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.
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.