TGIF – Dow’s Down Week Comes to a Close

8 days a week

Well, 8 days in a row that the Dow has been down after topping out at 25,400 back on June 11th and having tested 24,400 for an even 1,000-point drop yesterday afternoon.  That's right about a 4% correction on the nose and the 5% line is 24,130 so, if we assume that is the full pullback (not yet completed), then the fall is 1,270 points and we'll call that 1,250 and look for 250-point bounces so a weak bounce would be 24,380, which is the 4% line again and the strong bounce, to the 3% line, would be 24,630 so that's the line we need to see the Dow take and hold today in order to be impressed.  In fact, 24,658 is the 50-day moving average on the Dow – so let's make sure we get those extra 28 points too! 

 The Dow is down 1% for the year so up 1% (250 points to 24,750) is also very important to make.  Meanwhile, as you can see from the chart above, the Nasdaq is still up 12% for the year – though we made a lovely $5,535 on Wednesday's short position (see yesterday's Morning Report) and we HOPE it bounces back towards our shorting line at 7,300 so we can do it again.  

As I said to our Members in our Live Chat Room yesterday morning:

I'm still on the 6,500 bandwagon but I don't know when so better to make $1,000 80 times than spend 3 months waiting for a big drop! 

Well, now we can cross 5 of those 80 times off the list!  Overall, it's just been a small correction but it's more the failure at the top that we're watching, and we'll see if we can retest that next week.  As I noted earlier in the week – nothing really matters unless the NYSE can retake 12,800 and I doubt we'll even get to test that today so it's a "watch and wait" day into the weekend.

The big news today is, of…
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Thrilling Thursday – Asia Takes Trade War Seriously, Americans Oblivious

Image result for quiet placeAs long as you are quiet, the monsters can't get you.

While it's a fun plot for a movie, it dosn't play out very well as a trading premise and just because we choose to ignore problems, doesn't mean they will go away – or leave us alone.  The market was heading back up into the close and again in the Futures but then those dummies at Dailmer had to make a sound (a profit warning due to tariffs) that sent all the EU auto-makers lower

This isn't about Trump's tariffs, this is about the Chinese tariffs that are a retaliation to Trump's tariffs to which he has threatened to retaliate with more tariffs which will, of course, cause China to retaliate with even more tariffs and so on and so on – we're only in the first inning of this game!  Both Dailmer and BMW are down over 5% for the week now after dropping 4% this morning in EU trading and EU markets are down about 1% but the US Futures are flat because we still think we can sneak past all the monsters without getting hurt.

Yesterday, in our Live Trading Webinar, we discussed some of the many reasons we were not going to chase the indexes higher and, in fact, we took a short on the Nasdaq as it tested 7,330 and caught a nice dip back to 7,300 for a $600 per contract gain and this morning we'll look for a chance to short it again as it's up for no reason.

We're still not a believer in the "rally" until we see the NYSE get back over that 12,800 line and we're about 1% away from it now and it's very, very doubtful that we'll get there today, no matter how quiet the US investors are.  

 

In fact, on the NYSE, we are wathing for a failure at 12,600 (the 200-dma), which would signal the very strong possibility of a leg down for the indexes.  We still have our long hedge on the Nasdaq and our 10 QQQ 2020 $220 calls from our June 12th Morning Report at $2,000 are already $2,550 for a 27.5% gain even though QQQ is only at $177.25, up $2.25 or 1.3% so we…
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Will We Hold It Wednesday – NYSE 12,800 Edition

Coming back or just bouncing?  

12,800 is the Must Hold line on the NYSE, meaning it's very bearish to be below that on the broad index and we finished the day yesterday at 12,638 and, so far, this morning's bounce isn't going to fix things.  Back on May 26th, when the NYSE last tested 12,800, my notes from the Morning Report were:

It's still all about the NYSE and whether it's over or under that 12,800 line but I remember a time when the Dow and the NYSE would run completely neck and neck.  That has gone completely out the Window as the headline index has been jammed 17% higher since Donald Trump was put in power by the USSR so thank you Putin – I guess…

The NYSE is right where we expected the market to be given that tax cuts, repatriation of capital and buybacks that have boosted the indexes over the past year plus.  On the other hand, the Dow is silly and the Nasdaq is sillier and we're back to a 1998/1999 market, where Fundamentals don't matter (for now) and people are paying ridiculous forward multiples for stocks in the belief that this party is never going to stop and there's no piper to be paid.  Is this time different?  Don't bet on it!  

The broad-market index has been trading in the lower part of a very tight range since February and, of course, the Dow is red for the year so the bulls are, at the moment, left with the over-priced Nasdaq and the narrowly-focused Russell 2000 Indexes to hang their hats on and we're still expecting a 10% correction in the Nasdaq, from 7,200 to 6,500 – before the summer ends.  That's why we haven't been jumping in to buy things – we don't think these little "sales" are bargains at all.

As you can see, the Nasdaq is way up in its range, over our 7,200 mark but we're not putting on the 7,500 hats just yet as that requires Apple (AAPL)…
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Trade War Tuesday – Trump Fires off Another $200Bn in Tarrifs, China Fires Back

Image result for trump china trade warWheeeeeeee!!! 

Isn't this fun?  Diplomacy via twitter is a case of voters getting exactly what they deserve and we'll see how much the market suffers for it.  We gave you hedges yesterday that can turn $2,000 into $10,000 and it's the same hedge I gave you two weeks ago that could turn $500 into $10,000 so I don't feel at all bad when I say "I told you so" as I ranted on and on all month about how this was going to escalate and end badly

This, by the way, is not the end, this is just the beginning as Trump the First has asked for ANOTHER $200Bn worth of tariffs on Chinese goods in retaliation for the $34Bn worth of tariffs they put on our goods which was a retailiation against the $50Bn we put on their goods first.   

The new duties will go into effect "if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced," the president said in a statement provided by the White House late on Monday.  Meanwhile, Trump is fighing Congress tooth and nail to REMOVE sanctions against ZTE – because he was paid $500M to do that, so the real message to China is "PAY ME!"  This is why you don't negotiate with terrorists – it only makes them come back for more…

Beijing has already said they will retailiate, saying: "This practice of extreme pressure and blackmail deviates from the consensus reached by both parties on many occasions and is disappointing for the international community. The United States has initiated a trade war that violates market laws and is not in accordance with current global development trends," the Commerce Ministry said.

Image result for putin laughing animated gifSeriously people, let's step back for a second to consider that CHINA has just accused the US of BLACKMAIL and of violating International Laws and undermining diplomacy – all in one paragraph!  President Trump is undoing 70 years of hard-faught diplomatic steps that have given us 70 years of relative peace and prosperity.  Who actually benefits from Trump single-handedly upending the World Order? 

The clock is now…
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Monday Market Meltdown – Merkel Mayhem Makes Markets Morose

Wheeeeeee!!!

It's about time our hedges made some money!  As you know, we've remained cautious, even while making money on the long side and, just this weekend, in our June Portfolio Review, I said to our Members:  "I'm still very risk-adverse in this market and yes, we could be making more if we were more aggressive but then again, we could blow it too – and that is what we're trying to avoid."  

We're very well-hedged so a dip like this is simply amusing and it's miles to go before we even get back to the strong bounce line at 2,728, which had been the top of our range since February.  Unless we fall back below that line on the S&P (/ES) this is just a minor pullback and we're still in bullish territory though failing at the 2,800 line (again), which is where we ran into trouble in March before pulling back 200 points (7%).  

7% is right about the pullback we are expecting but we expected it from 2,728 – this move back to 2,800 has been a bonus round so far.  Above the 2,800 line, we have to capitulate and get more bullish – no matter how much we don't trust the rally but that certainly isn't a problem we'll have to deal with today, as we're down around 2,764 so far in the Futures.

If you feel under-hedged, you can use a play similar to the DXD play we gave you in our 6/7 Morning Report, when I said:

That's how hedges are supposed to work – they are insurance policies and keeping our portfolios well-hedged is the only way we can sensibly keep long positions after they've already gained 20% for the year.  

Maybe this is a full-blown 1998/1999 rally but we've got PLENTY of longs so all we're worried about now is whether or not we


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Philstockworld June Portfolio Review (Members Only)

Image result for one million dollars animated gif$817,961!  

Now we're up $217,961 (36%) in our paired Long-Term and Short-Term Portfolios and that's up $44,185 from our last review, when I said I'd rather cash out than continue to risk our, at the time, 28.9% gains.  Since we didn't cash out, we pressed our hedges AND since the market kept going up, we added more longs and, so far – it's all working out.  As I said last month, as long as the indexes are holding their 50-day moving averages, we're not in immediate danger and this market seems to shake off everything that's thrown at it – so far.

On the whole, we haven't made too many adjustments to any of our portfolios this month as they are on a very good track and fairly well-balanced.  Do keep in mind that we are failing (so far) at the lower high of 2,800 on the S&P (/ES), but once we're over that line – we have to seriously consider a whole new leg of the rally may be forming.

We still have $369,258 in cash and about $1M in margin remainin in our Long-Term Portfolio, so we're very flexible and that portfolio is our MOST invested.  I'm still very risk-adverse in this market and yes, we could be making more if we were more aggressive but then again, we could blow it too – and that is what we're trying to avoid.  

Long-Term Portfolio Review (LTP) Part 1:  $643,761 is up an embarrassing $45,252 (9%) since our 5/17 review where I said I'd rather cash out ahead of the summer and come back in the fall.  Luckily, you guys didn't let me take a nice vacation and we still have all these positions, which we hedged more heavily in the STP (see earlier review).  Overall, we're up 28.8% for the year but that's 2% lower than yesterday – so it's a very volatile number and shouldn't be taken too seriously.  

Since we decided to stay in and since we had a lot of hedges, we picked up a bunch of new trades in the past month (always try to balance longs and shorts while selling premium). …
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TGIF – Dollar Blasts Higher on Easy ECB and Renewed Trade War Fears

1.5%!  

That's a MASSIVE one-day move for the Dollar and it's putting pressure on the indexes and commodities but it's also a Quad Witching Expiration Day, when options and Futures roll over for the quarter, so we're not anxious to bet the indexes but I did put out a Morning Alert to our Members saying:

  • I'm liking Gasoline (/RBU8) long at $2.07 into the weekend with tight stops below.  I would think we can get at least a penny out of this one ($420/contract).
  • Coffee (/KCU8) holding up well against strong Dollar but often down into Monday.  Still, I'll take 2 and happy to DD now if they go lower.
  • Gold (/YG) still very laggy to /SI and I still like it long down here ($1,303) and it's a $300 loss at $1,300 but that's the stop if you want to play.  If /SI breaks over $17.30, we're golden!

As you know, we had a very successful Nasdaq short, making over $4,000 off Wednesday's Live Trading Webinar trade and yesterday we also cashed in Wednesday's Gasoline (/RB) short for another $4,000 gain so that's over $8,000 gained in two days from Wednesday's Live Trading Webinar (replay here).  We do these things every week folks for our PSW Members as well as the subscribers to the Options Opportunity Portfolio over at Seeking Alpha.  

Keep in mind that we only trade the Futures while we wait for our much more conservative spreads and hedges to pay off.  If we do those right, it's like watching paint dry waiting to get paid but the returns can be very, very exciting. 

For instance, our bullish play on the Carlyle Group in the Options Opportunity Portfolio expires today and it's in the money so we'll collect the full $2,500 for our 10 June $20/22.50 bull call spread we added on Feb 6th for net $1,450 – so that's up a nice 72% in
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Thursday Thoughts – ECB Ends QE, Fed Tightens – Now What?

It doesn't seem to matter.

Sure we had a small sell-off yesterday after the Fed (and we made over $4,000 just on our Nasdaq (/NQ) shorts during our Live Trading Webinar!), as we expected but this morning the markets are back to their usual pre-market pumping with /NQ right back to 7,250, which is right where we began shorting the Nasdaq in yesterday morning's Report.

Along with riding the Nasdaq to 7,210 for an $800 per contract gain, the S&P (/ES) Futures fell from our 2,790 shorting line back to 2,775 and that was good for $750 per contract gains while the Russell (/TF) fell from 1,685 back to 1,677 and that was good for gains of $400 per contract so, all in all – it was a fun day trading the futures and contratulations to all our Webinar participants.  

We can't short this morning, even tough we're back to the same(ish) levels as we don't have that downside catalyst from the Fed though I am very surprised the market is just shaking off the FACT of a rising rate environment. What will it take to get this market to correct?  Robert Mueller filed a request yesterday for 150 subpeonas – I know we're supposed to pretend politics have nothing to do with investing but don't you think that might be a little disruptive?

If indicting half the Government doesn't bother you, how about China missing the mark on both Industrial Output and Retail Sales?  Fixed Asset Investment Growth was also lite at 6.1% vs 7% expected.  Chinese Auto Sales posted the first negative change since March of 2015 and their market corrected 20% into 2016 after that.  Maybe this time is different – I sure hope it isn't the same.

The Hang Seng was down 1% this morning, as was the Nikkei but our markets don't seem to care – that's stuff that's happening in other countries we either hate or won't let into our country, so who cares?  LMC Automotive forecasts that, in addition to falling demand for cars in China, Japan and Europe, Trump's tariffs are also likely to knock out 10% of
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Wednesday Fed Watch – Do Interest Rates Matter?

Image result for fed rate hikes 2018It's Fed day! 

The Federal Reserve is expect to raise rates by 0.25% this afternoon but what matters more is what Chairman Powell has to say at 2:30.  In the last statement, the Fed eliminated a line from the March statement that said “the committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.”  That seems to indicate they feel inflation is now at their 2% goal and clearly unemployment is below their goal so now the Fed must move to head off inflation pressure before it begins.

In fact, this morning's Producer Price Index is up 0.5%, miles above the 0.2% expected by leading economorons, who obviously do not shop where we shop or eat where we eat.  This should bring the markets down from their perch and we can short the S&P (/ES) below the 2,790 line (with tight stops above) and, of course, the Nasdaq (/NQ) at 7,250 and the Russell (/TF) at 1,685 – all Sept contracts now (thanks Jeff!).  Yes, we keep trying to short and it keeps failing but – ONE DAY!  

There are already many signs of wage inflation.  The recent Beige Book indicated all regions were having a lot of hiring pressures and once employers have to start competing for employees by raising wages and benefits – that's a genie that's very hard to put back in the bottle.  Wage inflation is bad for Corporate Profits and wages are about 30% of a Corporation's Operating Costs so a 10% increase in wages knocks 3% off earnings unless they raise prices – which adds to inflation and makes more workers demand higher wages….

Image result for wages profitsI remember working in the late 70s and early 80s when it was downright insulting if you didn't get a 5% annual raise just for doing your job 10% was fairly normal for doing a good job and when you took a job that started at $25,000, you fully expected to be making $50,000 in less than 5 years.  That seems like a fantasy these days as it's been decades since the workers have been given a fair share of the profits.  


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Terrific Tuesday – Trump and Kim Make a Deal

Related imageThis is good news. 

We actaully have a deal with North Korea to bring some stability to the region.  The document signed by Trump and Kim early this morning contained four key points:

  • Establishing new US-DPRK relations
  • Building a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula
  • Reaffirming commitments to work toward complete denuclearization
  • Recovering POW/MIA remains.  

It's a long way between this agreement and actually making the lasting peace but this is a great start though it's nothing for the markets to get excited about as I had mentioned last Wednesday that North Korea's entire economy is just $17.4Bn, which is less than Jeff Bezos gained in wealth last month.  Jeff Bezos has rockets and top-notch scientists and doesn't like Donald Trump – make peace with him and THEN I'll be impressed…

Image result for harley quinn crazyMeanwhile, the Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) driven Nasdaq is up 30 points (0.42%) since last Wedneday and we're back at our shorting line at 7,200 on the /NQ Futures but tight stops above because there's no end to the crazy in this market.  Things seem to be on hold at the moment, ahead of tomorrow's Fed Meeting but I'm not sure what more good news is going to propel the market even higher.  

The Dow and the S&P were higher in January but the Russell is also making new highs at 1,680 and 1,700 would be up 10% since May 1st (1,550) and again – that's crazy!  What did the markets do in the past 30 days to gain 10% in value?  10% a month is a 120% a year pace and we'll all soon be Billionaires at that rate of return so you can bet it's going to continue – but it's very unlikely to…

Image result for 1999 market bubble chartOf course the market did gain about 140% between April of 1999 and March of 2000 so it's not like it can't possibly happen.  Then it lost 80% over the next 8 months but let's not dwell on the negatives, right?  Like now,
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