January 25th, 2015
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Apple of Our Eye

by Rick Ackerman on May 1, 2012 8:33 am GMT

Apple, the ostensible Mother of All Bellwethers, is tracing out a recovery pattern with the potential to provide some very useful signposts. Check out the details in today’s AAPL tout, along with the chart, to get an idea of what to look for.

We wrote here recently that as Apple shares go, so goes the U.S. stock market. How has the stock fared?  Last week there was quite a bit of excitement when the broad-tossers who manipulate the stock for a living short-squeezed the bejeezus out of it after the close, leveraging a strong earnings report that could have surprised only Wall Street’s clueless analysts. Moments after the news hit the tape, AAPL gapped up 9% in a blink, recouping two-thirds of the losses it had suffered the previous two weeks, when it plummeted $90 from an all-time high at $644.  From a technical standpoint, what was interesting about the  decline is that it reversed from within 29 cents of a “Hidden Pivot” correction target we’d disseminated to subscribers a few days earlier. For if the stock had exceeded that number by more than a couple of dollars, it would have held bearish implications for the short-to-intermediate-term. However, because the pivot survived, there was no way to judge the mettle of bulls until Apple rallied out of the hole. » Read the full article

With the world in the throes of an unprecedented credit blowout, gold’s failure to crack $2000 barrier can sometimes seem mystifying – the moreso as the correction begun in 2011 stretches on, now into an eighth month. Gold has acted more like wheat or corn than like money. Shouldn’t it reflect the fact that dollars, euros and yen are available to an insatiable group of borrowers, mainly large banks, at no cost and in practically unlimited quantities? Indeed. And yet, lately, gold has been unable to muster the ire, even, of crude oil, which appears to be gathering thrust for its first foray above $120 since 2008.  Meanwhile, Comex Gold has been lazily backing and filling since last September. If gold is not oblivious to the steady and relentless destruction of currencies, it seems unpersuaded that this is what the central banks are accomplishing by design. » Read the full article

Apple Getting Goosed to-the-Max?

by Rick Ackerman on April 25, 2012 3:20 am GMT

Suh-prize, suh-prize. Someone posting in the forum said Apple was up $40 in after-hours trading, although I cannot confirm it at the moment using my deaf-dumb-blind-and-recalcitrant Tradestation application. If true, it would have no bearing on today’s wait-and-see tout for the stock.  Technically speaking, the rally could augur another six weeks of false Spring for U.S. stocks.

An amusing coincidence: I was posting to the Rick’s Picks forum a moment ago about how exchange trading has come to resemble a sleazy carnival operation, and lo, the E-Mini S&Ps have shot up six points in mere seconds. This was an after-hours move – the best time to stage these heists, since there is little legitimate buying or selling to get in the way of the perpetrators. I don’t wish to insult carny operators by comparing them to exchange dealers and market makers, by the way, since the guys and gals who work the midway at least come face to face with the rubes they are ripping off.  Not in the world of electronic trading, though.  The pros who are doing the fleecing operate under a veil of secrecy that can be lifted only by securities regulators or the FBI. » Read the full article

Apple Watch

by Rick Ackerman on April 24, 2012 7:23 am GMT

We are tracking the shares of Apple closely, since the vigor of its bounce from within a figurative hair of a 555.29 Hidden Pivot target that was recently achieved can tell us whether the stock market as a whole might be rolling over.  Check out the chart accompanying today’s AAPL tout for further, precise details.

Over the three years that the Mother of All Bear Rallies has chugged steadily higher, the tedium of gratuitous ups and downs such as we have endured lately has always implied consolidation. In each and every instance, the broad averages marked time until there was sufficient good news — usually the latest bailout fraud perpetrated by the European Central Bank –to trigger off the kind of short-covering that alone can drive stocks through ceilings of supply. Will it be different this time? My guess is that the answer will be found by closely monitoring the vital signs of that Mother of All Bellwethers, Apple, which at recent, peak valuations was the largest company in the world. Subscribers and permabears pay heed:  Rick’s Picks’ ‘Apple Watch’ has begun. Click here to follow the excitement in real time with a free trial subscription to Rick’s Picks.

[Our friend Doug Behnfield, the savviest financial advisor we know, is skeptical about the dividend mania that has captivated Wall Street of late. In the essay below he explains why investors seduced by dividend-paying stocks may be overlooking more-than-offsetting risks and better opportunities. Doug works exclusively with high-net-worth individuals, many of whom are undoubtedly grateful for his prescient skew toward Treasury paper since the beginning of last year. To contact him about his services, click here and I will forward your message. RA]

As you read this essay, keep Bob Farrell’s Rule #7 well in mind: “Markets are strongest when they are broad and weakest when they narrow to a handful of blue chip names.”

Most stock market participants can remember back to 2000 if they really try. It was common back then for typically risk-averse investors (like retirees) to be insistent that half of their portfolios consisted of Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and Dell. The price of each of these stocks had gone parabolic and none of them paid dividends, which was a good thing because that left them with all those earnings to plow back into their business. If the investor needed to buy groceries, they could just sell a few shares for cash flow.

My, how things have changed. Today, “dividend paying stocks” are all the rage. McDonalds, Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson are emblematic. Apple has just begun getting into the act by declaring its first dividend and Intel and Microsoft are now on the list after ramping up dividends soon after the tech stock meltdown in the early 2000s. » Read the full article

Will Q2 Begin with a Lurch?

by Rick Ackerman on March 30, 2012 2:11 am GMT · 22 comments

You gotta give DaBoyz credit for turning stocks around yesterday, since buyers appeared to have taken the day off. Nor was there much bullish energy as the day wore on – only the nervous drum beat of short-covering ahead of the final trading day of Q1.  It was all window dressing, to be sure, and although the Dow Industrials ended the day 20 points higher, the modest gain belied the dark magic that eventually spirited the blue chip average into positive territory.  After being down as much as 93 points early in the session, the Indoos began to inch their way higher around noon.  Of course, most of the gains came during the final hour, as is so often the case. Bears apparently had second thoughts about trusting Friday to be mellow, especially a Friday coinciding with the end of a fiscal quarter. » Read the full article

Can anyone remember when Apple shares were trading for around four bucks? We can, because at the time, in 1997, we were so certain the company was headed for oblivion that we made it the subject of the weekly column we wrote for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner. Back then, it looked as though Apple had finally lost the battle for market share to Microsoft. This, despite the fact that Macs were superior to PCs in nearly every way save cost and, almost fatally, software development.  Even though Macs were the computer of choice outside of the workplace, and although students and users in creative fields were particularly loyal to the brand, by late 1997 Apple’s market share had slipped below 4 percent, down from 7 percent a year earlier. This placed the company eighth among U.S. computer manufacturers. “Think Different” was the company’s slogan then, but unless they did some out-of-the-box thinking themselves, there would be no future. » Read the full article