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Phil's Stock World



Daily stock picks and option trades, market analysis, and investing strategies for investors and traders of all types.



Last Build Date: Fri, 26 May 2017 07:29:16 +0000

 



Federally Fueled Thursday – WTF?

Thu, 25 May 2017 12:30:24 +0000

(image) The Futures went flying this morning.

Apparently, after having a strong day in the US yesterday and despite the Fed minutes that indicated imminent tightening, China decided to stick it in Moody's eye by strengthening the Yuan to boost their own markets.  The move drove the Shanghai Composite 1.4% higher for the day while the Hang Seng gained 0.77% and the subsequent plunge in the Dollar, to 96.80, goosed our own stock Futures to even higher highs

We're long on the Dollar (/DX) down here and we also have Dollar ETF (UUP) June $25 calls, now 0.24 with UUP at $25.08 as we think there are still strong odds the Fed tightens at their June 14th meeting.  We went over the minutes of the last meeting in yesterday's Live Trading Webinar and noted that the Fed was waiting for evidence that an "economic slowdown is transitory" since May 2nd and, since then, we've had generally bullish data that indicates the Fed will go ahead with the next phase of tightening sooner rather than later. 

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Goldman Sachs (GS) agrees with us and pegs the likelihood of a June hike at 80% with another rate hike in September, followed by the announcement of balance sheet normalization at the December meeting and possibly another hike there though I think they'll be more likely to hike on Nov 1st if the markets take the Sept hike well.  Citibank agrees with me there, saying:  "The fact that operational details are closer to being specified shows that the FOMC could be ready to announce tapering of its balance sheet earlier than previously expected. This increases the risk of a September announcement relative to our current view for an announcement in December."

The chart above is not complicated, Fed tightening ALWAYS leads to recession (grey lines) and recessions are rarely more than 10 years apart.  The markets are very likely enjoying their last harrah at the top but my advice is to SELL IN MAY (get back to CASH!!!) and go away until we have a proper correction.  Our Member Portfolios are roughly 80% CASH!!! (have I mentioned how much I like CASH!!! lately?) and we are very,…
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Will We Hold It Wednesday – Fed Minutes Edition

Wed, 24 May 2017 12:19:45 +0000

(image) And here we are, yet again.

2,399.50 was the top for the S&P Futures (/ES) yesterday at noon so it's game on for our shorts as well as Russell (/TF) 1,380 and both are still hanging around those levels this morning.  As I said yesterday (and the 4 Tuesdays before that), we'll keep shorting at the top until it stops working.  Seems like a sensible plan, right?  

We're even more excited about our China Ultra-Shorts (FXP), which we've been tracking since April 3rd and currently, in our Options Opportunity Portfolio, we have 10 June $24 calls we paid $2 ($2,000) for on 5/15 after netting a $650 loss on our original spread so we're in for net $2,650 but FINALLY someone besides me has noticed how out of control China's debt situation is becoming as Moody's hits the Middle Kingdom with its first credit rating cut since 1989, saying that the outlook for the country’s financial strength will worsen, with debt rising and economic growth slowing.

"The downgrade reflects Moody's expectation that China's financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows. While ongoing progress on reforms is likely to transform the economy and financial system over time, it is not likely to prevent a further material rise in economy-wide debt, and the consequent increase in contingent liabilities for the government.

"More broadly, we forecast that economy-wide debt of the government, households and non-financial corporates will continue to rise, from 256% of GDP at the end of last year according to the Institute of International Finance. This is consistent with the gradual approach to deleveraging being taken by the Chinese authorities and will happen because economic activity is largely financed by debt in the absence of a sizeable equity market and sufficiently large surpluses in the corporate and government sectors. While such debt levels are not uncommon in highly-rated countries, they tend to be seen in countries which have much higher per capita incomes, deeper financial markets and stronger institutions than China's, features which enhance debt-servicing capacity and reduce the risk of contagion in the event of a negative shock."

Isn't that exactly what I've been…
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Terrible Tuesday – Children Murdered, Markets Make All-Time Highs

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:38:20 +0000

22 dead and 56 injured.   For those who don't have teenagers, Ariana Grande is a former Disney Star who has a very wide appeal with young kids and about 2M people have seen her recent tour.  There's almost no one in the World with high-school children or grandchildren who can't imagine their kids standing next to the terrorist when the bomb went off at the concert. Yet the machines that move the markets are mindlessly oblivious to the danger and, as it is Tuesday, they are pushing the S&P back to 2,400, which is fine for us as we predicted this, waited for it and now we'll make money shorting the S&P Futures (/ES) for the 5th week in a row: May 16th: Toppy Tuesday – S&P 2,400 – Again May 9th: Toppy Tuesday – Yet Again May 2nd: Toppy Tuesday – Can Earnings Sustain S&P 2,400? April 25th: Terrific Tuesday – Markets go Through the Roof The fact that the S&P STILL can't get over 2,400 DESPITE the weaker Dollar and the stronger Apple does not give me the warm fuzzies about the strength of this weekly rally so, once again – we are going to be shorting the indexes at the levels we keep shorting them at and once again, later in the week, I will tell you how much money we made and you will say: "why can't I ever catch trades like that."  It's a vicious cycle… …[...]



Monday Market Movement – Recovering on Low Volume

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:14:01 +0000

(image) Same old, same old.  

If it's Monday, we must be recovering back towards Toppy Tuesday's highs so we will wait patiently to begin shorting again.  With Trump out of the country, we haven't had a crisis all weekend and they are keeping the President too busy to tweet – so all is well(ish) at the moment.  Unfortunately, no one is keeping the Fed from speaking and we have 6, yes SIX Fed speeches TODAY and then 2 tomorrow, 2 on Wednesday (and the Fed minutes at 2pm) 3 on Thursday and one on Friday for 14 Fed speeches in 5 days – a new record!

Endless Fed meddling is likely to give us a wild week leading up to Friday's Q1 GDP Report, which will be the 2nd estimate but the Atlanta Fed has already pegged Q2 GDP growth at a blistering 4.1% (almost double the first Q1 estimate of 2.3%) and, if true, the Fed has no choice but to tighten at the next meeting before we whip into an inflation crisis.  

We're already seeing tightening labor hammer productivity while driving up wages and we could be looking at 3-4% inflation rates by the end of 2017, which means you need to deduct that from your market gains to determine your buying power and, more importantly, deducting even 3% from bond gains pushes most of them into negative territory – a factor that could stampede even more money into the markets in search of inflation-fighting returns.  

That's going to blow us off the scale re. valuation metrics on the S&P 500, which is already showing overvalued levels on 18 of 20 of the metrics tracked by Bank of America (BAC) with the Shiller P/E Ratio a whopping 74% above average and the Market Cap of the S&P is almost double its usual percentage of our GDP:

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As noted in last week's Live Trading Webinar (replay available here), we have no shortage of long positions and we took advantage of the dip to add a few to our Member Portfolios last week but, on the whole, we're still aiming to keep a mainly neutral stance, waiting for the market to decide if it wants to break up…
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