#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.

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$SPY $TQQQ – if Santa’s rally is coming to town…

It appears it started today and triggered the likelihood of more to come tomorrow…

This should be a rally all the way to Christmas and possibly a bit beyond.

Why?

Because the market has been pounded hard to the downside since, in some index cases, early October. But more importantly short-term and long-term breadth, measured by the McClellan Oscillator and Summation Index (see the chart for today below), has simultaneously given buy signals for tomorrow’s, Tuesday’s, open. And they have done it with a telling divergence – see on the chart how deep the breadth plunge was on the lows in late October, and how the breadth numbers failed to confirm the price lows at the same levels last week.

In addition, my nifty-fifty stock list had 44 sells on the first plunge (usually the sign of a swing bottom) but could not muster more than 39 on sells during the last sell-off. Forty-five of them are now on buys.

I have major 3xleverage ETFs giving new individual buy signals for tomorrow’s open – FAS, SOXL, FNGU, TNA, TQQQ, UNPRO — and major bellwether stocks doing the same – AMZN, NVDA, TWTR, GS, BABA, FB. But neither TSLA nor NFLX can be ignored on any market bounce.

While AAPL missed an individual buy signal today by a whisper, this market is not going anywhere without it. However, I see, it closed at 174 and is down to 170 after-hours (a better bargain?). That AAPL has an after-the-close sell down raises the possibility the downside is not yet done.

Highly likely we are now in a bear market with Finra (NYSE) margin debt unraveling. If so, there’s going to be downward pressure on this rally almost every day. This is the time for traders to take advantage of sharp upside bounces like today and for long-term investors to lighten up on their holdings if not to get out completely. Every time margin debt has come apart (and this time it is from a higher level than both 2000 and 2007) the SPX has lost 40% to 50% before the bear market ended in 2003 and 2009. See this LINK – the divergence that kills the bull.

Bear-market rallies tend to be fast and furious so we’ll see how this one goes, but if it is truly a bear-market rally, it will as time goes by take a lot of time to recover from the its eventual bottom whenever it comes and at whatever price level.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY #Options – Trending Day-Trade 32 for 166% in the “Fool’s Game”

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

But so far not this year.

The day-trading strategy developed here last November and dubbed in earlier posts “The Fool’s Game” has now had 32 days like today since the start of this year.

Thirty-two trending days.

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. The 276 in-the-money put for today closed the day trade up 166% on each $10K traded (see the chart on the left below). There were no trades triggered in the calls.

This was one those great trending days that goes one way all day.

And by the way, the market, with today’s hard sell down, is now wildly oversold so the chance of bounce tomorrow is very high. I say that chance is about 85%, but that’s mostly a guess based on the past six months market action. No telling how high. There’s also about a 75% chance the bounce will be a one-day wonder.

For fun, I’ve included a chart of the “at-the-money” 277 Put for today below on the right just as a comparison between one strike and another on a day of expiration. The gain per $10K traded, $25,384 (also the percentage gain, 253%) is in the white flag on the lower right of the chart.

Obviously, the greater the risk the greater the reward.

Remember these posts are meant solely for entertainment purposes and for the educational purpose of showing what the possibilities are in options if one has persistence, experience and discipline. They are in no way be construed as any kind of direct or indirect trading or investing advice.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

Five sessions in the marijuana stocks

Going into the market selloff last month, marijuana stocks were the leading sector in the market.

The stocks were flying on Constellation Brands certification of the sector’s profit potential with a $4-billion investment in Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC), then came Canada’s blanket legalization of the weed, Michigan in this election becoming the 10th state to legalize recreational uses in the U.S., following pot pioneers Washington and Colorado and others.

And now Jeff Sessions, the leading federal marijuana-legalization opponent, has been forced to resign as U.S. Attorney General. While Trump forcing Sessions out no doubt has more to do with Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, it does have the side effect of removing another obstacle in the road to a possible national legalization.

The leading stocks in the marijuana sector surged today on the Sessions news but they were already on the run with the market bounce.

Long-term breadth (measured by the McClellan Summation Index) turned up after a 40-day decline on October 31st, giving a clear market-timing signal to buy the market on the open on November 1st, five trading days ago.

CGC is up 23.7%, TLRY 41.8%, CRON 29.2% and the ETF for the sector, MJ is up 16.9% (see the charts below, the white flags on the lower right tell the gains far per $100K invested).

In addition GWPH, a stable medical marijuana stock that has been around for a long time in the US, is up 8.9%.

All in five trading days. This sector is a perfect example of the splendid simplicity of the long-term breadth signal. Coming into the market selloff as a leading sector, it was highly likely (almost a certainty) that as the market’s drop stopped, the sector’s stocks would bounce fast and high…so to speak.

(click on the chart 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)

#SwingTrading – Up, down, sideways, sideways sideways…

It appears the market could go up tomorrow.

“Could go up”, I say that hesitantly because for end-of-the day swing traders like me, this has been a rather confounding week. On Monday, all of my swing signals (based on price, breadth, volatility) were on sells for Tuesday – Tuesday the intraday market went up. At the end of the day Tuesday all of the signals were on buys for Wednesday – Wednesday the intraday went down. At the close Wednesday, all of the signals were again on sells – today the market went up a lot.

Well, in SPY’s case it went back up into the Monday’s price range – in other words, sideways, sideways, sideways…

Although long-term breadth has not turned up, the low above a low in short-term breadth (see the circle on the upper portion of the chart below) usually will bring a bounce. That should happen tomorrow. And if long-term breadth turns up with it, the entire market could rally for a couple of weeks at least, which would be just fine and dandy.

If the market manages to put a final confounding candle on the cake tomorrow with a hard down day then…okay, I’ll say it, then we will have another indication a sizable bear may be stirring in its cave.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

UPDATE 8/22 – #GOLD stocks prove there is always a bear market somewhere

This what a bear market and an outright crash looks like.

Gold and its sector stocks, after a long steady decline, went into free fall about four trading days ago and continued down virtually across the board today.

See the chart panel below for a random selection of the stocks.

Like all stocks, when the bear growls, these gold stocks can go down forever, but there were a couple of signs that the fall might be slowing in that two of the biggies – NEM and ABX — at least fell slower today (see the NEM chart below for an example).

A bounce may be due right about now for a quick scalp on the long side before any more decline. After drops like these this week, it will not surprise me if short-sellers want to log some profits for the weekend. Watch the open tomorrow for a trigger and keep a tight stop.

It must be said more downside will come with this much momentum in place. Shorting the bounce, if and whenever it comes, may be the better strategy for swing traders. The sector will be in its own bear market until it isn’t anymore and it’s going to have to base for sometime before it ever sees a bull again.

However, for the longer term, gold has had value for centuries and will again. Those who like to bottom fish and hold forever, or at least until the metals shine bright again, might start to carefully and patiently bait their lines.

UPDATE FRIDAY:

Buy NUGT on the open Friday for a 5.8% gain for the day, 9.6% from the previous close, JNUG for 8.3% on the day. Called this a scalp so took profits on the day trade and will watch the bounce to short. Alternative play would be to take half the profit on the close, let the rest ride with a break-even stop.

UPDATE 8/22:
Taking off alternative play, bear market bounce: NUGT up 9.9%, JNUG 10.7&, four days up into a black candle (see second chart below).

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

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Tuesday in the $10K day Trade…Final 10% gain

Tweeted this trade near the highs of the day. SPY 280 Call, Wednesday expiration, up 38%. TQQQ at the time was up 1.5% ($1500 per $100K).

This was a display of a day trade based on the suggestion (see post below) that Tuesday after three days down in the Nasdaq (two of them hard down) would bounce today with an entry into the trade near the open.

Some defense (like a trailing stop) had to be played to lock in gains intraday since once again with long-term breadth still negative there was the possibility of another fade into the close, which happened. Still (see chart below), the SPY trade netted 10% for the day, and TQQQ added another $450 on its $100K buy.

Not a bad return for the day even if the defense stayed on the bench.

Tomorrow, AAPL will be the focus of the day for the general market. The company reported earnings after the close today and rose eight points in the after-market to an new all time high. The question will be can it vault the market higher for the day or will this be a “sell the news” time?

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#MarketTiming $QQQ – tomorrow the bounce…

After three days down in the Nasdaq, two of them hard downs, it is very likely time for a bounce tomorrow.

All of my bellwether stocks, as suggested yesterday (see posts below), followed through with losses today, led by NFLX down 5.5%. With the exception of AAPL and GOOGL they are all oversold. In addition forty of my nifty-fifty stocks are on sells with 34 of those oversold. Forty or more sells usually means we are at the bottom or the beginning of a swing bottom before a bounce.

Most likely he Nasdaq Composite Index has gone down too far too fast (see chart below). Focus on the chart and note that each time the blue histogram pierces the green lines, what happens next is a bounce, sometimes a substantial bounce. That is the most compelling technical case for timing a bounce for tomorrow. Also note if there is a bounce, it will likely not be a bottom. Bottoms and subsequent rallies come after retests.

This time could be an exception of course since the market can do anything it wants any time it wants but for now, I’m watching tomorrow open primarily for some play on the long side.

(click on the chart 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)