4.4 C
New York
Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Wednesday Worries – Yentervention, Euro Style

78.50 on the Dollar!

The Yen finally got back to 77 and EUR/CHF back to 1.21 so my theory that the BOJ has given up on the Dollar and moved to boosting the Euro is playing out nicely.

This does not make me more bullish (expecting falling Dollar to boost the markets) because, in the grand scheme of things, this is kind of like now there are two kids building a sand wall on the beach instead of one – sure it will last longer than the wall just one kid was building but, eventually, the tide will get it anyway or, as Jimi Hendrix said more poetically: "Castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually." 

Once you start messing around with Forex markets, you are messing with major macro forces that are hard to control.  Japanese banks have $7.5Tn of Japanese bonds at 1% – what happens to the value of those bonds if the BOJ does push the Yen down 10%?  Who takes that $750Bn hit?  What if rates go up to 2% – what's the value of the bonds then?  Who will bail out the Japanese Banks when they have a multi-Trillion Dollar (several hundred Trillion Yen) hole in their balance sheets?  Do Japanese spreadsheets even have room for Quadrillions?  They are going to need it!  

Then there's this Bloomberg article on the Central Banks, who have doubled their balance sheets since 2006 to $13.2Tn but, magically, have caused no inflation (according to Ben Bernanke – not according to people who actually buy food and stuff).   China is now sitting on $4.5Tn of other people's TBills (mostly ours) and that's up $1.5Tn in a year.  The ECB is right behind them with $3.6Tn and another $1Tn supposedly coming in the next EFSF round and the Fed has $2.9Tn plus whatever nonsense they are running off book.   

So, how is it that WE are the bad currency here?  If the Dollar is a problem, then China, who's GDP is only about $8Tn (optimistically, possibly $5.5Tn depending on who's measuring) is almost as insane as Japanese bankers and maybe more so as they are betting on our country's ability to pay and maintain the value of the Dollar (already a fail, right?).  I suppose no one can ever recognize losses and just carry more and more junk on their balance sheets forever but that's kind of a scary plan because, all it takes is that one little boy to point out that the Emperors have no clothes and this whole thing can collapse like the house of cards that it is.  

Anyway, my point is that Forex traders do get this and that's why you can't fight the tide.  You can fool stock investors all the time, they are generally sheep who don't even understand what it is they are putting money into and, as we well know, between the low volume and the BS ratings and the pumpers on TV and the completely inaccurate guidance given by the companies themselves and the insane analysts and the people who follow them – it's a total joke.  That was made evident in 2008 when the markets were "worth" what they are now in August and then, 60 days later, they were "worth" 50% less.

That doesn't happen with Picassos or Baseball Cards or Classic Cars or Comic Books or Houses or other things of actual value – they generally have enough sophisticated investors that there is genuine price discovery that holds up over time but stocks, on the other hand, can go up and down 20% on rumors because there are plenty of uninformed buyers and uninformed sellers on both sides of the aisle.  

The S&P is up 22.5% since October 1st.  The US Equity market is about $50Tn, with $10Tn added in the last 4 months.  At the current volumes of under 2Bn shares a day, let's say it's a generous average of $50 a share ($100Bn) and let's say we had 100 trading days (also generous).  That's $10Tn too.  So I guess we could say that the move in the market is justified if EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION that has taken place in the past 4 months has been a buy with $10Tn pouring into equities (as you can see from the chart on the left, only $1Tn came from the Fed and the ECB) and supporting a move in the market that is almost the size of our entire economy and, of course, globally, it's double that.

The Central Banks have taken advantage of the low tide to build some beautiful-looking sand castles and investors are flocking to admire them with the Mainstream Corporate Media simply falling over itself to congratulate them on their epic victory over reality but how many of those investors are really planning on moving into those sand castles – or will they all run out as soon as the next crisis wave laps on the walls and the begin to crumble once again?  

I said to Members in early morning Chat

Unfortunately, I've been reading the news so it all seems completely ridiculous to me and I'd say shorting the RUT (/TF) below the 830 line (just tested 833) and shorting the Dow below 12,850 (now 12,854) look like the most attractive plays in addition to same old shorting gold at $1,750 line. 

I would love to have a bullish play but I just can't do it – I'm sorry, I'd rather be in cash than pay these prices just because the Dollar is driven down to ridiculous levels against a currency (Euro) that is 1/3 it's size and just did a $750Bn round of QE and is about to do another $1.5Tn round and all that, so far, has barely "fixed" their smallest member state.   This is like us fixing Rhode Island and the rest of the World declaring America all fixed…

Obviously, we need to watch that 78.50 line on the Dollar – below that and we can't be bearish but it should hold. 

I know I promised to try to get more bullish but it is literally impossible to read the actual news (see Member Chat for today's rundown) and buy at these levels – certainly not with any long-term conviction.  So this is my little therapy session where I will try to get it all off my chest as we TRY to disconnect our brains and follow this rally – assuming the madness continues just because Greece is fixed – which, as I said, is the same as declaring America's finances fixed if we bail out Rhode Island

Speaking of Greece:  Government revenues in January are down 7% year over year versus the 8.9% increase expected by Econonomorons, who were sure that drastic austerity was the key to prosperity.  VAT receipts are off 18.7% and I guess that explains why Greece is only up 0.5% today – someone must have accidentally read this report!  I'm sure the next round of austerity measures being demanded by the Troika will do the trick and turn Greece around – after all, how many times has austerity failed to produce a recovery?  

I'm sorry, that was a trick question as austerity NEVER works, not in the past 200 years, at least.  Even Forbes knows this and those guys are pretty slow on the take…  

Austerity does work for the people the victim owes money too – much the way that donating 8 pints of blood works works for the vampire, but tends not to have a positive outcome for "donor."  Like vampires (and I'm not the first to make this comparison), the bondholders will simply move on to their next victim once Greece is drained dry. 

There are Trillions riding on a successful Greek bailout – not because of Greece itself but, by making it look like Greece is "fixed" and harsh austerity measures including pay cuts, benefit cuts, reneging on retirement promises made to the people while the Rich continue to enjoy their special loopholes – they set the stage to run rampant across all of Europe, the US and Japan with the same song and dance, just like they did in the 30s – until the "recovery" came crashing down around the World and plunged us into WWII.  Ah, good times for the Military-Industrial Complex indeed!  

Anyway, so that's what's bothering me but we can't let it stop us from playing the market to higher – we just need to recognize that it probably won't last.  Last week on Thursday and Friday, we featured 10 bullish trade ideas, as promised, to take advantage of the insanity because – as we often say – we don't care IF the markets are fixed, as long as we can figure out HOW they are fixed and take advantage of it.  Our plan was to add one bullish trade each day we were over our breakout levels and here we are at day 5 already so let's see how we're doing:  

  • FAS Feb $77/80 bull call spread at $2, selling $75 puts for $1.50 for net .50, now net $2.25 – up 350%
  • FAS March $75/80 bull call spread at $3.05, selling $70 puts for $3 for net .05, now $2.15 – up 4,200%

Not bad for a week's work, right?  As a bonus, in Thursday's post, we also featured some alternate bullish offsets that were less aggressive than selling short FAS puts:


  • CHK Jan $17.50 puts sold for $2.05, now $1.74 – up 15%
  • GE 2014 $17 puts sold for $2.50, now $2.23 – up 10%
  • GOOG June $450 puts sold for $4, now $2.35 – up 41%
  • ISRG Jan $310 puts sold for $10, now $7.66 – up 23%
  • KO Jan $62.50 puts sold for $3, now $2.60 – up 13%
  • MO 2014 $23 puts sold for $2.15, now $2.05 – up 5%
  • PFE 2014 $20 puts sold for $2.65, now $2.80 – down 6%
  • XOM Jan $65 puts sold for $2.50, now $1.95 – up 22%

I know – so dull!  Still it's a great way to enter positions and a great way to use your sidelined cash to generate a little additional income – a strategy we concentrate on in our Income Portfolio, which was also updated this weekend.  You don't want to sit around in a bull market like a deer in the headlights – just because you think it's nonsense.  Surely there must be SOME stock you would be willing to buy if it drops 20%?  If so, then sell the put at that strike and someone will be paying you just for promising to buy a stock at a lower price than it is today.  This is not complicated, folks

In addition to our aggressive FAS trade ideas, which were meant to make big money if the rally held up to help balance out too-bearish positions, we had a few longer-term trade ideas featured in Thursday's morning post:  

  • CHK 2014 $15/20 bull call spread at $2.65, selling 2014 $15 puts for $2.35 for net .30, now $1.16 – up 286%
  • AA July $8/10 bull call spread at $1.40, selling 2014 $10 puts for $2.10 for net .70 credit, now .40 to buy back – up 42%
  • AMZN Jan $170/180 bull call spread at $5.20, selling Jan $110 puts for $4.15 for net $1.05, now $2.90 – up 176%

Friday we continued to concentrate on long-term trade ideas as FAS was already looking promising and there were no aggressive plays I liked better:

  • BA 2014 $60/80 bull call spread at $11, selling $65 puts for $8 for net $3, now $3.45 – up 15%
  • F 2014 $8/12 bull call spread at $2.40, selling $10 puts for $1.50 for net .90, now $1.25 – up 38%
  • GS 2014 $80/110 bull call spread at $20, selling $90 puts for $12.50 for net $7.50, now $8.10 – up 10%

I ran out of time in the post but, in the Morning Alert to Members, we added:

  • SVU at $7.10, selling 2014 $7 puts and calls for $3.70 for net $3.40/5.20, now net $2.97 with SVU at $6.87 – with buy/writes, we're either on or off track but .13 below our exit strike is still on track on this one and an even better entry now than it was on Friday for a possible double in 2 years. 
  • HPQ 2014 $20/30 bull call spread at $5.60, selling $23 puts for $3 for net $2.60, now net $2.97 – up 14%
  • SKX July $11/13 bull call spread at $1.20, selling $11 puts for .90 for net .30, now .70 – up 133%
  • 2 BTU 2014 $30 puts sold for $5.40 ($10.80), buying 1 Jan $40/50 bull call spread at $3.20 for net credit of $7.60, now $5.30 to buy back – up 30%

So let's not fear the rally.  Of course we balance out our winners with a few bear hedges (see yesterday's Member Chat for TZA spread) to lock in some of our quick gains.  Also, there's nothing wrong with taking some cash back off the table here as this "rally" is just ridiculous and, if the tide comes in this week or next, we'll be thrilled to get back to cash but, if we're going to head up forever – we can do this week after week so we're not going to miss much by sitting out a few! 

Let's be careful out there…  


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DMND -35% after hours. 🙁 

News Alert
from The Wall Street Journal

Diamond Foods removed its chief executive and chief financial officer, and said it would restate two years worth of financial results, after an internal probe found it had wrongly accounted for payments to walnut growers.

Diamond said the audit committee of its board of directors concluded that the company's financial reports for fiscal 2010 and 2011 need to be restated as about $80 million worth of payments made to walnut growers were not properly accounted for.

One_T, Consider staying in NJ and commute in on the PATH at Hoboken.  Has stop at World Trade Center.  Then transfer to subway system.  You can save quite a bit.  It''s been years since I have done it.  Worth looking into.

Greece – Latest rumor, the smallest party of the coalition is not willing to accept the troika measures and is ready to withdraw from the coalition and vote against them on Sunday.  
Only a meltdown in Greece, can save the $25K portfolio from another low after the DMND blow

   Thanks for the input…just refining the system. 

HP Touchsmart uses Windows 7 touch interface, which is nice, but 8 is a lot nicer.
"It’s true that Windows 7 offers touch screen support, but it’s nothing like what users can expect to see in Windows 8. In the latest version, users will be able to quickly select the programs they need from a group of tiles rather than menus, enjoy better handwriting recognition and use an on-screen keyboard like those found on smart phones. The interface is nothing like Windows users have ever seen. It’s also important to note that users will still be able to use a traditional keyboard and mouse, if they so choose."

They are also targeting Windows 8 for their newer phones, so it is aimed at being a unified OS like Android ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) or 4.0 is in the Google world, or iOS on Apple for that matter.  It's all what Microsoft is calling the Metro UI.

NY/One – Agree with Phil.  Bernardin is great and fairly casual.  Do not stay in NJ – defeats the whole purpose.  My favorite hotel is Gramercy Park – commonly has specials with upgrade and free breakfasts.  Enjoy your visit!

Greece / Phil – Come on, global catastrophe over Rhode Island? Best case will wake up the sellers and get the long awaited correction.  Stay tuned. In a few mins we will know, the meeting is just over.

a few notes i have cribbed from around the blogs;
– mkt in process of putting in intermediate top
– mkt making latest run just as fundamentals are deteriorating
– corp earnings show signs of dramatic shrinkage for 2012
– mkt rate of ascent likely to slow markedly as it approaches yr highs
– if this is strength then what is weakness? – look out below
Greece scenario – takes the money and runs.

"Were Greece to default and withdraw from the euro once it gets the latest chunk of euro-zone cash, it could renege on its external debts, public and private, lifting an enormous burden off its people's shoulders. It wouldn't need access to international markets once it didn't have to worry about debt. A devaluation of the new drachma would make the economy instantly competitive, allowing it to eliminate its current account deficit.

What's the downside? A bunch of irate Germans. But they'll be irate whatever happens."

the Greek thing is looking more and more like a financial  Pandora's Box………if all the King's men and all the king's horses cannot solve a RI sized problem after all this time has passed then what next?

To Phil and stjeanluc:
I am buying multifamily sites in Texas, Florida, Albuqurque, and others now in the works, including Denver.  The sites I am acquiring are all in high demand locations, and have had 95% of the impact fees waived by the Cities and school districts and for the most part are via short sale or foreclosure.   Some Cities have realized that killing the goose that lays the golden eggs is not very smart.  Construction loans outside of Texas are very difficult to obtain.  When my company is at full capacity there are over 1,000 people under my employment.  Today, I have 14 very seasoned long term people (architects, engineers, accountants, designers) most of which have been with me for over 15 years.  We are gearing up again and should have a shovel in the ground on a 2,000 unit project here in Dallas within the next 6 months.  The big lesson learned, is that you don't ever trust the banks, and you need to be in a position to write a check to take out a loan at any time you think your bank is in trouble.  I have also gone to the extent of having Credit Suisse arrange CDS protection for my company, upon lenders that I borrow from.   I have never had a bad project, but I have had 2 banks fail on me and that was not fun to shop for loan, when there were no loans to be had.  I was one of the luck few, but I don't want to be in that predicament ever again.
From my pearch, developable multifamily real estate, financing forex trading, which I am heavily involved in, and gaining an eduction on the options side of the world, are the few methods available where you can create value and have some protectection against the downside gyrations of government intervention.    
The best we can do is look to protect against the downside.  I am appreciative of the throught process that goes on when looking at the structures of the options.  It appears to me that Phil's structures are all about downside protection.  Thank you.

just a personal opinion, but i don't think the politicians that are involved in negotiating 'terms' with the Troika have the moral authority to make a deal stand especially given the economic severity being imposed upon the civilian population.
the politicians may have the legal and political authority to pass the deal but that will quickly fade as people realize that there is NO moral authority.
this whole deal is just beyond bizzare……….the market and the Euro may rally if the politicians come to some kind of agreement with the trioka but i think once the reality and gravity of this thing takes hold it will unwind and maybe with unintended consequences.
not that debts should not be paid back but i hope the Greek people can find a leader willing to represent the interests of the Greek people as opposed to some anonymous bond holders who were sophisticated enough in the first instance to recognize risk and if they didn't then they deserve to loose the money they lent

Phil – The Dow Jones Transportation seems to once again be underperforming the Dow Jones Industrials. Dare I hope or is it yet another indicator that I need to now ignore?

I went to that livingsocial site, and the featured deal for my region was a 2-hour concealed weapon class. Just saying,….

Mvex1: Interesting business model. possibly some contribution to our BBB project?

OneT: NY
Others can give you great trip logistics but don't forget your sensitivity training.  Metro NY/NJ area people can come off as a little abrupt and perhaps more sarcastic than most.  Good prep would be to ask Phil a couple of repetitive/dumb questions,( ie. "I'm up 90% on a daytrade should I take the money and run?") and you will start to get a sense of things 🙂

roro: That's pretty much the way it has always seemed to me about Greece. ECB can pay off the loans, but then, the debt puffs up again the next day. Can this end well?
And Diamond: Ignore all indicators. Move forward. Become zombie.
I am still market neutral, and am being punished.

Mvex – I can see why you seem to know your stuff in real estate! Seems like you have gone through some tough battles! From my perspective, my house is the only real estate I need… I guess stick with what you know. And I guess you are getting an education on the option side here from Phil and the gang.

Phil likes to structure long term plays with downside protection and put together some hedges for existing positions. But he also offers many more aggressive short term trades where downside protection is not built in. The risk/reward ratio is obviously different! And we all learn on the way.

Thanks for posting… look forward to hear more.

Short Calls: GRPN
I sell naked calls: stock goes up, DD stock goes up more, one more DD stock goes up and feel like an idiot.  Eventually stock drops and I feel like an idiot for having not DD yet again 😉

One_T  – You may want to check with airbnb.com to see what they have to offer in an area that you may want to stay.

What cap rate are you looking for in multi-family?

DMND: short puts
looks like this should be interesting tomorrow

barfinger.…………on the notes i cribbed over the intermediate market top possibly forming………described as "choppy ragged top over next few weeks."
looking to short with some more conviction than yesterday which seemed to be the pinacle of frustration for my outlook or interpretation of things.
i think Greece is the forerunner of a much more complex set of problems that are likely to emerge as all of the others involved will want and know that debt negotiation is ON.

Lincoln, that was great feedback.

Greece/roro – and the germans would still come for holdidays!

NY/weapons class advertising
Seriously? or were you making a joke?

moral authority……….
i meant to write that the politicians DO NOT have the MORAL authority to convict the Greek people to debt servitude, or any other people for that matter, and once that realization sinks in with THE people the jig is up.

Lincoln/sensitivity training
This:  "I'm up 90% on a daytrade should I take the money and run?") and you will start to get a sense of things   <–had me laughing so hard I started to choke.  Thanks, I needed that hearty laugh.  I *have* noticed that Phil does not suffer fools gladly. Which suits me fine.

stjean/maids of money
…the guys on Fox Business were complaining that hotel maids in NY make too much money – supposedly they have a union!
Yes, some of them have so much money that they go into business for themselves and get seed money from the head of the IMF.

Seems like maybe DD DMND 20 put or selling 18s at the open then out by end of day

scott…………..good call bailing on that AUD/CAD……………so much for my theory about the RBA and its interest rate outlook….i almost shorted again this afternoon at around 1.0760 but didn't pull the trigger.
i am short EUR/USD at 1.3245 with a stop at 1.3405 and a limit buy down at 1.2600. also shorted the Pound last night at 1.5880 stop up at 1.5985
also short italy's equity index at 16, 800

I think I would rather own a company that sells a natural food, at a reasonable valuation, than one paying too much to sell fake potato chips anyway.  This could be the first long opportunity I've seen in awhile.

When Netflix had the first 'big' drop, all of the shorts covered immediately with huge profits. There was noone to buy the stock then, and another big drop the next day. Don't know if that is the way this will play out.

This presidential election is such a farce, with all this about the money spent by Superpacs. In the 20 years I lived in the US no one ever offered me money for my vote, and I only ever saw about 6 TV election commercials, which were so pathetic that it is hard to imagine they would influence anyone's vote. Now with all this Superpac money around, I am thinking of putting my vote in the key marginal state of Florida up for sale to the highest bidder on eBay.

roro – AUD/CAD.. another thought on that is the tie between USD and CAD.. if USD goes down, also drags CAD down?
i've been enjoying the FAKE bubble increase in the markets because, as i have posted several times, the QE game is ON from govt's here there and everywhere, as well as being an election year. to the moon and beyond!   i won't be shorting any gold either. billions of discrete little reasons why are being printed every week and it's not like any other commoditiy..it's more like a story stock, and it's story is old and deep and known around the world…and huge new swathes of people in the world are gaining ever more access all the time.   if there is a dip though, i'll probably buy!  

Lincoln:  Phil-based sensitivity training — very funny, and a truly a good primer for the NY streets.  I tried a little light-hearted swipe at Marx, knowing I would get an instant dictatorship-of-the-proletariat  riposte.  Of course, this was juxtaposed with Phil's' restaurant recco for "Le Bernadin", where, the last time I stopped by, a waiter brought a platter of hor d'oeuvres and announced each one as if it were a member of the British Royal family:  "Le clam, le oyster, le pate" in a scene worthy of Groucho rather than Karl.  Being a hard-core capitalist with a social conscience is a tough job; all that money changing pockets without a ear of corn or sheaf of wheat being grown gets on your nerves after awhile.

Scottmi:  The bubble is not fake — the money is fake.  The trick is to make it faster than they can print it, just to stay even.  PSW is a great tool for that.

Here is Wed summary from Steve Miller (SLM) based on weekly cycle observations (cycles are significant low to significant low)
Crude Oil is making weekly cyclical low – estimated up to 107 or higher in next month
NatGas continuing lower, a buy in about 5 to 6 weeks
Dollar 1 to 3 weeks of upside, then lower
Euro at resistance ready for a pull back (bearish Harami Cross today)
British Pound headed down (Bearish Engulfing today)
Gold to move lower (probability of over 1800 in this cycle < 20%), 13 hr avg crossed under 34 hr avg
Silver stalling, headed lower (SLV below 32.30 is below neckline)
Bonds (30 yr) at 89DMA headed lower, if breaks below 141'50 then down to 136

SPX, cycle been updated for weekly low of 3 day decline. Extraordinarily bullish. General high in market, low in bonds looks like late Mar.
Last week's forecast:
Crude Oil is at/near a low. Should begin advancing in next week or two (closed at 97.17, 99.04 now)
NatGas continuing headed lower, buy near 2.25 – in about 4 to 6 weeks (closed at 2.375, 2.444 now)
Dollar at 89DMA support for 4 days, headed up (closed at 79.035, broke support down on 4th day)
Euro at resistance at 1.32 and should go lower down to 1.26 (could go up to 1.34 at 89DMA) (Closed at 1.3163, now at 1.326, slightly above resistance)
British Pound topping shortly, then headed back down (closed at 1.5824, topping at 1.59)
Gold is peaking in range of 1730 to 1770 (predicted peak for the year), down from there (peaked at 1765.9)
Silver should peak at resistance near 34.70. Silver will correct stronger than gold. (Peak at 34.52)
Bonds (30 yr) looks to be topping again after bounce from FOMC reaction last week – target under 137. (High of 145'13, closed at 142'02)
SPX, cycle in current wave is very difficult to read in daily chart (previously 38 day cycles) due to continued, consistent upward movement – very bullish. 1350/1360 target in next week.
General high in market, low in bonds looks like late Mar. (moved up all week, closed at 1349.96)

Zero – right you are re bubble, trick and PSW!
on another note, don't know what portfolio might apply to.. may not be aggressive enough for some, or need too much margin for others.. but for the patient, try this on for size:  NOK – no dividend so synthetic buy write: buying Jan 13 $5/10 BCS for .86, selling the Jan 13 $5 put for 1.00.. net 14 cents in your pocket. … or if you think NOK will take longer to find its legs, the 2014 5/10 BCS is $1.11 with the $5 put selling for 1.47, net 36 cents in your pocket now for your hard capitalist work, with $536 potential return on probably just $200 margin requirement per set.  Worst case you buy NOK for $5. best case you got paid $36 today to wait for $500 more…  

NOK – or try the Jan 14 with a 4/7 BCS, or even a 3/5 to be super conservative. i think you are limitnig your upside there however. 

I have not read most of the posts today, yet. Don't know if you've addressed this topic within the last year or so – I'm a newbie here, Doh!
Question for you, and I think many members would be interested in your view on this………
At these specific time intervals from now>  5 years  ,  10 years     ,   and 20 years …………
how do you think the Bernank will be viewed, historically? In other words, we now see (well , some of us) Greenspan differently now than we did while he was in office. Over time, and with backward vision sometimes people and experts see policy makers differently, and evaluate them differently, with historical perspective.
Many people look back at Volcker's time and see it with a different perspective now (the a**h*le ruined my life, at least in that time period, because of his induced recession of 1980-81, which was brutal for me, as I was essentially homeless part of that time – THERE WERE NO JOBS,PERIOD.
So, how do you think the experts and economists will view the Bernank at those specific 5-10-20 year intervals (if we survive  that long)?

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