Archive for 2008

Weekly Wrap-Up

It was a fairly miserable week in the markets with a very miserable ending so we’re not going to dwell too much on it.

On the whole, the market finished the week just 100 points below where it began and down 200 points from Jan 31st’s open at 12,438 (but that day we spiked down to 12,200).  We also broke below 12,200 on each day from 2/6 through 2/11 and again on the 20th and 22nd.  The only reason Friday’s drop was particularly stinging is we allowed ourselves to hope we were pulling out of the market funk after 600 points of gains in 4 sessions from last Friday through Wednesday.

Looking at a 3-month chart doesn’t make things seem quite as alarming and a 5-year chart makes you really wonder what all the fuss is about as we climbed from 7,500 to 14,000 and now we pulled back to 12,000, still up 60% in 5 years and merely having given back 2,000 of a 7,500-point gain (26%).  Charts are all about perspective and you can read them with a positive or negative spin depending on the media.

One week ago, I said a sell-off to 12,250 was overdone and here we are back at that point so Monday will be a critical test of the global panic button – How low can the dollar go and how much is this really going to affect the US markets and are US equities still the "least sucky" place to put money in ’08.  On Wednesday, the 13th, we traded down to 12,216 ahead of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and Monday we are virtually certain to retest that low!

I set the theme for the week on Monday with an update of my old "Inflation Nation" article with very little having changed from the time I first published it in 2006.  That was our theme for the week as runaway US inflation, led by $103 oil, played havoc with the markets and I’ve never been more sorry to be right on the button as I was this week as the market was ransacked by inflation fears.

On Monday we noted the WSJ showed economists had a very dreary economic outlook for the year yet the Business Council found that 96.4% of US CEO’s do NOT see a recession in ’08.  The question is – Are they insane or…
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Wise Words From Jesse Livermore!

The picture shown below is of Donald Trump speaking at The Learning Annex.  At the forum, speakers educate hopeful investors on how to become successful in real estate and in the stock market, how to protect their assets and how to start businesses.  Trump has said in the past that one comment he always makes at the events is that not everybody in the room will become a successful investor.  While the Learning Annex team must hate the comment, Trump makes the claim because he believes successful investors have an inherent quality that leads to their success.  That quality is mindset.

 

Trump argues that mindset separates successful investors from unsuccessful investors and that it is an innate skill which is difficult to learn.  In the stock market, mindset is especially critical to successful trading.  You must have an ability to think independently when trading the stock market because forces tug regularly at your emotions.  Can you imagine buying a property and subsequently turning on the TV to see analysts contend that you made the best decision of your life and others arguing that it was a very poor decision that will certainly lose money?  In stock market trading, that is exactly what you have to contend with each and every day.  The drain on emotional capital is too much for many to succeed. 

A famous story of Warren Buffett recounts how he reacted nonchalantly to news that the 1987 crash was in full swing.  He wasn’t bothered by the event in the least because he understood the value of his investments and he had internalized one of the most important trading quotes ever!

"There is nothing more important than your emotional balance" – Jesse Livermore

Emotional balance is critical to successful stock market trading.  With conflicting reports released daily on most stocks in your virtual portfolio, you must have the courage of your convictions in your analyses.  You must be prepared for shocks and surprises.  It’s easy to think ourselves great traders when the stock market rises, but successful traders separate themselves from the crowd by knowing how to preserve capital, minimize losses and/or generate profits during downtrends. 

With the stock market gyrating wildly, how can you maintain emotional balance?

The Beta Coefficient is a measure of a stock virtual portfolio in relation to the rest of the financial market.  Knowing the beta values of stocks in your virtual portfolio is a first step…
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Sprint Nextel fallout gathers pace as analysts trim expectations

Today’s tickers: S, VIX, TIE, AAPL, BAC, DELL, DF, NTAP, MF, CTXS & ATHR

SSprint Nextel. There was no hiding the disappointment behind a sizeable broader market sell off. While earnings yesterday were sloppy and accompanied by a huge goodwill write down related to the 2005 merger, analysts today reeled in response to the news that customer defections are at a three-year high with one noting that growth for the company isn’t on the agenda until 2010 at least. In response Sprint Nextel’s share price slid a further 9% to $7.39 and further induced bearish option plays. In the January contract, it appears that the 10.0 strike calls may well have been sold 16,000 times at around a premium of $1.00 in exchange for a hunt for downside reward at both 5.0 and 2.5 strikes. The former traded 11,800 times at 0.80 while the 2.50 strike jumped to trade at 0.25 some 5,100 times. With a worsening in the economy being priced in day after day, the pressure on this telecommunications company at least is reminiscent of the collapse of the sector in the recession of 2001. Option traders apparently are in no mood for a rally.

VIX CBOE volatility index. Option traders in the volatility pit are in no mood for optimism today. Calls on the index in the March contract were bought at all strikes from 25 through 35, while puts from 25 through 20 were unceremoniously dumped. It was a loud shriek from traders that today’s sell off might not mark a one-off decline, but that nasty conditions might be here to stay. Even extending their time horizon to the April contract, investors bought calls at the 32.5 strike at around a premium of $0.90. While the VIX has spent little time actually trading above a level of 30 in 2008, those calls would still appreciate if the VIX even rallied towards 28. The market does feel as if it’s positioning for a sizeable move.

TIETitanium Metals Inc. disappointed investors late Thursday with an earnings-miss and so became the largest decliner in the S&P 500 index Friday morning. Option volume of 27,000 represented around one-in-four of the existing open interest in the stock options with what looks like a sold strangle at play in the April contract. The company specializes in the manufacture of titanium-related products for use in the aerospace…
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Leap Day

Of all the months to have an extra day in it, why did it have to be this one?

This has been a torturous month to play the markets and making us spend one more day in it is just cruel at this point.  I mentioned in last night's post how deeply concerned I am about the dollar's continued decline and when I see things like that I want to go to cash and I very much doubt I'm the only trader who feels that way.  Unless we see a recovery in the dollar, it's going to be very hard to make a good case for US equities as we are down 20% from last year in foreign currency

Of course 20% would be an ideal bounce zone but it's also a terrible level to lose and breaking 12,500 again is a pretty good indicator that we have another bottom test in store for us.  Let's hope we can hold it today as 12,500 is up 100 for the week and we'll take it, but we're not going to like it!

Asia sold off last night as Bernanke's comments yesterday about possible US bank collapses for some reason made investors a little uneasy.  The Nikkei gave up 2% and the Hang Seng dropped just 1% (still 260 points!) and Europe is trading off about a point as the Euro hits $1.52, getting close to a double over the past 6 years!    Now there is ample grist for the rumor mill and AIG's surprising $5.3Bn loss on an $11Bn write-down of mortgage securities is not helping this morning.

We have AIG in our virtual portfolios and we pretty much expected this so we're going to take out our callers and be very happy it was "just" $11Bn and the key phrase is: "AIG said the unrealized valuation declines aren't indicative of the actual losses the unit may realize over time. Any credit losses that do occur in future won't have a big effect on AIG's overall financial condition."

This is why we bought August and sold March!  While it is possible that there may be some more write-downs if the government continues it's do-nothing policies and the housing market continues to collapse, this represents a net $5Bn
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Thursday Dollar Thump

I’ll keep calling the Thursday wrap-up "Thursday Thump" until everyone starts recognizing a pattern!

Two weeks ago it was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre that caused the drop as we fell from 12,550 at the open to 12,350 at the close while people talked about how crappy the economy was.  Last Thursday we fell from 12,500 to 12,250 as the Philly Fed Index fell to -24, the lowest reading since 1991.  This week, it was Bernanke's surptising statement that some smaller banks may fail that shocked the markets even though the only real surprise was that Ben actually said it.   That coupled with news that Moody's was downgrading some banks was all it took to send the market down 112 points for the day.

Financials finished the day down 3% and oil finished at $102 after touching $103 and the energy sector gained 1.5% otherwise we could have gone down 300 easily.  The dollar plunged to a new all-time low as Bernanke spoke this morning, closing at a shocking 73.5.  I'm tempted at this point to go back to cash but cash has fallen almost 5% since Feb 10th so I'm not even sure that's a good idea!  While we are having fun with day trades our new virtual portfolios are still in the red.  With gold at $972 it's getting hard to paint a sunny picture here and I'm concerned we are in for another correction befroe we turn the markets around.

I didn't think the dollar would break 75 and a lot of the equations are going to change if we fall any lower as we have to start looking at US earnings from a foriegn perspective and realize that IBM's 14% gain in dollar revenues is a gain zero when benchmarked against foreign currencies.  The dollar is off 14% from Q1-07 so a US company has to make 14% more money just to stay even for an international investor to get his money's worth. 

My premise that our markets would hold the line here assumed some kind of Central Bank intervention to prop up the dollar at 75, followed by an end of Fed easing and a gradual revaluation of our currency.  I'm actually surprised that the reso of the World seems content to let us twist in the wind but, as I mentioned


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GDPhursday

How crappy is our economy?

We find out this morning as we get our Q4 GDP Revision but don't worry, I already have the results (preliminary) and I thought it would be fun to post these up ahead of the actual so don't look if you want to be surprised later:

Contribution to Percent Change In Real GDP

Contribution to Percent Change In Real GDP
             
             

 

Q4-07

Q3-07


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Wednesday Wrap-Up

An Apple a day makes Dr. Bernanke go away apparently!

We have one happy group of traders at PSW as Apple is one of our "core" holdings and we've been loading up on this recent dip.  While we are not yet ready to declare victory (that comes at $150) we are certainly in a very good mood seeing them make a huge turn today.  The big move came after hours today as Tim Cook (COO) made a presentation at the GS Technology Investment Symposium and effectively negated all the BS that's been used to take the company down the past month.

Companies like Apple and Google that have policies of not talking to the press between official releases are favorite targets for hyenas, who have no such restrictions and spread rumor and innuendo with impunity as people like Bill Ackman can be spectacularly publicly wrong in their attacks knowing that they will still be invited on CNBC and treated like an expert the next time they want to assasinate a company they are short on and they can sleep soundly in their beds knowing the SEC is also asleep at the wheel.  Even a blatant fraud like Henry Blodget (who was rated the #1 Internet/eCommerce analyst by TheStreet.com in 2000) is still treated like a venerable analyst by the media but, then again, so is Cramer.

Speaking of CNBC, I love the Fast Money Recap from Tuesday night: "Google GOOG fell today on news that clicks on its site, a source of revenue for the company, were flat or down. Macke predicted that the next CEO will reduce headcount. He added that Apple AAPL hasn't been working. He advocated avoiding the two stocks.  Adami noted that Google at $513 has typically been a good level to trade around. He cited a new algorithm as a potential catalyst and called it a value stock at 18 times forward earnings. Najarian said he'd wait to see institutional money in the name." 

Yes, by all means, don't buy until everyone else does!  With advice like this it's no wonder traders are losing their shirts this month.  If you listen to the media when they tell you to panic on the dips and wait until everyone is back on the bandwagon
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March call-holder gets wary after Delta-Northwest talks hit snag

Today’s tickers: NWA, NRG, XLNX, CSCO, PHM, TOL, NOC, FNM, FRE, XLB, ADSK, JEF, NSM

NWA – Shares in Northwest Airlines skidded nearly 7% to $14.92 in afternoon trading on news of a snag in its merger talks with Delta. The road bump concerns talks with both carriers’ pilots’ unions over job seniority after the integration of the airlines. The development looks to have spurred at least one major holder of those infamous March calls (“pegged” by option traders since last fall as a likely timeline for airline consolidation) to sell out at the 17.50 strike for 25 cents – a substantial discount from yesterday’s levels – and possibly roll the position into a more moderate call-spread position in the June contract between strikes 15 and 17.50. If this is indeed a bullish trade amended into a long call spread, as we suspect, the trader would have bought the June 15 calls for $2.65 while selling the 17.50 calls for $1.60, opening the transaction with a $1.05 debit that renders profit for the buyer if Northwest shares reclaim the $16.05 mark – but selling the upper strike means capping the upside. The rollover of this single position sent option volume in Northwest to 36 times the normal level.

NRG – Earnings are due out from diversified energy company NRG Energy tomorrow, and it’s in anticipation of those earnings and a 2% decline in share price to $40.52 that we find options trading at 53 times the normal level. While NRG topped the Wall Street Journal’s list of stocks bought on weakness today, it looks like option traders took the opportunity to sell off the equivalent of nearly all the open interest in March 40 calls. These were sold for about $2.20 apiece as premiums came off by about 25% in value due to the share price decline. Most of the open interest here was opened at $2.80 on January 8, so closing with a sale now would yield a loss. We also observed put-buying in the January 2010 contract at $1.15 – a striking move in an out-of-the-money put with plenty of time value but a tiny delta suggesting just a 7% chance that NRG shares will lose half their value over the next 2 years.

CSCO – Shares in Cisco bounced 3% to $24.81 following “buy” recommendations of the company’s stock by Wells Fargo and Citigroup. The move…
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Worrisome Wednesday

It’s up to Ben Bernanke to save the markets!

If that statement doesn’t inspire you with confidence, you’ll understand why, at 3:05 yesterday, with the Dow still at 12,700, I said: "Good time to pick up DIA $127 puts and QID $50s for overnight protection. XXX"  Hopefully we won’t need it as badly as the futures are indicating but it sure is nice to have isn’t it?

Durable goods orders fell 5.3% in January, a big recessionary signal but, like the PPI, this is a snap-back from an unbelievable 4.4% increase in December, when the government was pulling out all the stops to punch up the Q4 numbers.

Durable goods reports are insanely volatile and the WSJ points out that the ISM numbers were up from 48.4 in December to 50.7 in January, a much more likely indication of a bottoming move.  Shipments of durable goods ROSE 0.1% for the month (a GDP component) so we are down but not out…

As a corporate manager, given the fear and panic we were subjected to in January, don’t you think you might have held off a little when you were asked to consider making major equipment purchases?  The Dow plunged from 13,550 at Christmas to 11,634 on Jan 22nd (down 25%) and Durable Goods orders ONLY fell 5.3% – sounds like a market overreaction to me!

[chart]Of course we also have the stunning (but expected) decline in home prices as the average American home lost 8.9% in value from the previous year but don’t worry, George Bush is going to send you $600 to make it all better!  As we’ve mentioned before, the administration’s "Free Market" solution is a total disaster as all they have managed to do is allow the Banks to increase their mortgage "crack spreads" from 1.5% last year to 3.5% this month, more than doubling their profits per loan.  Conforming loans are the same price now as they were when the Fed Funds Rate was 5.25% and Jumbo loan rates have actually gone UP almost a full point – good luck with that refi when your home is down 10% in value and rates are up!

While I’m furious at this administrations handling of this mess, I’m just as mad at Clinton and Obama after last night’s debate for their utter failure to steer the debate towards something substantive.  NAFTA and national security…
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Tuesday Top Off – Europe Ascending

All right, now we're making some progress!

Not with the indices, who cares about them – I'm thrilled that we chased 23M people out of Google today.  In what may have been their busiest day since their IPO, 10% of Google's shares were sold and, shockingly, bought as close to 10% of the float changed hands.  Google is 80% owned by institutions and, as we noted last night, they weren't selling

Also significant is Google's bottom today at 299.99 – Euros, that is.  That's the point at which buyers starfted swarming in, just another indication of how the dollar, even as it relates to stock prices, no longer matters in International trading and technical traders better learn how to do their conversions if they want to get a clear picture of what's going on with a chart.  You can't analyze a stock if you base it on an unstable currency!

If you look at the chart of the S&P in real money, you'll see that the trend line has been far from baffling as we've simply been following the 50 dma lower and lower since our October highs with a very brief breakout attempt in December (courtesy of the Fed).  What looks to be, in dollars, a surge in the S&P back to the 50 dma at 1,392 over the past 3 days is merely a flatline to Europeans.  The good news is we are nowhere near our Jan 22nd lows and have put in a fairly orderly consolidation since then, staying in a tight 4% range, almost half of the 7% range we've seen as measured in dollars.

So it's no surprise the VIX is coming down hard, volatility washed out weeks ago – we're just the last ones on Earth to get the message!  I'm not saying we are unbound by US technicals but let's keep in mind that, as we drift lower and lower as an economic power, the power of our charts to sway International investors diminishes as well.

The Dow, meanwhile, stopped dead at the 50 dma of 12,688 today as gold and oil both gained about 1% ahead of Helicopter Ben's testimony tomorrow.  We're touching $1.50 to the Euro and that is just…
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Zero Hedge

Will The US Slap Sanctions On Nord Stream 2?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Nick Cunningham via OilPrice.com,

There is a growing push in the U.S. Congress to slap sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The pipeline under construction would carry Russian natural gas to Germany, and has been a lightning rod of controversy both in Europe and across the Atlantic. Many governments and officials from Eastern Europe fear deeper dependence on Russia for gas supplies, a sentiment echoed by the U.S. government. Meanwhile, many in Western Europe are less concerned,...



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Phil's Favorites

US is already fighting a conflict with Iran - an economic war that is hurting the wrong people

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

US is already fighting a conflict with Iran – an economic war that is hurting the wrong people

Courtesy of David Cortright, University of Notre Dame

Many are worried about the risk of war with Iran after the Trump administration leaked discussions of a troop deployment in response to claimed threats to U.S. warships in the region.

And in r...



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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 ...



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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 readtheticker.com 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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Biotech

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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ValueWalk

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

Excerpt:

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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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:

 

·       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.

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