Thrilling Thursday – Nasdaq Makes New Highs, Ethereum Flash Crashes

Wow, what a ride!  

The #2 Crypto-currency, Ethereum had a bit of a flash crash yesterday, trading as low as 0.10 from the high of the day at $317 as a single seller tried to sell $30M worth in what is really an illiquid market.  Even after the first wave reversed, a second wave took the currency down to $130 on even heavier volume than the first, forcing the main exchange, Coinbase, to go offline.    

Even though the "Status ICO" (selling program called an "Initial Coin Offering") is over, there are still a huge number of transactions clogging up the network and the only way to get transactions in is to pay huge fees (which most of the exchanges probably don't want to do). Until it clears out, people are going to be missing ENS auctions, unable to withdraw from many wallets and exchanges, etc.  As noted by Emansipater, one of Reddit's crypto experts:

"Badly designed ICOs, plus selfish and foolish miners = major delays and maybe even substantial losses for everyone else." Judging by the ensuing flash crash, this was an accurate assessment.

Inexperienced traders on amateur exchanges – what could possibly go wrong?  

That's what I like about the Dollar – it hardly ever goes off-line, freezing my assets while it's value goes up and down 99% in a day.  Have I mentioned how much I like CASH!!! lately?  We certainly have tons of CASH!!! in our 4 Member Portfolios and, as noted in this weekend's Portfolio Review, we're very well-balanced but still tilted a little bit bearish as we simply can't endorse the insane valuations that are driving indexes, especially the Nasdaq, to record highs.  

I was on Money Talk last night and we discussed the trade ideas from yesterday's morning Report and I called a bottom on Oil (/CL), which was trading at about $42.50 last night after testing $42 during yesterday's carnage.  That's well below our $44.50 entry but we're sticking
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Will We Hold It Wednesday – Nasdaq 5,700 Edition

We're still using the same chart.

Our predicted range for the Nasdaq 100 Futures has been holding since last Monday (6/12) and, as you can see, it's been following our 5% Rule™ perfectly, which is why we were able to call the shorts for our Members in our Live Chat Room at the open, saying:

"2,450 still a good short on /ES, of course and 5,780 on /NQ and we even hit 1,420 on /TF again.  Dow is unprecedented at 21,450+ but below that line will confirm a move lower for the day."

This stuff isn't that hard folks, it's been the same range for 2 weeks and we play it until it breaks.  Notice how if we go long with tight stops at the red line and go short with tight stops at the green lines, we don't get burned too badly but we have several occasions where we make a nice sum of money.  This morning the Nasdaq (/NQ) hit the 5,720 line and that was good for one-day gains of $1,200 per contract along with S&P (/ES) 2,430, which gained $1,000 per contract, Russell 1,396 was good for gains of $120 per contract and Dow 21,400, which was up $250 per contract.  

That's a nice way to start the week and we needed the money to double down on our, so far, wrong-way bet on Oil ($44.50, now $43.50) and Gasoline ($1.42, flat), which we discussed in Monday's Morning Report.    As we expected, the contract rollover caused a sell-off though, if you listen to the TV analysts, you'd think oil was going to $20.  We see the holiday just around the corner AND, much more importantly, Saudi Arabia is taking the state oil company, Saudi Aramco, public and they are trying to get a $2 TRILLION valuation and the logic I laid out for our Members was:

Analysts are chasing all the sheeple out at the lows, methinks – then the Banksters can run in and BUYBUYBUY and take oil up $5 and make their quarter off of one trade.  Don't forget Aramco IPO is coming and every $5

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Terrific Tuesday – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

I love market bubbles – people just lose their minds!  

On the right is a picture of Jeff Bezos' desk, according to the MSM, as they speculate about which company Amazon (AMZN) will buy next now that they have devoured Whole Foods (WFM).  This, in turn, drives the price of these stocks (and their sectors) higher on an endless wave of speculation which then forces companies that are looking to make acquisitions to overpay for their targets – before things get too expensive and pretty soon everyone is buying everyone else.

Exxon bought Mobile, Volkswagen bought Rolls Royce, Equitable Bank bought PCI bank, Bank of America bought Countrywide, Sears bought KMart, HP bought Autonomy, Mattel bought Kevin O'leary's Learning Company for $3.6Bn – and we're still suffering with the consequences of that guy being a Billionaire!    

Not all M&A is smart, Sprint spent $36Bn for Nextel and Sprint (S) is now valued at $31Bn total, Time Warner (TWX) bought AOL for $111Bn and TWX is now worth $77Bn total – the list goes on and on with massive M&A failures and they usually come in toppy markets where companies have no way to expand their natural business so they seek to mask that fact by buying other companies – the way Tesla (TSLA) just bought Solar City (SCTY) to help justify their 300x p/e ratio and the way Amazon is buying Whole Foods who's $500M in profits on $15Bn in sales with a $14Bn valuation gives them a p/e of 28, which is an incredible bargain compared to AMZN's $475Bn market cap on $136Bn in sales and just $2.4Bn in profits for a p/e of 198.  

Image result for amazon p/e ratioI'm not saying AMZN buying WFM is a mistake – it's a good move for AMZN as it drops their p/e from 198 to 163 so now it only takes 163 years for AMZN to make the $995 you pay for their stock – what a deal!  I'm just saying maybe the whole thing is silly and AMZN should be trading at, at most, 50 times earnings which, even if you assume that WFM is a brilliant acquisition and they double profits over the next 24 months to $6Bn, would…
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Money Market Movement – Up, of Course

Up and up the markets go, when the madness stops, no one knows

There's simply no reality to these market moves any more.  We just finished our May Portfolio Review and our net gain was only 2.7% while the S&P gained 3.1% because we're a bit too bearish for this rally and our hedges are killing us and today we're up yet again in the Futures, back to 2,440 on /ES, where we had success shorting them last week.  

The Nasdaq (/NQ) is up 50 points from Friday's close at 5,733 and there's no reason for this excitement – it's just a normal pumped-up Monday and, so far, not even a weak bounce from the Nasdaq's fall from 5,900 to 5,700 (ignoring the spike below).  These moves are not just mechanical and fake but obviously so but I'll bet you already forgot that we had this conversation last Monday, when I said:

It's really all about the Nasdaq (/NQ) which, so far, has fallen from 5,900 to below 5,700 but we'll be looking for a weak bounce over the 5,700 line (40 points) to 5,740 so going long on /NQ is a no-brainer this morning with tight stops below the line.  If we make a strong bounce (5,780) today, then all of Friday's sell-off can be quickly forgotten but failing the weak bounce would be a bearish sign and we'd be looking for other indexes to short as well.

Mondays are, of course, meaningless days in the market, especially in the summer and we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what's really going on but a huge correction like we had on Friday COULD lead people to contemplate that some of the overbought crap they have in their portfolios may not actually be worth 100 times earnings. 

That was June 12th and here's what the Nasdaq has done since:

You can see why we remain skeptical, right?  The Nasdaq did exactly what our 5% Rule™ predicted, exactly when it predicted and we made nice…
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PhilstockWorld May Portfolio Review (Members Only)

$1,800,221 – that's up 300% from our $600,000 start on our paired portfolios back on 11/26/13.

We haven't made too many changes in the past 30 days but we still gained a very nice $47,535 since the April Review ($1,752,686) on our paired Long and Short-Term portfollios.  While $47,535 is 8% of our original, it's "only" 2.7% of our April total so yes, we are playing a bit too conservatively for this market – despite putting up some very impressive numbers.  

The S&P 500 was at 2,360 on April 9th and now 2,433, so it's up 3.1%, which means we're now one of those funds that is underperforming the S&P 500, right?  But that's not the purpose of our portfolio strategy – clearly we outperform the S&P over the long haul and that's because our hedges keep us (mostly) from losing money in the downturns.  Being safe from downturns has a price though, when the market is gaining at an 18% annualized pace – we aim for a more conservative average than that.

Since April 9th, we've added new longs on ABX, DIN, EWZ, IMAX, SEE, SKT, TLRD and VZ and, if you are having trouble recognizing some of the symbols – well that's my point – we're running out of cheap stocks to buy at these days, so we either have to drink the Kool-Aid and buy high and hope to sell higher or we can wait PATIENTLY for a pullback that gives us better entries on better stocks.  

Going back to last July's review, when at S&P 2,120 I asked "Are We Too Bullish?", we were at $1,519,454 so we're up about 20% from that total but keep in mind we still trade the LTP like it's a $500,000 portfolio with 80% of our money in CASH!!! and gaining $300,000 on $500,000 is 60% – that's why our growth is slowing now, the way we're plaing it, 20% a year is just fine!  The key is to learn how to CONSISTENTLY get those 20% returns, so they can compound over time.  $500,000 compounded at 20% for 20 years is $19,168,799 – that should be enough to paper anyone's retirement, right?

The trick is to
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Friday Follies – Markets Still Look Toppy to Me

And we're done being bullish.  

It was a fun couple of days but I cannot, in good conscience, maintain a bullish stance into the weekend uncertainty.  In the past month, the Atlanta Fed has dropped their GDP forecast from 4.3% (which was silly) to 3.2%, which is down 25% yet the S&P has gained 45 point (1.8%) and the Dow is up 340 points (1.6%) and, as I noted in yesterday's PSW Report, the updated Fed Forecast from Wednesday's meeting indicates barely 2% growth this year and next – yet we are paying record-high multiples for stocks?  

I'm not advocating shorting stocks (other than TSLA, of course), that's how people got destroyed in 1999.  I'm just saying if we keep plenty of cash on hand and hedge our longs – we will have lots of money to go bargain-hunting when reality hits the fan – as it has been prone to eventually do, in every other instance of recorded history so far.  

Image result for hedgingMaybe this time will be different and that's why we have a Long-Term Portfolio that is filled with long-term trades (which are, in turn, hedged by our Short-Term Portfolio) and we went over our position in our Live Member Chat Room yesterday aftenoon and only had to make 6 adjustments to 37 positions despite gaining about $100,000 (7.6%) since our April Review.  That was offset by a $25,000 loss in our Short-Term Portfolio, which is what's supposed to happen to our hedges when our longs are doing well.  

And that's what I want to stress this morning – protecting your gains with hedges.  Hedges are not supposed to make money, they are insurance plays that help you lock in your unrealized gains when the market does correct on you.  It's very dangerous to be overly complacent about your profits, they can evaporate very quickly (just ask millions of trades who thought they were rich in 1999 and found out they weren't in 2000).  

Gains should be appropriate to what you have at risk.  When I was being interviewed at the Nasdaq on May 30th, we talked about hedging our Nasdaq-heavy portfolio (I run one
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Faltering Thursday – Fed Tightens, Trump Gets Probed

Image result for trump probe cartoonWheeee, this is fun!  

It's not an indictment, it's just a probe but now we know why Trump wanted to fire Special Investigator Mueller the other day – apparently he wasn't loyal to Trump either and he's now officially investigating the President for the obstruction of justice the President has already bragged about when he said to the visiting Russians:

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job.  I faced great pressure because of Russia.  That’s taken off.  I’m not under investigation.”

Master.  Oh sorry, that last word might not have been a direct quote – just stating the obvious.  Well, it's not even a month later and NOW the President is under investigation and Trump himself just said that the GOP health care proposal is "mean", so that's not going to pass – especially with "more money" because the Fed just took Trump's Budget off the table with updated forecasts that indicate we'll be LUCKY to see 2% GDP growth for the rest of this decade:

That's HALF of the Trump Budget Projections that STILL put us over $1 TRILLION in debt for each of the next 10 years AND, with the Fed on path to TRIPLE interest rates over the next 2 years, the $285Bn of interest payments we now pay will also triple to $855Bn, making interest on debt alone the most expensive line item in the budget and that's ONLY if we keep the debt down to "just" $20,000,000,000,000.00 – at Trump's projected $30Tn, our interest payments would be $1.3Tn but THAT is assuming 4% growth boosts revenues.  At 2% growth, we'd end up about $40Tn in debt paying $2.6Tn a year in interest and running a $2.5Tn annual deficit.  

So either the Trump budget is dead or you should quickly make arrangements to get out of the country while you still can because, even at "just" $20Tn, your share of the National Debt is $165,897 (each taxpayer).   Of course, if you are in the Top 0.1% and making more than $3M a year, that doesn't bother…
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Record High Wednesday – Does the Fed Even Matter?

Image result for throw in the towelieThat's it, the bears are dead.  

We'll still keep our hedges, just in case, but we're certainly not going to be looking for new shorts in this 1999-style market that goes up and up and up some more.  Every dip is a buying opportunity and you could already see this week how every dime that flowed out of the Nasdaq went right into other stocks, boosting the other indexes to all-time highs.  

That's OK though because, as noted yesterday, we have PLENTY of ways to profit from a continuing bull market and we do have lots of hedges so we will SLOWLY deploy some more cash and just see if we can ride this wave until it finally breaks.  

Meanwhile, the Futures trades continue to be very good to us with yesterday's morning report idea for the long on /NQ has also hit our $375 per contract at 5,775, just shy of our 5,780 goal – as predicted by our fabulous 5% Rule™.  

Rejection at 5,780 is technically bearish for the Nasdaq but the other indexes are off like rockets so it's not really a great morning to short though I do like playing the S&P (/ES) Futures short below the 2,440 line and Russell (/TF) below 1,430 as long as /NQ stays below 5,780 and the Nikkei (/NKD) stays below 20,000.  And no, it's not a contradiction to short the Futures after saying we can't short the market – this is just playing for intra-day fluctuations – fluctuations that netted over $20,000 worth of gains from last week's morning reports alone!  

We are fairly certain the Fed will be raising rates at 2pm and that should lead to Dollar strength, which will put pressure on the indexes so, although we went long on Oil (/CL) at $46 and Gasoline (/RB) at $1.48 in our Live Member Chat Room earlier this morning, we'll certainly be out by the afternoon.  Oil is down on strong builds indicated in last night's API Report but we think the 10:30 EIA report won't have a 5Mb product build
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Tepid Tuesday – Waiting on the Fed


Another day until the Fed's pronouncement but already we seem to be drifting aimlessly along with all of our indexes flatlining since yesterday's pumped-up close.  Bloomberg had a nice run-down of the status of the major Central Banks – unfortunately in the context of how totally screwed we all are after 8 years of ZIRP financing where all roads lead to inversion and, most likely, Recession.  

At the same time equities are boiling over at record highs, Team Trump is doing its best to take the shakles off the Banksters by rolling back Dodd-Frank which, as noted by Business Insider's Pedro da Costa, risks "another Lehman Brothers but on a larger scale."  That's right, the banks are even bigger now than they were then.  Simon Johnson, who was Chief Economist for the IMF agrees with what I said on Friday, stating that the latest proposal is "a dangerous plan for financial deregulation [where] the primary beneficiaries would be the big banks."

The current Vice-Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Stanlely Fischer warned the President that rolling back reforms poses a serious risk to the entire Financial System:

"We seem to have forgotten that we had a financial crisis which was caused by behavior in the banking and other parts of the financial system and it did enormous damage to this economy.  Millions of people lost their jobs, millions of people lost their houses."

"The strength of the financial system is absolutely essential to the ability of the economy to continue to grow at a reasonable rate, and taking actions which remove the changes that were made to strengthen the structure of the financial system is very dangerous."

When did this country decide to enter into a suicide pact?  We're tearing down the regulations that protect us from harm and destroying the environment while breaking off long-standing relations with our allies – and it's only Day 144 – not even a baseball season!  I'll be George Steinbrenner would have fired Trump by now.  As noted by Seth Meyers, Trump has yet to score a significant win, he is mainly focused on tearing down the accomplishments of others.  What baseball team would keep a guy like that?  





Monday Market Movement – Maybe Momentum Makes More Mayhem?


We love a good sell-off but we cashed in our index shorts with huge gains last Friday (you're welcome) and this morning, the Oil (/CL) Futures longs we kept (also picked for you in Friday Morning's PSW Report) are up $1,000 per contract at $46.50 and Gasoline (/RB) just hit $1.52, which is up $1,260 per contract and we are taking the money and running on both of those while waiting for the bounces to reload our index shorts.  

It's really all about the Nasdaq (/NQ) which, so far, has fallen from 5,900 to below 5,700 but we'll be looking for a weak bounce over the 5,700 line (40 points) to 5,740 so going long on /NQ is a no-brainer this morning with tight stops below the line.  If we make a strong bounce (5,780) today, then all of Friday's sell-off can be quickly forgotten but failing the weak bounce would be a bearish sign and we'd be looking for other indexes to short as well.

Mondays are, of course, meaningless days in the market, especially in the summer and we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what's really going on but a huge correction like we had on Friday COULD lead people to contemplate that some of the overbought crap they have in their portfolios may not actually be worth 100 times earnings (yes you TSLA!).