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Bank Scare a Ruse to Shake the Tree

by Rick Ackerman on September 2, 2009 12:22 am GMT · 6 comments

A run on a major U.S. bank?  Who could have been spreading such scurrilous rumors? They surfaced yesterday in the Rick’s Picks chat room, and elsewhere, not long after we’d done some personal banking ourselves in an online account at the very same bank. We experienced no delays or problems with the transaction, notwithstanding reports of a “default situation” and “elevated” buying of put options on the shares of the bank.  We were able to confirm that there had indeed been a flurry of put-buying, but the action was not so frenetic as to suggest that the bank was in any serious trouble. 

bankers

To the contrary, banks are operating under such loosey-goosey rules right now that they shouldn’t have a care in the world. Imagine having a notarized letter from your local police chief authorizing you to loot and plunder any store in the neighborhood without fear of arrest. That’s how the banks are doing business these days – which is to say, however they want.  And if a deal should turn sour it’s no problem, since the U.S. government has assured banks that it will pay 100 cents on the dollar for any securities that ultimately fail to clear the market.

Smoldering Ruins

Tuesday’s rumors of a big bank on the ropes evidently were prompted by general weakness in banking shares. The selling had been attributed to nervousness over the prospect of more losses to come in the banking sector. A few analysts added to the stresses of the day by speaking cautiously about bank shares.  Has the spectacular rally begun last November finally run out of steam, they asked? We seriously doubt it. More likely is that those who have been accumulating bank shares hand-over-fist simply backed off their bids for a day, allowing the stocks to fall to more appealing levels.

Bloomberg, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal and all the rest bought into this ruse with a deluge of commentary concerning how financial stocks supposedly have gotten too far ahead of “fundamentals”. Fundamentals!?  If the day ever comes when fundamental analysis is applied rigorously to securities markets, the financial system will be reduced to a smoldering ruin in mere days. For the time being, though, the bankers are enjoying a holiday from scrutiny that makes all things possible. Under the circumstances, with Tammany Hall sensibilities determining the course of the financial system, we should not be looking for a top in banking shares, only an occasional pause in their upward spiral.

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TODAY'S ACTION for Wednesday

Against the Grain…

by Rick Ackerman on September 2, 2009 1:18 am GMT

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Rick's Picks for Wednesday
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GCZ09 – Comex December Gold (Last:955.00)

by Rick Ackerman on September 2, 2009 12:44 am GMT

The futures spent the day struggling to go lower, failing in the end to overpower a midpoint support at 947.60 whose breach would have greased the skids down to 938.70. The bearish pattern is shown in the accompanying chart, and as you can see, the pre-dawn bounce came from a low that lay within a single tick of the pattern’s calculated midpoint. The reactive rally was no world-beater, to be sure, but on balance the picture is at least mildly bullish for the near term.  A 978.00 rally target given here earlier remains viable, but like you I am growing a bit impatient about it.

GS – Goldman Sachs (Last:162.03)

by Rick Ackerman on September 2, 2009 12:53 am GMT

Yesterday’s savaging did no damage whatsoever to the bullishness of the daily chart, although there is still room to fall on the lesser intraday charts. Specifically, a Hidden Pivot target at 158.90 looks like a good place to try bottom-fishing. Officially we’ll bid 158.93 for 200 shares, stop 158.79.  We continue to hold the Jan 130 – Oct 130 put spread four times for 3.40 and a September 170 call for 2.00. _______ UPDATE: The bottom-fishing gambit worked out nicely, since the stock rallied $1.08 after making a low at 158.90 around midway into the session. You would have needed to apply a trailing stop, though, since Goldman subsequently relapsed to 158.14 before the closing bell.

SIU09 – Comex December Silver (Last:14.970)

by Rick Ackerman on September 2, 2009 1:01 am GMT

Silver effected a promising spike yesterday afternoon, but the futures were struggling to hold onto the gain early in the evening.  If they go no lower than 14.940 overnight, however, any rally exceeding the relevant midpoint resistance at 15.155 would suggest additional upside potential over the near term to as high as 15.365.

DXY – NYBOT Dollar Index (Last:78.80)

by Rick Ackerman on September 2, 2009 1:12 am GMT

The rally looked altogether unimpressive until late in the session, when a fleeting spike surpassed a look-to-the-left peak at 78.91 that I’d flagged in the chat room. That gives the rally nominal appeal on the lesser charts, although we should require 79.79 today to validate it. The location of the obscure but important peak-let this would surpass is shown in the accompanying chart.

Bears found themselves trapped on the opening yesterday for the umpteenth time since the bull market began, setting up a short-covering panic that turned what began as natural weakness in the broad averages into steroid-powered strength.  DaBoyz simply pulled their bids at the bell, allowing the relative smattering of market orders that had built up over the weekend to have an inordinate effect. Into a bid-less vacuum, stocks dove the equivalent of 120 Dow points, exhausting pent-up orders in about 45 minutes. Once sellers were spent, it was child’s play for the smart money to effortlessly squeeze the futures back up to where they had begun the day — plus a little. Moreover, since there was but a shallow correction from the end-of-day highs, bears remained tactically on the ropes at the close.

For our part, since subscribers could have gotten short from as high as 1984.25 based on a Hidden Pivot rally target disseminated last week, some may have elected to swing for the fences by staying short. However, although the trade could have produced a profit of as much as $1200 per contact, the possibility that we were getting the jump on the Mother of All Tops was never more than remote. If you still hold a position, please let me know in the chat room and I will furnish further guidance.  Strictly speaking, a short would have survived yesterday’s nasty dipsy doodle if it had been tied to an impulse leg-based stop-loss on the hourly chart.

$NFLX – Netflix (Last:421.86)

by Rick Ackerman on July 28, 2014 4:32 am GMT

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$GCQ14 – August Gold (Last:1303.80)

by Rick Ackerman on July 28, 2014 4:06 am GMT

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As GDXJ was working its way south from around $43, my bearish forecast called for a washout low at exactly 40.42, a Hidden Pivot support of great clarity. I’d suggested buying down there ‘aggressively’ and with an ‘absurdly’ tight stop-loss.  This advice would have paid off handsomely for anyone who followed it, since the stock trampolined 64 cents yesterday off an actual low of 40.43, a penny from my target. Since a subscriber reported doing the trade as advised, I’m establishing a tracking position for the further guidance of all who may have gotten long. (He reported having bought 1000 shares off a 40.44 bid, but I’ll assume a more conservative 400 shares.)  Accordingly, I’ll recommend exiting half the position on Friday’s opening if you haven’t done so already.  We’ll impute any profits thereof to the cost basis of the 200 shares that will remain. _______ UPDATE (July 27, 9:48 p.m. ET): Exiting 200 shares on Friday’s 41.20 opening leaves us with a tracking position of 200 shares whose imputed cost basis is 39.66.  Exit another 100 shares on today’s opening and tie the rest to an impulse leg-based stop-loss on the 15-minute chart.  At the moment, that would imply bailing out on an uncorrected dive touching 41.73. ______ UPDATE (July 28, 11:46 a.m.):  We got sleazed when DaBoyz opened the stock on the so-far low  of the day, 42.40.  The good news is that such shakedowns usually occur because the smart money is trying to buy the stock.  In any event, I am tracking a 100-share position with an effective cost basis of 37.25.  For the time being, let it run.

$+PCLN – Priceline (Last:1238.98)

by Rick Ackerman on July 24, 2014 12:54 am GMT

A subscriber reported success yesterday legging into the 1340/50/60 August 16 call butterfly that I’d advised. He did so 32 times at no cost, as suggested, but it took a $10 move in the stock between legs to get filled so advantageously. His maximum profit would be $32,000  with the stock trading at 1350 come August 16.  Since he owns the position without cost, no loss is possible even if PCLN should all to zero or rally to $1000. We’ll do nothing further for now, but I’d suggest that those of you who were unable to buy the spread keep trying.  We’ll shoot for a partial profit if the stock rallies $40-$50 in the next few weeks but otherwise do nothing further. I’ve reproduced a chart that shows why our expectation of a $120 rally from current levels, to a 1358.18 Hidden Pivot target, is not exactly farfetched.  To that end, a pop above the 1270.59 midpoint pivot would be most encouraging. ______ UPDATE (July 28, 7:46 p.m. EDT): Yesterday another subscriber reported legging into ‘free’ butterfly spreads as suggested. Keep trying for at least one more day if you haven’t yet acquired a stake, since the spread will remain cheap as long as PCLN doesn’t blast off.

$+TLT – Lehman Bond ETF (Last:115.40)

by Rick Ackerman on July 23, 2014 5:36 am GMT

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$EURUSD – Euro/USD (Last:1.34302)

by Rick Ackerman on July 23, 2014 12:01 am GMT

I haven’t tracked currencies that closely, but because they tend to move very precisely to Hidden Pivot targets, traders should consider exploiting them whenever possible. Notice how EUR/USD has broken beneath a midpoint Hidden Pivot at 1.34841 after noodling around near that pivot for a few hours on Thursday. This suggests that it is bound for D=1.34197, at least.  You can bottom-fish there with a stop-loss as tight as 3-4 ticks.  Notice as well that there are two slightly higher possibilities for point ‘A’.  The correction targets they yield lie, respectively, at 1.34114 and, worst case, 1.33992.  I expect these numbers to work very precisely, so use them in whatever way suits you best.  Note as well that a last-gasp rally to p=1.34738 after EUR/USD has fallen a bit would be short-able. _______ UPDATE (July 24, 5:35 p.m. EDT):  Yesterday’s short-squeeze feint topped precisely at a midpoint Hidden Pivot (see inset, a new chart) that was originally support but which is now resistance. This price action confirms the pattern we’ve chosen as well as its ‘D’ target at 1.34197. At least one subscriber has confirmed getting short in the chat room.  _______ UPDATE (July 27, 10:43 p.m.):  Friday’s low occurred at 1.34206 — 0.00009 above our 1.34197 target.  Shorts should have covered there, but if you were able to bottom-fish the low and catch a piece of the 144-tick rally that ensued, please let me know in the chat room and so that I can establish a tracking position for your further guidance.

September E-Mini Nasdaq (Last:3965.00

by Rick Ackerman on July 15, 2014 4:21 am GMT

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The Dollar Index turned higher yesterday an inch from a correction target that had been three weeks in coming (see inset). This portends a bullish change for the intermediate term.  The actual target is 79.74, and there is always a chance it will be breached. If so, there’s an alternative target at 79.62, but if it fails as well, especially without a fight, the implication would be more slippage to as low as  78.91, where a key low recorded in early May would thereupon beg to be tested. _______ UPDATE (11:17 p.m. EDT): Yesterday’s low occurred at 79.74 exactly. If the dollar is about to reverse and move higher, it will have to happen here, and now. _______ UPDATE (July 9, 2:33 a.m. ET): The dollar rallied strongly for a few days, but it is still not out of the woods because the move narrowly failed to clear an important ‘external’ peak at 80.38 recorded on 6/26. _______ UPDATE (July 16, 6:55 p.m.): DXY came within an inch of a clear and important Hidden Pivot rally target at 80.60 yesterday (see inset, a new chart). However, it will have to push past it to imply that the rally from the July 1 low (which had been predicted to-the-penny) is more than just a flash-in-the-pan.


SIDE BETS for Wednesday

ESU09 – September E-Mini S&P (Last: 996.00)

by Rick Ackerman on September 2, 2009 12:57 am GMT

Below 999.75, there were no more Hidden Pivot targets to project yesterday using the hourly chart. That is still the case, although we can use the breach of a look-to-the-left peak at 1009.50 to signal us when ES is turning around.


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