#HousingStocks and the three little bears…

It is nearly impossible to call a market top before it becomes obvious it has already happened but the housing stocks have come closest in the past to doing it.

Which is why I keep an eye on LEN, KBH, DHI, MDC, NVR, TOL, PHM AND TOL. If is all not quite well with the market (and the economy for that matter), they are often the first to show the strain.

As far back as December of last year I posted an entry here at what I suspected might the first warning sign:

Gonna Huff and Puff and Blow Your House Down

And again in early February of this year, as the SPY began to break down, being led by the housing sector, I posted a warning here to also watch the banking stocks:

Housing stocks – the tails that wag the banking dogs

And finally this last April 24th, another post looking back at the history of these tell-tale stocks:

Housing stocks – Remembering 2008

Which bring us to today.

The ten-year bond rate went through 3% for the first time since 2011, with no sign of turning back, and it appears (obviously) the housing sector did not like it (see the chart panel below).

In 2007, this sector had a long sideways to up move after the initial hard break that had all the stock pundits (on CNBC and elsewhere) proclaiming the market pull back was over. The banks were even making new highs at the time (they are not now).

Then the plunge began into 2008.

The hard break in this sector this year has many of these same housing stocks down 20% already. And they have moved generally sideways — some with a downward bias — since mid-February before today’s four and five percent drops as it appears they are breaking down from their months-long consolidations just like last time.

On the chart panel below, see LEN, DHI, TOL and HOV particularly.

Is this the sign the bears have noticed this Goldilocks bull market has been eating their porridge and sleeping in their bed for far too long? There is a chance they are about to chase her out of the house running for her life into the deep dark forest of the time to come. And if so, the banking stocks will scurry after…

(click on the chart for a larger view)

Declining Margin Debt – the bullish scenario

Margin debt, money borrowed to leverage the market, has for now topped and is in decline. Before the top in February it had reached levels far beyond the surges in 2000 and 2007, which could be an ominous indication of what is to come when and if margin debt continues to unravel.

See the chart below and the charts in the link.

Does the fact that it is coming down as major players try to ease out of their leveraged positions mean the market, measured by the S&P 500 stock index (SPX), has also topped? For the time being it would appear it has but history would say that’s not necessarily so.

MARGIN DEBT AND THE MARKET

From the link:

“The first chart shows the two series in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today’s dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. At the 1997 start date, we were well into the Boomer Bull Market that began in 1982 and approaching the start of the Tech Bubble that shaped investor sentiment during the second half of the decade. The astonishing surge in leverage in late 1999 peaked in March 2000, the same month that the S&P 500 hit its all-time daily high, although the highest monthly close for that year was five months later in August. A similar surge began in 2006, peaking in July 2007, three months before the market peak.”

Simply put, that would mean there is at least another new high coming in the new few months (the summer rally?) before any significant bearish behavior in the stocks.

The heads up is to say those highs, if they come, will be opportunities to sell, or at least tighten stops on long-term investments. A second look at the chart shows that the SPX, coming off highs in margin debt, declines close to 50%. Those were real bear markets. The next one could be worse. Regardless, no matter how low it goes, it is best to be avoided.

There are two possibilities it could be somewhat different this time. One, margin debt itself could surge to another new high along with a strong months-long market rally (see the jingle-jangle in 2015 on the chart); or two, the top is already in and the next leg down (given how astronomically high the margin debt is beyond 2000 and 2007) could be a dead bull dropping right out of the sky (they can not fly forever).

(click on the chart for larger view)

The $10K options trade – $SPY today for 103%

Had a loser in the calls to start the day, and another in the puts, but the hard run up in the calls for 180% at the end netted a 103% total gain for the day.

This trade late in the day was in the 267 in-the-money call expiring today, 91 call contracts initially for the loss, then back in for 111 contracts to the close (see chart below).

But if anyone harbors any illusions about this being easy psychologically, divest yourself of those straight away. Trading $10,000 worth of the nearest in-the-money strike at the closest expiration, still has me down 74% for the week, $7,405 on a $10K gamble in each trade after losses of 93% on Monday and 83% on Tuesday. Obviously, it is a strategy that can only be traded with a small portion of any account or portfolio. And even then it is flat out scary at times.

Fast money when it goes your way, and it seems even faster when it goes against you.

(click) on the chart for a larger view)

#SwingTrading – 2-day swing ending with all bellwether stocks in black

The technical end of this trade, started just yesterday on the open, is tomorrow’s open.

But as of today’s close all 12 of my bellwether stocks are in the black so there’s a good chance they will remain in profits barring any over-night news.

Regardless, it is a market signal that runs this strategy so no later than tomorrow’s open a sell for swing traders it will be (would be nice to have a gap up for that).

My “bellwethers” are TSLA, NFLX, AMZN, BID, TWTR, BIDU, AAPL, GS, FB, NVDA, FSLR, BABA. See chart panel below. The white flags on the lower right of each chart is the current profit per 100K committed to the trade (also correlates to a percentage gain).

The current swing is led by BIDU up 4.5%, followed by BABA up 3% and NVDA 2.9%. That’s in two days.

As a side note BABA is up eight days in a row so if there is market weakness tomorrow it is ripe for a day-trade scalp on the short side.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

The $10K Day-Trade – $SPY Options on Fridays

This is all about buying calls and puts for day trades.

And again, ITM 261 SPY weekly option, expiring today, has vaulted past 100% for the day for another trending day (see other posts below).

The white flag on the lower right of the chart below is the dollar gain today so far per $10K traded, also the percentage gain.

The key to these trades is they are day trades in the most liquid call or put, in or at the money, on the nearest expiration to minimize time decay and to get the biggest bang for the buck; using whatever entry a trader is comfortable with, using a stop loss to guard against big losers; and finally taking full or partial profits when one has them, on a breakeven reversal, or on a trailing stop, or into too much strength, but no later than the close of the day.

The day trades on Friday have accounted for 57% of the gains this year.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#BankStocks – as GS and DB tumble…

It is on my my mind that we’re seeing 2007 all over again in the financial sector stocks.

During the pullback in the SPX since January, housing stocks and the bank stocks have been breaking support and beginning to “stair-step” down (see the chart below), led to the a possible 2008 cellar by DB and now with GS (a bellwether, no less) following suit.

The rest of those I follow – JPM, BAC, WFC, USB – are sitting right on support. It the market takes another hard hit (like tomorrow?), they could all be in solid downtrends.

Needless to say, as the banks and the general market tend to feed on each other in up trends, they can also eat other alive to the downside too.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY options – massive trending day

In what I have tongue-in-cheek called the “Fool’s Game” I define trending days as any day the system of buying puts or calls goes past a 100% gain.

“THE FOOL’S GAME”

Just now today went flying past 200% on a $10K buy in the 4/25 SPY 268 at-the-money put, expiring tomorrow. See chart below, the white flag on the lower right is the current gain per $10k invested, also the a percentage calculation.

I may have to change the name of this game to “Options Trading with Henry David Thoreau” — as in “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#HousingStocks – Remembering 2008…

At the advent of the 2008 bear market, the housing stocks died first, then the banks came apart, and then everything…

So witness $TOL $DHI $HOV $KBH $LEN $MDC $NVR $PHM and then ponder the banks and then ponder…

Not much more to say except to paraphrase Yogi Berra again: “It’s beginning to look like deja vu all over again.”

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#BellwetherStocks – End Of A Swing Trade

The swing trade for buying stocks signaled by the market’s breadth indicators on the open of April 4th, thirteen trading days ago, ended on the open of trading today.

START OF THE TRADE

Despite a choppy market in which neither SPY nor QQQ rose as much as one percent, all twelve of the bellwethers were in the black for the trade and several on the list had rather stellar gains for 13 trading days — TWTR up 20.5%, NFLX up 19.3%, TSLA up 14.2%, AMZN up 13.1% and FSLR up 11.4%.

The Bellwether stocks with single-digit gains were FB, 9.7%; BIDU, 8.4%; BID 7.5%; NVDA 6.3%; BABA 6.6%; GS 2.3%; and last and least (remarkably) AAPL 1.4%.

Once again, market timing has been validated by the stocks even when the market is going no where.

On the charts below, the white flags on the lower left quadrant of each chart is the dollar gains for $100k invested in each particular stock.

Thirteen days…

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

#BellwetherStocks – ten bull flags still flying…

The general market took a hit today just when it appeared it could break out of its consolidation at recent lows.

All of this may be on news – Trump proposing a possible trade war with China, stewing over the Mueller investigation into everything from his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, to the crimes arising from his hush-money payoffs to a porn star and Playboy playmate, to his sons’ threatening reprisals for any foreign government not doing their bidding, to allegations everywhere of corruption, self-dealing and maybe even money laundering; and now he’s rattling missiles at Syria (which is to say, at the Russian military).

Is there an Archduke Ferdinand anywhere in Syria?

There was a time when the one thing almost certain in the stock market was that the market did not like uncertainty.

Well, Trump has been the poster boy for uncertainty since the election and yet, remarkably, the market has ignored that, focusing instead on the Republican tax cut and the ripping away of every sane and insane regulation there is. But it’s beginning to look as if it is not quite ignoring his inconsistency and incompetence anymore. Last year it was hard to get the market to go down. Now it’s hard to get it to go up.

Okay, enough of that. What about right now?

This is an update of this POST ON APRIL 5TH.

The top in place in January may have ushered in a bear market (which is my overall bias) but right now the market is trying to bounce, and maybe even rally.

Today was a setback in that effort and every day seems precarious but I want to point to my twelve bellwether stocks. Despite last Friday’s bloodbath and today’s drop, they have all held firm. In fact, ten of the stocks have bull flags (see the chart panel below). My bellwether stocks are: TSLA, NFLX, AMZN, BID, TWTR, BIDU, AAPL, GS, FB, NVDA, FSLR, BABA. All twelve are in the black from the beginning of this bounce on open of April 4th.

TSLA is leading the bounce up 17.8% , followed by NFLX up 10.%, TWTR up 9.2% and now FB, with Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress, up 9.1%.

As bellwethers these stocks are, so far, saying this market is going to have another surge to the upside soon. Probably by Friday (unless the news gets in the way).

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)