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.
When was the last time we saw gold take a second leg up rather than simply give up whatever gains it may have achieved overnight? It doesn’t happen too often, and that’s why beleaguered bulls may have felt something akin to exhilaration as yesterday’s $40 surge unfolded. Many of them are undoubtedly wondering whether the rally will turn out to have ended the bear market in bullion that began 27 months ago. It’s possible, of course. But technically speaking, the evidence still suggests that a Hidden Pivot target at 1125 first disseminated here a while back will eventually be achieved.
Even so, the bull deserves the benefit of the doubt for now, since both of Wednesday’s discrete thrusts did what a healthy bull is supposed to do — i.e., surpass at least two prior peaks on the hourly chart. However, the December contract will have to repeat this feat, and soon, if we are to infer that significantly higher prices lie in store. Specifically, the futures will need to pop above the 1268.00 ‘external’ peak labeled in the chart (see inset). Were that to occur today, there would be little doubt that a significant rally — i.e., one with the power to continue for perhaps at least 7 to 10 days — is under way.
Incidentally, Comex Gold has been moving very precisely in relation to our proprietary Hidden Pivot targets. Yesterday’s low at 1212.90, for one, lay just a single tick from the 1212.80 target first broached here several weeks ago when the December futures were trading around $1300. Although we had expected a tradable bounce from very near 1212.80 and had told subscribers to try bottom-fishing there, the $40 trampoline bounce in mere hours came as a pleasant surprise. _______ UPDATE (5:45 p.m.): So much for the crazy idea that bullion bulls might enjoy favorable winds for two consecutive days (see inset, a fresh chart). The futures are actually on a short-term ‘buy’ signal at the moment, but it is only for traders nimble enough to bail out if Wednesday’s rally turns out to have been a flash-in-the-pan. As implied above, buyers will need to push this vehicle to at least 1268.10 within the next day or two to avoid getting routed yet again.
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.
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.
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.