$SPY #Options – Trending Day 31 in the “Fool’s Game”

When something looks too good to be true it usually is.

“Usually” IS usually, but so far this year not this time. This day-trading strategy developed last November – dubbed in earlier posts here “The Fool’s Game” – has had 31 days like to day since the start of this year.

A trending day.

I define a trending day as any day the SPY calls or the SPY puts or a combination of both gain more than 100% on the day trade. All trades are solely long. Today was up above up 125% despite the 56% loss on the calls at the beginning of the day as puts ran hard into the close (see today’s color-coded charts below).

Think about that for a moment…31 days of 100% or more, a $10,000 or more profit on each $10K traded. As they say, “that’s a lotsa money!”.

Good thing too because on the 178 trading days so far this year that did not trend, the strategy has lost money. The biggest draw down was 640%. That is not a typo, $64,000 trading $10K every day.

Yikes!

Obviously day trading options, any options strategy, has to be with no more than a fraction of anyone’s total capital.

I’ve learned some market rhythm day-trading the closest in-the-money strike on the nearest expiration I never knew before. Friday’s are truly freaky gaining 48% of all the money for the strategy on the year, with Monday Monday being good to me too, racking up 28% of the profits; Wednesday follows with 24%, Thursday with 15%, and Tuesdays absolutely suck, barely in the black at 1%.

And no matter what this takes persistence, discipline and years of experience.

Did I forget to mention the staggering total amount trending days have made so far this year over and above the losses on the non-trending days?

(click on the charts for a larger view)

#MarginDebt – the divergence that kills the bull

I been taking note of margin debt, now recorded monthly by FINRA, since last spring with the warning that it was at astronomical levels in relation to itself in 2000 and 2007.

One early post solely on margin debt this spring noted that the market was likely to make new highs while margin debt failed to the do the same (see the charts below). It is difficult to time precisely when this distribution is going to matter since it is always reported a month late. During lag, one can only speculate what it going on it with behind the scenes, so to speak.

Linked here,I called that:

Declining Margin Debt – the bullish scenario

And linked here more recently on October 1, it was suggested this may be the month when debt takes its toll:

Margin Debt – a sign of quiet desperation?

It’s been noted in posts here that even as the market moved up to new highs it appeared during the day that there was selling going on. I guessed that was big players were trying to edge off margin debt. Behind the scenes the advancing stocks were narrowing, the new lows at the bottom of the market were beginning to outpace the new highs at the top. Everywhere there were signs – wackiness was going on all over the place., marijuana stocks became the leading sector, some low priced stocks, like YECO, would go up 500 percent (in a day!); one by one bellwether stocks, FB, NFLX, TSLA, AMZN and finally even AAPL took hits; the housing stocks have been declining all year and finally banking stock have joined them.

In that October post above, I called this late stage the “most bearish bull market” I’ve seen.

But now margin debt is finally the revealed rub.

Each time the levels of margin debt in 2000 and 2007 became unsustainable, the subsequent decline led to bear markets in which the S&P 500 index declined 40% to 50% (see the charts below), and now when it drops it will be dropping from an even higher height.

Can a 40-50% bear market happen again? You can bet half your portfolio on it.

Once margin debt begins to unravel, it will feed on itself — when the margin calls come, it is either put up more money or sell the stock. Selling the stock drives it lower and brings more margin calls. Nothing else will matter, not fundamentals, not news, not hopes, not dreams.

Why is this important? Depends on one’s age. When it happens, it will take years and years – five years? eight years? 13 years? – to recover the prices the indexes are at right now.

It appears, now that we can see the new high in the market and the fact the margin debt did not follow, that process has begun behind the scenes, so to speak.

Of course big bull markets can fool (see 2016 in this one on the charts below), and might try soon since the market is currently deeply oversold and the Christmas season is traditionally bullish, but it can’t fool history forever. History is the best indicator of the fear-greed-time market psychology there is since it repeats and rhymes all through time. In the end history will tell.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

$LVS $WYNN – “No one knows how to bankrupt casinos like I do.”

I made up the quote in the headline on this post but I’d bet the first thought of everyone — EVERYONE — who read it was Donald Trump said that?!

He might as well have (maybe he has sometime in his daily incoherence). Before he got into the money laundering business with the Russian Oligarchs, he owned casinos in Atlantic City. They all went broke.

He doesn’t own any gambling palaces anymore but it appears as President he’d like to help bankrupt those of his friends as well, like a hobby on the side. Both Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn are big Trump supports. Or at least they have been. Looking at what’s happening to the shares of their companies, one wonders if they still are. If they are, what’s the matter with them?

This probably has to do with the way Trump has managed to get the Chinese to quit playing games of chance but who knows? Maybe it’s just his “golden touch” in casinos is contagious? Or maybe, a more obviously, it might be, as much as fools wants to tout the supposed merits of a businessman in the White House, every fool needs to remember the last one was Herbert Hoover.

The worst is likely not over for LVS and WYNN, and the down staircases like these here (see the charts below) are likely going to get built soon in a lot of other stocks, and a lot of market sectors (even now take a glance at housing stocks and bank stocks and place bets).

(click on the charts for a larger view)

$SPY – Is the bouncing cat dead?

The general market has bounced from its low last Thursday.

The actual buy signal was issued on the market’s short-term breadth indicator for Monday’s open three trading days ago. In that time the 3x-leveraged ETF, TQQQ (the Nasdaq) is up 5.8% (the Nasdaq), UPRO (the S&P) is up 5.1% and TNA (the Russell small caps) is up 8.8%.

All this is fine and dandy in reaction to last week’s fast, severe sell-off.

Now the question rises: Is this a classic “dead-cat bounce”?

In stock market terms, as defined by Investopedia, “a dead cat bounce is a temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or a bear market that is followed by the continuation of the downtrend.”

Despite these last three days, the overall market hasn’t been able as yet to turn the all-important long-term measure breadth (the NYSI, the McClellan Summation Index) up, and today its short-term component (the NYMO) clicked down.

How many times have we see that before — the market pops out of a deep drop and the NYMO turns down in negative territory.

Dead cat? In addition the SPY ends today in a dreaded doji (see the chart below). Dead cat? Sure looks like it. If so, the market’s current recovery will roll over in short order…probably tomorrow. Maybe Friday (or maybe Friday too).

However, this is all could be (and probably is) a positive sign for swing-trading bulls. Since last week’s lows my nifty-50 stock list has moved from 40 stocks on sell signals (usually the bottom or the beginning of the bottom of a swing) to all 50 on buys yesterday. They clicked down slightly today (another sign of the cat) but the last time all this happened was March 5th at the end of the three-day bounce out of the March low. The cat that died that day gave rise in the end to the spring rally. If this bounce dies now, it very well could result in a bottom for a trading rally.

Such a rally may be, in the fullness of time, the last of this bull market and an opportunity for buy-and-holders to lighten up or to raise protective stops before the real bear growls, but it could also be a stock rally that rises all the way to the end of the year.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY – I may keep this chart forever

What a day this day was!

Here’s my tweet from this morning.

The blue chart below is the result with the profits per my $10K day-trading options strategy in the white flag on the lower right – up 328% on the close.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY – Market breadth takes a toll on a “Big Wednesday”

In surfing lore, there is the myth of “Big Wednesday.”

The myth was immortalized in the 1978 cult film “Big Wednesday,” written and directed by John Milius, who also wrote such movies as “Jeremiah Johnson”, “The Wind and the Lion” and “Apocalypse Now.” It was Milius’ contention elite surfers cannot acquire true greatness, legendary greatness, until they face and overcome the great waves, the legendary waves that rise and surge and rage along the California coast from out of almost nowhere. No one know why they come or when they come but as the movie puts it: “They always come on Wednesdays.” Maybe what Milius had to say about surfers should also be applied to market traders and investors.

Today was a big Wednesday in the stock market.

The Dow was down more than 800 points, the Nasdaq more than 300, the SPY nearly 100 points. Big moves out of, I guess one could say, flat surf on Tuesday.

Actually this was no real surprise.

There have been signs everywhere. The general market indexes have been rising in price to all time new highs for the past month in defiance of long-term breadth as measured by the McClellan Summation Index, the $NYSI (see the declining red dots on chart below). That was rather amazing to watch, particularly the way the NYSI kept falling day after day despite the lingering bullishness on the indexes, and in the end, as always, the NYSI took its toll.

In a head-to-head battle between price and market breadth (the sum of all stocks rising and falling) it may be hard to tell when the battle will end but it will end with breadth winning every time.

Long-term breadth is the most effective indicator of mass market psychology there is.

Even as market appeared to be rising on a few tech stocks alone — AMZN, FB, NFLX, NVDA, GOOGL and most notably AAPL — breadth was saying the bottom was falling out. When those stocks began to crumble (look up charts of FB, NFLX…), this day became all but inevitable.

Signs everywhere. Besides the obvious relentlessness of the NYSI, the economy-sensitive housing stock have been falling for months with the banks beginning to tumble with them (many of the banks broke major price supports today just like in 2007-2008); news low began to outpace new highs in late September and accelerated on October 4th (which also happened in 2007-2008); there were also rare whispers under the surface like the day the Dow made a new high while more than 50% of the SPX stocks were below their 50-day moving averages (last seen at the exact market top in 2007).

So is this the beginning finally of the bear market to come that is just as inevitable? Don’t know yet. The market can plunge farther now (as I write this it is in overnight futures trading); it could even crash. But it won’t be a bear market for sure until it rallies and that rally fails below the previous highs in the price of the major indexes.

I seldom have anything to say about fundamentals, since the technical trumps the fundamental every time, but probably I should mention when one considers what comes next, the here-and-now is a bull market that is ten years old, interest rates are rising, unemployment is at its lowest level in forever, margin debt in stocks is near its high and at an astronomical level; there has been a tulip craze in crypto-currencies, a mania in block-chains, and the strongest sector in the market right now is the weed patch, marijuana stocks.

If this is the death of the bull and the birth of a bear, everything I’ve just mentioned will not be with us much longer.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$LVS and $WYNN – winning on the losing gambling stocks

The big tumble in the gambling stocks is probably another fall out (fall down?) from the Trump trade war with China.

Who woulda thunk the Chinese would quit the gaming tables in Macao, where both LVS and WYNN have major casinos, over a little tariff tiff?

Then again, this might be Steve Wynn, at WYNN, shuffling off the world stage in a Me-Too shadow, or maybe Sheldon Adelson, at LVS and one of Trump’s biggest campaign contributors, getting a mega-dose of whatever…

As they say, you never know how the chips are going to fall.

Actually, you can know.

Take those rectangles on the LVS and WYNN at the top of the charts below…Those are Darvas Boxes, pioneered by Nicolas Darvas years ago. Play with those enough by drawing boxes around price consolidations and taking the trade as it either comes out of the top or in the cast of these two out of the bottom of the box, and then add in a moving average to mark the path of least resistance and one can be up 23% since summer in LVS and 35% in WYNN by being short the downs in those stocks.

There is also a lot of simplicity in the gamble that is the stock-market game.

Also, take note these leaders in the gaming sector also show even in a raging bull market, there’s always a bear market somewhere.

So what now? More to come. There are no signs these two stocks are finished with their fall, and they will have to base, going sideways, for a long time across some bottom before they can recovers and have any chance of racking up winnings on the long side again.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$COMPQ – a bounce for the rest of the week…

Once again, the market, particularly the Nasdaq, is oversold in these last rapid-fire down days off the top six days ago.

It is as if it has gone down too far too fast.

So…a bounce.

When the Nasdaq Composite, as measured by the blue histogram on the chart below, plunges to the lower green line, it is almost always, first, the prelude to a bounce, and then oftentimes the next up swing (see previous instances on the chart).

In addition, the Nasdaq is setup again for a “Turnaround Tuesday.” I last wrote about this Tuesday phenomenon Sept. 10th (see the link below), and Tuesday, the 11th, was a huge upsurge across the general market.

“TURNAROUND TUESDAY”

It is possible the market could go lower before the projected reversal into the end of the week but don’t count on it. This is still a bull market and right now the bulls need to prove they can stop this drop and run it up again as they have so many times before.

If the bulls can not rule the rest of this week…well, we’ll get to what that could mean in due time.

I’m expecting a bounce right now. Tomorrow is a day to focus on the open for longs in stocks, options and futures on the major indexes, but I always keep in mind what Trader Vic Sperandeo once said: “If the market doesn’t do what one expects, it is likely to do the opposite twice as much.”

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#DayTrading $SPY #Options – today’s 291 put UPDATED

–The 291 put, in the money, and up 100-plus percent at the moment…

The total per $10K traded (also the percentage gain) is in the white flag on the lower right of the updated chart below.

My definition of a trending day is any time the trade in the calls, puts, or a combination of both gains more than 100%. Today’s put may not hold to the close at more than 100% but it has touched that level for the second day in a row (yesterday it faded to just under 100%).

(right click on the chart for a larger view of this UPDATED CHART)

$SPY Options UPDATED – a day worth trading for 95%

For the past three days SPY puts have been itching to go up, and today they went.

See the blue-gray bars on the chart below going into the close yesterday for an example. That’s the way the color-coding has been all three days.

At the moment, the in-the-money 292 put for Friday’s expiration is up 110%, $10K-Plus for each $10K in play.

I define a “trending day” as anytime the calls or puts on the day trade close up with a profit of more than 100% on my system trigger.  That, of course, is yet to be seen today (will update on the close).

UPDATE ON CLOSE: The 292 put closed up 95.09%, $9509 per $10K traded, just missing being an official trending day. It peaked during the day at up 190.5% and gave and intraday stop at up 134.9% (see the end of the blue/gray bars on the updated chart below).

As a result, trending days so far this year remain at 27.

Day trading options on the closest expiration is always volatile.

(right click on the chart for a larger view)

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