April 24th, 2014
Published Daily
Topic of the Week

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.

(If you’d like to have Rick’s Picks commentary delivered free each day to your e-mail box, click here.)


TODAY'S ACTION for Wednesday

Against the Grain…

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

 Member-only content. Please Login or get a free trial of Rick's Picks to view.


Rick's Picks for Wednesday
$ = Actionable Advice + = Open Position
Hidden Pivot Calculator   Education Page
All Picks By Issue:

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.

$AAPL – Apple Computer (Last:524.65)

by Rick Ackerman on April 24, 2014 7:46 am GMT

Although the 525.27 midpoint support of the pattern shown evinced no discernible support, the pattern itself offers an attractive bottom-fishing opportunity that experienced Pivoteers will appreciate (see inset).  Without going into detail, I’ll suggest simply that you acquire a bullish stake near 522.91 in whatever way suits your style.  In this case, ‘near’ 522.91 means within four cents, since this set-up looks like it will work that precisely.  Stop yourself out if the stock touches 522.82, and don’t pass up an opportunity to take a partial profit if the bounce expected from 522.91 hits 523.24.  Thereafter, you’ll be on your own. (Note: If you buy options at the predicted low, stick with calls priced under $2, and plan on holding them for no longer than an hour, since they will be melting away quickly because of time decay. Ideally, you should try to spread them off by shorting calls of a higher strike against them for at least as much as you paid.)  ______ UPDATE (10:19 a.m. ET):  Boy, did I ever pick the wrong day to try stealing a few shares of this stock on-the-cheap! Apple took a psychotic, short-squeeze leap on the opening bar to $569 (!), goosed by news of the following: 1) a $30 billion increase in its stock buy-back plan; 2) an 8% boost in its dividend; 3) and a 7:1 stock split. Those who bought into this morning’s effusion should be asking themselves, Why is Apple being so nice to me? My guess is that it’s because the company knows that in the months ahead, especially with wireless carriers weaning customers off phone subsidies, price competition is about to impact Apple’s bottom line more than before.  FYI, the rally projects to exactly 626.60, where p=560.59 on the weekly chart, and A=447.22 on 9/20.

$+CLM14 – June Crude (Last:101.91)

by Rick Ackerman on April 23, 2014 4:41 pm GMT

The midpoint pivot at 101.28 that I’d flagged yesterday in the chat room as a place to try bottom-fishing appears to have served subscribers well. Several subscribers have reported getting long at that price ahead of the so-far 88-cent rally that has ensued. This morning’s low never exceeded the pivot by more than eight cents, and the rally since could have produced a gain of as much as $800 per contract for anyone who was aboard.  Because of the fills that were reported, I’m going to establish a tracking position for your further guidance. Assuming four contracts were entered initially, you should take partial profits on half now if you haven’t done so already. For tracking purposes, I’ll assume an exit at 101.80, a dime below where the futures are currently trading.

I’ll further suggest using an impulse leg-based stop on the 30-minute chart. This implies that a swoon now to 101.19 would take one out of the position. The stop-out price will rise to 101.45 if the current bar’s low, 101.72, becomes a point C low (where A=101.46 at 9:00 a.m. ET). _______ UPDATE (10:40 a.m. ET):  A very nasty downdraft has erased most of the rally in a single bar on the 30-minute chart.  Stick to the 101.19 stop for now, but use a breakeven stop if you held only one contract. _______ UPDATE (April 24, 1:06 a.m.): There were four swings in excess of 70 cents yesterday — not quite violent enough to dislodge us from our position.  For tracking purposes I am assuming that two contracts remain, with a profit adjusted cost basis of 100.48.  Exit one of the contracts now for around 101.70 (or catch-as-catch-can when you wake up, assuming you slept on the position); then, use an impulse leg-based stop-loss on the hourly chart to create a stop-loss for the last contract.  At this moment, that would imply stopping yourself out on an uncorrected plunge exceeding Wednesday’s 101.20 low.  _______ UPDATE (1:33 p.m.): Profit taking has lowered the costs basis on the remaining contract to 99.26.  As of this moment, using an ‘impulsive’ stop based on the hourly chart, the stop-loss for the remaining contract (or 25% of the original position) lies at 101.39.

ESM14 – June E-Mini S&P (Last:1878.50)

by Rick Ackerman on April 23, 2014 3:24 am GMT

The leaps have been opportunistic, powered by short-covering whenever the mood is right. Most of the time these days, however, the futures are taking mincing steps in both directions, creating a challenging environment for profit-seekers in the middle hours of the day. One thing to notice, however, is that the rallies, particularly in this vehicle, and whether weak or powerful, seldom proceed from the first signaled entry point.  Instead, the ‘money trades’ launch from a second or third point-C lows of ABCD patterns, and they do it with such repetitious reliability that one can practically discard the first signaled entry opportunities routinely. This is the kind of price action we might expect when ‘everyone’ thinks that stocks will move higher on a given day. ‘Everyone’ can be right, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can make money easily. For your interest today, I am including a chart that shows a modest rally target at 1895.00. I’m guessing it will be easier to get short there with a tight stop than to get long for the ride to it. However, because the futures will be in record territory at that point, we shouldn’t want to impede their progress too aggressively. _______ UPDATE (April 24, 12:50 a.m.):  With yesterday’s rally — nearly all of it achieved in a single, short-squeeze bar toward the end of the session — bears are now trapped between the all-time high and a lesser peak just below it. Their acute, growing discomfort will likely be tradable, but not by way of any specific guidance I am able to provide nine hours before the opening bell.  New record highs are coming, but for most traders, the process of getting there promises to be more pain than pleasure.

$PCLN – Priceline (Last:1230.18)

by Rick Ackerman on April 22, 2014 4:00 am GMT

 Member-only content. Please Login or get a free trial of Rick's Picks to view.

Since March 20, when GDXJ was trading for around $40, I have been looking for a potentially important low at 34.00.  More recently, I revised that target to exactly 33.76, a ‘Hidden Pivot support’. Yesterday it came within a single penny of nailing the exact low of a vicious swoon. The low may or may not prove to be the last gasp of a correction that has been in progress for the last five weeks, but it stood to be an opportune place to try bottom-fishing.  In that regard, quite a few subscribers reported getting aboard at or near the low, and so I’ve established a tracking position for their further guidance. It consists of 200 shares with a cost basis of 33.58. The price takes into account an initial purchase of 400 shares for 33.79, then the taking of a partial profit on half the position at 34.00.  The bounce so far has hit 34.90, meaning GDXJ has trampolined $1.14 cents since hitting my three-week-old target.  For now, traders should stop themselves out of the position if GDXJ breaches two prior lows on the 5-minute chart without an upward correction.  As of this moment, that would imply placing the stop at 34.37 (and remember: it must be exceeded by an unbroken, downtrending leg).  You should also offer a round lot (or half of the remaining position, whichever is greater) to close for 36.80, good-till-canceled. _______ UPDATE (11:38 p.m. ET): The herky-jerky spasms in the first 90 minutes altered our stop-loss so that it would have taken a 34.07 print to stop us out — 23 cents beneath the actual low. I’ll now suggest raising the bar by using an impulse leg-based stop-loss on the 30-minute chart. That would imply a fall today touching 34.29.  Please note, however, that the stop could change if zig-zag action early in the session creates any distinctive new lows on the intraday charts. Our target for the next profit-taking interval is still 36.80. _______ UPDATE (April 23, 1:38 p.m. ET): A powerful surge today has hit a so-far high of 36.89, allowing anyone who was long to take a partial profit at 36.80 as suggested.  For tracking purposes I’ll assume 100 shares with a profit-adjusted cost basis of 30.36.  In practice, you should still be holding 25% of whatever position you acquired initially, with a 30.36 cost basis. For now, use no stop-loss. _______ UPDATE (April 24, 1:20 a.m.): For each round lot you hold, short one May 2 38 call if GDXJ gets within about 15 cents of 38.00.  At that price, the calls should fetch around 1.10-1.20.

$DXY – NYBOT Dollar Index (Last:79.89)

by Rick Ackerman on April 21, 2014 5:25 am GMT

 Member-only content. Please Login or get a free trial of Rick's Picks to view.

$USM14 – June T-Bond (Last:134^01)

by Rick Ackerman on April 2, 2014 3:21 am GMT

We don’t pay much attention to this vehicle other than at key turning points, but the short-term pattern shown looks like a lay-up for traders who see futures contracts as no more than bouncing dots on a chart, waiting to be exploited. There are actually two trade possibilities here: 1) a ‘camouflage’ short as USM slips below the 132^13 midpoint; 2) and a very tightly stopped long from within a tick or two of the 131^17 target. Good luck!  Please report any fills in the chat room so that I can establish a tracking position for your further guidance. ______ UPDATE (3:17 p.m. ET): The short was tricky to initiate, but once aboard, your reward came quickly with a drop to a so-far low at  131^26. As noted above, the short should be covered and reversed near 131^17. ______ UPDATE (April 6, 3:57 p.m.): The low of Friday’s violent price swings was 131^21 — not quite close enough to have gotten you long easily. Although this could prove to be an important low for the short- to intermediate term, under the circumstances I’ll assume no subscribers were filled. _______ UPDATE (April 11, 1:03 a.m.): Next important stop on the way higher: 135^17. _______ UPDATE (April 20, 11:10 p.m. ET): Last week’s fleeting stab to 135^10 came within less than a quarter-point of my target — close enough for us to consider it fulfilled. It took the futures more than a month to get there, so we should expect this correction-or-worse to last for at least a week or so before bulls attempt to push T-Bonds to new recovery highs.


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.


Hidden Pivot Webinar & Tutorials
The Hidden Pivot Webinar is two-day event is designed to teach you the risk-averse trading strategies Rick has taken to his seminars around the world. Once you have learned his proprietary secrets, you will approach trading and investing with enough confidence to make your own decisions without having to rely on the advice of others. The next Webinar will take place on May 21-22, 2014. For more information, or to register, click here.