So, was it thinking machines that put stocks into a death dive last week, or was it primal human fear? Either way, there’s a neurological disease at work and therefore little likelihood of a cure. Even worse, since these diseases tend to be degenerative, we should expect something still more disruptive in the future. Ham-handed regulations won’t be able to stop it, either. Let the exchanges install all the circuit breakers they want; supply will out someday, catastrophically overwhelming demand when buyers go AWOL. This is inevitable when you create a global electronic trading network connecting ten billion » Read the full article
Early Sunday evening, index futures were caught in a vicious short-squeeze that bids fair to recapture all of last Thursday’s losses. It would seem to be drawing its energy from the latest — and rather large, even by American standards — European bailout package. The loan guarantees just announced amount to some $560 billion, offered to the EU’s most troubled economies. This PR hoax could have legs, but from a trading standpoint it will lay an egg if it fails to push the E-Mini S&Ps above 1136.00. That is Thursday’s recovery high, and it lies somewhat above the 1130.75 peak achieved so far this evening. The futures are currently trading for 1122.50, equivalent to a 140-point rally in the Dow above Friday’s settlement price. _______ UPDATE (2:32 a.m. EDT): DaScumballs are doing what they’ve been doing so very deftly since March 2009: lifting index futures as high as they can get away with on razor-thin Sunday night volume. From a Hidden Pivot standpoint, DaBoyz can get away with as much, perhaps, as 1170.75.
Friday’s robust thrust fell ten dollars shy of a 1224.70 target, subjecting Gold to a little more bullying than usual Sunday evening. We can ignore it as long as the futures hold above 1189.20, but anything below that number will create a mildly bearish impulse leg on the hourly chart. If there’s opportunity brewing for night owls, it would likely come from the 15-minute chart (shown). The modest downtrend has a midpoint pivot at 1195.80 that you can bottom-fish with a three-tick stop-loss, and another Hidden Pivot at 1188.90 that deserves the same treatment. Both lie just below “structural” supports whose breach will be read by most traders as breakdowns. _______ UPDATE (2:21 a.m. EDT): A rally Sunday night invalidated the two downside targets but created two new ones. The first is a midpoint support at 1198.60 that has already been breached; the second, a ‘D’ target at 1190.70 that you can bottom-fish with a stop-loss as tight as four ticks. If it’s hit, look for more selling down to 1187.70, my worst-case low for today and another spot to try bottom-fishing with as tight a stop-loss as you can abide. _______ FURTHER UPDATE (8:57 a.m. EDT): The futures have exceeded 1187.70, bottoming so far at 1184.40 and hinting of still more weakness to come. They’d need to pop above 1206.50 today to undo the damage.
A print exceeding 18.910 today or tomorrow would kick the buying into high gear, creating a bullish impulse leg of daily-chart degree that would turn December’s watershed high at 19.420 into a sitting duck. Anything less, however, could strand Friday’s spike, leaving buyers to cool their heels in the wake of Friday’s spirited charge. More immediately, there are two spots where night owls might try bottom-fishing with a stop-loss as tight as three ticks: 18.235; or somewhat more conservatively, at 18.165. (Please note that numbers in boldface brown are usually ‘D’ targets of downtrends, while brown number in a lighter type-face are midpoint pivots. Uptrending targets and midpoints are similarly given in green, although I will sometimes use brown and green to highlight price points that are important though not Hidden Pivots.) _______ UPDATE (8 a.m. EDT): June Silver bottomed at 18.215, two cents below the higher target but well above the lower. I’ll record nothing done officially, but please note in any case that upside to as high as 19.415 over the near term has been signaled. Key resistance lies at 18.815, the Hidden Pivot midpoint associated with the target.
As of around 10 p.m. EDT Sunday, the futures looked bound for 10670, a shortable Hidden Pivot (albeit a relatively risky one; a more conservative short can be initiated at 10712). That would represent a 335-point gain over Friday’s close, and although it would not recoup last Thursday’s loss completely, it would handily exceed the day’s recovery high, creating an impressive bullish impulse leg in the process. _______ UPDATE (9:09 EDT): The rally now measures to as high as 10937, well above last Thursday’s pre-swoon high of 10865. A pullback in the meantime to (precisely) 10569, the target’s sibling midpoint, would telegraph the next thrust.
If Goldman drifts lower over the next 5-7 days, we’ll look to bottom-fish down at 136.11, the lowest Hidden Pivot target that can be derived from the intraday charts. If I can come up with a way to initiate the trade using a limit bid for some near-the-money call options, I’ll feature the trade as a Pick of the Day for all. _______ UPDATE (May 16): Scratch Goldman from the list of stocks we’ve been watching lately, since it has become too, too boring to deserve our time and attention. My minimum downside objective is now 135.35, and I’ll set an alert there, since the support will be worth bottom-fishing if it’s ever reached — which it will be.
We were using an 1814.00 rally target yesterday, but I lacked the imagination to foresee that this glue-horse would fail to muster the implied four points of upside. Now, another Hidden Pivot has popped up that looks even more compelling. It lies at 1814.25, and because the original target remains viable as well, the implication is that there will be double stopping power thereabouts. Accordingly, I’ll recommend shorting a single contract at 1814.25, stop 1815.25. There should be no illusions about catching a major top here — this is just a trade, is all. But the target looks to me like the sort that cannot fail. Scalpers will be on their own if the order fills and gives way to a pullback of at least 3.00 points. Please note that this gambit could trigger overnight, denying regular session traders an opportunity to lay ‘em out. ________ UPDATE (8:05 a.m. EST): An ostensibly modest rally target continues to remain out of reach, notwithstanding our eagerness to get short there. We should conclude the obvious: That for the time being, nothing but weakness lies underneath. Absent the conditions needed to trigger a short squeeze, DaBoyz will have to take the futures lower before they can run them higher. I continue to think that the rally will come, but no earlier than the middle of next week, when December out-of-the-money calls have been thoroughly killed. In any case, the short from 1814.25 is kaput.
At the Mining & Minerals Conference that I attended last week in San Francisco, I found Altius still to be high on the list of many savvy investors. With $130 million cash in reserve and a royalty stream that nicely offsets fixed outlays of $5 million per year, the company is well positioned to ride out whatever further pain bullion’s bear market inflicts on investors. Altius is waist-deep in iron ore investments these days, causing some to remark that bullion is no longer much of a concern to the company. This is an exaggeration, but investors should be happy in any case that the firm is doing what it takes to survive gold’s fall from $1900 to a recent $1220.
From a technical standpoint, the stock has been in a holding pattern centered on a $9-$11 range for more than three years. The weekly chart shows ‘dueling impulse legs’, implying that the tedious battle between bulls and bears could continue for yet some time, perhaps with an exhaustion skew down to $8 or a little lower. At that price, especially considering Altius’ enviable cash position, the stock would represent a back-up-the-truck buying opportunity.
We hold twelve December 145 puts, offset in ’straddle’ fashion by bullish NFLX call spreads we own. To simplify accounting, and to consolidate the risk, I’ve imputed the cost of the puts to the NFLX position so that we now hold eight December 400-410 calls spreads with an effective cost basis of 0.55. Keep in mind, however, that the DIA puts still have value. As such, I’ll recommend that you offer them to close, good-till-canceled, for 0.02 less than the market makers. To do this, wait until the options have opened each day to see what bid/asked is being reflected by DaRapacious Dirtballs. At the moment, they are showing a bid of 0.06 and and offer of 0.12 (!). This means you should be offering the puts for 0.10. Please notify me in the chat room if your order fills, since it would be nice to have the puts off the sheets even though we are carrying them for zero. _____ UPDATE: Some closing sales @ 0.10 were reported, and so I’ve used the proceeds as an offset against the cost of our NFLX spreads.
In the current forum discussion, Cam Fitzgerald focuses on coffee’s bear market to provide some lucid insights into the deflationary dynamic at work in the commodity markets. He notes that although the price of coffee beans has collapsed, falling by two-thirds since 2011, Starbucks is still charging the same four bucks for a large latte. This profit-friendly anomaly has held true for many other companies that benefit from a widening spread between commodity prices and end products. It would seem to flout the laws of supply and demand, but Cam says the textbook relationship will reassert itself with a vengeance as consumers become increasingly frugal under the weight of a deepening Great Recession.
From a technical standpoint, his theory looks quite solid. The weekly chart (see inset) implies that a pound of coffee currently trading on NYMEX for $1.03 is about to fall by half. If the futures were in fact to achieve the Hidden Pivot target of 53 cents, that would represent an 83% drop from 2011’s all-time high of $3.08. Coffee lovers may have something to look forward to, but they should be careful what they wish for, since the implication of coffee beans selling for 50 cents a pound is that the world by then will be chest-deep in a deflation of falling wages, plummeting asset values and significantly lower corporate profits.
A query in the chat room Friday concerning the Dow Transports sent me to the charts in search of the inevitable rally-stopping Hidden Pivot. The index has been on a tear this year, up 35% since January. Much of the gain can probably be attributed to a new airline business model that has been great for carriers but horrible for passengers. We’re talking about things like Spirit’s $35 charge for storing carry-ons in the overhead bin. Lower fuel costs have also helped, especially since the carriers have evidently chosen not to share any of this windfall with passengers via lower ticket prices. And no passenger who has sat in the increasingly cramped economy section can be unaware that capacity has shrunk so drastically that nearly all flight are full or nearly so.
Perhaps it will be the full-force resumption of The Great Recession that stops the rally cold. In any case, the 7444 target shown, representing a 6 percent premium over Friday’s closing price, looks formidable enough to provide more than a little challenge for bulls. Those who trade this vehicle or related issues can use it as a minimum upside objective for now, but you’ll want to reverse the position and go short — tightly stopped, of course — if and when it is reached. _______ UPDATE (November 5, 8:45 p.m. EST): If it’s going to be an easy cruise to the 7444 rally target noted above, we should see the correction from Monday’s high reverse today from near the 7077 midpoint support (see inset), but certainly from no lower than the d correction target at 7042. More downside than that could be our first, subtle warning that all is not well with the Transports, which have flourished even as airline profits have soared on a suicidal model that would nickel-and-dime passengers to death. _______ UPDATE (November 19): You go, girl! Wall Street’s best and brightest fly first class, presumably desensitizing them to the fact that the fabulous recovery in airline profits that has helped push the Transports into a vertical climb is being driven by the steep deterioration in amenities once enjoyed by passengers, even those who flew economy.
My outlook has been bearish, with a 45.29 downside target, notwithstanding a couple of short-covering eruptions along the way. I am now lowering the target to 43.83, however, on the basis of the chart shown. Your trading bias should be bearish until the target is reached, or very nearly reached, but if and when that occurs, you should reverse the position and get long with a stop-loss as tight as 0.20 cents. I’d suggest a good-till-canceled bid of 43.88, since it’s possible the stock will turn without quite having reached our number. If the order fills and survives the stop, tune to the chat room or this page for further guidance. _______ UPDATE (November 13, 8:33 p.m. EST): The stock has lost my interest and attention, so I’m taking it off the front page for a while. One final note, however, that could prove useful to camouflage traders: At Wednesday’s closing bell, it reversed the bearish polarity of the last three weeks with the bullish impulse leg shown (see inset, a fresh chart). ________ UPDATE (November 26): After taking its sweet old time reaching my 43.83 target, Facebook has taken a lunatic bounce this morning from within 23 cents of it, hitting a so far high of 46.08. If you loaded up near the low, please let me know in the chat room and I’ll provide tracking guidance. Whatever you may have bought, half should have been exited by now for a partial gain.