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A Sane Way to Trade Crazy Markets

by Rick Ackerman on December 19, 2011 12:01 am GMT · 21 comments

Does the chart below of the Dow Industrial Average make you feel bullish? Bearish? Neutral?  We’re not sure ourselves. Although we’ve been using technical analysis for nearly 40 years, the chart doesn’t speak to us. At best, it leaves us with only a moderately bullish bias for the near term  – and a vague feeling that the meaningless price swings that have ruled the markets in 2011 could continue for longer than we would care to imagine, let alone explain  This is hard to believe, especially with so many dreadnoughts bearing down on the global economy and banking system. The U.S. is re-entering a recession that never ended for most households. China has hit the brakes in preparation for a slowdown in global trade, and the country’s real estate bubble appears to be deflating with a vengeance. Jihadists are planning naval “maneuvers” in the Strait of Hormuz. Bird flu and the bubbling Yellowstone caldera threaten us with extinction.

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TODAY'S ACTION for Monday

Sunday Night Softness

by Rick Ackerman on December 19, 2011 12:01 am GMT

Stocks and bullion were soft Sunday night in turgid action, so I’ve emphasized mildly bearish possibilities in my touts for index futures and bullion.


Rick's Picks for Monday
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ESH12 – March E-Mini S&P (Last:1206.75)

by Rick Ackerman on December 19, 2011 2:34 am GMT

March E-Mini S&P (ESH12) price chart with targetsWe are long a single contract with a cost basis of 1156.00. The 17-point drop from Friday’s high missed our 1207.75 stop-loss by two ticks, but be prepared to exit on that number Sunday night. That would give us a gain worth a little more than $2500 on paper.  ______ UPDATE (7:29 p.m. EST): The futures touched the stop moments ago, so we’ll move to the sidelines. It’s always hard to tell about these Sunday night shakedowns, but we’ll avoid this one since both ‘p’ (1206.00 ) and ‘D’ 1197.75 coincide with previous lows that are likely to entice the riff-raff into bottom-fishing.  However, if the futures get away from the dirtballs who are maneuvering them lower at this moment, they could plummet to 1179.00. That’s a Hidden Pivot you can bottom-fish either with camouflage or an 1179.25 bid, stop 1178.25.  Its ‘p’ sibling lies at 1202.00, but bidding there is suggested only for those able to employ camouflage. If an order fills there via a picture perfect ‘camo’ reversal, I’ll establish a tracking position of four contracts for your further guidance. _______ FURTHER GUIDANCE (11:12 a.m. EST): We initiated a long position at 1206.00 following a perfect ‘camo’ pattern off an overnight bottom at 1201.75. On the 10-minute chart, the abc coordinates — all single-bar! — lay, respectively, at 1201.75, 1207.75 and 1204.50.  Two contracts were to have been exited at the 1207.50 ‘p’ midpoint, and a third at d=1210.50. This gave us a profit-adjusted cost basis of 1198.50 for the contract that remained. It was exited minutes ago at 1210.75, based on the bearish impulse leg created via a dip beneath the 1211.00 ‘external’ low recorded on the way up at 4:10 a.m. Our theoretical paper profit for each four-lot entered was $600. It would seem that in a trendless market that has been serving up crap for…months, that nailing tradable intraday swings in this vehicle is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

SPY – S&P (Equity) (Last:121.58)

by Rick Ackerman on December 19, 2011 2:46 am GMT

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SIH12 – March Silver (Last:29.460)

by Rick Ackerman on December 19, 2011 3:16 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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This Just In... for Monday

Our good friends at Auerbach & Grayson are out with a storm warning for stocks and other risky assets in the first quarter.  The dollar, on the other hand, is in a strong primary bull trend that should see significantly higher valuations in the months ahead, according to Richard Ross, A&G’s global technical strategist.  Click here for the full 27-page report.


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The Hidden Pivot Webinar is one-day event is designed to teach you the risk-averse trading strategies Rick has taken to his seminars around the world. Once you have learned his proprietary secrets, you will approach trading and investing with enough confidence to make your own decisions without having to rely on the advice of others. The next Webinar will take place on October 16, 2014. For more information, or to register, click here.