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Rick’s Picks Weekend Edition

by Rick Ackerman on September 19, 2009 12:01 am GMT

Two Possibilities Bulls Have Yet to Discount

We’ve always believed that the stock market’s ups and downs are driven not by anything so mundane as news events or the economy, but by the same mysterious cyclical forces that govern the physical universe. Nevertheless, two rapidly evolving news stories threaten to abruptly reverse Wall Street’s heedless bear rally, which recently entered its seventh month.

The first story concerns the impending collapse of the Obama presidency. Although he ran a very impressive campaign, Mr. Obama appears hell-bent on committing political suicide.  The President is clearly obsessed with radically revamping the country’s health…

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Gold Just Messing with Bankers’ Heads

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…

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Ben’s Pretty Sure Recession Is Over

It’s almost official:  the recession is maybe, probably, technically over. Helicopter Ben said so yesterday, and who are we to argue?  You can hardly blame the guy for having his head in the clouds, considering how retail sales absolutely exploded in August. Sure, it was due almost entirely to a cash-for-clunkers program that taxpayers have yet to pay for. But the program will have been a bargain if it helps foster the impression Americans are in a spending mood again. And if that’s all it takes to get the economy rolling, then by all means, let’s extend clunker status to everything else in America that clunks, starting with Iron City’s peerless clunkmeisters, the Pittsburgh Pirates. We’ll personally chip in a TV set…

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Dollar’s Next Rally Looks Doomed

Here are two numbers to jot down if you’re interested in gold and the U.S. dollar:  75.47 and 72.93.  Those are our current downside targets for the NYBOT Dollar Index, and we are quite confident that both will be reached in the fullness of time. The first lies just 1% below yesterday’s settlement price of 76.28; the second, 4.3% below it.  Like you, we’ve heard many compelling arguments from dollar bulls and bears. Some think it is about to turn very strong, while others see a collapse. Our gut feeling is that the bulls will be right…

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Which Recovery Story Are We to Believe?

Is the economy recovering?  Nowhere is there more confusion on this topic than in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Anyone scanning just the headlines might think we’re on the cusp of a solid rebound: retail sales are up, home sales are starting to move, and the Fed chairman thinks the worst is behind us. It is only when one burrows into the newspaper, particularly the op-ed pages, that a more sobering picture emerges. The facts well behind…

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TODAY'S ACTION for Friday

Mini-indexes weakening somewhat…

by Rick Ackerman on September 18, 2009 2:51 am GMT

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Rick's Picks for Friday
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ESZ09 – E-Mini S&P (Last:1061.25)

by Rick Ackerman on September 18, 2009 2:38 am GMT

In after-hours trading, the futures appeared to be struggling to reach the 1062.75 midpoint of a minor corrective pattern projecting as low as 1056.50. Either of these Hidden Pivots can be bottom-fished with a stop-loss as tight as 1.00 point, but if the trend reverses Thursday night or Friday morning, hitting 1070.00 before 1063.75, bears had better get out of the way. My immediate target thereupon would be 1073.00, but with a good shot at 1085.00 if it’s exceeded by more than 1.00 point.  [Note: The interpolated over/under numbers for the December contract are, respectively, 1065.25 and 1059.00.] ______ UPDATE (10:14 a.m.):  The futures have rallied from an overnight low the fell in-between the two levels of corrections targets given above. The move was impulsive, so that the pullback now in progress must be viewed as such rather than as the start of a significant downtrend. It would take a 1047.50 print to reverse bulls on the hourly chart.

GCZ09 – Comex December Gold (Last:1010.20)

by Rick Ackerman on September 18, 2009 2:48 am GMT

The futures look pretty neutral right now. Notice in the chart how yesterday’s downtrend played out to within a single tick of a crystal-clear target on the 3-minute chart. Now, if the recovery rally hits or exceeds its target, bulls would be back in charge. _______ UPDATE (10:22 a.m.):  Gold’s rally stalled a single tick above the 1019.40 target shown in the chart, and although I had said this would put bulls back in charge, I jumped the gun.  In fact, Gold needed to have exceeded the Hidden Pivot — exceeded it by more than a single tick, anyway — to suggest there’s enough buying enthusiasm to take the futures to a new threshold.

AAPL – Apple Computer (Last:180.80)

by Rick Ackerman on September 18, 2009 7:26 am GMT

Apple’s “story” has dimmed slightly with the recent announcement of dramatic price cuts for the firm’s high-capacity iPods.  The news would probably be easily absorbed if the stock were trading at half its current price, but the rally in fact has looked like it needed a rest for the last 50 points. Accordingly, we’ll use a Hidden Pivot target not far above, at 193.87, to try and get short. We’ll have a better idea of whether the stock will actually reach that number once we’ve seen how far it pulls back from yesterday’s high.  Anything exceeding 182.82 would indicate possible trouble. _______ UPDATE: 188.90 is as high as buyers could muster on the last rally peak.  The target is still valid in theory, but we’ll put this trade aside for now, since it can only distract.

$AAPL – Apple Computer (Last:100.57)

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

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$+TLT – Lehman Bond ETF (Last:116.20)

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.

$SIU14 – September Silver (Last:19.615)

by Rick Ackerman on August 19, 2014 2:02 am GMT

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$DIA – Dow Industrials ETF (Last:168.82)

by Rick Ackerman on August 19, 2014 1:50 am GMT

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$SLW – Silver Wheaton (Last:26.58)

by Rick Ackerman on August 7, 2014 4:58 am GMT

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SIDE BETS for Friday

A heads-up: TBT is approaching a bearish Hidden Pivot target at 43.39 that would offer a back-up-the-truck buying opportunity if it is reached. This would of course imply that the price of the underlying long bond is approaching an important top.


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