September 2nd, 2014
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We got short at the top on Friday, but how long will Mr. Market let us enjoy the ride? Our vehicle, QQQ put options, nearly ran off the road on Tuesday when the Dow began the day with a 125-point rally. A pullback in the early going shaved that gain by two-thirds, but by early afternoon bulls were beating on the highs, threatening to send bears into a new round of short-covering. The pessimists got a reprieve, however, when something spooked the market late in the session, sending the Industrial Average into a 225-point dive that left it 66 points lower on the day.  It was not a session for the faint-hearted. Still, the outcome boosted the value of our put position, leaving Rick’s Picks subscribers in good shape to try to lock in a profit no matter what the stock market does as 2011 draws to an unpredictable close. » Read the full article


TODAY'S ACTION for Wednesday

First leg of butterfly spread

by Rick Ackerman on December 14, 2011 6:00 am GMT

I’m tracking the purchase of some Jan 134 calls yesterday in SPY — a first step in legging on the 134-137-140 butterfly.  SPY is falling too hard for me to be comfortable, but we’ll stick with the position nonetheless, since it would give us reason to root for a rally for a rare change.


Rick's Picks for Wednesday
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GCG12 – February Gold (Last:1640.00)

by Rick Ackerman on December 14, 2011 4:55 am GMT

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SIH12 – March Silver (Last:29.145)

by Rick Ackerman on December 14, 2011 5:06 am GMT

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QQQQ – Nasdaq ETF (Last:55.08)

by Rick Ackerman on December 14, 2011 5:20 am GMT

We hold two Jan 54 puts and two Jan 53 puts with a profit-adjusted cost basis of,  respectively, 0.76 and 0.57. I’d suggested shorting December 54 and 53 monthly puts against them for the same price, but I’ll now recommend instead that you short January calls three strikes below what you own for the same price or higher.  Thus, if you hold eight January 54 puts for 0.76, you should try to short eight January 51 puts against them for at least 0.76.  I estimate that the Cubes would need to fall to around 54.80 (Note: I’ve raised this number) within the next week or so to get the offer filled.  Our current, minimum downside objective is 54.87, a Hidden Pivot midpoint.  _______ UPDATE (10:42 a.m. EST):  I am recommending that you complete the spread immediately by hitting the 0.69 bid or the 0.54 bid in, respectively, Jan 51 puts or Jan 50 puts. Once you’ve completed the spread(s) as suggested, this reverse-Santa Rally position will offer great odds, since, although either spread will produce a profit of $300 if Santa drops dead (so to speak), the most we can lose in theory, commissions aside, is $7 on each Jan 54-51 put spread and $3 on each Jan 53-50 put spread. _______ FURTHER UPDATE (1:24 p.m. EST):  The Cubes fell a bit lower after the trading alert was disseminated above and in the chat room, and it would therefore have been possible to short either the Jan 51 puts or the Jan 50 puts for somewhat more than we paid for the long side of our position.  Officially, however, I will record a short sale at the prices suggested above.  That will give a cost basis of 0.07 ($7) for the Jan 54-51 puts spread, and 0.03 $3.00) for the Jan 53-Jan 50 put spread. Thus, in theory — and almost surely in practice, the most we can lose, based on two spreads at either pair of strikes, is, respectively, $14 or $6.  The potential gain would be $600 for either position, predicated on the QQQs trading $50 or lower come January 20.

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SPY – S&P (Equity) (Last:123.35)

by Rick Ackerman on December 14, 2011 5:33 am GMT

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ESH12 – March E-Mini S&P (Last:1223.25)

by Rick Ackerman on December 14, 2011 5:56 am GMT

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$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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