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With $1000 Looming, Gold Fever Is Back

by Rick Ackerman on September 4, 2009 2:15 am GMT · 5 comments

We’re no fans of head-and-shoulder formations, since they are everywhere the amateur chartist might want to find them. But there is something to be said for the bullish reverse head-and-shoulders pattern that gold futures have been tracing out for the last year-and-a-half. The pattern is shown in the chart below, and it is predicting that December Gold, which settled yesterday at 997.70, its highest close since February, is about to run up to $1060. Trouble is, just about everyone we know thinks gold is about to pop to 1060, give or » Read the full article


TODAY'S ACTION for Friday

Too Sexy to Pass Up

by Rick Ackerman on September 4, 2009 3:06 am GMT

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Rick's Picks for Friday
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All Picks By Issue:

SLW – Silver Wheaton (Last:13.04)

by Rick Ackerman on September 4, 2009 2:30 am GMT

All our ducks are in line now that we’ve successfully legged into the December 12.50-15.00 call spread eight times for a net CREDIT of 0.15 per.  The short sale of some December 15 calls for 0.45 yesterday morning clinched it, allowing us to capture premium in this series when the options were fat and juicy. Let’s put in a stink bid of 0.20 to cover the December 15s, good through Wednesday. It would be worth our while to get ’em in at that price if we can do so within the next few days. Our goal would then be to re-short them on  rally. _______ UPDATEWe weren’t able to cover the short December 15 calls, since they never traded below 0.35.  However, with the stock pushing toward $13 our position is looking better than ever.  We have a chance to make as much as $2120 with SLW trading $15 or higher at expiration, but even if SLW plummets we’ll still make at least $120.

DIA – Diamonds (Last:94.46)

by Rick Ackerman on September 4, 2009 2:49 am GMT

I usually ignore hot tips, but a pen-pal of mine, Phil C., sent me a breathless note predicting that the Dow would rally 100-150 points this morning, forming a top from which it will collapse when traders return after Labor Day.  Putting aside the details, this sounds so absolutely right to me that I’m inclined to speculate modestly.  Mr Market loves to spring dirty, nasty surprises whenever possible, and what could be nastier — or more surprising — than a tsunami to greet us as we return from summer’s final fling?  To get short, we can use the midpoint resistance at 95.07 shown in the chart, buying two September 93 puts (DAVUO) if and when the Diamonds get there. _______ UPDATE (11:52 a.m.): Stocks are only modestly higher today after an other-then-depressing unemployment report, so a short-squeeze to the levels where we’d wanted to get short seems unlikely. We’ll do nothing officially, but personally I’m going to take a couple of puts home with me over the weekend. My hunch is that the best prices of the day will obtain near the close. (Note: I bought some September 93 puts — DAVUO — for 0.86.)

SIZ09 – Comex December Silver (Last:16.130)

by Rick Ackerman on September 4, 2009 3:13 am GMT

The futures pushed slightly above a 16.265 pivot that had served as a short-term, minimum upside objective. The overshoot hints of further upside progress, presumably to the next Hidden Pivot resistance worth noting, 16.640.

$CLV14 – October Crude (Last:93.76)

by Rick Ackerman on August 28, 2014 1:13 am GMT

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$PCLN – Priceline (Last:1260.77)

by Rick Ackerman on August 28, 2014 1:00 am GMT

If the lunatic stocks are about to lead the broad averages higher, we should see Priceline bounce sharply from the 1259.21 midpoint support shown. Yesterday’s low came within 38 cents of this Hidden Pivot — close enough for the target to be considered fulfilled. Any further slippage, however, and its ‘D’ sibling at 1224.45 will be in play. This would imply that the stock market itself is likely to go nowhere, or possibly down, in the days ahead.  The stock would become shortable on a decisive breach of the red line (i.e., a breach of perhaps 0.30-0.60 cents), but if you plan on getting short for the potential $35 ride south, you should initiate the trade on the 5-minute chart or less, using a corrective pattern that would subject you to no more risk theoretically than perhaps 0.15 per share. If the trade works and you are still short when 1224.45 is reached or closely approached, reverse the position and buy at the target aggressively using a tight stop.

$+TSLA – Tesla Motors (Last:264.09)

by Rick Ackerman on August 26, 2014 7:35 am GMT

Tesla’s bullish rampage looks like it could hit 305.55 on the next big thrust.  Accordingly, I’ll recommend bidding 1.54 for the October 3/Sep 5  300 calendar spread 8 times, good till Friday. You should adjust your bid by 0.05 up or down for every 50 cents the stock moves above or below 262.50.  Please note as well that a pullback to the red line, a Hidden Pivot midpoint at 241.39, should be regarded as a buying opportunity, especially the calendar spread (albeit it at a much lower price). _______ UPDATE (August 26, 11:43 p.m. EDT):  Volatility has gotten crushed, and so you’re doing well if you buy the spread now for 1.34 (with TSLA at 262.00).  Since the spread price can fluctuate wildly from one day to the next, I’ll suggest that you recalibrate it hourly if you’re a buyer, using a spread price midway between bid and offer as “fair value.”  It has a delta value of around 9 at the moment, so you should adjust your bid for the spread by 0.01 for each 0.11 move in the underlying. _______ UPDATE (August 28, 9:45 p.m.):  With the Sep 5 calls melting away, the fair price for our spread must be recalculated several times daily by anyone seeking to buy it. It was a decent buy at Thursday’s close for around 1.20, but it could shed yet another 0.15-0.25 as the week ends.

$SLW – Silver Wheaton (Last:24.89)

by Rick Ackerman on August 25, 2014 12:05 am GMT

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$AAPL – Apple Computer (Last:100.89)

by Rick Ackerman on August 21, 2014 3:16 am GMT

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$+TLT – Lehman Bond ETF (Last:117.72)

by Rick Ackerman on August 20, 2014 4:59 am GMT

Subscribers are working two bullish calendar spreads (x16), but I would suggest increasing the size of the position if TLT corrects down to the 115.18 target  shown.   For now , we are long September 20 118 calls against short August 19 118 calls that we will roll into August 29 calls this Thursday and Friday.  We’ve already done the roll twice, reducing the cost basis of the spread to 0.04. This week’s roll will entail covering (buying back) the short calls and shorting a like number of August 29 calls, effectively selling the August 22 118/August 29 118 calendar spread.

It was marked on Tuesday at 0.17, off a 0.26 offer, but any price higher than 0.04 will effectively turn the position we’ll have  – long the Sept 20 118/August 29 118 calendar — into a credit spread.  This means we can’t lose – will make a profit no matter what TLT does.  Ideally, come September 20 , TLT will be sitting at 118, our spread will be trading for around 0.50, and we’ll be carrying it for a credit of perhaps 0.50.  The imputed profit would be  $1600 — not bad, considering our risk is already close to zero.

My long-term outlook for T-Bonds is very bullish, a view that goes sharply against a consensus which clings to the belief that interest rates – and the stock market — can only go up.  That is a bet we should be eager to fade. We may have a chance to do so at still better odds if T-Bonds continue to  sell off  on the manufactured idea that the Jackson Hole conference will open the floodgates for more stimulus and inflation. _______ UPDATE (10:38 a.m.):  The Sep 20/Aug xx calendar spread is recommended at this point only for those who did the original spread, since there’s not enough time left on it to roll its cost basis down to zero or less (i.e., a credit). If you are new to the spread, try buying the Nov 20/August 29 calendar for 0.90 with TLT trading around 115.80.  The spread has a delta value of 0.20, implying that being long one spread is equivalent to being long 20 shares of stock.  This means that, using a spread price of 0.90 as a benchmark, you should adjust the price you pay for it by one penny, up or down, for each 5 cents that TLT moves away from 115.80. ______ UPDATE (August 23): The strategies detailed above continue to rack up solid gains for subscribers that have come with minimal risk. If you have yet to take a stake, I would strongly urge you to do so, and to monitor reports in the chat room from those who are working the order. If there are any questions about how, and when, to initiate a trade, please don’t hesitate to ask me or others about it. _______ UPDATE (August 26, 12:01 a.m.): These spreads are working well, to put it mildly — especially for subscribers who increased their position size as suggested whenever TLT was weak.  Check my August 26 posts in the chatroom for further, detailed guidance.  In brief, I am suggesting covering half of the 118-strike spreads for 0.90 or better this week, and to roll the short side of the Nov 22 120/Aug 29 120 to Sep 5. _______ UPDATE (August 28, 12:43 p.m.): The August 29 118 calls look likely to finish in-the-money. To avoid being exercised, make sure you roll into the September 5 calls before noon EDT Friday.  Currently, with TLT trading 119.09, the September 5 118/August 29 118 calendar spread is a decent sale for around 0.28.  Keep in mind that the spread could widen, to our great advantage, if TLT pulls back, since the August 29 calls we are short will shed value more precipitously than the September calls that we continue to hold as the long side of our position. Even so, you could do worse than take the 0.28 now and run, since it would simply fatten the premium we have taken in on the weekly short, increasing our net credit.  With TLT rallying liking a moofoo, the weekly credits will be more significant to our final gain than the calendar spread itself at expiration.

+GDXJ – Junior Gold Miner ETF (Last:42.06)

by Rick Ackerman on September 2, 2014 12:03 am GMT

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This Just In... for Friday

About My Option Strategies…

by Rick Ackerman on September 4, 2009 12:01 am GMT

The following questions about my option strategies came up in the forum, but I am republishing them here because they may be of interest to a wider audience:

What is the advantage of going long one call, and then locking in a given spread via shorting another call, versus “locking-in” the spread by going long on puts instead?

My answer below is more generalized, but to address your specific point, we should prefer to “lock in” a profit by shorting a wasting asset rather than buying one ourselves.  For most option traders most of the time, shorting calls is MUCH more profitable than buying puts.  Indeed, in the several decades I have been trading options,  I cannot recall a instance when put buyers were happy for more than three consecutive days.  Even those who owned puts ahead of the 1987 crash had just two days of sheer bliss to get rid of them.

Is it that in the latter scenario, one is long twice, and can thus get screwed twice by the pros? I always thought the latter scenario would be a good one in cases of low implied volatility, where the loss on one is mitigated, and the gain in the other is increased when implied volatility rises during larger underlying moves. (That may just be retail-customer theory, which the pros have long beaten. But what do I know? I’m still waiting for someone to start offering straight options on the VIX. Thanks!

&&&&&

The spreads I prefer are intended to provide a highly leveraged shot at big profits, but without the usual, horrendous time decay. This tactic is especially useful if we expect a stock to rise (or fall) over a period of several months. We also seek to take advantage of fleeting spikes that goose option volatilities to the moon. If, for instance, SLW opens on a gap this morning (it did), we may have a chance to short Dec 15 calls when they are hugely overvalued — sell them, perhaps, for even more than the 0.45 we’d intended. (They topped at 0.50 before receding with the tide.). And, of course, we do so with the expectation that Silver Wheaton will be strong in the coming months, but not so strong that the December 15 calls will go in-the-money. We may ultimately decide to exercise our December 12.50s, a step in building a long-term position. RA

The Real Unemployment Rate

by Rick Ackerman on September 4, 2009 4:38 am GMT

Were you aware that the Bureau of Labor calculates unemployment in various and sundry ways that are not shared with the press?  Neither were we — until we heard about ‘U-6,” which reckoned U.S. joblessness at 14.8 percent back in February.  We would assume it’s much higher now, but unfortunately February was the last month given.  Incidentally, if 1933’s rate of 24.7 percent had been calculated using today’s dubious metrics, it supposedly would have been lower by at least five to ten percentage points. Click here  for the link.


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