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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.

$+ESU14 – Sep E-Mini S&P (Last:1979.25)

by Rick Ackerman on July 25, 2014 12:02 am GMT

The futures have sold off moderately after making a marginal new high on Thursday.  Even though they could be carving out an important top here, I adhered to a tight stop-loss nonetheless because that’s the way I do things, always following my discipline.  However, if you held onto the short from 1982.50 and want me to establish a tracking position for your further guidance, please let me know in the chat room. It is already implied that you’ll need a pullback to at least 1973.50 before implementing a trailing stop, since  you’ve already weathered a 3.00-point swing against the position.

$+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.

$+TLT – Lehman Bond ETF (Last:114.32)

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

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$EURUSD – Euro/USD (Last:1.34623)

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.

$GCQ14 – August Gold (Last:1311.60)

by Rick Ackerman on July 22, 2014 1:29 am GMT

The futures looked like they could go either way as Monday’s session drew to a close. However, the stall within 0.70 of the 1318.30 midpoint resistance I’d flagged implies that a decisive move past it would reach its D-target sibling at 1331.60. Alternatively, my worst-case target for the near term would be the 1278.20 Hidden Pivot support in the lower-right quadrant of the chart — or possibly even 1271.70 if any lower.  The accuracy of this target would be affirmed by a bounce, possibly tradable, from within two or three ticks of the 1302.00 midpoint support. ________ UPDATE (9:57 a.m. EDT):  Gold has bounced $14 this morning from a low just two ticks (0.20) from the 1302.00 midpoint pivot flagged above. Now, if the futures breach the support, we’ll know EXACTLY where they are headed. _______ UPDATE (July 23, 12:01 a.m.): Someone in the chat room said that because everyone seems to be bearish on gold right now, perhaps we should take the other side of the bet.  I’m a bit bearish myself, and thus this response: “Rather than take chances and let gold disappoint us for the zillionth time, we should simply stipulate that the August contract close above 1318.90 before we get excited. That’s the midpoint resistance, on the 180-minute chart, of a=1292.60 on 7/15; b= 1325.90 on 7/27; and c=13-02.20 on 7/22. At that point, I’d lay even odds of a move to at least 1335.50; above 1337.00, the futures would be a good bet to hit 1381.40.  Whatever happens, bulls will have to prove their case. _______ UPDATE (July 24, 1:20 a.m.):  Sellers paused for a relatively blissful nine hours yesterday just inches above the 1302.00 ‘hidden’ support I’d flagged, presumably to sniff the flowers before going back on the attack.

$SLW – Silver Wheaton (Last:26.43)

by Rick Ackerman on July 17, 2014 12:05 am GMT

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September E-Mini Nasdaq (Last:3965.00

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

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$NFLX – Netflix (Last:452.00)

by Rick Ackerman on July 9, 2014 3:25 am GMT

Netflix’s so-far $37 selloff has followed a peak last week at 475.87 that slightly overshot a Hidden Pivot at 474.50 I’d characterized as ‘a big-picture target where an important top is even more likely.’ A chat-roomer who evidently took this prediction to heart reported buying puts last Thursday for 1.24 that he cashed out for 8.90 yesterday. This could be just the start of NFLX’s comeuppance for all those who inflated this gas-bag to undeserved heights. If you took a position and are still holding it, please let me know in the chat room and I will update guidance. For now, though, let me suggest that you take profits on half of any short position entered near the recent top. _______ UPDATE (July 10, 10:23 p.m.): Bears failed to achieve a Hidden Pivot target yesterday, presumably because DaBoyz shook the stock down so hard on the opening bar that it exhausted sellers prematurely. The missed target suggests that traders will enjoy decent odds bottom-fishing the midpoint pivot shown at 433.62 (see inset, a new chart) with a stop-loss as tight as 8 cents. If it’s hit, expect the selling to continue down to at least 423.05, a Hidden Pivot that can be bottom-fished with as tight a stop-loss as you can abide. _______ UPDATE (July 14, 11:07 p.m. EDT): A turn from 428.20, precisely between the two pivots flagged above, left our bid high and  dry.  The bull leg that has followed could be the start of a rally cycle with the potential to reach 486.86. First, though, let’s see whether buyers can tackle a midpoint pivot at 457.53 that is associated with the target. _______ UPDATE (July 16 at 6:47 p.m.): Let’s not overlook the downside — specifically, the 433.69 midpoint pivot and its D sibling at 411.67.  Bears can short the break for a move to either, and both can be bottom-fished with the tight stop-loss you can abide. ______ UPDATE (July 22, 12:15 a.m.): The stock turned higher from $2 above the midpoint support, implying that bulls are about to dominate once again.  Call prices are on the moon, however — way too expensive for a straight directional bet. Instead, I’ll suggest buying the August 2 – July 25 calendar spread eight times for 1.50, day order, contingent on the stock trading 451.00 or higher. Please report any fills in the chat room. _______ UPDATE (July 22, 12:05 p.m.):  With today’s huge air pocket, the stock obviously remains in the grip of DaBoyz. My assumption will always be that steep declines in NFLX are brazen shakeouts, engineered by strong hands to steal stock at fire-sale prices from weak hands. In this instance, the downdraft appears likely to hit 413.00 before DaBoyz run it up again. If and when that number is hit, you can bottom-fish there with the tightest stop-loss imaginable. (Note: I’ve revised the target downward by 0.96 since the original update. Also 435.25 is the midpoint pivot and therefore worth a tightly stopped short on a rally to it.)

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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