Archive for 2009

Swing trading virtual portfolio – Week of September 14 th 2009

This post is for live trades and daily comments. 

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

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But I Thought It Was Just A “Panic”?

But I Thought It Was Just A "Panic"?

panicCourtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker


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Moral Hazard and Economic Donkeys

Moral Hazard and Economic Donkeys

lunatics taking over Pictures, Images and Photos

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

"It’s almost as if the biggest credit bubble in history never occurred. Investors are increasingly convinced that a sustainable global recovery is emerging out of the wreckage. All praise to the central bankers for saving the world! I’m waiting till someone writes about the return of the Great Moderation and suggests Ben Bernanke is the new Maestro. Then I’ll know the lunatics have taken over the madhouse…yet again." Albert Edwards, Société Générale

What Simon Johnson is describing in this essay attached below is moral hazard, the corruption of the capitalist system introduced by a Fed (the Economic Donkeys) that recklessly exercises a function as ‘lender of last resort,’ in conjunction with a political environment (less sophisticated Economic Donkeys) that can be politely described as being driven by ‘regulatory capture’ rather than the less euphemistic ‘rampant corruption.’

Moral hazard is not a popular topic, on the left or on the right. When moral hazard was mentioned as a consideration in the bank bailouts proposed by then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, a popular liberal economist bombastically expounding with a blog (PLEBEWAG) went into a hissy fit of self-righteous indignation, condemning those who even think about things like ‘moral hazard’ as fundamentalist ethical Luddites.

The problem is that moral hazard is an ethical consideration, a restraint on the tools available for centralized financial engineering. This aversion to restraint is characteristic of neither the moderate right nor the left per se, but it does distinguish the statists from those who favor the individuals and ‘market-based capitalism.’

What can one think about these things, when so many economists can get it so wrong, for so long, with such passionate intensity, and remain largely unapologetic and unchanged themselves, swearing allegiance to the power of financial engineering with just a little more power and purview? Hence the proposal to centralize regulation in the Fed, surely one of the most bizarre suggestions after a crisis caused by the Fed that one can imagine.

It is all part of the momentum of the status quo, those who enable a system at least in part because they believe it in as a first principle, benefit from it, even if they are not direct participants, or may only wish to be beneficiaries of the greater power and prestige of the State.

It is an …
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“Greenspanism” the Root Cause of this Depression

"Greenspanism" the Root Cause of this Depression

Courtesy of Mish

Bernanke, Geithner, and others have stated the biggest mistake in this depression was the failure to rescue Lehman. I have long disagreed, instead declaring the Bankruptcy of Lehman was one of the few things the Fed got right, even if by accident.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has similar thoughts in Lehman is a footnote in the great East-West globalisation crisis.

As my colleague Jeremy Warner puts it, Lehman no more caused the economic convulsions of the last year than the assassination of an Austrian prince caused the First World War. There was the little matter of a rising Germany then, and a rising China now. Both scrambled the international system, albeit in different ways.

As of last week, the ABX index of sub-prime mortgage debt showed that AAA-rated securities from early 2007 were trading at 28 cents on the dollar – AA was at 4 cents, near all-time lows. No one can say that $2 trillion (£1.2 trillion) of sub-prime and Alt-A debt is still trading at panic levels, exaggerating losses. The dust has settled. What we can see is that creditors will never recoup their money.

Foreclosures reached 358,000 in August alone. More Americans are being evicted each month than during the entire Depression year of 1932.

We know why the bubble occurred. Call it Greenspanism. Central banks rescued assets each time there was a hiccup, but let booms run unchecked. They pulled "real" rates ever lower, creating addiction to monetary stimulus. Larger doses were required with each cycle, until we hit zero, and it is still not enough. Debt burdens rose to records across the OECD.

Couldn’t they see that this was cheating: stealing from the future? No, they were seduced by "inflation targeting" – watch goods, ignore assets – just as cheap imports from China rendered the doctrine obsolete. It always takes ideology to consummate massive error.

China is trying to plug the gap, belatedly, by ramping up credit 70pc this year, but it will take a cultural revolution to induce the Chinese to spend. The liquidity is leaking into stocks, metals, and property.

The Great Game can continue only as long as deficit countries – currently, US (-$628bn), Spain (-$109bn), Italy (-$62bn), France (-$58bn), Britain (-$53bn), Greece (-$42bn), and east Europe – are willing to bankrupt themselves buying Asian


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Is China Going to Go “Nuclear”?

Is China Going to Go “Nuclear”?

Courtesy of Graham Summer’s Gains, Pains and Capital

In case you have not heard the news, China has announced that it will be instructing its state-owned enterprises to potentially default on their derivatives contracts. As I have written extensively in the past, the derivatives market is a massive time bomb just waiting to go off. China’s latest move may be the match that lights the fuse.

All told, US Commercial banks own $202 trillion in derivatives in notional value. To put that number into perspective, it’s roughly four times the global GDP. And 96% of this exposure sits on five banks’ balance sheets. I’ve shown the below chart before, but it’s worth re-visiting (chart is denominated in TRILLIONS).

banks

Of course, not ALL of the $202 trillion these guys own is “at risk.” As their name implies, derivatives are “derived” from underlying assets (homes, debt, etc). The actual “at risk” money can be far FAR smaller than the “notional” value of derivatives outstanding.

However, when you’re talking about $200+ trillion, even a marginal amount of “at risk” money can mean ENORMOUS losses. Consider, if 1% of that $200 trillion were at risk, that’s $2 trillion in capital. Now, if even 10% of those bets go bad, you’re talking about $200 billion in losses.

Now consider that, combined, the top five banks (JP Morgan, Goldman, BofA, Citi, and HSBC) have roughly $700 billion in equity.

Given the over-leveraged, stupid plays Wall Street made on mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps (both investments that had SOME degree of oversight, even if it were paltry), as well as the fact that derivatives are COMPLETELY unregulated, I would argue it’s quite possible that as much as 5% or even 10% of the derivatives outstanding could be “at risk.”  In that case, we’re talking about $10-$20 trillion in “at risk” capital. If even 10% of these bets go wrong, ALL the equity at all five banks AND THEN SOME could be wiped out.

As I mentioned just now (and before many times), the primary problem with derivatives is that they are completely unregulated. No one has any idea what’s “at risk” or who owns what or who’s betting against who.

But we may be about to find out.

I’ve detailed the ongoing conflict between China and the US regarding monetary policies on these pages before.…
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$101,674 Virtual Portfolio Update – Week 3

Slow and steady wins the race! 

We had a big run and capped our gains a little early for the week by doubling up on our PSQ (short Nasdaq) calls on Thursday's mad run.  This did the job of locking in our profits but that hedge is now making up $450 of losses, which is 1/3 of all our losses for the month.  Still we managed to gain $396 for the week with still just $28,537 in positions so that's another 1% for the week, a pretty good clip

I am happy to say that our $100K Virtual Portfolio is now live and available on WallStreetSurvivor.com at:

 
 
We're actually well ahead of our cash goal as we also have $86,101 in cash along with our $28,537 in positions with $13,768 in margin devoted to some of the longer hedges we've sold.  That leaves us with $147,935 in margin buying power and we're going to use it to do a few "stupid option tricks" into expirations that should pick us up a little extra cash over the next 5 days and Wednesday or Friday we must expect to make our rolling moves for the current month and I'll be sending out Alerts to Members later in the week.  For now, we are very happy with all of our current positions as we have 16 winners and just 7 losers – that's very good for a well-hedged virtual portfolio
 
There are only 6 September contracts for us to worry about and Wednesday would be the earliest day we need to make adjustments on those so we'll concentrate today on things we can make money on tomorrow.  The easiest was to start is to look at some stocks we may want to own for October and take a stab at selling some naked puts on them as we won't be too upset if they get put to us or we'll be happy to pocket the cash if they aren't.  We already sold the MHP October puts from last week's Watch List but we haven't filled the others.  As with those plays, we're not interested


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David Einhorn: Short McGraw Hill (MHP) & Moody’s (MCO) – The Curse of the Triple A

David Einhorn: Short McGraw Hill (MHP) & Moody’s (MCO) – The Curse of the Triple A

Courtesy of Market Folly

While David Einhorn’s short position in Moody’s (MCO) is by no means new information, we did recently learn that his hedge fund Greenlight Capital is now also short McGraw Hill (MHP), the parent company of fellow ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. He initiated the position after a U.S. judge refused to dismiss a case against the ratings agencies. Those agencies were seeking refuge from such litigation under the notion that their opinions on ratings are protected by free-speech rights. This U.S. District Judge’s refusal to throw out the case could be a landmark ruling, Einhorn says. While this could potentially be a chink in the armor, it is also prudent to point out that 10 of the 11 claims were dismissed; a fact that Moody’s representatives have been quick to point out.

Einhorn presented his short position in Moody’s back at the Ira Sohn Conference where numerous hedge fund managers shared investment ideas. While we can’t track their short positions via SEC filings, we have covered Greenlight’s long portfolio here. Greenlight was up 16.3% for the second quarter and year to date for 2009 is up 21.5%. For more of Einhorn’s tirades shorting companies, we highly recommend reading his book Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short Story. In it, you’ll learn how Greenlight constructs and researches investment theses. Not to mention, it’s just an interesting read and story in general.

Instead of summarizing Einhorn’s thoughts regarding why he is short the ratings agencies, we figured we’d just let him tell you himself. Embedded below is his presentation from the Ira Sohn investment conference entitled ‘The Curse of the Triple A.’ You can download the .pdf here or read on below:
 

David Einhorn’s Ira Sohn Presentation

So, while he presented that argument back in late May of this year, he appeared on television a few days ago to further elaborate on his argument. Below is the video where he presents his case to CNBC anchors:
 


And lastly, for posterity’s sake, we would also like to highlight Einhorn’s thoughts…
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Temporary Rebound In Consumer Sales Coming Up

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Temporary Rebound In Consumer Sales Coming Up

cash for clunkers photo, the business insiderCourtesy of Mish

Economists now estimate ‘Clunkers’ Probably Boosted Retail Sales.

The U.S. government’s auto trade- in program probably lifted retail sales in August to their biggest gain in more than three years and boosted factory output, economists said before reports this week.

Total purchases climbed 1.9 percent, the most since January 2006, according to the median of 60 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey ahead of Commerce Department figures due Sept. 15. The Obama administration’s “cash for clunkers” plan also helped industrial production in August to its first back- to-back monthly increase since 2007, economists said.

Americans flocked to auto showrooms last month to take advantage of the incentive program while purchases of other items were subdued even as evidence mounts that the worst recession since the Great Depression is ending. With unemployment forecast to reach 10 percent by the end of the year, consumer spending likely won’t lead the recovery.

Cars and light trucks sold at a 14.1 million annual pace last month, up 25 percent from July, according to industry figures. It was the biggest gain since October 2001.

Last month General Motors Co. called back 1,350 union workers, its biggest one-time increase in jobs since 2006, as it ramped up second-half production in part to meet demand linked to the government trade-in program.

The Fed’s measure of production, due Sept. 16, probably rose 0.6 percent, the most since October, according to the survey. The report may also show the proportion of plant capacity in use in the U.S. climbed to 69.1 percent, the highest in five months.

Manufacturing in the New York region posted its first back-to-back monthly expansion since January 2008, economists said before a report due Sept. 15. The New York Fed’s general economic index likely climbed to 15 this month from 12.1 in August, according to the survey.

The housing market also is showing early signs of a rebound. A Commerce Department report due Sept. 17 will show builders broke ground on 600,000 new homes last month at an annual rate, a 3.3 percent gain and the fastest pace since November, according to the survey median.

The world’s largest economy contracted 1 percent in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said last month, the fourth


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Geithner, Kohn, (barf) Kneale, Banking and More

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Geithner, Kohn, (barf) Kneale, Banking and More

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker


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H&S Top and “Iron Cross” on Weekly Dollar Chart Targets 66

H&S Top and "Iron Cross" on Weekly Dollar Chart Targets 66

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

The weekly chart on the US Dollar Index has rather awful technicals, as it has dropped to a recent low, and set the ‘iron cross’ in the moving averages that is generally the hallmark of a sustained decline.

There is a massive Head & Shoulders formation that *should* preclude a rally over 81 if it is working, limiting any gains to a further ‘right shoulder.’

The ultimate objective of this formation remains 66.

It is difficult to square this with a technical outlook that includes a major decline in the US equity indices, since the pairs have been running inversely, that is, dollar down, and stocks up.

Anything is possible, especially when the governments are actively and aggressively ‘tinkering’ with the markets. It is possible that the Fed monetizes sufficiently to reinflate an equity bubble, essentially whoring out the Dollar and the real economy for the sake of the financial or FIRE sector.

US Dollar chart
 

 


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Zero Hedge

Americans' Economic Hope Has Collapsed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

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

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

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

...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Triple Breakout Test In Play For S&P 500!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

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

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

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

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



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Phil's Favorites

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

 

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

Courtesy of Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds

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

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

...



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Digital Currencies

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

Courtesy of Michelle Jones via ValueWalk.com

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

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

A year after the cryptocurrency bubble popped

CCN...



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ValueWalk

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

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

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



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Insider Scoop

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

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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

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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:

 

·       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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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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