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Gold Just Messing with Bankers’ Heads

by Rick Ackerman on September 15, 2009 2:27 am GMT · 8 comments

Gold hasn’t made much headway since the beginning of the month, when COMEX futures surged $50 in the space of two days. With the dollar suffering from the vapors, there’s no compelling reason why the December contract should have loitered near $1000 ever since.  Granted, that’s a nice, round number, and it probably works smoothly with put-and-call hedges that allow bullion dealers to borrow as much of the stuff as they’d care to without risk. It is the same thing we see on expiration Fridays in the equity options market. When a stock gets “pegged” to a strike price, it’s possible for even small players to transact » Read the full article


TODAY'S ACTION for Tuesday

A do-it-yourself gold trade

by Rick Ackerman on September 15, 2009 3:53 am GMT

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Rick's Picks for Tuesday
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ESU09 – E-Mini S&P (Last:1043.00)

by Rick Ackerman on September 15, 2009 2:43 am GMT

That 1053.00 target may be so stale by now that it can be shorted without fear of bumping heads with amateur riff-raff.  I won’t get in your way by suggesting the usual niggling stop-loss, but let me reiterate that the target itself is as clear and compelling as can be — a bet-the-ranch number if it had been hit last week on the the first try. If you’re superstitious and would rather play the December contract, the equivalent target, a Hidden Pivot, lies at 1048.25 ______ UPDATE (10:16 a.m.):  This trade worked beautifully, since the futures have so far fallen 11.25 points after topping at exactly 1053.25 an hour before the day session began.  You’re on your own from here, but if you initiated the trade on multilots, save some contracts for a potential four-bagger.  

GCZ09 – Comex December Gold (Last:1009.40)

by Rick Ackerman on September 15, 2009 3:47 am GMT

It’s not often that we find potentially great camouflage on the hourly chart, but if December Gold moves as I have hypothesized in the accompanying chart, it will set up a beautiful entry opportunity at ‘X’ that seems very likely to give buyers a pleasurable ride.  I am not going to complicate my instructions by telling you how to get long in a hundred words or less, but will instead leave it up to pivoteers in the chat room to do the explaining if and when opportunity knocks Tuesday morning. _______ UPDATE (10:05 a.m.): Gold eased lower overnight, and so the entry opportunity we were looking for did not materialize.  The weakness hints of more downside to 988.40, or to 988.50 if any lower.  Alternatively, an upthrust that touches 1006.40 would put bulls back in the driver’s seat. _______ FURTHER UPDATE (2:13 P.M.):  A trade flagged in the chat room is working nicely for anyone who went long mechanically by-the-numbers.  On the 15-minute chart, using the one-off ‘A’  at 995.90 that was advised, the target lies at 1011.30 — two ticks from where the futures have just made a (presumably) short-term top.

GS – Goldman Sachs (Last:177.57)

by Rick Ackerman on September 15, 2009 4:12 am GMT

The 192.91 target given here earlier will make for a juicy shorting opportunity if and when Goldman gets there, but I’m reluctant to play the upside unless we can get in at a retracement target. The best such opportunity tied to a Hidden Pivot would be down near 175.05, the midpoint sibling of 192.91.

DXY – NYBOT Dollar Index (Last:76.71)

by Rick Ackerman on September 15, 2009 4:17 am GMT

The Dollar Index’s fall to a 75.57 target has been so long in coming that we should be on the alert for a reversal before it is reached. On the hourly chart, this would be signaled by a 77.25 print, but if 77.38 is touched, bears had better dive for cover.

$+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.

$+ESU14 – Sep E-Mini S&P (Last:1984.75)

by Rick Ackerman on July 24, 2014 12:29 am GMT

I’m tracking a single contract short from 1982.50, based on the following post by me in the chat room at 1:45 p.m. EDT: “Aw, screw it. Just for the hell of it, let’s offer a single contract short at 1982.50, stop 1985.25, risking a theoretical $137.50 plus commissions. I’d hate myself if we actually missed a great short up here.”  Actually, it looked like we had missed the short, since I’d suggested initiating it at a longstanding Hidden Pivot target at 1984.25 that was missed by three ticks when this vehicle topped for the day at 1983.50 in the first hour.

The futures subsequently crept back up to 1982.75 later in the session, and it was then that I advised getting short for the hell of it. We remained short at the bell, but anyone who did the trade is advised to monitor it overnight, and to use the 1985.25 stop-loss suggested. That implies that we are risking a theoretical 2.75 points to stay in the trade.  If we use the fixed risk:reward of 1:3 that I always advise, we need a move our way of at least 8.25 points, to 1974.25, before we implement a trailing stop. (Had we initiated the trade with multiple contracts, we would take a partial profit there on half the position.)  I may suggest an impulse leg-based stop-loss if ESU falls straightaway to 1974.25, so stay tuned to the chat room if you’re unclear on how to do this. It is my intention to come out of this trade with at least a small profit even if ESU blows higher, as is likely. That will be possible if we get the pullback to 1974.25, since a 1981.25 stop-loss would become automatic at that point, subject to the substitution of a trailing stop. Meanwhile, I’ve reproduced an hourly chart (see inset) that shows the sinewy perfection of the pattern we’ve used to get short just beneath its 1984.25 Hidden Pivot. ______ UPDATE (July 24, 11:49 a.m. EDT):  The futures have exceeded our stop-loss by just two ticks so far today, but we exited anyway to stick to our discipline. The loss was about $138, and we won’t look back.

$TLT – Lehman Bond ETF (Last:115.18)

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

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$EURUSD – Euro/USD (Last:1.34647)

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.

$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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$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.)


SIDE BETS for Tuesday

SIZ09 – Comex December Silver (Last (16.665)

by Rick Ackerman on September 15, 2009 3:59 am GMT

December Silver bettered our bullish benchmark at 16.730 by a single tick yesterday, hinting of more upside to come. If so, the futures 16.850 will need to touch 16.850 today to demonstrate  their eagerness to challenge last Friday’s 17.015 peak. Once above it, the futures would be an odds-on bet to reach a minimum 17.275 over the very near-term.


This Just In... for Tuesday

The Collapse of a Presidency

by Rick Ackerman on September 15, 2009 5:56 pm GMT

Writing at Politico.com, here’s Jeremy Lott on the increasingly likely collapse of the Obama presidency:

When he ran for president, George W. Bush promised to be a modest reformer at home and a humble representative of the United States on the world stage. The Al Qaeda-organized-and-funded terrorist attacks of eight years ago changed all that. During his presidency, Bush created massive new government bureaucracies, sent troops into two wars and threatened more as part of America’s war on terror.

Barack Obama’s initial approach to the office of the presidency has been as grandiose as Bush’s was restrained. It’s not hard to recall that he ran as a transformative candidate, promising sweeping, though somewhat fuzzy, “change” during the campaign.

For the first several months of his presidency, Obama has labored to deliver on that pledge. He pushed a controversial stimulus bill through Congress to help rev up the economy, turned Bush’s reluctant bailout of Chrysler and General Motors into a giant government auto buyout and appointed a record number of “czars” to help regulate bureaucracies in both public and formerly private sectors.

Then, Step 2. Obama is trying to fundamentally alter the American economy by backing sweeping environmental, labor and health care legislation. He wants to change the way Americans consume energy, unionize and see their doctors.

So far, he’s failing miserably. Consider the following:

• Cap-and-trade legislation had to limp over the finish line in the House of Representatives with the help of a few moderate Republicans, who then caught holy unshirted hell from their constituents. Environmental legislation generally has taken a drubbing in public opinion polls when people consider how costly it is.

• The Employee Free Choice Act may be stripped of its “card check” provision in the Senate, which would effectively do away with secret ballots for unionization elections. Even in its watered-down form — which still includes highly objectionable, mandatory, binding so-called gunpoint arbitration and makes no concessions to employers who don’t want to have to prop up teetering union pensions — it might not pass the Senate. And the leadership of the House has refused to touch it until the other chamber has made up its mind.

• On health care, forget the rage set off by private citizen Sarah Palin tweeting about “death panels.” Forget the misleading talk about whether there will be a “public option.” (The ever-evolving plan is one giant public option, folks.) Forget the angry voters who crowded into the town halls during the August recess. Forget that a number of Democratic senators and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are still not willing to sign on to a bill. Right now, even after Obama’s address to the joint session of Congress last week, it’s possible Democrats don’t even have the votes in the House — where they currently enjoy a 77-seat majority.

It’s entirely possible — nay, likely — that Obama will lose on all three big issues. He’ll probably take that personally. As he has pushed for the passage of his reforms, his public approval ratings have taken a beating, and voters have started to trust the Republicans more than his party on a host of issues.

The question that most political handicappers are considering right now is not “Will Republicans make gains at the midterm elections?” but “How large will those gains be?”

What all this means is, barring some unforeseeable world event, Obama’s will probably not be a historic presidency. He will have some successes and a lot of failures. His opposition won’t roll over, and his party will refuse to go along with his more costly, and thus risky, schemes. He won’t coast to reelection.

So Obama now has the chance to be the sort of president Bush would have been if the World Trade Center towers had not come down. Here’s hoping he makes the best of it.


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