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TGIF – Lower Taxes and “Better” Health Care Leave Us at Highs

Image result for trump empty promisesMore and more promises.

Our man Mnuchin yesterday gave the markets a huge lift by claiming "we're pretty close to bringing forward major tax reform" and the markets went crazy but he also said that by "soon" he meant before the end of the year. That then is a really stupid reason for the markets to rally since they already rallied on it being done in Trump's first 100 days (this is day 90) but, apparently, you can cry "wolf" as often as you want and this market will rally to your cause.

Also promised yesterday was swift approval of the TrumpDon'tCare Health Plan (Part II) and this one is much more horrific than the last one as they now have a TABLE OF DOOM!!! which has surcharges for pre-existing conditions like PREGNANCY, which will set you back an additional $17,320 if you or one of your family members is prone to such things.  I wish I were joking but no, that's actually the cost for pregnancy with "no or minor complications" – complications are extra:

And this analysis does not account for surcharges as a result of individuals’ previous health conditions. Scarce data exists on pre-ACA rate ups, but insurers raised premiums for individuals based on health history, not just current health status. Without pre-existing condition protections, cancer survivors now free of the disease or patients who underwent successful surgery years ago could find themselves facing significant surcharges as well.

As we've noted before, without "saving" $1Tn on health care costs, Trump can't get $1Tn worth of tax breaks for himself and his Billionaire buddies so they have to slash insurance and they do so by passing the costs on to you, the people who need the insurance. But only if you get sick so, if you're not sick – don't worry about it, right?  That's the logic by which the Trump Administration is going to have you, in the Bottom 99%, hand $1Tn to the people in the Top 1%. 

Image result for transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich

This is really insane, folks, this will not make America great, this will make Americans poor while a select few become incredibly rich – an oligarchy that will put Russia to shame. The same goes for the "tax reform," which will save people in the Bottom 60% less than $1,000 per household (a 1% reduction) while those in the top 1% get $317,100 and those in the Top 0.01% get $1,459,720 (a 10% reduction).

Image result for trump tax plan

I would tell you to contact your Congressperson if you think these things are outrageous and must be stopped but Congress has taken down the site that lets you contact them because – THEY DON'T CARE!!!  Wake up - they are not doing any of this for your benefit unless you are in the Top 1% so, to see if you matter at all in your state – just check out this useful map:

Image result for top 1%

That's annual income folks, not net worth and it's going up quite a bit as the market has kicked into high gear.  The average income of the Top 1% is $878,139 but, to really matter in this country, you need to be a lot higher than the top 3 Million. The top 300,000 average $3.2M in income so you can shoot for that but to REALLY matter, the top 30,000 people in this country earn $27.3M per year and THOSE people are getting the best Government money can buy!  

I still have faith in our country and I think the people will be smart enough to stop this madness and NOT allow this HORRIBLE Health Care Plan and HORRIBLE Tax Policy to take effect – surely the American people are not going to lay down and get screwed over like this? That being the case, we're shorting the Russell Futures (/TF) at 1,380 and the Nasdaq Futures (/NQ) at 5,450 in the hopes that sanity is restored next week.

Have a great weekend,

- Phil


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  1. Good Morning.

  2. At major inflection point across all the indexes.

  3. Phil,

     I thought flat was bullish this morning. Now were shorting TF & NQ?

  4. Healthcare / Phil – They accused Obamacare to have death panels, but these guys have bankruptcy proceedings before the death panels! They are just heartless…

  5. Tax cuts / Phil – The article I posted yesterday makes it sound like tax cuts will be as hard to negotiate as the healthcare repeal because the base of the GOP is shifting from rich white men to blue collar white men and these 2 groups have different tax needs!

    And as the coalitional deck is shuffled and reshuffled, we can expect that positions Republican lawmakers have embraced for years won’t be the ones they’ll take a few years hence. Imagine a world in which Democrats continue to gain ground among high-income, college-educated voters in affluent suburbs while Republicans make further inroads among blue-collar whites in the Rust Belt. Would the tax policies championed by the Club for Growth and Americans for Tax Reform necessarily be the best fit for this new GOP? Might new pressure groups emerge that will champion new priorities, such as using the tax code to give working- and lower–middle-income families more of a leg up?

    Could be interesting! But I doubt that we see major changes quickly.

  6. The health bill will never pass, might pass the House because the Freedom Caucus will vote for it but will never pass the Senate.  It would be death to many Republicans political careers.

  7. Good morning!  

    Answering a few questions from yesterday's post as I've had a crazy morning (closed a big deal for PSW Investments).

    Lamb chops/Options – Seasons 52 in Princeton, New Brunswick and Short Hills is a great place, Edward's Steak House in Jersey City, Hamilton Inn in Jersey City and various Mortons' are pretty good.

    Video/01 – I'll let Greg know.  

    Highs/Angel – We can't keep making new highs on empty promises and earnings are not that exciting but hard to say either way based on first week.

    Gotta watch that 5,440 line on the Nas to see if the rally is real:

    DAX bounce off 12,000 but it's supposed to bounce off 12,000 and, from 12,400, that's 80-point bounces so 12,080 is weak and we need to see 12,160 before we're impressed.  

    Shorting/Japar – As the great John Keynes said: "When the Facts Change, I Change My Mind. What Do You Do, Sir?"  I read a bit more, thought a bit more and decided to short.

    Heartless/StJ – I just don't understand how people don't understand the repercussions of this plan – if it goes into effect.  Going sick will be going bankrupt for the bottom 80%.  I'm sure the GOP has run the numbers though, and they feel that giving everyone "cheap" basic care that covers nothing will make 200M happy and only perhaps 6M people per year will be affected by catastrophic costs and, even if they tell 4 friends each and those friends care enough to vote on it – they still have a positive outcome into the next election and they'll only need 2 more years to completely destroy the country.  Look at all Nixon accomplished in his first term…

    Tax cuts/StJ – One can only hope.  These are massively polarizing bills Trump is putting up – I don't see how they can get them passed, especially with the shut-down looming too and the House is back on vacation May 5th-15th and then back for a week and off for another week (what a joke!). 

  8. Thanks Phil!!!   Good morning!!

  9. Thanks Phil. What did you see that changed your mind?

    I see uncertainty and if the healthcare bill gets jammed thru I feel the market will rocket higher

  10. interesting my technicals are bullish yet i shorted as well if le pen or melanchon are in the final it brings uncertainity to the outcome big time and guess what macron isn't lookng too good today either and one of those two extremes are going to be in the final i think it's le pen (hi SAINTY)

  11. what are we shorting here?

  12. DSX~~•Diana Shipping  prices offering of 17.5 mln common shares at $4.00 per share.

    Stock has pulled back a lot due to the offering.

    Bought some stock at $4.40 and sold the Sept 5 calls for $.55, for a possible $3.85 entry

  13. I"ve been out of pocket for a few days and need help in accessing Phil's recommendations for the Butterfly portfolio for today's Apr.21 expirations.      Can anyone point me to his recommendations to those options expiring today?

  14. Butterfly

    I found the one from 12 days ago in the April Review….  Is that the latest?


  15. BBC giving same treatment Phil has mentioned on Financial tv..

  16. Angel – Le Pen losing steam in the latest polls! Macron looks OK to be in the second round and right now it's a race between Le Pen and Mélenchon to be in.

  17. Phil – If that's OK with you, I might do some light live-blogging of the French elections results on Sunday afternoon. First results should come in around 2:00 PM EST. This could have a massive impact on markets so might be worth my time (and your space). I'll have the French news channel on and am thinking of posting reactions here.

  18. stjean   I would enjoy the live blogging

    MAT   We used to like them a few years ago, but their last report was a disaster.

  19. This coffee selloff is brutal.  Another 2% today.  I only have 1 contract and it's down 3K.  We might see 1.25!

  20. Phil/CTSH Butterfly

    I think when you reviewed you suggested rolling to the June $60 calls and the June $57.5 puts.  CTSH is at $57.83 now.  Would you change the roll of the calls to June $57.5 instead of the $60's?

  21. SAINTY but really Macron's comments about get used to terror attack didn't go over well either Le Pen or Melanchon are disruptive into second round the most chaos would be

    Mel and Le

  22. burb it would have been a fine short and reload at these levels

  23. That's an astute observation 

  24. oil would have been a fine long and short a dew days ago

  25. and if the queen had balls

  26. so this algo i am working on has me shorting oil and gas this afternoon on close i am going to paper trade it for a month but ill let you all know the signals backtesting is v good

  27. Change/Japar – Just that we're really only up on more BS promises and it's expiration day and I think we'll fade once people square up their positions.  I think the market already rocketed higher on all the same things it's now rocketing higher over – not the sort of thing that's likely to last.  

    Le Pen/Angel – That can lead to a cascading failure across the EU.  

    Shorting/Torquio – This morning I was liking the Russell (/TF) Futures short at 1,380 (still there) and the Nasdaq (/NQ) Futures short at 4,450 (now 5,443).

    Shipping/Albo – Not sure what impact all this trade nonsense will have.  

    Butterflies/GC – Yes, the April review had all the changes we wanted to make.  That's what I get for doing them early…  surprise

    News/Scott – Getting harder and harder to figure out what the truth is these days.  

    Live blogging/StJ – I would love that!

    MAT/Stock – I lost interest in them when they let Star Wars and Disney slip away.

    Coffee/Burr – Very nasty, $131.75 now.  I have 6 at $136.35 with a $10K loss so far.  If I add 2 more at $131 even, I think that will give me 8 @ $135, which I think is a reasonable bounce target to get back to 4 – so that's my general plan.

    Figure $145 to $130 is 10% drop and then the bounces would be $133 and $136.

    CTSH/Butterfly/DC – We have:

    Short Call 2017 21-APR 57.50 CALL [CTSH @ $57.83 $0.05] -6 2/15/2017 (1) $-1,470 $2.45 $-2.10 n/a     $0.35 $-0.15 $1,260 85.7% $-210
    Short Put 2017 21-APR 57.50 PUT [CTSH @ $57.83 $0.05] -6 2/14/2017 (1) $-1,260 $2.10 $-1.98     $0.13 $0.03 $1,185 94.0% $-75
    Long Call 2019 18-JAN 65.00 CALL [CTSH @ $57.83 $0.05] 6 2/13/2017 (637) $3,540 $5.90 $-0.45     $5.45 $-0.00 $-270 -7.6% $3,270
    Long Put 2019 18-JAN 45.00 PUT [CTSH @ $57.83 $0.05] 10 2/15/2017 (637) $3,750 $3.75 $-0.48     $3.28 - $-475 -12.7% $3,275

    At the time, CTSH was at $58.88 and I said:

    • CTSH – Another new one and fortunately right on target ($1 is close enough).  We sold $4.55 in premium so being within $1.38 of our $57.50 target means we make $3.17 ($1,902) which is 70% of what we sold.  The net of our spread was only $4,560 so if we can make $1,900 per Q, we will be in fantastic shape once we pay back the $4,560.  That's why these trades are so powerful!  Meanwhile, we'll pay off the short calls on expiration day (there's still premium) and sell the June $60 calls for $2.50 ($1,500) and the June $57.50 puts for $2 ($1,200) so that's $2,700 AND a wider target to hit! 

    I'm not bearish on them, they should have good earnings so I'm still for the wider spread as a new one.  If we're burned to the downside, I have long-term confidence to stick with them but, if we're burned to the upside – we're stuck betting against ourselves.  

    Silver (/SI) $17.80 is looking like an attractive long.

  28. What is your take on oil?

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  35. Phil,

    I was short /TF and /NQ from yesterday but got out with a small loss based on "flat is bullish". I'd like to be short for all the reasons you mentioned, but this market is so irrational especially when something big is potentially on the table. Call me a bit gun shy……

  36. Doesn't help that I'm getting my ass kicked on /KC and now my /CL long at 50.50 isn't so hot. At least /DX is ok

  37. Butterfly Updates

    Thanks Phil!   

  38. Algo / Angel – Used to do a lot of that even using neural network apps. Backtesting always showed promising results, but actual results not always on par with predictions. I love that kind of work though, but just don't have the time anymore.

  39. Oil buying opportunity keeps getting better, now CL at 50.21. 

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  55. Phil, What do you thin of UCO here, as a simple buy, given that crude oil prices have pulled back to 50.12? Thanks. Strether.

  56. Bought some more QUIK.

  57. Go long telcos:

    The FCC voted on Thursday to approve a controversial plan to deregulate the $45 billion market for business-to-business broadband, also known as Business Data Services (BDS), by eliminating price caps that make internet access more affordable for thousands of small businesses, schools, libraries and hospitals.

    A spokesperson for the trade association Incompas, which advocates for competition among communications providers, told The Outline that the increase is expected to be at least 25 percent across the board.

    And short education! I love the association which advocates competition and yet predicts hikes for everybody. That's competition for your money I guess.

  58. FU JO!!!

    FU GNC!!!

    FU FTR!!!

    FU GILD!!!

    FU M!!!

  59. Phil/IMAX

    What did you think of their earnings?

  60. JO – almost looks like a buy.. but take a look at 10 year monthly chart and…it's not any kind of vehicle for growth. Positive for SBUX, though, no?

  61. What is the oil news???  

  62. Phil,

    Just checking if your premise on /CL has changed. I'm long 6 at 49.95. There seem to be a lot of people trying to drive oil down. Probably to load up for the holiday weekend

  63. I'm liking Phil's thoughts of higher coffee prices going into the summer. Bought a few June and Sept calls $18 calls on JO. 

  64. Bloomberg headline: Oil falls below $50 as surging US output undermines OPEC cuts

  65. Phil, What is your CL position now? did you add more to your $50.80 positions.  Thanks

  66. Wow, oil taking a massive dive to $49.50.

    /RB below $1.65 

    Oil/Angel – You mean it would have been a great short when I called it?  I'm pretty sure now it's a great long but this sell-off was nasty and unexpected.  

    Oil/CJ – Well I think there's no Fundamental reason for it to go higher but there is a seasonal reason.  

    10:42 ET – Worries plaguing the US gasoline market just months ago are
    easing, as analysts and investors bet on a strong driving season to keep
    gasoline demand high. Gasoline stocks now cover 24 days of demand, down from
    a record level in January and moving into the 5-year range, Bank of America
    Merrill Lynch says. US gasoline stockpiles have mostly been declining in
    recent weeks, mitigating concerns about oversupplied crude and oil product
    markets. "While we continue to maintain a cautious view on gasoline margins,
    a more positive outlook for the driving season creates some upside risks, in
    our view," BAML adds. However, some remain wary of the rise in output from
    refiners, and warn that more supply could quickly negate price gains in
    gasoline futures. (


    No other news that I see. 

    /TF/Japar – I stopped out of 2 short twice so far, up $1,125 at the moment, /NQ has made similar moves.  I like to make my spending money into the weekends.


    I'm in the same boat on the others and /KC is a matter of patience and I think /CL is trying to shake out the longs before the summer driving kicks things higher – but that's still a few weeks away.

    You're welcome, GC.

    UCO/Streth – I like them for a long play but USO nice and liquid and now those July $9s are just $1.55.

    FCC/StJ – WOW!!!  You know, people say "How much damage can Trump really do?" yet here he is simply destroying the future of America, step by step.  

    IMAX/DC – They had really rough comps as "Force Awakens" was last year Q1 so no one expected much.  What matters is theaters are up 200 to 1,226 from 1,066 – almost 20% growth and of course that causes costs and they have 524 more in the pipeline, which is also up 200 from last year so net 400 gained customers in 365 days sounds great to me!  They also just partnered with TWX on virtual reality content around superheroes (Justice League) and they already opened up a pilot location in LA.  

     So yes, I like IMAX a lot but not enough yet to have them in any of our portfolios – we sold when they hit $40, as that was silly and we missed the entry at $26.50 in Oct and we were waiting to see if they sell off after earnings – hopefully we get a nice entry around $28.

    JO/Scott – Yes good for SBUX and I think it's a bad ETF – decay-wise to boot.

    Oil/Japar – I agree, they are taking the opportunity to take it down.  If it were a real move (down 10% from earlier in the week – then why aren't XOM, CVX, etc. falling harder?).

    /CL/Learner – I have 6 long at $50.37 and no desire to add more into the weekend.  

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  69. Phil--I thought you had said previously that JO did not suffer too bad from decay? Did you change your mind about JO?

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  82. SBUX – looking at this for an earnings play.. report after close on 4/27. within reach of new high. if you think they might make a run for it, buying the May $60 calls, and selling the April 28th $62 calls for net $1.05. modify as you like with longer duration on the long calls (i.e. June, july, etc). This is a play for a pop on earnings, to be closed on 4/28. If you have the idea of keeping the long side if going well, either open with longer dated or roll them out on 4/28.

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  96. Decided to pick up another RB at 1.65 for 4 long at 1.7 . Down $10k at the moment. But Sardinia is beautiful. 

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  102. A Fake and a Fraud

    Donald Trump’s mounting reversals, failures and betrayals make it increasingly clear that he is a fake and a fraud.<p>For many of us, this is affirmative reinforcement; for others, it is devastating revelation.<p>But it is those who believed — and cast supportive ballots — who should feel most cheated …

  103. Last July, Tommy Wells, director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment, received the final copy of a report that had …

  104. The cars consumers are already driving could soon get over-the-air software updates like those pioneered by Tesla Inc. that fix flaws or add features …

  105. Over 2 million people took to the streets to protest the socialist government.

  106. Ultra. While I don't have a problem with the wall, I do not like having to add to the debt to do it nor do I think spending more on our embarrassing education or healthcare programs is the way to go either.  We rank low in math and science and mortality. Spending more is not the answer. IMHO 

  107. AA (the new AA) - testing 200 ma. earnings on Monday, noon.

  108. that short call in oil was great my only point was there was a 7 point rally before hand and that is certainly tradeable there has to be a way to catch a 10% move now throw in a naked (your preference) and a bottle of whiskey and we are phat! 

  109. GS/Phil – "Goldman: Investors Are Increasingly Concerned About A Market Crash"..means.. the rally is going to continue and they are going to make another killing taking the other side of the puts they are pushing…  Or is this overthinking it?

  110. 1pm RIG counts come out.

  111. This is the 2nd Friday the /RB trade was a loser, unless you significantly DD'd.

  112. It seems that "selling the rips" is the new "buying the dips"!

  113. JO/Jabob – Well, it's not too bad but this will be a good test:

    Coffee is down from 160 in Jan to 130 so 18.75% and JO is down from $22.50 to $18 is 20%.  In Aug, coffee was $155 so down $25 is 16% and JO was $21.50 so down $3.50 is 16%.  I guess I was right the first time, negligible decay. 

    SBUX/Scott – I much prefer to play stocks that are low if I think they are going to have good earnings.  SBUX is up $7 (13%) since their very disappointing Jan earnings report ($58.75 to $53.50 in 5 days) so I think they've already "popped" despite the fact that they projected 0.46 at the time and current expectations are for 0.45 and last year was 0.39.  6 cents is right about their average 15% growth and their p/e is already over 30.  Those are the reasons I would not play them long for earnings.

    Sardinia/Latch – At least it's cheap to live there…  I think OPEC screwed themselves saying they had essentially full compliance on the cuts because, if this is full compliance – it's not working!  

    Wall/Ult – The border wall will allow Trump to dole out Billions of Dollars of favors to his buddies in the construction industry.  Who knows what kind of pay-offs he's expecting from this boondoggle.  

    Oil/Angel – I'm very confident a 10% move (back to $55) is almost a sure thing over the next 90 days.  I'll carry 10 longs with a big loss waiting for that to happen ($50,000 upside).

    GS/Scott – Way overthinking.  I generally ignore their nonsense but it's good to know what nonsense they are spouting, nonetheless.  Earlier this week, GS told people to get out of the Dollar and we took the long.

    /RB/Burr – But last Friday was pre-rollover and we didn't play it long.  This one is surprising me though, even though I said it was not a good play – I didn't think it would head below $1.65, nor oil $49.20!  

  114. Coffee / Phil – Decay is not that negligible long term though. Since 2008, coffee is down 10% and JO is down over 60%. Short terms moves are not as pronounced but there is decay for sure.

  115. SBUX/Phil – thanks, and I expect you are right, but that would be expecting rationality in these markets. Not doing the diagonal, but a cheap bet on the earnings is make it a calendar May 62.5 / Apr28 62.5 for .16. Entered 10. I reckon it doesn't MOVE (or maybe gets a penny or two cheaper) until the actual earnings are reported Thursday night, so little to no chance to get anything out of it until the news is out--but that's what an earnings play is!

  116. Pharm, I know Phil's not a fan, but do you see a bottom in VRX?

  117. Phil /RB  -  Yes we did.  We played on Thur since fri was a holiday.



    Still the best long is /RB though down 0.005 at the moment:

    I have to at least poke a couple here at $1.735.

  118. Re Trump Wall--  If Trump builds the wall and keeps the Mexicans out, it will mean there will be low paying jobs for the American children who didn't get an education because dollars were diverted to the wall.  It makes sense

  119. FF/Hanj – oil plunging but this keeps creeping along and now back up/over all time high (dividend corrected). I don't get it, just following and raised my stop.

  120. scott/ff  Way to stick with it!

  121. U.S. oil-directed rig count now up +345 (+101%) compared with same point last year, gas rig count up +79 (+90%)

  122. Decay/StJ – Well you have to assume close to 10% a year in an ETF.  Not too many well-constructed ones and, even if they are, the fees eat you up.  Whenever there's a commodity one though, the rollovers cost money every quarter as well.

    /RB/Burr – Oh that's right, I forgot because we didn't get out until Monday.  

      Rig count is as relentless on the way up as it was on the way down.

    Well, that sell-off has already found its buyers.  

    Trump says tax plan next week will have MASSIVE tax cuts.  And again the markets rally.  What a joke!  

  123. Don't people realize that there will be no tax plan next week! You have to reach a point where the SEC will have to slap Trump for market manipulation… All he has to do is call a few friends (or children), tell them he will announce the tax cuts for the nth time and they can go long! Rinse and repeat. It's just unreal – where is the outrage from the people who spent 8 years being outraged at the slightest perceived misconduct.

  124. Phil  How can you doubt the President.  The only things on the calendar next week is passage of a massive tax cut plan, health care will be passed and get a budget appropriation resolution passed.  

  125. And of course, his tax cuts will be the biggest ever – I am no psychologist but the guy is clearly compensating for something.

  126. lol  stjeanluc… "I am no psychologist but the guy is clearly compensating for something."

  127. And tax cuts will pay for themselves like every other time we tried:

    And tax increases have a negative effect on revenues I guess using these alternative facts!

  128. Associated press is reporting Trump will also wipe ISIS off the face of the earth next week and announce a cure for cancer. 

  129. Corn has been in a .25 range for months.  Sounds like something that PSW might like.  A range bound market..

    The corn market has been stuck in a twenty-five cent range for the better part of seven months and it appears that this lackluster trade may continue in the near term. There are many factors that traders are watching closely, but none have had a major impact to propel the corn out of its range. The bulls are making a case for a late start to planting with wet conditions and the bears look at the last three USDA crop reports showing massive supply. The best way to trade this market is to sell rallies, as we don’t believe there is much upside. 

  130. Guys – I'm in for $500 of green coin as well, and BTW – the might help:

    New Global Fund to Raise $300 Million for Digital Currency Investments;

  131. Phil – would you suggest any changes to the Butterfly adjustments (from 4/9 Portfolio Review) – specifically for MSFT or GIS?

  132. Doubts/Den – I don't know, I've seen him take 4 months just to hire one person…

    MASSIVE!!!  CNBC just can't stop saying it.  

    Corn/Burr – I already called a bottom at $360 in March.  Most people can't trade it and I can't be bothered to add it to my screens but it's a good trade.  

    Green Coins:  BDC and I are working on posts and such to get the ball rolling in May.  

    Basically, we're going to step people through the process of setting up wallets and buying the coins so, if you are so inclined – the end result is the same – buying $500 worth but we really want to get everyone to comment and describe their experiences at each stage of the process.  

    More important than the $500 is the idea of us learning more about the Crypto-Currency market and understanding the nuances of trading by practicing with this one coin that we can all get behind and try to push into the higher tiers where it might catch on.

    GIS/Butterfly/GBase – Well, once I make a change and put it out, I don't change it unless something drastic happens as most people will have already adjusted and you are as likely to be wrong as right if you go chasing every move.   With GIS, the April $60 puts were $2.75 and today they are $2.30, so no harm in waiting and the short calls went worthless, as expected.  

    We wanted to sell 10 July $57.50 puts for $2.50 and those are now $2 and we only wanted to sell 5 of the July $60 calls, are now $1.08 and we wanted $1.20 and all those prices were easily fillable over the past 2 weeks.  So the question is, with GIS at $58, do I no longer want the 10 short $57.50 puts (I do) or the 5 short $60 calls (I do) – so my July target hasn't changed.  The only thing that makes me nervous is Cramer agrees with me:

    MSFT no different:

    • MSFT – Way over our $60 target for April but we sold the puts and calls for $6.06 and we're $5.50 in the money so, even with it going 10% agains us, we still make 0.56.  This is tricky as I think MSFT is toppy here so let's sell the  July $62.50 calls for $6.40 ($12,800) and the July $60 puts for $1 ($2,000).  We're pretty bullish on our longs with the $62.50/70 bull call spread and we can always sell 2019 puts (the $55s are $4) but, of course, I'd rather do that after a pullback – just good to know $8,000 is there if we need it to roll the short calls…

    We sold the puts and calls for $7.40 so our break-even is $52.60 – $69.90 – anything in between there and we make up to $7.40.  There would have had to have been a drastic change in outlook for me to change my mind and, as you know, I think the whole Nasdaq bubble will burst eventually.

  133. Phil/CL-

    Just a question –  if July (90 days) is your timeframe for oil – why are you in the June futures?  Or will you just roll to front month however many times…

  134. Phil/MSFT Butterfly,

    My point was – I can't get $7.40 now – looks like the best I can do is ~$5.80.  Would you still do this at $5.80 or ??


  135. VRX….well, if you consider 0 the bottom.  I did not want to sell puts in them but buying the BCS out in time was my roll of the dice.  Unfortunately, those dice were not loaded! Tragically they have assets, but one will have to wait and get them when the price is right.  

  136. President Trump signs executive orders to review financial reform laws created in the wake of the 2008 crisis….

    Here we go again….

  137. so let's see who wants to own Europe over the week end!?

    Best outcome fillion vs macron

    worst anyone other than fillion 

    armageddon Le vsMEL

  138. /CL/Jeff – I will just roll.  Not likely I'll stay in for long haul but my 90-day bias is bullish from $50-60 so when it's down near $50 I buy and when it's up near $60 I short but mostly I look for buys, since I don't mind riding out a move against me.

    MSFT/Gbase – Ah, if you waited until now, it's not as good.  The problem is I think there will be a correction, so I hate selling higher puts (that's why we were way down at $60 in the first place).  I guess you could go with the $62.50 puts ($1.30) and the $62.50 calls ($5) for $6.30, not too terrible.

    Illinois/Pstas – What fool would give them money? 

  139. Phil/JO

    Do we need to roll or hold on tight until /KC recovers?

  140. SBUX is manipulating the price of coffee:

    Starbucks pledges 100m new coffee trees by 2025

    The company will leverage its green coffee purchase power to ensure that healthy, rust resistant coffee trees are planted in regions most impacted by climate change.

    Smart, actually.

    Colombian output up by 8.1% in March

    Year-to-date production increased 13 per cent, with production topping 14.6 million 60-kilogram bags during the last 12 months.

    Rising exports and inventory levels weaken prices: ICO

    In combination with an increasingly positive outlook for the 2017/18 crop, the market currently lacks any strong signals to reverse from its current gradual decline. Read More…

    Starbucks outlines ambitious growth plans at AGM

    The company announced plans at its Annual General Meeting to create more than 240,000 jobs globally. Read More…

    JO/Rookie – Not sure if we're throwing good money after bad.   We have the Sept $17/22 spread with the short $19 puts and now JO is $18.20.  We paid net $1,800 for 15 so our cost basis is about $20.50 if assigned and below our $17 call strike.  I think it's best to wait a month and see if things improve as we are not even off track, really, just a bit lower in the range than we'd like.

  141. Well, not much happened today but it looks like we'll finish red. 

    Have a great weekend folks,

    - Phil

  142. MRK – weak…

  143. S&P kiss that 50 day goodbye. We are so stretched here, the market is drunk on Trump wine and the hangover is really gonna hurt. We shall spend the next 4 years negotiating. Period. I see nothing getting accomplished. More debt, that's what you can count on. Maybe a war, would not surprise me. Hey, we still have credit, right? He only has a year and a half, really… in 2018 he looses congress.

    Just my 2c

  144. Angel – My prediction will be that Fillon does not make it to the second round. I am sticking with the current favorite of Macron – Le Pen with Mélenchon to show!

  145. Wells Fargo’s board and management are scheduled to meet shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Tuesday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. With the phony account-opening scandal still making headlines, and the company’s stock underperforming its peers, it’s a good bet the bank’s brass will have some …

  146. NEW YORK (Reuters) – Forget about French elections or the flagging Trump trade.<p>Corporate America is set to unleash its biggest profit-reporting fest in at least a decade next week, with more than 190 members of the S&P 500 index (.SPX) delivering quarterly scorecards, according to S&P Dow Jones …

  147. President Donald Trump spent the week talking tough about trade and foreign workers, but his actions will do more this year to create paperwork at …

  148. A few comments from Steven Kopits of Princeton Energy Advisors LLC on Apr 21, 2017:<p>• Total US oil rigs were up 5 to 688<p>• US horizontal oil rigs added …

  149. <i>This is the second of a three-part look at why oil prices have failed to rally despite OPEC’s best efforts at managing supply cuts. Read part 1 …

  150. NEW YORK – Nearly 100 days after US President Donald Trump took office, he and his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, continue to commit an economic …

  151. Facebook’s in the midst of a serious campaign to convince everyone how much it cares about journalism.<p>Even at F8, the company’s giant developer conference taking place this week, it’s saucing on the charm.<p>”We don’t always get it right, but you have our commitment to keep trying,” Dan Rose, …

  152. Succinct Summations for the week ending April 21st, 2017.<p><b>Positives</b>:<p>1. Existing home sales rose 4.4% m/o/m and 5.9% y/o/y to an annualized rate of …

  153. South Korea’s government wants to know whether Chinese President Xi Jinping gave alternative facts on the nation’s history to Donald Trump.<p>In an …

  154. Amid the scarred tracts of Alberta’s struggling oil region, an industry is taking shape that could give this part of western Canada an economy that’s …

  155. LONDON (Reuters) – An OPEC and non-OPEC technical committee recommended that producers extend a global deal to cut oil supplies for another six months from June, a source familiar with the matter said, in an effort to clear a glut of crude that has weighed on prices.<p>The Organization of the …

  156. The hand-to-hand political combat in House elections on Tuesday in Georgia and last week in Kansas had the feel of the first rounds of an epic battle next year for control of the House of Representatives and the direction of national politics as the Trump presidency unfolds.<p>But for all the zeal on …

  157. U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, listen during a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg<p>Are we really …

  158. Indicates ECB rate-setters preparing to leave policy mix unchanged<p>Most Popular Videos<p>Most Popular Articles

  159. Controlled opposition?<p>Coverup of eight separate investigations was followed by break in at law firm, harassment of whistleblower<p>Apr 21, 2017 4:04 …

  160. Cardinal Health (CAH) updated its guidance Tuesday morning, causing its stock price to plunge nearly 12% on the day.<p>The company previously cut its …

  161. Bitcoin is up nearly $100 in the past week, hitting levels not seen since mid-March after Japan legalized the cryptocurrency as a payment method and …

  162. A Justice Department press release denounces “gang murder after gang murder” in a city enjoying a a historically low murder rate.<p>Attorney General …

  163. Border Lawmakers Balk at Trump’s Wall Request

    WASHINGTON—Not a single member of Congress who represents the territory on the southwest border said they support President Donald Trump’s request for $1.4 billion to begin construction of his promised wall, according to a Wall Street Journal survey, testing the administration’s ability to reach a …

  164. Here’s good news for Earth Day: there are still generous tax breaks out there for greening your home. Congress let the federal tax credits for geothermal and wind power home energy systems expire at year-end 2016, but it extended the federal solar sweetener, a tax credit worth 30% off the sticker …

  165. Italy’s credit rating was cut closer to junk territory on Friday by analysts at Fitch, who cited “weak economic growth” and the country’s “persistent …

  166. A new report published in Health Affairs found that if all states had legalized medical marijuana in 2014, Medicaid could have saved $1 billion in spending on prescriptions.<p>The study by Ashley C. Bradford and W. David Bradford examined whether states with medical marijuana laws saw changes for …

  167. Sneering hosts have alienated conservatives and made liberals smug.<p>?????????? | Read this article in Chinese.<p>A month after the election, Trevor Noah, the host of <i>The Daily Show</i>, published an op?ed in <i>The</i> <i>New York Times</i> that sought to position himself and his show as instruments of healing in a broken …

  168. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company plans to unveil its electric semi truck, called ‘Tesla Semi’, in September, which is sooner than most industry watcher anticipated.<p>Now analysts covering the company are weighing in the new trucking business in their valuation of the company and coming …

  169. Craigs/Burrben – A Cup O KC Joe – "A lot of analysts say that the market needs to rally due to the reduced production this year and next."

    What part of growing inventory and declining demand did those brainless market shills forget? /KC is in the same position as Oil, commods and most assets.

    Burrben – "I saw that report and it was released on the 18th.  Today is the 20th.  So it took two full days for the market to read that report and today drop 5%?"

    Re: that April 18th report I referenced on Thurs here, /KC started its pullback on varied contracts not on the 20th, but on the 19th intraday. Is this temporal proximity coincidence? Rule 39A there are none. The traders didn't have enough caffeine for an immediate reaction to the report? Perhaps and Out.

  170. Coffee & Commods – Thematic corollary in these two, here and here.

  171. Nat thanks for those coffee links. So it does not look good right now for our thesis that coffee demand growth and crop shortages are going to occur, since those reports indicate that the opposite is occurring. Before I abandon my current long position I will look for and hope for a bounce that can get me some of my losses back, but if I see any indication that the price could be falling further I will definitely stop out and wait to see what happens. 

    Oil- I think this may be a better long play next week, barring any inventory report disasters, since OPEC is reporting an extension is being recommended and that members are complying with the current agreement. Same deal though, will watch carefully and act accordingly. this drop feels like so many before where they spike it down before a big move up to shake out weak hands, but we must be careful as always.   

  172. French Elections Liveblog #1 – Officially, first results are embargoed in France until 8:00 PM CET (2:00 PM EST) but some outlets in Blegium and Switzerland usually publish results before that based on exit polls. So far participation seems to be matching the previous election at this time.

    The latest polls for the first roound – only 2 move to the next round:

    Opinion polling for the 2017 French presidential election

  173. And here are the polls for round 2 scenarios:

    Macron is the strongest candidate so far and the safest for the markets as he represents continuity as far as European policies are concerned.

  174. French Elections Liveblog #2 – The Belgian TV posted an exit poll results:

    Macron 24%
    Le Pen 22%
    Fillon 20,5%
    Mélenchon 18%

    They don't provide the source so I am suspicious of these numbers, They would match closely the latest polls so a bit to coincidental I think. Most polling outfits in France agreed not to have exit polls today.

  175. French Election Liveblog #3 – It seems that participation is lower at 5:00 PM CET by about 1 percent as compared to 2012. However, election hours have been extended by one hour this year in medium size cities from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

    There was a car bomb alert in my hometown that turned out to be a stolen car… They had to close the election office for a while to make sure it was OK! They have an extensive security system for these elections with police and army patrols.

  176. Boy French elections are fun!  

    I can't get a straight answer on the elections – some say Le Pen won, some say she's out…  I guess it's no crazier than our election night on the whole.  

    Disapproval of Trump Grows in Latest Poll

    New poll finds more than half of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s job performance, with six in 10 approving of the Syria bombing and opinion on his handling of the economy about evenly split. 1223

  177. 4 minutes to go for some official estimations! There are rumors now that Le Pen is not in the second round.

  178. You can watch live on – in French though!

  179. There could be some implosion in 2 big parties – the socialist party and the traditional right. 

  180. Liveblog #4 – They are saying now that it will be Le Pen and Macron in the second round.

  181. Macron 23.7%
    Le Pen 21.7%

    This seems to confirm the latest polls.

  182. If confirmed, the next couple of hours will be made of discussions of who will support who for the second round. In 2002, the traditional parties allied themselves to defeat Marine Le Pen's father. With the possible implosion of the 2 biggest parties, it will be more open this time although polls indicate that Macron is favorite.

  183. It's unreal that the right in France lost that election when Hollande was so unpopular. But they refused to change candidate after Fillon was placed under investigation for giving his family "fake jobs". In France, they always talk about the right in France being the dumbest in the world, and they might have proven it again.

  184. Here is the Macron Wkipedia page:

    He was Finance minister for Hollande but was never really considered a very convinced socialist! He worked for a while as an investment banker for Rothschild & Cie. He is more in the mold of centrist like Tony Blair or even Obama.

  185. Someone just mentioned that in 2012, Le Pen ended up 3% lower than the first estimations at the end of the evening. Could still be interesting!

  186. So, does the French election results tell us anything about what we might expect from the markets tonight? Since the centrist pro Euro candidate leads, I assume this will be bullish , right? Also Phil, I assume that since you haven't posted anything to the contrary that you are sticking with your long oil premise? 

  187. Liveblog #5 – It looks like the numbers are getting confirmed now so it should be Macron – Le Pen in 2 weeks for the second round. It doesn't look like we will have a surprise even though Mélenchon is not conceding yet.

    So far, representatives from the major political formations are asking their electors to vote Macron in the second round to stop Le Pen from getting elected. Macron is the clear favorite now unless they dig some all child pornography from his past. Probably not his style though as his wife is 23 years older than he is… She was his teacher in high school.

  188. Craig – My feelings are that this was the result predicted by the polls so a lack of surprise is certainly a good thing. And also, Le Pen didn't do as well as they expected so a win by Macron would be seen as positive by the markets. My guess is that we might see some rally in the European markets tomorrow.

  189. BIOC- was this a one time opportunity way back when Pharm mentioned it or is this worth trying again on a pull back in the mid $1 area? I have read up on them and it seems like they have a unique and possibly useful drug delivery application. 

  190. Thanks St.J. Appreciate your inputs and information. 

  191. SAINTY AND LE PHIL looks as though le pen won and naturally underpolled by most news outlets i don't think macron is going to roll her in the final going to be a tough race melanchon not helping by telling his supporter to vote their conscience  

  192. pollsters already crowning a new pres

    MAC 61% in final

    BIC  39

  193. Is he planning fireworks over the Seine?

  194. macron takes lead

  195. Decided to roll my 4 long RBs to M7. Very low difference 

  196. Futures exploded up.

  197. NAS briefly looking at 5,500 with RUT banging on 1,400. 

  198. /dx /si /gc crushed.

  199. I'm short one /TF at 1395. I'll stop out above 1400

  200. shorted TF at 1398 and really glad I wasn't long gold or silver tonight.

  201. Thanks for the updated STJ.

  202. i was thinking that /dx was more likely to test 98.5 before going back over a hundred.  we are almost there (98.7).  of course i hope it doesn't fail 98.5.  but who knows what trump might say or do to crash the dollar before morning.

  203. and /ES /YM spiked up same time as /dx, /gc, /si down.  goofy.

  204. UAL – history, just looking right now at a 1962 annual report for United Airlines, that just surfaced from some papers from my grandmother I am going through. Looks much more transparent then, with 10 years of financials in a table at the end of the 22 page, graphics intensive report.

  205. Wow, big gap up in futures on polls showing Macron will win by a blow-out.   Good call by StJ on Friday on the election results!  

    Dollar down to 99 again and indexes up almost 1% with /NKD up 1.45% despite the weak Dollar.   Oil $49.86, gasoline back to $1.65.

    RUT rejected at 1,400, Nas 5,500, 20,750 failed on /YM and 2,375 failed on /ES and we'll see how far we slip into the open but I'm sure Europe will have a relief rally too.

    Dollar weak but Yen weak against Euro is keeping Japan, Inc. happy:

    Coffee/Craigs – Our position was based on climate change and the reason JO didn't make the cut for trade of the year is we thought it might be a year or two too early but the trade itself is still valid – that's a macro that simply isn't going to change – especially under Trump.

    Bull market/Pstas – Yes, this market simply will not die – so hard to bet against.

    Oil/Craigs – Sure, why change it based on this?  

    Macron/StJ – Yes but how old is his mistress?  

    Silver tested $17.50 – wish I caught that! 

    1962/Scott – Ah, those were the days!  

  206. Who says America isn't exceptional?

  207. Netflix falls short on users without a "House of Cards"-size hit

    Possible evidence that the Clintons have been bugged!  

    Sickening scenes this weekend of 50,000 English people chasing 10 Kenyan men through the streets of London.

    Sony surges after analysts see profit possibly reaching the highest in nearly 20 years

    Trump's AP transcript is almost 8,000 words

    Image result for kirk combat animated gif

  208. That /NKD long call last week was nice.  Logged in to find a +2K win.

  209. Phil – Would you go long /DX here?

  210. Good morning!

    With the weak Dollar, /NKD still has room to run but I'd keep a stop on half at 19,000 and the other half maybe 18,900.

    Oil testing $50!  

    /DX/Burr – Maybe a bit premature but I'd hate to miss the move up so yes, I'd go long here (98.90) with a DD at 98.50 and out at 98.45 maybe try again at 98 but below that would be really messed up:

    Just watch Silicon Valley, such a great show.  

    And, of course:

  211. Europe, meanwhile, is going bat-shit crazy this morning with France and Italy up 4%, Spain up 3%, UK up 1.6% and even Germany up 2.5% in what I think is a huge short squeeze as people unwind after the election that just put Le Pen as close as possible to what people seemed to totally fear.

    Oh well, it is what it is but the point is we can't short this move, no matter how tempting, until we see how the day plays out because we're lagging Europe by a mile now (except the Nas, which has always been a believer). 


    I have to be in NY this morning for Nasdaq Live and I should be back by noon.

  212. /Phil/TF- GM, are you still in your short from Friday or did you stop out?

  213. French elections/StJ – StJ, thank you for the updates and insight on the elections (not to mention everything else you post!)--very helpful. Being that you are probably closer to this than anyone else on the board, what are your thoughts on the possibility of Le Pen pulling off a victory in May? Interesting article on Bloomberg this morning about analyst Charles Gave, who called Trump's victory, also calling Le Pen in the next round. While I, along with most people, am discounting this possibility (out of hope more than anything else, but the numbers do support a Macron win), what are your thoughts?  Are people disillusioned enough that we can expect to see significant parts of the electorate abstain from the next round?  Or Fillon supporters shifting over to support Le Pen?  I don't see it happening, but we were daft…sorry--disillusioned--enough to do it here.  Not looking for you to call it, as the smart money is definitely on Macron, but curious on your perspective as to the undercurrents in France, considering that the markets are definitely pricing in another substantial Le Pen loss--just like her father. 

  214. /TF/Ravi – We stopped out on Friday!  It's very rare we go overnight with Futures shorts.  See my 11:51 comment above.  If I were going to play a short now, I'd play /TF 1,400 or /NQ 5,500 – whichever one crosses SECOND – with very tight stops if either index moves above again.  2,375 on /ES and 20,725 on /YM are the other reference lines with the Dollar at 98.92 and oil $50.05.

  215. Marz the board missed Brexit and the the Trump nomination and election so we are in Gartman territory in psyching out the mood of the electorate..I am not sure what the jubilation is about I agree with Phil short covering and position squaring. I am shorting this move the Dax is acting as tho Merkle is reelected and the Brits are going to roll over and grease up with new trade deals 

  216. Only 49.44% of French voters backed broadly pro-EU candidates (Macron + Fillon + Hamon). 49.31% voted for far-right or far-left ones