September 2nd, 2014
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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


Bullish Benchmark for the E-Mini Dow

by Rick Ackerman on May 10, 2010 3:59 am GMT

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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.

Comex June Gold ChartFriday’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.

SIN10 – July Silver (Last:18.335)

by Rick Ackerman on May 10, 2010 3:47 am GMT

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. 

YMM10 – E-Mini Dow (Last:10694)

by Rick Ackerman on May 10, 2010 3:55 am GMT

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.

GS – Goldman Sachs (Last:143.13)

by Rick Ackerman on May 10, 2010 5:19 am GMT

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.

$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 Monday

The View from the Trading Floor

by Rick Ackerman on May 10, 2010 7:28 am GMT

Viewed from the trading pits, last week’s death dive looked like the end of the world to some denizens. Click here for the perspective of floor traders who had a ringside seat.

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