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Which Way Wednesday – Waiting on the G20

Well, we flipped the NYSE's weak bounce line green at 12,150.

We also hit the weak bounce line (24,800) on the Dow (/YM) futures so all is well(ish) at the moment as the Trump administration made nice noises on trade yesterday – essentially negating Trump's morning tirade and that gave us the pop that we needed to get back over the hump so now we are waiting to see if either the S&P (/ES) can take back their weak bounce at 2,710, Nasdaq (/NQ) 7,080 or the Russell (/RTY) 1,530 and, if any of them do – then we can go long on the laggard with tight stops if those weak bounce lines fail again.  

Unfortunately, as you can see from the NYSE chart, recent weakness has already caused a "death cross" to occur as the 50-day moving average fell below the 200-day moving average and we really won't be out of the woods again until that reverses and that will take a couple of months above the 200 dma so, until we cross back over those lines – this market will still have a tendency to trend lower well into Q1 of 2019.

And it's not just the NYSE, the Russell has already crossed and the Nasdaq will cross early next week and the S&P will cross within two weeks and the Dow MIGHT avoid a death cross, but only if it gets back over 25,000 and stays there.  This morning, the /YM Futures are at 24,900 with a 160-point gain on the Dow overnight so it could possibly happen and the best bullish Futures bet at the moment is going to be going long on the Russell (/RTY) above the 1,500 line which will be confirmed by Nasdaq (/NQ) 6,750 and S&P (/ES) 2,700 so as long as all 4 of the indexes are over those lines, you can stay bullish on /RTY.

The big, positive spin for the World markets this morning is that Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet over the weekend at the G20 conference so, hopefully, there will be a resolution of some sort.  Also to be resolved is Brexit, which seems to be staggering forward without actually collapsing and then we have the Fed Minutes tomorrow and Fed Speak where the Financial Press Cheerleaders are dying to get some kind of quote they can spin positively to encourage the dips to come back and buy.

There was no help yesterday evening from Chicago Fed's Charlie Evans, who said he supports the Central Bank pressing forward with short-term rate rises.  With the economy doing well and likely to turn in a growth performance above 3% this year, “it’s time to get back toward something that’s more normal.”  KC's Esther George and Atlanta's Raphael Bostic were also on the panel and none of them supported the Presient's demand for a longer period of lower rates – because it's silly – especially from a guy who keeps talking about how strong the economy is and how low unemployment is.

Richard Clarida is the Fed's Vice-Chairman and he said the Fed would keep raising short-term interest rates gradually, a hint that another rate increase is coming in December.  “Raising rates too quickly could unnecessarily shorten the economic expansion, while moving too slowly could result in rising inflation and inflation expectations down the road that could be costly to reverse, as well as potentially pose financial stability risks,” Mr. Clarida said at a banking conference.

Image result for trump xi cartoonNow, keep in mind that 4 Fed Speakers talked about raising rates and the market still went higher so what is there that will discourage them from actually raising rates at next week's meeting?  Traders are simply delusional if they think that's not going to happen – almost as delusional as the ones who think Trump and Xi will suddenly hammer out an agreement over dinner on Saturday.

Meanwhile, President Trump told The Washington Post on Tuesday that he's "not even a little bit happy" with his appointment Jerome Powell as chair of the Federal Reserve.  Trump told the Post, "So far, I'm not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay," who he appointed earlier this year. The president told the newspaper that he thinks the U.S. central bank is "way off-base with what they're doing."

If Trump shakes people's confidence in the Fed by attacking the Chairman, that can have some very serious repercussions for the Global Markets as the Fed depends very much on the confidence of others, using words more often than rates to steer the Global Markets when they need to.  Powell will speak later at the NY Economic Club at noon and we can use those bullish lines as bearish lines if things don't go as well as traders are hoping.

Either way, it will be an interesting day and we have a Live Trading Webinar at 1pm, EST – so join us there!  


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  1. The $15 Billion Money Pit Dragging GE Down

  2. Good morning All!

    Join us for our weekly webinar, today at 1pm!

  3. Not showing a lot of conviction on the upside yet!

  4. Not happy… We need easy money forever!

    President Donald Trump says he thinks the Federal Reserve’s policies are a greater threat to U.S. economic growth than a burgeoning trade war with China. [...]

    Trump says: “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”

    His gut also led to 6 bankruptcies!

  5. Good Morning.

  6. Gold near two-week low ahead of Fed speech

  7. Wow, That Steer Is Really Big

  8. From Pivot to Stumble in Asia

  9. Good morning!  

    Data is pretty good so we'd better hold our lines.  /ES isn't there yet (2,695) and /NQ now below (6,743), and /YM is 24,914 with /RTY at 1,498.40 so not encouraging so far.  

    And the Data was good so no excuses:

    • GDP Q3+3.5% vs. +3.6% consensus, +3.5% initial estimate.

    We need that 7-year note auction to go well or we've got BIG TROUBLE!  Of course, that's why Powell is speaking ahead of it….

  10. Phil/aapl

    Good morning!

    Thanks for your reply on Aapl yesterday.

    It just occurred to me that a few weeks ago, you commented that if Aapl got down to 184, you would have that in your basket only.

    What do you feel about it at $171 (on Monday)?

  11. Maya You are drilling! AAPL was good at 171 and is at present not too good at 184, I even rolled some longs from 2020 to 2021. They looking good now. You need more gut feeling like the clown and a salt of patience!

  12. Kind of nice to have a mixed market, isn't it? Some of the shorts are working as well as some of the longs. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

    Brace yourselves for the EIA report…

  13. oil ouch

  14. jabo the eia report doesnt look as bearish

  15. AAPL/Maya – As noted in the Portfolio Review:

    Long-Term Portfolio Review (LTP) – Part 1: ?

    • AAPL - More cowbell!  ("Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription.. is more cowbell!") How could you not want more AAPL stock when it goes on sale?  We have a big spread already but why sell 10 June 2020 $160 puts for $12.88 ($12,880) when we can sell 15 2021 $170 puts for $18.80 ($28,200) and I know I said I wanted less margin but hey, $10,000 more (so we roll).  Now we can use that $10,000 to roll the 40 2021 $190 calls ($33) down to the $180 calls ($37.50) for net $4.50 ($18,000) so we've added $40,000 of potential upside for net $10,000 AND improved our position for when we do want to sell more short calls (and we're likely to collect the full $31,000 from the June $200s at this rate).  More cowbell baby!  

    Butterfly Portfolio Update: ?

    • AAPL – This is why we only sold 4 puts and calls.  We got burned on the $220 puts, now $29.95 so we lost $7,780 but we made $3,400 on the short calls so our net lose for the 1-month sale is $3,380 vs the potential $7,200 we could have made if we hit the mark.  We think AAPL will come back so we're going to roll the 4 short Nov $220 puts at $28.50 ( $11,400) to 6 short Jan $210 puts at 19.50 ($11,700) and we'll also sell 4 short Jan $200 calls for $3.70 ($1,480) so we're putting another $1,780 in our pocket and we still have the $7,200 we sold last month so now we have $8,980 in pocket against paper losses while our backing spread, since we now sold the puts, cost us just net $4,550.  While it would nice if it had gone perfectly, it really doesn't matter that it didn't as it's one disappointing sale out of 6-8. 

    That was at $190 so even cheaper now but not cheap enough to add more.  We thought $184 would hold as a  20% pullback from $230 and that's down $36 and 20% of $36 is $7.20 which would make a 1-deviation overshoot $176.80 and 2-deviations is $169.60 so it was a 20% move down with a 2-deviation overshshoot but that doesn't change the weak bounce line, still at $191.20 – so that's what we're now looking for to conform APPL isn't on the way to a 30-40% correction.  As it took us about 10 days to fall from $190 – we'll have to wait 10 days to see if we take it back but anything below $169.60 is a strong indication we're heading lower, not higher, in which case – I just gotta have more cowbell!  

    Mixed Ati – Doing very well for our LTP/STP combo, that's for sure.  

    EIA was in-line with API so no big move in oil, which is still pathetic at $51.25:

    • EIA Petroleum Inventories: Crude +3.6M barrels vs. +0.8M consensus, +4.9M last week.
    • Gasoline -0.8M barrels vs. +0.6M consensus, -1.3M last week.
    • Distillates +2.6M barrels vs. -0.9M consensus, -0.1M last week.
    • Futures -0.64% to $51.23.

    Doesn't put a dent in recent builds so not much help but no reason to go lower either.

    • October new home sales slumped to a near-three-year low of 544K (seasonally-adjusted annualized pace). That's down from 597K in September (which was originally reported as 553K), and missed estimates for 575K.
    • On a year-over-year basis October new home sales were up a slim 2.8%.
    • The median sales price of $309.7K was down 3.1% Y/Y, and the inventory-to-sales ratio rose to 7.4 months (6 months is considered a "balance" market).
    • The  news has taken some of the starch out of a recent modest rally in the homebuilders. The iShares U.S. Construction ETF (ITB -2.2%)
    • Individual players: Toll Brothers (TOL -3.7%), Lennar (LEN -2.8%), Pulte (PHM -2.7%), KB Home (KBH -3.4%), D.R. Horton (DHI -2.7%), Hovnanian (HOV -0.4%)
    • The Federal Reserve warns that asset valuations appear high vs. historical ranges and that could lead to market plunges if risks increase, according to its financial stability report.
    • Some key takeaways from the report:
    • Commercial real estate prices have grown faster than rents for several years, the report says; farmland prices are near historical highs.
    • Measures of house prices relative to household income suggest elevated pressures in residential real estate nationwide.
    • Vulnerabilities from total private-sector credit appears "moderate."
    • Household borrowing has advanced more slowly than economic activity and is mostly concentrated among low-credit-risk borrowers.
    • Debt issued by businesses is historically high, with a pick-up in risky debt and credit standards for some business loans seems to have declined.
    • Leverage in financial sector has been low in recent years.
    • The Fed sees near-term risks from Brexit and eurozone fiscal challenges as well as problems in China and other emerging markets.
    • General Motors (GM -1.5%) and the auto industry are still on the mind of POTUS. The latest tweets indicate that the issue of tariffs on imported cars is being studied and that Congress needs to get smart on car trade.
    • While some of President Trump's favorite corporate targets have sailed through his attacks with their share prices just fine, the political wildcard of GM's heavy involvement in the swing states of Michigan and Ohio could keep the issue an overhang. Don't expect Ford (F -0.4%) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU -1.8%) to be unscathed as well.
    • Another development this morning is the retweet by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's Twitter account of a suggestion that GM should reimburse the U.S. in full for its bailout (outside of the TARP loan already paid back). For his part, Mnuchin says the tweet was sent by an unauthorized individual, which in itself leads to some other questions.

  16. 20% of 230 is 46

  17. Phil/aapl

    Well, the above pretty much answered all my questions.

    Thank you!

    Please scream loud when you buy….??

  18. what made the mkt jump?

  19. that climate report looks pretty bad. We've got a box that profitably stores grid-scale renewable energy while simultaneously sequestering atmospheric CO2. I wish other solutions out there existed like this that we could invest in, but ours is the only thing I've seen thus far.

  20. Jabo this might be the answer

    Stocks rallied following remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, which suggested a more dovish approach to monetary policy.

  21. BDC

    Do you have a link describing the "box" you are referring to?

  22. 7-year auction / Phil: let's see, fiat currency is a system of trust based around the rule of law. Or is it, based around chairman's of X and Y committees "selling" trust prior to huge debt auctions? Yes, this system of trust has no long-term stability issues. Everything is fine here. Never in the course of human history have such systems changed, evolved or otherwise have they been jarred from their status quo.

    Never once.

  23. Dreamer – give me an email and I'll send a link.

  24. GIS???

  25. Hi jabo if you hang in a bit you might see AAPL even at 184 again!!!!!

  26. AAPL/Jabob – Oops, that means $9.20 for the deviations so the lines below and above are $165.60, $174.80, $184, $193.20 (weak bounce) and $202.40.  

    Buying/Maya – We already did.  

    Jump/Jabob – As expected, Powell interpreted doveish.  What a move!

    • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the central bank's benchmark rate is currently "just below" the neutral rate--the point at which the interest rate neither helps nor hinders the economy.
    • The observation contrasts with his statement in early October when he said the Fed was "a long way" from neutral.
    • Today he says: "Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy,"  in his speech before the Economic Club of New York.
    • Powell and others in the monetary policy-setting committee are forecasting "continued solid growth, low unemployment, and inflation near 2%."
    • His tone is more dovish, for sure: "We also know that the economic effects of our gradual rate increases are uncertain, and may take a year or more to be fully realized."
    • Though FOMC members base projections on best assessments of the outlook and says "there is no preset policy path," he said.
    • The Dow swings up 1.8% with the S&P 500 up 1.7% and the Nasdaq +1.5%.
    • U.S. 10-year Treasury note yield falls 1.5 basis points to 3.05%.
    • The U.S. Dollar Index falls 0.5% to 96.90.

    Obviously take the money and run on /TF or any other index long! 

    Fiat/BDC – Here to stay, I think.

    AAPL $180!

  27. Quick 5% bump ($25,000) in the LTP already – gotta love it!  STP took a $7,000 hit so far.  Money talk popped 10% ($5,000), OOP 6% ($6,000), Butterfly could care less, of course…

    I think Powell is being taken out of context because he actually said:

    Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy,"

    That's like me saying that AAPL $184 is low by historical standards and that $180 is below the range of estimates.  That doesn't mean it's going to stop at $184, it means the range from $184 to $230 is "normal" so between that at about $202 is where we'll likely be "normal" – not $184! 

    So Powell has said nothing new and we're still many hikes away from "normal" – which would be about 3.5%, not 2% – this is all just spin to yank people back into the market.  The Fed hiking rates was not what took the market down 10% – that was a done deal all year long and very much baked in.  CHINA is the key, not rates.

  28. Wishing I wouldn't have got out of TF at 1495, Darn! Congrats to those who stuck it through.

  29. Hi Phil, why do you usually recommend "taking the money and running" rather than moving a stop order and waiting to see if the move would continue?

  30. Wow, look at the spin:


    • Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell in October helped send markets on a multi-week reel when he said the Fed Funds rate was still a long way from Neutral.
    • A few hundred S&P points later (not to mention plenty of criticism by the president), Powell minutes ago said the central bank's benchmark rate is "just below" neutral, adding there's "no preset policy path."
    • Markets are rallying all over, including emerging markets. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM +1.6%), and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO +1.5%).

    How does that fix AAPL's "sales problem"?  

    /TF/Dreamer – Yeah, they did try to flush people out.

    That's why we watch all the indexes – the other 3 gaave a much (5-10 mins) earlier signal to get back in /TF as it crossed back over 1,500.

    24,900 was our line.

    2,700 was our line

    6,750 was our line.

    Notice those were bots primed to buy at noon so this was all a pre-planned pump, not a real reaction as no humans had time to really react to that news as it came out.

    Taking the money/Alter – Because if you wait for it to reverse, you may have trouble selling and 1,520 was as much as I thought we'd get out of /RTY – good for $1,000 per contract so I'm generally happy to take that off the table as making $1,000 in a day is pretty good money.  You can set stops and try to squeeze more out – I'm certainly not forbidding the practice but, for the purposes of the play I called in the morning – I'm officially done with it and moving on to the next opportunity, which may be /DX at 96.85.

  31. Phil, thanks, clear. Thanks for the /RTY play by the way. I am still sub-optimal with my entries and exits but managed to get $550 out of it (on the back 1 contract).

  32. Shorted some /NQ at 6850.

  33. Trying to fade Powell's effect.  Only risking 10 points.

  34. $550 is very nice Alter – beats working for a living!  cheeky

    Speaking of jobs – it's Webinar Time 

    Fade/Albo – I wouldn't short it because this is all going to be news to Europe and Asia, who will want to get in on the fun.  If we keep going up, shorting into the G20 could be a fun move.

  35. I think that Powell is saying whatever is needed to get Trump of his back! Pretty shameful, the Fed used to be independent but not it's tied to real estate deals I guess.

  36. Sold 1/2 up 20. Moving stops to entry.

  37. Alter a stop order can be overrun. But taking the money and run you do have it in your pocket!

  38. Meant to say covered 1/2 as I'm short.

  39. Phil could it make sence to look for a new play on BA not only the engine fell down but a complete plane still not a biggi.

  40. Stopped out of balance in /NQ at entry.

  41. FED- so, if current policy is 3-3.5% is near neutral, that does not spell good fortune for forward GDP growth. Thus, current earnings growth forecasts of 10-12% now seem overly optimistic and would more likely be in the 4% range. 

  42. what is going on with oil now? SCO flying

  43. Powell/StJ – I think he's doing what most Fed Chairs end up doing which is being enigmatic enough to make everyone happy (and get off his back).  

    Image result for greenspan understand quote

    BA/Yodi – I love them long-term but very expensive so I've stayed out of them.  P/E about 20 at $330 and they simply haven't had a good sale in ages so I just keep watching and waiting for something to happen.  

    /YM topped out right about 25,300 and it's a good shorting line if you can watch it closely with tight stops.  We may pop higher as Asia and Europe try to catch up in the morning but I think that the Fed minutes will have people rethinking today's rally. 

    By the way, mission accomplished as we sold $31Bn worth of 7-year notes for 2.974%, down from 3.074% at the last auction and well covered, so Powell got just what he wanted out of the speech ahead of the auction.

    Speaking of bonds, we have a lot of them to auction off this week and a lot of data to catch up on as well and we have 6 Fed Speakers including Powell on Wednesday just ahead of their December meeting, where they are widely expected to hike rates.  Powell is speaking just ahead of a large 7-year note auction, which is interesting as they can't afford to see that go off badly.  The next day, Thursday, we get the minutes from the last Fed Meeting with Mester, Evans and Williams all scheduled around it to give it some spin so it does look like we have a market-boosting week ahead of us.  The question is, whether or not we make it back to those strong bounce lines.

    Fed/Pstas – You can't grow a $20Tn economy more than 4% (the entire GDP of Saudi Arabia, Netherlands or Indonesia) without population growth or massive increases in personal income (or inflation) so there was never a realistic way we were going to hit Trump's numbers and corporate profit growth was a one-time thing based on no longer taxing their gross income – that's also not sustainable.  

    Oil/Jabob – Probably not getting good news re. cuts from Saudis or Russia.

  44. Oh that reminds me – great interview:

  45. Any trades in the webinar which are not yet late to join?

  46. Webinar/Alter – We talked about AAPL and IBM, both just trades we liked last week and this week. Nothing very exciting at the moment but lots of things you can bottom-fish on from the Watch List as we're back at the lows for so many stocks.

  47. AAPL breaking 180 and holding

  48. Lots of under performing money managers having to  play catch up.

  49. Well, 600 points is a good start.  /NQ up 3% for the day – huge up day, will be very impressive if it sticks.  

  50. Phil

     What was the trade of year  the for 2019  ?

     I am sure I missed it

     Thank U

  51. anyone going long rb at 1.37 

  52. trade of the year 

  53. AAPL – kind of unusual for Apple

    While Apple is still not giving absolute unit sales figures, the company does occasionally disclose to investors which models are selling the best out of its lineup, which currently includes older models such as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of product marketing, told Reuters that the iPhone XR is currently Apple's "most mainstream product and our most popular iPhone."

    Apple's iPhone XR is company's best-selling model, executive says



  54. Phil or anyone- are you familiar with the Financial Stability Report as issued by the FED? 

    These are issued by central banks in many countries as part of an informal , non binding collective appraisal of financial/economic conditions. 

    I want to use it as a reference document for a project I am working on and would like an opinion on its veracity. I have read through it several times (it gets a bit geeky) and it strikes me as pretty fair and reasonably accurate picture of how things stand (and as they say- data dependent). 

  55. Economy Rises at a Solid 3.5% Annual Rate for Quarter

  56. Here’s what Ivanka Trump still doesn’t get about her email problems

  57. World faces ‘impossible’ task at post-Paris climate talks

  58. Where is the beef?
    Today I am looking at holding stock against a BCS.
    Especially ABX one of the favorable looked upon by PSW. The BCS have become a Pferdefuss (you walking with one human foot and one horse foot) for me.
    At present I am holding the Jan 20 10 long call against short callers of same year 17 and 20.
    My gut feeling the shorts will never come ITM.
    So the best, I think, is just roll the long calls to Jan 21 10, well not must of a cost but still .55 cents.
    To soften the blow I can sell ½ the amount of the 10 Jan 21 puts for some .95 cents. Obviously I have not failed to sell 1/2 regular monthly cherry calls. Present Dec 14 and Jan 19 15 callers. Always in the hope they run worthless.
    Here I see a never-ending story of hope. Thank God that is not the scenario with all BCS.
    The greatest percentage of BCS, we hope, can be closed out, mostly both legs are in the money to receive the full spread.
    At this place I would like to look back at my armchair trades, where you buy a good researched stock, where you feel comfortable with, and which at least pays a 3% div, and sell a further out strangle or straddle. You will say but buying the stock is a much higher cash outlay. Yes in the short term this is obviously correct. But with a minimum return of 2% per month, I as well can feel comfortable.
    The great difference is the option always has a limited life time as this is not the case with stock provided is does not go bankrupt. A la the great GM.
    During the time you hold the stock you might see swings look at PM MO, even I dare to say IBM,
    But you can always adjust your straddles or strangles as you go through the highs and lows.
    The difference of the above ABX BCS and the stock you hold, you never have to pay the piper in the hopes a play like ABX still will come out of the woods some time.
    Obviously I do hold both scenarios in my portfolio, but you cannot win them all.
    Have a nice day.

  59. Good morning!

    A little pullback this morning but not much.  

    Trade of the year/QC – Was the subject of the Weds post, before Thanksgiving.

    /RB/Tommy – Good call, I hope you hit it.

    AAPL/Batman – That's the one they say isn't selling.

    Financial stability report/Pstas – It's a very serious report on the health of the economy.  Other CBs do it and I doubt the Fed would have started their own just to make it a political football (though that will happen anyway).  Either way, it gives us a good idea of the data the Fed is supposedly dependent on and their interpretation of it.

    The Fed also cautioned that escalating trade tensions could lead to a “particularly large” drop in asset prices because “valuations appear elevated relative to historical standards.” Equity prices, in particular, are “somewhat high” relative to corporate earnings forecasts.

    Pferdefuss/Yodi – I think buying another year to sell for 0.55 is well worth the money and, in that way, you don't really have a limited time-frame to sell.  For one thing, you are only borrowing the 0.55 because, certainly, in Jan 2020, you will be able to close the short $17s and $20s and roll them (or sell new) something in 2021 that is more than 0.55 and, of course, the extra year gives you extra sales.  I think of it more like extending the lease on my successful business – of course my rental of the property costs money but the point is I'm making more than enough to cover my rents – otherwise known as profits.  It's not so much a position as it is a business I run…

    With ABX, the 2021 $10s are $4.30 and the 2020 $17s are 0.88 but I'd sell (as a new trade) the $15s for $1.30, as they can be rolled to the 2021 $20s ($1.15) if ABX starts doing too well.  With that net $3 spread and ABX at $13 (so 100% in the money to start), I could then sell 1/2 the April $14s for 0.70 and presto – I've collected 10% of my money back in 140 (1/5th) out of 788 days I have to sell.

  60. Good morning. Watched Chris Kimble's presentation on metals the other day. Are we looking at a potential breakout in gold and silver prices in the near term? If so, what trades would be best to take advantage? ABX and WPM? Are these trades still good for new entry? TIA