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Tuesday, November 29, 2022


Wednesday Morning Jihad

Here are a series of articles that you should be able to connect:

That's right, none of the other stuff was working so they had to pull out the big gun.  Osama Bin Laden (or the pretend Bin Laden, it's not yet verified) pokes his head out of his hole to try to get oil above $40 as his family loses hundreds of millions in revenues when production cuts and pirates fail to do the trick.  We're not complaining really – we went bullish on oil Monday as I laid out two very profitable entries in the morning post as I called the bottom for oil that morning – not based on any change in demand but based on the very predictable ratcheting of the terror level that is practiced by the energy crooks every time their wallets are threatened.  So happy Jihad everyone!

I had mentioned last week the Criminal Narrators Boosting Crude were working overtime trying to herd their sheep back into the energy sector and yesterday, in an amazing coincidence, they released their own big gun as T. Boone Pickens predicted oil prices would go back to $140.  T. Boone, of course, just did a $2Bn deal with CNBC parent GE for wind turbines – a deal that needs $80 oil to pay back the investors so to say T. Boone has a vested interest in seeing oil spike back up is the same sort of understatement as say:  "Al Queda needs oil money to fund terror" or "Somalia Pirates and Nigerian Rebels need oil money to buy outboard motor boats."

One can only hope that, no matter what the price, Obama keeps America focused on getting America off foreign oil so we are no longer at the mercy of the collection of American-hating thugs that call themselves OPEC.    Every $10 we spend for a barrel of oil is $73Bn annual dollars out of the pockets of working Americans and half that money finds it's way into the hands of a group of people who fund terrorist, who ARE terrorists and who meet to try to restrict the supply of a vital resource and artificially inflate the prices over and above the fair market value – THAT'S WHAT A CARTEL IS FOR!  Why does this country put up with it? What have we been doing since they first pulled this nonsense in 1973?  Now is the time to act – we have the money, we have the idle workers and factories – now is the time to make a moon-shot attempt to make America a global leader in alternate energy.  Keep in mind that $40 a barrel is $300Bn a year and oil was recently $110 a barrel higher than it is now so DO NOT balk at the costs – Whatever it takes, we MUST change America's future so it is no longer in the hands of criminals.

Needless to say, Bin Laden's lunchtime Jihad proclamation was enough to send European markets and US futures tumbling after a pretty good open.  This is why we stay hedged at the best of times – you never know what's coming around the corner, which is funny because it's really the same damn thing over and over again isn't it?  You can see the dramatic gap down in the DAX, FTSE and CAC this morning and our Dow futures flipped 100 points as well.  Not surprisingly, this very direct cause is being downplayed by GE/CNBC, who would rather have you believe oil prices are climbing because of some underlying fundamentals.

The financial terrorism continues as well as MS came out with a report stating HSBC may have to raise $30Bn and cut their dividend in half while DB warned that fourth quarter losses will exceed $6.4Bn (and that would be a lot more except the Euro is week so the conversion is 10% less!). "There are no hiding places, even for good banks," said Derek Chambers, at Standard & Poor's Equity Research. The Deutsche Bank news puts added focus on J.P. Morgan Chase, which moved up its planned earnings report to later this week.

Ahead of the market we have Retail Sales numbers, which came in down 2.7% in December – a whole point worse than expected!  Import Prices were down 4.2%  (skewed down by oil of course) and Business Inventories are coming at 10, and have not been showing signs of building.  We have crude inventories today at 10:30 and if they are building all the sabre-rattling in the world is not going to get oil over $40 this week and at 2pm we get the Beige Book, which is sure to be just as gloomy as the Fed minutes were last week.  INFY, IIIN, EXFO and LLTC all beat in yesterday's earnings but Linear guided down so we'll call that a miss.  Still 3 out of 4 beats is not the cataclysmic earnings the bears are looking for so far.  Today we have SCHW, LCRY, CLC and XLNX with a larger sampling tomorrow before we get really busy next week.

All in all, we should be retesting our lows off of this news and we are right back where we were on December 29th, as reflected in our last Big Chart Review so no need to rerun the numbers, as they are all right in that post.  Until we break significantly below our 8,200 floor, we are range-bound and nothing more.  We're going to watch the Qs at $29 as the Nasdaq has been generally outperforming for the past two weeks and we'd hate to lose it.  The Russell faces a very serious test at 465 but, if they hold it today, then we may be back into the UWMs, who should give us a $5.50 entry on the July $15s, which we can hedge later with the Feb $19s at, hopefully $2+.  I'm very disappointed that we're not getting a pre-Obama rally but, with all the bad news today, we'll be happy to hold the line!  If all goes well, it may finally be the time to rebalance our virtual portfolios ever so slightly bullish but let's watch our levels as hope is not a strategy…

Some major banks in Europe are down 10, 12 and 15% with UBS a star, down "just" 2.8% and CS off "just" 6.4%.  HSBC is off 8% on the MS note but, what it actually says is: "While HSBC is winning market share we do not think this will be enough to offset the negative cyclical and structural trends and is more than captured in valuation."  I just don't think that sounds all that terrible…  What does sound terrible is a report from the Man Group, the world's largest publicly traded hedge-fund manager. The company said Wednesday the funds it manages fell 21% in its fiscal third quarter due to increased redemptions from clients and a move to cut its investment exposures. Man Group shares lost 5.6%.

Asia did not know there was a Jihad today so markets there were up with the Shanghai leading the pack, up 4% against a very slightly higher Nikkei and Hang Seng.  India was up 3.3% and the Baltic Dry Index posted yet another 2.5% gain.   China revised their 2007 GDP growth to 13%, putting them 3rd in the world, ahead of Gemany and, perversely, Hong Kong and China markets were led higher by Banking stocks.  "There is still no momentum to go up and it's easier to get a sell-order than a buy-order. People are looking around but there is still so much uncertainty that they aren't getting clients committed to the market at this stage," said Andrew Yates, a senior vice president at Royal Bank of Scotland in Bangkok.

If you strip out gasoline sales, retail sales were off just 1.4% and don't forget that is a dollar-volume of sales that reflects the tremendous discounting that went on in December, so people got more stuff for less money – this is not a terrible thing…  Keep that in mind as you hear the doom and gloom headlines over and over today on TV.  Sales last month tumbled 1.8% at furniture retailers; 2.5% at clothing stores; 1.0% at electronic stores; 2.2% at eating and drinking places; 0.4% at sporting goods, hobby and book stores; 1.3% at general merchandise stores; 1.4% at food and beverage stores; 2.9% at building material and garden supplies dealers; and 1.9% at mail order and Internet retailers.  Sales rose 0.4% at health and personal care stores.

Import prices fell 4.2%, which was far less than the 6% decline expected.  November had been down 7% and, while decelerating, the big decline gives the Fed a lot of leeway to pump money into the economy.  Overall import prices have fallen 9.2% in 2008, the biggest drop ever recorded with oil prices down 47% for the year.  Excluding petroleum's 21.4% decline, import prices were down just 1.1% last month – hardly deflationary.  This should lead to a good PPI report of course.

So we will watch our levels today (as well as oil at that $37.50 line) but we already shifted our strategy yesterday to a little more naked put selling and a little less stock buying as we didn't hold 8,450.  Now 8,200 may be tested but we are well into our sweet spot for buying and there will be bargains aplenty today for the committed long-term investors.  Let's keep our list of Stocks to Buy handy and keep our eye on the VIX, which should get a nice pop today, just in time for us to start selling Feb contracts as today was the day we were waiting for to do our rolls as we were up too much last week.  Today we are right back where we started from this expiration period and, if you are an options SELLER, that is just perfect!



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I was looking at SPY at 84.20; now 84.02.
Perhaps it will trade down big given the overall negativity in the market.
I don’t see it any big deal.  He’ll be out until June instead of March.  Its all in the stock IMO.
More important is what earnings and outlook are.

Jobs – that’s too bad.  I hope he’ll pull through.  Best CEO in the US.  

There’s nothing worse than pancreatic.
Time to start pricing the stock as if he’s not coming back.
Look at the insane amount of cash they have on their b/s …. maybe they should buy PALM for pennies just to stop anyone else getting their hands on a superior touch O.S …

I’m not seeing any AAPL March options…so would have to roll Feb 80 puts to Apr 70s?

well, I’m wrong again !!

Great.  I’ve finally waded into apple and now this.  But seriously, unless Jobs had the idea for the iPod and iPhone what really is the big deal?  It’s the innovation that makes appl attractive.  Alot of people can manage.  But the innovation is what sets them apart.  If Jobs was responsible for that then this is bad news.  Because he’s likely not coming back.

ugh, bad move taking out my AAPL Jan 85 caller this morning for $2. Looking forward to the morning.

Y’know, if it had been Steve Ballmer taking 6 months off instead of steve Jobs, I bet MSFT would have popped AH.

What did Whiteny say, if anything?
Hope Jobs can recover, I am sure he hates this as much as the AAPL investors.

Phil/AAPL: I have a short $85 Jan put, sold it for $5 waaay back.  What do I do tomorrow? 😉  I am sure not going to cover at the open, but what else.. thanks!

Jordan, just leave it… see where the stock settles and look to possibly roll it down into Feb either tomorrow or Friday.  You should be able to roll to a lower strike for a credit.

thanks Cap!
I am placing some rolls for tomorrow, will keep TM 20%er, but got out of DRYS, I don’t think I "feel" the stock… went the wrong way a couple fo times on me already.

Now I am gonna ask, where does one see TRIN?  Thx.

Eph, please help as you took this test before:
– Which of the following best expresses a relationship similar to DELTA : THEORETICAL PRICE?
a) Gamma: Delta
b) Vega: Volatility
c) Theta: Time
d) Rho: Interest Rate
e) None of the above
My answer would be (e).  Could it be (a).  Thoughts?

 AAPL around 80 AH, tempting.  I don’t think Jobs will return, at least full-time.
A dark mood on Wall Street today – the cold damp wind didn’t help.  Didn’t have my laptop so missed any chance to adjust today, ouch.   Where’s the BAM rally?  or is -3% the new up…

Eph, one more question:
Which of the following is NOT a primary component in theoretical option pricing calculation?
a) Annual interest rate
b) Quarterly dividend amount
c) Change in volatility
d) Strike price
e) Days to expiration
Is (b) the correct answer?

SPY vs DIA for mattress plays.   Is there any reason that you chose DIA as your primary vehicle for hedging?   I’d think that the comparable price and greater liquidity would make it at least as good, and since does not suffer from having too much energy, it might even be superior for hedging the whole market.

Peter.  Ah, you are taking the PM test.   As I remember, it was much harder than I thought it would be….don’t worry, you don’t need to score 100%.   I don’t have my McMillen in front of me so I’ll let someone else answer the Greek question (Bueller?  Bueller?), but I think you are right that B is correct for the second question.  

I would go with C. Black Scholes uses the volatility, not the change in volatility. It also requires the annual dividend amount.

 I think i jinxed aapl by finally buying some March 90 Calls today.  Kind of like in the wedding singer – when he tells her to take off the van halen t-shirt "you’ll jinx the band"  Pretty discouraging day.  I am really bummed about BAC – they have totally made a mess out of a good bank.

You have to delete the " " bit from the end of my link – not sure where it came from. 

Depends on your broker.  I think at schwab TRIN is $TRIN.  Same way you would find $VIX or $INDU

AAPL, you could probably roll down to the FEB 65 or 70 put stirike for a credit without too much problem.

I know we need a Treasury Sec’y, but I think Geithner is toast, and deservedly so.
A Treasury Sec’y who didn’t pay his taxes ?   C’mon.
First Charlie Rangel, now Geithner.
If he does get confirmed, if you ever get audited, you will have precedent to use the "honest mistake" defense.

Oh boy, read this …. its even worse for Tim…
I have no ax to grind here on Geithner, but it seems to me he is fatally flawed here.  Bring on Summers.
And get rid of Paulson already !


Geithner Accepted IMF Reimbursement For Taxes He Didn’t Pay   [Byron York]
I have a new story up on Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner’s tax issue.  The news is that Geithner, like other International Monetary Fund employees, received an allowance from the IMF to make up for the taxes he paid.  But in the case of self-employment taxes, Geithner accepted the allowance and didn’t pay the taxes.

The IMF did not withhold state and federal income taxes or self-employment taxes — Social Security and Medicare — from its employees’ paychecks. But the IMF took great care to explain to those employees, in detail and frequently, what their tax responsibilities were. First, each employee was given the IMF Employee Tax Manual. Then, employees were given quarterly wage statements for the specific purpose of calculating taxes. Then, they were given year-end wage statements. And then, each IMF employee was required to file what was known as an Annual Tax Allowance Request. Geithner received all those documents.

The tax allowance has turned out to be a key part of the Geithner situation. This is how it worked. IMF employees were expected to pay their taxes out of their own money. But the IMF then gave them an extra allowance, known as a “gross-up,” to cover those tax payments. This was done in the Annual Tax Allowance Request, in which the employee filled out some basic information — marital status, dependent children, etc. — and the IMF then estimated the amount of taxes the employee would owe and gave the employee a corresponding allowance.

At the end of the tax allowance form were the words, “I hereby certify that all the information contained herein is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I will pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments from the Fund.” Geithner signed the form. He accepted the allowance payment. He didn’t pay the tax. For several years in a row….

In a conversation today with sources on Capitol Hill who are familiar with the situation, I asked, “Was Geithner made whole for tax payments that he didn’t make?”

“Yes,” one source answered. “He was getting the money. He was being paid a tax allowance to pay him for tax payments that he should have made but had not.”

Peter D,
   Re your Delta:theoretical price Q–I suspect the answer is a) gamma:delta.  That’s the only relationship where the first term describes the change in the second.  Theta, vega & Rho describe changes in price, not changes in time, volatility, or interest rates.

Cap, if that article is correct you may be correct about Geitner Flambe

OXPS…cannot find TRIN in their ticker.  Supported by some, not by others….

Good Morning everyone.
Looks like another bad day for banks and tech. UK is down 0.4% recovering from its lows. Waiting on the ECB I guess. Apple is getting hammered pre-market as is BAC. The QQQQ are down 1.5%. But we all know the pre-market guys are nuts.
I’m still bearish on Retail, Energy, Emerging markets and Semis. Will re-evaluate after earning season but it looks like banks might be going for another leg down because all that TARP money doesnt seem to have helped and thats bad psychology for investors and until the banks get straight nothing else is either. If Obama has to pour more into the banks they’ll be less to help out the homeowner and his structual programme. So I still think there’s more lows to come. Not in tune with Phils "bottom" yet !!!!!!!!

Good Morning all

Asia Markets :    Thursday, January 15, 2009
(The following is from WSJ; please cross check with other sources to confirm.)   

Nikkei Average*                            8023.31    -415.14    -4.92%
Hang Seng*                                13242.96    -461.65    -3.37%
China: DJ Shanghai*                     215.41          0.55     0.26%
Seoul Composite*                       1111.34       -71.34    -6.03%
Bombay Sensex*                          9046.74    -323.75    -3.45%
Baltic Dry Index                          920.00    9.00    0.97%

*at Close

Asian Shares Fall to 5-Week Lows on Economic Worries

Major Asian benchmarks fell steeply across the board Thursday on increasing economic worries that slammed U.S. shares in the overnight session. Markets from Japan to South Korea and Hong Kong tumbled 4 to 6 percent in their biggest fall since November 2008.

The Nikkei anked almost 4 percent while the Topix fell 2.9% at the finish. Not helping sentiment in Japan was grim economic data showing machinery orders tumbled by a record 16.2 percent in November due to the global slowdown. Nissan Motor went in reverse gear to tumble 3.4 percent at the end of the session, following media reports the automaker will book an operating loss in the fiscal year due to falling sales and a stronger yen. Nissan may also announce domestic restructuring plans today, sources told CNBC.

The South Korean KOSPI was the worst performer in Asia, plunging 6 percent at the close. POSCO shares tumbled more than 5 percent as it was due to kick-off the fourth-quarter earnings season with disappointing results. After the market closed, the world’s No. 4 steelmaker reported a sharply lower-than-expected and barely changed quarterly profit. POSCO also warned of lower 2009 steel output and sales due to slumping demand. The firm’s CEO Lee Ku-taek offered to quit amid mounting pressure following a government investigation conducted on him last month. He was charged with no wrongdoing.

In Greater China, the Hang Seng and Taiwan Weighted Indices both sank more than 4 percent while the Shanghai Composite lost only 0.5 percent. Hong Kong stocks plunged to a seven-week low as concerns over earnings as banks slammed HSBC again.

Australia’s benchmark index suffered its biggest single-day drop in more than two months, led by the resource sector as falling metal prices put pressure on big mining firms. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 4.3 percent.

Singapore’s STI and Malaysia’s KLCI tracked the broader fallout.

Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex closed at 9,055.06, down 315.43 points or 3.37 per cent. The index touched an intra-day low of 8946.62 and high of 9123.78. Equities ended sharply lower on Thursday as investors booked profits and created fresh short positions as global economic concerns took centrestage.

Euro Stocks Fall for 7th Day in a Row

European shares surrendered early gains and turned negative on Thursday morning, losing ground for the seventh session in a row as escalating fears over the beleaguered banking sector hit shares such as HSBC.

Banks were among the biggest losers with Anglo Irish Bank down 16 percent, BNP Paribas down 6 percent and HSBC down 4.2 percent. Deutsche Postbank fell 20 percent amid downbeat comments by analysts on revised terms of a deal under which Deutsche Bank is buying a stake in Postbank from Deutsche Post.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.9 percent at 797.23 points.

Investors will closely watch the ECB interest rate decision at 12:45 pm London time — with a Reuters poll showing analysts expect the ECB to cut its key interest rate by 0.5 percentage points to 2 percent –, as well as ECB’s President Jean-Claude Trichet’s news conference.

The DJ Stoxx banking index was down 2.1 percent on Thursday. It tumbled 65 percent in 2008, hit by the financial crisis that began with U.S. mortgage defaults in 2007 and has now plunged major economies into recession, reshaped the banking landscape and taken entire countries to the brink of bankruptcy.

Shares in oil producers also slipped, as oil dropped to $36.82 a barrel. BP shed 0.8 percent and Royal Dutch Shell fell 0.4 percent.

Continental fell 19 percent on news that the automotive parts and tire maker was considering a 1 billion euro ($1.31 billion) capital increase.

Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was down 0.9 percent, Germany’s DAX index down 1.1 percent, and France’s CAC 40 down 1.1 percent

Breaking News : JPMorgan Profit Beats Estimates at 7 Cents per Share in Fourth Quarter

Oil Falls to $37 as Major Economies Sink

Oil fell to $37 a barrel on Thursday as more glum figures from world markets pushed crude into its seventh straight day of losses after a brief uptick at the New Year.Global economic data’s grim showings contributed to the decline, with Asian shares following their U.S. counterparts down to a 5-week low on weak U.S. retail sales data and a record fall in Japanese machinery orders. The dollar’s continued strength against the euro also weighed on crude.

U.S. light crude [ 37.95    0.67  (+1.8%)] for February delivery was down, after having fallen by as much as $1.15.
London Brent crude [  48.94    1.32  (+2.77%)] fell..

Crude stockpiles also rose for the third consecutive week, by 1.2 million barrels to 326.6 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. Supplies at the NYMEX delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, were up 800,000 barrels at 33 million barrels, a record storage level at the site. "In summary you have to accept this was a bearish set of data which suggests that demand for oil is lifeless despite low forecourt prices for oil," said Rob Laughlin, broker at MF Global.

Analysts said oil traders will be looking towards U.S. economic indicators due Thursday, including weekly jobless claims and monthly producer price changes, to further gauge how the economy is faring.

Dollar Gains vs Euro on Safe-Haven Bid, Greece Downgrade

The dollar rose against the euro on Wednesday after dismal U.S. retail sales figures and a downgrade to Greece’s debt rating deepened fears about the global economy and boosted the greenback’s safe-haven appeal.

While the news of a slump in December retail sales highlighted the severity of the U.S. recession, the dollar rallied as growing worries about economic downturns worldwide prompted traders to seek refuge in dollar-denominated assets.

"Granted it’s a not great story for the U.S. dollar, but it’s actually more negative for other currencies," said David Watt, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

The euro came under heavy selling pressure, falling below $1.31 to a one-month low after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit ratings on Greece’s sovereign debt to A-/A-2 with a stable outlook.

In midday New York trading, the euro [ 1.3165    -0.0021  (-0.16%)   ] fell slightly to below $1.32 after earlier hitting a low of $1.3094, the lowest level since mid-December, according to Reuters data.

The dollar last traded little changed at near 89 yen [  88.9    -0.13  (-0.15%)   ].

The yen briefly rallied across the board earlier in the session, benefiting from a spike in risk aversion as U.S. stocks fell sharply amid fears of more losses in the banking sector. The greenback had earlier dropped as low as 88.62 yen, the lowest since Dec. 19, reigniting speculation Japanese authorities may intervene in the currency market to stem yen strength, which is hurting the country’s exports.

The euro  traded down slightly at below 118 against the yen [ 117.12    -0.31  (-0.26%)   ].

The ECB is expected to lower rates by at least 50 basis points.

Adding to bearish sentiment on the currency were reports, later denied, that Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said IMF help may be needed if Ireland’s economic downturn worsens. The IMF also weighed in, saying there was no reason to think Ireland will need IMF financing.

Concerns over the single currency bloc’s economy and public finances mounted after Spain and Portugal became the third and fourth euro zone countries since last week to be warned by S&P that their credit ratings are under threat from the global financial crisis.

Emphasizing the grim state of the euro zone economy was the German Federal Statistics Office, which said the country’s economy likely contracted between 1.5 percent and 2.0 percent in the final three months of 2008.

"The market is underestimating the extent of the recession in the euro zone, which is being made worse by the lack of, or at least the very slow, policy response," currency strategists at BNP Paribas wrote in a note.


Gold steady ahead of ECB rates decision

Gold was steady in Europe on Thursday as traders awaited the European Central Bank’s interest rate announcement later in the day, which could put pressure on the euro and consequently on gold.

Gold rose to $810.70/812.70 an ounce at 1015 GMT from $810.55 in New York late on Wednesday.

A firmer dollar usually pressures gold, which is often bought as an alternative investment to the U.S. currency. Lower oil prices are also weighing on gold. Bullion typically moves in the opposite direction to crude, as it is often bought as an inflation hedge, and the direction of the oil market is an indicator of interest in commodities.

However, investor interest in gold remains strong. Bullion holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust in New York, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose to a record for the second time this year.

Demand for gold in India, the world’s largest bullion market, was also picking up as prices fall, dealers said. Rahul Gupta, director at Delhi-based PP Jewellers, said he expected demand to spurt due to lower prices as the wedding season, which starts mid-January, gets underway.

On the supply side, South African gold output fell 8.7 percent in volume terms in Nov 2008 from a year before. The country’s gold output has fallen since the electricity grid suffered a near collapse last January. The market is awaiting the second update of an annual market report from metals consultancy GFMS, due at 1500 GMT, for further guidance on gold supply and demand.

Among other precious metals,  silver was quoted at $10.45/10.53 an ounce against $10.54 late in New York on Wednesday.

Platinum and palladium prices fell, with the spate of poor economic data from the United States and Europe pressuring all industrial metals.

Platinum slipped to $916.50/921.50 an ounce from $933 late in New York on Wednesday, while palladium fell to $174.50/179.50 an ounce from $180.50.

Options/Peter: "There are 6 inputs that determine an option’s value: stock price, strike price, time to expiration, interest rate, dividend yield and volatility (over the life of the option)." Also check out the OIC’s option calculator which includes dividend yield. My Excel option calculator also has space to input the dividend yield, and changing it has a definite effect on an option’s price. Wikipedia also mentions how the dividend yield makes its way into option pricing. http://www.optioneducation.net/calculator/main_advanced.asp
I may be misunderstanding how the question is worded and what they are getting at, but I interpret it as vega (change in volatility) being more of an output of theoretical option pricing models, rather than an input.

AAPL looks to be climbing back to 81 in pre-market.

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