Short Strangles on Stocks 9/9 – 9/13

This week’s short strangles (see chart panel below):

Last week’s short strangles:

Results were for the week but during the week (and FB stopped out at breakeven):

CHART KEY: The number in the yellow flag on the lower right is the cost of the strangle. The number in the white flag on the lower right is the price gain on the position (a negative number on the shorts is a gain). The number in the green flag on the lower left of each chart in the panel is the percentage gain or loss on the price of the strangle (not accounting for margin needed for the position).

(click on chart for a larger view)

#MarginDebt – The Reckoning has arrived…

You know those recaps that begin each new episode of TV shows with words like “Previously on Mad Men…Previously on Shameless…” or most appropriately in this case “Previously on Breaking Bad”?

For a year I’ve been watching for the end of this bull bubble and chronicled it’s slow rollover in the links in this link so let’s call this recap “Previously on Margin Debt”:

Margin Debt – the divergence that kills the bull

As has been noted before the trouble with this gauge from FINRA (it used to be from the NYSE) is that it is calculated and released always a month late. So during any given month one pretty much has to guess from price action what’s going on with the margin debt. Given how over extended it was, my guess October’s price action was probably finally killing the bull market (see the link above), and November would probably be the confirmation that the bear was out of it’s nine-year cave. Indeed, it was confirmation and the bear did emerge.

If one stares at the chart below for a while, it’s clear if history is any guide (at least based on the 2000 and 2007 bull bubbles) when margin debt comes apart it does not quit feeding on itself until the SPX declines 40 to 50 percent.

Ai-yi-yi, long-term holders!

But can this time be different? Of course it can. Margin Debt this time is coming down from higher levels than even 2000 and 2007. What if different turns out to be the same as 1929-1932? Talk about a “Presidential cycle” – the last “businessman” to be President was Herbert Hoover who presided over the worst bear market in history.

Different is never really different. It really means all things must change so that all can return to being the same.

America has had magnificent prosperity from 1945 to… Picking a time depends where one sits on the income inequality scale but I suppose for the vast majority of Americans the time was the 1980s when prosperity began to fray, the American dream began to fade. Read an telling opinion piece on this just yesterday – American Capitalism Isn’t Working. Needless to say it can be fixed but the fix is going to take a lot of year now. It’s going to be long climb back and we’ve not even hit bottom.

I could be wrong about this, of course, since market psychology can run amok even in the face of time and all sorts of fundamental foolishness.

In the meantime, as J.P. Morgan so famously put it “the market will fluctuate.” There will continue to be plunges to buy and bounces to sell. For those of us who actively play this game, that’s all that matters to make money.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY #Options – Trending day trade 34 for 121% on the close

The day-trading strategy developed here and dubbed in earlier posts “The Fool’s Game” has now had 34 trending days like today since the start of this year.

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 long only and closed out at the market’s close.

The 274 in-the-money put for today closed the day trade up 121% on each $10K traded (see the chart on the left below). There were no trades triggered in the calls.

Today’s at-the-money 273 put closed the day trade up 166%.

See the white flags on the lower right of each chart below for the return on each $10K traded and recorded in real time on Twitter.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

$TLRY – When the dummy becomes the genius

Can a dummy become a genius?

With the right setup and a dose of luck, in stock trading, of course. Maybe not to the level I am about to chart (see below), but it happens more often one might think.

It’s the setup that creates the luck. And it takes persistence and experience to recognize the opportunity, and discipline to play it out.

In this link in early August – Buying IPOs For Dummies— I suggested the setup:

In the tradition of the “For Dummies” books, I give you the short and sweet on trading and/or investing in IPOs:

Buying into an IPOs is actually one of the easiest decisions in stock investing but never let a broker con you into doing it the day of the offering.

Instead, note the high price and the low price on the first IPO is traded. Those are the lines in the sand or the Darvas box around the first day of trading (see the charts below). The time to buy, invest, is on a close above the high of the first day with a stop loss below the high of the first day.

That is usually a low-risk trade since the real good news comes when the stock proves it can move up from all the hype surrounding the offering itself and if it falls back the stop to exit can close by and obvious – either below the high of the opening day or below the low of the opening day depending one’s own time parameters and risk tolerance.

Whatever the latest stock IPO, there is nothing more to say except maybe “Keep it simple, dummy!”

That having been said, let’s take TLRY (Tilray, Inc.), a timely recent IPO launched in the wake of the Canadian legalization of all marijuana products.

Talking about smokin’ hot! According to the setup (see the chart below), that was a buy at the $29.77 close the day after its IPO day, July 20th. If one happened to gamble on it as it gaped above its IPO high that day at $24.25 or so, all the better. At $29.77 it is now up 400% in two months.

This is a stock!

Granted this doesn’t happen this big this often — this took a MASSIVE DOSE OF LUCK — but it does happen regularly to a lesser degree (maybe I’ll bring up MESA next time).

By the way, if TLRY breaks that fast average on the chart be ready to get out of Dodge. That’s a parabolic and it’s likely to be a violent break. In fact today (at the moment) looks like a blow off. Might want to leave town any minute…

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Time for a “Turnaround Tuesday”?

There’s an old cliche in the stock market that says after a down Monday, the market turns back up Tuesday.

Everything was up a bit today except the Dow but…

David Bergstrom writing at the excellent “See It Market” website back in June, 2017, (see this link: TUESDAYS MARKET CLICHE OR TRADING EDGE?) added a wriggle to the criteria for a Tuesday Turnaround.

The idea is that the market tends to reverse a Monday selloff or down day with a strong rally on Tuesday hence the name “Turnaround Tuesday”. If this is the case then we can test this idea and add a simple edge to our arsenal.

First, let’s define our “Turnaround”. If Monday’s Close is below Monday’s open then Tuesday should – based on our theory – show positive performance across the stock indexes. On the other hand, Tuesdays following a neutral or positive Monday (close > open) should fare only about randomly or without a strong trading edge.

In the charts below, you can see equity curves for Tuesday trading across the major stock indexes. The first chart follows an up Monday, while the second chart follows a down Monday – or our “Turnaround Tuesday” performance. The blue line represents the S&P 500 futures since 2002.


The charts he presented are these:

Quite impressive Tuesday performance as per his setup.

So what about now?

If one hasn’t guessed, Bergstrom’s set-up for tomorrow is in play. Today’s major indexes, represented by SPY, QQQ, and IWM all closed below their respective opening prices. So if he is right, tomorrow should be up, and possibly it could be the beginning the next market upswing to new highs.

In that latter regard, I will add my own indicators. While the all-important long-term breadth is down, short-term breadth (measured by the McClellan Oscillator), after a series of highs below highs, plunged into oversold Friday (see chart below) and turned up today.

In addition, my nifty-50 stock list saw 40 or more stocks on sell signals two and three days ago, which is usually the bottom of a swing or in this case the beginning of the bottom. There are now 28 on buy signals with 15 triggering buys signals today — the stocks are turning, which often happens before the indexes.

Also, the Nasdaq composite declined coming into today’s little bounce four days in a row. In bull markets that’s about all the steady decline one can expect. This is only the third time it has happened in this very bullish year in the Nasdaq and each time has marked the bottom of the downswing.

Reiterating: tomorrow, Turnaround Tuesday, the market will likely bounce and it could be the beginning of a rally back to new highs.

(Click on the chart for a larger view)

UPDATING getting high in the weed stock patch 9/6

UPDATE 9/6: as suggested in this post yesterday the marijuana stocks were looking vulnerable to a correction. Today they took the projected tumble: TLRY down 15.4%, CGC down 4.5%, CRON down 7.55, the sector ETF, MJ, down 2.1%, and INSY down 7.6%. See updated chart below. There are still substantial profits on the table. Might think about lightening up, if not exiting completely (it’s been a great fast run). There is likely more downside to come since the market, even if it bounces tomorrow, is now in a down thrust and these stocks which have gone straight up and can also go straight down).

This is an update to this post two weeks ago:

A Serious Swing Through The Weed Patch

Marijuana stocks have gone crazy in the last 10 trading days, putting on the kind of gains that last marked the dot-com bubble in 1999 and 2000, which of course lead to the end of the nineties bull market.

TLRY up 189%, CGC up 52%, CRON up 87%, the sector ETF, MJ, up nearly 28%.

See the chart panel below. Gains per $100k traded are in the white flags on the lower right of each chart.

If I owned these, I would exit on any down bar to preserve profits. Note IIPR and INSY while still profitable have followed through currently on down candles. CGC turned in a red candle today which makes it worth watching on the open tomorrow. In fact, CRON and MJ also look vulnerable.

Congratulations to anyone hold these, but, me thinks, one should not fall in love with them.

(click on the updated chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Summing up profits on a 10-day upswing

How important is long-term breadth to the swing trader?

It is a trigger to get into the trade and an answer to one of the most difficult questions in market timing and stock trading — When to get out?

Measured here by the McClellan Summation Index ($NYSI), this latest upswing began on the open of of 8/20 and closed on the open today, a 10-trading-day swing. See the indicator in the center band of the charts below).

On the swing, the 3xleveraged ETFs made solid gains for the 10 trading days: TQQQ up 8.6%, TNA up 5.7%, UPRO up 3.7%, FNGU 11.5%, SOXL 19.7%, FAS 2.8%, LABU 18.8%, ERX 4.6%. There were no losses in the group.

On the swing, among my “bellwether stocks” AAPL racked up a 4.9% gain, AMZN gained 7.3%, NVDA 15.9%, NFLX 14.3%, TWTR 5.6%. But there were also losers – TSLA down 2.1% , GOOGL down .9%, BABA 4.4%. BIDU 2.4% and FB down 2.5%. The entire basket was up 1.98%.

The top-ten stocks in my nifty-fifty list coming into the swing outperformed both of the above stock baskets with CRC up 38.4%, TNDM up 36%, PVAC up 4.8%, RGNX up 13.2%, WTI 15.1%, ARWR 4.6%, I up 2.9%, HLG 4.6%, TLRD 7.7% and the only loser in the group was MDGL down 3%. The nifty-fifty stock basket for the swing gained 12.48%.

How important is long-term breadth for the swing trader?

The “When to get out?” was today’s open for everything (market timing). As of the moment of this writing all of the symbols mentioned above are down with the exception of MDGL, the only loser in the nifty-fifty basket (that, I believe, is the market giving a wink to traders just for the fun of it).

Except for the fact we are still in a bull market, today’s breadth sell could have been a short. For aggressive traders, it was.

A main path to the “persistence, experience and discipline” it takes to be a successful trader is the trigger-in one is comfortable with and the trigger-out one is willing to accept without question.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$AAPL – still rising in an ever thinning market

AAPL continues to rise among my bellwether stocks.

The others to some degree or another have sold off in recent weeks (see chart panel below). That would indicate the market is being led higher by fewer and fewer leading stocks. Maybe just one since AAPL is in all three major indexes except the Russell.

However, the general market managed to follow through Friday on the short-term breadth signal and turned long-term breadth up. If all goes well for the bulls we should have a rally for a couple of weeks at least that moves more of the bellwether stocks to the upside.

(click on the charts 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)

#MarketTiming weekly $SPY options in the “fool’s game”

If anyone wants to take a peek (or another peek) into the link below from Thursday, or look down at the entry immediately below this one, they’ll see it was said: “In other words, I expect the market to shoot up on Friday”.

SPY – CAN THE BOUNCE BECOME A RALLY?

The great trader and “Market Wizard” Linda Raschke once put it very simply: “When you see what you are looking for, jump all over it.”

Well, Friday was a day to look for a rally after the market slid sideways to down all week, and rally it did with the Dow up 343 points, the SPX up 43, and the Nasdaq Composite up 127. TQQQ jumped 4% from its Friday open, UPRO did 3.2% from its open.

Needless to say that is better than money in a bank.

But what about THE FOOL’S GAME I’ve been writing about recently, buying weekly SPY calls and puts as day trades?

Friday that system was up 141% with a combination of trades in the weekly 273 put and the 271 call, both expiring that day. The 273 puts lost $1254 per $10K in the trade while the 271 in-the-money calls gained $14,482 per each $10K trade (there were two) for a total gain for the day of 131%.

The Friday expiration makes for the best day trades in the weeklies. Has been that way all year with this Friday as, obviously, no exception. Its 131% net brought the total gain for the week to 226% — $22,600 for no more than $10,000 in any day trade during the week.

I have not much more to say except to remind that everything said here is for entertainment and educational purposes only, and for my own personal trading journal, and should not in any way be construed as investment or trading advice.