Posts Tagged ‘DUG’

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 

Since then, oil has hit a multi-year low at around $42.50 and is now approaching $60, still well below its highs of 2014 but probably closer to a breakeven price for American shale producers. In this post I want to see what ETF would have profited best from that rebound and also which one would have fared worse. Let's look at a couple of performance charts. First, the standard oil proxies based on the futures:

Oil (red) is up 40% since March 17 but what is interesting is how the pure oil ETFs are tracking that move. USO (blue) which is not leveraged is not tracking very well. In fact, it's up only about 27% or about 2/3 of the oil move. As expected, SCO (pink) is down, but clearly, the leveraging is not the 2x that you would expect as it's only down a bit less than 40%. And UCO (green), while the clear winner here, is only up 57% which is lower than the advertised 2x leverage factor. Once again, these future based ETF are victims of some decay.

Let's look at some ETFs not based on oil futures but who should benefit from an oil price rebound. In the next performance chart, we'll look at OIH and XLE. 

It's not surprising that there should be a lag between the time oil prices start…
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Will We Hold It Wednesday – 1,333 or Bust (as usual)

Here we go again!  

We blew right though our expected bullish levels of Dow 12,500, S&P 1,317, Nasdaq 2,775 and Russell 825 but failed to make 8,300 on the NYSE so, as usual, our biggest and most difficult to manipulate index is holding us back – flashing a warning sign while the other indices scream for us to "party on."  Fortunately, as I mentioned in yesterday’s morning post, we had already gone aggressively bullish with the SPY Aug $128/131 bull call spread at $1.83, selling the Sept $120 puts for $1.57 and that net .26 spread is already net $1.86 – up 615% since I posted the trade idea at 12:53 in Monday’s Member Chat.  

It’s good to have a few aggressive trades like this to take advantage of market bounces.  Before that we had taken the SSO Aug $51/53 bull call spread at $1.05, selling the Sept $44 puts for $1.07 for a net .02 credit at 10:46 in Member Chat (the SPY play was for late-comers who missed out on SSO).  The Aug $51/53 spread finished the day yesterday at  $1.35 but the real win comes from the short $44 puts, which fell to .70 so the .02 net credit is now a .65 net credit for .67 total profit, up 3,350% in less than 48 hours.  See, options are fun!  

The only other trade ideas from Monday were a long-term bullish play on RIMM (selling 2013 $22.50 puts for $4.20) a long futures play on the Russell Futures (/TF) off the 810 line (now 835) and I reiterated our bearish spread on CMG as I felt they would disappoint on earnings (they did).  Yesterday we picked up a long-term longs on GLW, RYAAY and WFR, half covered our FAS longs (iffy so far), took a poke at shorting the DIA that worked for a quick 10%, shorted oil with a DUG spread (futures too scary) and picked up another short spread on CMG – selling 3 Aug $330 calls for $16 ($4,800) against 2 long Dec $360 calls at $18 ($3,600) for a net $1,200 credit – those should be nice winners this morning!  

In the afternoon we flipped more bearish and picked up 10 SPY weekly $133 puts at $1.15 ($1,150 of our virtual dollars) for our $25,000 Virtual Portfolio and those are probably going to hurt this morning as the Dollar
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Will They Hold It Wednesday?

This is getting very interesting!

As we expected in yesterday's morning post, the morning pump was a great selling opportunity and we had a very good time riding the gentle dip we got in intra-day trading.  The Dow hit it's high for the day at 10:03 and by 10:09 I had an alert out to members to ignore the consumer confidence number and go more bearish on the Dow, buying back the Sept $95 puts we sold Monday for a quick 20% profit.  We also grabbed the OIH $105 puts for $2.30 that made a nice buck during the day (43%) and we entered a couple of spreads on ERY at 10:57, well ahead of oil falling off a cliff in the afternoon.

Great call by David at the Oxen Group on making DUG his long of the day yesterday with a perfect buy in at $15.10 and hitting the 4% goal for that day trade.  It was David's call that inspired us to pick up the very profitable (and much riskier) ERY trades, which were also an idea of his from an earlier trade so mega Kudos to the Oxen Group!   

We got a second rally on low volume around noon and my 12:09 comment to Members was: "Still a very good time to look at some of those long put plays we discussed in yesterday’s morning post" so I guess you can say we were still pretty bearish at that 9,600 line on the Dow.  Keep in mind that the top of our prior trading range was 9,100 on the Dow so the 5% rule off that mark takes us to 9,555, which was where I predicted we'd close.  We had a good chance to press our long DIA covers higher but we feared the overnight stick and we went with a 1/2 cover on our long puts, selling the DIA $95 puts for $1.75 just in case we have another crazy pre-market pump. 

As you can see from David Fry's S&P charts, we are "outside the box," very much as we were in June but note that we held that level (S&P 950) for quite a while before getting a 10% correction into early July.  I'm not getting the feeling that we have enough energy to sustain us up here that long but, the way things have been going, we kept all…
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Thoughtful Thursday Morning

Maybe I am being too bearish on the economy.

Maybe there is a shining city on the hill with 1,000 points of light and if I simply close my eyes and believe in it, I will be transported there and everything will be wonderful and China will expand and Europe will expand and the US markets will rise and rise as the 18M unemployed people line up in the streets to cheer us as we all drive past them in our new cars as we head over to the gas station to pay $4 for gas, honking joyfully as we pass by each empty storefront and each abandoned home

It was good to take quick bearish profits, as I warned in yesterday's post because quick profits are all the bears get these days as it was indeed a "Whipsaw Wednesday," and Buffett's warning went in one ear and out the other of investors so quickly that clearly there was no gray matter slowing it down along the way!  I was very proud of our short plays on COF, HPQ, RTP, SRS, RTH and our DUG long but all had a half-life on their success so short you could have run an atomic clock with it.  Fortunately, we had our bounce levels to guide us and our 3 of 5 rule to get out of bearish positions so the damage was more to our pride than our virtual portfolios.

Although I could see the turn in my 9:45 Alert to Members, I didn't have the heart to make any bullish calls as it just seemed like such nonsense.  By 10:12 we were even more concerned that something was up and I said: "Don’t get too excited bears.  As I said in the post, profits need to come quickly off the table – this is not a market for riding 20% profits too far."  Sadly, I then proceeded to make a short play on OIH at 10:26 that stopped out at 10:34 and an incredibly poorly timed idea to get the DIA $93 puts at 11:22, just minutes before the market went flying and stopped that one out too as we flew through our bounce zone of Dow 9,200, S&P 986, Nas 1,946, NYSE 6,400 and RUT 555.   Now that they've held up so well, those levels now become our watch levels to the downside and it makes…
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Whipsaw Wednesday – Buffet Bashes Bulls

Well, you can't say I didn't tell you so

Yesterday's post was all about what total nonsense the move up was and, per usual, the whole thing was taken away in the futures, where retail investors have no chance to profit from it.  Of course, this market isn't being run for your benefit and if you wait for Cramer to tell you what to do, then you are pretty screwed (and more so if you listen to him).  Yesterday our boy Jim fell off the wagon and declared victory for the Bulls saying: "The bears must be stunned and confused, flummoxed even" and made fun of those of us who worry about "facts" and "fundamentals" as we trade.  "Every argument the bears had for selling," Cramer said, "has been totally rebuffed by this great market."  Cramer, you are not just an idiot, you are a dangerous idiot!

As the more rational David Fry points out in his "Spin City" post: 

So we got a healthy bounce today but it didn’t undo Friday and Monday’s collective damage. We were a little short-term oversold and a bounce shouldn’t surprise even though economic and company news wasn’t great. But, the “better than expected” spin was in for retailers which frankly was laughable. And, golly, banks reported losses on credit cards were slowing (maybe because Chucky’s not shopping?) which was seen as a positive. Homebuilders disappointed (oops, scratch that)… a “worse than expected” report was spun positively because more single family homes were built. I wonder about that since there are too many of them, aren’t there? But that’s the way things are these days.

What a stark contrast between a sane and insane take on yesterday's action.  In Monday's post we targeted a drop to Dow 9,100, S&P 980, Nasdaq 1,950, NYSE 6,400 and Russell 550 and in my 9:48 Alert to Members yesterday I set the bounce targets at Dow 9,200, S&P 986, Nas 1,946, NYSE 6,400 and RUT 555 but noting they were rough numbers that I was eyeballing on the fly, following our 5% rule.  Those levels were beat across the board but on such low volume that I called an audible and we stayed bearish, taking aggressive short positions like the DIA Aug $93 puts at $1.50 which, unfortunately, didn't make our double down target
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Weekend Wrap-Up, Ripping Through the Top or Topping and About to Tip?

What a week this has been!

In last week's 600-Point Weekly Wrap-UP, I said it would take some spectacular earnings results next week to keep the rally going and it seems like we got them this week as roughly 85% of the companies reporting this week beat expectations with 42 of this week's reporting companies guiding up and only 18 guiding down.  While people like Richard Bernstein may make very good arguments for why we shouldn't focus too much on quarterly earnings surprises, I have to say I am somewhat swayed by the preponderance of evidence we've gotten this week that, by and large, the vast majority of our companies are weathering the storm far better than analysts have expected.  

"It's pretty amazing what passes for good news these days," remarks Barry Ritholtz on his blog, The Big Picture (www.ritholtz.com.) "Beating dramatically lowered earnings forecasts on cost-cutting and layoffs — rather than top-line growth — seems to be the order of the day.  The irony is that the Wall Street analyst community overestimated earnings at the top of the cycle — pure extrapolation of trend to infinity. They seem to be doing the same thing now, only extrapolating falling earnings to zero. What that produces is not true upside surprises, but merely jumping over a dramatically lowered bar," he says. 

It's interesting Barry says this now because it sounded familiar and I went back to my May 2nd Weekly Wrap-Up, where the sentiment was very similar and I said at the time: "With 2/3 of the S&P 500 weighing in, earnings have been 70% positive.  I had warned earlier in the week that we are only beating a very low bar but we are beating nonetheless.  As you can see from the above chart, even if we do keep moving up, we are heading into some very serious overhead resistance that may not prove futile this time.  With the added pressure of the old "sell in May, go away" adage – there will be a lot of obstacles to overcome this week and next so we will remain on guard but we have also trained ourselves not to think and simply go with the flow, letting our levels guide us and, so far, our levels keep saying yes – despite our common sense
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Phil's Favorites

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Does History Repeat? Is does rhyme sometimes!!!

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TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

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Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

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This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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