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Thrilling Thursday – Markets Blast Higher on Trade Progress (Again?)

Image result for peek a boo trump animated gif"I feel like we're playing Peek-a-Boo!  

You know, the game in which you are able to surprise a baby over and over again with the same simple trick?  Yeah, "peek-a-boo" – whose got a trade deal?  You have a trade deal!  Good boy.   Where's the trade deal?  Peek-a-boo!  There it is?  Look, it's a trade deal.  Where's the trade deal?  Where is it?  Peek-a-Boo!  There it is!  Who's a good boy?  Where's the trade deal?  Do you see a trade deal?  Peek-a-Boo!  There it is!  

Isn't that fun?  I could play that game for months and, apparently, every time I play the market goes higher – no matter how many times I show some small amount of progress towards a trade deal WE FRIGGING HAD TWO YEARS AGO!  There is no imagined scenario in which the US is actually getting a "better" deal than the free trade deal we had BEFORE Trump began messing around.  Trump has forced China to make other trading alliances – and China is not going to throw that away just to please the unreliable US.  

Today's big reveal, that's good for a 150-point (0.5%) gain on the Dow is because Beijing, WITHOUT saying there will be a deal, laid our a framework for phasing out tariffs over time.  Officially, according to the WSJ:

BEIJING—China’s Commerce Ministry said China and the U.S. have agreed to lift some tariffs on one another in stages if the two countries reach a partial trade deal, a goal both have been building toward since October.

If the phase-one deal is signed, China and the U.S. should remove the same proportion of tariffs simultaneously based on the content of the deal,” spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular press briefing Thursday. “This is what [the two sides] agreed on following careful and constructive negotiations over the past two weeks,” he said.

That's right, that's what your fellow pre-market investors are throwing a party over – IF pigs can fly THEN they are going to have to wear goggles, because their eyes are too big and it would be uncomfortable.  Sure, why not?  If something happens, then something else needs to happen but that doesn't change the odds of something happening.  

Image result for us china trade issues"Phasing out tariffs could be a face-saving way for Washington to claim it has worked out a system to get China to comply with terms in a potential agreement. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that U.S. and Chinese officials were considering rolling back some tariffs to clinch a partial deal.  The Commerce Ministry’s Mr. Gao reiterated China’s longtime stance that the U.S. is the instigator of the dispute and should take responsibility in de-escalating tensions: “The trade war started with increasing tariffs and should end in removing all tariffs,” he said.

There are some indications that the Trump administration may be getting desperate,” said Nick Marro, a trade analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “China may pick up on this and start playing hardball, because they know that—at least politically—they have the upper hand.”  At a conference in Beijing last weekend, several Chinese speakers, including former government officials, said they expect disputes between the U.S. and China to stretch on for decades, whatever the prospects for a near-term agreement.  “The frictions are not just about trade,” said Liu Shijin, deputy director of economic affairs at China’s legislative body. “A lot of areas [for disagreement] haven’t even started yet.”

UBS Investment Risks

There are still a lot of ways this can all play out and I think it's a bit premature to be back near 3,100 on the S&P Futures (/ES) so I like shorting up here or below 25,600 on the Dow Futures (/YM) – both with tight stops above as you can't really short this market .  We'll see if the Russell (/RTY) fails the 1,600 line – that would be a good short too with VERY tight stops above (that's what makes it a good short – having a very obvious place to stop out with a small loss vs a large, potential gain).  

Not that we should complain about the market.  We haven't touched our Short-Term Virtual Portfolio since we published it in Monday Morning's Report (sign up HERE to get our Reports every day or to access all our Member's Virtual Portfolios) but we've gained another $3,558 (3.5%) in 3 days just leaving our 5 beautiful positions alone (and we are averaging 2.5% per week in gains – very nice!).  Now that I'm back in the Command Center (I was on a cruise ship) - I'm sure we'll find more fund things to trade…

  • Booking (BKNG) is a $40,000 spread currently trading at net -$4,890 so there's $44,890 (917%) left to be gained if all works out on that spread PLUS we will be able to sell more short-term puts and calls along the way.  This one is a keeper!  
  • Freeport MacMoRan (FCX) is a $5,000 spread currently trading at net $740 so there's $4,260 (575%) left to be gained if all works out on that spread and it's already 100% in the money.  Don't you love options?  
  • Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) is a $45,000 spread currently trading at net $7,675 so there's $37,325 (486%) left to be gained and I was very encouraged by Innovative Industrial's (IIPR) earnings last night as they turned a nice profit (Disclosure:  PSW Investments works with IIPR in San Diego and they will be part of our $100M Cannabis Fund).  
  • 20-Year Treasury ETF (TLT) is a $8,000 spread that's already in the money at net $4,000 so it can only double from here for another $4,000 (100%) – the rund of the litter!  
  • Tesla (TSLA) is a wildcat in a paper bag and has been all over the place.  We need it over $250 but under $340 with 8 days to expiration but it's really a complex 2-year play where we will sell many sets of calls (but hopefully just the one set of puts).  I'd be thrilled to collect just our initial $26,500 and the current net is $24,037 so we're up just 2,463 so far – about 10%.  

So there's 5 trade ideas we initiated over the past two months that are on track to make another $116,975 (117%) over the next 2 years – not a bad way to play with our sidelined CASH!!! while we wait for the markets to calm down.  

There are still plenty of bargains to be had and a week from Sunday we'll see if there really is a trade deal but all indications are that we're pushed into at least December, when Trump is scheduled to add more tariffs.  If that happens, China retaliates and we're back to scratch and the market tanks so forgive me for preferring to just play cautiously (yes, making $116,975 on 5 stocks is us playing cautiously!) for the time being.

 


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  1. No answer from StockCharts so far and this weekend I'll add a substitute for the Russell after I check what matches our lines best!


  2. China / Phil – Why would Trump want to give up tariffs anyway:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-collects-a-record-7-billion-in-tariffs-in-september-11573052402

    USA Collected a Record $7 Billion in Tariffs in September.
    Tariff revenue jumped 9% from August and was up more than 59% from a year earlier.

    Using this money to pay for the wall that Mexico was going to pay for!


  3. Interesting thoughts on the relationship between money and happiness:

    https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/how-to-spend-money

    Why doesn't more money guarantee more happiness?
    "Because people don't spend it right. Most people don't know the basic scientific facts about happiness — about what brings it and what sustains it — and so they don't know how to use their money to acquire it."


  4. Good morning!

    Big Chart/StJ – We could always just start putting up the Euro Stoxx – good to follow.

    Tariffs/StJ – And Trump has been using the money as a slush fund to pay off farmers/voters – they won't like it if that money goes away the the China orders don't happen very fast.  He knows he needs to buy a ton of votes next year so I'm still thinking Trump finds an excuse to stick to the tariffs.  

    27,598 but no 27,600 so far.

    Happiness/StJ – I'm not sure it's the same for all people but it's kind of like fame – you always think it's going to be better than it is and, once people get it – they are often disappointed that it isn't what they had dreamed of (and worked so hard for).  

    What is the Fundamental Key to Happiness?

    Image result for happiness cartoon"

    Image result for happiness cartoon"

    I think it is pretty much that simple.  


  5. Good Morning!


  6. My suggestion…

    https://www.tm.org/

    To help with the process…

    https://choosemuse.com/

    :)


  7. All that and learning to narrow the gap between expectations and reality = less disappointment….


  8. CTL shaking off sell recommendation from Guggenheim.  New recovery high.


  9. Thanks for the AAPL trade Phil!

    What am I missing here:

    You say I'd roll those and the 20 June 2021 $200s at $69 ($138,000) to 100 of the 2022 $220 at $58.50 ($438,750) ($585k??) and sell 100 of the 2022 $280s at $30 ($225,000)($300k??) for a net $160,250 ($89,000??) credit.

     

    Wouldn’t 100 ’22 $220c at $58.50 be $585 not $438,750 and wouldn’t 100 ’22 $280s at $30 be $300,000. Not $225,000 leaving me $89,000 not $160?

    And because of the short sale restrictions here I can’t easily leave exposed short calls so I thought I could sell only 50 ’22 $280 calls so my other 30+20 short calls are covered by the 100 ’22 $220 longs.

     

    And with my 20 long AAPL Jan’20 150c vs 20 short ’20 $160c it’s only the $150c sale that triggers the cap gains so couldn’t I roll the $160’s up?

    THX!


  10. CTL/Albo – Hey don't get too excited, even FTR is up 8% in this madness.

    AAPL/Wing – I thought I went with 75, not 100.   I was originally thinking 100 and then decided I'd rather have money in my pocket to be more flexible down the road.  Very different math if you can't be naked short – for one thing, the trade is probably too risky for an account that doesn't have a lot of spare margin.  I thought you would since you had such a large position.  

    Oh I see what I did, I did the math at 75 and then forgot to change the number.  

    Anyway, if you can't sell naked calls, I'd do a very different trade.  From scratch I'd go with:

    • Buy 60 AAPL 2022 $240 calls at $50 ($300,000) 
    • Sell 40 AAPL 2022 $280 calls at $31 ($124,000) 
    • Sell 10 AAPL 2022 220 puts at $21 ($21,000) 
    • Sell 20 AAPL Jan $255 calls for $11.60 ($23,200) 

    That one is net $131,800 on the $240,000 spread and you've used 71 of 806 days you have to sell so call it 10 more $23,000s to sell is $230,000 more and what I would do is use about 1/2 of what you gain selling calls each cycle ($10,000 hopefully) to roll 20 of the calls down $10 – so you only spend that money when you earn it but, if you drop 60 of the calls $20 for $60,000, you widen the spread by $120,000 and make it more comfortable to sell more calls.

    If AAPL takes a big hit for some reason, you could then sell 20 of the 2022 $240s for $100,000 (whatever it is then) and use that to roll your whole set another $20 lower.  If we assume it happens right away, you still make $23,200 on the first set of short calls and even if you only get $80,000 for the $240s, you could still afford to roll all 60 down to the $200s (now $75) and they'd only be 1/3 covered at $240 and 2/3 at $280 and then you could wait or buy back 20 of the short $280s and start the short-term selling cycle again.  

    So lots of ways to make money, even if AAPL drops more than 10% on you.


  11. Looks good Phil, but to fund this I'd have to sell my 20 '20 $140 longs, as you suggested, which would leave my 20 short Mar '20 $220 and $240 calls naked. I could use these instead of the Jan $255 calls and roll them up, or sell only 20 of the '22 $280s?

    And couldn't I roll the 20 short Jan'20 $160c also – it's only the long $140s that I have to leave until '20?


  12. Big Chart / Phil – You read my mind, I was thinking what else would make sense in that chart. EuroStoxx makes sense. I'll add some suggestions.


  13. CTL / Albo – Taking a small thorn out if my portfolio there!


  14. Tariffs / Phil – If you can collect $7B per month and only give $30B to the farmers for the year, you still have a $40B slush fund left to pay off other part of your base using their own money! It doesn't get better than this as long as the base stays ignorant to the facts.


  15. STJ – Yes. Believe it or not, I'm now profitable.  Long a slug of Jan 2021 $10 calls. In fact, covered some of those with April $16 calls. 

    And we have received great income while waiting.







  16. Trade hopes push US stock indexes toward more record highs




  17. Huge insider buying in OPK.  Not just from Dr. Frost. But he has bought an additional 2,750,000 shares in the last two weeks.

    Also, their Vice Chairman and CTO bought 400,000 shares.

    A director bought 25,000 shares,

    Executive VP – Administration bought 15,000 shares.

    These are the first insider purchases since July.  Added to my position.


  18. AAPL/Wing – Yes, I mean scrapping the complicated set-up you have and go for something more flexible.  Given your restrictions, the set-up you have only allows you to wait and see what happens with little room to make adjustments and generates far less income.  The reason we make so much profit in the LTP and STP is that we are CONSTANTLY selling premium and it constantly expires over time, when all you have is verticals, you lose that advantage (putting you in the situation you are in now).

    CloudKitchens/Advill – Wow, I had that idea down here in DelRay and couldn't get people to back it last year.  Rents are crazy in town but 50% of the restaurant biz is delivery so just open a kitchen on the wrong side of the tracks and deliver.  Very simple concept.  

    OPK/Albo – Again?


  19. albo / quik – you had suggested buying after the next post-earnings dip, you like down here or it's a dead dog?


  20. Wow, STP popped up to $135,988 – that's a pretty crazy gain ($10,000+) for a day!   BKNG taking a dive ahead of earnings.  I thought that was such an obvious premise based on earnings we saw from other travel companies, airlines, etc.  

    I'm thinking BKNG will make an interesting short due to the 40% drop in Hong Kong tourism, which was one of their strengths last year.  $2,000 is $85Bn and that's tough to justify, even of they do get earnings closer to $5Bn (17x) but last year was $4Bn (21x) so somewhere between is where we are on the assumption of 10% growth:

    Year End 31st Dec 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 TTM 2019E 2020E CAGR / Avg
    Revenue $m 6,793 8,442 9,224 10,743 12,681 14,527 14,749 15,190 16,499 +16.4%
    Operating Profit $m 2,412 3,073 3,259 2,843 4,530 5,341 5,193     +17.2%
    Net Profit $m 1,893 2,422 2,551 2,135 2,341 3,998 4,157 4,442 4,809 +16.1%
    EPS Reported $ 36.1 45.7 49.5 42.6 74.5 82.3 89.2     +17.9%
    EPS Normalised $ 36.1 45.7 49.5 58.4 75.1 82.3 89.2 102 115.9 +17.9%
    EPS Growth % +30.6 +26.5 +8.3 +18.2 +28.6 +9.5 +6.0 +24.0 +13.6  
    PE Ratio x           23.9 22.1 19.3 17.0  
    PEG x           1.00 0.92 1.41 1.32
    Profitability

    I was already thinking of them as a short (slowly making a Short List) since GOOGL's new travel engine is very dangerous for them.  Also, Shatner is out so less visability and they are trying to coast to save ad money but I'm not sure that's a good idea in the travel biz.  AMZN is also getting into travel booking.  

    Though the stock looks impressive in the short run – they actually have been underperforming the S&P since last year:

    I think for the STP, I'd like to play BKNG this way:

    • Sell 2 BKNG Jan $2,000 calls for $120 ($24,000) 
    • Buy 2 BKNG 2021 $2,100 puts for $280 ($56,000) 
    • Sell 2 BKNG 2021 $1,900 puts for $190 ($38,000)
    • Sell 2 BKNG Jan $1,800 puts for $50 ($10,000) 

    That's a net $16,000 credit on the $40,000 spread so + $56,000 if it all works out but this is more of a Butterfly Play (but short) where we hope to exploit our ability to make $34,000 in 4 months selling puts and calls.  Ordinary margin on the short calls is $76,792 so not something you want to do if you don't have a PM account and, even then, the risk is still severe but it's a good teaching tool and we can afford to lose $20,000 in the STP if things go wrong (hopefully not too wrong). 

    Earnings are going to be early November so we have 2 months to see how it goes before violence is likely.  This is dangerous for all the reasons I outlined to 8800 above! 

    Submitted on 2019/09/19 at 2:09 pm

    BKNG – We just put this one on and it went the wrong way on us but earnings aren't until Nov 4th and, as far as I can tell, trade slowed down travel – especially in China where they are very big.  Note that we sold the short Jan $2,100 calls and the short Jan $1,800 calls for $171.50, which means anything between $1,628.50 and $2,271.50 is a profit and, at $2,055, it's a $116.50 ($23,300) profit in waiting.  So it's a keeper for the portfolio and we'll see how it plays out.  I'm still going to want to clear the decks so we have a proper fresh start next year.

    /ES just touched 3,100 so good short still along with 27,7000 on /YM and 1,600 on /RTY.  8,275 is reference point on /NQ and the Dollar is right at 98.

    /KC flying.


  21. Phil just look at EXPE dropped 25%!!!!


  22. MrMocha – QUIK is my personal albatross.  I'm still way too long on what has been a continuing disappointment.  They reported another nothing quarter yesterday, as most of the increase in revenue keeps getting pushed out..  China concerns, taking longer to qualify on known contracts, etc.

    They are now projecting breakeven to small profit in 1st H 2020 with revenues up substantially.

    Foolishly, I'm still in the stock but very weary..  The prospect of a reverse stock split looms large.

    Obviously very speculative.  


  23. Phil, I have the DIS  June 21 110/125, 110/135, 115/140 and 115/145 spreads.   I have sold 1/4 June 2020 140 short calls.  I have sold very few puts.  I am concerned about DIS earnings today and then the streaming launch on November 12.  Earnings are expected to be lackluster, but fast sign-ups for streaming could move the stock.  I am wondering if the short June 140 calls are a danger, and if I should buy them back and replace them with short puts.  What is your take?


  24. EXPE/Yodi – Wow!  They did miss today and I guess that's making the BKNG traders nervous. 

    Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) reports revenue and gross bookings increased 9% in Q3. F/X swings cut into both bookings and revenue by a percentage point.

    Core OTA bookings were up 10% during the quarter, while VRBO bookings increased 5%. Domestic gross bookings increased 10% and international gross bookings increased 7% (including 3 percentage points of negative foreign exchange impact).

    Room nights growth fell to a +11% pace from +12% in Q2.

    The company's adjusted EBITDA was flat compared to a year ago at $912M.

    Q4 guidance will be issued on the earnings call.

    Shares of Expedia are down 6.91% in AH trading to $126.00.

    Previously: Expedia EPS misses by $0.43, misses on revenue (Nov. 6)

    Seems a little harsh but I guess the earnings call didn't help.  Once upon a time they were way too cheap and we played them bullish but $100 is $14.5Bn, which is 30x earnings – just silly – even after the drop.  

    Gross bookings Expedia and Booking

    10-year revenue margin Expedia and Bookings

    Valuation Booking Holdings

    DIS/John – I don't know how you guys get into such messy spreads.  I always try to keep mine down to 4 or 5 legs.  With DIS at $132, you need a 10% move to really be in trouble but that's all the way to June.   DIS is a good value down here and 10% more would still have them under 20 on p/e though I imagine they spent more than they made this Q with Star Wars opening up and the Streaming Service and no blockbusters.  

    Let's say you have roughly 50% more to gain (you have 2/3, make 1/3 more) on the various June spreads and the same $145 you worry about on the short June $140s puts you over the top on the June 2021 spreads.  For argument's sake (as I have little information), let's say 10 of each for $95,000 if all in the money and currently worth about $60,000 and you have 10 short June $140s, which are now $7 and $8 out of the money.  

    So what's the problem?  If DIS pops 25% to $165, you make $35,000 on the longs and owe $25,000 to the short callers and that, of course, is not likely.  Anything less than that moves around 2:1 in your favor and you still have a year to roll so do you think YOU should spend $15 ($15,000) in premium out of fear of being too right about DIS?

    If you owe $25 to the June 2021 callers at $165 well the June $110 calls are $25 now and they can be rolled to 1.5x the June 2021 $135s at $16 so + $25 on 15 short would be the roll.  If you can handle that outcome (having 15 short June 2021 $165 callers which you'd then have to cover with 30 2022 or 2023 spreads) – then why worry about it 18 months in advance?


  25. I don't feel like I have a good enough handle on the market at the moment to make earnings calls.  Some stocks are getting crushed on earnings, some are spiking higher – not much of a theme.  

    NDLS is on the way to making money and should be a fun play but options only go out to May and are very expensive.  With the stock at $5.42, the May $5 calls are $1.30 but we could turn that around by buying the May $2.50 calls for $3 and selling the $5 calls for $1.30 for net $1.70 on the $2.50 spread so 0.80 (45%) upside potential if they hold $5.  Not very exciting but I do like it – though not enough to risk selling puts in advance. 

    In the last two years, they pulled back on expansion and closed under-performing stores – realizing they made a mistake spending IPO money too freely.  As I've said before, I really like their Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) idea for healthy dishes and we'll see if it's reflected in the results.   This was my last call on them:

    I'm just happy to see it get off that $850 line in the right direction.  Very happy with a $25 drop….

    Chipotle faces more labor complaints at New York City stores

    Speaking of fast food, NDLS is one I'm starting to like.  They actually made $438,000 last Q on $120M in sales and, at $5.71, you can buy the whole thing for $250M and they already have over 400 restaurants, 90% company-owned.  I like that they are pushing the veggie-noodles as a health thing.

    Year End 01st Jan 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 TTM 2019E 2020E CAGR / Avg
    Revenue $m 350.9 403.7 455.5 487.5 456.5 457.8 460.2 468.5 491.9 +5.5%
    Operating Profit $m 13.6 18.9 -21.1 -67.5 -33.9 -4.38 3.23      
    Net Profit $m 6.67 11.4 -13.8 -71.7 -37.5 -8.44 -0.34 6.77 10.9  
    EPS Reported $ 0.24 0.37 -0.48 -2.58 -0.84 -0.21 -0.014      
    EPS Normalised $ 0.28 0.40 0.19 -1.35 -0.18 0.076 0.10 0.15 0.24 -22.9%
    EPS Growth % +8.5 +42.4 -52.2       -55.1 +99.4 +57.6  
    PE Ratio x           78.3 57.6 39.3 24.9  
    PEG x           0.79 0.58 0.68 n/a
    Profitability

    It's good, solid growth – not exciting but that's good as they are working on getting profitable.  If they can drop 10% to the bottom line, suddenly their p/e is 12 so a nice long-term investment down here.  

    The options only go out to May and now one is trading those but you can buy the stock for $5.70 and sell the May $5 calls for $1.60 and the $5 puts for 0.85 to net in for $3.25 so called away at $5  is up $1.75 (53%) or worst case is owning 2x at $4.125 avg – less than $200M!

    2 months before that, I was bearish:

    Nothing I want to bet on.   I think NDLS may be overpriced and due for a fall – they lose a fortune and not all that much revenue growth.  I can't imagine why people are buying them up like this at now $500M ($12) when they lose $50M/yr.   There's no money in the bank – they'll have to dilute.

    Thin options but you can sell 10 Aug $12.50 calls for $1 ($1,000) and pick up 20 Aug $10 puts for 0.60 and hopefully get out with $1+ ($800) and the $1,000 from the short calls but too small a fish for our portfolios and not enough conviction to take a big risk.  

    And, before that, I thought the IPO price was a joke:

    Submitted on 2015/02/20 at 3:11 pm

    NDLS/QC – Just continuing the down trajectory they've been on since their IPO.  I have no interest in them, their p/e is still 60 – even after the sell-off.  People are just idiots and have no idea how to value things – that's what this proves.  

    Just so you can see how I've evolved my opinion over time.


  26. Closing deep ITM spreads question

     

    Am I correct in thinking that deep ITM spreads must be closed prior to expiration?  So if I have a BCS 15/20 with a max value of $5 – I realistically am not going to get the full $5 at any point (unless I gamble and try to close one leg at at time).  I ask this because I have never let deep ITM spreads go to expiration I have always just tried to get $4.90 – $4.95 for and figure that it was close enough.  Should I be throwing away those .05 – .10 or am I missing something.

     

    Thanks


  27. So much for my deferred cap gains – and speaking of deep ITM spreads! In my 20 Jan'20 AAPL $150/$160 spread I was just assigned 17 of the 20 $160s by the short caller so had to buy 1700 shares of AAPL at $260 (market) and sell 17 of the long $150calls. They say it was probably because it is a dividend day so the caller wanted the dividends (which I have to pay!). Still have 3 left of the spread. Triggered a margin call which had to be fixed by 3pm!


  28. Spreads/Jeff – Check with your broker.  TOS tends to cash them out for you but it's not their "official" policy as they don't want to promise they will do it – in case they don't.  

    AAPL/Wing – That's another reason you might not want to leave those deep calls with low margin.  I am never a big fan of not making the right adjustments in the hopes of phantom tax advantages. 

    That was a nice dip but the bulls are fighting back already so don't be greedy with the short plays.


  29. Added some hedges today.  


  30. Hedges seem like a good idea in this crazy market.  

    RUT turned red – maybe that's why they don't want to be charted?  

    Trade BS is unraveling as we thought but don't worry, they'll make up some new BS and we can rally again tomorrow.

    /SI holding $17 so far:

    Copper was very excited about a deal.

    Coffee really kicking can: