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Monday Market Mayhem – Back Over Our Bounce Lines

And up we go again!  

The market changes almost as fast as the temperature this winter (we went from 0 to 60 in two days last week!) and oil and gold are all over the place (see this morning's Alert for details) which is FUN! for us as we've been playing these wild swings.  

In Thursday's post, we liked the Russell Futures (/TF) over 1,010 and this morning we took $1,000 profit and ran at 1,020 but our options spread is looking like it's on track as well – but we'll see how the week plays out before doing a victory dance.  Monday's are not very meaningful so we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how well the markets are holding up.  We have "good" news out of OPEC as they seem to have agreed to hold production levels but it's not like they could increase them if they wanted to - as we're out of storage space.  

That's boosting the energy sector and giving a lift to the Energy Sector as well as the Banksters who loaned them money, of course.  I'll be appearing at the Traders Expo in NYC this afternoon, teaching people how to Be the House – NOT the Gambler and, very appropriately, one of my top picks for the show is Freeport McMoran (FCX) and a turnaround in materials this week is just what the doctor ordered for that beaten-down stock.  My notes from the PowerPoint slides are:

•Freeport has a lot of debt ($19Bn) and that spooks investors, but there is something else FCX has a lot of – $300 BILLON WORTH OF RESOURCES!
•While we’re comfortable buying this stock for $6.92 ($8.5Bn market cap) and waiting for gold, copper and oil to come back in price, it’s more fun to practice our core strategy of BEING THE HOUSE and selling risk by promising to buy FCX if it hits $5 by selling the 2018 $5 put for $2.16.
•By itself, that sale either nets us into the stock at $2.84 (43% below the current price) or, if FCX does not go lower, the margin on the short sale is just 0.52, which makes the return on margin a very nice 415% in 20 months.

We can make that a more aggressive trade by adding the Jan $5 ($3.15)/$10 ($1.25) bull call spread at $1.90 and let's say we do a 2:1 ratio making the trade look like this:

  • Sell 10 FCX 2018 $5 puts for $2.16 ($2,160) 
  • Buy 20 FCX Jan $5 calls for $3.15 ($6,300) 
  • Sell 20 FCX Jan $10 calls for $1.25 ($2,500) 

That nets us into $10,000 worth of Jan spreads for $1,640 so the profit potential on this trade would be $8,360 for a 509% gain on cash.  You are obligating yourself to buy 1,000 shares of FCX for $5 ($5,000) if it slips below that line but we like putting our value foot down here ($6.92) and our worst case is owning it for net $6.64, so no worse than buying the stock but the reward potential is more than double what we'd make at $10 if we bought 1,000 shares AND we use far less of our cash to do it.  And that's the "aggressive" version of the play. Our conservative put-selling only approach simply gives us either a 40% discount or a 31% profit on FCX.  

That's what BEING THE HOUSE is all about – let other people gamble – all we're doing is buying stocks for a discount to the current price and levering our upside potential by 100%.  If you did that with every stock you bought would you be doing better or worse than you are now?  

We have a good amount of data out this week along with 5 Fed speakers and a revised Q4 GDP report on Friday.  Hopefully we'll see some improvement in home sales but the weather may have prevented that. Durable Goods cannot possibly be worse than last month (-5%) so expect to hear that our economy is turning up – especially if Personal Income and Spending are looking up (and they should be):

There's still plenty of earnings and now comes the part of the quarter where we will take a few pokes on earnings plays.  

FitBit (FIT) should be a good one this evening as the company has lost half it's price already this year and is now trading at 25% below it's $20 IPO.  I never liked them before as they are in a crowded space and offer a very "me too" sort of product but, now that expectations are low, I love the fact that you can sell a May $13 put for $2 to net into the stock for $11 (worst case) or make a very quick $2 (18% of your $11 commitment) for promising to do so.  See – BEING THE HOUSE is SMART!  

Lots more exciting trades to look at and we'll discuss them in Member Chat today and at the Trader's Expo this evening and we'll look for some earnings trade ideas to add to our Options Opportunity Portfolio as well as all of our tracking portfolios are doing very well this month and that means we can afford to take a few riskier pokes to pick up a little spending money into the spring.


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  1. The concessions being made to the UK to entice them to stay in the EU are a double-edge sword. Keeping the UK in would be beneficial for Europe in general but other countries might be tempted now to negotiate their membership. There are already people in France talking about hardball negotiations about farm subsidies! This could turn out badly for Europe.

  2. no tease please!!!!

  3. Lumber Liquidators getting hammered in pre-market.

  4. Good morning!  

    I'm only here for a bit this morning as I have to go speak at the Trader's Expo this afternoon.  While I'm there, I'll see what's up and report back though. 

    On the Big Chart – we still have to clear the middle hump on those W's or we're not bullish at all.

    Other countries/StJ – Yeah, I think it's been handled terribly and is only going to fracture them more long-term.  

    Tease/Jabob – $33.50 is a real gift considering they are only agreeing to keep production at current, too high levels.  I guess people figure demand will be back a bit in the summer and eat up the daily supply glut but then we're right back in trouble in the fall.  Enjoy it while it lasts. 

    LL/Entropy – CDC said there was a 0.01% chance of getting cancer and now say 0.03% chance (and this is from flooring that's been discontinued and mostly replaced already) but headlines are "3 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO GET CANCER" – just silly really.  Same buyers who jumped in at $12 will likely jump in again as they weren't done filling when LL popped again.

  5. Phil/outsourcing-we had a higher ranking on the world stage in education and graduated more engineers back in the 90s when this started and it made no difference.  I agree we need to do a better job of educating people, but how would things be different this time?  The quality of the work done by US engineers was much higher than the outsourced engineering work in the 90s, but the only thing that mattered was the cost.  I am all for any solution that works, but it has to yield results (and soon).  Wages have declined and jobs are still scarce in many segments while many firms are freezing pay and/or laying off.  Probably best after hours.  Good luck at the expo. 

  6. Phil – LL –   "I can see the ad campaign now: "Our lumber hardly kills you!" Today -19.5% premarket   Somebody forgot to convert feet to meters. The CDC said it made an ERROR in the Feb 10th report and had used an incorrect value to calculate ceiling height, which meant its estimates of the airborne concentration of cancer-causing formaldehyde were about three times lower than they should have been.  Considering myeloid leukemia, some cancers and formaldehyde are linked at the hip, wonder if overexposure had anything to do with the CEO's leukemia?  

  7. Good Morning!

  8. phil, morning

    i have sco 2x mar 200 @       26.50

    sht 2x 250 @ 15…………

    was thinking of selling the 200's and buying a mar 75 210 bcs as i think there is another down leg in oil…

    am also sht 4x apr 120 puts  @ 10.20 and long a 3x jan7 125-175 bcs @ net 14…..tks

  9. Phil – cashing out. Note that the recent WYNN trade (sale of Jan 18 $45 puts @$8.50 – I managed to get $10) is so far way on track that it should probably be cashed out). I'm up 35% in a matter of a few weeks.

    My SQQQ hedge: Jan 18 13/23 BCS with SQQQ @ $22.60) – what to do? Financed by AAPL short puts, so cost basis is about zero. Thanks to your recommendation to sell March $30 calls (I got $3 for the sale) that covered the whole cost as well – so it is nice little earner at the moment. The spreads are crucifiying – and if I want to do a meaningful sale of April short calls I am taking on perhaps more risk than I should. For a spread that is $10 ITM you can only get maybe $4.50 for the sale (if I'm lucky). Hold or Fold?

  10. Winston – WYNN is a beautiful thing indeed.

  11. Phil/TLT

    not bulging…? still people buying govt bonds.


  12. Any reason why TSLA is up big today?  Saw that Elon Musk now owns the name and can change it but if it's up on a name change possibility, have to short it again.  That would be idiotic.

  13. Chicago Fed was helpful – many signs the US economy is picking up nicely.  Now we just need the rest of the World not to drag us back down:

    PMI out in a moment.

    Wow, LL at $10.95!  

    The determination shook up investors, who sent Lumber Liquidators stock down 17% to $11.83 in pre-market trading. They had been mildly encouraged by the CDC's Feb. 10 report suggesting that formaldehyde levels in select versions of the company's laminate flooring could cause two to nine cancer cases per 100,000 people.

    The actual figure is six to 30 cases per 100,000 people, the CDC said Monday.

    The discrepancy stems from regulators using the wrong figure for ceiling height to determine exposure risk.

    In addition to cancer, people are also susceptible to increased risks of exacerbated respiratory issues such as asthma and eye, nose and throat irritation, the CDC said.

    Lumber Liquidators said in a statement that the CDC's "revised calculation overestimates any potential health risks from these products, and we are encouraged that CDC is seeking a broader review of their conclusions."

    Now it's up to LL to explain what "select versions" means and do a PR campaign.  Back to scratch but still a great bargain for patient investors.  Look at all the cancer risk we already ignore that's more than 0.03%:

    SCO/Mill – Well, I disagree with your premise that oil will leg down enough to push SCO higher. SCO is subject to incredible amounts of decay and is also very violent and any exposure you have to it can swing $20 against you in hours. As usual, I can't really tell what your position is but it seems like 2 March $200/250 bull call spreads and, in case you haven't noticed, SCO is at $160 so you are miles out of the money.  We did PUTS on SCO as I was too worried about selling short calls but I was also pretty sure it would collapse from the $200s.   Those short puts can also totally crush you if oil pops back over $35 – it's a horribly dangerous play, even if I did think you had the direction right, which I don't.   In fact, here's the WSJ this weekend featuring our SHORT trade on SCO:

    PowerShares introduced its DB Oil Fund in 2007, which was structured to be able to rebalance to any contract in the following 12 months that offers the best value. For example, it recently switched from the March 2016 contract to the March 2017 contract, according to Jason Bloom, director of commodities and alternatives research and strategy at PowerShares. That decreases the roll cost, though it also lessens the ETF’s exposure to daily market movements, making it potentially less attractive for short-term trading. The ETF is down 21% so far this year.

    Phil Davis, an energy trader at PSW Investments, said his clients have been profiting from the predictability of roll costs by betting on commodity ETFs to fall.

    For example, as oil dropped last week, he said he recommended a client use a series of put options to bet on a decline in a product that provides investors outsize exposure to the inverse performance of oil, the ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF. If oil rose and the ETF fell, the client would gain, but if oil continued to slide, the impact of contango would still offset some of the losses. The client made about 30% on the $42,000 trade in a matter of days, Mr. Davis said.

    “I love the fact that these are inefficient instruments,” he said.

    WYNN/Winston – Now we have to simply weigh whether we have anything better to do with the margin than wait 20 months to collect $6.50.   Since I consider it very safe and we don't need the margin, I'm not going to get out in the LTP just because it's doing really well already.  

    SQQQ/Winston – It depends on how the rest of your portfolio is performing.  Ideally, it's cheap insurance that keeps you from panicking out of longs when the market dips (mission accomplished last week) and that's it's value.  The $13 calls are super-aggressive though – I'm not sure why you have those or what you paid but, if you paid $0, then why not kill it and pick up the Jan $20 ($7)/$30 ($4.50) bull call spread, which is $2.50 and pays back $10 if the Nasdaq falls.  That should be adequate insurance and you can always add layers if it isn't.  

    TLT/Pat – Money has nowhere else to go.  That's driving it back to the market too.  Inflation is coming – just very slowly. 

    TSLA/Rustle – Musk bought the rights to and there's rumors of a team-up with AAPL so, no reason, just the same old BS they do every time the stock needs a pop.   I don't know why you even look at them anymore, the stocks a joke and not playable around here (because it's too low to short and I sure wouldn't go long).  

  14. PMI not good:

    • Feb US PMI Manufacturing Index Flash 51.0 vs. 52.5 consensus, 52.7 prior.
    • Manufacturing data highlighted a setback for the U.S. manufacturing sector, with growth momentum slipping back again after the slight rebound seen at the start of 2016.

  15. SQQQ/ Why do I have them? – simple – you recommended them!! The cost basis is now zero, so I thought cashing out now would be a good move.

  16. Phil, speaking of SCO, I'm up 40%+ (37 points) on the 2018 $360 call I sold on February 11th.  Had two of them.  Sold  the first for 21 point profit.  Will cash it in on further strength and look to re-plant when oil sells off, although I believe it goes to zero.  I agree with you on the degradation of the leveraged ETF over time.

  17. SQQQ/Winston – That must have been from a while ago to be the $13s.   We took our profits when they hit the upper $20s.  

    SCO/Albo – That's why they are so much fun to short when they go parabolic like that.  

  18. LL   2017 $10 Puts are extremely margin efficient and FINVIZ gives the book value of LL at $10.93 per share. "Be the House!"

  19. Good deal on SCO Albo… Did cover one of my UVXY shorts today to prepare to reload later. Sold for $18, bought back at $10. Still keeping more shorts as I do believe it goes to zero as well. But it seems to me that there will be more spikes in coming months.

  20. LL came flying back to $12 already.  Gotta be quick sometimes.  

    Barrick Gold to spend $2B on Nevada, Peru projects

    • Barrick Gold (ABX +0.6%) says it plans to spend ~$2B on projects in Nevada and Peru for construction starting 2019, and expects to maintain annual production of at least 4.5M oz. of gold through 2020.
    • ABX eyes spending $1B as initial capital investment on its Goldrush project in Nevada, $640M to extend the life of the Lagunas Norte project in Peru by about nine years, $300M-$325M at its Turquoise Ridge mine in Nevada to boost production, and another $153M on the Cortez project in the state.
    • Separately, ABX also says it will redeem up to $750M in notes to help cut debt by at least $2B this year.

    Copper surges, boosting Freeport McMoRan

    • Freeport McMoRan (FCX +12.1%) soars ~12% in early trade to lead the S&P 500, as copper futures and other base metals surge.
    • The LME’s three-month copper contract was up 1.4% at $4,686/metric ton after hitting a two-week high earlier in the session at $4,701, maintaining its price momentum after closing above $4,600/ton last week for the first time in almost two weeks.
    • Positive trading sentiment on copper was upheld by China’s announcement that it will reduce deed and business taxes for home buyers in a bid to speed up home sales and reduce the glut on the property market; weak Chinese property sales have been bad for copper prices, as the sector accounts for most of the demand for the metal.
    • Meanwhile, Bloomberg's David Fickling thinks BHP Billiton (BHP +5.9%) ought to buy FCX: BHP's copper output would more than double overnight and control of all three of the world's biggest copper pits – Escondida, Grasberg and Morenci – while a deal also would make sense for FCX, "whose debts are dragging it dangerously close to the plughole."

    Bloomberg: Yahoo approaching potential buyers as soon as today

    • Companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, along with P-E names like Bain Capital, KKR, and TPG are among potential suitors for Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) core operations, though first-round bids aren't likely to be seen for at least a month, according to Bloomberg's sources.
    • Even as it puts itself up for sale, the company has hired Innisfree M&A and Evercore Partners to advise it on a potential proxy fight with activist Starboard Value, reports theNYPost. The issue is that one month or more timeline which could miss the March 25 deadline for Starboard to nominate board members.
    • "The worry is whether the [sale] process is sincere,” says one shareholder. “Are they just hoping to string it along for as long as possible and eventually convince people you don’t need to sell it?”
    • Shares +1.6% premarket

    XLF is another trade idea to bet on the non-death of US markets. The 2018 $17 puts can be sold for $1.60 and that's just free money (XLF $21.30) and the $20 calls are $3.20 and the $25 calls can be sold for $1.05 so $2.15 on the bull spread is net 0.55 on the $5 spread that's $1.30 in the money to start.  

  21. STJ – Well done on UVXY.  I think those are very similar ideas and that they both go to zero.  Would like to scale back in on strength.  Had intended to short more than 2 calls on a SCO rally but it never came.  Please let us know when you short more UVXY.

  22. STJ/UVXY – I'm back down to 4 short calls (down from 7 when they were selling for $20+).  I'm waiting for another spike to sell more.  I love these as an offset to my hedges!

  23. DO/Phil – drillers, etc. took a dip when dropped dividend on 2/8, but come back this last week and another pop today. Did the bottom come in or stay away?

  24. That's where I am as well Palotay!

    Albo – I think that any time you can get over $18 for these Jan 17 170, it might be worth shorting although premium decay might play a role and I might have to lower that number as they year goes on.

    BTW, if you want to be even more prudent, it's possible to sell the pre-reset calls on UVXY. The 60 calls traded at a high of $2.66 about 10 days back and they are now at $1.20. And $60 in the pre-reset is like $300 at the new prices. It's a 91% probability of not getting there based on deltas and probably higher than that anyway. And very margin efficient but very thinly traded. Not something to trade back and forth but selling 10 for $2.50 ties up about $1000 of margins and buys a new PC or a nice weekend vacation by year end.

  25. Drillers/Scott – I'd stick to OIH or BHI (as they are getting bought).  Very risky betting on individual drillers still.

    Well, I have to run to NYC, will touch base from the Trader's Expo.

  26. Albo: plough some of those SCO gains into some longterm XOP ?

  27. Anyone: Any idea what "contaminated injections in health-care settings" are? (I'm referring to the pie chart above). 

  28. BDC – Not familiar with XOP.  Will take a look.  Thanks.

  29. Ilene/ contaminated needles= hiv and hepatitis c both associated with cancers liver blood respectively

  30. Ilene/Cancer 

    Quickly looking at the original publication it looks like that portion is defined as "potential transmission of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus".  

    Makes sense, both are associated with malignancy.

  31. Ilene – contaminated injections – a venipuncture occurs for medical reasons – IV, injection, blood draw – the recipient contracts cancer.  This can achieved through viral transmission or vaccine. (although unsupported in the medical community, many attribute autism to vaccinations)  Another remote possibility, one's own autoimmunity (you can only get cancer from your own cancer cells)  if you had cancer cells and they were "spilled" or introduced say on your peritoneum or a wound during a surgical procedure, they could culture in the new area much like a graft.  Out. 

  32. SPY Trade from Last Friday….out.   44c gain per option. cheeky

  33. Holy cow, most of these presenters are like death!  I've been talking to people who recognize me and we got in trouble for giving a rogue seminar as too big of a crowd gathered.  I think the other speakers talk down to people too much.  

  34. phil – if there's any conference webcast, or a link to archived webcasts after the event, can you post it?

  35. ~~What's holding AAPL back in this rally? or waiting for that extra push.


  36. Webcast/BDC – There's not that I know of.  They charge for everything!   

    AAPL/Pat – I do think that's it.  Saving for the big push. 

  37. I see good old CAT is coming out of the wood shed again. as always wait with pacience

  38. If you want to make a jabo-type of gamble, UNG weekly 7 calls are 4 cents (!!!!). Next week's are 0.10 and this thing could pop easily enough. You could even get to 8. Front week there's a bigger bet on the 6.50 puts so the contrarian goes long here.

    I have the front week now and will reload Friday for next week, and keep doing this until it bites.

  39. Naybob- no one attributes autism to vaccines anymore since the study that claimed to find the link was a fraud. Only parents who insist on blaming something for their child's affliction still hang on to this. My sons autism became apparent after the vaccines but I have always believed it was just the coincidence of timing. The movement to avoid vaccination is extremely dangerous and no responsible people link the two any longer. Only the Jenny McCarthy's of the world who need to sell books and some misinformed people still bring this up

  40. this is hard to watch but if you're a parent, watch it. And vaccinate your friggin kids. Science attempts to link A and B. Shucksters like McCarthy need to make money once they get saggy and their modeling career falls apart.

  41. Oh some people do Craigs….some people do.  Oh, and McCarthy's kid … does not autism (supposedly).

    Just think…if we don't vaccinate, what those geezers we call ISIS or someone else can infest in the US.  Worse than a dirty bomb.  That to me is the scariest thing out there.

  42. My daughter's 5 months and can't wait till she gets the next round of vaccinations.  Figure she's that much safer from preventable diseases.  Wish I could vaccinate her against a common cold.  She started Kindercare and was healthy the first 3 days, then got her first few colds and was sick the next two weeks. Luckily she's been not sick again for almost a month.

  43. I think today is the first time since early December that oil started the week in the green--WOW!

  44. Thanks All, for answering my question. This might be dumb, but I don't know: Do we not screen the blood supply for hepatitis B and C? 

  45. Craigs/Pharmboy – autism vaccine linkage? – that's why I gave the disclaimer: "(although unsupported in the medical community, many attribute autism to vaccinations)"

    And here come's CGB Spender… Forget Jenny whats her name? As I wrote yesterday, going back to Seer's comments of the same day, in 2007 we noted it is the smallest of things which we followed up with a confirmation of those conditions later.  ALL related to microflora and toxins.

    Please take note of the CAPS.  There are some doctor's who have been found dead (Bradstreet) for having this discussion in public as it MAY or MAY NOT lead back to a cure for that which is thought uncurable and the profit motive involved. In any event, one must look beyond the conventional thinking "dujour", which I am sure one who is motivated does in the extreme.

    Moving West… the bees are a clue to many things. ADM,CAG and "mad cow" consolidation are another. If I were to make Schindlers III or 3rd list, those autistic attributes would be mild. Some clues here and not simple to fathom; a barristers lament here, easier to fathom; word of some potential new modalities here

    GcMaf and N-acetylgalactosaminidase which is said to be produced by the viruses being injected via the vaccines are at the center of the controversy.  SOME BELIEVE, with the push for large number of vaccines for children and adults, and the exposure of non vaccinated to the recently vaccinated, who shed live viruses like the plague to everybody… there is high probability that a large number of viruses in our bodies are producing N-acetylgalactosaminidase. which is known to block our natural immune response. This potentially leads to an increase in many diseases including cancer, more vaccines, more N-acetylgalactosaminidase, POTENTIALLY more disease. This path leads to the anti-vaccine camp.

    But wait, if this were true, would this mean NO VACCINES??? Would that not be sheer madness? A resounding yes. At the end of the day, one must evaluate and decide, so many opinions, beliefs, mis and dis intormation and also consider, what would managed care and big pharma for profit want? Shaking my head and waving my hands in frustration, I dunno, but I'll tell ya, ask Agents Scully and Mulder. Out.

  46. Ilene/Blood

    Yes we do screen for many things.  The Lancet article noted that those IV infections from contaminated injection primarily occurred in "low and middle income countries" with the majority in east Asia/Pacific regions.

    This is from the Red Cross:

    Blood donations are tested for the following:

    ABO and Rh blood types.

    Unexpected red blood cell antibodies that are a result of prior transfusion, pregnancy, or other factors.

    Hepatitis B surface antigen, indicating a current infection (hepatitis) or carrier state for hepatitis B virus.

    Antibody to hepatitis B core antigen, indicator of a present or past infection with the hepatitis B virus.

    Antibody to hepatitis C virus, indicating a current or past infection with hepatitis C virus (most common cause of non-A/non-B hepatitis).

    Antibody to HTLV-I/II, indicator of infection with a virus that may cause adult T-cell leukemia or neurological disease.

    Antibody to HIV-1/2, indicator of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

    Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) for hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV.

    Screening test for antibodies to syphilis.

    NAT for West Nile Virus (WNV).

    Enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) test for Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas Disease).

    In addition, all platelet apheresis donations are tested for bacterial contamination.

  47. Jeffdoc,

    Q about MMR.  When I read about what M.M.R is for, it didn't sound like any of those diseases were very serious.  Is that true in a 2yr old? 

  48. Burr

    Quick answer, No that's not true in a 2 yr old.  They can be serious.

    In most cases measles, mumps, and rubella are not serious or life threatening BUT, they can be.  Measles can cause pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) – which can lead to lifelong brain damage, deafness, and in rare cases death.  Mumps is similar when it does become a serious condition causing meningitis, deafness, encephalitis, orchitis/oophoritis (inflammation of the testes/ovaries) – which can cause  infertility, again in rare cases it can be deadly.  Rubella when serious can infect the brain leading to permanent damage.  It's most serious if a woman is exposed during pregnancy (for the fetus).  Exposure in the first trimester is associated with a high rate (20-85%) of birth defects (deafness, blindness, cardiac defects, etc.).

  49. So, my wife decided not to get our daughter MMR cause she was worried, and also one of the Hep's.  Not sure which.  Would you say there is a greater risk in not getting it, than getting it?  She has all of her other vacc's.  

  50. Burrben, We waited until the kids got older and had to get it before school

  51. Well, I'm home and exhausted after a long day.  Uneventful but the Futures took a big dive, down about half a point.  

    Debt a complicating factor in oil bust, Occidental CEO warns

    • The massive amount of dollars owed and the terms they come with could force more oil and gas drillers to restructure their businesses in bankruptcy court instead of pursuing cost-saving combinations with competitors, Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) CEO Stephen Chazen tells the IHS CERAWeek conference.
    • Companies typically can combine to reduce costs in times of struggle, but many oil and gas companies already have made deep cuts to overhead, and a number of loans come with terms that could make mergers difficult, Chazen says.
    • In addition, many companies are holding assets that simply are not attractive to buyers at current low prices.
    • Chazen also says he thinks the crude oil downturn has a roughly three-year lifespan, and the industry now is about halfway through the cycle.


    • Devastation in the oil patch has caused large losses for investors in MLPs, and in some cases increased their tax burdenNYT's Gretchen Morgenson explained in a weekend analysis.
    • Some upstream energy MLPs are being forced to restructure their debts to stave off bankruptcy, and when they do, MLP owners must pay income taxes on their share of debt forgiven by creditors, even though unitholders received no actual income as a result of the restructuring; partnership tax expert Robert Willens told Morgenson that a lot of upstream MLP investors will be surprised by such a tax bill in the coming years.
    • Linn Energy (NASDAQ:LINE) was discussed in the article as a case in point: As part of its November restructuring, creditors forgave $1B in debt, which will trigger taxes to its investors, and more restructuring likely is on the way.
    • Most of the more widely-held midstream MLPs are holding up, so this particular tax hit is not a risk, Barron's Amey Stone notes, but even some midstream MLPs could need to restructure if energy prices stay low for a long time.

    BHP Billiton Slashes Its Dividend

    Mining giant BHP Billiton said it posted a $5.67 billion first-half loss and scrapped its long-held pledge to keep its dividend steady or rising, a move it had dismissed as unlikely just six months ago.

  52. Burr

    This isn't my area of expertise, but I would say "yes" to your question. I think there is greater risk to NOT getting it, than getting it. Whenever I am asked a question about "risk" I always remind folks that you have to think about the risk/benefit of both choices.  Getting the vaccine has some risk, it's certainly not zero (allergic reaction, etc.).  But there is risk to not getting it as well, namely that you will be susceptible to infection with the virus.  Defining that is can be challenging at times, but the evidence FOR vaccination is abundant and the risk associated with vaccine administration has been illustrated to be quite low, while the complications of infection (if severe) can be devastating.  It's also challenging to determine the risk of exposure.  Here in the States it is considerably less than in other parts of the world due to consistency and availability of vaccination. However, people travel to and from areas of the world where this is not the case thus leading to exposure.  We still have outbreaks of measles here in the U.S., albeit they are small and less common when compared to other areas of the world (similar for mumps and rubella).

    I would say bring it up with your pediatrician again and see what they recommend for your child.  The guidelines are pretty clear and I think the data is strong with regard to support for immunization.

    Below are some sites to look through if you're interested, lots of information available.

  53. CBA: Stop worrying about China’s currency

    Despite recent stability in Chinese renminbi, concerns over the outlook for the currency persist across financial markets.

    The sudden devaluation of the currency in August last year, something many speculate was due to a sharp deceleration in economic growth, rattled financial markets at the time, …

  54. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump frequently rails against the runaway, $19 trillion national debt and promises to bring it to heel if he is elected president. “We’re getting to be a large-scale version of Greece,” he complained to Fox News earlier this month.

    But as it becomes …

  55. Boiling the average American household’s retirement savings down to just a few numbers --and giving it meaning -- is a difficult thing to do. That’s what I’ve discovered after writing about, reading, and talking with retirees from all walks of life for a number of years. Some couples feel the need …

  56. All we need is an energy miracle. No pressure, kids.

  57. Standard Chartered Plc dropped the most in more than three years after reporting a surprise full-year loss, as revenue missed estimates and loan impairments almost doubled to the highest in the bank’s history.

  58. The sea stretched toward the horizon last New Year’s Eve as the Theo T, a red-and-white tug at her side, quietly beneath the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge in Texas. Few Americans knew she was sailing into history.

  59. More Americans are worried about their quality of life in retirement. Confidence about being able to save enough to ensure “a desirable standard of living” dropped this year, according to a new report. The worry was particularly strong among women.Some 52 percent of individuals surveyed view their retirement prospects negatively, down 3 percentage points from last year. Only 47 percent of women said they were saving enough for their golden years, compared with 57 percent of men.That gender gap is one of many differences in savings behavior found in the ninth annual , released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). The poll, a representative sample of more than 1,000 nonretired Americans, found gender gaps in 12 areas. A big one: Some 74 percent of men surveyed said they’d made progress in savings, compared with 67 percent of women. The percentage of men reporting good or excellent progress in saving for retirement was also higher, at 44 percent to women’s 36 percent. (To be fair, 10 percent of men and 17 percent of women said they were guessing about how much they’d need to live comfortably in retirement.) 

  60. BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest money manager, is warning bond investors they’re not prepared for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

  61. The atmosphere in the gilded banquet hall at Beijing’s State Guesthouse was festive Sunday afternoon, as the children of Communist Party revolutionaries gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year and praise the most prominent member of their class, President Xi Jinping.

  62. A sharp, one-off devaluation of the yuan is among options China’s central bank might consider to stem capital outflows and shift market psychology to appreciation from depreciation, according to Barclays Plc.

  63. Stocks fell on renewed concern over the strength of the Chinese economy. The yen rallied, while the pound declined and crude slumped.

  64. German business confidence fell for a third month in a sign that companies in Europe’s largest economy are growing more concerned as slowing global growth roils financial markets.

  65. The oil industry is set to further reduce spending this year as crude prices remain low, according to the head of the International Energy Agency, signaling more pain for oil services and engineering firms.

  66. Donald Trump backed by 28% support of likely voters in N.C.’s March 15 Republican presidential primary, according to an Elon Univ. poll, an increase of 9 ppts since comparable Nov. survey.

  67. BHP Billiton Ltd. made a larger-than-expected cut to its dividend, lowering the payout for the first time in 15 years, as the world’s biggest mining company seeks to protect its balance sheet and credit ratings amid a price collapse that saw first-half profits tumble 92 percent.

  68. Fitbit Inc. is betting that global marketing campaigns to introduce its newest wearable health-tracking devices, including an inexpensive smartwatch, will help maintain its dominance in an ever-more competitive industry.

  69. Shares of Gogo Inc. soared after the company ended a legal dispute over contract terms with American Airlines Group Inc., though the airline is still considering a switch to a competitor for in-flight Wi-Fi service on about 200 planes.

  70. The U.S. and Russia announced that a partial cease-fire in Syria will start Feb. 27, reviving hopes for a solution to a five-year war that’s killed 260,000 people and created a refugee crisis straining Europe’s borders.

  71. The sluggish global economy has entered “unprecedented territory” as countries grapple with divergent difficulties, leaving little room for a coordinated policy response from the Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting this week, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in an interview.

  72. Harmony Gold Mining Co. and Acacia Mining Plc agreed to lock in profit margins at some of their African operations in a return to hedging strategies that undermined the industry during the metal’s bull run in the 2000s.

  73. InterContinental Hotels Group Plc plans to return $1.5 billion to shareholders in the form of a special dividend after selling hotels in Paris and Hong Kong last year. The shares rose.

  74. The new head of China’s securities regulator has indicated that he’ll take a tough stance on misconduct and support the stock market by driving more capital into it, according to people familiar with the situation.

  75. Singapore’s consumer prices fell for a 15th straight month, the longest streak of declines since 1977, prompting authorities to cut this year’s inflation forecast amid a global oil-price slump.

  76. ‘Sword Art Online: The Beginning’ goes into alpha testing next month.

    It’s a bit odd that no one’s thought to fuse the virtual-reality, role-playing game centric anime Sword Art Online into a proper VR experience before now, but that’s the future we live in. No worries though, because IBM is using …

  77. It’s been a tough year for internet stocks. But Goldman Sachs Group Inc. thinks there’s at least a handful of names that are worth buying.

    Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company), Twitter Inc., LinkedIn Corp. and Inc. are Goldman’s five top-ranked stocks of the 34 internet …

  78. Chinese stimulus could get radical

    The People’s Bank of China, like many others around the world, is quickly discovering that monetary policy easing is not delivering the same results today as was previously the case in the past.

    Slower economic growth, in part due to a government’s resolve to accelerate the nation’s economic …

  79. The estimable Mike Konczal points out that Marco Rubio is even more radical in his desire to scrap all regulation of the financial industry than the rest of the Republican field. He wants to get rid of Dodd-Frank with no replacement, and wants to eliminate all taxes on capital income.

    He has also …

  80. By Morgan Stanley, do obviously click to enlarge:

    Will that do anything to assuage fears that central banks are running out of juice? The suggestion …

  81. Germany’s public finances have stayed in the black for the second straight year. Europe’s powerhouse booked a budget surplus in 2015 that was bigger than in any other year since the country reunited. Germany ran up a record surplus in its finances last year, the National Statistics Office …

  82. MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s overseas gold purchases are likely to hit a more than two-year low in February, as rising prices and hopes for a cut in import taxes keep buyers away, industry sources said.

    While lower purchases by the world’s second-biggest consumer could dent the current rally in global …

  83. The Microsoft co-founder is a rare voice of dissent in the tech community, which has largely fallen in behind Apple.

    The US government has gained a …

  84. The oil markets are giving up the gains they posted over the last 24 hours.

    Crude oil and Brent oil prices jumped by a huge 7% on Monday because analysts thought the US would post a drop in production and alleviate some of the oversupply in the market.

    The agreement between Saudi Arabia, Russia, …

  85. TOKYO (Reuters) – Just three weeks after the Bank of Japan shocked markets with its adoption of negative rates, central bank policymakers are questioning the baseline economic assumptions underlying that decision, people familiar with the matter say.

    In judging whether additional monetary easing is …

  86. The oceans are rising faster than at any point in the last 28 centuries, and human emissions of greenhouse gases are primarily responsible, scientists reported Monday.

    They added that the flooding that is starting to make life miserable in many coastal towns — like Miami Beach; Norfolk, Va.; and …

  87. In addition to the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, the US government is pursuing court orders to force Apple to help bypass the security passcodes of “about a dozen” other iPhones, the Wall Street Journal reports. The other cases don’t involve terror charges, the Journal’s sources …

  88. Earlier this month, as retail investors lost confidence in the global economy and broader stock markets, an air of panic began to set in. Reports …

  89. Most opponents reject hearings no matter whom Obama nominates

    In the high-stakes battle over replacing Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a …

  90. Thank you!

  91. Good morning!

    Europe down a bit but nothing major and our Futures are improving a bit but still red. 

    Chance to go long at 1,010 on the Russell (/TF) yet again and we're lined up with 16,500 (/YM), 1,935 (/ES) and 4,200 on /NQ with /NKD right on the 16,000 line and if the Dollar is over 97.50, that should be a good long too!   DAX 9,500 would be nice to confirm a bullish outlook…

    /NGK6 is back at $1.92 ($1.84 on /NG), I like that as well.  Oil back to $33.35, not exciting there. 

    /RB back over $1 and that's a good line to go long too (very tight stop below).

  92. Volatility (VIX) really staying strong this month – despite the week-long rally. 

    SPY  5  MINUTE







    Short-term very overbought but could go another day or two:


    Long-term, not overbought at all: