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
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.
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.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about the Hidden Pivot Method, including how to identify and trade targets such as the ones used above, and to forecast trends with bold confidence.
More downside over the near-term to at least 15.865 (see inset) looks very likely, so traders should position from the short side. The opportunity may be past by morning, but night owls can use an entry trigger on the lesser charts (i.e., 5-minute bar or less) to get aboard. I’ve highlighted the relevant ABC pattern, which appears at the rightmost edge of the chart.
Apple’s gap yesterday through the 100.41 midpoint resistance (see inset) strongly implies that its D sibling at 105.64 will be reached. Although a pullback to the midpoint should be treated as a belated buying opportunity, I wouldn’t suggest chasing the stock higher. That said, the four labeled peaks are tailor-made for the Hidden Pivot trader who can employ the ‘camouflage’ technique for getting long. If you understand why, you should go for it! _______ UPDATE (8:13 p.m.): The broad averages pulled Apple back down to earth yesterday when the stock tried to go opposite weakness that surfaced around mid-session. This runs flatly counter to my speculative idea that AAPL might pull the broad averages higher. That’s still possible, since yesterday’s 104.11 peak fell 53 cents of a rally target that remains valid in theory. However, we’ll eschew speculation for now and simply watch to see whether the 102.44 Hidden Pivot support holds (see inset, a new chart). _______ UPDATE (October 23, 1:59 p.m.): Apple has rebounded sharply today, off a 102.90 correction low to a so-far high of 105.05 that’s 59 cents shy of our target. Most longs should have been exited by now. ______ UPDATE (October 27, 8:07 p.m.): Friday’s high at 105.49 came within 0.15 of the target flagged above. Bulls can continue to hold small long positions for a swing at the fences, but I’d suggest tying your shares to a stop-loss based on a downtrending impulse leg on the 15-minute chart. Currently, that would imply stopping yourself out if an uncorrected fall touches 104.52. _______ UPDATE (October 28, 8:44 p.m.): Still long? Be alert at 107.08, a Hidden Pivot target that looks all but certain to be reached but which could stop the rally cold. You should tighten your trailing stop there in any case. ______ UPDATE (October 29, 9:25 p.m.): The rally has shredded some challenging Hidden Pivots, but let’s see if it can bully its way past the 109.07 target shown. In any case, it is my minimum upside objective for the near term.