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Federally Fueled Thursday – WTF?

The Futures went flying this morning.

Apparently, after having a strong day in the US yesterday and despite the Fed minutes that indicated imminent tightening, China decided to stick it in Moody's eye by strengthening the Yuan to boost their own markets.  The move drove the Shanghai Composite 1.4% higher for the day while the Hang Seng gained 0.77% and the subsequent plunge in the Dollar, to 96.80, goosed our own stock Futures to even higher highs

We're long on the Dollar (/DX) down here and we also have Dollar ETF (UUP) June $25 calls, now 0.24 with UUP at $25.08 as we think there are still strong odds the Fed tightens at their June 14th meeting.  We went over the minutes of the last meeting in yesterday's Live Trading Webinar and noted that the Fed was waiting for evidence that an "economic slowdown is transitory" since May 2nd and, since then, we've had generally bullish data that indicates the Fed will go ahead with the next phase of tightening sooner rather than later. 

Federal funds rate history and recessions.png

Goldman Sachs (GS) agrees with us and pegs the likelihood of a June hike at 80% with another rate hike in September, followed by the announcement of balance sheet normalization at the December meeting and possibly another hike there though I think they'll be more likely to hike on Nov 1st if the markets take the Sept hike well.  Citibank agrees with me there, saying:  "The fact that operational details are closer to being specified shows that the FOMC could be ready to announce tapering of its balance sheet earlier than previously expected. This increases the risk of a September announcement relative to our current view for an announcement in December."

The chart above is not complicated, Fed tightening ALWAYS leads to recession (grey lines) and recessions are rarely more than 10 years apart.  The markets are very likely enjoying their last harrah at the top but my advice is to SELL IN MAY (get back to CASH!!!) and go away until we have a proper correction.  Our Member Portfolios are roughly 80% CASH!!! (have I mentioned how much I like CASH!!! lately?) and we are very, very well-hedged – some would say over-hedged at the moment as this annoying market never goes down!  

That's far from annoying for our Long-Term Portfolio, where we still have 55 long positions and, at last week's review, we didn't find a single one we even needed to change.  The month before we had a purge to get to more CASH!!! and, since our April 9th Review, the LTP has gained $80,414 while our hedges in the Short-Term Portfolio (STP) have lost $18,901 so the net gain of our paired portfolios has been $61,513 or 10% of our $600,000 basis for the two.  

It's all about balance and, fortunately, we got a nice test of a 2.5% dip in the markets last week and our Short-Term Portfolio did its job and covered the losses of our LTP.  Unfortunately, our self-balancing Options Opportunity Portfolio (OOP) has been a bit too bearish and we have lost $4,752 in the past month, pushing us a bit further away from our goal of having a 200% gain by our 2nd anniversary.  The OOP is the one we trade live, over at Seeking Alpha, and we just added a bullish spread on Monday on Taser (AAXN) as follows:

TASR (5/22) – Our Stock of the Decade has pulled back to only 350% above our $5 entry so we're interested again. A combination of widespread civil unrest and too many cameras (which TASR sells too) makes it impolitic to shoot protestors (though beating grannies seems fine). There's a lot of competition in the body camera biz but TASR owns the stun gun market and those relationships give them a big advantage over the competition. Sales are not a problem for TASR – camera sales were up 150% from last year with overall growth at 46% – it's a margin issue ("only" 60%) and margins can be fixed quickly in electronics. 

This one is a buy for us as we took $29 and ran last year and now, getting back in is a must near $22. We already have 5 short 2019 $20 puts in the OOP at $3.20 and we can add 10 2019 $20 calls ($7.30) and sell 10 2019 $27 calls ($3.80) for net $3.50 ($3,500) less $3.20 ($1,600) we originally collected is net $1,900 on the $7,000 spread with $5,100 (268%) upside potential.

As you can see, we caught a nice bottom but you can still get more or less the same prices and it's easy to get good returns when you fill your portfolio with sensible, well-hedged trades like this one that have 268% upsides, right?  The (5/22) notation is from the Watch List over at PSW, which we shared with our OOP Subscribers over at Seeking Alpha when we did a full review in Monday's Live Member Chat Room.  

That's the purpose of our Watch List.  Whenever the market is more bullish than we thought we simply pick one of the stocks we're watching that's still on sale and add it to our list.  For instance, in the LTP, we sold 5 Verizon (VZ) 2019 $50 puts for $8.60, dropping $4,300 of lovely, lovely CASH!!! into our pockets in exchange for our promise to buy VZ at net $41.40.  That would be $20,700 of Verizon stock (which pays a 5% dividend) and our allocation blocks in the LTP are $50,000 so we'd still have plenty of room to double down if the market collapsed and VZ went on a bigger sale.

That's how we fill our LTP with drastically discounted stocks over time (see: How To Buy A Stock For A 15-20% Discount) - we simply find a VALUE level we are willing to play at and then get paid to promise to step in and make a floor.  Of course, the vast majority of those short puts expire worthless but then we get to keep the money and move on to promise to buy another stock we'd like to own if it gets cheaper.  In our Long-Term Portfolio, we have 24 short put plays – generally we try to add one per month that pays $4-5,000, which gives us a nice $50,000 income stream on the side and, as noted above, if we keep the margin requirements near $10,000 per trade – we can make those kinds of returns against $250,000 of idle CASH!!! (20%).  Sure beats the bank, right?  

Now, on a more serious note.  I have to chastise you, the citizens of the United States, for participating in one of the worst atrocities in human history.  As I tweeted last night, the Congressional Budget Office (now run by Republicans, mind you!) has evaluated the "TrumpDon'tCare" Health Bill and has determined it would drop 23M Americans off the Health Care System which will then lead to the DEATH of an additional 30,000 of those people EACH YEAR.  

This is besides the poorer quality of life that will affect 10 times that many as they have to live with diseases and injuries that could have been treated by a more caring nation.  How can you possibly sit by and let people suffer like that – why are you not OUTRAGED by this atrocity being committed in your own country – supposedly on your behalf?  

Is it because the costs are out of control?  Well according to Trump's own optimistic numbers, depriving 23M people of Health Care will save us $119Bn over the next decade, that's $12Bn a year.  Well, that sounds like a lot, I guess I would kill 30,000 people for $12Bn, right?  Only, how much money is that really?  Trump's budget is $4.1Tn, which is 4,100Bn so $12Bn is 0.29% of the budget.  Surely there are other things we could cut that are less murdery, right?  

Image result for die lack of health care cartoonAlso, even if you go with the party line that only the Top 20% pay significant taxes, that's still over 60M people and 60M people saving $12Bn works out to…. drum roll please… $200 per person!  Now how good do you feel about the 100 people you sentence to DEATH every day in order not to pay not even $1 per day less tax?  You should feel sick!  You should feel ANGRY that there are people in Washington who would even consider carrying out this sort of atrocity – let alone to do it "for your benefit."  

Come on, you're not an idiot, this is simply a way to justify another $119Bn in tax break for Donald and his Top 1% pals but, make no mistake about it – those deaths are on all of our heads – we let this happen – we're LETTING this happen if we sit here and do nothing to stop it!  

Do something to stop it, please – 300,000 Americans Trump doesn't care about will die if they get away with this – don't let them do it!  


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  1. The market is behaving as if corporations will adopt the Trump administration's accounting principles of counting the same revenue twice – in which case we are severely undervalued now! 

  2. And WTF is with this unhealthy and frankly worrisome attraction to strong men from Trump – Putin, Erdogan and now Duterte. Trump calls him and congratulates him on his success on the war on drugs. Successes like:

    Since Duterte took office in June, Philippine national police and vigilante death squads have embarked on a campaign to slaughter drug users as well as drug dealers. “Hitler massacred three million Jews [sic], now, there’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said in September. Last month, he told a group of jobless Filipinos that they should “kill all the drug addicts.” Police have killed over 7,000 people, devastated poor areas of Manila and other cities, and used the drug war as a pretext to murder government officials and community leaders…

    Is that an example to follow? Great job indeed… Can't wait for death squads to clean up poor neighborhood around here.

    And Trump still can't keep a secret and in that same conversation revealed the location of 2 nuclear subs putting the lives of people in danger. I guess bragging that he could also get a couple million people killed in N. Korea. Obama would have been taken to gallows already for this type of behavior. Really disturbing.

  3. Has anyone seen news explaining the weakness in coffee this week? I saw Burr posted a bullish item last week but obviously something has come out negative and I am trying to figure out where to find it. I want to buy but would like to try to be smart about it and see what is currently driving prices down. If someone here can save me some time by giving me a heads up, all the better. Thanks 

  4. Good morning… WTF indeed!

    I guess with this our hedges are going to hurt mighty today!

    Phil, can we ease the pain by selling some near month SVXY puts? or to be bold – roll our existing spread higher?  VIX below 10 … hopefully wont last too long. But WTF can continue …

    Other news – QCOM seeks injunction against Apple's suppliers.  If the court forces AAPL suppliers to honor Qcom's agreement, this would pretty much guarantee a nice beat if the analysts don't catch up.

  5. Team – something to consider – an attack on North Korea.  From George Friedman    ~~In this case, the actions are telling: The United States is advertising its preparations for war – itself an act of deterrence – and the advertisement isn’t lost on North Korea. But it’s not a bluff; bluffing in such a way is expensive and pretty ineffective. From what we can tell, North Korea appears to assume that an attack is all but inevitable but a risk it is willing to take.
    I suppose that Trump would return to the United States before he ordered an attack, but there is no way to know that. He’s scheduled to return on May 27. Take that for what it’s worth.

    I think I'll hold on to me ES shorts and RB long over the holidays

  6. Good Morning.

  7. FTR sinking every day… dangit!

  8. Good Morning everyone!

    Unfortunately there will not be a replay of this week's webinar. (No technical issues or system issues… we just forgot to start the recording.) 

    Sorry all. Next week we'll double/triple/quadruple-check.

  9. If you want a good overview in the morning, I love Scott Redlers morning call.  It's free and he has a very good perspective each day.

  10. BDC -   Yowza ! ! !

    Check out GBTC !

  11. NFLX on a serious tear this morning.

  12. Piper Jaffrey pumping up NFLX – increased PT to $190. 

  13. nflx/learner

    So it would be worth 8bn more than TWX at that price.  Well in a world where TSLA is the largest US manufacturer as it bleeds money, shouldn't surprise.

  14. Phil/FXP

    Perhaps we should cover what we have in June?


    The Amazon "killing everything in retail" narrative got smacked in the face with BBY today.  WSM didn't fare that poorly either. Compare them with RH and they seem undervalued in their space.  The weak brands might die, but the best brands will find a way to survive and adjust. Long: M, TGT, WMT, HBI

  15. ~~
    CenturyLink Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

     Added a few more shares of CTL.   Looking to get $2.70 in dividends in less than 13 months.  Works out to 10.8%.  Plus expect 15-20 %  additional return from cap gains.  This is actually a more conservative projection than the two money managers I follow who are projecting a bigger move.

    MONROE, La., May 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) today announced that its Board of Directors voted to declare a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.54 per share, which will be payable on June 16, 2017, to shareholders of record on June 5, 2017. 

  16. The FXP trade is losing $$ again.  I covered the Jun 24C with the Jun 28C, but I could only sell them for .34 last week, and the long 24's cost 1.97, so not great covers.

  17. CTL- Albo, adding stock only or doing buy/write or covered calls?

  18. Pstas – Added additional stock for now, but I'm also holding some OTM calls and OTM puts.

  19. Good morning!

    RUT has a lot of catching up to do if this breakout is real and if NYSE pops 16,650 (there now), it probably is.   

    /RBN7 coming back hard and fast, as expected. Oil $51.17, /KC still $128.40.

    Disturbing/StJ – We're way past disturbed at this point.

    It seems you're having some trouble

    In dealing with these changes

    Living with these changes (oh no)

    The world is a scary place

    Coffee/Craigs – Don't we go through this every week and every week I tell you that there are daily coffee reports you can read?

    The London and New York markets started the day with a degree of buoyancy, initially taking a mildly positive track in light volume yesterday. In almost a mirror reflection as activity picked up pace toward midsession, both markets slipped to below par and held a relatively tight range of trade for a couple of hours leading into the start of the business day in the Americas. The New York market attracted some fresh underlying buyer support to the floor while London slipped into lower territory, with one sell feeding into another and in the absence of volume underlying buyer activity to prop up the floor in this latter market, on the day. The upbeat midsession and buoyancy in New York gradually lost momentum into the afternoon with the additional weight of speculative chart based moves to trigger sells stops on the way. The trading range in New York was relatively tight throughout at 2.70 usc/Lb., between high and low on the prompt month despite fair volume, with a late in the day slight recovery off of the day low. The softer afternoon track for London robusta market met initially with underlying support to hold the afternoon session in a similar narrow range which slipped lower toward the end of the day and set a close in this market on the low of the day. The markets finished the day on a softer note, with many market participant countries having a full or semi national holiday today, as today marks both Ascension Day and the start of Ramadhan 

    I had to take 4 /TF shorts at 1,390 with tight stops above.

    /RB stopped out just under $1.66.  

    SVXY/Learner – If your hedges are losing more than your longs are making, you are over-hedged and need to either add more longs or reduce the shorts.  Continuously adjusting your shorts trying to get a win is like taking more and more life insurance each day you wake up still living.  The insurance needs to be in proportion to what you will MAKE going forward – once you need a win on the insurance – well, that's a suicidal path, right?  

    Sand/StJ – Yikes, it's not like we need more stuff to worry about.  Tourism is another fun thing to ignore.  

    FTR/Jabob – It's a long way to 0.80.

    NFLX/Rustle – Yep, completely out of touch with reality.  

    FXP/DC – China often does things that work for 2 or 3 days and then fail spectacularly.  As to the brands, we have all those other than WSM, which we used to have. 

    Submitted on 2017/02/03 at 7:46 am

    HBI/Rexx – If they go down 30% I will dump other stocks so I can load up the truck.  Goes back to what I try to teach you guys about the absolute value of a company.  This isn't some with a blown business model or a retailer with too many stores and too few customers, this is a brand clothing company in an age where it take hundreds of millions to build each brand and you get Maidenform, Bali, PlaytexHanes, JMS/Just My Size, Lilyette, WonderbraDonna KaranDKNYChampionPolo Ralph LaurenL'eggs, Hanes Beefy-T, Gear for Sports, Duofold, DIM, Nur Die/Nur Der, Lovable, Shock Absorber, Abanderado, Zorba, Rinbros, Kendall, Sol y Oro, Fila, Bellinda, Edoo, and Track N Field AND $5Bn in sales AND $400M in profits for $8Bn.  If you don't understand the value in that – stick to TA!  

    Submitted on 2017/02/03 at 12:54 pm

    HBI/Pstas – $25 seems about right.  As to 44% of sales, so the 3 largest retailers sell 44% of something that pretty much every retailer (including AMZN) sells?  That's nothing to worry about.  If you don't get your Leggs from WMT it's because you're getting them at WBA or AMZN or whatever but you are still getting Leggs and HBI doesn't care WHERE you buy their stuff.  

    Submitted on 2017/04/13 at 1:03 pm

    Hanesbrands higher after guidance update

    • Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBIreaffirms 2017 guidance. The company also says that it expects to report Q1 revenue of $1.38B and EPS of $0.28 to $0.29 vs. $0.28 consensus.
    • "We’re off to a strong start in 2017, and we are diligently focused on daily execution and performance," says CEO Gerald Evans.
    • In the C-suite, a search for a new CFO is underway after Richard Moss announced he will retire from the post at the end of the year.
    • Shares of Hanesbrands are up 6.58% to $22.50.

    Submitted on 2017/05/02 at 5:00 pm

    HBI/Learner – Bots see the words "lower guidance" and the 2.5% Rule kicks in.  Humans will fix it tomorrow. 

    Submitted on 2017/05/03 at 12:31 pm

    As noted to Jabob above, all we care about is that HBI stays over our net $17.77 and we're profitable.  In fact, because we only have 10 for a $2,230 credit and $1,800 in ordinary margin inside a $50,000 allocation block – we would MUCH prefer if they crashed to $15 or $10 or whatever and we could double down to a proper-sized position.  Unless that happens, we're merely amused by the up and down action between now and Jan, 2019.  Meanwhile, over $20 we make $2,230 – $7,230, which is 123%-401% back on our margin in 2 years.  

    When you are BEING THE HOUSE, you don't sit and stare obsessively at every bet that is won and lost on each of your games – you look to expand your casino and have more players playing more games because you KNOW that the odds are very much in your favor and, while you may lose a few individual bets – over the long run, you are very likely to come out far ahead if you simply stick to the plan.

    It's hard work being a Fundamentalist – all the waiting and arguing…  cool

    FXP/Burr – That's why it's not worth covering  In retrospect, it's very likely you are reacting to a spike down which will quickly reverse but you will be stuck in a limited position.  

    In the OOP, we have 10 June $24 calls we paid $2 for and they are now 0.76 in the money at $1.25.  If I were going to move to a spread, I'd take advantage of the dip and roll to the Sept $23 calls at $2.50 and sell the Sept $26 calls for $1.25 for net $0 and then I'm in the $23/26 spread for net $2 but, as I said, I don't want to get stuck in a spread if I can avoid it (because then I can't take advantage of a pop that goes my way).  

  20. Hey, I never said anything about HBI?!?!?!?

  21. new low for Jo… and WTF TEVA! dangit!

  22. HBI/Jabob – Well, you know, someone says something about a position going the wrong way and I assume it's you…  

    Speaking of which – TEVA still has no CEO so they'll drift until they announce someone.  Unfortunately, new CEOs tend to kitchen sink the first Q they report so they can blame it on the other guy and look good going forward.  

  23. Phil – ES vs TF.. so if TF pushes above 1400, all bets are off?

  24. amzn, tsla, nflx… who says gravity exists???

  25. Jabob/HBI

    Is has done virtually nothing since it was recommended and that is perfect when you sell more premium than you buy.

  26. Is=HBI

  27. dclark-- I have not traded HBI… just cranky about the other longs and shorts in the FU portfolio..

    with the markets hitting new highs every day I can somewhat understand the MoMos flying..

    just wish some of these dogs with fleas picks would do the same.

  28. Phil – gonna look at RB or CL again before the weekend?

    • via the WSJ's Ben Eisen
    • According to a paper from two University of Texas researchers, a quirk leaves the volatility market vulnerable to a sophisticated trade involving pushing around the prices of underlying S&P 500 options in order to manipulate the value of VIX derivatives as they settle.
    • "This market is fairly unique because you’ve got a very liquid market that’s settling based on the price of a less liquid options market,” says one of the authors.
    • A hypothetical example: A trader long $2M of VIX futures, wanting to push prices higher prior to settlement, could spend $1M overpaying for S&P 500 options at the settlement auction, driving up the price of the contracts used to calculate the VIX. Any money lost on the S&P options trade would be gained doubly by the VIX derivatives (where twice as much are owned).
    • The CBOE says the work is based on "fundamental misunderstandings."

    Look! Manipulation 

    • Mortgage rates fell to their lowest of the year following the recent sharp drops in U.S. Treasury yields, Freddie Mac says in its latest weekly survey.
    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95%, down from 4.02% a week ago, and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.19%, down from last week's 3.27%.
    • A year ago at this time, the 30-year and 15-year fixed rates averaged 3.64% and 2.89%, respectively.
    • April Goods Trade Balance-$67.55B (advanced) vs. -$64.60B expected and -$65.050B (revised) prior.
    • Imports of Goods $193.4B.
    • Exports of Goods $125.9B.
    • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is urging members of Congress to increase the U.S. debt ceiling before taking their August recess.
    • He would prefer a "clean" debt ceiling increase, which would not include partisan provisions, as the Trump administration warned that tax receipts were coming in slower than expected.
    • Democrats on Capitol Hill are pressuring Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) to review private accounts held by President Trump and his family in order for Congress to determine whether he has any financial ties to Russia.
    • While the House Financial Services Committee has the power to subpoena the documents, Democrats would require cooperation from committee Republicans, who have not yet signed on the request.
    • Bitcoin has blown past the $2,500 barrier, marking a more than $500 gain since Saturday, when the cryptocurrency first topped $2,000.
    • It comes after fifty-six companies around the world and 83% of Bitcoin miners supported the "Bitcoin Scaling Agreement," according to the Digital Currency Group.
    • The document lays out an upgrade that should increase Bitcoin's transaction capacity.
    • Related tickers: COINOTCPK:BTCS

    Bloomberg consumer comfort index gains in latest read

    • The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased to 50.9 from 50.2 last week.
    • The State of the Economy index fell to 43.9 from 45.3.
    • The Personal Finance Index rose to 62.1 vs. 60.6 last week.

    Crude oil slips as OPEC takes "safe bet" nine-month extension

    • Crude oil prices fall as OPEC agrees to extend production cuts by nine months to March 2018, going for "the safe bet" rather than a six-month or 12-month extension.
    • U.S. crude -1.4% at $50.60; Brent -1.2% at $53.28/bbl.
    • "It would appear a nine-month extension with the potential for deeper cuts was almost fully priced in so when the statements were made, there was nowhere left for prices to go but lower,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.
    • Wood Mackenzie consultants say the nine-month deal leaves its 2017 price forecast of $55/bbl unchanged.
    • The members of the meeting are still expected to hold a joint press conference scheduled for 5:00 pm Vienna time today (11:00 am ET).
    • Exxon Mobil's (NYSE:XOM) outlook is revised to negative from stable at S&P, saying the company has not reduced debt levels as fast as expected.
    • XOM has reduced capital spending for the past two years but continued to raise its dividend, "leading to large discretionary cash flow deficits, and an uptick in debt," S&P writes.
    • S&P affirms XOM's AA-plus credit rating, the second highest from the top, but a negative outlook suggests the company could be downgraded in the next year or so.
    • S&P also revises Imperial Oil's (NYSEMKT:IMO) outlook to negative from stable following similar action on its XOM parent.

    • Petrobras (PBR +1.2%) expects higher oil exports this year than initial projections, according to its executive manager of trade and marketing.
    • Guilherme França sees PBR's oil exports hitting 503K bbl/day this year, up from an earlier forecast of 450K bbl/day, and reaching 742K by 2021 as the company advances development of its pre-salt oil reserves.
    • PBR also says a regional court dismissed a lawsuit seeking to suspend the sale of rights to shallow-water oilfields in the northeastern states of Sergipe and Ceará.

    Really, now we have to learn what cubic meters are? angry  Sinopec starts building China's largest gas storage site

    • Sinopec (SNP +0.9%) says it has begun building China's largest natural gas storage and logistics center, with the capacity to store up to 10B cm of gas, in Henan province.
    • China is investing in infrastructure from pipelines to storage tanks as the government prepares to switch to natural gas or electricity from coal-fired boilers and heating systems across 28 of its smoggiest cities by October.
    • Separately, South Africa's government is in talks with SNP regarding the company's takeover of Chevron's Cape Town refinery and will look to ensure that production capacity is retained and enhanced, the country's economic development minister says.
    • SNP is paying ~$900M for a 75% stake in CVX's South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana, securing its first major refinery in Africa.
    • American steel CEOs including Nucor’s (NYSE:NUE) John Ferriola and AK Steel’s (NYSE:AKS) Roger Newport told today's Section 232 hearing that global overcapacity of steel is at crisis levels, and urged the U.S. to determine that cheap steel imports are a threat to national security.
    • The U.S. must think outside the traditional remedies in combating "ruthless" foreign governments who seek to win control of the U.S. market, according to David Rintoul, who heads U.S. Steel’s (NYSE:X) tubular business.
    • The U.S. is nearing a point that it will depend on other nations for vital steel imports, which “is a very dangerous proposition,” said Commercial Metals (NYSE:CMC) COO Barbara Smith.
    • The meeting is part of the Commerce Department’s Section 232 investigation of imported steel's effects on national security.
    • ETF: SLX
    • Workers at Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) flagship plant in Fremont, Calif., were injured at a rate higher than the industry average in 2015, and spent nearly twice as many days away from duty than the norm, according to a new report from Worksafe, a California non-profit group.
    • The Fremont factory had 8.8 injuries per 100 workers in 2015, compared to 6.7 for the auto industry as a whole, according to the report; industry-wide stats are not yet available for 2016, but TSLA's rate was 8.1 per 100 employees, which Worksafe says is likely to exceed the industry average.
    • "We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company, but… with the changes we've made, we now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far," a TSLA spokesperson says.
    • Just last weekThe Guardian published a report detailing grueling work conditions at Fremont where employees regularly pass out.

    Argus raises profit estimates on Chipotle

    • Argus upgrades Chipotle (CMG +0.5%) to a Buy rating after having the restaurant stock set at Hold.
    • The firm thinks the new marketing and menu initiatives at Chipotle will help drive traffic.
    • "We look for fast-casual restaurants such as Chipotle to grow faster than the overall restaurant industry," writes analyst John Staszak.
    • Profit estimates on Chipotle are raised by Argus to $9.00 EPS for 2017 and $12.50 EPS for 2018.
    • Shares of Chipotle pushed right up against the $500 threshold earlier this month, but didn't quite crack through.

    Sears Holdings rallies after earnings

    • Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD): Q1 EPS of -$2.15 beats by $0.90.
    • Revenue of $4.3B (-20.2% Y/Y) beats by $250M.
    • Press Release
    • Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) trades higher after reporting its first GAAP profit since the Q2 of 2016. Adjusted EPS still came in well below break-even.
    • "While this was certainly a challenging quarter for our company, it was also one that clearly demonstrated our commitment to return Sears Holdings to solid financial footing," maintains CEO Eddie Lampert.
    • Comparable sales fell 12.4% in the U.S. during the quarter.
    • Gross margin rate fell 20 bps to 21.6% of sales.
    • SG&A expenses increased 160 bps to 29.5% of sales.
    • SHLD +12.18% premarket to $8.38. Shares fell 40% in the month into the earnings print.
    • Best Buy (NYSE:BBY): Q1 EPS of $0.60 beats by $0.20.
    • Revenue of $8.5B (+0.7% Y/Y) beats by $220M.
    • Shares +11.6% PM.
    • Press Release
    • Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) reports comparable sales in the U.S. increased 1.4% in Q1 to fly past the 1.7% decline anticipated by analysts. The sales gain was led by a +4.6% comp in the U.S. appliances category.
    • Enterprise comparable sales increased 1.6% during the quarter. International comparable sales were 4.0% higher.
    • Gross profit as a percentage of sales increased 60 bps in the U.S. to 23.6% as higher margin rates in home theater and appliances contributed. International gross profit fell 140 bps to 24.5% due in part to pressure from the Canada business.
    • Best Buy expects Q2 EPS of $0.57 to $0.62.
    • Previously: Best Buy beats by $0.20, beats on revenue (May 25)
    • BBY +9.68% premarket to $55.30.

    • Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) reports that same-store sales increased 2.5% for the Dollar Tree banner in Q1, while the Family Dollar banner showed a 1.2% drop.
    • CEO assessment: "Same-store sales were positive and total sales were near the mid-point of our range of guidance. Gross margin and operating margin rates improved, SG&A expenses were well managed across both banners and our adjusted EPS of $0.98 per diluted share, excluding the impairment charge related to the divestiture to Dollar Express, met the high end of our range of guidance."
    • Gross profit as a percentage of sales was up 20 bps to 30.8%.
    • SG&A expenses as a percentage of sales increased 110 bps to 23.4% (+20 bps to 22.5% ex-receivables impairment).
    • Operating income as a percentage of sales fell 80 bps to 7.4%.
    • Looking ahead, Dollar Tree expects Q2 revenue of $5.18B to $5.28B vs. $5.24B consensus and EPS of $0.80 to $0.88 vs. $0.89 consensus.
    • Previously: Dollar Tree EPS and revenue in-line (May 25)
    • DLTR -2.66% premarket to $76.00.

    • Williams-Sonoma (WSM +2.9%) rallies after unexpectedly reporting positive comparable sales in Q1 (+0.1% vs. -0.4% consensus).
    • Sales improved at both the namesake Williams Sonoma chain and West Elm.
    • Gross margin fell 20 bps to 35.6% of sales during the quarter.
    • Shares of WSM raced higher in the AH session yesterday, but have pulled back after some cautious comments from analysts. The general theme from Wall Street is that Williams-Sonoma is likely to continue to see margin pressure in a highly competitive marketplace.
    • PVH (PVH +5.3%) rallies after comfortably topping FQ1 estimates and setting profit guidance ahead of expectations.
    • CEO assessment: "We continue to experience strong momentum in our Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger businesses, which allowed us to exceed both our sales and earnings guidance for the first quarter despite the volatile macroeconomic environment and the highly promotional retail market in the U.S."
    • The company expects Q2 EPS of $1.60 to $1.63 vs. $1.56 consensus and full-year EPS of $7.40 to $7.50 vs. $7.39 consensus.
    • PVH caught an upgrade from JPMorgan to Overweight to go along with a price target boost to $125.
    • Previously: Phillips-Van Heusen beats by $0.05, beats on revenue (May 24)
    • Guess? (NYSE:GES+15.7% AH after posting a narrower than expected Q1 loss and better than expected revenues, while issuing improved 2018 guidance.
    • GES says Q1 same-store sales for the Americas, including e-commerce, fell 15% Y/Y, but the result is better than the 16.4% analyst consensus estimate; same-store sales rose 5% in Europe and 4% in Asia.
    • GES issues downside guidance for Q2, seeing EPS of $0.08-$0.11 vs. $0.12 analyst consensus estimate on net revenue growth of 2%-4%, but forecasts better than expected FY 2018 EPS of $0.34-$0.44 vs. $0.33 consensus on net revenue growth of 3.5%-5%.

    • Shares of Gamestop (NYSE:GME) fly in premarket trading after Best Buy cited strength in gaming sales in its earnings report.
    • Previously: Best Buy pops after U.S. results shine (May 25)
    • GME +5.64% premarket to $23.99.

    Second data pass on BioCryst's mid-stage study of HAE candidate BCX7353 reaffirms treatment effect; shares ahead 23% premarket

    • BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX) is up 23% premarket on robust volume in response to its announcement of positive data from a second interim analysis of a Phase 2 clinical trial, APeX-1, evaluating BCX7353 as a preventative treatment to reduce the frequency of attacks in patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE).
    • Results from 44 patients who completed 28 days of treatment showed a 73% reduction in HAE attacks for the 125 mg dose, 37% reduction for the 250 mg dose and a 58% reduction for the 350 mg dose compared to placebo.
    • There were no serious safety signals. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events were the common cold and diarrhea.
    • The final results from the trial will inform on the optimal dose for Phase 3 development.
    • BCX7353 is a novel, once-daily, selective inhibitor of plasma kallikrein.
    • Previously: BioCryst Pharma's next-generation killikrein inhibitor shows positive effect in mid-stage HAE study; shares ahead 4% premarket (Feb. 27)

  29. Phil/SVXY,

    Do you think it is good here to initiate the put spread? looks to have not moved today.


  30. AMZN zeroing in on $1000. 

    I wonder if Bezos has passed Gates yet.

  31. Bets/Latch – I think with the NYSE over 11,650 any short bet is very dangerous, leaning towards foolish.  Clearly there's no upside limit to this rally and there's no immediate catalyst that will take the market down so we just have to wait and see where things exhaust themselves.  While I THINK this move is nonsense – 1999 taught me not to bet on what I think…

    Wrong way/Jabob – There is no wrong way on the path to enlightenment.  

    Image result for path to enlightenment

    /RB/Bulls – As I said earlier in the week, it's /RB that has a catalyst on the weekend, not /CL   I like it off the $1.64 line but, if we don't get there, then I can play a break over $1.65 with very tight stops below.  Having more fun with my /TF shorts at the moment – stopping out at 1,377.50 for 4x $250 wins there.  

    SVXY/Pat – It's based on a blend of forward futures, not  the current VIX so the longer-term path of the VIX has moved higher and is ignoring today's nonsense.  See above article on VIX manipulation – that explains a lot.

  32. Pharm

    What do you think of OMER Omeros Corporation


  33. Trump's NATO speech consisted of him asking 3 times for other countries to pay more money and wondering how much the new building cost (as in "paid for with our money") – what a dick!  

    • Taking part in a panel discussion, Fed Governor Lael Brainard says a brighter global outlook has shifted the risk balance for the U.S. economy. She expects upward revisions to global growth forecasts to continue.
    • Her comments are notable as she's previously staked out a position as one of the more dovish FOMC members.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield remains higher by one basis point to 2.26%

    • May Kansas City Fed Composite Index+8, vs. +7 consensus, +7 in April.
    • “After slowing from a rapid rate of growth in February and March, we’ve seen more moderate growth the past two months,” said Wilkerson. “But firms are about as optimistic about future growth as they’ve ever been.”

    Uplifting day in retail sector

    • Retail stocks are having a good day after a round of earnings reports (BBY, GES, ANF, WSM) come in ahead of expectations. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA:XRT) is up 1.81% in morning action.
    • The rally is being led by apparel store chains and apparel makers, although plenty of other retailers are riding the coattails of earnings reporters. Notable gainers include Delta Apparel (DLA), Sequential Brands Group (SQBG +5.5%), Carter's (CRI +3.1%), Crocs (CROX +2.6%), Guess (GES +15.4%), Shoe Carnival (SCVL +9.9%), Tailored Brands (TLRD +5%), Burlington Stores (BURL +6.2%), Staples (SPLS +4.6%), Build-A-Bear Workshop (BBW +4.4%), Fred's (FRED +2.7%), Tilly's (TLYS +5.6%), Pier 1 Imports (PIR +3.9%), Sears Holdings (SHLD+27.2%), Office Depot (ODP +1.9%), J.C. Penney (JCP +3.2%) and Bon-Ton Stores (BONT+6.4%), Dollar General (DG +3.5%), Big Lots (BIG +2.2%) and Five Below (FIVE +1.7%).

  34. Hedge funds have had a great year picking stocks. But there’s a dark underbelly to their investment activity that involves betting on companies to falter.<p>To see which stocks bear the biggest burden of hedge fund shorts, the equity strategy team at Goldman Sachs analyzes 821 funds that hold a …

  35. Oil prices may rise or fall in the short-term, but they will return to a range of $55 to $65 in the long term because that’s the price of oil from fracking shale wells, the Goldman Sachs head of research said in Chicago Wednesday.<p>Oil prices today were about $52 for West Texas intermediate and $54 …

  36. McAfee is killing it again.<p>Nothing is beyond 4chan’s reach…<p>… But Are Disappointed He’s Not Draining the Swamp<p>May 25, 2017 8:10 AM<p>In recent weeks …

  37. While it looks like the airline industry has successfully held off the US Department of Homeland Security’s proposed laptop ban for now, the government will soon be giving carry-on bags an extra thorough inspection at airports around the country anyway. Starting after this summer’s travel rush, the …

  38. VICTORIA, British Columbia — Two days before he was scheduled to die, John Shields roused in his hospice bed with an unusual idea. He wanted to organize an Irish wake for himself. It would be old-fashioned with music and booze, except for one notable detail — he would be present.<p>The party should …

  39. The FCC recently posted a notice about a proposed piece of legislation that would, essentially, roll back the Open Internet Order of 2015, which established the concept of net neutrality.<p>These are publicly available documents, and you can read them for yourself. Of course, the documents are also …

  40. Former campaign chief remained in contact with the president and his aides after the FBI launched its Russia probe.<p>Months after the FBI began examining Paul Manafort as part of a probe into ties between President Donald Trump’s team and Russia, Manafort called Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus …

  41. Who is Greg Gianforte?

    Greg Gianforte, a wealthy former software executive who is running for Congress in Montana, was charged with misdemeanor assault and accused of attacking a news reporter on the eve of the election. Mr. Gianforte, a Republican, has been seen as the favorite to fill the vacant House seat, though his …

  42. Bitcoin has reached an all-time high, so is a price of $1 million possible for the digital currency?<p>As I write this, digital currency bitcoin has hit …

  43. Robots that think and feel emotions like humans will enter our homes in as little as ten years.<p>That’s according to Dr Mark Sagar, who is the chief executive of Soul Machines, a New Zealand-based company that develops intelligent and responsive avatars.<p>Sagar, an artificial intelligence programmer, …

  44. McAfee is killing it again.<p>Nothing is beyond 4chan’s reach…<p>… But Are Disappointed He’s Not Draining the Swamp<p>May 25, 2017 8:53 AM<p>First, it was …

  45. Battery wars power change.<p>Between now and 2021, battery production all over the world will more than double, Bloomberg reports. With more companies getting into the game, expansion and competition are up, and prices are down.<p>This will mean more opportunities for energy companies and electric car …

  46. Ben Carson, the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, faced an intense backlash on Wednesday for calling poverty “a state of mind.”<p>Mr. Carson, who oversees a department that handles housing for millions of low-income Americans, made the comments during a radio interview on …

  47. Jason Cisneroz, a community service officer in Houston, is troubled. His job in the nation’s fourth largest city is to forge good relations between the police and Hispanic immigrants, a population typically wary of blue uniforms.<p>”A couple of days ago there was a witness to a burglary of a motor …

  48. The highest-paid CEOs by state

    Here are the top-paid CEOs by state for 2016, as calculated by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm.<p>The survey considered only publicly traded companies with more than $1 billion in revenue that filed their proxy statements with federal regulators between Jan. 1 and May 1. It …

  49. The dread that fills your stomach when you hear that “twenty-two people, including children” have been murdered by a suicide bomber is indescribable, regardless of where it happens. This time around, it was in Manchester, England – a bomb was detonated in the foyer of an Ariana Grande concert just …

  50. We’re not quite in RoboCop town, but the world’s first robotic police officer is now on the beat in Dubai.<p>The first unit in Dubai’s Robocop program has been rolled now been rolled out. It’s not quite Paul Verhoeven’s satirical vision of baddie-takedowns, though. A customised service robot from Pal …

  51. <b>(CNN) —</b> A Baltimore defense attorney is facing charges of his own after allegedly trying to convince a rape victim not to testify against his client and saying she could face deportation for doing so, according to city and state officials.<p>Christos Vasiliades is accused of offering a rape victim …

  52. GOP leaders play it safe as Trump scandals grow

    Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are eager to avoid intraparty fights as they try to muscle through the GOP agenda.<p>The controversy over Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia is mushrooming into an all-consuming Washington melodrama and full-fledged criminal investigation. But don’t look to GOP …

  53. Dividend payouts in India Inc more than doubled in the last fiscal as companies faced with few investment opportunities and a tax preferred to reward …

  54. Police in Jakarta say twin blasts have killed at least three of their officers and injured ten people. National Police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said: “The police officers were on duty to guard a group of people who were holding a parade. The parade hadn’t passed yet when the blast happened.”<p>The …

  55. Moody’s downgrades Hong Kong credit rating after China cut

    HONG KONG – Moody’s decision to cut its credit rating for Hong Kong soon after downgrading its China rating on worries about rising debt levels drew an objection Thursday from the business hub’s financial chief.<p>Financial Secretary Paul Chan said he strongly disagreed with the rating agency’s …

  56. Fiery mass protest turns violent in Brasilia as President Michel Temer orders deployment of soldiers to restore order.<p>Brazil’s president ordered federal troops to restore order in the country’s capital, Brasilia, after some ministries were evacuated during clashes between police and protesters …

  57. The US tourism business is in trouble — and President Trump may be to blame.<p>America’s share of international tourism has dropped 16% in March, compared to the same month in 2016, according to Foursquare data released Wednesday.<p>The decline began in October 2016, the month before the presidential …

  58. Making a habit of eating out at restaurants is quick way to bust your budget. Cooking at home is almost always going to be cheaper.<p>That’s especially true in major, cosmopolitan cities like Tokyo, Oslo, and Zurich, where dinner for two at a regular neighborhood restaurant — not even a fancy …

  59. Trump’s attorney general insists he was following the FBI’s when he omitted it from his security clearance check<p>Attorney General Jeff Sessions is again under fire for concealing his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The former Alabama senator failed to disclose at least two occasions …

  60. As leaders of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom looked on, Trump repeated myths about failure to pay a “fair share.”<p>President Donald Trump …

  61. U.S. President Donald Trump hectored NATO leaders to pay their “fair share” on defense to help counter the terrorist threat, in a public shaming that …

  62. Trump vows ‘unwavering’ fight against terrorism at NATO

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump told fellow NATO leaders on Thursday that the United States would never stop fighting terrorism, calling the Manchester attacks “savage” and “barbaric”.<p>While he also accused low-spending members of the alliance of owing “massive amounts of money” to …

  63. Gold is proven safe haven – rises sharply when uncertainty and in crisis. Research says 10% a good allocation; 30% is high. Silver similar – 1% to 5% …

  64. Live Updates As OPEC Seeks To Raise Oil Prices

    <i>OPEC and participating non-OPEC countries are meeting today (May 25, 2017) in Vienna with a goal of extending their production cut agreement. The participating oil producing countries are seeking higher oil prices and to relieve the global glut of oil supply after the market has suffered a two year</i> …

  65. Braving the rush-hour New York bus is one option, driving oneself — a hair shirt for the 21st century — is another. So is swapping the suburban …

  66. Fake News” has become the buzzword that the dying mainstream media has been using to dismiss alternative viewpoints that may appear on the internet …

  67. Getty Images<p>The size and price of many Best Buy items makes delivery difficult<p>Best Buy Co. Inc. is doing something most retailers wish they could do nowadays: they’re getting customers into stores.<p>About one-third of the consumer electronics retailer’s online sales are picked up in stores, according …

  68. No, warming is not ‘leveling off.’<p>A new study appeared in the journal Nature on Wednesday, directly refuting the idea that satellite data has shown …

  69. CL below $50

    RB below 1.62

  70. Looks like French president Macron practiced for his Trump handshake…


  71. Of course Stephen Colbert didn’t give President Donald Trump a pass on the $2 trillion math error in his proposed federal budget.<p>”Well, President Trump is still on his semester abroad, getting his extra credits,” Colbert said on Wednesday’s “Late Show,” referring to the president’s international …

  72. Trump's NATO speech consisted of him asking 3 times for other countries to pay more money and wondering how much the new building cost (as in "paid for with our money") – what a dick!  

    How is Trump a Dick? These countries should pay more money, or we should contribute less and how much did that building cost? 

    U.S. contributes 22.144 percent of the NATO budget, followed by Germany (14.65 percent), France (10.63 percent) and Britain (9.84 percent).

  73. “Gianforte’s campaign says the men both fell…”<p>Fox News journalists were key witnesses to the violent incident that occurred on Wednesday in Montana …

  74. Russian spies may have planted a document to make the Clinton email investigation look like a conspiracy<p>In 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtained a Russian intelligence document of uncertain origin and authenticity that cited email correspondence in which former Attorney General …

  75. While former FBI Director James Comey is preparing to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the White House or the Justice Department’s …

  76. Working gas in underground storage, Lower 48 states Summary text CSV JSN<p>Historical Comparisons<p><b>Stocks</b><br>billion cubic feet (Bcf)<p><b>Year ago</b><br>(03/24/16)<p><b>5-year</b> …

  77. Few parts of the U.S. are as exposed to the threats from climate change as Ocean County, New Jersey. It was here in Seaside Heights that Hurricane …

  78. That’s what happens when you believe your party’s own lies.<p>Weeks after House Republicans advanced the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the …

  79. An unlikely group of scientists, chefs, and academics is banding together to transform the eating habits of college students.<p>Known as the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, cofounded last year by Stanford University and the Culinary Institute of America, the alliance aims to ditch …

  80. It’s too late to invest in Airbnb Inc. but a company that bills itself as the Airbnb of cloud computer storage is raising cash — and anyone with an …

  81. A team of analysts from Morgan Stanley on Thursday published an updated list of the bank’s “Shared Autonomous 30″ — a group of companies that the team thinks will influence a big transition from a world in which vehicles are sold to a world in which more emphasis is placed in how much vehicles are …

  82. The most common reaction to the austere budget released by the Trump administration on May 23 is that it can’t possibly get past Congress. President …

  83. <i>This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – We Make Investing Profitable. To view original, click here.</i> Reposted with …

  84. In U.S. history, entire cities and states have been branded corrupt: Think Richard J. Daley’s Chicago or Huey Long’s Louisiana. But amid even the …

  85. Bitcoins are the newest form of currency, and they’re also the most misunderstood. What exactly is a bitcoin? It’s a digital currency that’s only …

  86. Sears Holdings Corp. on Thursday reported its first quarterly profit in nearly two years, thanks to the sale of its Craftsman tool business.<p>Excluding the sale, it would have reported a loss for the quarter.<p>Sales continued their multiyear decline, hurt by lower demand for groceries, apparel, and …

  87. Shortly after he was publicly accused of assaulting a reporter Wednesday night, House candidate Greg Gianforte (R-MT) put out a statement that portrayed himself as the victim of the altercation.<p>Shane Scanlon, Gianforte’s spokesperson, made a number of specific factual assertions. One was that the …

  88. Despite rewrites and reshoots, and an ensuing boycott, Disney’s standalone Stars Wars film <i>Rogue One: A Star Wars</i> <i>Story</i> had a stellar opening weekend. And it’s $290 million global debut was enough to propel Disney to a new Hollywood record.<p>Walt Disney Studios will become the first movie studio to …

  89. <i>Welcome to debt-serfdom, the only possible output of the soaring cost of living for the unprotected many who are ruled by a hubris-soaked, subsidized</i> …

  90. VIX Manipulation/Phil – I can't believe Seeking Alpha let that be published.

  91. Wow, oil failing $49!  /RB $1.60.  Back in one long there.  

    /TF testing 1,380 – very nice!  

    Macron/StJ – LOL, that was great.  I hope they all start doing that to him.  He really pissed off NATO today.

    NATO/01 – US GDP is $20Tn and we contribute 22% of NATOs cost, Germany's GDP is $3.35Tn (1/6th as big) and they contribute 14% of NATO's cost (75% of what US contributes).  I'm not surprised you don't understand the math because you support Trump and also think it's unfair that a guy making $10Bn should pay $3.5Bn in taxes and have $6.5Bn left instead of 60M people in the bottom 20% sacrificing $50 each to give him a tax break.

    VIX/Scott – They have vague editorial policies to say the least.  

  92. /KC finally waking up.  I'm having a hell of a day – Kobe steaks this weekend!  

  93. Phil your making vast assumptions I don't support Trump, I support the American Tax payer,  which is why I think we should pay less.. 

  94. Former Greek PM injured in explosion in his car.  Not much details.  

    Sorry 01, just supporting Conservatives and what Trump is doing but not Trump – got it…  FYI – this is the face people make when they are thinking " what a dick":

  95. Phil – Pump it Up – "I see nothing other than the looming 3-day weekend where "THEY" want people to go to their barbecues talking to their friends about how great the market is and making them feel foolish for not getting in."

    Happy Daze indeed. Obi-Won has taught you well. The force is strong with this one.

    Phil – Censored Alpha – "They have vague editorial policies to say the least."

    Vague is being way too kind. Throw in whimsical. Thanks for my ROFLMAO of the day.

  96. Speaking of censorship, Seeking Alpha cut the bottom of my article – cowards!  

  97. Albo/GBTC – that fund is crazy. It supposedly represents 0.1 BTC, so it should be trading around 270 or so. It just goes to show you how much inefficiency can exist in a market — you could buy bitcoin and short GBTC and it is nearly arbitrage at 100%+ gain !! (assuming gbtc reverts to its intrinsic value of course). 

  98. Here's how a non-dick President makes a speech:

    • The Republicans' proposed Obamacare replacement, the American Health Care Act, has alienated a powerful constituency group: seniors. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) "strongly opposes" the bill, narrowly passed in the House several weeks ago.
    • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the current version of the bill could significantly raise premiums for seniors. In 2026, for example, a 64-year-old earning $26K/year would pay a net premium of $1,700 under the Affordable Care Act, but could spike to $16,100 in a state requesting no waivers and $13,600 in a state requesting "moderate" changes to regulations.
    • A 64-year-old earning $68,200 would experience a much smaller increase because his/her net premium under current law is already high at $15,300, rising to $16,100 in a state requesting no waivers, but dropping to $13,600 per the above example.
    • A 21-year-old making $26,500 pays a net premium of $1,700 under current law, rising to $1,750 in no-waiver states, but dropping to $1,250 in states requesting "moderate" changes.
    • The Senate is signaling that the CBO score is another reason to work on a different plan.

    At least some retailers are doing okay; mall REITs rise

    • Among the retailers surprising to the upside of late are Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Guess?, ANF, Burlington Stores, and Williams-Sonoma. Even Sears reported a GAAP profit (adjusted EPS remains in the red).
    • The Retail SPDR is higher by 1.8% on today's session.
    • And their landlords? They're seeing a bounce: Simon Property (SPG +1.4%), General Growth (GGP +2.1%), Kimco (KIM +1.3%), Weingarten (WRI +1.1%), Macerich (MAC +2%), PREIT (PEI +2.1%), CBL (CBL +3.3%)

    GE's backing off $2 EPS framework no surprise to Deutsche Bank analyst

    • The admission by General Electric (GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt that the company will have a tough time hitting its $2/share earnings target next year comes as no surprise to Deutsche Bank analyst John Inch.
    • Inch thinks the $2 target, up more than 21% Y/Y, is unrealistic, even if the target is only a high point in GE's guidance range, and that the company’s framework for earnings remains too high.
    • Inch considers GE "overvalued given weak earnings quality and the wide gap between non-cash and cash earning," and maintains his Sell rating and $24 price target on the shares.

    GM falls after accusation of emissions cheating

    • General Motors (GM -2.3%) breaks lower after the company is accused of using emissions testing defeat devices in some trucks.
    • Bloomberg reports that a class action lawsuit againt GM was filed on the behalf of 705K GM Duramax owners.
    • The story is still developing.
    • Previously: Fiat Chrysler sued by U.S. government (May 23)
    • Previously: Fiat +3% as Sergio defends (May 24)

    Netflix breaks to new high after Piper confidence

    • Netflix (NFLX +3.3%) jumps to a new all-time high after positive comments from PIper Jaffray sets off some buying action.
    • The firm thinks consensus estimates for 2020 are on the low side as its boosts its price target to $190.
    • "If, in the 24 quarters after hitting 20M subs (which will occur at end of 2020), the int'l streaming business is anywhere close to the market share and margin levels achieved by domestic, then 2020 consensus EPS for Netflix would be ~100% too low," explains analyst Michael Olson.
    • Previously: Loop Capital sees House of Cards boost for Netflix (May 23)

  99. Nato/Canada……..Canada contributes with our Air Force although we have to put it on hold until our plane gets out of the shop

  100. bitcoin down?

    tsla next?

  101. Gianforte, wow what a real class act. What, did he think the Guardian reporter was a United passenger?

  102. Hey, does anyone remember when life was nice and simple?  

    When did we screw everything up?

    1,380 failing on /TF after a strong bounce failed (4 points off a 10-point drop):

    /ES is the fresh horse at 2,414 with a stop over 2,415. 

  103. New Ethereum classic fund. It's weird to me they chose ETC over ETH, or, didn't have a fund that at least tracked both. ETH (ethereum) is the "main" trunk and ETC split off when some folks didn't like the impurity of a hard fork to fix the DAO disaster. Their contention that some people "like to develop more" on ETC is incorrect. ETH is picking up all of the "real" business like integration into Microsoft Azure and such.

    Of course, all of these funds are kind of weird to me since you can own these digital assets directly (which is the point of the digital asset in the first place!)

  104. Bio / Phil    Any thoughts on the Crypto currency  Ripple, XRP, 

  105. Trading MOMOs: First, don't fight the trend – leave someone else to call the top. Go long and strong. Sell puts on weakness. Have the courage to question: apparently two weeks ago the markets were not on 'life support'. Watch for technical bounces – for PCLN that move down below the $1800 level looked ripe for a reversal – I picked up the Jan 19 1760/1860 BCS for $50 at that time – now 100% ITM. That in itself means nothing but it gives me the flexibility for selling more short call premium and plenty of opportunities to roll. And yes, for the time being, it turns out I was lucky. 

  106. Crypto/01 – To me it's a bubble at the moment, could turn very ugly at a moment's notice.  

    Ah, here's what was setting the mood in 1961:

    Good job Winston. 

  107. Ripple's a gateway and not a currency, one of the only few, so it's a little harder to understand. Still it can be bought and held in exchanges just like anything else. It exploded onto the scene as one of the first  few "altcoins" (like litecoin) in early 2013 and then it's market cap – though always substantial like the #2 or #3 all this time, seemed to flatline for years. Then all of a sudden, along with this crazy bubble we've seen in the past 2 months, it went crazy. Like, $300M market cap to $15B crazy. I wouldn't buy any here at $12B. It's all too crazy high right now. 

  108. Spastic day for HPQ on earnings.

  109. Phil/ Bio   Thanks for the info… 

  110. WTF?

    Is there no sector that can't go higher?

    LOL – here's out guy:


    Sean Hannity is taking a previously unannounced 'vacation' as the list of fleeing advertisers grows

    Turkey's richest families sell almost $600 million in shares in one day

    Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is wounded in an Athens bombing

    Photo published for The 15 heartless proposals in Trump’s budget


    The 15 heartless proposals in Trump’s budget

    Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s remarks show they aren’t operating in the real world. Not even close

  111. Our Guy/Phil – kinda nice to see someone treating politicians with appropriate due respect.

  112. Quite a divergence between NAS and RUT.  One of them has got to be wrong. 

  113. Winston – Well done on PCLN.  I've been emulating you in AMZN, but don't do the BCS as well as you.  Still learning.  But I have done well by selling and rolling up puts.  Thanks for your input !

  114. As Interior pivots to fossil fuel extraction, report shows it costs taxpayers bigly

    When restaurants fall into recession, the 2nd yr is a recession. – Paul Westra on the last Adventures in Finance

    Greek car bomb picture:

    Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos Car Bomb

    Nearly 70% of people ages 18 to 34 years old said they have saved less than $1,000 for a down payment

    The 10 best beaches in America, ranked

    Big-box retailers beat back banks’ latest attempt to kill provision that’s cost lenders billions

    Nuclear power is so expensive even conservatives are turning on it

    Fox News's Tucker Carlson is white Morpheus.

  115. albo/well done to you! – but really, with many large cap names there were plenty of opportunities going begging – at least from the start of the year:

    AMZNBA; CAT; GS; JPM; MO; NFLX; PCLN; PM; – to name but a few. There were plenty of places along the trend where you could place $20 LEAP spreads and sit back and wait, with a fantastic cushion in a downturn.

    Or would you rather try and make money in VZ?

    Sometimes the obvious is worth paying more attention to than the exotic.

  116. Are we holding /RB until tomorrow? 

  117. Phil – is the OPEC meeting over already?  I thought it was 2 days and today was just the initial noise and back-forth, fully expecting OPEC to announce something HUUGE and Beauuutiful.

  118. I have one /RB short at 1.6438, short I DD at 1.60?

  119. I mean, I have one /RB short at 1.6438, should I DD at 1.60?

  120. Sorry, it is one /RB long not short!

  121. Cj, are you shorting /RB? I thought we were going long into Memorial Day? 

    Plus, if you were short at 1.64, how would DD at 1.60 help you? Just cash in. 

  122. Got it! 

  123. Phil, Any suggested trades on the FAANG  stocks? Thanks in advance. 

  124. TLRD – (formerly MW:Men's Wearhouse) smallish specialty retailer. Has retail bottomed?  interesting volume spike up this morning (that has been given back) along with a relatively significant number of June $12 puts traded. Someone expecting something for June 6 earnings release (June 7 conf call)? Sold for $2.00 so someone looking at a net $10 entry a few days before 7% dividend. Last few days have been new lows since rename (and since 2009 as MW). 

  125. RAI/Winston – if you like a trending stock…

  126. KIM, RPAI – savaged retail REITs Value floor yet or look for another 50% lower when we get our correction (LOL, like that will ever happen!)

  127. That article from the NY Times on medically assisted dying was a difficult read

  128. Phil,

    Are you adding to your /RB long?

  129. Scottmi – FWIW, I'm long a small position in CBL, a small retail REIT that operates regional shopping centers.  Currently, yielding 13%.  Will add to the position if and when retail starts looking better.

  130. CBl will most likely declare their next dividend in a week or so.

  131. CBL

  132. Jeff Bezos passes Bill Gates if AMZN hits $1,030. 

    /RBN7/Jeff – I have 2 at $1.599 avg so I'm content to go long into the weekend now.  Could get worse first as /CL dropped 5.25% at $48.67.  Finishing below 5% is BAD.  

    OPEC/Latch – Yes, it's over they extended the cuts but they didn't increase them.  

    By Julia Simon | NEW YORK

    Oil prices fell about 4 percent on Thursday, on track for their biggest daily drop in three weeks, after OPEC's decision to extend production curbs fell short of expectations of deeper or longer cuts.

    As expected, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with other non-OPEC members, agreed to extend a cut in oil supplies of 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of the first quarter of 2018 to reduce a glut of supply.

    However, in the days prior to the meeting, talk of a possible extension for 12 months, or deeper cuts than the current agreement, helped buoy prices on optimism of a faster drawdown in supply.

    /RB/CJ – As noted above, I have the 2 at just under $1.60.  If you don't like losing $5,000 overnight, perhaps wait until tomorrow to see if all is well or if we make another leg down.  

    FAANG/Newt – All stay away to me.  I really think we're very toppy but the market isn't stopping so, on the whole, I'd rather sit in CASH!!! and wait until we get a clear signal.  

    Retail/Scott – Was generally oversold but TLRD is not on my list of favorites.  

    Dying/Torquio – I think this country needs to be reeducated about death.  Most countries accept it as a natural thing and that sure does make it easier for people nearing the end.  In the US, we treat death like a disease that we have to fight – it's fairly irrational, and expensive!  

    /RB/Japar – I added one more but 2 is plenty for me to risk, we could drop another 5% (0.05) and that would suck.

    • Netflix (NFLX +3.9%) added another notable signing after Ellen DeGeneres tweeted that she is "in" to do a stand-up special for the streamer.
    • Ellen joins Chris Rock, Louis CK, Dave Chapelle and Amy Schumer in recently signing with Netflix to do a special show.
    • Previously: Netflix breaks to new high after Piper confidence (May 25)

    Good for TEVA:

    • New FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. plans a multifaceted effort to put the brakes on drug price increases via his "Drug Competition Action Plan." In a session before a House appropriations subcommittee that is deciding on the FDA's budget for next year, he conveyed several of his ideas that should make it easier for generic drug makers to enter the U.S. market. Part of his vision includes accelerating the review process in order to clear the current backlog of 2,640 applications (1,484 have been sent back to sponsors for changes).
    • Dr. Gottlieb also calls for a simpler approach reviewing applications for complex drugs. For example, under current FDA rules, it is very difficult to prove equivalence to medications applied to the skin or eyes or in inhalers or injectors. There are a number of such products that are off patent but lack generic competition, such as Mylan' s (MYL +0.7%) EpiPen, Glaxo's (GSK -1.2%) Advair and Sanofi's (SNY -0.3%) Lantus

  133. So Bezos should pass Gates by Wednesday

  134. CBL/Albo – thx.. I was thinking of you as I was looking at these! ;-)

  135. Pretty strong close but NYSE failed to hold 11,650 and, of course, it would be madness to flip more bullish into the long weekend.  

    We'll see how tomorrow goes, volume has been anemic, by the way:

    Date Open High Low Close Adj Close* Volume
    May 25, 2017 241.20 242.08 240.96 241.71 241.71 58,279,229
    May 24, 2017 240.32 240.73 239.93 240.61 240.61 46,927,700
    May 23, 2017 239.95 240.24 239.51 240.05 240.05 48,341,700
    May 22, 2017 238.90 239.71 238.82 239.52 239.52 61,010,600
    May 19, 2017 237.33 239.08 237.27 238.31 238.31 115,011,400
    May 18, 2017 235.73 237.75 235.43 236.77 236.77 107,047,700
    May 17, 2017 240.08 240.08 235.75 235.82 235.82 172,174,100

  136. I would certainly expect some profit taking tomorrow, but everything is awesome so what do I know. A big thanks to Gartman, about time he flipped long, my shorts may be saved yet. I must admit I wasn't paying attention to him, my bad.

  137. $80B better not be the crypto pullback line! that's pathetic!!! I was looking for $50B at least. Otherwise we could go to $150B from here. Look out.

  138. StJ/SVXY – I'll just pay the $1 now. Sign up for and send me your username.

  139. No worries BDC! Add it to your next charity donation.

  140. stj – does the Dem 2018 house effort count as charity?

  141. NK/Latch – what the hell! "It’s unclear whether the United States would deploy ground forces; doing so would almost certainly incur U.S. causalities." Hey, guy, 1. There's already a bunch of US ground forces sitting on the ground at the DMZ with targets painted on them 2. There's this country called the Republic of Korea that really should have a say in what goes down, as they're really pretty competent and it is their country after all, and it is, to say the least, not ethical to only consider US military casualties. 3. Last but not least, my butt is sitting here outside Daegu (where there's a major air base).

    I hope this article is not typical of US foreign/military policy on Korea, but the lack of any role for south Korea is something I see repeatedly in these screeds. I hope that doesn't reflect the thinking in the field. I do know that south Korea has a decapitation team, whom I suspect could do a swifter, more effective job than the US.

  142. Sure does BDC! The republic needs to be saved.

  143. GBTC range 375.00 – 565.00 in one day. Hold on to your bladders!!

  144. Phil / TLRD – Looks like this is in the middle of a turnaround more than half way through.   They took on significant debt in 15 w/ the acquisition of JOS A.  1B or so of debt is due in the next 5 years or so.  Additionally they pay a hefty dividend.  They've been rationalizing their stores for over a year, but not completed yet.  Cash flow improved in '17 and margins are also improving.  Have not increased the .72 dividend since '13.  They are at an all time low ( or close to the 9.4), question is, will they reduce the dividend? Can they improve CF and service debt. Looks like this year still has some downside but if they can complete cost savings and stores turnaround this could be a multi bagger.

  145. TLRD – also just got a new chairmans and president….. maybe doing more kitchen sink thing this qtr and next……

  146. Snow- hopefully, things will not get out of hand but for what it is worth, one of my best friends was in Vietnam and was deployed along with ROK units. I recall his comments vividly that the Korean's were extremely fierce fighters and not to be trifled with. Not often is it heard here that the Republic of Korea sent many thousands of troops to Vietnam and suffered many casualties. Sadly, this part of our history is neglected for a variety of reasons but should not diminish a noble contribution by a solid ally. 

  147. If you all would like a good look at Korea since the war, and how they view themselves, I strongly recommend the movie "Ode to my father". Excellent show, the lead male is a superb actor himself but he also produces what I call the "Yogi Berra Effect" – everyone else's performance rises simply because he's there. And I warn you, if you have adopted Korean siblings, as I do, there's at least one point (it'll be obvious) where you'll weep.

  148. Burr. You still holding on to ES? I have my 3 shorts 2399. Also have 3 long RB at 1.63. A lot of pain. Hope KC turns up to help out. Planning to ride them out. 

  149. Snow- Friedman. I am afraid his view is probably atypical as his audience is American. Don't disagree with your comments but at the end of the day we have our boys in harms way in a foreign country and have lost a lot of blood already. Do you think China would be notified before we'd launch at the same time as South Korea?  Hope this all blows over. 

  150. Good morning!

    First of all, what are you guys doing here?  It's a holiday weekend and we didn't become investors so we could spend every last minute working.   The markets will still be here on Tuesday – go have fun!

    I'm already in Atlantic City, so my vacation started yesterday.

    Futures are flat and likely to remain so but gold and silver flying as Kushner becomes a focus in the investigation.  

    Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, multiple U.S. officials told NBC News.

    Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry, officials said. That does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him.

    The FBI's scrutiny of Kushner places the bureau's sprawling counterintelligence and criminal investigation not only on the doorstep of the White House, but the Trump family circle.

    Don''t get your hopes up though, there's no punishment for Republicans – no matter how bad their actions:

    Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative

    Republican Scores Victory in Montana House Special Election

    Oil is still weak, can't hold $49, Gasoline still testing $1.60


    NoKo/Latch – What, you guys are still a country?  We heard you got nuked!  Trump needs a war – that's all that matters to Presidents with 35% approval ratings and Federal investigations closing in on them.

    TLRD/Batman – I think you have to assume their interest on debt climbs at least 2% by next year to be safe and that's a big hit on profits and certainly takes a dividend hike off the table.  Nonetheless, they are priced for BK at $500M, which is half what they acquired Jos A Bank for and they also own Men's Warehouse (see guys, you actually have no choice) and the Tuxedo Shop (who just lost their Macy's contract).  $3.4Bn in sales should eventually translate into $150M in profits but they lost 0.19/share last Q.  Short story is I would not count on the dividend at all but they are very interesting down here with earnings on 6/7.

    Much as I hate to add to Jabob's FU list – this is a fun one and you can sell the 2019 $10 puts for $3.20 to net in for $6.80 so there's no harm in selling 10 of those for $3,200 in the LTP to remind us to keep an eye on them.  If earnings go well, we can add a bull call spread.

    /ES/Latch – Making a bit of progress but, if you were going to hold on, why not add 1 at 2,415 so you'd avg up to 2,403.50?  If you are not going to scale in – then you should have stopped out.  

    The only reason you should ever allow a stop to pass in the Futures is because you would be HAPPY to add to the position if it moves another 1% against you.  With /ES, that's 20 points at a clip ($1,000 per contract).  

    If you are not willing to lose $1,000 and DD on one, then you should be stopping out with a $200 loss.  If you are not willing to lose $2,000 and DD on two, then (assuming you doubled down with a $1,000 loss), then you should have stopped out your 2nd contract with a $200 loss and wait until you are down $2,000 to try another entry, etc…