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Monday Mayhem – Trump Trade Tantrum Tanks Markets

Wheeeeee – down we go! 

Who says the market never sells off, we dropped 100 S&P points this morning and 500 Dow points after President Trump THREATENED (didn't actually do anything) to put more tariffs on China if they didn't give him a trade deal this week.  Negotiating like a toddler is the President's sweet spot, so I don't know what the market is so surprised about though this is downright rude behavior as China has/had a delegation on the way to attempt to hammer out a deal.

Changing the rules and moving the goal posts in the middle of a negotiation shows a total lack of respect for your trade partner and we can only conclude that Trump doesn't actually want a deal (something I've been concerned about the whole time) and is only interested in collecting more taxes (ie tariffs) to pay for his tax cuts.  And, of course, China doesn't pay a penny of these tariffs – the Amerian people do as it's a tax on the goods we purchase.

According to the WSJ: Negotiations were initially scheduled to resume Wednesday.  Some working-level Chinese officials who were supposed to leave for Washington on Monday were staying put instead, waiting for further instructions.  The threat of renewed trade tensions sent mainland China markets downward, undoing some of the gains made this year. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 5.6% while its counterpart in Shenzhen tumbled 7.4% -their biggest single-day declines since 2016.

“Turning the heat on China would only lead to rising nationalist sentiment,” a Chinese regulator said Monday. “It’s really not conducive to reaching a deal.”

So it's hard to say what Trump is up to but it's clearly messing with the markets but it's nice to have a test to see if our hedges are doing thier jobs so thanks, Mr. President – we've been waiting for a nice dip.  The Dow (/YM) Futures can be played for a bounce off the 26,000 line with tight stops below.  Down from 26,500 on Friday means we're looking for at least a 100-point (weak) bounce and, if that fails – then we may be looking ahead to a 5% correction – back to 25,175, in which case we can play /YM short BELOW the 26,000 line (if the weak bounce fails) – so lots of fun either way!

Earnings season is 2/3 over but still a lot of fun reports coming and now is the time we feel more comfortable making bets as we can see what sectors are doing well and what sectors are not.  This week we have:

It's a pretty slow data week peppered with 10 (TEN!) Fed speeches, including Chairman Powell Thursday morning.  The Government has about $100Bn worth of notes to sell and they like to see some marrket panic to keep the rates down at the auction – so maybe Trump isn't so crazy after all…  maybe…

 


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  1. Good Morning!


  2. Good morning! 

    Bouncing back already as WH staff is walking back Trump's tweets.  What a way to govern!  

    Just grabbed /KCZ19 at the $96 line and another /NGV19 at $2.62 and already got 100 off the /YM long so a good morning so far (that's the stop now).  /RB fell below $2 again but back to $2.02 already.

    That's an easy one with the holiday coming – bound to go up by then but make sure you're playing /RBK19, which is still just $1.985 and takes you into July but should still get a bump when the front month pops.

    The US sent ships to the Strait of Hormuz and you'd think that's bullish for oil but it's actually not as keeping the Strait open keeps supply flowing and that's why the ships are going – to PREVENT Iran from blockading or harassing ships.

    We are off the lows though.


  3. Nice moves, Phil !


  4. The 30 highest-paying jobs in the United States



  5. Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life


  6. Wouldn't surprise me if this market finishes green by the end of the day. Takes one tweet to start it and maybe two to finish it.

    In a sea of red I am glad I am long such low volatility, value stocks such as CMG. Would love to short CMG when it settles down but it never does. But how many / how much money does one want to lose trading the opposite direction to which a stock is trending? Just mule stubborn if you keep on keeping on. There is a right time to short CMG and a wrong time to short CMG, but damned if I know. Price discovery based on earnings didn't tell us much except to be very, very, cautious.

    Tobacco stocks provide some nice ballast on a day like today (PM and MO holding up, so far).

    Glad that the VIX is creeping up – who didn't see that one coming with all that talk about fund managers looking to continue to short volatility in this benign market.

    When Tyson (TSN) still pops after giving away free metal with their chicken you know this market has kind of got itself in a twist.


  7. Yodi--

     

    RE: IRM

    You mentioned the July 32.5 straddle.  That would be a short straddle (selling both puts and calls) correct???


  8. Wow

     

    Macy's just keep going down and down… can't find any "news" over the past few days.






  9. Jeffl IRM yes we are in the business of selling calls mostly only in BCS we buy a call.

    M they declaring shortly so anything goes


  10. Jeffl you can buy some more T today against a Jul  31/30 Strangle


  11. Wow, what a recovery!  

    /NG going the wrong way but all else looking good.

    /RB right on the $2 line again (front month) so good for a long with tight stops.

    LTP 180.2%, which is $1,401.189 and that's down from $1,429,270 (185.9%) on 4/18 so minimal damage there but, really, we're in the same place – it's the higher VIX that's hurting us more than the sell-off (because we sell a lot of premium).  

    That's why, for the Hedge Fund, Doug uses VIX hedges to take advantage of these sudden spikes.  

    STP not helping at $698,580 (598.6%), also down from $704,785 (604%) and again, because we haven't gone down since last month – just sideways.

    Green/Winston – Good call, I hope you bet it.  As to CMG, I'm pretty sure $720 is the right time to short it:

    Sohn/Pstas – What a bunch of pompous asses.  I went a few times, hated it.  People just come out and talk their books for $5,000 a ticket – total scam!

    M/Jeff – Just retesting the lows to flush out the weak hands ahead of earnings next week.  

    Let's see, $23 is $7Bn 

    Year End 02nd Feb 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020E 2021E CAGR / Avg
    Revenue $m 27,931 28,105 27,079 25,778 25,641 25,739 24,975 24,975 -1.6%
    Operating Profit $m 2,678 2,783 2,039 1,315 1,769 1,617     -9.6%
    Net Profit $m 1,486 1,526 1,072 619 1,566 1,108 974.2 927.8 -5.7%
    EPS Reported $ 3.86 4.22 3.22 1.99 3.20 3.50     -1.9%
    EPS Normalised $ 4.01 4.40 3.77 3.18 2.65 3.18 3.10 2.92 -4.5%
    EPS Growth % +16.0 +9.8 -14.4 -15.6 -16.7 +20.0 -2.51 -5.80  
    PE Ratio x           7.31 7.49 7.96  
    PEG x           n/a n/a n/a
    Profitability

    So $900M is a p/e of 7.77 and no one wants them?  Forget the real estate assets, that's a bonus.  The 6.4% dividend is a bonus too.  

    Since M is low, in fact, let's double down (+25 to 50) on our 2021 $20 calls at $5.15 in the LTP and, in the OOP, let's roll our 25 2021 $23 calls at $3.85 down to the $18 calls at $6.25 for net $2.40.


  12. Most home building stocks have been strong this year.  Even HOV, although not up for the year, is up more than 50% since their reverse split in February.


  13. Hi Phil,

    What price of BRK/B would get you interested to maybe sell some puts? Another $5-$10 lower than  $212  Thanks


  14. sundevils BRK/B puts you sell normally at the lower part of the scale not when a stock is near the top.

    About 185 190 would be better


  15. I am pretty sure that the cronies that are with Trump knew this was coming and shorted the market.  Then, they can get out for it to recover.  It's too convenient and very easy money.  


  16. Pharm – It would really be something if one of the guys that’s in on it is Xi Jinping. 


  17.  

    President Trump's threat to increase tariff rates came after USTR Robert Lighthizer told him that China was "back-tracking" on key issues such as forced technology transfer, according to Bloomberg.


  18. HOV/Albo – Yep, building a base, hopefully.

    BRK.B/Sun – I'm surprised they are down today, earnings were pretty strong.  $212 is $520Bn and they are making about $25Bn so fairly priced – even Buffett wouldn't recommend buying them up here.  I'd want to see less than $480 so maybe 10% lower would be $190, which was their low in Dec – that's where I'd get excited about them but there's virtually no difference between Berkshire and the S&P these days.

    Since we consider $190 to be a good price, it pays to watch the $190 puts, now $11 and the 2021 $210 puts are $17 so I'd ask for $15 and just see if they fill.  Worst case is you net in for $175 and the 2021 $210 calls (at the money) are $29 so that sale would drop your net to $146 less another $15 in puts would be $131 so, if you don't mind owning 2x BRK/B at $131 – it's a no-brainer to sell 1x the 2021 $190 puts if they get to $15, right?

    Trump cronies/Pharm – What a favor to be able to do for someone.  Have your buddy place bets and then tweet out something that tanks the markets and make a Billion or two.  It's such a good scam that it's worth acting like an insane asshole the rest of the time – just so no one suspects what you're really doing is manipulating the markets at will.

    What great distractions, overthrow the Government of Venezuela, go to war with Iran, call Putin on your Princess Phone for 90 minutes – throwing the market into turmoil is the least crazy thing he did this weekend!  

    Image result for trump love call to putin

    XI/Dawg – Good call, Trump, Xi and Putin – all enriching themselves.  

    • Xi Jinping
    • Net Worth : $1.51 billion in gbp ( £1.2 billion )

    Yikes, that Communism really pays well!  

    There's not one thing in his Bio that even hints at how he came to have $1.2Bn:

    Jinping went to ‘Tsinghua University’ in the capital city of Beijing to study chemical engineering – a university known for producing much of China’s governing elite.
    He began his political career as an aide to Geng Biao in 1974. Geng was a top leader of the ‘People’s Liberation Army’. Jinping served three years as the party secretary in the Hebei province of China. He transferred to Fujian in 1985, where he worked in various party posts, beginning as Deputy Mayor of Xiamen.


    In 1987, he transferred to Ningde, where he served as a district party chief. He launched a conservation campaign that beautified the major artery connecting Ningde to the greater Fujian province. He was the party leader in Fuzhou, the provincial capital, from 1998 to 2000.


    In 2000, he was named Fujian’s provincial governor.


    In 2003, he moved to the province of Zhejiang, where he served as governor and party secretary. During his tenure, private industry quadrupled its research and development investment in the province.


    In 2007, he was picked to lead the party in Shanghai. The following year, he was named to the ‘Standing Committee of the Communist Party’ and—shortly thereafter—Vice President of the PRC.


    In 2012, he assumed the position of ‘General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.’


    Later that same year, Jinping was elected President, a title that confers upon him the position of head of state.


    Among his writings is ‘The Governance of China,’ a compilation of political philosophy released in 2014 by ‘ICP Intercultural Press.’ It places among the top 50 in the ‘politics and government—Asian’ category of the Amazon rankings. In the same year, ‘Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press’ published ‘Approachable: The Charm of Xi Jinping’s Words’ – a collection of quotes by President Xi.


    President Xi Jinping was honored by the Cuban government in 2014 with the ‘Order of José Marti,’ the highest honour Cuba can confer. Named for a revered revolutionary and writer, this award was given in recognition of his efforts to strengthen Cuban-Chinese ties, and to strengthen the socialist cause.
    In January 2017, he became the first Chinese President to plan to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

    I wonder if anyone is asking for his tax returns?

    Putin, of course, has like $80Bn and we KNOW how he got his.

    Image result for russian graveyard


  19. Great plan, Thanks Phil


  20. So why does the market gap down?  What's the point when it just recovers.  I am convinced that there is insider knowledge on these tweets and 'betting' on the market moves based upon what is tweeted.  


  21. You're welcome Sun.

    Why/Pharm – Not everyone is in the know and, of course, like Eddie Murphy in Trading Places, you WANT the suckers to drop the price so you can buy.  But imagine how much money you can make if your pal Don tells you he's going to drop the market Sunday Night but then the WH will roll it back in the morning so you short Asia (China markets down 5%) and Europe (opened down 3%) and the US (opened down 2%) and go long on each around 10 am.  A few dozen Futures contracts on each would be worth Millions and the volume wouldn't even be unusual looking – just another lucky day for Trump and his friends…

    • April TD Ameritrade IMX4.61 vs. 4.65 in March.
    • Equity markets moved higher during the April period. The S&P 500 increased by 3.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.4%, with each ending the period at all-time closing highs.

    Slow markets are the best time to do it.

    • Fidelity Investments will start buying and selling Bitcoin for institutional customers within a few weeks, Bloomberg reports, citing a person familiar with the matter.
    • Earlier this year, the asset manager began a custody service to store the world's most popular cryptocurrency.
    • “We will continue to roll out our services over the coming weeks and months based on our clients’ needs, jurisdictions, and other factors. Currently, our service offering is focused on Bitcoin," Fidelity spokeswoman Arlene Roberts said in an email to Bloomberg.
    • Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is down 0.4% to $5,775.07 in early afternoon trading in New York
    • The morning session included a long pitch for Wyndham Hotels from Impactive Capital's Lauren Taylor Wolfe, and Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) from Deep Basin Capital's Matthew Smith.
    • Kicking off some of the bigger investment names in the afternoon session, David Einhorn again takes aim at Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA). He's got an Elon Musk slideshow, and ends it by saying, "that's horses--t."
    • Turning to other subjects, Einhorn is negative on railcar leasing, but positive on airplane leasing. It leads to a short recommendation on GATX Corp (NYSE:GATX), and a long of AerCap (NYSE:AER).
    • Glenview Capital Management's Larry Robbins is shorting shares of 3M (NYSE:MMM) due to its pollution litigation woes.
    • On the health-care front, Robbins likes HMO stocks Cigna (NYSE:CI), Humana (NYSE:HUM), and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) but  political risks turns him off of pharma.
    • FireFly's Ryan Heslop is bearish on Community Health Systems (NYSE:CYH) citing its excessive debt and secular decline in patient volume away from rural hospitals that could lead to a bankruptcy filing.
    • "The scale of this opportunity we think is enormous," says Tiger cub Chris Hansen (now running Valiant Capital Management), pitching Zillow (Z +1.6%), (ZG +1.5%) to the audience.
    • #sohn2019


  22. Pharm

     

    HERE HERE !


  23. LOL Pharm!  

    Holy crap, we are almost green.  Russell is green.


  24. Phil – CMG Jan 2021 $480/$540 spread in the LTP – what's your thought process on deciding whether to take the money on offer (the spread is wide but let's say you can close out the spread for $40 now) and use that cash now instead of tying it up for another 19 months until Jan 2021. I know the spread is a cover for the short calls in your portfolios, but maybe there is a more productive use for the capital in the spread?


  25. Hello Phil and the Gang.  I am looking at doing short term play on M.  This trade is based on I am happy to accumulate M at $23.00.  Phil's comment about what M's real estate is worth makes this a pretty safe play to me.   So I suggest sell 17May19 $23 call and put for $2.33 credit and buy M stock at $23.19.  If the stock stays above $23.00 then stock is called away and you keep $2.33 credit ($233 per 1 contract) which is a 10% return in 11 days on cash into the trade on buying the stock ( $233 /  $2319 = 10.4%)  .  Or if stock goes down then put shares at $23.00 for average cost of $21.93 ($2319 + $2300= $4619-$233 = $4338 / 200 = $21.93)  which is a 5.5% discount from today's price.   Any comments are welcome?  


  26. So US investors do not think these tariffs matter that much?


  27. Robert M why not just sell the Aug 23 straddle for 4.07 Better time to balance M out


  28. CMG/Winston – Well, in the LTP, we have this:

    CMG Long Call 2021 15-JAN 480.00 CALL [CMG @ $717.44 $7.92] 20 11/20/2018 (620) $180,000 $90.00 $190.85 $33.65     $280.85 - $381,700 212.1% $561,700
    CMG Short Call 2021 15-JAN 540.00 CALL [CMG @ $717.44 $7.92] -20 11/20/2018 (620) $-133,000 $66.50 $169.00     $235.50 - $-338,000 -254.1% $-471,000
    CMG Short Put 2021 15-JAN 450.00 PUT [CMG @ $717.44 $7.92] -10 2/19/2019 (620) $-30,400 $30.40 $-12.60     $17.80 - $12,600 41.4% $-17,800
    CMG Short Call 2019 21-JUN 600.00 CALL [CMG @ $717.44 $7.92] -8 2/15/2019 (46) $-40,000 $50.00 $71.85     $121.85 $13.35 $-57,480 -143.7% $-97,480

    And, on the 18th Review, I said this:

    • CMG – Our $480/540 bull call spread is $86,000 out of a potential $120,000 but we're in trouble on the short June $600 calls, which we sold for $50 but now $106.  I think CMG is wildly over-priced and the Jan $760s are $54, so that's our 2x roll if we have to so I'm inclined to wait for earnings on this one.  

    So earnings were only about what we thought they'd be for a $600 valuation and, at the moment, just because idiots are paying $720 doesn't mean I want to.  We still have $34,000 to gain and the short June $600s we sold for $50 are now $120 and down $97,000 – more than we'll make on the spread – so we will need to roll if this persists. 

    Let's say we add 12 2021 $600 ($195)/$740 ($115) bull call spreads for $80 on the $140 spreads. That gives us $72,000 of additional upside protection and we can then roll the 8 short calls ($97,500) to 12 of the Jan (2020) $700 calls, which are $85 ($102,000) so about even on the roll and instead of spending money to take a loss, we bought more calls so now our upside is $72,000 + $34,000 ($106,000 + the $17,800 short puts) and we still have the $40,000 we collected on 8 short calls but now divided by 12 is $33 so break-even on the new short calls becomes $733 and above that we have $123,800 coverage or about $100 per contract but, of course, we can roll them again and add more down the road if CMG never ever, ever goes down – ever.  

    Since all that is just fine – there's no urgency to change.  Of course we could cash the $480/500 spread for net $90,000 but I still think CMG goes back to $600 or at least $650 so why trade my in-the-money spread that will pay me about 33% almost for sure for a $90,000 spread that will pay me $70,000 (77%) but I don't actually believe in it?

    It's kind of like betting long-shots on the horse race: It pays better if it wins – but it's not likely to win.  

    M/Robert – With the stock at $23 I prefer to go further out, especially with the short puts, as you can get assigned on a dip and it's in the very least annoying.  Selling short-term contracts is a lot of work but pays well if you want to put the time in.  Keep in mind the high vol is because earnings is next week, so the contract reflects that uncertainty.  

    My preference is to buy 1/2 the stock you actually want (comfortably as you may have to DD) so let's say you don't mind owning 2,000 shares for $46,400 ($23.20) so I'd buy 1,000 at $23.20 ($23,200) and sell the 2012 $23 calls for $4 ($4,000) and the $23 puts for $4.90 ($4,900) so you net into the first round at just $14,300 and you'll collect 6 dividend payments of 0.375 ($2,250) so now net $12,050 out of pocket and, at $23, you would be called away at $23,000 for an $11,000(ish) gain, which is like 90% in 20 months or 4.5% every month without the hassle and your worst case is being assigned another 1,000 at $23,000, which would net you into 2,000 at $37,400 or $18.70/share.  

    When the worst case sounds pretty good – that's a good trade!  And, of course, you could knock that down by selling more calls for $3-4 and maybe you don't want to risk higher puts but you can still get $2 for lower ones so figure knock $5 off $18.70 selling 2023s and you're down to $13.70 on 2,000 is $27,400 – not much more than 1,000 cost now becomes your worst case (outside of Bankruptcy, of course).

    As you can see in the LTP, I like to have a few of those working and we do DD on them when they get cheaper and, over time, we end up with good amounts of nice dividend stocks, which becomes a nice, less-volatile place to park our cash.

    Tariffs/Mike – I think US investors just don't believe a word Trump says so it's the threat of tariffs that doesn't matter.  Unfortunately, he's the President and it would be nice to have a President who actually means what he says and gives the country some semblance of leadership but, as it stands, we just ignore him and hope someone is keeping him away from the button.


  29. Holy smokes. I went to bed, the market went up like a rocket, and just after I make my coffee the market closes and the futures are dropping like a rocket. What in the world?


  30. why are the markets tanking after the close?



  31. Thanks Phil – I understand your CMG logic. 


  32. Crazy, can’t get a straight story out of these guys.  


  33. How can Venezuela move forward?



  34. Yodi.  Thank you for the comment.  I looked at the Aug series $23 short straddle compared to the May $23 short straddle.   I realize the Aug series options will move much "smoother" than the May series but I try to boil this down to a binary choice:  1)  10% return in 11 days or 2)  assigned more M which is ok to me I think they are a good value.

     

    I calculated at a price for M of $23.20 the Aug series $23 which have 102 days left would have to be done 5.66 times or 5.66*102 = 577 days to pay for 100 shares of M.  When I calculate this on the May series, it takes 10.3 times which is really 10 months or 300 days.  You can sell a lot more premium with front month and I absolutely recognize it takes a lot more work but that is work I am willing to put in.  Also, commissions on moving in and out of stock / options are getting so "cheap" it seems like to me you can move in or out at will for minimal cost.   I plan on letting the trade "expire" and re-doing the Short straddle.  Any input is truly appreciated your comments are always spot on.  Thanks.


  35. Yodi, I calculate the return on cash invested in M stock ($4.02 / $2320) to be 18% for the August series options or 5.2% per month (102 days left) verses 9.6% for the May series options ($222 / $2320= 9.5%) .  Any comments or thoughts on my math or the way I am looking at things is appreciated.  Thanks.


  36. Phil your point on M is very well taken!  4.5% return per month or 90% on the trade for 20 months is an awesome, no hassle way to play it.  However, at this point in my life, I have the time and don't mind putting the work in to manage shorter term options.  From the premiums I am seeing, I am estimating I should be able to "pay off" 100 shares with 1 contract SS per month in less than 1 year.   You can scale to whatever level is appropriate for your portfolio.  More headache but hopefully for more reward.    Do you feel this goal is reasonable based on your experience?  


  37. The Amazon of Cannabis



  38. Robert
    M I follow your comments. Looking at my crystal ball or better my armchair calculator if M would stay at 23 at expiration May 17 you would receive 27.71 % over the 11 days. Not taking any commission in to consideration but incl. the div. Your downside protection goes to 23 – 2.31 = 20.69. It give 11.6% /11 and x 30 = is even 31.6 % over 30 days simple calculated.
    However should by any means the stock goes down to 20.69 your interest will be zero or down the scale from 23 to 20.69 proportionately.
    Than you sit with a stock you bought for 23.20  at now 20.69, which to me is a poker game.
    Should you however buy the stock at 23.20 and play as Phil and I suggested further out with mine at the Aug 23 straddle at 4.07, you first have a downside protection to 18.93, and 102 days to adjust if necessary. Combined return per month 5.7% and two asses up your sleeve.
    That is why the Aug. play or Phil's Jan. 21are an armchair tradesagainst the May play is a poker’s hand.
    However with your play you make the broker much more happy.


  39. P.S. Rather sell a May 17 Vertical put 20/21 for .25 cents, PM margin only 37.08, so your return is 67.4% over the 11 days no capital outlay and at the worst you get the stock at 21$


  40. However you want to take my hunch. M will not perform at best after the Christmas period so possible slide to 22$ at May 15, as all rats will jump over board. So you can buy the stock for 22 and do the Phil play Jan 21 straddle for 22/22. Sit back in the armchair and smoke your cigar 

    BUT as always I might be WRONGGGGG.


  41. Man, I wish The Donald would let me know before he does this. I could make a bundle! Even while sitting here in Korea.


  42. Sorry, could not post yesterday and have meetings all day so here are the lines for today. It looks like we can't trust news that comes to our government when it comes to investing. Nothing super new, but these guys are taking it to a completely new level…


  43.  

    China confirms vice-premier Liu He will visit US for trade talks

    Attendance of chief negotiator reduces fears of collapse of discussions after Trump tweets


  44. Rb/Phil- got 2 average at $2, should I DD?


  45. Good morning! 

    Down about 1% this morning.  Rumor-driven market

    M/Robert -As Yodi note, we prefer the backstop of premiums we KNOW will expire rather than plus OR MINUS 27% playing the short-term.  27% sounds great until you lose 27% and then it takes you another month to get back to 0.  Does M ever move more than 10% in a month and how badly would you be burned if it did is the question to ask.

    /RB/Dave – We only buy on the way UP (if we're bullish) and tight stops under.  It should stabilize here ($1.96) but I'd rather play $1.95 and again – with tight stops below.


  46. /RB/Phil- so I should just sit with my 2 contracts or cut losses here


  47. Which /RB?