Which Way Wednesday – Beige Book Edition

Image result for the new phone books are hereThe new Beige Book is here! 

Today we get the "anecdotal" information on the current economic conditions from each of the twelve Federal Districts, we find these reports useful as they give us some insight into what the Fed is seeing on the ground level and we'll go over it live, during our Live Trading Webinar at 1pm, EST today.

As noted yesterday, our trade ideas from the last Live Trading Webinar were good for thousands of Dollars worth of quick gains into the weekend and this morning oil (/CL) was kind enough to dip back to our $48.50 buy lone and gasoline (/RB) is back below the $1.60 line at $1.59 and we love it long over the $1.60 line with tight stops below.  See last week's Reports for options trade ideas we had for the Oil (USO) and Gasoline (UGA) ETFs at these levels as well as UVXY, which is still playable.  And the Dollar (/DX) is back at the 97 line, where we like that long as well.

I was over at the Nasdaq yesterday and we discussed 3 different ways to hedge your bubblicious Nasdaq positions like Amazon (AMZN) $1,000 or Tesla (TSLA) $335 or Netflix (NFLX) $165 – all of which are a good 33% over even the most generous interpretations of a fair value and, in a downturn, could drop 20% as fast as Bitcoins – which also seemed like they would never go down.  

I set up a link you can follow right here from our Live Member Chat room which lays out our 3 hedging ideas.  

I was just the 8:30 guest on Benzinga's Pre-Market Prep (35 mins in) and we discussed our oil and gasoline longs as well as the overall economic situation so no need to go over it again here.  At risk of having yet another post censored for political content, I will mention that Trump just pulled the US out
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Trump Error, Day 130 – The President Returns from Disastrous World Tour

Down the memory hole: Establishing "1984" for today's Trump-filled worldHe's back!  

After a relatively calm couple of weeks while the President was in Europe, we're back to the National nightmare of dealing with an Administration in turmoil (Trump now has a "war room" dedicated to staving off negative reports about his ties to Russia – at your expense, of course) with Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, now under direct investigation and there are rumors of a major staff shake-up as suspected leakers are being fired now that the boss is back in town.

There are as yet unsubstantiated claims that Trump is now under indictment for his ties to Russian mobsters (but a sitting President has immunity so the case is "on hold").  Last week, the Trump campaign released an email to supporters entitled "SABOTAGE," in which the campaign said, "There are people within our own unelected bureaucracy that want to sabotage President Trump and our entire America First movement."

The White House has yet to announce any terminations or staff realignment. Instead, overnight Trump took another swipe at reports that his Twitter privileges may be removed, saying that "the Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don't want America to hear the real story!"

This kind of stuff is not really good for investor confidence.  Not only is Trump's domestic agenda in turmoil but he has single-handedly taken the mantle of World Leadership away from the US for the first time since World War II with Germany's Angela Merkel warning the G6 (who were all aligned with science against Trump on climate change this weekend) that reliable relations with her country’s closest post-World War II ally may be a thing of the past.

“The last few days have also shown me that the times when we could completely rely on others are to some extent over,” Merkel said in a speech at a climate conference in Berlin on Monday, echoing her language of the day before. “We are and remain close partners,” she said of the U.S. and Germany, “but we also know that we Europeans really must take our destiny into our own


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TGIF – Gold Flies Higher as Kushner Goes “Under Scrutiny” in Russia Probe

Image result for trump russia tiesThis is gettting interesting, isn't it?  

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, is now a "person of interest" in the FBI investigation into the Trump Administration's Russia ties.  That doesn't mean he's guilty but it does mean the investigation has moved closer to the President – to the guy married to his daughter, in fact.   The records of records of both Manafort and Flynn have been demanded by grand jury subpoenas, NBC News has reported.  

Kushner has already admited to meeting with Sergey Gorkov, who is the Chairman of VneshEconomBank, a Russian government-owned institution that has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014.  Gorkov studied at the training school for the FSB, one of Russia's intelligence services.  To be fair to Kushner, you can't be part of Trump's Team and NOT have met with Russians – they are EVERYWHERE!  

Meanwhile, why are you here?  It's the Friday before a 3-day weekend, we didn't become investors so we could work every day, did we?  Go have some fun – I'm already on vacation, writing from my hotel room like a sensible fellow.  

Yesterday's big story was the collapse of oil after the OPEC meeting.  Despite extending the existing production cuts for 9 more month, the cartel failed to increase them and, since the current cuts have barely been effective and since the US production is already filling the gap and putting us back in a glut – a lot of oil longs finally gave up hope and bailed out, leading to a whopping 5% Rule™ correction on the day.

We're long here ($48.50) on the Oil Futures (/CL) as well as the Oil ETF (USO) at $10 as we are only just starting summer driving season and the July 4th holiday gives us another opportunity to see some gains in the coming month.  We may fall another $1 first, to $47.50 because Brent Crude (/BZ) is still at $51 and $50 is better support for them and $47.50 is better support for us but I would hate to miss the rally, so I'd rather get started now.  Gasoline (/RB) is also a good buy at $1.60.

In


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Federally Fueled Thursday – WTF?

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. 

Federal funds rate history and recessions.png

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

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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