#SwingTrading – 3x Leverage for the short-term swings

If one is a swing trader in ETFs 3x-Leverage is the name of the game.

For example, the currently short-term breadth indicator I follow gave a swing buy signal last Thursday for Friday’s open and the market exploded to the upside Friday. While the Dow and the SPX stalled out today, the Nasdaq put on another up day, actually the seventh in a row. The same short-term breadth signal that gave the buy for Friday morning has now given a sell for tomorrow’s open.

I will not be surprised if tomorrow the entire market takes a dip, likely just a dip, not a tumble.

The sells on the ETFs are on tomorrow’s open but, in the face of today’s heads-up on the sell signal, let’s take a look at how the leveraged ETFs done and why they are the name of the game in short-term index and sector ETF trading.

Take a look at the charts below. The white flags on the lower left are the gains on the swings so far this year (longs only) and the white flags on the lower right are the current gains. Both numbers are calculated on buying $100k on each trade in order to not only give a dollar amount but also to correlate with the percentage gain.

We’re talking a mere two-day bullish trade, and TQQQ (the Nasdaq) is leading the indexes, up 5%, while SOXL (semiconductors), up 7.6%, among the sector ETFs, leads TECL (tech) up 4.5% and LABU (biotechs) up 4.3%.

Two days. Not a bad trade if one chose to close on the close today. Regardless, because of the signal, they all will be cashed in on the open tomorrow.

Consider for a moment the three charts in the column on the right of the panel. The top two are 3x-leveraged financial ETFs — FAS (big banks) and DPST (regional banks) – and the one in the lower right corner, NAIL, is a 3x-leveraged EFT for home building stocks. NAIL, down year-to-date, had a nice move on this swing, up 6.7%, but note where it is in relation to the two financial ETFs above… This is housing lagging the banks, particularly the regional-bank stocks.

I bring this up because of history — the action in those sectors looks a lot like, almost identical in fact, to how they looked in 2007.

With that I leave this post. As far as swing trading goes, will be in cash tomorrow.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#SwingTrading – the top stocks on the nifty-50 list

Just revised and sorted the stocks on my nifty-50-stock list – a powerful group they are!

I’m just going to feature the top 12 here because they are just too many moving too much. On the charts below the keys are the white flags on the lower right and lower left of each chart. On the lower right are the closed gains based on the 10 swing trades so far year-to-date and on the lower left are current open trade results using the short-term breadth signal as the trigger for the buys and sells.

Each trade is a $100K stock buy (so the cash in the flag is also the percentage return). For instance, QNST on the upper left of the chart panel is up 55.6% on trades marked up this year and the current open trade is up another 5.4%. VCEL, just below QNST on the chart panel, is up 66.5% on closed trades and down 2.1% on the open trade. And so on, and so on across the charts…

The stock trading here is entirely a market-timed swing system based on the basic idea that most stocks move with the movements of the general market. It is purely technical and what each company does is largely irrelevant. The measure of each stock is how well it tracks and how big it moves in accordance with each market swing.

Needless to say these and many more stocks are doing very well as the bull market so far continues.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – a choppy Friday leads to a buy-it Monday

Friday’s market action continued its sideways chop as it consolidated the gain from last Wednesday’s trending day to the upside.

As the 10-minute screenshot for the day shows there was almost no money to be made in the choppy action, and if there were any profits to be taken, they would have had to been taken fast while losses would have been easy to come by on both sides of the market (see the flags on the lower right of each chart below).

However, with both the SPY and QQQ closing above their respective opens and intraday moving averages, as well as all end-of-day swing signals turning bullish again, the initial trade on Monday is to the buy side (see table below) for another possible up swing.

Long-term breadth remains down, but barely (-1) with the threat of another bullish whipsaw. It has been whipsawing daily for the past week.

(Needless to say, this market, in general, remains wildly overbought and can pull back any week, any day, any hour, any minute but that is the way it usually is in raging bull markets.)



PRICE: Buy. (Day 1).
VOLATILITY: Buy, (Day 1).


SPY CLOSE – 280.41
QQQ CLOSE – 166.34
CNN MONEY’S FEAR AND GREED INDEX: 80, rising, extreme greed level).
NIFTY-50 STOCK LIST: 30 Buys; 17 Overbought, 3 Oversold, 10 new buys today, 1 new sells.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$KC_F – #Coffee short netting 118%, looking for major reversal

The current short in the coffee futures is gaining about 118% on its initial margin requirement. That’s in six trading days.

Can be done, but it’s going to take some serious trending effort on the part of coffee bears to push this swing down more.

So a reversal to the long side?

Coffee is still in an overall downtrend (see chart below) but if it turns now, it will put in a second higher price low since its bottom in December at 118, which makes it not only a long trade to take, but also gives it a chance to have a major bullish reversal. Looking ahead if it can take out 128 with some conviction, there could be the birth of a new bull market in the commodity.

But all that is just speculating. For now the short is on and the profit on this swing is, once again, just fine…

(click on chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Bullish #SwingTrading continues…

The market had its one down day two trading days ago and has, as usual, vaulted higher off the opportunity of buying coming out of that one-day dip.

Quite frankly, except for the money to be made by either buying and holding or trading the long side, I’m getting pretty bored this bull market’s endless advance. I would like to see some pullback. Actually I’d like see a drop that scares the balls off the bragging bulls. That would be amusing.

Possibly we’ll get some pullback with both short term breadth and volatility, of my three swing signals, now on sells, but I’m not counting too much on it – sells are sells only, not shorts, as long as long-term breadth remains positive.

Overall the swing signals continue to be consistently profitable.

Volatility since the beginning of last year has been crushed with the VIX falling below 10 repeatedly. On the swing signals – based on Price, Breadth, and Volatility – the leveraged ETF, XIV, appropriately performed best on its own signal – up 105 percent for the year.

See the chart panel below for XIV on all three signals – the white flags are the returns per $100K place on each swing trade, which also corresponds to percentage gains.

A buy and hold on XIV wildly out performed all of these swing signals, up 159 percent since the beginning of last year (what a year!), but one would have had to have known that a buy-and-hold was going to do that from the beginning. On the other hand, swing trading controlled risk at every turn while also notching remarkably returns.



PRICE: Buy. (Day 2).
VOLATILITY: Sell, (Day 2).


SPY CLOSE – 277.92
QQQ CLOSE – 164.49
CNN MONEY’S FEAR AND GREED INDEX: 79, rising, extreme greed level).
NIFTY-50 STOCK LIST: 32 Buys; 25 Overbought, 4 Oversold, 10 new buys today, 4 new sells.

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

$KC_F #Coffee futures – Can A Dragonfly Fly?

The current short in the March coffee futures is up 71% on its margin requirement on today’s close.

I have to say, letting these swings run their course has not hurt for years now, and this past year too. At today’s close the daily swings, long and short (mostly short), are up nearly $15,000 per contract (see the white flag on the lower left of the chart below) for the past year. The current margin requirement at TradeStation is $2310 per contract. For much of the year it was higher so it’s too big a pain to precisely figure out what percentage that $15K gain actually is but it is a bit better than 500% for the past 12 months.

But, for fun (and maybe prudent trading), let’s take a look at today’s chart.

That is a “dragonfly doji” on today’s action (or at least very close to it). Didn’t know what it was but I thought that looked ominous for a short position, like a possible reversal, so I went and looked it up. According to Thomas Bulkowski’s The Pattern Site, the odds of a reversal are basically 50/50.


No big deal but I still think it looks ominous so, since no signal is foolproof, I’m tightening a stop to preserve some of this 70% profit overnight.

(click on chart for a larger view)

$KC_F #Coffee futures – racks up 134% on the short side.

I closed this trade earlier (covered too soon) but coffee futures officially closed its current down swing with a profit of about 134%.

Needless to say again, Coffee has been a stellar performer on swing trades this year. Calculated on the continuous contract, it is up $16,500 on swing trades long and short (short being best in retrospect). Sneak a peak at the last line of text below for the current initial margin requirement to see what “stellar” means.

As for the current March contract, it is, according to TradeStation, up $12,600 per contract (see the white rectangle on lower right side of the chart below for closed trades). It is hard to calculate percentage gains since the margin has fluctuated.

Coffee has now reversed to a long. The initial margin requirement is now $2,310 per contract.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – What a RIOT!

The late great Kennedy Gammage of the Richland Report used to always say “buy when the market tells you, sell when the stock tells you.”

He was making allowance for stocks that defied the general market’s move or giving stock pickers something to do to impress their clients. What he did not tell was that most often when the market says sell, so does the stock.

As I’ve written here repeatedly, I keep a nifty-50 list of stocks, which I follow both as an indicator and for their individual abilities to move with the market. Every so often (roughly quarterly) I sort the list and add in new stocks to keep it current and vibrant.

On the last sort, the stock symbol RIOT vaulted to the very top of list virtually from out of nowhere. Here is its profile on Yahoo Finance:

Bioptix, Inc., through its subsidiary, BiOptix Diagnostics, Inc., develops enhanced surface plasmon resonance technology platform for the detection of molecular interactions. The company also focuses on animal healthcare and owns important intellectual property rights related to veterinary products. In addition, it has granted a license relating to single chain reproductive hormone technology for use in no-human mammals, which is under active development by the licensee bovine rFSH. The company was formerly known as Venaxis, Inc. and changed its name to Bioptix, Inc. in November 2016. Bioptix, Inc. was founded in 2000 and is based in Castle Rock, Colorado.


Recently, it seems, Bioptix, Inc. changed its name to Riot Blockchain, Inc. and its stock went insane, rising from $8 to $23 in four trading days. Then quickly dropped back down as far as $13 in three days. Then wandered sideways while the Nasdaq pulled back and my three swing signals – market timing signals based on Price, Breadth and Volatility – remained on sells. When finally, the swing signals began to click in with buy signals (see the chart panel below), RIOT took off riotously again, rising 101% on the price signal, 92% on the breadth signal and 96% on the volatility signal in less than five days (again, see the chart panel below) – as Kennedy Gammage would say “buy when the market tells you.”

None of this makes any sense to me. I like to think this is three guys smoking weed in Castle Rock, Colorado, where it’s legal who get the brain stroke to go for a “blockchain” in their name because they sort of are one…and laughing at the idea. Wouldn’t that be a riot? What a stroke!

Well, Wednesday we may get a chance to see if “sell when the market tells you” is more telling than “sell when the stock tells you” since all of my short-term swing signal gave sells today for tomorrow’s open (see table below). Geez…going to have to take swing profits on these signal, somewhere around 90% to 100%. On a stock in three to five days.

What a riot!



PRICE: Sell. (Day 1).
VOLATILITY: Sell, (Day 1).


SPY CLOSE – 266.78
QQQ CLOSE – 155.69
CNN MONEY’S FEAR AND GREED INDEX: (65, rising, greed level).
NIFTY-50 STOCK LIST: 27 Buys; 6 Overbought, 4 Oversold, 4 new buys today, 4 new sells.

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

UPDATED: $KC_F #Coffee futures up 73% in five trading days

A QUICK UPDATE: Coffee futures sold off today (probably hexed it with this post) and finished its upswing with a 31% profit. In this swing system it is now a short.

Coffee futures, which gave a buy signal at 123.85, closed today at 129.65, up 73% on the margin requirement.


That is a net so far of $2,175 on a margin of $2,970. Five trading days from the close six days ago.

In addition it broke out of the box around its most recent consolidation so it is likely to have more room to run (see the chart below). A possible target would be the high at 132.70 back on October 10th (marked by a white dot on the chart).

A great trading vehicle, coffee futures are up 430% year to date on swing trades year to date, long a short, not counting the current gain.

(click on chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Swing signals swing again…

Yesterday my swing signals for Price, Breadth and Volatility were all on sells. The market went up. Today the signals (see below) have swung again to buys. Across the board.

I’m assuming the market is going up tomorrow.

But the indexes are overbought and the internals are falling apart. Something has to give, sometime…

Sometime, needless to say, is an awfully vague term.

If this sounds like I have no confidence in these signals I don’t intend it to. They are reliable for swing trading. XIV, for instance, is up 67% year-to-date on the Price signal, up 55% on the breadth signal and 80% on the volatility signal (appropriately). See the chart panel below – from left to right Price, Breadth, Volatility.

It’s the market, at this point, going up and up and up relentlessly that bothers me. We’ve seen this before and it’s great while it lasts but it is not, in the end, going to be different this time.



PRICE: Buy. (Day 1).
VOLATILITY: Buy, (Day 1).


SPY CLOSE – 259.11
QQQ CLOSE – 176.24
CNN MONEY’S FEAR AND GREED INDEX: (54, falling, neutral level).
NIFTY-50 STOCK LIST: 23 Buys; 11 Overbought, 6 Oversold, 5 new buys today, 7 new sells.

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)