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Biotech

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 www.shutterstock.com

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.

...

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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...



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OpTrader

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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Promotions

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:

 

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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.

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