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Friday, March 31, 2023


Toeing the Line Tuesday – Constructively Bullish?

As I said yesterday, we're still looking "constructively bullish" on our Big Chart as long as we hold those lines:

Looks can, of course, be deceiving.  Keep in mind that this entire pop to form the right-hand top of a very nasty "M" pattern, that can take us right back to the June lows by the end of the month, is the result of the G20 holding hands and singing  Kum Ba Yah – along with a few hundred Billion in extra stimulus and, of course, RULE CHANGES that create stealth stimulus

So, when you have a leak in a $60Tn pool and the water level is down to $55Tn and you pour in $12Tn worth of stimulus and, 3 years later, the water level is only back to $59Tn – do you say "all we need is another Trillion and we're done" or should you be looking for the leak that continues to drain $8Tn over 3 years from the Global Economic Swimming Pool?  

If we don't address the problem (unemployment, inadequate tax collections) – we're never going to find a lasting solution, are we?  

On the other hand, if your pool is leaking at a rate of $8Tn over 3 years, that's "only" $222Bn a month so any month you dump more than $222Bn worth of Global Stimulus into the pool, you will see the economic levels rising and you can declare things to be "fixed" and all the bulls can jump in and play again until the next time the activity levels get dangerously close to the line at which the pumps seize up and then we have more meetings and do it all over again.  

We have to accept the fact that our "leaders" are unwilling or unable to fix the actual leak and this is essentially the cycle we will have to put up with.  If we assume we have an infinite amount of stimulus to keep pumping our economic pool back up – then this system is just fine but, judging from the way they had to scrape up this recent few hundred Billion – do we even have enough ($1.2Tn) fresh water to get us through the end of the year?  

As planned in yesterday's pre-market post, we cashed in our DIA $129 calls in the morning and that left us a bit bearish in our small portfolios.  Our main portfolio, the Income Portfolio, still remains bullish as it's long-term.  In fact, it's very long-term as we already took the money and ran on our July and January positions, leaving us with all 2014 short puts and spreads but up a stunning $17,180 in our first month of virtual trading with our new portfolio:  

Note that $11,420 of our gains are unrealized (NLY needs to come off as it's too far ahead to risk) so the question is – do we need to protect them?  As our goal was to make $4,000 a month and we're already 3 months ahead of schedule with very little of our cash deployed.  To some extent our gains become a hedge but that does not mean we should be cavalier about giving them back, does it?  On the other hand, if we hedge we are essentially spending part of our gains on insurance and, although we did very well with last year's Income Portfolio – our biggest mistake was over-hedging – playing it a little TOO cautious.  

So, we will pay very close attention to the 5% lines on our Big Chart especially our 1,360 line on the S&P (see Blain's charts in Chart School)  and we'll have no tolerance for a failure of our indices to hold that "constructively bullish" posture because we certainly did not get enough stimulus to give us much more than the quick little boost we've gotten so far and only rumors of more to come are really keeping things going at the moment.  As with our $25,000 Portfolio – after getting so much ahead of our goals, it would be a relief to get back to cash and wait patiently for the next real buying opportunity.  

We have no technical reason to be bearish and there WAS a lot of stimulus pumped in over the last couple of weeks so we SHOULD be good at least until earnings kick off in a week – at which point 9,000 reporting companies will have a chance to poke fresh holes in the economic dyke. 

imageTo some extent, we are probably having a bit of a short squeeze on G20 action but it's done nothing to shift the EXTREME bearishness we're seeing on the Sell Side Consensus Indicator, for example.  

Conventional wisdom dictates that, when bearishness gets this extreme – it's a good idea to bet against it and we have been but in Jan of 2009, people were right to be bearish as the Dow dropped 25% into March.  I think it's a bit silly to look back another 10 years and try to compare the situation at that time.  What this chart tells you is that analysts are idiots and sheep and you follow them at your peril – THAT is an important lesson to learn!  

As to the logic that "if everyone is bearish, we should be bullish" – that's nonsense.  If my daughter's 10-year old football team is given the opportunity to square off against the NY Giants in a game the Giants need to win – I'm pretty sure even the proud parents of her football squad would have a hard time placing bets on the Panthers winning the game.  Would the fact that we are all bearish on my daughter's chances mean you should bet on her team to win or might it be the accurate assessment of the situation?   Don't get sucked into being a Contrarian "just because."  

As you can see from the picture on the right, we have a global economy that is about $60 TRILLION in debt and that is the entirety of our GDP but we can't use the entirety of our GDP to pay off the debt as we use it to live.  Not only do we use it to live but we are, as I noted above, running another $3Tn a year (5%) more into debt and this does not, of course, include hundreds of Trillions of Dollars of unfunded liabilities like health care and pension benefits for aging populations and don't even think about $350 TRILLION worth of derivatives that are floating about or it might ruin your holiday.  

We've got BIG PROBLEMS and, so far – only small solutions.  

Let's be careful out there…  

Have a great Holiday, 

– Phil


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MoMo   :   But 10 more of the AAPL July 600s at 11.60

Mornin, gents.  Thanks for the USO mention, Phil, 140% on my USO lottery ticket in 12 hours, and no hesitation in taking the money and running — you have trained us well.   Sometimes it's teaching, but with this kind of stuff, where you get whipped like a dog if you let 250% profit melt away, it's definitely training.   Happy FFourth!!!

If you question my math, I consider getting back the price of a lottery ticket no less a profit than the gain.

FLAN- Thanks for the help yesterday and with AAPL today

oburlacu/sqqq… no luck yet…as it creeps higher

Hey Phil on that SQQQ roll the 1$ for the 49 calls was the ask price and the $1.40 on 47 calls was the bid price, I cannot sell at ask and buy at bid to roll for .40c. Am I missing something here?

Gold – reentering the monetary system? Interesting development here: "The proposal is only at the stage where comments are invited, but it is unlikely that the banks will turn this proposal down, since it represents a secure lending opportunity and the opportunity to diversify a bank’s own assets without facing a risk-weighting penalty. The proposal when implemented is certain to encourage banks to buy gold, and the bullion banks in London will hedge uncovered unallocated customer liabilities.."

Phil/AMZN – any suggested play. Looks like it is at some resistance. 

I always like DBA for an inflation/ food hedge. This hot weather may not be good for crop yields. I should also remember the bullish tendencies for the first few trading days of the month sometime.

I had AGQ July 40/45 BCS and I covered the caller when AGQ went down. Now the AGQ 40 C are about even. Do you suggest to move the calls out to August to something like AGQ 45 C (.60) so that I can take some money off the table and also take part if silver just pushes up? What is the best way to play this? Or should I just hold my 40C for a few days more?

Phil / FAS Money – It was the weekly short call ( July 1 $87 ) that I was mainly referring to.  I assume we wait until Thurs or Fri, especially with the Dow starting to fade now.

Thanks, Randers, I had forgotten about DBA, use to trade it with some success.  Weird weather this year, although sailors say the weather is never normal where you are, which pretty much illustrates the meaning of "normal" although we always seem to be surprised.

Instead of SQQQ how does the Aug TZA 16/20 BCS @ 1.10 looks? or july 16/19 BCS @ 0.97.
what's your premise of going with SQQQ instead of TZA? is it the earning of SP500 companies first?

seems like you are planning to hold AAPL calls over the holidays?

TRIN remains elevated….they continue to sell into this hot dog market.

WASHINGTON (MNI) – IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Tuesday that
the U.S. fiscal cliff will have severe effects not just on the domestic
economy but beyond U.S. borders, and the administration must take care
to support growth in the short term.
The U.S. central bank also may need to ease monetary policy further
if the global financial situation deteriorates,
Lagarde told reporters
at a briefing on the annual review of the U.S. economy, known as the
Article IV consultation.

Happy Independence day to all!! Be safe out there..

Police have carried out searches of the home and offices of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy as part of a campaign financing probe.

AAPL/weekly – just to illustrate the vicious decay of weeklies.  Yest I meant to buy weekly 10 600 C yest but missed.  So today I switched  to 605c and bought at $1.38 at open. I was looking for a close to a double if AAPL got to 600.   When AAPL did get to 600 I only had +50%.  Time decay of the weekly had eaten the other 50%. So I got out at $1.95.  Now the weekly 605c are down to $1.50 (+$0.15 on open), even though APPL has gone +$4 since open.  Still, took enough to buy a bag of M80s.

DBA/ tax complication headsup – last year they sent me a K1 (Partnership Schedule) for my taxes.  I have no idea why they (DBA ETF, I guess) do that. But my accountant told me he'd kill me if I did that again for $200.

Wow, look at the 3 year chart on NAK, now there's a pattern you can really call the "Eiffel".

Have a great holiday everyone! See ya Thursday.

PAYX/Phil – trolling through the porfolios… have some long-held PAYX in kid's accts (cost basis $27 and with DRIP). Thoughts on these guys..?

CMCSA and TWC/Phil – both up at highs.. breakout time for cable market or mayhaps something for the long put list?

DBA- It was flat lining for a few months. I like having something like that
on to counter price increase fro the family grocery bill. Thanks,
ZZ Are you a sailor? My son raced on a carbon fiber scow last week. He said it
Was light & faaast!

Quite a deal on a 9 day cruise from NYC, especially if you got kids – $549 and 2 kids free with 2 adults:

Today – the market is a pleasant Dr. Jekyll today..

Thanks Phil and everyone else.  It's been a good week and last week was too.  Happy fourth!

F/Phil: I like the thought process and the likelihood that the stock will move up b/c of the new Transportation Act clause on  pension calculations. I also like the idea of essentially getting long synthetic stock, for 18 months, and doing so for a credit! I also did the August long call trade.
Thanks and have a nice Fourth. Tomorrow's my B-Day and I'm sure going to enjoy the day off!

Sarkozy / Phil – Not just a distraction. There are plenty of legitimate scandals waiting to unwind and his presidential immunity has now run out. Unlike the US president, the French president is totally immune to prosecution (even criminal) except in treason cases I believe.

Thanks, Rexx, my accountants won't threaten me, just overcharge me as usual.  It would be cheaper to buy a grain silo than pay those guys.  Why not switch to Joe Local Accountant?  Because the name brand scared off the IRS a few years ago, who sent me a "no action" letter on a very complicated tax filing.   I practiced tax law briefly in another life, and audits are not technical inquiries, they are game theory applied to extortion.  Napoleon was pretty clear on the point: most battles go in favor of the heavier divisions. 

Happy 4th all!  Have a good one!

The Greece ministry of finance now predicts a contraction of 6.7% of GDP this year compared to 4.5% predicted 2 months ago. Austerity at work…

Screener/Phil – ha!  CMCSA is another LT hold in a low touch acct from long before i discovered PSW… bot at $18, and i see it and TWC are both at highs.  Yeah, time to cover it by selling calls i think.. if that VIX would just pop up a bit..  

Happy 4th, indeed, y'all.  It remains to be seen whether the bigger fireworks displays will be in the U.S., Europe or the Middle East while we're chowing down in the great American tradition.

Hi All of you sitting here in good old Germany and watching the days go by. Following as well the market with some plays.
But for tomorrow wishing all of you a very happy and pleasant 4th of July!

Commodity Snapshot:


Ags are really running wild….

Maybe waiting for a correction now:


More at the link!

Happy Fourth to all concerned!

you get major props for the " dont chew off you leg and move on to the next trap"
that needs to be carved in stone for the future…….
to all happy fourth and tks for your help over the last six weeks.

Happy Independence Day to all.. !

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