January 27th, 2015
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Weekly Commentary

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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Thought for Today

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.

$GCG15 – February Gold (Last:1277.80)

by Rick Ackerman on January 27, 2015 6:26 am GMT

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$JNK – High-Yield Bond ETF (Last:38.83)

by Rick Ackerman on January 26, 2015 6:10 am GMT

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$+CLH15 – March Crude (Last:45.28)

by Rick Ackerman on January 26, 2015 5:34 am GMT

The futures are banging on a 44.12 Hidden Pivot support that they last visited on January 13. We won’t presume as to whether the support will hold this time around, but if it gives way the 41.00 target of a lesser downtrend (see inset) would be in play. Traders will have to sort out the opportunities in real time, but I’d suggest using a chart of 5-minute degree or less to generate an actionable ‘camouflage’ pattern. If you prefer the simpler method of a ‘mechanical’ entry, a short from 46.36 can be used, stop 48.15.  This is significantly more risk that we are used to taking when trading this vehicle, since swing highs and lows on the very lesser charts can usually be predicted with 10 to 20 cents.  Under the circumstances, I’d suggest holding position size down to a single contract unless you use ‘camouflage’. _______ UPDATE (1:42 p.m.): Just posted in the chat room: The recent high at 46.41 was bullishly impulsive, so shorts initiated at 46.36 as I’d advised should be tied to a short tether — i.e., a stop-loss that will leave you with at least a small profit no matter what. If you are short multiple contracts, half should be covered here for around 45.69, for a gain of about $670 per contract. If you prefer an impulsive stop, the 3-minute chart would pop you out of the trade on an uncorrected rally exceeding 46.14. _______ UPDATE (11:34 p.m.): The futures have plummeted $1.41 from within a nickel of where I’d suggested getting short.  The trade could have been worth as much $1360 per contract, but if you still hold a position I’ll recommend tying it to an impulsive stop-loss on the 5-minute chart. At the moment, that would imply stopping yourself out of the short if the futures thrust above 45.58 without correcting.  Please let me know in the chat room if you hold a position, since I can provide a tracking position for you further guidance.

$HGH15 – March Copper (Last:2.5485)

by Rick Ackerman on January 15, 2015 4:24 am GMT

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AAPL – Apple Computer (Last:112.99)

by Rick Ackerman on January 14, 2015 3:41 am GMT

We shouldn’t doubt that Apple will eventually lift off for points north — most immediately the 116.92 midpoint Hidden Pivot shown, and thence its ‘D’ sibling at 129.20. In the meantime, the presumptive consolidation near 110 has brough only tedium and a more or less predictable series of false starts. The timing of the rally is of some importance, since the stock market as a whole cannot get in bullish gear without the world’s most valuable stock leading the charge.  For our part, let’s get our feet wet with a 0.31 bid for 16 Feb 20 130 calls, day order, contingent on the stock trading 109.00 or higher. If Apple falls below that price lower the bid to 0.26.  Our eventual goal will be to leg into some vertical spreads for cheap, or possibly free. ______ UPDATE: The calls traded for 0.31 on the opening, so I’ll track 16 of them at that price.  Use a stop-loss at 0.24 for now, o-c-o with an order to short 16 Feb 20 135 calls for 0.31. ________UPDATE (January 18, 7:03 p.m.): The stock has looked like hell lately, stopping us out of the calls for 0.24 on the opening Friday. The loss would have totaled $112 plus commissions.  We’ll back away for now, since AAPL now looks primed to fall to 103.58 before bulls get traction. ______ UPDATE (January 25, 11:04 p.m.):  The stock has reversed sharply to the upside, putting the 129.20 rally target flagged above solidly in play.

$+TLT – Lehman Bond ETF (Last:133.40)

by Rick Ackerman on January 12, 2015 1:30 am GMT

A sale at 2.10 was a lay-up on Friday, since the spread peaked near the opening above 2.30.  With about $2640 in profits already booked, I’ll suggest holding the remaining spreads till expiration. If TLT is trading above 129 at the time, the total profit on the position would be $3840.  From a technical standpoint, the stock’s almost relentless strength is surprising, even to me. In retrospect, it vindicates our strategy — still viable — of buying every minor pullback, since that seems to be as much weakness as we’ll get.  I still expect the 133.16 target shown to exhibit some stopping power, but we shouldn’t be too surprised if buyers just shrug it off. ________ UPDATE (January 16, 12:04 a.m.): Even though I keep repeating that we should expect this vehicle to continue rampaging higher for years and years, I still can’t get used to how easily it blows past ostensibly daunting Hidden Pivot resistances. For what it’s worth, the next lies at 138.60.  Our position is beyond adjustment at this point and seems all but certain to produce a $3840 gain. _______ UPDATE (January 21, 8:24 p.m.):  Yesterday’s selloff was the most vicious we’ve seen in months, but it had no impact whatsoever on the 138.60 target noted above.  The rather large profit from our spread is safe in any case and will remain so unless Armageddon intervenes.

+SNIPF – Snipp Interactive (Last:0.4410)

by Rick Ackerman on December 10, 2014 3:16 am GMT

I first recommended this stock in early September after being very impressed with a presentation by its CEO, Atul Sabharwal. The company provides mobile marketing solutions to a growing list of clients that includes Wal-Mart, ESPN, Lexus, Taco Bell, Target, Johnson & Johnson and Minute Maid.  Snipp’s shares are listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSX: SPN) and on the OTC in the U.S. (symbol: SNIPF), but yesterday it filed with the SEC for an exchange listing in the U.S.  From a technical standpoint, SNIPF looks to be basing for a move to as high as 0.4385. First, though, it would need to trip a buy signal at 0.2878, then to clear the 0.3380 midpoint pivot (see inset).  The company continues to win new business at a rapid clip, and that’s why I expect the earnings report due out November 15 to be strong. Full disclosure: I hold shares and warrants in this company. _______ UPDATE (November 13, 10:49 a.m. EST): Two days ahead of the earnings report, the stock has taken quite a leap, with an opening bar high today at 0.38 that was 36% above yesterday’s close. This means the 0.4385 target flagged above is well in play.  _______ UPDATE (6:49 p.m.): The stock took a leap Thursday back up to the midpoint pivot at 0.3380 associated with the 0.4385 target. Regarding earnings, they will be out later than expected, in line with the Canadian deadline for filing. Stay tuned _______ UPDATE (November 17):  Snipp has reported 252% earnings growth for Q3. Click here for the company’s latest filing. _______ UPDATE (December 5, 10:13 a.m.): Zounds!  The stock has popped to 0.40, quadrupling in the eight months since I first recommended it. My immediate target is 0.4356, but SNIPF will need some rest if and when it gets there. _______ UPDATE (December 9): Bulls are apt to be a little winded after the recent push to 0.4314, less than a penny shy of the target shown. We’ll give the stock time to consolidate for the next thrust. ______ UPDATE (December 10, 6:12 p.m.): With the broad averages plummeting yesterday, Snipp bucked the tide, hitting a new all-time high at 44.10. This opens a path over the near term to 0.4906, or perhaps 0.5193 if any higher. ______ UPDATE (January 5): The stock vaulted to 0.59 Friday on volume 250% of a daily average of about 400,000 shares. _______ UPDATE (January 18, 9:57 p.m.): SNIPF got hammered at its recent high of 0.60, with more than a million shares changing hands near the top. Volume on the pullback has been relatively light, however, and I expect buyers to turn the old high into support once they push past the old high in the months ahead. The company continues to win new business with an impressive and rapidly growing list of blue-chip clients. For a summary of client names, check out their logos by clicking here.


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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